100 lb. Club - Anyone watch Big Medicine Tonight

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07-15-2009, 11:54 PM

I'm new and this is my first post, but I was somewhat curious to ask if anyone had watched Big Medicine tonight. I'm interested in seeing your opinions regarding a particular statement made by one of the Drs.

The son...Garth...made a comment that (and I am paraphrasing, but it isn't taken out of context) only 3% of obese people managed to lose the weight via diet and exercise; and that those who were able to do so did it under a supervised diet and exercise program.

I wonder what other people's opinions are of this statement.

I'm not a huge fan of statistics, as they can be skewed to give a certain impression, but it seems pretty damning and discouraging to think that 97% of people who are overweight are basically screwed unless they have surgery or undergo a supervised program. Heck, my insurance has a specific exclusion for weight loss surgery. So, if I am not able to either pay for it or a weightloss program on my own I am destined to be part of the doomed 97%.

Hmmmm, at least my insurance covers anti-depressants,lol.

07-16-2009, 12:04 AM
Hey, the guy performs bariatric surgery. The patients that he sees haven't been successful on their own. From his perspective, EVERYONE who comes through his door wants the surgery. And he makes $$$ from doing it. You are asking the salesman if you have to buy his wares. And of course, from HIS perspective, YOU HAVE TO. So his advice may be a bit - ahem - skewed, so to speak. Because statistics can mean whatever you want them to mean. And you can use them to prove any point. IMHO.

Lots of obese people can and do lose the weight. And even keep it off. Without surgery.

Now, surgery IS a viable option, if you so choose. And I make no judgement about that particular path. We all have the power to CHOOSE, and NOONE is doomed to a life of obesity, unless they choose to follow that path.

Remember, if you are a hammer, every problem is a nail.



07-16-2009, 12:24 AM
Hey Kira,

Thanks for the response. Another thing I forgot to note, which I find makes your point about asking the salesman: The plastic surgery recipient this week was a man who lost approx. 350lbs.....via a weight loss program held at (I BELIEVE, but cannot verify) the very hospital the bariatric surgeons work at.

I don't recall seeing anyone who had lost weight that wasn't due to weight loss surgery on the show. Though, I haven't watched every single episode so I can't vouch for the veracity the fact it was at their hospital, but don't think it feasible to think that they would focus on some stranger who walked into a non-affiliated plastic surgeon from a non-affiliated program.

07-16-2009, 01:57 AM
3 percent is A LOT of people if you consider the obesity statistics... but saying all of those were on supervised programs is pretty silly. Most of the maintainers I've talked to basically did their own thing.

07-16-2009, 03:08 AM
I think obesity is tough to beat. Even the success rate for bariatric surgery is only about 40% (bariatric surgeons say the modern procedures have a higher success rate, but so far those numbers have not been made available). I think success was measured as any weight loss maintained, which would mean 60% gain all of it back or more. I do think those odds seem a bit high, but I only know 4 people who had the surgery and only two have stayed under obese levels. Of the other two, one is larger than she started, and the other maintained about 70 lbs lost (she was 300 lbs, had lost and had lost about 130 lbs and then gained 60). She's been able to maintain the 70 lbs for about 5 years, but she says that she struggles to do so.

I don't give the success rate statistics that much thought. The cure rate for pancreatic cancer is pretty low, but if I had it, I'd fight it and not worry about the statistics.

I have health issues that make me a very poor wls candidate. I have vitamin absorption problems as it is, as well as autoimmune disease (probably connective tissue), so both lapband and bypass surgery would likely have risky complications. So, while there are surgeons who would be willing to operate despite the risks, I'm not willing to consider surgery at this time (if I haven't lost any more weight this time next year, maybe I'll reconsider, but for now I'll have to try to be in the 3%).

I have made a lot more than a hundred weight loss attempts, so my personal success rate is far less than 3%. I'm currently beating my best record by quite some time/lbs. Before this time, I had never maintained a losing streak or gone without a regain for so long. I've been on a downward trend for about 3 years (before that my "record" was about 14 months). I've also lost more weight than I ever have in previous attempts. So, I'm doing more than 99% better than I ever have before.

Beating the odds is always possible. I'm not going to judge anyone for using or choosing not to use any tools (including wls) to fight this battle. Or even people who decide the fight isn't worth it. It's a very personal journey, and it's a very difficult one, but of course I believe that success is possible or I wouldn't be here.

07-16-2009, 07:45 AM
I think that 3% seems kinda acurate to me if you think about the rate of obesity today. There are alot of amazing success stories but waaaay more people give up or gain it back or whatever. BUT these are statistics and no statistic should influence what you as an indavidual does. If you want this you ABSOLUTLY can do it. We all can.

Just because not everyone does, does not mean that you cannot.:)
And as my hubby always says..."67% of statistics can be made to say whatever you want 37% of the time" lol.

07-16-2009, 10:29 AM
I've seen numbers between 80% and 97% for recividism but statistics describe a trend, it doesn't predict for individuals. Just because your neighbors can't lose weight or keep the weight off doesn't mean that you can't. And the process isn't "time limited" -- like most people, I've made multiple attempts to lose the weight. Most of my attempts have ended at predicted -- I dieted/exercised stringently then "took a vacation" and gained most, if not more, back. But these last two or three, I've dieted/exercised and even if I went off plan for weeks/months, I didn't gain more than half of it back and I got back on a new plan and started off again. The first of these rounds, I was on my own -- I did Atkins and worked out at the Y for nine months and lost just shy of 100 pounds. This last go-round, I'm working with a trainer at the Y and plan to continue to do so at least until I see 138 on my scale. But I'm "dieting" on my own. I vaguely remember something from one of my Optifast attempts about successful "changers" very often had to go through several attempts before they found what worked for them.



07-16-2009, 10:55 AM
I was just talking to bf about how personal the wl journey is. Like when I say something here, it comes from what I've experienced in my ups and downs and struggles, which is unique to me (though some people may relate to some of it).

I had to lose and gain a bunch of times, and went through several calorie levels (from 1200, to 1600, to 1800 on various diet plans) to get to a place where I felt mentally comfortable enough with my eating (was a real compulsive over eater) so that I feel like I can maintain, even lose, and not gain back weight. for me, being overly restrictive can lead me back to a compulsive eating way of thinking.

and working on the exercise, building it up, has helped so much mentally and physically. I did that slowly too. I mean, if I had my way, I'd much rather zoom through this and be at goal. It's a balance, sticking to what I know works for me, figuring out what isn't working and how to fix it, and keeping myself calm and positive through the whole process!

so statistics can be telling on one level, and superficial on another. for lots of people "failing" on one diet (supervised or not), doesn't mean that person will never get and keep the weight off.

07-16-2009, 01:37 PM
I've heard between 3-5%. It seems to be pretty accurate, and on my low days, that % screams in my ear and discourages me, it's really hard to NOT let it. but we have to try.


07-16-2009, 01:51 PM
I find it hard to believe it's 3%. And if it is, be in the 3%. I know I know, easier said then done, but if I've learned one thing, NOTHING about losing weight is easy. Do what works, many many many ppl here have lost weight on a variety of difft ways.

07-16-2009, 10:45 PM
I didn't realize that people really could regain a lot of weight after surgery. All the stories I've heard, people talk about how their stomachs just can't hold much food anymore and they only eat a little. I'm not being facetious, just wondering how that works? (the weight gain, I mean)

07-16-2009, 10:49 PM
I think what happens is that your stomach is surgically made smaller, and your absorption is rerouted. BUT, you can stretch the size of the pouch if you just keep eating. And if you stretch it, you will have more food available to digest, and you'll put the weight on. And you can just kind of continually eat -- if you have to have say 5 meals a day, you might start having 7 or 8...it is gradual but your stomach WILL stretch right back out.


07-16-2009, 11:49 PM
Well, I'm not much for statistics. I'm one of those people who think that most statistics are bogus as the data can be manipulated to say so many different things. But, there is one thing I do know from hanging around here at 3FC. Losing a large amount of weight with a great diet and exercise plan is possible. Maintaining that loss is possible. People around here are doing this every month. So, the heck with the statistics. They don't decide our fate.

07-17-2009, 01:31 AM
I didn't realize that people really could regain a lot of weight after surgery. All the stories I've heard, people talk about how their stomachs just can't hold much food anymore and they only eat a little. I'm not being facetious, just wondering how that works? (the weight gain, I mean)

Not only the stretching that was mentioned, but also bad food choices. Hey know how many calories in a tiny little milkshake? Know how many of them you can knock back in a day even with a small stomach pouch or one that has been stretched? WLS is only a tool you have to work the program for it to be a success. I was about 2 steps away from considering it myself, but I'm glad I'm doing it this way. You have to learn to behave either way.

07-17-2009, 01:39 AM
Another thing while the statistic on WLS success are better then traditional weight loss... They are only some what better... and that probably because most people who go for surgery are REALLY serious about wanting to make it work. You have to be pretty damn serious to let someone cut you open! Lots of dieters say they are trying but only half-*** attempt. Other peoples efforts don't really mean much when your comparing it to your own dedication.

I can't remember the numbers being tossed around but I think most people only lose 80 percent of the weight and about 50 percent regain some of it with WLS after some number of years... or something like that.

Bottom line is you can be just as successful and you want to be, but it does take consistency. Again 3 percent (If true) is A LOT of successful people. We can all be one of them.

07-18-2009, 09:33 AM
Hi everybody! I've been on both sides of the fence. I have been on a diet since I was 5 years old and now I am 57 and weigh 280. I had the RNY wt. loss surgery 9 years ago and after three months it failed. My hunger had come back with a vengence and right after I ate, I was starving again. At that time, the surgeon I had said just eat three times a day and one cupful at each meal. Well, times have changed. Now they know what happened to me....it was a stretched out stomach and a stretched out opening from the stomach so my stomach could not hold any food, which was why I kept starving. If the surgeon had ordered a scope I would have found out sooner. Instead, I have spent all these years thinking I was a failure...yet again. The lap band has a very poor outcome. Only 40% of your excess fat is lost and a part of that is regained long term out. So that is definitely not worth it because you have to keep going back on a regular basis every month to get refills and the thing could leak or slip. So that is not even an option and most surgeons like to do that because it is easy money and an easy procedure. The next option is the RNY. It is considered a success if you lose 60 percent of your excess wt. It is like half the people do fine with it but the other half gain it all back. If you eat too much, your food comes right back up. But again, you can overeat this surgery and stretch out the pouch. Sure, you can't eat much at one time, but you can eat a lot of times during the day and gain it back. So you STILL have to be on a diet with this surgery. The third option which is the best results of all is called the Duodenal Switch. It is a more complicated surgery. You are in the hospital five days instead of 3. A more complicated surgery means more risks at surgery so if you opt to have this surgery go to the best. The studies are out on this surgery finally as it is relatively new surgery. Very good results. After 5 years the patients still show a 80% loss of their excess wt. I have researched this so much. After surgery, you absorb 50% of your calories, and only 20% of the fat you eat. you have to get in 100 grams of protein a day and be sure you take your vitamins every single day which is crucial. It is an instant cure for diabetes. The procedure itself, not even counting the fat loss. My husband is having it to cure his diabetes, even tho is a surgery for wt. loss. I have not been able to find a single person who is unhappy with this procedure. And i keep asking on the boards. Most people are unhappy with the band and the RNY but nobody is unhappy with the DS. They are telling me they can eat an average of 3,000 calories a day and still remain at goal weight. Their only complaint so to speak is if you eat too much white bread, it will give you gas, but just eat whole wheat. no diahreah as rumor say, that is only a few days after surgery. I had to research this so much because i am planning on having a revision from my failed RNY to a Duodenal Switch. The best surgeons for this is Dr. John husted in Somerset Ky, Dr. Gagner, Miami, Dr. Greenbaum in New Jersy and I can't think of the famous doc in California...I just woke up. I've been on every diet you can even imagine. Of all the diets I was on the best one was the Greysheet diet that was part of the overeaters anonymous. They had you call a sponsor every day with your food and you listened to an hour a day phone meeting which was free of course and you had to weigh and measure your food, call it in before you eat it. It was the only time I had been able to stay on a diet for 2 whole months. But, I slacked off and the weight poured back on. I had gotten down from 270 to 218. I am waiting to have the DS with John Husted. It has recently been approved by Medicare, so they are very strict on what they approve. I wish I had what it took to stay with a diet plan. Right now I am still on a diet, as always. i'm okay until I go to a potluck or out to eat or well, around food that is tempting. Okay, I'm a hopeless noodle. So, I have to have the surgery. But I am at least going for the successful one. The rest are NOT worth it at all but because it is complicated, most surgeons won't do it because the clinics want fast and easy and run you thru like cattle....so just do your research on obesity help.com and if you can diet and lose weight and keep it off, that would have been the best. But I can't. And it is true 5% of people who lose their wt. keep it off. I fall in the 95% that fails. Thanks for listening. I sure admire you all for being able to get your weight off and keep it off. I wish I had whatever you had. Bye, Pat in Kentucky

07-18-2009, 10:21 AM
I don't think that a fast buck is the only reason so many doctors are most comfortable with lapband surgery, and most hesitant to resort to duodenal switch. The lapband is the least invasive and leaves healthy organs intact. The complications are also generally less severe, and vitamin absorption is least effected.

Because I have vitamin absorption problems as is, lapband is the only procedure I would consider, but I also have autoimmune connective tissue disease (which the manufacturer says is a contraindication for the band). It increases the chance of the body attacking the tissues around the band, and the need for further surgeries to repair the damage. I've been told that there are surgeons who would do the surgery anyway, and deal with complications as they arise, but I decided the risks weren't worth it for me.

WLS (of any type, even lapband) is not to be taken into lightly, and the only measure of success cannot be pounds lost. The effects on long-term health have to be taken into account, as well.

I would choose wls in a heartbeat, if I didn't have vitamin absorption and autoimmune problems, but my health issues put me in the highest risk category. All of my doctors support my decision, but I had to "fire" one doctor who didn't. I was on a waiting list for a rheumatologist for over a year, and when I saw him, he immediately began pushing wls on me. I explained why I had decided against it, and he continued to push arguing that there were doctors who would operate despite the risks (He didn't understand that I knew the risks and had decided they were too high for me).

I'm glad that wls is an option, and I support anyone's choice to use it - provided that they are willing to research it first with an open mind (not determined from the start that it is worth any risk, before they know what those risks are, and what life would be like with them).

07-18-2009, 10:52 AM
I just wanted to say, Good luck, Pat!

07-18-2009, 11:02 AM
statistics are often skewed to suit an argument too, and a lot of times people lose massive amounts of weight but it's not officially tallied anywhere, right? I mean, girls on here have lost 100+ pounds but they're not on record anywhere.

Also, not all 'obese' people are created equal. There's a huge difference between my brain at 250 lbs., and a girl who's always weighted 150 lbs., just like there's a psychological difference me at 250 and someone at 500 lbs.

07-18-2009, 12:13 PM
I have heard a few complaints about Duodenal Switch mostly malnutrition issues, anemia, and.... people unhappy with bathroom smells (apparently very strong and unpleasant) however I too noticed most DS people are VERY happy with having it done. I think because the weight loss success tends to better and if you still have "head hunger" issues you can eat more because of the smaller intestinal pathways so it's harder to out-smart the surgery. If I had gone for WLS... DS is the one I was really interested but that was before when I thought there was no other way. Its also the most expensive one for obvious reasons.

I'm still very supportive of people who have WLS. It's a good option for those who need it but it really really really should be last resort and people who have it need better education on how to work it properly to keep the weight off and deal with ongoing food issues.

I'm glad I found another way though because I would have a rough time doing the things I do to keep fit these days had I had it done. I rather be as healthy as can be "fit" and a few pounds overweight then my goal size and struggling with health issues and poor energy and other inconveniences.

While I think WLS is a good option I dislike that they throw out stats like that to scare people into thinking it's their only choice because they are bound to fail. I do enjoy the TV show though. :)

07-18-2009, 01:33 PM
Honestly? I vowed to give myself one last "try" at losing weight and then I was turning to WLS. Here's the deal... I had actually kidded myself into thinking that all of those times I had "tried" to lose weight that the DIET had "failed"... that I was physically unable to lose weight. That it was an OUTSIDE force that was the problem and not me.

Well... that was bull. It was me. All me. The sabotage, the "falling off the wagon", the going off of the diet. All me. The only thing stopping me from losing weight was ME ME ME.

WLS is NOT a magic bullet. It will not solve all of your weight problems. You have to WORK at it. And I think SOME people THINK it's the easy way out and then find that it's not. It's not at all. Losing weight in whatever form it comes is hard. But staying fat is hard too. It's all hard. Someone around here said once "pick your hard."

I'm losing weight. I've lost 133 lbs in almost 10 months through sheer hard work, determination and willpower. Setting myself up to SUCCEED instead of fail. Planning my life and food plans to support my weight loss. Do I think ANYONE can lose weight the "old fashioned way" without weight loss surgery? I can't say. I don't know. But I do know that I was pushing 400 lbs and I did it. And while I think there are others the probably do NEED the surgery to lose weight... I think that there is a whole school out there that think it's the easy way... and then find out different. And I think it's those people that gain the weight back. Because they've never accepted that either way it's GOING to be hard work.

07-18-2009, 04:32 PM
I also was letting myself believe, that there must be that magic pill, or solution that I haven't yet tried, it has to be out there! Believe me, I've tried alot of them. There isn't a magic anything, just hard work and committment, some days not so hard, but when I lose focus, thats when I run into trouble, Nothing nor Nobody, can do this for me, Except Me!

I was very close to choosing BS, but after talking with a coworker, I was talked out of it. She has had so many surgery's to correct things that happened as a result of her WLS, IMO, I think she is very unhealthy, and yes, on the outside, she is much thinner, but the damage she has done to the inside of her is not all fixable. Not to say, all that have or had this surgery with be met with the same problems, you just need to weigh all the risks and problems that could happen. With that said, not even WLS is the easy way out, WL in general is such a hard choice to make, but it's a choice that can only be made by oneself. My coworker said this choice was still the best one for her, she would do it all again.

All industrys, food, medical, exercise, are in to make money, we as consumers must be wary of their claims, that "only their product will be the fix, to all our problems" For me, I had to not only work on the food issues but also, why was I choosing to over eat, and for me exercising is now something I look forward to, not as a punishment, as before when I started this journey, after I complete my run, I feel so great hrs after, {okay my run is 6 interval of 90sec run/2mins walk} I found doing something I enjoy, will keep me motivated to continue, even those days I want to skip, my body now demands I do something, if I skip a day, I get so achy and stiff, and also I think I it's easier for me to, stay OP if my day starts out the right way.

I like that quote-pick your hard

What also helps me is visiting here, so many good people with such great help and advice. It really motivates me to keep pressing on, that so-and-so can do it, you can too. To all that have choosen to get healthy, Best of Luck!

07-18-2009, 04:58 PM
I once read that wls has the second highest rate of malpractice cases (I believe that the highest rate is for complications to mother and/or child during birthing).

To me, that's a very strong indication that a large number of people go into wls without fully appreciating the risks. The chances of winning such a lawsuit are actually not all that good because of all the releases that a person signs, but the lawsuits are filed anyway. I think for two reasons, some are perhaps hoping to settle out of court, but I think the main reason is simple rage. The person was not prepared for the risks, and experiencing them blames the doctor (sometimes perhaps with good reason if the doctor dismissed or glossed over concerns).

The doctor who was pushing wls on me, was very convincing, and charismatic. He had me convinced that wls was a good option and that the risks weren't a concern (to him). My husband, who always goes with me to medical appointments, asked me after the appointment what the doctor had said that had changed my mind - and I realized then that it had been his charisma, not facts. He hadn't told me that the risks weren't there - or were smaller than I estimated, only that he wasn't worried about them (not his body to be worried for).

I once heard someone say something like: "if they told us what it would be like, no one would have the surgery," and the person said it as if it were a good thing that they hadn't been more thoroughly prepared. That kind of thinking scares me (especially if it comes from the medical staff who decide to hide or gloss over the risks to persuade patients), because I believe strongly in informed consent, and doctors are supposed to also. Anything less is highly unethical, and that means that there should be no surprises after wls.

It is the patients', but also the doctors' responsibilities to make sure that the patients understand and appreciate the risks. Surprisingly, I've encountered more people who weren't prepared for complications they encountered, than people who were. Maybe those are just the situations that make the news and online forums, but it still seems there are a lot more than there should be.

07-18-2009, 10:01 PM
ps. How frickin' cute is Pat in Kentucky??? Holy heck you're 57?? such a cutie-patutie!

07-20-2009, 11:03 PM
Wow, I haven't been able to log on for a few days and just now saw the multitude of posts to the thread. I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to give their opinions, share their stories and read this thread. I regret that I can't answer everyone individually, but this would turn into a novella.

I have to admit that charisma can go a long way, but you have to do what's right for you kaplods. Thank goodness you didn't just listen to a medical professional who wasn't concerned about the risks.

Seriously, what kind of crap is that...of course s/he doesn't have to be concerned about the risks, it's not their body and they don't have to live with the repercussions for the rest of their life, good or bad.

I have to admit that I wanted weight loss surgery because I have tried again and again to lose weight - obviously unsuccessfully - but, I am a firm believer in that if I don't suffer or fight for what I want I won't appreciate it. It took me years to get to the weight I am at, and it will take me months/years of discipline and caring enough about myself to make a change and do what needs to be done to improve my quality of life.

I do not judge people who have weight loss surgery because they had to do what they thought was right and I honestly think if I had the opportunity I would be on the bandwagon despite my fears and reservations, but, I think it's kind of scary that people would apply the "ignorance is bliss" ideology to something so invasive and relatively permanent. Any time you go under the knife, no matter how "minor" the surgery, you are risking death. So it should not be a decision one makes lightly.

At any rate, despite the fact I have only been here briefly, every single one of you is an inspiration and I truly believe that with the support of the others who frequent these forums, we can be a part of that mystical (and perhaps fictional) 3%!!!!

Best of luck to all of you in your weight loss journeys!

07-21-2009, 12:28 AM
Wls definitely isn't the "easy way out," as there's probably more physical and emotional suffering with wls than the diet/exercise alone route. It's really what changed my mind, after doing the research. I just wasn't willing to suffer that much physically (even without complications), in the name of weight loss.

At this point, I'm even willing to have a shorter life span to struggle with my weight for the rest of my life, rather than deal with the ravages that are possible with wls gone wrong. I don't believe that wls is always better than obesity, so I had to weigh the risks pretty carefully. It's been difficult, because wls statistics are a lot fuzzier than other medical procedures. I can find tons of info on the success and complications of cardiac surgery, but when it comes to wls, the statistics are surprisingly absent or ambiguous. I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but the difficulty in finding hard numbers did make me wonder why all the secrecy. Is it the patients not folloiwing up with the doctors, the doctors not following up with the patients, or do both patients and doctors feel that the risks don't matter because obesity is a fate worse than death.

Sometimes, I feel it may be the latter, and that makes me very uncomfortable. Being fat isn't fun, but I'd rather have a limited life than no life, and if I'm going to risk my life I want to know what my odds are, and if you won't give me the odds that tells me you either don't care or don't want me to know.

I finally was able to at least estimate my personal risk, and the success rate just wasn't optimistic enough for me to risk my life for. It was a very personal, and difficult decision to make. I have to say that after learning all I could about wls, I do envy the courage of those who choose it, knowing what they're getting themselves into. Yowza, I'm a coward I guess.