The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Gregg McBride Headshot

Is Carnie Wilson the New Poster Child for Why Invasive Weight Loss Surgeries Might Not Be the Answer?

Posted: Updated:

I admit it. I've begun to wonder if singer Carnie Wilson's aim is to become the poster child for people (like myself) who don't think that invasive weight loss surgeries are the answer for most people battling excess weight.

According to People magazine, Ms. Wilson had lap bad surgery on Jan. 18 of this year -- even after having gastric bypass surgery 12 years ago. "[This new surgery] was the right decision for me," Ms. Wilson tells People, "And I'm doing really well so far. It's all about taking good care of myself."

Taking good care of herself? Well, if that were true, Ms. Wilson might have tried eating less, exercising more and getting plenty of rest rather than risking her life and health with another invasive weight loss surgery (especially since the first one clearly provided only a temporary fix).

As someone who lost over 250 pounds of excess weight without surgery (or pills or fad diets), I have been somewhat outspoken in regard to what I believe it really takes to permanently lose excess weight. And invasive weight loss surgery isn't necessarily one of the methods. For starters, there have been numerous examples of people undergoing invasive weight reduction surgeries who, as a result, lose the weight quickly and then regain it again. My personal theory on this is that it's because the real issue of excess weight needs to be addressed by paying less attention to what's going on in our stomachs and more attention to what's going on in our heads.

In regard to Ms. Wilson's most recent surgery, Dr. Robin Blackstone recently told MSNBC, "We have to begin acknowledging that obesity is a chronic disease."

Chronic? Maybe. Treatable through surgery? Not necessarily.

People who undergo these surgeries often report that they spend the first several weeks or months after surgery throwing up (because their now reduced stomach sizes cannot hold the same amount of food they are still trying to consume). Just because you can't force down food anymore doesn't mean that you are "cured." This alone proves that the real issue might not have been addressed. And it certainly seems that with enough determination, the stomach can be re-stretched even after one of these types of surgeries. And this is shown to potentially be true by examples like the one Ms. Wilson is setting. Too often we look for the "quick fixes" instead of committing to the hard and challenging work that real and lasting change often requires.

Was it tough and sometimes miserable for me to stick to a common sense diet and exercise program after a lifetime of bingeing to excess (all of which led me to weigh over 450 pounds)? Yes. There were days and even weeks that were pure hell. But I stuck to it -- much like a racehorse with blinders on, never losing sight of my goal. It's this goal -- or reward -- that makes monumental life changes worth working for (and even struggling for). Checking ourselves into surgery doesn't necessarily solve the issues -- nor does it truly test our resolve. What's more, as extremely overweight people, any kind of surgery can be a risk, medically.

Ms. Wilson, a mother of two, previously reported that pregnancy derailed her weight loss efforts. In early January, Ms. Wilson told People magazine, "I've had so much stress in the last year, so it's really a struggle. I'm definitely up in weight."

Finding excuses to overeat is easy. We're all stressed. We're all facing monumental challenges that we can potentially use as excuses to turn to substances (food, alcohol or otherwise) that can harm our health if not consumed in moderation. The trick is to take the focus off of the excuses and, instead, bring the reasons to get healthier to the forefront. These reasons to lose weight (health, happiness, looking damned fine in our skinny jeans) can then excite us and act as true motivators for accomplishing any goal. Sure, it will take time. It will take work. But it will be worth it. And once the goal is met and success achieved, we will know we accomplished it without shortcuts that might require taking more shortcuts in the future.

I wish Ms. Wilson success and health on her journey toward permanent weight loss. But I also wish strong consideration of ways to lose weight other than gastric bypass or lap band surgeries (either separately or 12 years apart) to those facing the battle of the bulge.

For more by Gregg McBride, click here.

For more on weight loss, click here.