Fitness expert Steve Doody: 'A gastric bypass is expensive and unnatural - it won't teach you how to be healthy'
A leading Irish fitness expert shares his opinion on the controversial phenomenon of gastric bypass surgeries.
For those whose weight has climbed steadily after years of failing on traditional diets, gastric surgery to reduce the size of the stomach seems almost inevitable.
The problem with operations and procedures of this nature is that the individual's habits and social patterns don’t change. All that changes is the size of the stomach.
Read more: Damo and Ivor writer Jules Coll on her gastric bypass: 'Buying size 10 clothes beats the taste of any pizza'(pictured above)
Even though this infuriates me, the solution to helping people out of an unnecessary procedure in many cases lies with lifestyle planning, a strong motivating environment, nutritional counseling and goal setting.
We must accept some people go too far and need their limbs moved as a result of obesity, and it can be become a medical urgency.
For many more it’s just poor lifestyle habits and choices.
(Steve in his Fairview based gym, Fit Studios)
I want to save peoples' stomachs for many reasons:
Psychological and behavioral patterns
You see, us humans do most things in ‘patterns’. We program ourselves from the central nervous system to do things like, watch a DVD with some treat food. This in itself is a food behavior and a behavior we associate with food.
What about being on autopilot in the morning? For a lot of people it’s probably no breakfast and into the shop before work to grab something sweet. It’s no wonder you choose something sweet because your bodies blood sugar is low, it makes sense but by skipping breakfast you’ve put yourself at a disadvantage and made it harder to resist. Years go by and this is how you’ve started your morning for years. A habit that becomes challenging to break.
Here are some other situations or behaviors. Do you do any of the following?
*Get under 6 hours sleep a night?
*Always stop for a Cappuccino on your way to work?
*Always have some sort of non-healthy snack food at your desk?
*Eat 2 -3 Banana’s a day to be ‘healthy’
*Have a large ‘Skinny’ latte on your lunch break to be healthy?
*Have a large bap, bagel or bread roll every day?
*3pm Slump binge?
*Eat too many biscuits after dinner while you watch your TV guide?
I use the term 'psychological' because, this is how you think. This is the pattern you choose to fly autopilot on. I cannot speak for everyone, but I think most of you will relate to at least two of the above.
Let’s go look at your thoughts and emotions, it’s a pretty simple idea.
So, you’ve left the house with no breakfast like usual done the commute and are on the way into the office and there’s a thought…
A very satisfying image of a cappuccino enters your mind's eye with maybe a cheeky biscuit on the side…
The emotion associated with this thought = Happiness/ Satisfaction/ Treat.
The action or reactive behavior = you arrive at the usual spot and consume calories that you really didn’t need, and so the workday starts again.
(One of Steve's clients before and after his lifestyle overhaul)
The emotions people associate with 'Fat Loss':
Fat loss is a phrase people hate, they hate it. They think about eating leaves, and cheap healthy cereals that promise the world. They think running miles on no food and depression hits home. I don’t blame them I’d be depressed too, that sounds awful!
You see here’s where we need to assess you.
I want you to think about this logically, if I associate exercise and eating healthy with a negative emotion what do you think my actions will be?
Chances are they will be against exercise and against eating healthy because they make me feel terrible, unfit, body conscious, embarrassed and fat.
I wouldn’t want to feel like that often. I’d simply block them out of my mind to enhance my mood.
That, my friend, is where a lot of my clients and people I talk too are. I don’t blame them at all.
The path of least resistance:
When average people join a gym environment or any type of weight loss clinic or helping body they subconsciously look for a few things.
*The path of least resistance.
*Other people like them to share their emotions.
*A solution with as close to as little dietary change as possible, because dieting brings so many negative emotions with them, and they know…. Negative emotions = failure = feeling worse = higher chances of quitting.
The path of most resistance is not for everyone nor should everyone be told to just ‘suck it up’.
Believe me, I wish that was the case, but people are all different, they are unique, they grow up in different circumstances and with different habits, beliefs and dietary preferences.
You could have two people looking to lose five stone in weight each; one person might accept all the responsibility while the other person might fight you every step of the way because the changes to their life are so dramatic and emotionally difficult. Their brain won’t like it; they can feel like all their pleasures are taken away from them. Negative Emotions kick in and by now we know what they do.
The behavioral and psychological reasons to avoid Gastric Bypass
Let’s consider two people and one of these is a true story. They both lose nine stone in weight, they go from 21 stone to 12 stone, and they loose 129lbs of weight. That’s an entire person. The first person does it over the space of a year with small habitual changes to his/her lifestyle and takes up exercise - it’s not easy, it’s the hardest path.
The second person gets the surgery and has the stomach the size of a tennis ball; he/she can never eat a large family dinner ever again.
What do you think the first person would have learned over the year taking the ‘hardest path’ could we say they learned?
*Good Nutritional advice and behavior.
*New emotional state of mind.
*Real life personal development through learning important life skills that you can teach to a child.
*Plenty of time to adjust to a new way of eating.
*New set of strong habits.
*No hefty medical bill.
The second person will learn the following:
*Nutritional deficiencies due to changes in absorption of food.
*Christmas dinner is going to be very small.
*The bathroom will be their new best friend.
*They never fixed the problem, which was some sort of emotional eating disorder or problem and the obvious, poor lifestyle choices.
*Eating too much causes severe nausea and pain, another unpleasant but avoidable side effect if the temptation to take one too many bites is overcome.
*They will be the odd person in every social dinner/event as their plate will be quite small. That could prove a serious emotional burden.
*There is no rehearsal time to prepare for an entirely new way of eating and a newly emerging body.
*Expense medical bill surgery that can cost tens of thousands.
Presumably waking up after surgery and knowing you would never eat chocolate again might put you into a permanent funk. But the depressions reported both in the scientific literature, and in the hundreds of personal anecdotes on gastric surgery blog sites, suggests otherwise.
Unless overweight, depressed, insomniac individuals find some way to feel and sleep better, they are a risk for regaining weight and losing their health. Call it an unexpected blindside of a surgery meant to make life easier to begin with.
Steve Doody is one of the propietors of Fit Studios, a TRX and Training Centre in Fairview.
To hear more about the gym's innovative 100 Before and After training plan and lifestyle overhaul, visit www.fitstudios.ie