UCSF (University of California San Francisco) has words for the patient considering weight-loss surgery. Some of those words are, “Not a cure for obesity, but rather a tool…” In addition,
Long-term success depends on your ability to follow guidelines for diet, exercise and lifestyle changes… Now you must commit to a new way of life.
When the Bariatric Surgery Center talks about followup care and the future, it mentions “a support group, dietitian services and continuing education.” These would come under the heading of continuing lifestyle intervention in anybody’s book. Interestingly, part of the lifestyle is to avoid pregnancy — just like with the semaglutide drugs.
In the weight-loss realm, surgical and pharmaceutical patients both receive numerous tips about how and what to eat. The surgical patients are advised to burn calories and build muscle by working out. The users of the hot new drugs are given the same advice, especially since the drugs seem prone to melt away not just fat, but perfectly viable muscle tissue.
More great advice that applies equally to both types, is to maintain and cultivate social relationships, particularly the kind that fosters the goal. Like, join a weight-loss support group. And spend time doing things that are fun and meaningful, which ties in with the importance of positive displacement.
Other comparisons can be made. People who undergo bariatric surgery, or who have diabetes, are not expected to abandon their support systems partway through life. A person isn’t going to someday get their amputated stomach back, or suddenly receive a revelation about how to stay alive without insulin. The program of lifestyle intervention that comes along with the surgery or the shots is a “forever” kind of thing.
Why should people taking GLP-1 drugs be any different, whether they quit after a year, or continue forever? Either way, they need ongoing support and other elements of lifestyle intervention, on a continuing basis. Surgery is not a “set it and forget it” proposition, nor is embarking on a course of elective medication with no time limit in sight. Positive attention must still be paid to every aspect of life — and if we’re doing it right, attention quite often demands intervention.
“Lifestyle” is much more than a glossy magazine cover. There is nothing trivial about it. Life is a serious concept, comprising today and tomorrow and each succeeding day of our existence until it ends. And “style” being the individual choices and cumulative effect of the way we do every little thing, every single day, from now until infinity.
Your responses and feedback are welcome!
Source: “Life After Bariatric Surgery,” UCSFHealth.org, undated
Image by Alachua County/Public Domain