As I have gotten older I find that I watch less sports on TV than I did “PK” (pre kids). This past season, I did happen to be watching one of the NFL pregame shows and one of the announcers (who incidentally could benefit from the expertise of the LifeShape team) was contrasting the weight loss journey of two NFL coaches. One had undergone adjustable gastric band surgery and was doing very well. The other had not undergone a surgical procedure (as far as he knew) and was also doing well. The announcer was fawning how the second coach was losing weight “the right way”.
Unfortunately this dismissive unenlightened attitude toward weight loss surgery is all too common. It is also fairly unique to weight loss surgery. Laparoscopic adjustable gastric band surgery works by decreasing the amount of hunger patients experience to allow them to eat less. If patients then stay active, they have a caloric deficit and they lose weight. The band is therefore a tool to decrease hunger. Why then would the NFL announcer be any less critical of reading glasses, hearing aides, pacemakers, nicotine patches, artificial knees, or Viagra for that matter? (I believe it was one of his colleagues that did the “throw the football through the tire” commercial… but I digress.)
The other fact I would call to the announcer’s attention is just how irresponsible it was to share his bias. There are at least four large studies that show morbidly obese patients that undergo weight loss surgery are more likely to be alive five years longer than similarly sized patients who do not undergo surgery. In one of the larger studies the group that underwent surgery were greater than 80% more likely to be alive at five years. Unfortunately it is likely a handful of the millions of morbidly obese patients who were watching that day were further impeded from researching lifesaving surgery. Hopefully in the future the announcer wont talk about how designated drivers are wimps, or rehab is for quitters.
My view is the “right way to lose weight” is “whatever it takes to lose weight”.