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December 2, 2019 by Dr. Kyle Varner in Bariatric Surgery , Obesity

Bariatric surgery was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life, second only to going to medical school. The weight I lost after my surgery changed how people treated me, improved my self-confidence and really helped my career. 

The surgery did a great job of kick-starting my weight loss. But it was only a start. It wasn’t until I discovered the truth about bariatric surgery that I was able to use it to its full potential to help me reach my ultimate goal weight.

Because there’s one thing doctors don’t tell you about bariatric surgery… 

The real reason bariatric surgery helps you lose weight

Contrary to common belief, the primary benefit of bariatric surgery is not that it restricts the amount you can eat. And it’s not that it keeps you from absorbing calories either. 

The real benefit of bariatric surgery is the metabolic changes it makes to your body. It all has to do with your hormones. 

Bariatric surgeries, all of them from the sleeve gastrectomy to the Roux en Y to the Duodenal switch, they all result in dramatically improved insulin sensitivity and improved leptin sensitivity.

This is super important because these hormones tell your brain what your ideal body weight should be and your brain will do anything to get to that ideal body weight.

That is why more and more people are starting to understand bariatric surgery as a metabolic surgery. As a way to alter the body’s metabolism as a way to change your sensitivities to hormones. And that’s the primary benefit of bariatric surgery. 

Why it’s dangerous not to know this

So why does this matter? Well, it matters because the Standard American Diet and the standard American lifestyle completely mess up your hormones. And that has led to a rampant obesity epidemic across the US. 

Though bariatric surgery has the potential to repair your hormones and bring you long-term success, many people sabotage their success because after bariatric surgery they go straight back to the Standard American Diet. 

Only this time… they do it with slightly smaller portions. And they think they’re doing everything right because they’d been told that counting calories is what matters. 

So as long as they’re eating fewer calories overall, they should be losing weight, right?

Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

Thus, little by little, many patients start regaining weight because they’re undoing the results of their bariatric surgery. All because they weren’t told the importance of the hormones that regulate your weight. It’s a real tragedy.

I’ve been there. I dieted so many times prior to bariatric surgery prior to understanding all this, and I know how exactly how miserable it feels. 

When you try to lose weight with pure calorie restriction, you feel hungry all the time and you become obsessed with food. 

This is your body rebelling. Because your hormones are so out of whack, your body actually believes that you’re normal, that your healthy weight is really high. So it’s doing everything it can to hold onto the weight. 

That’s why just going on a standard calorie-restricted diet, your body switches into survival mode, your basal metabolic rate tanks and your body actually blocks you from losing weight.

Yeah, that’s right. By going on a diet you can actually make it harder for you to lose weight.

How to maximize the hormonal benefits of bariatric surgery

So what can we do? 

Well, there are a couple of things. The first, and most effective is intermittent fasting. This is where you restrict the time during which you eat and spend more time not eating. Because the truth is, it’s not just about how many calories you eat, but when you eat them.

Intermittent fasting has been shown to have a major beneficial effect on repairing your hormones so that you can reprogram your body to a real healthy weight.

Another thing that has been proven to improve your hormonal sensitivity and enable you to lose weight are low carbohydrate diets. Avoiding processed carbohydrates is probably the number one thing anybody can do because these provoke obesity and they provoke the hormonal disturbances that cause obesity.

So it’s really important because most people leave their bariatric surgery and they believe that the most important thing is restricting calories. Well, what happens then? You think, well, I can have this Snickers bar or part of a Snickers bar if I just calculate for that in the calories that I have for the day. 

I’m sorry, but it doesn’t work that way. 

That Snickers bar has calories that cause you to gain weight directly because the sugars are so simple, they spike your blood sugar and do all kinds of things to your weight regulating hormones. 

This causes you damage far beyond the number of calories that you have. So it’s really important to be informed and to understand these things. 

Conclusion

After I had bariatric surgery, to be honest, I didn’t know that much about obesity and I lost some weight, but I didn’t lose as much as I wanted to. 

It wasn’t until I really learned about obesity as a disease that I started to understand what can be done to combat it. And now, I can say that I’ve been very successful combating my own obesity problem. 

This information is intended to help readers be more informed about their health options when speaking with a professional, but it should not be used alone to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition. Be sure to speak to a qualified doctor before taking any action to make sure that your choices reflect your actual health situation.

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