Weight Loss Surgery and Alcohol

I read an article in the Times-Colonist newspaper yesterday that stated: a large percentage of people who have had weight-loss surgery see an increase in drinking alcohol and a lowered alcohol tolerance. Hmmmm. This may explain why I can’t/don’t drink the entire bottle of wine now. I not only save calories but money, too.

“People who had weight-loss surgery reported greater alcohol use two years after their procedures, according to a U.S. study.”
Times-Colonist October 18, 2012

In my early twenties I had an amazing alcohol tolerance. I believe it was/is genetic and the thousands of years of Irishness in my background. I discovered later that my size also affects my tolerance. The bigger I was – the longer it took to get tipsy.

But, with huge (and I’m not exaggerating or just making fun of my size) health issues, I got a sleeve gastrectomy in December of 2010. I lost a lot of weight  very quickly. Of course a near-liquid diet will do that. And for a few months following, only small amounts of soft foods were allowed. Did you know chocolate and milkshakes are considered soft foods? But I was pretty good, stuck to the plan, only ate when I was supposed to (I hadn’t discovered evereating, yet), and even was exercising. But..then I discovered that if I had a drink, repeat, A DRINK, I felt it.

My husband noticed it before I did. He said I was slurring my words more on Friday nights after I’d had two glasses of wine. I, of course, said “NO WAY!” But I was feeling a little lighter-headed than I usually did. Hmmmm. I guess, if there is no food in the almost non-existent stomach and the alcohol went directly to the very absorbent intestines, I WAS feeling it more. But did this make me drink more? No, I can’t say it has. I’ve always been obsessed by alcohol and collect all kinds of neat things; from vodkas with ski jackets and filtered through diamonds to maple syrup liqueurs and almost anything with cinnamon in it.

“The researchers, whose findings appeared in the Archives of Surgery, said it’s possible some patients turn to drinking if the surgery stops their ability to overeat without addressing underlying issues. In addition, certain stomach-shrinking procedures may sharply reduce alcohol tolerance.”
Times-Colonist October 18, 2012

Now, the above comment may be true but… the sample was very small and mostly women. Hell, if we were trying to lose weight before weight loss surgery (WLS) we were most likely drinking less to begin with. So that after surgery (even without the issues that made us obese) we felt we could eat and drink what ever we liked and would still lose weight.

The truth of the matter is: even though we’ve had huge assistance to lose weight from drastic (gastric by-pas) as well as less-invasive surgeries (gastric band), everyone of us needs additional support and on-going exercise, counselling and follow-up. If our body mass index was over 30 and we had been that way for long time no matter what we did to lose weight, the chances are we WERE drinking significantly more to begin with. I guess what this means for those supporting people who have had weight-loss surgery that we may not be aware that we aren’t as alcohol tolerant as we used to be.

Yep, I’m a tool, too!

I thought WLS was the magic bullet. I was mistaken. It’s only a tool  to get to where you want to go. (Yep I’m a tool, too!) I needed and still need help with my weight loss. That’s why I love Dr. Fretz, my family, and all my friends. I appreciate SparkPeople, the WLS site, Dr Amson and his philosophy. Weight loss is not cosmetic for me. It’s essential to my health and if I drink, I drink informed and aware that one drink works like two or three before the surgery. Sigh, a cheap drunk. I’m getting really tired of surveys and studies that discover something we knew in the ’70’s; or that my Grandmother told me when I was a kid. Where has common sense gone? A twitter or hiding on Facebook?

Oh well. I’m going to make myself a low alcohol, medium carb-loaded pina colada. I’ll pretend that it’s Friday night at the Paint Cellar and I’m wearing my cracked-ice disco dress and the 4 inch platform heels (and I wonder why my hips are shot?).

Thanks for listening. ;D Diane

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~ by 1fatgirlshrinking - Diane Kirby on October 19, 2012.

One Response to “Weight Loss Surgery and Alcohol”

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