Weight loss surgery (WLS) is frequently perceived as an easy means to weight loss that requires little or no effort by the patient. However, patients who undergo bariatric surgery are prescribed Four Rules of dietary and lifestyle management that they will follow for the rest of their life if they wish to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight. All surgical weight loss procedures including gastric bypass, adjustable gastric banding (lap-band) and gastric sleeve, promote weight loss by decreasing energy (caloric) intake with a reduced or restricted stomach size. The small stomach pouch is only effective when a patient rigorously follows the Four Rules: eat a high protein diet; drink lots of water; avoid snacking on empty calorie snack foods; engage in daily exercise.
As part of their introduction to a bariatric program most patients are taught the Four Rules, which tend to be consistent from one bariatric program to the next. Many patients agree to follow the Four Rules which will work in concert with their surgically altered stomach and digestive system to bring about rapid massive weight loss. Some patients mistakenly believe they can return to the eating and lifestyle habits they practiced before surgery once they have lost the desired amount of weight. However, patients who return to their pre-surgery lifestyle and diet often fail to achieve full body fat loss and frequently regain much of the weight they initially lost.
For patients to lose all of their excess weight and maintain that weight loss they must follow the Four Rules for the rest of their life. Before undergoing any surgical procedure for weight management one must be fully aware of the Four Rules and willing to commit to them for life. Below is a quick look at each rule as it applies to WLS patients:
Nearly a half-million Americans this year will undergo some form of bariatric surgery for the treatment of their morbid obesity. Surgical intervention is proven to be the best treatment for many people in affecting long term weight loss and weight management. However, surgery does not work alone. Patients who are compliant with the Four Rules of dietary and lifestyle change are most likely to enjoy improved health and mobility following a bariatric intervention.