Dr. Fuhrman Dr. Fuhrman

Risks of weight loss surgery

hospital room

The New York Times reported today that four of every 10 patients who undergo weight-loss surgery develop complications within six months. I had not expected the number would be that high.

I think one of the reasons weight loss surgery is recommended for obese people is that people are told that it is flat out impossible to lose enough weight on their own. If you just hear that often enough, you start to believe that, especially if you have a history of losing and gaining weight. After all, if nobody can do it, what are the odds that you can? Morbidly obese people are usually not the most self confident people, so that does not help either.

I think this is a real shame. Studies about large groups of people say absolutely nothing about individuals. If one out of five businesses file bankruptcy each year, that does not mean that, say, Microsoft has a one out of five chance of bankruptcy this year, that chance is almost zero. It also does not mean that my local vegetable store had a one in five chance of closing, unfortunately, these days, that chance was much higher.

You are not a passive observer of your life. You decide your actions; if you are obese you can make sure you lose weight, just by eating less and exercising more. I do not say it is easy, I realize it can be very hard. Some people may not be able to do it alone. But do not let the experts tell you that a weight loss of only 10% is all that can be expected, that you should not want to lose too much weight or that surgery is your only option. They think about average people, but you are not average! This is your body, your life. You can choose whether you are Microsoft or Joe's Vegetable Store.

July 24, 2006