Your past dieting successes may or may not be a good indicator of your ability to lose weight without surgery. If you’ve found it easy to lose weight in the past, but always struggled with finding an eating plan that you find enjoyable and convenient, perhaps you should focus your efforts on finding a nutritional plan that works with your lifestyle. Again, we are looking to identify whether or not surgery is necessary. If we look at surgery as an opportunity to relieve us from our obligations to eat right and exercise, we will likely be disappointed since it offers this only to a small subset of patients. Around 15% of patients who undergo Bariatric Surgery are blessed with a result that affords them the ability to eat freely without suffering weight regain. This is a small minority that possess a genetic makeup that responds exceptionally well to Bariatric Surgery. The remainder of patients are fully dependent on good compliance to maintain the beneficial effects of their surgery. Planning to be one of the 15% sets you up for a 85% chance of weight regain. Those patients who have found it easy to lose more than 10% of your total body weight by improving their diet or exercise activity should continue their efforts, but focus on making realistic changes that can be maintained for years, rather than pursuing surgical options.
If you are able to easily lose weight on an extreme starvation diet, but fail other diet plans, then surgery is a much more reasonable decision. Extreme starvation plans are not sustainable and inevitably result in significant weight regain when you return to your normal eating habits. It is for this reason that I like to use the Pound of Cure nutritional plan to test my patients’ ability to lose weight without surgery since it does not induce starvation and is a plan that can be sustained for long periods of time.