Book Review: Life After Gastric Bypass

| March 5, 2008

Reviewed by Giselle G. Hamad, MD, FACS

Dr. Hamad is Assistant Professor of Surgery, Obesity Surgery, UPMC Weight Management Center, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Gastric bypass surgery is a significant step in the lives of morbidly obese patients who struggle with weight loss. Many people with morbid obesity who are considering this procedure have been inspired by others who have lost weight successfully.

Life After Gastric Bypass is a guide not only for patients who are considering gastric bypass surgery, but also for postoperative patients who are seeking nutritional and exercise information. Coauthored by Katrina Segrave, RD, LDN, CSCS and Jerry Wayne, it describes the journey of a gastric bypass patient from the challenges of maintaining weight loss using dietary methods alone, to the preoperative testing and hospital course, and culminating in the improvement in health and quality of life.

Jerry Wayne, a program director in the radio industry, struggled with obesity from childhood. He tried countless diets, but failed to lose weight and keep it off using dietary methods alone. After many frustrating attempts at losing weight and a brief success with Phen-Fen until it was pulled off the market, he read about Carnie Wilson’s success with gastric bypass and became motivated to pursue bariatric surgery. After completing the preoperative testing, including a sleep study that diagnosed him with sleep apnea, he obtained insurance approval for bariatric surgery. Mr. Wayne was then scheduled for gastric bypass surgery with Dr. Chapman at Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville, North Carolina. Mr. Wayne chronicles his preoperative preparation and postoperative recovery with wit and humor. He subsequently underwent body contouring surgery and hernia repair and is now able to run a 5K race. After having lost almost half of his body weight in three years, Mr. Wayne understands that weight loss surgery requires lifelong lifestyle changes, and he is fiercely determined to maintain his weight loss.

Photos of Mr. Wayne before and after bariatric surgery are followed by “before and after” photos of his brother Craig, who lost 148 pounds with bariatric surgery. There are photos and inspiring stories of others who have undergone gastric bypass surgery and descriptions of their motivations to seek surgery.

Mr. Wayne’s success with gastric bypass is in part due to the support of his loving family and friends and the counseling of Ms. Segrave, whom he met at a bariatric support group. Ms. Segrave is a registered dietitian who has counseled over 2,000 individual bariatric surgery patients. She presents a comprehensive nutritional manual for the bariatric surgery patient. She begins with basic nutritional information, including the USDA food pyramid, defines nutritional terminology, and addresses key issues for bariatric patients, such as dumping syndrome, glycemic index, and weight loss plateaus.

Along with a list of six steps for success, there are recipes contributed by David Fouts, a chef who underwent bariatric surgery, and a four-week sample meal plan. Ms. Segrave provides a servings list for protein, vegetables, and carbohydrates and a description of the necessary vitamins and minerals required after bariatric surgery. She describes strategies for dealing with lactose intolerance, nausea, vomiting, constipation, and diarrhea. She also provides tips on dining out. In the appendix, there is a bariatric food pyramid and a sample nutritional label.

Exercise is a critical element for promoting weight loss after bariatric surgery. Ms. Segrave, who is also an exercise specialist and yoga instructor, gives the reader some tips on how to initiate an exercise program and how to maintain the motivation to exercise regularly. Her coauthor has shown a commitment to exercise and there are photos depicting Mr. Wayne demonstrating some core exercises for resistance training. There are also samples of beginner, intermediate, and advanced workout aerobic and resistance programs.

This book emphasizes that gastric bypass surgery is a tool rather than a quick fix. With their guidance, patients will be able to implement the lifestyle changes necessary for successful long-term weight loss. This book is a valuable resource for both recent bariatric patients and long-term postoperative patients alike.

Category: Book Reviews

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