What It Takes to Lose: 5 Years After Weight Loss Surgery

Wanting to lose weight is not the same thing as being willing to do what it takes. Lap-Band surgery is a tool, it is not the brain – it is just a weight loss tool.  No matter which tool for weight loss surgery you use, if you expect that the operation will do the work for you, then you will not be successful. This is especially true for Lapband patients.

No weight loss surgery will tell you what to eat, how much to eat, and how to eat. Sometimes the surgery will stop you, make you feel uncomfortable, but in the long-run these are your decisions.  People who want the operation to do the work for them will fail.

Weight loss operations we have done include: RNY-gastric bypass, Duodenal Switch, Sleeve gastrectomy, Lap-Band, and imbrications.  We have five year data for all but the imbrication, and here is the secret:
Every patient who changed their lifestyle with the above operations at five years had reached their goal and sustained it.
Patients who failed – and for failure we state those patients who lose less than 20 percent of their excess body weight – all continued in a similar lifestyle pattern as prior to surgery.  Patients who were in between success and failure had- strangely enough- changed some things but not all.

Here was what our successful patients did:

* All modified (100%) what they ate. The things they used to eat they rarely ate again.
* Many changed (>98%) by beginning to cook their own meals, and bringing  their lunch to work – avoiding the fast food and chain restaurants that were close by and “easy.”
* A lot (77%) exercise three times a week.

Learning to eat small portions is a key to long term weight loss

Who is to blame?

When asked what was responsible for their excess weight the patients responded that it was them – how they ate.

Those who were not successful – here is a list of what was responsible for their weight:
* genetics- all family members were fat and they were
* steroids – some were placed on steroids at different times
* hormones – this goes under pregnancy, hysterectomy, thyroid, cortisol

Would you like to hear something funny? Most of those patients who were successful started out telling me that those items were to blame, and as they changed their attitude and took responsibility, their results greatly improved. Just a week ago a patient who was not successful told me that I was to blame for her eating behavior (it wasn’t my wife or my son).

Weight loss surgery provides a powerful tool for weight loss. But it is just a tool- and no matter which tool a patient has, if the tool isn’t combined with a lifestyle change the result is clear – not the result a patient wants.

Here is the bottom line:

We can get you into the operating room- but until you get into the kitchen and change things- it won’t matter what weight loss operation you have.

Dr Terry SimpsonDr Terry Simpson – has written 50 posts on this site.
Dr Terry Simpson is a weight loss surgeon, author, & speaker, performing weight loss surgery in Arizona bariatric centers located in Phoenix. Dr Simpson performs lapband (gastric band) surgery, and works with weight loss surgery patients to adopt healthier lifestyles. He offers online courses on "Mastering the Lapband" and "Caring for Your Gastric Sleeve." www.drsimpson.com


  1. [...] be an effective treatment. However, even with surgical treatment, sustainable weight loss requires lifestyle and diet modifications. You can learn more about the Lap-Band system here. This entry was posted in Healthy Eating and [...]