Something to Consider Before Undergoing Weight Loss Surgery

Jennifer O'Donnell-Giles | April 13, 2016

To reach and maintain a healthy weight, it is important to eat a balanced nutritious diet and exercise regularly. For some people who have struggled with obesity for long periods of time, weight loss surgery may seem like a necessary jumpstart to a healthier weight and a healthier life. However, going through with the surgery is only half of the battle and the dietary changes that follow the procedure can prove to be even more challenging when they’re not met with a strong support system.

A study from Ohio State University showed that married individuals who had weight loss surgery shed fewer pounds and were less likely to meet their one-year target weight than their single counterparts. Furthermore, these studies have found that some of the marriages deteriorated over time. These findings suggest that it is crucial to have a supportive social circle made up of friends and family members who fully understand the importance of dietary changes and recommended fitness regimes following a weight loss procedure.

As with any major lifestyle change, weight loss surgery can cause a shift in routine which can increase stress for the patients and the people in their lives. A researcher from Ohio State wrote, “Food is so central to family routines and celebrations, and when you undergo surgery that so vastly impacts your ability to eat as you did before.” Family members are not always quick to accept these changes, which can make the weight loss journey very difficult both physically and emotionally.

By being more open about these lifestyle changes, patients can see less conflict in their relationships and more progress in their weight loss efforts. With more research on the physical and emotional effects of weight loss surgery, we will soon have more tools to better educate patients and their families to manage the stresses that come with a dramatic lifestyle change.


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Jennifer O'Donnell-Giles

Jenn Giles, R.D., C.S.S.D. is all about health and wellness. She has over 15 years’ experience, including a dual master’s degree in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology from Columbia University. She is a Registered Dietitian (RD) and a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD). She supplements all of this with her spin instructor certification and USATriathlon Level I Coach Certification.

Jennifer is passionate about (actually, obsessed with) the sport of triathlon. She has been personally participating in triathlons since 2000 and running road races since 1992. She is a two-time Ironman finisher and has completed countless numerous marathons. She has been a member of Power Bar Team Elite since 2006 and competed as a member of the 2006 Aquaphor/Active.com Sponsored Athlete Team. She was ranked as USAT All American Honorable mention in 2006 and 2011. Jennifer does all of this along side of her husband, Patrick, who is an equally accomplished triathlete and runner. They try as hard as they can to do all of their training and racing together.

She will tell you, however, that her most important, most rewarding and most challenging job is as a mother of four. She knows first hand the challenges of maintaining optimal fitness, overall good health and achieving goals while raising a family - of which good nutrition is the cornerstone.

Most importantly, she knows how to motivate, inspire and challenge athletes based on their own abilities, strengths and everyday lifestyles. She believes there is an athlete in everyone - no matter what their abilities are – and if those abilities are manifold, then there is an even better athlete in there!

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