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Who Will Lose Weight and Keep It Off

By Carl A. Weiss, III, MD PhD FACS

Is there a way to determine ahead of surgery who will lose weight and keep it off? Well, it’s hard to say. But one thing’s for sure, your ability to make lasting changes in your lifestyle is the best predictor of your success.


What are the secrets to success? Who will achieve their weight loss goals and regain quality of life? We have no way of determining this ahead of time. There is a large volume of scientific data that can determine the exact likelihood of you losing weight and keeping it off without bariatric surgery—and the odds are not good. Sadly, there’s a 99 percent chance you will fail. The odds are certainly not in one’s favor that a person will not have long term success when trying to lose weight with diet and exercise alone. In contrast, with bariatric surgery in conjunction with focused emphasis on successful behaviors (quality nutrition, support group participation, regular exercise) we feel that patients have closer to a 75% likelihood for success. The focus after any surgical intervention for weight loss has to remain on behavioral change. We know that old habits die hard and using the behavioral model well established for other self destructive type of behavioral patterns (drugs or alcohol abuse for example) participation in some type of regular group discussion is also key to successful behavioral change.


These are important behavioral principles that we emphasize on a daily basis. The patients who put these thoughts into action are almost invariably the ones who achieve all their goals and experience the fulfillment that comes with overcoming a seemingly overwhelming challenge that weight loss can present.