“All you need to do is diet and exercise” is common advice to overweight people, but Dr. Zac Turner says this isn’t helpful.
Welcome to Ask Doctor Zac, a weekly column from news.com.au. This week, Dr. Zac Turner talks about the pros and cons of gastric sleeve surgery.
REQUESTS: Hi Dr. Zac, did you look Celebrity Apprentice? I fell in love with Carla of Bankstown. I started following her on Instagram and came across her post where she talked about her about her journey gastric sleeve surgery.
I will not lie: I am a big girl, I have struggled with my weight since I was very young and I have often thought about this procedure. My mom tells me not to even think about it – that she’s a cheat lose weight and I just have to eat less food and get off the couch. I have heard this from many people and there doesn’t seem to be many people talking openly about the procedure. That’s why I loved Carla’s openness on the subject.
I thought I’d ask you, a doctor, to see what you think about surgery as an option to finally lose this weight that I’ve carried with me all my life. I struggle with depression and I know it is related to my weight. Please give me the tools so I can persuade my mother. – Hayley, 27, Sydney
ANSWER: Hi Hayley, I applaud you for seeking medical advice and not simply relying on the opinions of your close friends and family. While it’s great to have such a strong network of people you can rely on for help, there are a few things only your doctor should respond to.
Weight management is a terrifyingly troubling situation for many Australians.
Two out of three Australians are overweight or obese. Hiding behind that clear and simple statistic, however, is a bundle of emotional baggage and complex behaviors that aren’t that simple to understand.
These days you can’t just say, “You’re fat, all you have to do is diet and exercise.”
Many times overweight or obese people are addicted to food and sugar and live with harmful habits in their relationship with eating.
And here I have to be controversial: it’s not the overweight person’s fault. Modern diets e junk food they are loaded with sugar and other highly addictive chemicals. Studies have shown that sugar and these additives trigger pathways in the brain, similar to addictive drugs like cocaine.
A gastric sleeve the surgical treatment for obesity is known as bariatric surgery. It is an intervention method for people who cannot control their eating habits. The surgery is performed as a keyhole procedure through 4-5 small incisions in the abdomen. From here the surgeon removes much of the “elastic” part of the stomach. The resulting gastric tube resembles a thin banana with a capacity of approximately 150ml. Over time, the softening of the stomach wall will usually increase the volume to around 250ml. What it does is make the person feel fuller with less food.
After surgery, a typical serving of food for an obese or overweight person would make you feel extremely sick and sick.
Sounds like a “night cure”, but the process of dealing with a gastric sleeve it is actually quite difficult and typically requires a great deal of willpower to overcome the effects.
I share friends with Carla from Bankstown and love her job too. I recognize that my science and facts may not be the best persuasion tool for your lovely mother, so I reached out to Carla to get her insight and her personal journey.
The first thing Carla told me was, “Even if doctors perform surgery on your body, to make a difference, you need to perform surgery on your mind afterwards. It’s definitely not a cheating way to lose weight: it’s hard work. ”
He explained to me that even if you feel fuller with less food, you still have the same habits and crucial points. He still gets mad and craves junk food to feel better, however, with the help of gastric sleeve surgery, he’s retraining the way his mind reacts to stress.
Another thing he kept coming up with was that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. After surgery, you are on a liquid diet for six weeks, then slowly reintroduce solid foods. Also you cannot drink liquids 30 minutes before and after eating, otherwise you will feel so full that you will get sick. Carla said she was feeling really depressed around this time, and it’s because her brain wasn’t getting the release she usually got from her binges.
She is in the early stages of her journey and has already lost 35 kilograms from her procedure in late March. Carla has a long way to go on her weight loss journey, but the surgery has helped immensely to reshape her relationship with food and food.
If you see similarities in your story to Carla’s, I recommend that you see your doctor to discuss your options. Gastric sleeve surgery might be the right solution for you, but I advise you not to take it lightly. Remember that it is not reversible. There may be other options to consider before this type of surgery. And that could also involve talking to a nutritionist as well as a psychologist. Remember, Carla only recently started eating solid foods. She says it will take another six months before she will be able to eat a small appetizer without feeling like she has eaten too much and she is feeling sick as a result. Understanding this – you need to be ready, both physically and mentally.
And to love my love for Carla from Bankstown, I’ll end up with this:
Don’t go to gronks for health advice, talk to your brother doctor!
I have a question: email@example.com
Dr Zac Turner has a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery degree from the University of Sydney. He is both a doctor and co-owner of the telemedicine service, Concierge doctors. He was also a registered nurse and is also a skilled and experienced biomedical scientist as well as being a PhD student in Biomedical Engineering.
Originally published as Dr. Zac Turner explains why people are overweight and what they can do