Why Do People Regain Weight After Gastric Bypass Surgery?

Why do people who have elected to have bypass surgery gain weight? I am speaking of gaining weight after the surgery. It should be kept in mind most often that gastric bypass surgery is a last resort to weight loss. Most people who elect gastric bypass surgery have tried all the diets and exercise programs. In fact many doctors will not perform the surgery on people who are not considered dangerously or morbidly obese.

Typically people who have this type of surgery weigh several hundred pounds. The surgery is anything but uneventful. It can be very dangerous. However, let’s get back to our question; why do people once they have gone to this extreme and all the expense gain weight?

The first answer is the post surgical diet is difficult. It is hard to stick to and it requires discipline. What are the one thing people who are obese lack? For the most part the answer is “self discipline.” We are asking a person who has never exhibited self discipline to do so at this point.

After the surgery is completed there is a specified diet for those people. In phase one, they are to have a liquid diet. This consists of broth, milk, sugar-free gelatin and strained cream soup. They are to have very small meals but more meals throughout the day.

After liquids people are to have pureed food. This consists of fish, yogurt and soft fruits and vegetables. Along with these foods people are to drink a lot of water.

In phase three a person who has experienced gastric bypass surgery can move to a soft solid diet. This includes fresh fruit and cooked vegetables. Finally they can go to a regular diet.

Unfortunately all the surgery can do is to limit the size of the stomach. It limits the amount of food that can be held at any one time. Still the surgery can not prevent people from eating more than they should. In addition to the frustration the diet causes, after surgery people may develop depression. Perhaps the surgery did not give them the “look” they thought they would obtain. Perhaps they are battling hunger as much as they did prior to the surgery. Many things can cause depression after a person has had gastric bypass surgery.

Another thing we need to know when we are looking at the reason post surgical patients gain weight is the surgery does not change habits. For whatever reason these people have developed certain habits whether it is due to depression, anxiety or any of the other number of reasons.

Without getting in to the psychological ramifications for which this article does not have enough time or space to examine, we can also remind ourselves if the diet is not adhered to the patient can still gain weight and there will be many complications even if they are not eating the amount of food they use to eat. The stomach is so much smaller it takes much less food to have the same impact as more food did on the original stomach.

There is a reason doctors make patients wait before jumping in to gastric bypass surgery. The patient has to understand that the surgery can only do one thing and that is to give them a jump start on the way they want to look. They are still challenged by everything they are currently challenged by. This includes self discipline and an attitude of self denial. As trends in plastic surgery continue to evolve, it is now easier for medical professionals to inform their patients so they can have sound decision.

I have seen people who have had this surgery not do well because they simply lacked the will power to stay on their new diet.

Suffice it to say the main reason people gain weight after gastric bypass surgery is they still have the same problems that helped make them obese in the first place.


Paola Garcia lives in Jakarta Indonesia. She is an associate professor in University of Indonesia and also managing Scoopinion at the same time. She is also fond of watching theatrical plays.

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