Bariatric Surgery/gastric sleeve

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Question
I know that being over weight can shorten your life spand,but I am also concerned that the operation could do the same. I have 5 children who I love dearly and want to be with them as long as possible. That is the main reason that I am having the surgery. But my mother has me worried about not living as long due to having the surgery. I am aware that there are possibilities of something going wrong during or after any surgery,but will having this surgery shorten my life spand? I know that it is important that I set healthy foods because of the smaller stomach, but if I follow my doctors directions will I live a longer?

Answer
hi april,

it is not within my realm of expertise to know if you will live longer if you do or do not have the surgery.
but research has shown that the health effects associated with obesity include, but are not limited to high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, cancer, sleep apnea and other respiratory problems, metabolic syndrome, and depression.

whether or not you have surgery, if you want to live a long and healthy life it will be important for you to understand the role compulsive eating and excess weight has played in your life.  having the surgery will decrease your hunger and help you to feel full with a smaller amount of food.  however most people who are candidates for weight loss surgery eat at times in response to feelings other than physical hunger. surgery is not a cure, but rather a tool, a first step in your journey to recovery from obesity. long term weight loss requires that you move tending to your physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional health to number one on your list of priorities.  

do you eat when you are stressed, bored, tired, sad, or as a way to connect and celebrate with others? if you
do, you must find new healthy ways of responding to such triggers.

in an effort to help you be more aware of your eating behaviors/triggers try this: before you put anything in your mouth stop and take 2 or 3 deep breaths. this will bring you into the present moment  (so many times when we overeat we are just not paying attention i.e. we are not present). then ask yourself if you are physically hungry. if the answer is "no" then do not eat.  if the answer is "yes" ask yourself how you will feel physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually 30 minutes after you eat that particular food. will it support your quest to have a healthy slender body?  remember this: food is not good or bad or right or wrong. it just has consequences in your body.

most importantly be kind and loving to you... recovery must be grounded in the energy of self love and compassion.  so many times people who are overweight are really hard on themselves ("i can't believe i just ate that, i'm an idiot, i know better, i should do better, i hate the way i look, etc")  if what you want more than anything is to have a healthy slender body and you do something to sabotage that, that's the time you need an emotional hug, not a beating... you need to show up for you the way you show up  and care for your children.


wishing you all the best,
louisa latela
www.liveyourhighestgood.com

Bariatric Surgery

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Louisa Latela, MSW,LCSW

Expertise

I can answer questions related to emotional eating.

Experience

I have been working with persons struggling with food/body/weight issues for nearly 2 decades. I assist people in understanding the role compulsive eating and excess weight has played in their lives, developing new self-nurturing living skills, and learning to see themselves through kind and compassionate eyes. I facilitate a support group for persons who have had weight loss surgery and are at least 10 months post-op. I also run an in-person and telephone support group for anyone struggling to gain control of compulsive eating behaviors (for more information you can visit my website www.louisalatela.com) I am also a My Self Design Program provider (www.myselfdesign.com). I speak to Bariatric Support Groups throughout the tri-state area.

Organizations
National Association of Social Workers Alph Delta Mu: National Social Work Honor Society Academy for Eating Disorders

Publications
I have a column in WLS Lifestyles Magazine: Soulful Living I am an expert blogger for www.lapbandtalk.com and www.wlslifestyles.com I have also had articles published in Beyond Change I've written an e-workbook Live Your Highest Good: Make Peace With your Body and Food. (www.liveyourhighestgood.com)

Education/Credentials
Masters of Social Work from Rutgers University

Awards and Honors
Recognized by Philadelphia Magazine as a "Top Doc for Women in Eating Disorders".

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