This weeks marks National Obesity Week, and in El Paso, Las Palmas Del Sol Healthcare wants the community to know about bariatric surgery and the impact it has made on many lives.
Weight loss surgery is when the size of the stomach is reduced with a gastric band or through removal of a portion of the stomach or by resecting and re-routing the small intestine to a small stomach pouch.
Dr. Jorge Acosta, a bariatric surgeon at Las Palmas Del Sol Healthcare, said there is a lifelong commitment post surgery.
“It does require for patients to adjust to a new lifestyle,” Acosta said.
Celia Tahuahua underwent surgery in 2007.
“I had to be in a wedding, and I tried a bridesmaid’s dress and just burst down into tears and said ‘this is it.’ I’m going to be in the wedding, but after this no more,” Tahuahua said.
She said the surgery has changed her life in so many and now she has the energy and confidence to continue a healthier and more active lifestyle.
“The best part of this is being able to ride my bike for miles, come home and feel good,” Tahuahua said.
Melissa Whitman said she made the decision to undergo bariatric surgery about a year and a half ago.
Obesity affects nearly 40 percent of Americans and Whitman no longer wanted to be a statistic.
She said she was a ‘yo-yo’ dieter who tried various ways to lose weight fast, but the weight always returned.
While bariatric surgery has given her a new outlook on life, Whitman said it is not a quick fix, like many people believe.
“It’s not the easy way out, it’s a commitment and a lifestyle change,” Whitman said.
Whitman calls the surgery a tool that was given to her to help her maintain the weight off.
Both women agree that temptation is the hardest thing to overcome because there will always be unhealthy foods they come across.
Dr. Acosta said one of the best candidates includes someone who is consistently 80 to 100 pounds overweight.
He said anyone considering the procedure should keep in mind that it comes with risks, just like any other form of surgery
Candidates should be aware that they will have to supplement for the rest of their lives, along with a strict diet regimen.
Tahuahua said she had to remind herself with notes to take her daily vitamins.
The Las Palmas Del Sol Bariatric Clinic holds monthly seminars to learn more about the surgery.
“This is far from easy and takes a lot of work. You have to be committed to be successful,” Dr. Acosta said.
Dr. Acosta encourages potential patients to do their research before deciding to undergo the procedure.
He said the clinic offers various resources, including a psychologist, for patients going through the process.
For more information on weight loss surgery, call Las Palmas Del Sol Healthcare at (855) 734-2468.