Why I chose gastric bypass over a lap band

I read all of the research, carefully considering my options. Ultimately, in 2009 I made the tough decision to undergo a gastric bypass operation, where part of my stomach would be stapled off and then rerouted to bypass a portion of my small intestine, after being overweight my entire life and obese for most of my adult life.

I had lost a lot of weight in college thanks to Weight Watchers (and eating a lot less of my family's delicious-but-fattening Cuban food) but regained almost all of it after I stopped counting my points and started my first job. It was a daily struggle and, as I tried to lose it again, I realized that it just wasn't working for me anymore. Not wanting to spend the rest of my life being overweight or, even worse, constantly yo-yo dieting, I looked for another option. That's when I learned about what weight loss surgery could do for me.


It helped that I had the full support of my parents. It wasn't an easy decision but I made sure to read about all of the different things that could happen, both good and bad. There are side effects with any surgery and, as a new Swiss study reports, the potential for complications after a gastric bypass can be worse. But the study also concluded that a gastric bypass may be better than banding in the long term. And that's exactly why I did it.

I understood that there were more complications for infections afterward, but my Colombian doctor explained that there's also a higher chance of success in the long run. If I was going to do something so drastic to keep myself off the morbidly obese list (though I technically was on the very edge, tipping in the wrong direction), I was going to make sure that I would never get anywhere close to that number on the scale again.

As with any weight loss method, surgery is just a tool. Although I lost 100 pounds in my first year, it's still a daily struggle to keep the weight off. If there's one thing I learned in the past three years, it is the importance of healthy eating and regular exercise in order to maintain my weight loss. These days I watch my portions but still indulge in my ropa vieja con arroz y frijoles, I just make sure that there's a large portion of steamed broccoli or sautéed spinach on the side.

It's difficult to lose weight no matter how you do it, but the biggest struggle is to keep it off for life. At least now I am sure that I can do it.

What is the most extreme thing you have done to lose weight?

Topics: health care  latino health  overweight  weight loss  womens health