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TOPIC: gastric bypass / starvation mode??

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February 1, 2011 2:42 PM
If the "starvation mode" thing is true, why don't gastric bypass patients go into starvation mode?
  3594128
February 1, 2011 2:47 PM
Whose to say that they don't. Starvation mode is basicly slowing down your metabolism. Someone that has greatly restricted their calories by any means is in danger of slowing down their metabolism. A person may feel fine and are able to go to work and sit at their desk all day, but their organs may be going through something completely different. They begin to get sick, malnourished, and lethargic. At this time, they've completely destroyed their metabolism. They have to stay at that low calorie because they did not choose to do anything to speed up their metabolism, through proper diet and an exercise program.
Edited by edorice On February 1, 2011 2:58 PM
  838963
February 1, 2011 2:51 PM
My understanding is that they start with very low calories but build up the size of their stomach capacity to more normal levels, so they don't spend too long on a severely restricted diet. Starvation mode, which is a real bodily response to starving, will only kick in when starvation is prolonged. Additionall gastric bypass patients need to take a host of supplements to keep their bodies full of vitamins and nutrients it can't get when they are in the restrictive mode.

Gastric bypass is an extreme case of changing the body, used in extreme cases. I'm not questioning it's effectiveness but it is a complex process and should not be used as an example for starving oneself to lose weight.
  1971971
February 1, 2011 2:51 PM
I always understood "starvation mode" to mean that my body might be using my muscles for fuel instead of burning off extra fat. So maybe gastric bypass patients do lose some muscle mass along with the fat they lose after surgery?
  3809001
February 1, 2011 2:53 PM
QUOTE:

Whose to say that they don't. Starvation mode is basicly slowing down your metabolism. Someone that has greatly restricted their calories by any means is in danger of slowing down their metabolism. A person may feel fine and are able to go to work and sit at their desk all day, but their organs may be going through something completely differently. They begin to get sick, malnourished, and lethargic. At this time, they've completely distroyed their metabolism. They have to stay at that low calorie because they did not choose to do anything to speed up their metabolism, through proper diet and an exercise program.

Well said
February 1, 2011 2:54 PM
Probably bc it causes your stomach to cut down eatin kinda like while losin weight, your body wants less. Idk how to explain it but I kinda get the idea of it as being that it allows you to eat so much to fill up to a certain point and then it makes you feel full. Gastric bypass patients probably do go into starvation mode, which would be my guess, but just bc your body is goin into starvation mode doesn't mean that you will know that it's goin into starvation mode and for those patients they'd be feelin full and not feel like they are starving. Like ppl who are anerxic don't develop that over night they "train" their bodies to eat only a certain amount that they no longer feel hungry. I don't know how else to explain it. And I am not even sure if you'll be able to understand this explaniation but it's the best I can do to explain it.
February 1, 2011 2:55 PM
I know several people who chose to go with Gastric instead of doing the work it takes to lose the weight. The don't look healthy at all!!! they thought it was an easy fix... started loosing their hair and they looked deathly because their bodies don't absorb the nutrients.
February 1, 2011 2:58 PM
The more fat reserves your body has, the easier it is to survive off of less calories. If you have enough fat, your body will burn that for a while before hitting starvation mode or plateauing. That's why a lot of people find that they can lose pounds in the beginning starving themselves, but it gets harder and harder once you burn some of the fat.
  2766532
February 1, 2011 3:01 PM
Edorice has a point - who says they don't?

The important thing to remember about "starvation mode" is that it is a slowing down of the metabolism, not a complete shut down. People still starve themselves to death. There is a reason anorexics become so ill, and there is a reason they loose so much weight by starving themselves.

The reason we tend to put so much emphasis on starvation mode and its slowing down of weight loss is because for you and I and the average dieter suckered in to temptation all to easily is that we cut our calories significantly only to find that we go into starvation mode and stop loosing weight. Then we get frustrated and think oh hell whats the point and we go back to our old habits. We also rabbit on about it because, you know what I just said above about annorexics becoming ill and people dying of starvation? Yeah...it isn't healthy.

Gastric bypass patients don't exactly have the luxury of quickly dropping back into old habits (what's the point of the surgery after all?). Plus, as I understand it many do have therapy to combat this.

What you also have to realise is that the majority of people getting this kind of surgery are obese to begin with, and most of the evidence out there (and feel free to tell me I'm talking crap because I haven't got the exact articles to hand but this is what I have read time and time again) suggests that the bigger you are, the less likely you are to actually go into starvation mode. We store fat for a reason, to get us through the lean times and stop us from starving to death. With such an abundant supply, of course we don't go into starvation mode. I believe this is also partially the reason that the heavier you are the quicker the weight loss (though that in itself is just a personal theory)
February 1, 2011 3:06 PM
Medically, gastric bypass is used for those who are morbidly obese due to the massive amounts of calories they ingest to become that way. It has to basically be approved by physicians and those patients are then sent to nutritional counselors to help adjust their intakes in a healthy way because the re-sectioning of the stomach becomes roughly the size of an egg.

It does severely limit how much they can eat, but the procedure isn't fail-proof. There are individuals, my step-grandfather included, who underwent the procedure, lost a significant amount of weight in the beginning [enough to begin performing activities to the best of their abilities], but then fall back into old eating habits and patterns and end up stretching out whatever stomach they had left, back into obesity.

My step-grandfather suffered from a massive cardiac infarction, underwent a triple-bypass, suffered another heart attack, the triple became a quadruple-bypass, then he died a week later.

The bottom line is with gastric bypass, its effect on metabolism is short-term in the aspect that the focus is getting weight loss down to a manageable enough number for the patient to begin performing physical activity. The dietitian helps get them focused on introducing nutritionally healthy foods into their diet and making healthy food choices.
  4033053
February 1, 2011 3:12 PM
QUOTE:

I know several people who chose to go with Gastric instead of doing the work it takes to lose the weight. The don't look healthy at all!!! they thought it was an easy fix... started loosing their hair and they looked deathly because their bodies don't absorb the nutrients.

This would be my mom. She's had her bypass done for about 6 years and while yes she is much smaller, it seems like she has more health issues than before. She was even told she needed to have the surgery reversed because she keeps getting kidney stones. But of course she's not because she scared of going back. It's just really sad all the way around for her, but it has taught ME a very valuable lesson.
  4232377
August 12, 2012 9:37 PM
QUOTE:

I know several people who chose to go with Gastric instead of doing the work it takes to lose the weight. The don't look healthy at all!!! they thought it was an easy fix... started loosing their hair and they looked deathly because their bodies don't absorb the nutrients.


And I know several that have lost the weight maintained and not only look healthy and physically fit but are. There are many who are now running 5ks, marathons, and competing in triathalons. I don't know a single one who "didn't do the work to lose weight" it is not an easy fix, it takes a LOT of work.

As for loosing their hair many people do 3 mo. after major surgery it's due to the anesthesia not the surgery itself. Some bypass patients lose hair because they choose not to eat a protein forward diet and don't get enough in, but that is a slim minority.

As for not absorbing the nutrients, they don't from food but they supplement with a vitamin regimen that keeps them on track, it in no way makes them look "deathly".

One should really educate themselves before speaking.
September 10, 2012 9:24 AM
I was going to write something simirlar to this, but I'm glad you did.
  6193557
September 10, 2012 9:29 AM
im a nurse and take care of the aftermath of gastric bypass patients .. the aftermath being a ton of complications that take place . anyone i know personally or through being a patient looks like crap. they dont eat right and they typically do not exercise . their bad habits typically do not change or they try to adjust themselves to continue bad habits such as eat crap in small amounts and still not exercise. most of them gain the weight back too. i was 300lbs and i did it the right way. my way never worked. i found out the right way does work - eat healthier and exercise and drink plenty of water. thats all it takes
September 10, 2012 9:33 AM
QUOTE:

I know several people who chose to go with Gastric instead of doing the work it takes to lose the weight. The don't look healthy at all!!! they thought it was an easy fix... started loosing their hair and they looked deathly because their bodies don't absorb the nutrients.


I know several people who chose to go with Gastric bypass and it was a lot of hard work. They went to classes to learn to eat right and actually lost weight before even having the surgery. They continue to work just as hard as we all do to maintain their loss and they look great.
  5444783
September 10, 2012 9:37 AM
QUOTE:

im a nurse and take care of the aftermath of gastric bypass patients .. the aftermath being a ton of complications that take place . anyone i know personally or through being a patient looks like crap. they dont eat right and they typically do not exercise . their bad habits typically do not change or they try to adjust themselves to continue bad habits such as eat crap in small amounts and still not exercise. most of them gain the weight back too. i was 300lbs and i did it the right way. my way never worked. i found out the right way does work - eat healthier and exercise and drink plenty of water. thats all it takes


nurse here also, dont work with them all the time but i do see patients who have had them, and i agree so many complications cosntant blood tests to see what nutrients the patient is missing, often times they become anemic and lack so many vitamins, yes i have seen good turnouts but more often i see patients slowly increase weight after a few years. they tend to stretch their stomachs out again to almost what it used to be. i think in extreme cases it may be needed for those morbidly morbidly obese where its a live or die situation, but if its jsut due to laziness i dont agree with it
September 10, 2012 10:56 AM
QUOTE:

I know several people who chose to go with Gastric instead of doing the work it takes to lose the weight. The don't look healthy at all!!! they thought it was an easy fix... started loosing their hair and they looked deathly because their bodies don't absorb the nutrients.


If they look that bad, they didn't follow the program which is geared to PROTEIN in the early stages after surgery, nor did they take their vitamin supplements as directed.

People I know that have had the surgery look nothing like that because they followed the program to a "T" and look just as healthy as anyone else that's at a normal weight.
September 11, 2012 9:36 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

I know several people who chose to go with Gastric instead of doing the work it takes to lose the weight. The don't look healthy at all!!! they thought it was an easy fix... started loosing their hair and they looked deathly because their bodies don't absorb the nutrients.


And I know several that have lost the weight maintained and not only look healthy and physically fit but are. There are many who are now running 5ks, marathons, and competing in triathalons. I don't know a single one who "didn't do the work to lose weight" it is not an easy fix, it takes a LOT of work.

As for loosing their hair many people do 3 mo. after major surgery it's due to the anesthesia not the surgery itself. Some bypass patients lose hair because they choose not to eat a protein forward diet and don't get enough in, but that is a slim minority.

As for not absorbing the nutrients, they don't from food but they supplement with a vitamin regimen that keeps them on track, it in no way makes them look "deathly".

One should really educate themselves before speaking.


ITA!! I'm 4 years out from gastric bypass. I've lost and kept off 200 pounds. My labs are good and I look good, dammit. I hate all the surgery bashing. If you choose not to have surgery, that's your choice, but we all have the right to make our own decisions.
  9317994
September 16, 2012 3:29 AM
Right on Laura! Yes, some people fail but a lot more succeed. If you take the time to visit gastric bypass boards you will see that we are told time after time this is a tool. The first year is a honeymoon, after that you have to work for the weight loss and muscle like everybody else. Some people find out they can eat everything like they did pre-op and it takes a lot of willpower to say no.
April 17, 2013 2:26 PM
I had a sleeve gastrectomy done 15 months ago. I have lost 160lbs and have 47lbs to lose to reach my initial goal. I had some hair loss at the 5 month mark, but that was because the first 2-4 weeks after surgery you really cannot get a lot of food in and the lack of protein will cause loss of hair. I was diligent with my whey protein and even now average 100+grams per day. I average 800-1000 calories daily and I work out 6 days a week with Les Mills Body Pump, the Cybex ARC trainer (1 hour), and free weights. I have had many people question my low calories, but I do eat 3 meals and 2-3 snacks a day, and consume over 64oz. of fluids. I believe that "Starvation mode" applies to lean people who may be burning their muscle mass and may be battling an eating disorder. An obese person has the fat stores to burn still and therefore, will not be burning muscle mass during the losing phase. However, I am still considered morbidly obese at 220lbs. I wear size 16 where as a year ago I was a size 30/32. I will need to have some skin removed in the future, but that is par for the course for anyone that has been obese all their life and have stretched their skin out.
To those who think that surgery was the easy way out or "cheating" you need to educate yourself. So someone who is depressed and takes medication is "cheating"? Someone who is trying to quite smoking and uses a patch or prescription medication is "cheating" rather than just quiting? I work my ass off in the gym and I run circles around the "healthy, skinny" people. Everyday I have to plan all my meals and snacks and make sure that my protein, carbs, fats, and sodium are where they need to be. I take calcium and a multivitamin everyday in addition to my food. I have lost 100+lbs in the past without surgery and still could not keep it off. Believe me the dieting was WAAAAAY easier than the surgery. The surgery is a tool not a cure and when ignorant people call it an easy fix it is insulting and infuriating. Go educate yourself before you open your mouth with disparaging comments...BTW I have not had a single complication and my hair has all grown back!!
  20083134
September 4, 2013 11:01 AM
Well said. I'm 19 days out of RNY surgery and down 35 pounds already. I could never do that on a "diet alone" The surgery is a tool to get you started. I weighed over 400lbs to start and could barely move without knee pain. Minus 35 lbs., and now I can walk the dog around the block. The next 35 I'll be walking further. I joined a gym, and as soon as my G-tube is removed, I'll be going every day. It's a life changer for me. I have no complications thus far, and feel great.

People need to realize that fat people don't go into starvation mode. Simply put, fat is stored energy. Restricting calories to 1000 per day while expending 3000 will cause the body to burn fat for energy as long as you stay on a low carb high protein diet. Carbs are the body's first choice for energy...fat is second. Secondly, the gastric bypass "tool" that I mention is the fact that after the surgery, your body temporarily stops producing the hormone ghrelin. This is also known as the hunger hormone. For normal people, levels of this hormone spike around meal time. Gastric Bypass patients don't feel this...at least I don't. After a year after surgery, the pouch is larger and the body starts producing this hormone. This is why people must maintain a healthy diet and not fall back into old habits.
October 21, 2013 1:41 PM
This is a tough one. There is not one answer that is good for everyone. I'm facing the choice of surgery right now. A little background: I have about 140 lbs to loose. I have lost weight before, but had the issue of keeping it off. So the answer everyone today jumps on is weight loss surgery. Most of my friends and family believe I should do this and the doctors all believe I must do this. I also am 37 and have no medical issues related to obesity at this time.

So with that being said, all the doctors think that this tool will help me to loose the weight. Will it help me to maintain it...well that is something for the future. I also believe that is the bigger issue here. While there is huge amounts of money to be made in the weight loss industry, there is very little to be made in the maintenance of the weight industry. Therefore the help is not there. Yes, some programs like weight watchers touch on it, but it is not being addressed properly.

I feel that a lot more emphasis needs to be on the actual maintenance of the weight. Don't forget maintaining weight is a major part of your life time wise. Weight loss is generally only up to 2 years of your life.These discussions needs to be done right away before, during and after the patient looses the weight. It needs to be talked about always. Example: What is your goal weight? Approx how many calories do you need to maintain that weight. How much exercise do you need? What will you do when faced with stress and how will you deal with it? How much will you gain back before you must loose again? Very few ask these questions.

Getting back to the topic at hand, because gastric bypass is essentially a major restriction of calories and well if you are a candidate for it you have plenty of fat, I don't think we need to concern ourselves with starvation mode. Yes the metabolic rate will drop a bit, but that should be least of our concerns. That little bit of drop in metabolic rate is not going to effect overweight patients too drastically. There are some studies out there from Oxford University and Rochester University that did actual tests on this.
  51832809
October 21, 2013 1:47 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

im a nurse and take care of the aftermath of gastric bypass patients .. the aftermath being a ton of complications that take place . anyone i know personally or through being a patient looks like crap. they dont eat right and they typically do not exercise . their bad habits typically do not change or they try to adjust themselves to continue bad habits such as eat crap in small amounts and still not exercise. most of them gain the weight back too. i was 300lbs and i did it the right way. my way never worked. i found out the right way does work - eat healthier and exercise and drink plenty of water. thats all it takes


nurse here also, dont work with them all the time but i do see patients who have had them, and i agree so many complications cosntant blood tests to see what nutrients the patient is missing, often times they become anemic and lack so many vitamins, yes i have seen good turnouts but more often i see patients slowly increase weight after a few years. they tend to stretch their stomachs out again to almost what it used to be. i think in extreme cases it may be needed for those morbidly morbidly obese where its a live or die situation, but if its jsut due to laziness i dont agree with it

I have a friend who did this surgery and is gaining it back - she got down to very good weight - but since has put 40 pounds on. I thought about it but my husband said absolutely not - and I think it was the right call.
  24216885
October 21, 2013 1:55 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

I know several people who chose to go with Gastric instead of doing the work it takes to lose the weight. The don't look healthy at all!!! they thought it was an easy fix... started loosing their hair and they looked deathly because their bodies don't absorb the nutrients.


And I know several that have lost the weight maintained and not only look healthy and physically fit but are. There are many who are now running 5ks, marathons, and competing in triathalons. I don't know a single one who "didn't do the work to lose weight" it is not an easy fix, it takes a LOT of work.

As for loosing their hair many people do 3 mo. after major surgery it's due to the anesthesia not the surgery itself. Some bypass patients lose hair because they choose not to eat a protein forward diet and don't get enough in, but that is a slim minority.

As for not absorbing the nutrients, they don't from food but they supplement with a vitamin regimen that keeps them on track, it in no way makes them look "deathly".

One should really educate themselves before speaking.


I had bypass almost 3 years ago. I am now eating between 1500-1700 calories a day. When you first have the surgery, you eat a very small amount... Like 600-900 calories. This is just for your pouch to heal. Eventually, your stomach stretches slowly, you add more foods to your diet and get sick less... and by that time, the idea is to be involved in a lifestyle where you do not gain the weight back.

I workout 4-5 days a week and log all my food and take my vitamins. I never lost my hair, I never had complications, I never went into "starvation mode". If you follow the plan, as it's intended, you will succeed. Those who don't, will gain it back. Many people find that when they aren't getting sick from the foods they aren't supposed to have, they can just go right back to old habits. A HUGE part of the surgery is figuring out why you got to the weight you were, addressing it, and trying not to repeat your mistakes.
October 21, 2013 2:04 PM
QUOTE:

If the "starvation mode" thing is true, why don't gastric bypass patients go into starvation mode?


Who says we don't?? I'm a year post surgery from gb and my metabolism is so slow and my weight loss stopped at 8 months out--I hit normal BMI at that point and to "ward off" starvation mode, I pick one day a week and try to double my calories with healthy fats, and good high calorie foods, while cutting back on the cardio.
I see too many gb patients gain while eating only 1500 or so calories a day. Our bodies get used to the low calorie and want to hold on that fat storage. I never believed the eat to lose, but you do have to feed your body.
  19278031

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