Post by Lindsey Sharp, M.D. of Rex Bariatric Specialists. Dr. Sharp was recently selected as the new Medical Director of Bariatric Surgery services at Rex Healthcare and he is excited to further expand the Excellence in Bariatric care at Rex Hospital.
Often times patients focus on their weight after bariatric surgery. How much weight have I lost this week, how much this month? But, weight is only one way to measure success.
In terms of health, risk of diabetes, HTN, cardiovascular disease is often linked to an individual’s percent body fat. The higher the percent body fat, the higher the risk. Body mass index (BMI) is a surrogate for body fat, as they often correlate. For example, a higher BMI often means a higher percent body fat. It is much easier to calculate your BMI is you have a standard weight scale, compared to needing a specialized scale to measure percent body fat.
When individuals start exercising or dieting, their bodies start to change even before their weight changes. The weight may not change, but you may be losing fat and gaining muscle and water. Taking measurements of your waist, hips, thighs, and arms can show you that your body is changing during periods of plateaus.
As individuals lose weight or reduce their percent body fat after bariatric surgery, there may also be improvements in cholesterol, blood sugars, blood pressure, etc.
So, when measuring how successful you have been after surgery, consider more than just how much weight you have lost. Look at other factors like body measurements, percent body fat changes, and improvement in medical conditions and overall quality of life. Remember, it’s not just what you weigh, but what you’re made of.