Every so often, you come across a person whose story just breaks your heart. I discovered such a person yesterday, in my travels across the Internet. His struggles with weight gain after bariatric surgery have led him to the conclusion that the whole thing is a hoax. According to his post, he has “done everything right”, but continues to gain weight. Someone must be lying to him.
Suspension Of Belief
The gentleman in question was over a year out from bariatric surgery, and suffering from regain. He wanted to know why “everyone’ lied to him about how surgery would work. He sees all these success stories on various places on the ‘net, why are these people not being honest?
His story is a little depressing, to be honest. But not for the reason you might thnk. If I remember correctly, he started out at around 310 pounds. At his lowest weight after surgery, he was down to 210 or so. Now, regain has hauled him back up into the 240s. In his mind, this proves that the entire thing is a hoax. In his words: “Maybe 20 percent of the people who do this surgery succeed. The rest just gain it all back.”
First, let’s take a look at the numbers. Any doctor will tell an overweight or obese patient that the best thing they can do for their health is to lose about 10% of their body weight.
240/310 = .774 (in other words, 77%.)
Even after regain, this individual has made a massive improvement in his health. 23% of his total body weight has already been removed.
He is disappointed in his regain, and I totally get that. Heck, I am upset that I put back on a pound and a half. But he is still in a much healthier place than he was when he began the process. His mobility is improved. Previously creaky joints are functioning more smoothly. The heart and lungs don’t need to work nearly as hard as they did previously to supply oxygen to his systems.
Despite his frustration, he is still a success story.
The Grand Conspiracy
As to his belief that we are all lying to him, there is a grain of truth to his paranoia.
Most surgical teams will acknowledge the fact of regain as a potential outcome after bariatric surgery. And, honestly, the numbers are nothing to write home about: somewhere between 10 and 20% of patients will experience a substantial regain.
However, less than 1% of bariatric patients experience a revision: a wholly new surgery designed to repair or replace a previous surgery. Fewer than 1 out of every 100 patients require a different surgery to straighten things out.
Coming To Confession
So, why do I feel bad for this angry bariatric patient? Because of his assertion that he “has done everything right.”
As gently as I can put it: I don’t believe you.
I have yet to meet the bariatric patient that lives in 100% compliance with their post-surgical requirements. Nobody I have met in person or on the Internet manages to:
- Always eat 3-6 ounce meals containing less than 20 grams of carbohydrates each
- Exercise 150 minutes a week, every week
- Stay completely hydrated every day
- Completely avoid processed sugar and carbonation
As us gamer geeks like to put it: “Screenshots or it didn’t happen.”
There are always holes in your post-surgical lifestyle. There is always room for improvement. And simple mathematics tells me that an adult male is not ingesting less than 1,200 calories a day, every day, and supporting 240 pounds of mass while exercising 5-6 times a week.
Find out where the holes are in your personal plan, and start working to repair them. Don’t get on Facebook and rage at everyone putting up self-congratulatory “NSV” message and accuse them all of lying to you.
Most of us are too busy trying to lose weight to be conducting a conspiracy.
Not The Illuminati,