I went to a brilliant weight loss surgery conference in September 2018, the Australian New Zealand Metabolic and Obesity Surgery Society Conference (ANZMOSS) in Melbourne.
With a packed program of local and international speakers, nutrition and weight loss outcomes were high on the conference agenda and program.
I was pleased to see the key topics and issues addressed during the conference are not only covered in my book, The Gastric Sleeve Guide, but they are also up-to-date.
Below is a summary of the key messages from the conference. At the end of each, you will see which pages in The Gastric Sleeve Guide match the topic. If you want more detail from the conference, send me an email with your question.
1. Be realistic about how much weight you expect to lose. No one can predict how much you will lose. Australian Bariatric Surgeon, Dr Ahmad Aly, observes that weight loss seems to settle at about 30% excess weight lost. Others indicated that this settling point can be pushed much further out to 50% and more. It is not a final set point. What is possibly more important is to track your rate of weight loss. Early substantial weight loss is a sign of a good response to surgery. Page 11.
2. Have regular blood tests to check your nutritional health. US Registered Dietitian, Sue Cummings’s keynote conference presentation outlined the key nutrients to be checked. Australian dietitians, Carrie-Anne Lewis and Libby McBride presented separate research that showed critical nutritional deficiencies both before and after different weight loss surgeries. Pages 31-33, 52-53.
3. Maintain lifelong contact with your support team to get the best results. Dr Tony Brancatisano, Australian Bariatric Physician, Surgeon Ruth Blackham and other speakers highlighted the need to return for life-long follow-up monitoring and advice. Dr David Schroeder, NZ Bariatric Surgeon, has a philosophy of continuous care and agreed support is needed most when weight regain emerges. Pages 10, 52, 147.
4. Look beyond the scales to measure your success and see whether your expectations have been met. Psychologist, Kylie Murphy explored expectations beyond numbers on the scales. Pages 25, 134, 140.
5. Push past weight loss plateau and set-point. To do this, eat foods that nourish your body and reduce hunger. Be consistent and persistent. Pages 55-85.
6. Protect muscle mass and prevent weight regain with exercise and adequate protein. Muscle wasting was detected during the preparation for surgery (meal replacement phase. Pages 36-39, 93-99, 114-120.
7. Monitor yourself. It is super-important for long-term results. Leah Brennan, Psychologist and Sue Cummings both stressed this aspect to improve results and reduce risk of future weight regain. Pages 53, 120, 123, 135-138.
8. Pay attention to non-surgical factors that impact on progress. After the early ‘easy’ weight loss, the harder work starts for you. Several speakers spoke of the honeymoon phase after weight loss surgery. This early time is when everything is going smoothly, the weight is falling off without much effort from individual. But the honeymoon has to end and when it is over, the sleeved person needs to step up their input and attention to food choices, activity, mind matters and sleep. Pages 14, 18-29, 47-50.
9. Reduce risk and level of weight regain. Weight regain is not unusual and can be managed by working together. The effect of surgery wears off with time and there may be physiological adaptation as well. Surgery is not perfect. Revisional surgery is technically more difficult and not the first option after weight regain appears. Dr John Jorgensen, Bariatric Surgeon, along with others stressed that lifestyle management (i.e. your food and activity choices, your emotional wellbeing) remains core to reducing weight regain because surgery is not perfect and does not work in isolation. In addition to lifestyle management, your GP or bariatric physician can add weight loss medications to help reverse weight regain. Pages 143, 144, 147.
Now to the advice I might add.
I strive to ensure my books are cutting edge with the best advice possible so if there is one piece of advice I might add in the book, it is within my section about weight regain.
I discuss why weight regain happens and share with you 10 key tips to help keep your weight in check. Pages 143, 144.
I would add this final tip to this list:
#11 Ask about weight loss medications to further control hunger.
Weight loss surgery is a tool that takes hunger away but it seems to lose power as time goes by. If your hunger returns and it is not curbed by applying the first 10 tips, the addition of weight loss medications is a helpful option. Speak with your GP or Bariatric Physician about whether these are medically suitable for you.
If you already have The Gastric Sleeve Guide but haven’t looked at it recently, dust it off and dip into it again, one chapter at a time. You will be surprised at what you didn’t notice on the first read or have forgotten as the months and years have hurried by. Not every piece of information is important or relevant when you first read it.
If you haven’t got a copy of The Gastric Sleeve Guide, you are missing out on a stack of useful advice that will help you be the best you can be and get the best results. I’ll admit I am biased but this conference’s content and feedback from surgeons and dietitians confirmed how valuable and up-to-date the book is for anyone who has a sleeve.
You will benefit from proven tips, techniques and tools central to long-term success after gastric sleeve surgery.