Greater Peoria Metro Area, IL

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The Stigma of Weight Loss Surgery


By Kelsi Evans, MS, RD, LDN, and Katrina Howard, RD, LDN, CPT, in consult with Jacob Hopping, MD, FACS, FASMBS, and Jayaraj Salimath, DO, FACOS, FASMBS

Telling someone with obesity to lose weight by eating less and moving more is like telling someone with depression to feel happier by smiling more and thinking happy thoughts. It’s much more complicated than that. Only a fraction of the equation is food and exercise, but the rest is related to hormones, genetics, medications, menopause, aging, pregnancy, sleep, access to healthy food, and stress. So why is there such a stigma against people who lose weight via metabolic and bariatric surgery and those who don’t?

Let’s start by looking at the set point theory. Our set point is our body’s “happy weight,” and it is largely determined by genetics, up to 70 percent. We look at some families that are tall and thin and some that are short and round. So, if someone is 200 pounds at their set point, and they manage to lose 50 pounds, their bodies will fight to gain that weight back. Metabolic and bariatric surgery can not only move that set point to a healthier weight but help keep it there. Diet and exercise alone can’t do that. In fact, metabolic and bariatric surgery is currently the most effective evidence-based treatment for obesity.

Last year, the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) and International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders (IFSO) updated their guidelines to expand inclusion criteria for surgery, making metabolic and bariatric surgery more accessible for older individuals, a lower body mass index (BMI) to 25 or greater among the Asian population, and a BMI of 30 or greater with certain chronic conditions.

If you think, “surgery is the easy way out,” you couldn’t be further from the truth. Metabolic and bariatric surgery is a life-changing decision that requires comprehensive, ongoing education and support. Insurance companies consider it elective and require months of education, lifestyle changes, testing, medical visits, and extensive documentation. After surgery, patients relearn what, when, and how much to eat and drink while taking multiple vitamins per day and meeting with their bariatric team regularly to ensure they are healing properly and staying healthy after surgery.

Maintaining a healthier weight after metabolic and bariatric surgery can eliminate most treatments for chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, acid reflux, sleep apnea, and joint pain. It also allows people to cross their legs, get down on the floor to play with their kids or grandkids, and move easier. They feel more comfortable in their skin and have a better quality of life, and it doesn’t matter if they had metabolic and bariatric surgery to get there.

Understanding that everyone’s journey is different, Springfield Clinic Bariatrics combines evidence-based treatment with an individualized approach. Our surgeons, Jacob Hopping, MD, FACS, FASMBS, and Jayaraj Salimath, DO, FACOS, FASMBS, along with their teams are looking forward to meeting you and starting on this journey together.

Springfield Clinic Peoria Bariatrics is located at 1001 Main St. Suite 300 in Peoria. Call (309) 672-5975 or email