Dr. Nick Nicholson, a renowned bariatric surgeon, and B. A. Blackwood, an author, retired trial lawyer, and marathon runner, teamed up to write Weight Loss Surgery: The Real Skinny, a guide for people who are considering or have already undergone bariatric surgery. Nicholson was voted one of D Magazine’s top bariatric doctors six years in a row, and Blackwood has completed more than 20 marathons. Together they share a passion for encouraging people to achieve and maintain healthy lifestyles. They know that anyone who chooses to undergo bariatric surgery will experience bumps in the road to maintaining their weight loss. One size does not fit all—everyone’s body is unique and everyone faces a unique set of challenges.
Connect with Dr. Nicholson at these sites:
B. A. Blackwood is a trial lawyer, a marathon runner, and the author of the young adult fantasy fiction Siren Song trilogy. She splits her time between Dallas, Texas, and Bozeman, Montana, where she lives with her husband and their three pugs, Waldo, Jonesy, and Lottie.
Connect with Ms. Blackwood at these sites:
Five Facts About Bariatric Surgery You Need to Know
By B.A. Blackwood
I’m a trial lawyer turned young adult fantasy fiction writer. When my friend, surgeon Nick Nicholson, approached me about co-authoring a book on the emotional consequences of weight loss surgery, I was intrigued, but skeptical. How could I – someone who’d never had the surgery – write a compelling book about it?
I have some overweight friends, but their weight is a sensitive issue we skirt around. I knew of one person who’d had the surgery twice and still has to buy two airplane seats, but he’s very tight-lipped about the whole experience. I’d never understood the reasons for why the surgery didn’t “cure” him, and, based on little snippets of conversations with his parents, they didn’t either.
In other words, I was pretty ignorant.
But the more Dr. Nick filled me in on all of the issues that can arise after weight loss surgery, the more I wanted to know. So, I agreed, and began interviewing patients.
Boy, did I learn a lot.
First, most bariatric patients are champion dieters, but, with the amount of weight they’re trying to lose, their own physiology makes it virtually impossible to lose enough weight and keep it off permanently. That is why the success rate of diets for morbidly obese people is only two percent.
Yes, you read that right. Two percent.
Second, eating isn’t really the issue. It’s just the coping mechanism of choice. Everyone has a coping mechanism or two, and, if we’re honest, almost everyone uses food to some extent as a coping mechanism. In the case of the morbidly obese person, it’s the primary coping mechanism.
Third, most people don’t get to the point of health-threatening obesity by binging. They did it by eating just 10 to 100 calories a day beyond their daily needs over a period of years.
Fourth, weight loss surgery isn’t a magic cure. It’s a highly effective tool, but it requires every bit as much effort, and maybe more, than a traditional diet. It works because most types of the surgery trick the body’s physiology long enough to lose the necessary weight.
Fifth, whether the surgery is successful depends on how the person deals with the emotional issues surrounding their obesity and the subsequent loss of their excess weight.
That’s where the book comes in. It’s about emotions the weight loss will provoke not only in the patient, but in their family, friends and co-workers.
Good marriages tend to get better; bad marriages tend to get worse. The spouse who’d never had to worry about other men being attracted to his wife may have a hard time handling the attention she now receives. The overweight sister who’d initially been supportive may turn hyper-critical of her now slimmer sibling. The bariatric patient who gets a promotion after losing fifty pounds may feel furious rather than ecstatic.
Preparing for what may happen, understanding the emotions underlying the reactions and facing them, and learning healthier ways to deal with those emotions are critical to maintaining the weight loss.
Even though I didn’t know much about bariatric surgery when I began writing, it turns out that the surgery is really about striving to get better, dealing with life’s problems head on, and having the will, optimism and strength to craft a better life for yourself – something all of us can relate to. I finished the book inspired by the stories patients had shared with me and glad I’d taken the plunge with Dr. Nick to co-author the book.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Is it possible to lose weight fast and keep it off long-term? Whether it’s a new diet, an exercise regimen, or surgery, people are always looking for the shortest path to their ideal weight. Bariatric surgery can help you get ahead of your weight issues, but it’s not a one-and-done remedy; it gives you a head start, but lasting weight loss requires maintenance.
Weight Loss Surgery: The Real Skinny tells you the truth. Bariatric surgery can be an excellent way to quickly lose weight, but it’s not a permanent fix. It can change your body, but it doesn’t change your mind or your relationship with food. As Dr. Nick Nicholson and B. A. Blackwood explain, “overeating has little to do with physical need and everything to do with emotional need.” Surgery will get you started, but patients must also be willing to adopt a healthier way of living.
While the authors do describe the benefits of bariatric surgery and discuss how to select your surgeon, much of this book addresses the issues connected to weight management that precede and follow surgery, with chapters that tackle questions like “How Did I End up in this Mess and Why Can’t I Get Out of It?” and “I’m Doing Everything Right, So Why Doesn’t My Weight Show It?”
Other chapters address some of the unexpected consequences of dramatic weight loss. You may have already known that weight gain could adversely affect your relationships…but weight loss? Like any major life change, losing weight can upset the balance in your relationships. Weight Loss Surgery: The Real Skinny honestly acknowledges the effect that bariatric surgery can have on a patient and that patient’s family and friends. The authors offer insight into how to prepare yourself and your loved ones for the shift, highlighting the importance of open communication throughout the process.
Paperback: 116 pages
Publisher: Obesity Resources Publishing
Publication Date: November 13, 2013
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