Weight Loss - Lowering Your Weight Set-Point

By Dr Craig Taylor

An Introduction to Weight Loss Surgery

Having a chronic weight problem can be a really difficult struggle. Not only does the extra weight cause health problems and reduce quality of life, but people who suffer from obesity are frequently made to feel shame and guilt by society as if it is their fault.

At the Mater we know that obesity is a genuine medical condition. Modern medical understanding views obesity as a disorder of chronic metabolism and energy balance, often with a genetic pre-disposition. We now know that everybody has a pre-determined weight set-point, and that trying to lower your weight below your set point by dieting alone simply doesn’t work. This is why your weight rebounds back to its original level so quickly after trying a diet.

Modern weight loss surgery, also called Bariatric and Metabolic surgery, lowers the weight set point. It is currently the only treatment that can do this, mediated through a number of complex mechanisms including changing gut hormones, gut bacteria, and the feedback pathways between the gut, brain, pancreas, and fat tissues. This is the fundamental difference between a diet and weight loss surgery, and why surgery works so well. For example, the hormone Ghrelin is lowered after a sleeve gastrectomy, leading to both reduced hunger, and improved function of the pancreas, liver, and fat tissue. And the hormone GLP-1, which is increased after the gastric bypass, directly targets the insulin producing cells of the pancreas, leading to improvement or even resolution of Type-2 diabetes along with reduced appetite.

Although all patients achieve some degree of weight control through surgery, weight regain can still occur long term if improvements are not also made to dietary habits, comfort eating tendencies, and activity levels. This is why it is crucial that patients having weight loss surgery are committed toward improving their ways, and receive regular and ongoing support from dietitians, psychologists, and physicians. At the Mater we recognise the importance of this multi-disciplinary support after weight loss surgery; all of our surgeons provide you with comprehensive care in the months and years following your surgery to ensure you not only enjoy short term results but also have the very best chance of long term success. 

Dr Craig Taylor
Dr Taylor is a specialist in Bariatric (weight-loss) and Laparoscopic gastrointestinal surgery who has worked at the Mater for 12 years. He is the Director of OClinic in North Sydney, a team of expert weight loss dieticians, bariatric physicians and psychologists.

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