Okay, so you've tried 'em all. From The Rotation Diet right on down to the Atkins Diet and everything else in between and still, nothing seems to work. The pounds, for whatever reason, refuse to either come off and/or stay off. You worked at each of them, you've exercised, you've deprived yourself of your favorite food for long stretches, you've made countless promises to yourself about picking a regimen and sticking to it but alas, mere mortals that we are, these promises go unfulfilled. You feel self-conscious and maybe a little guilty about your appearance. Your self esteem seems to be waning and you wonder if you've got the will power to subject yourself to yet another grueling test in the struggle to keep the weight off.

For any of you who might have found themselves in this predicament, fear no longer. Thanks to the miracle of modern medicine, a new procedure is available to help you in your struggle. The technical name is "gastric bypass surgery" but it's more commonly known as "stomach stapling" and for the average price tag of somewhere between $17,000 and $24,000, it could be the answer to your prayers.

Originally intended for folks who suffer from severe obesity, stomach stapling has become the latest rage for folks with a healthy bank account (or some damned good insurance!) and some pounds to shed. Last year, over 100,000 of these procedures were performed and from the looks of it, it's gaining in popularity. The procedure was intended to be performed on folks who were 100 pounds or more above their BMI and who had failed at various other weight loss methods but estimates are that over 15 million people can now qualify for the operation.

(Actually, some insurance companies are now willing to pay for the surgery rather than deal with other weight related illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.)

So how does it work?

Well, your friendly neighborhood highly trained surgeon will create a tiny pouch at the top of your stomach right about where it meets up with your esophagus. He or she will then use staples to close off part of your stomach and insert a package that is filled with saline. Believe it or not, the portion of your stomach that remains, will probably only be able to hold 1 to 3 ounces of food at a sitting. At the lower end of your new tummy, an opening of less than inch is made. As a result, the movement of food through your belly is slowed down drastically and you will feel "full" much quicker and with much less food.

Basically, you,re shrinking the amount of space where the food used to go and you are physically unable to eat more than a little at a time. Less food = less calories and less calories = less weight gain. Sounds simple huh?

Well, it's not. After the operation you're going to have to make a conscious effort to change your eating habits. You can forget about foods that are high in sugar or fat since they will rocket through your body at alarming speed. Best stick to those foods that are high in protein. You can probably count on getting a prescription for nutritional supplements to make for the loss in vitamins and minerals.

Yeah, but I'll be skinny, right?

Not right out of the gate you won't. It usually takes anywhere between 10 months and two years to achieve the maximum amount of weight loss. Also, about 1 in 3 folks have to go back and have additional procedures done since they suffer from complications.


Oh yeah. Besides the possibility of infection, some other pleasant side effects might include diarrhea, cramping, hernia, ulcers and blood clots. And then there's always "dumping".

No, no, no, not the euphemism for "taking a dump" so get that out of your mind. When it comes to stomach stapling, the term "dumping" refers to what happens when your little snack passes too quickly into your small intestine. This is especially true if you're fond of sweet foods. Should you happen to experience a bout of "dumping" you can expect nausea, diarrhea (again!), cold sweats, vomiting and the ever pleasant heart palpitations. These after effects usually only last about a half an hour or so and if you start to experience some these, it's best you lie down after doing whatever it is you have to do.

Personal Note

I do know a young lady who has gone through the procedure. As a matter of fact, I ran into the other night over a couple of beers and she claimed she felt great.

So far, in the space of about 15 months or so, she's lost upwards 115 pounds. (Enough to start a whole 'nother person!). We got to talking a bit and she said she suffered through many of the symptoms that I've previously described but that the boost in her self esteem and her satisfaction in her appearance more than made up for any physical discomfort she might have gone through.

For me, I guess the jury is still out. So far, while I am a bit overweight, I've never had to suffer the stares and the self-recrimination many folks seem to have about their physical appearance. Hopefully, I never will but my heart goes out to those who do.


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