So it’s that time of year again, after the Christmas indulgences, start of a new year and our attentions turn to ‘going on a diet’, ‘joining a gym’, ‘getting a little bit slimmer and trimmer’ as we head into Spring and Summer.
For some though, weight loss is a much bigger challenge and not something that can be passed off as a whimsical New Year’s resolution, which goes out the window by the end of January.
I recently came across a new book called ‘Weight Loss Surgery; The Real Skinny’ by an American Weight Loss Surgeon, Nick Nicholson M.D. and an author, B.A. Blackwood. The book is a compilation of observations made by Dr. Nicholson and his father, along with a number of conclusions drawn by them during many years of treating and performing surgery upon bariatric patients. It is designed to provide a useful guide for those contemplating bariatric surgery (stomach stapling, gastric bypass, gastric bands etc.) for weight loss and those who have recently undergone such a procedure.
The authors are passionate about helping people achieve and maintain their ideal body weight, and they know that anyone who chooses to undergo bariatric surgery will experience bumps in the road towards maintaining their weight loss. One size does not fit all they say; everyone’s body is unique and everyone faces a unique set of challenges. The guide is written to help readers adapt what they learn to fit their own circumstances.
“There’s no shame in asking for medical help for a physical problem,” says Dr. Nicholson, “you’re going to have to work hard for the surgery to be successful, but it’s safer to have weight loss surgery than to remain morbidly obese. Losing weight isn’t easy, but then nothing worth doing ever is. This is your one and only life. Shape it into what you want it to be. You can do this.”
Running a clinic in Texas, one of the top ten most obese States in the USA, he is well positioned to know his ‘business’, but equally the book doesn’t just have words from Dr. Nicholson. It is in fact, littered with first hand thoughts, experiences and emotions from other ‘real people’ who have gone on the journey with weight loss surgery.
It tries to look at the secrets behind achieving and maintaining your ideal weight. Bariatric surgery can help a person to quickly lose weight, but maintaining the weight loss can be difficult. People often overeat for emotional reasons, so it’s less about what they’re eating and more about what’s eating them say the authors. Thus, it explores concepts such as how a person ends up the way they are, the reasons why it’s hard to break that cycle and what the real reasons might be behind their weight gain.
Moving on to the actual surgical options, this book is not designed to give you a blow-by-blow description of what each bariatric surgery entails nor what each is designed to achieve, but focuses on the more ‘real life’ issues such as what to expect in the immediate aftermath of surgery. “Let’s face it, it’s no walk in the park and people should know that!”; says Dr Nick.
Moving on it looks at topics little mentioned perhaps during consultations at weight loss clinics, but resigned to the few support groups that exist, like the impact weight loss surgery can have on a marriage and getting back into the dating game after surgery. It also looks at food habits and the journey that a person takes after the bariatric surgery, which is only the beginning. It’s important for patients to manage their own expectations, not get disheartened and eventually victory over the weight will be within their grasp the authors promise.
The book concludes with some advice on choosing a good bariatric surgeon and what you need to research if you decide that this is the journey for you. At no point does it promote weight loss surgery or push it as a choice, which is nice to see, and as Dr. Nicholson says “you don’t need a Ph.D. in nutrition to lose weight, it’s just calories in and calories out”; however the book makes it clear that there are surgical options out there for those who want them.
This book is not a medical book, it’s not full of complex jargon, it’s a simple, honest guide that a friend could give you, written from the mouth of a Doctor, but with the words of his patients echoing all around him. The authors point out obstacles that patients face after surgery and offer encouragement and insights into how to change their thinking so they can maintain their ideal weight throughout their lifetime. It’s packed with home truths, which many of us should probably listen to anyway (even if we don’t have a huge weight problem).
Here’s a few of my favourite things which Dr. Nicholson says in Weight Loss Surgery – The Real Skinny;
“If your grandmother wouldn’t recognise that thing you’re about to put in your mouth as food, you shouldn’t either.”
“The shelf life for food is like a prison term. The longer it is, the worse it is for you.”
“You did this for your health, no to look better. You won’t look like Angelina Jolie no matter how much weight you lose. Even Angelina Jolie doesn’t look like Angelina Jolie!”
For more information about the book and the authors, visit http://allaboutobesity.org