What if I lose too much weight?
Last Updated on October 18, 2023
If the most common question my patients ask during their initial consultation is “how much weight will I lose?”, “what if I lose too much weight?” is a close second. This fear is understandable—many patients have heard horror stories of weight loss surgery performed decades ago or in other (less regulated) countries—but it’s one I’m happy to dispel.
Over the years, I’ve found that the most effective way to help alleviate my patients’ fears is to help them understand that the same mechanisms that have been keeping them overweight will also ensure that they don’t lose too much weight. We already know that when you are overweight or obese, your “natural” weight has reset at this higher range. When you then start to lose weight through dieting, your body works to bring you back up to this “new normal” by doing things like slowing your metabolism, producing hormones that make you feel hungry, encouraging bingeing behaviours, and increasing food cravings.
When you undergo bariatric sleeve surgery, these mechanisms are effectively bypassed, and your “natural” weight resets at a lower point. In the first weeks following surgery, patients begin to see their weight decrease dramatically in order to reach this new natural point, and they start to get scared that their weight may be coming down too fast. But as they approach that “new normal”, they’ll notice the weight loss begins to slow, and in time settles at their new “natural” weight.
Wile it’s not impossible to lose too much weight as a result of bariatric sleeve surgery, it is extraordinarily rare and usually a result of one of two circumstances:
A rare complication.
In very rare circumstances, a patient may have a complication following surgery that causes a blockage or narrowing of their sleeve that prevents food from properly passing through the sleeve. If this isn’t addressed and corrected, it can result in food intolerance and result in excess weight loss.
A pre-existing eating disorder.
In patients who have previously struggled with eating disorders—particularly anorexia and bulimia—it’s possible for gastric sleeve surgery to trigger past behaviours. Because the surgery results in a decreased appetite and a reduction in the amount of food one can eat, it can sometimes encourage a resurgence in restrictive and purging behaviours. In these cases, it’s not the surgery itself that causes too much weight loss, but the impacts of these psychological struggles.
During your initial consultation, I will review all risks and concerns—no matter how rare—in great detail. Contact us today to learn more.