Community Discussions


Another study on gastric bypass September 21, 2017 5:49PM

Every so often, a new study comes out, presumably "proving" how effective the gastric bypass is.  That's because this surgery is a huge cash cow for the medical field and less and less folks are having it - because of the post op, high complication and death rate (never mentioned in the studies of course). And because at the end of the day, it's not even very effective for weight loss.

This study which appeared in NEJM, was similar to the others.  Sounds very impressive - it was a 12 year observational study they tell us - as the surgery was shown as slightly effective for weight loss and very effective for diabetics.  Let's remember that patients are told if they don't diet and exercise, they won't lose any weight even after an invasive surgery like the gastric bypass but of course, diet and exercise work well without risking one's life to have a gastric bypass, thus the first thing they slip by us, is not distinguishing those who dieted and exercised (which would have caused a weight loss without surgery) from those who didn't.  

If we break down the study, you will see, it's not what it seems to be.  Here's a money quote:

In the study by Adams et al., despite a wide variation in change in body weight across the sample, 360 of 387 patients (93%) in the surgery group maintained at least a 10% weight loss from baseline to year 12, 271 (70%) maintained at least a 20% weight loss, and 155 (40%) maintained at least a 30% weight loss. Only 4 of 387 patients (1%) in the surgery group had regained all their postsurgical weight loss. 

First of all, a 10% weight loss on a 300 lb person is only 30 lbs. But secondly, of course, the high death rate for this surgery (5% in the first month after surgery) is not counted and also even a 30% weight loss is not very impressive. Also, the gastric bypass, more often than not, causes malnutrition which can cause weight loss. (The important parts of the digestive tract are severely undermined or bypassed)  To be fair, they should eliminate all members of the cohort who are suffering from hypoglycemia or malnutrition but of course, they never do that.  

For diabetes, it looks even more impressive:

In the surgery group followed by Adams et al., remission of type 2 diabetes was observed in 66 of 88 patients (75%) at 2 years, in 54 of 87 patients (62%) at 6 years, and in 43 of 84 patients (51%) at 12 years. Of the 62 patients in the surgery group who had initial remission at 2 years and had 12-year follow-up data, 69% remained free of type 2 diabetes at 12 years. Successful remission of type 2 diabetes was strongly predicted by baseline medication status.

But let's look at how they pick the cohort (study participants). Usually, they pick folks who are - what is called - pre diabetic. Which means they don't have diabetes yet, and if and when they come down with diabetes, it's several years before it gets really bad.  Additionally, malnutrition after the gastric bypass helps with this aspect too.  It's well known that starvation or semi starvation will cause diabetes, especially early diabetes, to go into remission.  Bottom line, starvation or semi starvation with a non mutilated digestive tract is safer than that caused by a mutilated digestive tract and causes a better weight loss than invasive outdated surgery.

The study was funded by the diabetes assn and it's a known fact that the funding does influence the results of the study. 

In other words, it's the same old trick - the hope that the public will believe this, rather than do research or question, and rush out to buy the surgery. Because the bottom line is, although they should not even DO this outdated, risky and not real effective surgery anymore, it's a big cash cow.  Buyer beware, especially in a "for profit" medical provider setup.

Gastric balloon update and lawsuit August 22, 2017 5:53PM

Did you have a gastric balloon weight loss procedure???

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a safety alert concerning gastric balloon systems after there were five "unanticipated deaths" from 2016 to the present that occurred in patients who had liquid-filled intragastric balloon systems inserted.

Gastric balloon procedures are considered "minimally invasive" FDA approved procedures that are used for treating obesity because the device is inserted through the mouth and requires no surgical incision.  But of course, it's still invasive. All the reported deaths occurred within a month of the procedure but apparently, many other people suffered serious complications from these devices.

Overview: Gastric Balloon Deaths Lead to FDA Warning

Gastric balloons, also called intragastric balloons or weight loss balloons, were approved by the FDA in 2015. There are currently two gastric balloons on the market: the Orbera Intragastric Balloon System by Apollo Endo Surgery, approved in August 2015 and the ReShape Integrated Dual Balloon System made by ReShape Medical, approved in July 2015.

Four of the reported deaths were of patients who had the Orbera weight loss balloon implanted and the fifth death was a patient who had the ReShape gastric balloon. All of the deaths took place within a month of when the gastric balloons were implanted. Three of the deaths took place within one to three days of implantation.

The FDA says that it does not yet know if the deaths were caused by the devices themselves or were caused by the insertion procedure when the intragastric balloons were implanted.

There were two additional deaths reported during the same time period that the federal agency says may also be linked to gastric balloon complications. One death was caused by a gastric perforation in a patient that had the Orbera Intragastric Balloon System, and the other death was caused by esophageal perforation in a patient who had the ReShape Integrated Dual Balloon System implanted.

How Gastric Balloons Work

Intragastric balloons are one of the many gastric procedures that exist to treat obesity. In some cases, patients with type-2 diabetes were able to reverse their disease after a gastric procedure, but only immediately after the procedures. Studies of patients several years after surgery found most diabetics were no longer, diabetes free. Many gastric procedures, such as a gastric bypass, are considered invasive surgical procedures and are not done as often as before because of the high complication and death rate in follow up studies.

Intragastric balloons are implanted without the need for a surgical incision therefore were sold as a "non surgical procedure". They were implanted via a scope down the esophagus through the mouth.  Once in the stomach, they are filled with fluid and are left in the stomach for 6 months.

The Orbera gastric balloon system uses one balloon. The ReShape system uses two.

Through this procedure, patients typically lose a third of their weight in 6 months.

Gastric Balloon Side Effects & Complications

Gastric balloon systems were advertised as having fewer risks than traditional bariatric surgery but this may be misleading as the balloons can cause several nasty complications and in fact, the FDA recently issued a warning because five deaths were connected to the gastric balloon.

The FDA first issued a safety report in February 2017 concerning gastric balloons after receiving "multiple reports" of two different serious complications linked to the weight loss procedure:

1. Spontaneous over-inflation: The federal agency said that several dozen patients have suffered from over-inflation problems, leading them to need to have the device to be removed prematurely. Symptoms of over-inflation include: abdominal pain, swelling/distention of the abdomen, breathing difficulty, and vomiting. In some cases, over-inflation has occurred nine days after the procedure. This complication occurred mostly in patients with the Orbera weight loss balloon system, but it has also occurred in patients with the ReShape system. At the time this alert was posted, the FDA said that over-inflation was not listed on the current warning label for the devices and that ER personnel and other healthcare professionals may not be aware of the problem.

2. Acute Pancreatitis: Both the Orbera and ReShape weight loss balloons have been linked to acute pancreatitis. The FDA says that this side effect has been caused by "the compression of gastrointestinal structures created by the implanted balloon(s)." In all of the patients who suffered from acute pancreatitis, the devices had to be removed prematurely, and in a handful of cases, the patients had to be hospitalized. This gastric balloon side effect occurred in some patients within days of having the device implanted. Symptoms include: severe abdominal and back pain. Acute pancreatitis is also not listed as a possible complication of gastric balloon devices, which means medical professionals may not be aware of it, leading to inappropriate or delayed treatment.

Gastric Balloon Class Action Lawsuit

If you or a loved one has suffered from complications following a gastric balloon procedure, you may be entitled to compensation. Learn more by filling out the form on this page or calling 1-(855)-JONES-LAW (1-855-566-3752) for a free case evaluation. 


Five people die after having gastric balloon (for weight loss) inserted August 11, 2017 5:35PM

The idea of inserting a balloon in the stomach, and somehow inflating it to supposedly kill the appetite, is not new. It was first introduced as the state of the art, non invasive obesity treatment years ago but, I know patients who found the gastric bypass to be a lot kinder to live with than the gastric balloon and the bypass is not at all, easy to live with. But the earlier bad experiences with it which some describe as a nightmare, did not stop the providers from re-introducing the gastric balloon, a year or two ago.

Different this time, however, is the FDA put out a safety alert about it because five people have died after the insertion of the gastric balloon.  I know I've written about this before, telling folks to run the other way.  Hopefully, the word will finally get out that this procedure causes all kinds of problems in the stomach.

Reported on CNN

Three died one to three days after the balloon placement. The remaining two deaths could be related to "potential complications associated with balloon treatment," -- one was a stomach perforation and the other was a perforation in the esophagus, according to the FDA.
History repeats!

All the weight loss surgery procedures, assume that by mutilating or somehow disabling the stomach, the person will not have an appetite and people keep jumping on the operating table with all hopes of being "normal".

As Dr Livingston and others warned --- after weight loss surgery you are NOT normal, EVER, and people should keep in mind that the appetite centers are in the brain which is why, if the patient doesn't do the work - diet and exercise - which of course works fine without surgery, any weight loss surgery does not "work".

My 600 lb Life - Laura June 02, 2017 11:28AM

This week's, "My 600 lb Life - Where are they Now" featured a lady who lost most of her weight and ended up in the 180's after skin removal surgeries.

Interesting to note was the massive loss and new style of eating, took its toll on her relationship.  Sadly it was a "common law" marriage i.e. they were living together as husband and wife but not legally married (common law marriages are no longer acknowledged as legally binding in most states).

And one might ask "why".  There are hints in the show. First of all, the husband has Multiple Sclerosis, a serious neurological illness which only a few years before TV checked in on the couple, paralyzed him at one point.  The show said Laura had "nursed him" back to health but he obviously was disabled to the point of not being able to work - always a strain on the marriage to begin with.

Second, Laura was very addicted to food and had used food all of her life to "feel better" in the presence of adversity and certainly, having the burden of supporting the couple and other stresses she alluded to (probably connected with her partner), were difficult for her to deal with, without the help of the food which had helped her in the past.  Her weight loss had come to an standstill, so the good doc revised her gastric sleeve to a gastric bypass, which, of course, zapped her strength because of the non digestion of nutrients (we need some 100 micro-nutrients a day and that's in addition to macro-nutrients, most of which cannot be digested by gastric bypass patients since the very important digestive organ, the duodenum, the first several feet of small bowel, is bypassed in this surgery.)

Less than 25% of surgeons still do the bypass because of not only, the short term repercussions, but long term ones as well.  The inventor of the gastric bypass, stopped doing them in the early 90's, pointing out the numerous issues with this surgery.  But of course, the 72 year old doctor "Now" on "My 600 lb Life" is likely not up with the current science and doesn't realize that people who get pretty sick (as Laura DID after her bypass  - she suffered a lot of nausea and most things she ate didn't stay down), may need a takedown immediately.  I'm sure that she felt badly did not help her patience with her husband.

The show put out a note that 85% of bariatric patients end up divorcing their spouses.

Let's hope Laura gets herself to a doctor who is more up with the science of digestion and realizes she badly needs a takedown NOW.

The Dark Side of the Gastric Sleeve April 09, 2017 8:56PM

There are apparently several famous people who got gastric sleeve or sleeve gastrectomy. It looks good. It's not a gastric bypass, so other than undermining protein and fat digestion in the stomach (some surgeons remove 90% of the stomach and put delicately, "send it to pathology"... in other words, discard it), the duodenum which is one of the main digestive organs is left in tact and after all, sleeve gastrectomy is or seems a less risky surgery than gastric bypass et al.

But the gastric sleeve appears to have a darker side. The stomach which is now, about as big as your thumb and twice as long as your thumb, doesn't hold much of anything...for example, patients describe difficulty in drinking liquids and some have observed brown urine from dehydration etc.

Mama June Shannon, mother of the cute little girl who starred on "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" TV Show, was quite overweight although likely not, the 450 lbs she claimed, had the gastric sleeve.

She said it was an, a lot more painful process than she expected as she also had a couple of skin removal surgeries but on tonight's show, "Mama June, From Not to Hot", she was able to strut her stuff at her ex hubby's "Sugar Bear's" wedding. June was never married to Sugar Bear as she was likely still married to the father of one of her other kids but they made a commitment ceremony last season on Honey Boo Boo's show.

On tonight's show, Mama June, apparently healed from her multiple surgeries, thin and blond, went to her ex's wedding and after, had a fun burning of her old large clothing.  Since June and her daughters have moved into a new rather nice home (TV pays well!), she and friends went out to the middle of the woods for the burning ceremony. However, when she went back home afterward, she suddenly, got very sick. They rushed her to the ER, complaining of severe abdominal pain.  She lived and they promise that next week's show, will feature the entire story of what happened to her. She was in enough pain that she couldn't stand up.

One thing I've seen happen with the sleeve, is a staple line leakage. A patient I know, had to go through multiple surgeries to fix that and included in the dark side of the sleeve, is the fact that unlike the gastric bypass, there is no way to reverse it.

Bottom line, none of these surgeries are really effective because we now know the appetite centers are in the brain...thus surgery or no surgery, we can only lose weight and keep it off by reconfiguring our thinking processes and living in a jungle of high fat, high calorie food, this is never an easy process.  Even Dr Now of the TV show, "My 600 lb Life", admits that surgery is only effective IF the patient diets and exercises...which is, of course, effective without surgery.

So why do they still do weight loss surgery? Because it's a cash cow. The average weight loss surgery surgeon makes $1.5 million bucks a year. People have done strange things for much less than that!

I felt bad for Mama June...she was a happy, reasonably healthy, overweight person and now, she has all sorts of issues with her mutilated digestive tract. 

It's a vicious circle. Providers generally don't follow post ops and complications from all surgeries, are handled by emergency medicine. Overweight people, desperate to lose weight, tend to not do the research they should do, relying on their providers to inform them but without following up on post ops, the providers may not know much more of the long term repercussions than do the patients.

Buyer, very careful in surgically removing or mutilating the stomach.  That our digestive systems work, wasn't the reason we gained weight and disabling it, is likely to cause more problems than we bargained for.

Higher rate heart attack and suicide after gastric bypass March 23, 2017 10:56AM

In the gastric bypass, the stomach is very compromised and the duodenum, a vital part of digestion, is bypassed.  This is why it causes nutritional deficiencies in most patients.

Yesterday's broadcast "My 600 lb life", was unsettling, especially in my watching it for the second time.  I'm assuming because the patient died from heart disease, soon after they had stopped following him, they haven't shown this episode much because of the possible negative effects on the audience of prospective surgical patients.

What was interesting to me is that he apparently, had heart disease before surgery because during his excess skin removal surgery, he suffered a total cardiac arrest.  "I actually died on the table," the patient tells the camera, but they were able to resuscitate him.

He called his resuscitation, a miracle but a year or two after these procedures, he had a heart attack while driving a school bus and crashed the school bus.  He was D.O.A. when he got to the hospital. We weren't told how many kids were injured but since he'd had a heart attack a year or two earlier, while driving a shuttle bus, one questions why he was again driving and then, a school bus.  One of many questions with this case.

One question that arises was - was this person who obviously already had heart disease, really a good candidate for a procedure like the gastric bypass which tends to raise the risk of heart disease? 

A study published in the "Archives of Surgery" in 2007, found that gastric bypass actually increased the risk of both heart attack and suicide in post ops.  The study examined the records of 16,683 weight loss surgeries among Pennsylvania residents.  They found a substantial number of excess deaths attributed to both heart disease and suicide.  As post surgery time increased, the researchers continued, so did the death rates with heart disease topping the list.  The bariatric industry basically ignored the study, pointing out that these ailments are higher among the obese anyway.

The Dr on TV requires prospective patients to lose 50 to 100 lbs before surgery which they all diligently do, pointing out that diet and exercise are needed to continue weight loss after surgery, but of course, diet and exercise also work well to effect a weight loss without surgery and often, the patient, anxious for the surgery, loses weight at a faster rate before surgery, than after.

When the gastric bypass was promulgated in the 1960's, it was thought that the stomach controls appetite and thus, mutilating this vital digestive organ, would help the person to control their overeating.

They didn't realize then, that the stomach, although a key player in the digestion of proteins, fats and vitamin B12, does NOT control the appetite centers which we now know, are located in the brain.  Moderns who have the gastric bypass are disappointed that their cravings (which originate in the brain) have not been affected by the surgery.

Interestingly, if we look at the repercussions of the gastric bypass more closely, we see that although the weight loss effects are temporary (according to TV bariatric surgeon, Dr Nowzaradan), the complications not only last much longer but increase in the years after surgery.

Happily, less and less surgeons are doing gastric bypass - hopefully, we will see the end of this invasive but not that effective procedure in the near future.

One doctor told his patients to diet and exercise before surgery and then, when they'd had a substantial weight loss, he told them "Now, go home and continue what you are doing!  You don't need surgery!"

Medical profession or business? February 02, 2017 6:53AM

Did anyone see "Doug's Story" on My 600 lb
Iife TV show?  His wife who was very overweight, had had WLS, probably 8 years previously, was 60 to 70 lbs overweight. She said she'd been over 300 lbs before surgery but she seemed gaining it pretty much back, while still likely suffering the malnutrition and/or discomfort of surgery.  What a ripoff! I'm kind of not real pleased with the medical profession or should I say the medical business myself. We've been paying thousands of bucks over the years to take DH to doctors, for "diabetic checks". Not a one of them told him he could avoid problems later by going on a low fat, basically veggie diet, avoiding fast food completely and exercising 40 -60 minutes daily. It's in the books ...I read 19 books on the subject because heart disease runs in my family too. My mother who was bipolar was equally badly treated by medicine, went to doctors who never helped her. And this losing weight thing. Nowzaradan tells his patients to lose 50-100 lbs before they "qualify" for WLS, then he multilates their GI tract telling them the myth that it's going to help them lose weight but he's admitted that on TV that if they don't diet and exercise, the surgery won't work. He doesn't warn them it will do nothing to stop their cravings because the appetite centers are in the brain. But he's taking the money to the bank in barrels...not only doing the WLS on them but doing skin removal also. In 1994 DH suffered erectile dysfunction... the doctor asked him if he wanted medication (which is hard on the heart by the way). Tonight I read that erectile dysfunction is one of the first signs of clogged veins. He almost died last year after 5 surgeries, and getting septicemia and osteomyelitis from bad wound care. But heck, doctors made thousands of bucks off him. Not a one of them warned him. I did, after my research of 19 books and 5 years of magazine articles in Fitness Magazine..the research is out there but if he didn't hear it from his doctors why should he believe me?

When the lady who helps him with his baths (after 8 months in the hospital, he's not real mobile etc) asked me how old I am (I'm very mobile!) and was shocked that we are both 72 years old.  I've seen those around me go through h-ll when we have the technology to help them. No wonder I'm angry.

Lap Band must be removed within 5 years February 01, 2017 3:24PM

New research found that the lap band, previously considered the safest weight loss surgery procedure, "must be removed within 5 years to avoid complications". (Obese Surg. Published online January 12, 2017)

The complications are not available in the abstract but from my research, I can detail some of them.  Most prominent, is the fact that the stomach is muscular organ and the muscular movement of the stomach tends to cause the band to damage the place at the top of the stomach if left in for longer than a couple of years.

One of the doctors who does the gastric bypass, published photos of the stomach, bleeding and raw from the rubbing of the band.  Of course, the gastric bypass does damage to the GI tract from the get-go.

What we should remember about all these procedures, is the concept of weight loss surgery is an old one, before we knew the appetite centers are in the brain, which is why even Dr Nowzaradan, the TV weight loss surgeon, admits that any surgery (unless you get sick from it) is ineffective on the long term.

The facts are what we'd rather not accept.  Counting calories or points on the long term is the only way to control weight and it must be done carefully as to not get malnutrition. And even more unacceptable in our fat phobic world is that a person can be overweight and healthy if they exercise regularly (cardio, stretching and strength training) and eat healthy (the low fat diet is still the healthiest).

That being said can obesity bite on the long term?  Sadly, it can. But due to things like clogged arteries (from eating high fat or fast food).  Another no win situation of a body made to survive in eras before the American lifestyle.

weight loss surgery not really effective, admits top surgeon December 03, 2016 3:49PM

It's pretty common knowledge for those who access the Internet, that weight loss surgery is not only ineffective but risky.

But recently, Dr "Now" of "My 600 lb life" admitted on TV that weight loss surgery isn't effective after 5 years, a telling admission for him since he actively, is pursuing clients for his surgery although there is some evidence that he might be doing the safer gastric sleeve, more than the gastric bypass.

Weight loss surgery, all of it, is based on an idea we now know to be false i.e. that the appetite center is in the stomach. 

The appetite center is in the brain which is why weight loss surgery isn't effective unless you diet and exercise which of course, causes a weight loss without surgery!

The inventor of the gastric bypass, Edward Mason, found, in the 1960's, his ulcer surgery patients were losing weight and thought he could do similar surgery on overweight folks with the same results.  Thus began a long era of surgeons quite literally, going to the bank, doing weight loss surgery procedures.  Because there was so little followup, surgeons were neither aware of the high rate of regain nor the alarming number of deaths and/or repercussions.

When one procedure proved ineffective as well as risky, another one came into vogue.  Right now, the gastric sleeve, a surgery which calls for the permanent removal of up to 90% of the stomach is the surgery "du jour".  

Trouble is, the remaining "thumb sized" stomach which results from a sleeve gastrectomy, probably does not digest B12, fats or proteins really well.  And this surgery, although safer than the gastric bypass, is not reversible.

In a society where the medical profession is profit making, abuse is common.  Thankfully, the internet can inform people but sadly, many people either don't have access to the Internet or cannot really utilize their access well enough to do research.

Less than 5% of dieters can keep the weight off and that number who can keep off weight, is only 2% higher among weight loss surgery patients...that is less than 7% of weight loss surgery patients can keep off all of their weight for any amount of time.

Bottom line, if you want to take off weight, you might be best to just do the diet and exercise part and skip the surgery.  (Diet, unless you do it very carefully, has its own set of risks).

The Obesity Code - is it really new? September 24, 2016 1:41PM

"The Obesity Code", a new book out, while saying it's the final solution to weight problems, is nothing new. And, people, tired of dieting, are buying it rapidly off the shelves, over the internet, or whatever.  I read a few reviews of it while deciding if I needed to add it to my always growing library on Weight Loss.

From what I can see, the meat of "The Obesity Code", pun intended, is intermittent fasting. You can fast...water only, or liquids or a bunch of ways. While I don't know what type of fasting is suggested in the book, it all amounts to basically no food... one day a week or one day a month or ?? 

That's supposed to keep off the weight forever. It's not new because I tried it in the 1970's. I lost about 25 lbs but eventually, I got horrendous cravings, couldn't stomach the fasting part anymore and regained the 30 lbs I'd lost and another 70, probably a result of a lowered metabolism and being really, over, fasting! :)

The only thing that really works to lose the weight and keep it off, is calorie restriction and portion control - for life. Staying away from calorie dense stuff like fast foods is a good idea or use the Gwen Schamblin method for fun foods, (from the book, WEIGH DOWN). That is, take one bite of a fun food, and chew it slowly, savoring it. Because as she rightly, points out, the first bite tastes the best and if we slow down enough to experience this, we can find out that this is very true.  Gwen has kept several pounds off for many years and she enjoys her fun foods also.

We all have to experiment with things and see what works the best for us. 

After trying just about everything else, I realized that calorie restriction and portion control is the only way that worked for me, to lose and keep off weight.  

 In 2008-2010 I lost 112 lbs, and have kept off 107 lbs ever since. I count my calories every day on My Fitness Pal, a great website which offers a free  calorie counter and found that a small bite of treats or even programming small amounts into my day, keeps away the cravings monster.

Eating big portions of veggies with no butter etc, fills you up and no one ever got a weight problem from too many veggies!

Every "diet book" claims it's new and revolutionary because the diet-fatigued, overweight public craves an answer that is easier than daily calorie counting or restricting food amounts in some other way... but in reality, "there is nothing new under the sun".

Surgery for weight loss September 11, 2016 6:06AM

A sad thing for me is when weight loss surgery post ops come back and say "Oh Sue, I wish I'd listened to your warnings".

The warnings I've posted can actually be found on most weight loss surgeons' websites but they aren't in a very prominent place.

Moreover, people want to believe there is a quick way to doing this weight loss thing - so maybe many folks don't look for the small print like 1-2% of gastric bypass patients die within 30 days of surgery or like undermining the delicately balanced system we have for nourishing our bodies with the hundreds of nutrients we need on a daily basis, isn't a very good idea.   As one doctor put in it in a book I read in the 1970's, this type of thing is similar to trying to run our cars on French perfume... how long would they run? Sadly, we often treat our cars better than we treat our bodies! 

The body adapts in a way to various forms of starvation, but of course does not last very well in the long run as it starts to consume protein and macro nutrients from itself, like the brain, the heart, calcium from the bones etc.

It's meant as a short term way to survive a starvation period and not for something in the long term.

I remember when I started studying this stuff in 1990.  I called a medical provider, an intelligent well educated one, and asked him to tell me what he knew about the GI tract. He gave me a short basic explanation.  I asked for more details but he said that was all they got in medical school!

I ended up reading bunches of books and medical journals to get the rest of the information, a research which took more than 10 years of study (not counting the many books etc I read before my specific study on weight loss surgery - I'd been studying weight control since the 1970's and still am studying it).  Sadly, this is not easily available to the public and apparently many medical providers don't have the time or ? to study this in more detail.

Eating healthy and exercising at least 5 days a week (the only thing which strengthens our hearts is cardio exercise or as it was formerly called, "aerobic exercise") is the best way to go.  That's what they say if one studies the subject and I can attest from personal experience, it works.

Eating healthy usually means avoiding fast or fatty foods and eating mostly veggies and some fruits.

Not eating healthy and exercising raises our risks for heart disease, stroke, thrombosis and more.  I've lived through this thing of heart disease and clogged arteries - not in myself but in my hubby who never heard from a medical provider about a heart healthy diet or how important aerobic exercise is. I made him exercise daily but he only did 20 minutes most days.  Never-the-less, that 20 minutes is probably the reason why he's still living albeit required five major surgeries to fix his heart and clear out the clogging from his arteries. 

And all this, while seeing medical providers regularly and paying lots of bucks - where were the warnings he should have gotten?  

And basically, not looking for the quick way out of a weight problem because there is no quick way that is healthy and works.  Terminal cancer patients don't have a weight problem but I suspect most of us would not want to go there.  But having one's stomach and bowels cut up and/or rearranged in a very unnatural manner, as done in surgeries for weight loss, isn't a good idea either.

As Beverly Sills has said "there is no quick road to a place worth going!"

Dominique Lanoise - an American Tragedy August 13, 2016 1:24AM

Recently, I watched the Dominique Lanoise story...this was a lady, bed fast from her weight (over 600 lbs). The doctors kept saying about how she "needed" a gastric bypass. How modern physicians could buy into the myth that there is anything lifesaving about a surgery which interferes with the digestion of the many nutrients we need on a daily basis, I will never understand.  Understandably Dominique's life (she was in her 40's when the show was made) would have been cut somewhat short by her weight and inactivity, but it's significant to point out that she died, only a couple of weeks after what the TV show called, the "lifesaving" surgery. 

How sad that ignorance, hers and perhaps the medical providers who had bought into the myths told about this surgery, ended up killing her prematurely. As her daughters, who missed her after she died, said, "even in bed, she sang songs with us and talked to us."  The medical profession denied Dominique's children, the few years they would have had with their mother. How sad. :(

Eating Coleus for weight loss? Not a good idea! :) July 23, 2016 1:27PM

Coleus is a lovely plant. I used to have Coleus plants years ago.  But there is one thing to remember about Coleus. It's highly poisonous.  Best to keep it away from kids (I had a toddler in those days) and pets, and handle it carefully.  It also likes showers about once a week.

Imagine my surprise this AM when I was flooded with ads for coleus extract claiming it causes weight loss. I've heard of a lot of crazy schemes to lose weight but this one seems one of the more insane variety! I found out about this product because they put a bunch of ad links in the comments of one of my blogs (and since I have moderated comments - these never saw the light of day!).  But curious because I was familiar with this plant and it's poisonous aspects, I visited their website.

Not sure what this group is about but you might receive mail from them (or comments on your blogs). If you have a blog, I highly suggest moderating comments - that way, comments which are inappropriate never see the light of day.

I suppose if you eat poison (like Coleus), you might lose weight but ... isn't that getting a bit uh...over the top?  My suggestion is that you enjoy the beauty of the Coleus plant but keep it out of reach of animals and kids and please - don't eat it or "coleus extract". Losing weight eating something poisonous, just isn't worth the trouble.  Just saying! :)

Latest questionable study on obesity July 16, 2016 4:32AM

Obesity signifies a lessor brain, states the latest - shall I say - questionable study.  The cohort was 32 people both men and women and claimed to not included people with known brain damage.  The researchers concluded that (after imaging the brains of the cohort) that people who are overweight have "less gray matter" in their brains and thus lack the mental capability to make good food choices.

Now true, the study was reported in the UK Telegraph (which is the UK equivalent of the US "National Enquirer") i.e. not a real reliable source, but it appears to be a real study.

I really don't have to say much about this study because it is so inane. But I will remind, that some of the greatest brains of this and former centuries, happened to be very overweight i.e. GK Chesterton is one example.  President Taft was so overweight, he got stuck in the bathtub one day. And there are numerous other examples.  Attend a meeting of the high IQ group, MENSA, and you will see many overweight folks, suggesting the opposite of this study i.e. that overweight people might have more powerful brains on the average.  This would be a no brainer (pun intended) - overweight folks are often better nourished than slim folks.  But I would also, know this from experience - there is a lot of obesity in my family.  Mother had a Master's degree, Dad, a PhD and so forth.

Whether a person was obese was decided by BMI (in this study) and we all know BMI isn't an accurate measurement anyway - because it fails to take in consideration, bone structure, musculature and several other factors.

So, where did the researchers go wrong?  Ironically, intelligence cannot be judged by brain imaging - the brain turns out to be one of the last frontiers in medicine and can be a real fooler.

For example, when David Snowden reported on his famous "nun's study" (he actually forensically examined the brains of several Catholic nuns after they died - he had permission, of course), he found rather surprisingly, that nuns with dementia might have large good looking brains. But his greatest surprise came when he dissected the brain of a nun who lived into her 90's.  She was mentally sharp and functional until the date of death and Dr. Snowden was anxious to examine her brain.

To his surprise, her brain was small, less convoluted and more shriveled up than some of the nuns suffering dementia.  

Enough said.  Obviously, one cannot judge intelligence from what a person's brain looks like.  (Photo is of Cheryl Hayworth, gold medalist Olympic weight lifter).

Misleading study finds that gastric bypass is a good idea? June 28, 2016 6:08PM

Most people only read the first paragraph of a news article and the media takes advantage of that fact, assuming most folks will not read the rest of the article and only a very small percentage will research the article.  Therefore, the news media can inform the public of anything they want to sell, pretty much assuring that their disinformation will hit the target audience.

The first paragraph of a recent Reuters news service article reads: 

"Ten years after gastric-bypass weight-loss surgery, patients in a recent study had managed to keep off much of the weight they'd lost."

That sounds impressive but even reading the rest of the article raises rather large doubts - for example they were only able to contact a little more than half the original patients who got RNY between 1985 and 2004.  The cohort was 1087 patients and they were able to contact 651 of them.  That raises the big question of how hard did they try to contact the cohort - did they, for example, check and see which ones had died?  (Obituaries are public domain and easily searchable on the internet).

And despite the impressive sounding first paragraph, 10 years after an invasive surgery which is known to cause malnutrition etc, patients contacted had only kept off 25% of their excess weight.  That is, if the excess weight was 100 lbs, then at the 10 year point, they only were 25 lbs lighter than when they had the surgery - hardly worth an invasive surgery which has a higher mortality rate than open heart surgery.

Another questionable thing, is, this was a contact by phone - in other words, the patients they did contact, self reported the results and it's common knowledge that patients when self reporting, especially after elective surgical procedures, can be extremely inaccurate or leave out very pertinent facts - like for example, it appears non of the patients were asked if they had metabolic bone disease, a common repercussion of gastric bypass surgery.

At the time of their surgeries, 59% had high blood pressure... but 10 years later, that percentage had only gone down a few points i.e. 47% still had high blood pressure, a risk factor for many things including stroke.

It appears that many surgeons are, for some reason, not learning the newer procedures like gastric sleeve which are safer than gastric bypass.

And one might question whether surgery is any longer a viable option since newer research suggests that the appetite centers are in the brain and not in the GI tract.  It should be noted that Dr Nowzaradan of TLC TV fame, admitted in an honest moment, that 5 years after a gastric bypass the surgery is no longer effective as far as weight loss.

Sadly most folks who read the Reuters article will only read the first paragraph and thus be impressed, perhaps making a life changing decision which while a questionable treatment for obesity, might endanger their health for life.

Losing and regaining weight May 21, 2016 3:33PM

So there is this lady I know on the internet. She lost over 200 lbs and attributed it to Weight Watchers and dancing.  I followed her as she posted a video of her getting her lifetime membership award at Weight Watchers and as she started to lead a dance class at a local gym.  She was a real inspiration in my own weight loss journey. And she was even featured in a TV story.

That was in 2009 and I saw a recent video of her - she's still dancing and is fit, but she seems to have regained at least 100 lbs or more.  I starred at her, astonished,  because somehow, I guess I thought she would never again, regain.  I do admire her for still getting out there and teaching dancing though.

In truth, damaged metabolisms can happen for all reasons, including too much dieting. Experts have said that, with every diet, our metabolism shrinks down a few hundred calories a day. And those like me, who had tonsillectomies in the 1950's and 1960's often, got damage to the pituitary gland which tends to greatly lower the metabolism. Bottom line, many of us do not have to really overeat, to gain back the weight.  In fact, if we eat the "normal American diet", even on a moderate basis, we can easily regain the weight and then some, as I found out in my numerous attempts to diet.

This time, I have kept off the 106 lbs for over 6 years. How?  I count every calorie that goes into my mouth.  (we joke that "if it goes internal, it goes in the journal").

What is sad, is that no medical provider has ever told me that I might have to count calories for the rest of my life if I wanted to keep off the weight.  Neither did they tell me that some folks become overweight just by eating normally.  (Society's image is, that if a person is fat, it means they do nothing but sit on the couch eating bon-bons and medical providers, many of them, seem to agree with this image).

Is it worth it to me, to count my calories to keep off the weight?  Yes it is to me,  because I am healthier at a BMI of 27 than I was at a BMI of over 40 and I fit in auditorium chairs and other places better and I don't have to have a wardrobe in 3 sizes and I do not get any negative feedback from medical providers... but it's a matter of preference and lifestyle and anyway, I think we should all accept each other for the beautiful humans we are and not quibble about weight or other superficial things.

That being said, I think that medical providers should give better advice on how to lose weight and keep it off (I suspect it usually requires counting calories, measuring and journaling food intake for those of us with pituitary damage or "those genetics") instead of blaming us for being overweight.  Experts say that our size is 60% genetic and there may be some 40 genes involved  (Dr Rudy Leibel, obesity expert for example).  Bottom line - who we are should not be determined by our size!

Fit to Fat to Fit on TV? March 28, 2016 8:56AM

There is a series on "A & E" TV called "Fit to Fat to Fit".  The show has two protagonists.  One of them is an overweight person (usually quite overweight like over 300 or 400 lbs) and a personal trainer.  The personal trainer is usually very slim and fit and decides to put on some weight so he or she can "understand" how it "feels to be fat" (as the show states).

One of the shows I saw, had a lady who really did usually, watch her weight and was able to gain 40 lbs rather easily. But two of the shows had a male personal trainer who obviously was naturally slim (while eating healthy but having "cheat food" every so often).  When the male personal trainers tried to gain weight, they had to work very hard at it, eating 5000 calories or more a day and even at that, they could not gain much more than 20 or 30 lbs and didn't look overweight at all.  They too, however, at that point, said they now could understand how it felt to be "fat".

What annoys me, especially about the latter two shows, is that everyone I've known who is able to gain large amounts of weight (including me!), has genetic and metabolic issues which TV shows like the A&E programs do not take into consideration at all. Science does acknowledge this. For example, obesity scientist, Dr Rudy Leibel states that 60% or more of our size is genetic and/or physical rather than what we eat.

TV star, Al Roker, who had a gastric bypass, has told his audience that he does count his calories and also does 45 minutes of running several times a week.  He's not the exception - he's the rule.  Surprisingly, a study which included members of NAAFA, a social club for people of size as well as average size people, found that NAAFA members actually consumed considerably less food at meetings and banquets than did those of average size.

But sadly, TV which is the informing source of most folks who do not have the time to read, is telling a fairy tale.  People on TV asked how they got so fat, invariably say they eat too much but their "too much" is often less than the amounts that average size folks eat - those who do not become overweight.

I get very weary of TV shows blaming overweight people for their size.  Surely true that an overweight person can keep to a so called average size but it takes lots of work, including saying "no" to any type of fast food, in addition to counting caloric intake (and I mean writing it down or keeping it in the computer - the latter is made more pleasant by great clients such as "My Fitness Pal" etc).

I feel shows like "Fit to Fat to Fit" do a great deal of damage to folks who do have genetic factors and physical factors contributing to their size.  I know about this on a personal basis.  I was very active as a child and kept slim...until I had a tonsillectomy and right after that, I started gaining quickly despite not changing my level of activity (in fact, after, I was more active after surgery, because I wasn't sick in bed all the time like I was before surgery).

Later on, much later on, like when I was in my 40's, still pondering why I gained weight after my tonsillectomy, I read that 50-60% of kids who had tonsillectomies in the 1950's and 1960's, sustained damage to the pituitary gland which of course, would adversely, affect the metabolism.

So, after blaming myself for so many years for my "weight problem", I realized I had a medical reason why I gain weight so easily and since then, I, ironically, have been able to compensate for my lower metabolism through mild calorie restriction and have managed to lose and keep off 106 lbs since 2010.

Shows like "Fit to Fat to Fit" should be balanced out by a more realistic portrayal of obesity, and the genetic and physical factors involved, instead of intimating that all fat people do nothing but sit on the couch "eating bon bons".  Society as a whole would be better off.  Because the truth makes everyone free.

Diet Pills? March 10, 2016 10:46AM

pillz, pillz, pillz don't work for losing weight!

A blog reader (who probably didn't bother reading either my blog or the blog she was advertising) left a message in the comments here, advertising a new weight loss pill.  When I looked at the ingredients of this medication, it was old home week - a couple of nutrients (which don't promote weight loss) and other chemicals I had encountered previously, many times, Ad nauseam...which have been well proven as ineffective for long term weight loss and some of which pose a risk to the heart etc.

Listed first was a form of Phentermine.  Perhaps older readers may remember this drug,  as a part of a weight loss combination, "PhenFen" which was taken off the market because it was not only, ineffective on the long term but more importantly, risked the health of those who took the medication. Phentermine speeds up the heart because years ago, it was thought that would cause weight loss but actually, it more endangers the heart than what it's supposed to do.  And as the wife of a spouse experiencing heart problems (he recently got heart bypass surgery), I would definitely state you don't want to mess up your heart for anything and especially, an ineffective weight loss drug.

Calcium and L-Carnitine are nutrients, Caffeine is totally ineffective as a weight loss drug (or else all the coffee drinkers would be slim!) and again, it's hard on the heart, and finally Chromium Picolinate, a substance that was thought to be effective for weight loss in the 1990's (I had a friend who desperately did not want to do Weight Watchers so she tried every new diet pill) but I have never seen it work as a good weight loss drug and several studies greatly questioned its effectiveness.

The blog this individual linked, supposedly an informational about this drug, was full of misinformation and included a photo of one of the Biggest Loser TV show winners (who, of course, did NOT use weight loss pills to lose her weight).  Although there was a passing mention that pregnant ladies and anyone on medication should consult a medical provider before taking this medication, the blog claimed the drug is "totally safe" etc etc. And by the way, this medication is not inexpensive - for a bottle of 30 pills, they want $69 bucks.

Bottom line - if you see an ad for a weight loss drug, run the other way.  It's likely healthier to remain "of size" than take drugs to lose weight - drugs don't work on the long run and as you can see above, many ingredients are likely to be, risky to your health.

Like the singer stated "There is no easy road to a place worth going."  And the time folks spend on ineffective (and risky) practices for weight loss, would be much better used on programs like Weight Watchers (i.e. sensible programs), or just getting healthy by making healthy food choices and starting a regular cardio exercise program.

More Weight Loss Surgery ads on TV disguised as shows February 11, 2016 1:38PM

Filmed in High Def and artistic cinematography and certainly scripted (as all "reality TV" is), the show, "My 600 lb life" is certainly watched by many and the producer who is the son of a Houston weight loss surgery surgeon, is definitely going to the bank.  A great improvement on earlier shows like the old series "Big Medicine", artistically speaking, one can be certain these shows have the same effect on the TV audience as the earlier offerings.  After every show on weight loss surgery, more than one weight loss surgery clinic remarked that their phones were "ringing off the hook" with prospective buyers.

  People featured on "My 600 lb life" i.e. the patients, not only do not get compensated for their appearance on the shows, but they also, have to pay for their weight loss surgery and/or skin removal surgeries.  There has been some speculation that the patients get a bit of a discount on the procedures but a couple of thousand bucks off on surgeries which can cost from $15,000.00 and up, isn't much of a financial aid.

This season, a new show has been added.   They call it, "Skin Tight" and is ostensibly about the plastic surgery that weight loss surgery patients (who lose the weight too fast for the skin to respond) often need.  Truly (and as the show portrays), many weight loss surgery patients have so much loose skin that they feel their bodies are more uncomfortable than they were when they were at their starting weight. 

The photography in "Skin Tight" is interesting.  The so called "skin surgeries" are long and very painful, a fact which is (of course) omitted from the show. Most patients I've talked to, describe it as more painful than the original weight loss surgery.  The skin surgeries involve long incisions and long hours under anesthesia and long healing.  But of course, the patients seen on "Skin Tight" all smilingly say it was totally, worth it because they "look so good" now.

However, if you watch the cinematography closely, you will notice that the patients who have undergone "skin surgeries" (most of them, have multiple procedures), are photographed from the front in the before photos and from the side or even covered up in  clothing in the after photos.  So even though the smiling patient says (according to the script) how wonderful life is, I wonder if the long scars and months of pain are really so wonderful.

It bothers me a lot how much of a business, the medical field has become.  Often, more expensive procedures are sold when a less expensive procedure (or no procedure) would do fine.  And often, despite the glowing reports we see on TV, the end result is fraught with problems and/or repercussions. 

There is no doubt in my mind that the public wants these surgical procedures because being of size in our society is considered worse than anything else.  But it seems that surgeons face a rather interesting dilemma.  Either they do invasive surgeries like the gastric bypass  which, albeit causes a large weight loss quickly (mostly muscle - good tissue you don't want to lose), can, in the long run, cause patients,  to suffer, many complications and can even shorten lifespan because of the malnutrition of fats and proteins and the lack of some 100 micro-nutrients a day which no longer can be digested.  Or they do the safer weight loss surgeries like the lap band or the gastric sleeve which do not offer the desired quick weight loss but also do not cause the complications of the more invasive surgeries.  

Surgeons who do the latter, often have to offer their patients diet plans including shakes etc.  But the truth of the matter is, that all weight loss surgery patients will not lose the weight unless they diet and exercise - these two things which, of course, cause a weight loss without surgery.

Best to remember the Buddy Valasco ("Cake Boss") statement, "It's TV, Baby!"

Or to recall a testimony by one of the major TV networks in the 1950's when they were caught cheating on the quiz shows.  Said one of the CEO's, "Well, the people were entertained, we made money and no one was hurt!"  

Unfortunately with today's shows, featuring weight loss surgeries, although the public is entertained, many people are hurt.  A sad thing to sacrifice a human's quality of life and longevity, for entertainment.

Thoughts about the TV show "My 600 lb life" January 14, 2016 4:33PM

As I watch the TV show, "My 600 lb life", I see many issues .... Elephants in the room, things left unsaid like, the fact that at least 2 of the patients featured on this show, ended up with severe complications such as neuropathy and guillian barre (which the provider attributed to "obesity" even though it was after the gastric bypass that these folks suffered these complications). One  patient uses a wheelchair now (he could walk before his gastric bypass). Another 2 patients that I know of, died a couple of years after surgery which is before they would have died without surgery.  (The bus driver featured in the first or second season, died about two years after his gastric bypass - he had a massive heart attack while driving a school bus.)

First, it seems many of the patients feel the 'before surgery' diet is temporary but in truth, weight loss surgery does NOT fix a damaged metabolism...that is the patient will have to stay on the 1200-1400 calorie diet for life if they want to keep off the weight... it bothers me that many patients don't seem to understand this and so their weight loss after surgery greatly slows down or in some cases, they gain.

Second, with weight loss surgery, there may be a large initial (after surgery) weight loss as the person cannot eat because there is a healing process going on, but after the surgery is healed, the appetite (which is centered in the brain) comes back strongly.

When weight loss surgery was invented in the 1960's, medicine thought the appetite centers were in the stomach and by making the stomach very small, that would control the appetite... Studies and a greater level of knowledge that we have now, have taught us that the appetite centers are in the brain and the size of the stomach makes little to no difference in how hungry most individuals feel... This means that the entire theory upon which weight loss surgery is based, may be outdated.  So one wonders why some providers still do the invasive procedures like gastric bypass?. Well, surgery is a cash cow for providers, unfortunately... and sadly, many patients who have become ill with gastric bypass or have regained, are made to feel ashamed if they speak out.  One of my friends called this a "conspiracy of silence".  She, a weight loss surgery patient herself, died at the young age of 54.  She had been ill with her surgery and bed-bound for several years before her death.

Do providers know that surgery does little to nothing to control the appetite for most folks?  Unclear... They really might think that the surgery helps... To keep up with all the advances in medicine, a provider would have to spend all his or her free time reading...

Most of all, one cannot gain to a very heavy weight, unless one has some serious physical metabolic issues going on.  And no one seems to acknowledge this, although it can be found in medical literature .... And especially not the provider on the TV show, "My 600 lb life"...who assumes that every one of these patients is really stuffing him/herself. However, a revealing study found that members of NAAFA, a fat acceptance group, actually consumed less food at conventions than their thin cohorts!  It's true that people who get very overweight may overeat at times, but basically, most of them eat like many other Americans who do not become extremely obese... And yet these people are made to feel like they are total pigs when it comes to eating. I can't help wondering why providers don't seem to know more about metabolic issues which can cause obesity... 

I stumbled upon my metabolic issue...after spending a lifetime wondering why, if I ate like most around me, I became very overweight... A goodly percentage of folks who had tonsillectomies in the 1950's and 1960's got pituitary damage after surgery... My tonsillectomy was in 1953 and right after surgery, I began putting on weight...That is, before this procedure, I, being very active, was on the slim side, however, after surgery...eating the same amount and with just as much activity as before, I gained weight...

So in digging through medical literature (for years literally), I found the reason why I gain so easily.  Now why don't providers let us know about this, I'm those folks on "My 600 lb life", the provider really takes them to task, when they gain weight...

To defend Dr Nowzardan, it's possible he doesn't know about the latest research...he's 72 years old and this may be one reason why people of this age (over 70) should be retired... I am 71 and yes, I do NOT have the brain power I did when I was, even in my 60's, and trust me, it drives me nutz!  To paraphrase Buddy on "Cake Boss" , one might say with emphasis, "It's the aging process, baby!"

Undoubtedly, some of us, like me and those folks on the TV show, "My 600 lb life" have no set point and thus, we can gain easily up to astronomical weights, without especially overeating, at least not more than most Americans who do not gain so easily...

I've tried to explain all this to providers... And most of them naysay what I am telling them. 

Metabolic differences and pituitary damage from procedures like tonsillectomies,  seems  something which, apparently, is not included in the medical school curriculum...


Weight Loss surgery and dieting January 02, 2016 3:42PM

I have heard many folks sign up for weight loss surgery because they feel they will "never have to diet again".  The next step is they go to a "seminar" held by the surgeon they are thinking of hiring. But the seminars are really mostly selling sessions for the surgery (I can only think of one surgeon who actually gives very informed consent seminars, detailing risks as well as benefits - this does not cut the number of people who go to him - on the contrary, they appreciate the info!).

Today, I met a lady who had had a gastric bypass in Oct 2015 and had recently attended a weight loss group meeting. (and keep in mind, most surgeons are doing the less invasive sleeve now).  She had lost 80 lbs but lamented that no one had noticed her weight loss.  "But I lost it fast," she added.  That prompted me to ask her how and that's when she said she'd had a gastric bypass.  I explained that a fast weight loss like that was mostly muscle and that's why it didn't show a lot of reduction in size.  She looked sad and said that she knew that.  She was NOT told that surgery would not take off that much fat and she'd have to diet to do that - and she'd already been back to the hospital because she had developed ulcers after surgery and couldn't keep anything down so had needed more surgery.   I can't help wondering if, had this lady been informed of the risks, she might have gone a different route.

But the sad thing was she really didn't lose much fat with the surgery despite her inability to eat much and ended up joining the weight loss group, even - with having had the surgery.

I gave her my web site and also, some of the informed consent info she should have had before surgery.  "The advantage of a gastric bypass", I concluded, "is, it is reversible and you should probably consider having it reversed."  She told me her surgeon had told her only the sleeve was reversible (it's not reversible, because they cut off most of your stomach and throw it in the garbage i.e. "send it to pathology" as the surgeons call it). I said, "no, it's the opposite - the gastric bypass is reversible" and I told her how they reversed it., explaining that a reversal would still provide her with some restriction but give her normal digestion back.  Hopefully she will consider having it reversed.  I told her she might have to go to another surgeon to have this done.

Some surgeons send pre ops to my website to obtain informed consent information but obviously this lady's surgeon had neither given her informed consent info nor did he send her to my website.  Because the 80 lbs she lost was mostly muscle, she still was very overweight.

The bottom line with surgery is, it really, isn't that effective for weight loss.  This lady told me she thought it would kill her appetite but it hadn't done this and I explained that this is because they now know, the appetite control center is in the brain, not the stomach (as formerly thought in the 1960's when these surgeries were first conceived of).

As for the gastric bypass, it's very effective at greatly diminishing the ability to digest proteins and fats (and yes, we do need some fats) which is why most surgeons have switched to the sleeve which, albeit invasive, is much less invasive than the older surgeries.

Another interesting thing - when I told this lady who had had the gastric bypass that I knew several 300 lbs gastric bypass patients, she looked shocked - she didn't know that so many had regained the weight, although she was already having trouble with this.

All I can do here is *sigh*.  How I wish everyone would have the informed consent information that they need to really make the best decision for them.  Informed consent after the fact, can be bitter but this lady had several friends, also of size and I'm sure my information helped them in case they were considering surgery.... (the photo is of my friend who died in 2006 from the aftermath of the weight loss surgery she'd had in the 1990's. - she spent her last days, before her untimely death, warning folks to not have weight loss surgery.)

Weight loss balloon - a good or very bad idea? November 07, 2015 6:00AM

The news today, announced a "new" device, for losing weight. Basically, the patient swallows a pill which is attached to a long tiny tube catheter device.  When it gets down to the stomach, the medical provider pumps distilled buffered water into the pill through the catheter, which causes it to swell, not leaving much room in the stomach for food.  This is supposed to make the patient feel full and want to eat less.  The water in the device supposedly, leaks out in about 4 months ("if all goes well") and then the deflated pill passes hopefully, through the digestive tract and out through the bowel. As the article stated:

"If all goes as planned, the resulting grapefruit-sized (19-ounce) ball of water fills the stomach and significantly curbs the amount of food someone can eat before feeling satiated."
     This was tested on 30 some patients, who lost an average of 22 lbs.  And has not been approved by the FDA as yet.
     They are advertising it as "non invasive" and non surgical.
     But (and there always is a "but" right?), from where I sit, I can see lots of problems with it - like for example, a non food item like that could cause an gastric obstruction or other problems,  and... what if it doesn't deflate, what if it doesn't "pass out" through bowel, like it's supposed to etc etc.
     And the idea that a full stomach makes us feel like eating less is thought to be somewhat erroneous as we now are pretty certain, the appetite originates in the brain and NOT the stomach.  And that means, even if you have this device in your stomach, you still can be very hungry (and very frustrated if you cannot eat much or the food you ate isn't going down right... another 'elephant in the room' not discussed in the promo).
     One of the patients on my discussion group, had a type of balloon device and he suffered so much with it that he considered the invasive gastric bypass as far more comfortable.
     This device costs anywhere from $6000 to $10,000 bucks and insurance will not cover it.
     As the old saying goes "buyer beware" (and DH added "If it doesn't work, you can't just bring it back to the store!")

Gastric bypass patients should consider reversal! September 20, 2015 5:31AM

The good news is most surgeons have stopped doing the gastric bypass by now and have switched to the gastric sleeve which is a much safer procedure and just as effective as the bypass with weight loss (not very effective unless the patient diets and exercises which of course, works very well without surgery).

The bad news is many surgeons are not saying anything to bypass patients like telling them to consider getting their procedures reversed (which would effectually give them a gastric sleeve).  The reason they are not saying anything to the thousands of gastric bypass patients is, that would be like admitting the gastric bypass was a bad idea which it was, big time!  Mason who invented the procedure, stopped doing them in the 1970's because he said the repercussions were too great but he only wrote about this in medical literature.

Surgeons are afraid to tell you the gastric bypass is a bad procedure because of the possible lawsuits they might get (most WLS surgeons are facing up to 5 lawsuits at any given time!).  But if you are a bypass patient, consider getting the reversal procedure - you will still have restriction but will be able to digest vitamins again, hopefully...

We need some 100 micronutrients a day (which cannot be supplemented) plus a bunch of macronutrients like B12 etc which cannot be efficiently supplemented.  None of which the gastric bypass patient can digest.

As one WLS surgeon said, he "buries his mistakes".  Literally.  Dead people don't talk and live gastric bypass patients are afraid to detail the gnarley side effects of this surgery.

In the UK, they force a reversal of the gastric bypass after a couple of years - that's because the govt picks up the tab for all the side effects which kick in long term... if you are a gastric bypass patient, consider getting a reversal.  If you lost weight and kept it off, it wasn't the surgery, it was YOUR WORK and you can continue that without the bad side effects of surgery.

I have digestive problems from a lifelong case of GERD - they are very annoying albeit nothing like bypass patients suffer, but trust me, since I was clinically obese until 2010, digestive problems didn't help in the least, to keep my weight off.  (In 2010, I hit my Weight Watchers goal and lifetime membership - and have kept off 106 lbs ever since, being on program)

We did not become overweight because our digestive systems worked.  Just saying

New old program for WLS patients? July 26, 2015 6:08AM

I went to a seminar on Weight Loss this morning - the weight loss surgery surgeon involved, meant well - he wanted to provide his patients with a program to do after surgery - the need of which was witnessed by the fact that most of the folks in the room, either gastric sleeve or lap band post ops,  were still quite overweight (although there were a couple of pre ops in the room also).  The surgeon also, has some problems with midline obesity and this, he says, is the latest thing that is working for him but he'd only lost 15 lbs and still had some 15-20 lbs to lose (which he has all in his waist).  He is a believer in low carbing but like many of my friends, that, alone, had not worked for him.  (Dr Atkins the founder of the low carb diet as we know it, explained in his last book that calories do count and you can gain just as much weight on too much of no carb foods as you can on carbs, a fact which has not been seen much in the media - if at allAlso Dr Atkins had heart disease, which is again, a fact which has not often been seen in the mass media.).

The so called "protocol" seemed to me, a rehash of other low cal diets  - similar to the old "Dr Simeon program from the 1950's... in the first stage, you cut the calories down drastically (which of course, damages the metabolism) - they have some kind of protein drink you buy (and also you can intake your protein in other types of product which they also sell.  They have 3 stages of this program and in the maintenance stage you can again eat carbohydrates in small quantities. Although sugar is portrayed as the demon in this program - the latest thing in diet plans - apparently aspartame - nutrasweet which is somewhat toxic and far more unhealthy than sugar ever thought of being, is "ok".

The new twist is, this company seems to be targeting physicians (many of whom sadly, know little about weight loss science and regard obesity as a medical problem for which a solution - pills or surgery - can solve and be a cash cow at the same time).

I asked the guy hawking this product - what about maintenance... and he said he would talk about it later.  He dismissed it with "well, when you creep up in weight as 'we all do', you go back on the "protocol" for a week or two and take off (crash off?) the weight."  He gained some popularity in the room when he said that people don't have to exercise with this "protocol".  In fact, he went on to say that even if people were working out a lot, it was advised they did not work out while on the low calorie part of the protocol.

As we all know, yo yo syndrome is the best way to really mess up the metabolism and which causes most folks to be more overweight after repeated attempts at crashing off weight.  But they didn't talk about metabolism, of course.  Also if you weight cycle as small an amount as five or ten pounds several times, it not only raises the risk for heart disease but also causes the individual to end up with a higher percentage of body fat.

Here's how it works... when you lose weight on a very low cal diet, you only lose 30% bodyfat - the rest of what you lose is muscle and bone (tissue you do NOT want to lose).  However when you regain even as little as 5 or 10 lbs, it's all bodyfat (no muscle).  The salesperson telling us about this diet, said "everyone's weight creeps up!"

Bottom line is, this diet is quite pricey - according to the physician's website (which is more honest about the cost than the manufacturer's website)... Start up fees are $279 dollars and when you go off the "protocol" and regain and want to go back on "the protocol" for a couple of weeks, it costs $108 dollars a week.

Consider that this "protocol" is being sold to people who have already invested thousands of dollars in weight loss surgery.  Looking around the room at the people who attended this meeting most of whom had had weight loss surgery, and were still very overweight, it was clear that weight loss surgery often is ineffective for permanent weight loss.

Magic Quick Weight loss? Really? July 18, 2015 1:03PM

(Written with tongue firmly held in cheek!

Every so often when I write a blog about weight loss surgery or other types of weight loss, I get comments from folks advertising quick weight loss.  The latest comments I've received came from a couple of people who claim that some individual helped them quickly lose weight! (I looked him up on the web and he, calling himself a doctor (?) goes by a couple of different names apparently), - are you ready for he helped them?  He cast a spell on the individuals and caused a weight loss.  The individuals don't claim large losses, 15 lbs or so but still.

Spells?  Like waving a magic wand or ?  In the 21st century?  Really?  I'm not kidding - these people gave me links to this guy's email (he doesn't have a website) and seemed totally serious.

One individual commented on one of my blogs, the following: 

"All thanks to Dr ---- who helped me loose weight when all effots proved abortive. Am on this blog to help those in need of weight loss get the help you need. Worry no more just contact this great man via (email address on yahoo!) and he will help you with a spell, in less than 1 week after i contacted him i lost 15 pounds and ever since i have been having normal meals no more diets and my shape is perfect. What more can i say than a big thank you "

I left the misspellings in there (emphasis on "spell" is mine). Perhaps English is not this person's first language but I think they could have paid more attention to the built-in spell checker (that's the red line under a word). :)

I frankly didn't believe folks in the 21st century believed in "spells" anymore but I guess I stand corrected.  Someone should tell these folks that the reason they lost weight was all their work and not some web foot muttering some words over them.  Take the credit for your weight loss - it's yours to take.

PS: I'm sure these individuals did not say their "magic" words without a fee.  Makes me think I'm in the wrong business! :)
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