House of Paula

Why I Don’t Believe in Gastric Bypass Surgery

Posted on: May 2, 2007

Okay I’ve had 12 hours to sleep on the documentary I watched last night called Fat: What No One is Telling You. Honestly…. I hated this documentary because of the hopelessness they give people. I caught a few bits of the follow up shows they had on my local PBS station. Here’s the blurb from the PBS web site.

Face it: We’re fat. With 66 percent of U.S. adults either overweight or obese, our girth is a serious public health issue. Yet many of us still view being overweight as a character flaw, a lack of self-control, or even a moral crime. But does fat really equal failure? FAT: What No One Is Telling You explores the myriad psychological, physiological and environmental factors that can make it so tough to shed pounds and keep them off.

In this documentary, Executive producer Naomi Boak and producer/director Tom Spain, both Emmy Award honorees, share new scientific knowledge about hunger, eating, and human metabolic operation. This film also explains our psychological responses to food, and shows how external pressures (such as oversized restaurant portions and the unending barrage of food advertisement) make fighting fat so difficult, both on the personal and national levels. FAT’s engaging personal narratives create snapshots of our national struggle with obesity:

  • Meet Rosie Dehli, a Minnesota grandmother, battling to get fit so she can enjoy an active, playful relationship with her grandchild.
  • Meet Mary Dimino, an actress and comedian, in New York, NY, who exemplifies the hard work people must do to lose pounds and stay healthy once they’ve been obese.
  • Meet America Bracho, a public-health professional in Santa Ana, California, who is educating families about nutrition while encouraging her Latino community’s children to move, both in school and at home.
  • Meet Rocky Tayeh, a Brooklyn, New York teenager grappling with the very personal (and highly criticized) solution of undergoing Lap-Band surgery.
  • Meet Dr. Lee Kaplan of Harvard University Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, who is a clinician, researcher and above all an empathetic warrior in the battle against obesity

The voices of these and other real Americans tell the story of the biological barriers, cultural habits, and economic realities that contribute to our nation’s expanding waistline.

Rocky, who’s radio interview I posted yesterday, was one of the central characters in this documentary. And it seemed to back up my impressions of him yesterday – the boy has no self control or discipline – and his family doesn’t help the situation.

I actually liked Mary Dimino. She seemed to have a good square head on her shoulders and realized that it was going to take changes in order for her to see differences. She’s a woman however, that exercises 3 hours a day. America Bracho impressed me as well. She is making changes at the community level in an effort to curb the obesity epidemic. One of her co-workers actually was talking with Latinas about the idea of comfort food.

I did learn some interesting stuff in terms of the medicine. It appears that the digestive tract has its own nervous system and that many of our impulses to eat come from this second nervous system. It also seems that because Gastric bypass surgery cuts the nerves that communicate with the brain, many people have the urge to eat curbed for the first time in their lives. I also learned that music tempo and lighting will greatly effect how much you eat. There were also some interesting bits on portion control and eating 5-6 meals a day.

In one of the after shows, they also talked about the people who have registered as successful dieters. They said that the most successful people changed their lives completely to fit their goals – the people they hung out with, the foods they ate, and many of them went into the training/fitness industry. I can honestly say that I’ve seen that kind of shift in my thinking.

I don’t post as much on one of the boards I hang out on because of how my thinking has changed about food, fitness and the roles it plays in my life. For me, food is fuel, nothing more. I really hate the idea of comfort food, because people are supposed to provide comfort not food. For me, fitness through cardio exercise and weight lifting is a way for me to function in life. I am more focused when I do these activities. For me, reaching my goals in these activities gives me confidence in other areas. And finally, I am seeing a growing focus in my personal writing that talks about being a healthy (mentally and physically) person that is shifting what I want to do with my life – and I am making changes in my life so I can do what I want in the long term with this newfound personal interest.

I don’t want to be a trainer, but I can use my skills as a writer to intelligently discuss what I see and maybe affect people in a way others haven’t previously.


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