Are You Ready for Weight Loss Surgery?

Donna Pitman’s family has lost just over 550 pounds; Following each other, one after another, into the operating room for weight loss surgery. “It’s not the easiest thing you’re going to do, but it’s the healthiest thing you can do,” says Pittman. The guy who operated on all of them, Dr. William Johnson, Medical Director of Bariatric Surgery at Northside Hospital-Forsyth, says surgery can give you fighting chance at losing weight. “But then you still have to make changes. You have to change your habits,” says Dr. Johnson.

That change begins before surgery. Candidates have to attend support groups with patients who’ve already undergone surgery.

“To actually sit down with people and talk about what they’re lives are like, and what they didn’t expect to happen, I think that’s really vital in making sure people are ready,” adds Dr. Johnson.

Another important thing to consider: your relationship with food.

“Some people use food as a way to deal with stress. And, obviously, if I make it so they can’t eat very much food, how are you going to deal with that stress now? You can’t use food any longer,” he says.

The surgery will permanently restrict how much food you can eat – so what you eat will be very important. Johnson recommends a high-protein diet, and shopping the outside of your grocery store.

“Because those healthy fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, that’s what you want to eat. All that other stuff is what gets you into trouble.”

Johnson says he needs to know you’re committed to change — and willing to start the weight loss process before surgery.

“I’ve canceled surgeries because people have gained weight between the first visit and the surgery, yes I have, because they’re not showing the commitment yet. I don’t think they’re taking it seriously.”

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