Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I've Lost, but Look What I've Gained! Part IV

[This is the fourth part of a series on weight-loss; In this installment, I mention the South Beach Diet.  I am a biologist and not a nutritionist.  The information provided here is informational only and should not be considered advice.  I am not receiving compensation in any form for mentioning the South Beach Diet]

At the end of the last post, I was ready to pursue bariatric surgery for weight-loss.  I began to let family and friends know of my intentions and received a lot of support from them.  I made an appointment with my primary care physician for a full physical and consult for referral to a surgeon.

The physical and and laboratory tests were an obvious necessity.  I had to be in good enough health to survive the surgery and the stringent weight-loss regimen afterwards.  My appointment was in June and I learned that my weight was at an all time high- 253 lbs.  I was now more than 100 lbs overweight.  At the time of my research, the basic criteria for surgical candidates was at least 100 lbs overweight or 75 lbs overweight plus at least one weight-related health problem.  My weight-related health problems consisted of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma, borderline level of glucose for diabetes, and chronic muscle and joint pain and fatigue.  I was physically a candidate.  Next, my doctor had to determine if I was mentally a candidate.

I was told that one measure of success following surgery was to lose 10% of my body weight while under physician supervision.  I would have to lose 25 lbs before I could move on to the next step in the approval process.   I was also required to meet with a dietitian, fill out a lifestyle questionnaire, and a mental health questionnaire.  The questionnaires were extensive, about 18 pages in all.  If the mental health questionnaire revealed any issues then I would have to meet with a psychologist.  Once those processes were completed then I would be re-evaluated by my primary care physican and a referral request for a bariatric surgery consult would be submitted to my HMO.

I began those processes fully committed.  I understood that surgery was not a cure, but a tool to help me manage my weight in a healthy way for me.  I began the weight-loss process and chose to use the South Beach Diet and exercise.  I chose the South Beach Diet because it is based on the glycemic index and everything I understood about nutrition indicated that it was a very healthy diet.  I also believed that it was a diet that I could use post-surgery to manage my eating.  It took me three months to lose the 25 lbs.

I met with a nutritionist who reviewed my nutrition questionnaire with me.  The meeting lasted approximately one hour and I was told that my understanding of nutrition was sufficient to be approved for the surgery.  My psychological questionnaire and lifestyle questionnaire did not indicate that I needed a face to face meeting with a psychologist. 

Once those preliminary items were completed, I returned to my primary care physician.  He reviewed the check list and submitted the request  for the surgical referral. 

to be continued...

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