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November 2019

Weight-Loss Surgery Is a Helpful Tool, Not the Whole Toolbox

When you buy a hammer for a home improvement project, you’ve got a tool for doing the job. But the project still takes work to complete.

Woman working out with hand weights

The same is true when you undergo weight-loss (bariatric) surgery to improve your health. Surgery is a tool, but it still takes effort and commitment to get the best results. Contrary to what some people think, surgery isn’t a quick fix.

Giving your health a makeover

Weight-loss surgery can lead to substantial weight loss over time. Results vary, depending on the person and procedure. But overall 9 out of 10 people who have weight-loss surgery can keep off half or more of their extra weight. That helps reduce or prevent many weight-related health issues. These include:

  • Type 2 diabetes

  • High blood pressure

  • Heart disease

Weight-loss surgery can jumpstart these changes. But it’s not a replacement for healthy habits. Think of it this way: Most home remodeling projects can’t be done with a hammer alone. In the same way, lasting weight loss after surgery calls for other tools in your toolbox.

Building healthy habits for life

For the best results, weight-loss surgery should be part of a broader treatment plan. Other parts of a successful plan include:

  • Healthy eating habits. These help you lose more weight after surgery and keep it off. Eating protein at every meal or snack helps you feel full for longer. Limiting foods with added sugars and refined grains such as white breads and pastas may help your weight-loss results.

  • Regular physical activity. This helps maintain your weight loss over the long term. You don’t need grueling workouts. Consistent, moderate activity is often more useful in the long run.

  • Dietary supplements. You will need to take these for the rest of your life. You may also need to get periodic lab tests.

  • Follow-up health care. This helps you stay on track. As time goes by, there will undoubtedly be changes in your life. Your bariatric care team can offer tips on managing new challenges that come up.

Renovating your lifestyle takes work, but the good habits you learn are built to last a lifetime.


Online Medical Reviewer: McDonough, Brian, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 6/1/2019
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