Monday, March 25, 2013

The Weight Loss Surgery Foundation of America and Me in May in Vegas

On Saturday May 18th I'll be speaking in Las Vegas on behalf of the Weight Loss Surgery Foundation of America (WLSFA) at their annual Meet and Greet. I certainly won't be the only speaker for this two day event and the keynote speaker this year is Carnie Wilson.

So who are the WLSFA?

They're a charitable organization that raises money to help pay for bariatric surgeries for those who can't afford them.

For those of you who don't know, I'm not a surgeon, but I am a supporter of bariatric surgery. Despite the public's regular knee jerk negativity to bariatric surgery (that folks who need simply aren't trying hard enough, that it's an easy way out, that it's the path of laziness, etc.), when performed by skilled surgeons, and when supported by well designed pre and post surgical education and appropriate patient selection, it increases life expectancy, decreases or cures many medical co-morbidities and improves many aspects of quality of life. I've covered this strange bias before on my blog when it came to the surgical management of diabetes, and if you're in the camp of surgery is just plain wrong, every time and for everyone, I'd encourage you to read it, as the message therein applies wholeheartedly to bariatric surgery as well.

Now bariatric surgery isn't a miracle and it has both risks and adverse effects, but I'll tell you, if I were unable to lose weight and maintain that loss any other way, and if my weight was negatively affecting my quality and quantity of life and health, I wouldn't hesitate to explore it as an option.

My talk will be the first one I'm giving from the pages of my upcoming book, The 10 Day Reset: Why Everything You Know About Dieting is Wrong and How to Fix It, and I'm excited to be able to donate my time, energy and thoughts to this worthy cause. If you or a loved one has bariatric surgery or are considering bariatric surgery, I'd encourage you to come on out.  If you'd like to attend you can either click that link up above, or contact the WLSFA directly by phone at 415-234-9074, or via email at:

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  1. I totally agree with you, if I was unable to keep my body weight to a comfortable level in any natural way I would not hestitate to get the surgery done as well.

    I have a cousin who had the clamp and she is very happy about it, she lost 15 pounds already and is still on the right path down towards her ideal weight.

    She tried everything and suffered through a myriad of starvation diets and it never had any long term effect.

    - Jen

  2. I know people who will be at the event; I will send my greetings and warm wishes along with them!

    When it comes to surgery I like to say I am PRO-CHOICE! Bariatric surgery is a healthcare decision best left to an individual and their family, to be based on their medical condition and history. Like women's reproductive health, end of life care, conventional vs. alternative medicine, etc., no one is entitled to pass judgment on the healthcare decisions of others.

    It's a pervasive paradigm that people are fat because of their own poor judgment, lack of discipline, and weak will. It is assumed that fat people have "done the crime and now they have to do the time." Thinness is so valued in our culture that it would inspire this bias against someone who appears to achieve it with little effort. I can understand the bias and ignorance among the public but why medical professionals will decry bariatric surgery is beyond me.

  3. Thank you for being a voice of reason. Bariatric surgery is far from being the "easy way out." It is a lifelong commitment to a different way of life, like it or not. I struggled for six years with the fact that I could no longer eat the way I used to. God knows, I tried. I gained back 30 pounds of the 120 I had lost with surgery before I was able to "get with the program"--give up and accept my new life. Now I've lost that 30 pounds plus another 10, and I'm on my way to losing more. But it's a constant struggle to eat right, get enough protein, make sure I don't get vitamin deficiencies, etc. But oh, is it worth it!

  4. Anonymous11:42 am

    You have written extensively on the ever-growing wait times in Canada for bariatric surgery.

    I have a couple of questions:

    1. Given that this is a US / Canada conference, what is the criteria for surgery like in the US? Is it more or less aggressive than in Canada? Also, what are waiting times like?

    2. Say I'm in Ontario and I don't want to wait a year or two for surgery. If I'm willing to pay for it myself, is it legal for me to go to the US to have the surgery done? Or will I have issues when I return to Canada to get future medical care?

    I really hope that conferences like this result in greater access to surgery. From what I have seen, it's no picnic and still requires a ton of work. People going for surgery should be supported and encouraged, and surgery should be more widely available, even if we have to move patients across the border.

    1. Criteria for who is an appropriate candidate is the same in both countries. If you'd like to self pay you're welcome too, but depending on where you live in Canada, there may not be access to surgeons familiar with bariatric surgery should you develop complications.

  5. John U1:28 pm

    I have always wondered whether a patient after bariatric surgery still suffers after surgery from the same hunger symtoms as before surgery and on a calorie restricted diet. As I understand it, bariatric surgery prevents a certain amount of the food consumed from being metabolised and therefore being avaiable for energy and/or storage in the fat cells. Does this intervention not result in severe hunger in the same way as a calorie restricted diet?

    1. Post surgically (excluding lap banding), the production of the hunger hormone ghrelin is markedly reduced.

    2. John U3:14 pm

      Thanks for the info. Now I am wondering why there is reduction in the production of the hunger hormone. Is the science here well understood and non-controversial?

  6. I had Gastric Bypass I like to say 5 years after surgery if I measured my hunger before surgery it was always a 10 on a sale from 1 to 10 Now it is a 5 and I feel like a normal human how eats and feels satisfied then moves on with life food and hunger no longer rule me.