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Is bariatric surgery the easy way out?

There is a stigma in our culture against people with obesity, who are often viewed as lazy or unmotivated or lacking in self-discipline. Thus, when patients are either considering or actually undergo bariatric surgery, there is an impression that this is considered a 'low effort' or 'easy way out'. These negative attitudes can sometimes keep patients who would benefit from bariatric surgery from even seriously considering it as an option. This is incredibly unfortunate. The stigma is also just not based in reality.

First of all, bariatric surgery, while increasingly done laparoscopically or minimally invasivaly with quick recovery time, is still a major surgery. Depending on the technique, it can result in important changes to one's internal anatomy. There continue to remain some risks and complications just like any other surgery. There is nothing 'casual' about the decision to undergo this surgery.

Second, bariatic surgery is not a one-time permanent fix. While it is a very useful tool in the effort to achieve weight loss, patients need to continue to be mindful of their dietary composition to achieve and maintain weight loss. It is important that surgical patients, just like any other, need to ensure that they take in healthy sources of protein, vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and dairy to see results.

Finally, morbid obesity is best contemplated with a chronic disease framework. If a patient has cancer, one would not scoff at them for undergoing chemotherapy to prolong their life. If a patient has depression, one would not think undergoing psychotherapy or taking antidepressants is the 'easy way out'. When it comes to achieving extreme weight loss, there is no easy way out. It takes hard work, determination, and patience and we should encourage patients to use all the tools available to make progress and live their best life. 


So whether your weight loss journey involves dieting, medication, an intense exercise routine, or ultimately surgery, tune out the voices that hold you back and take your life in your own hands. 


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