Friday, April 18, 2014

Body and Spirit

As often happens during this time of the year, two of the world's most important religious celebrations are coinciding.  This week is the ongoing Jewish celebration of Passover, today is Good Friday, and Sunday is Easter.

As the offices of a bariatric surgeon, we obviously concern ourselves with matters that are much more medical and scientific than spiritual. However as we fight the ongoing obesity epidemic, it's not a bad thing to reflect a bit on some of the universal values that, believe it or not, animate a lot of what we do.

What many people don't understand is that a weight loss surgery in Los Angeles or anywhere else is about many things but, among them, are two items most people wouldn't immediately associate with our work: freedom and love. We don't want to directly invoke the religious meanings of this week's holidays but, clearly, the Old and New Testament episodes celebrated this week involve these universal values in a very deep way, and -- in a way -- so does weight loss surgery.

Freedom comes up because the fact of the matter is that seriously overweight people are not completely free. The hormonally-driven compulsion to overeat that only gets worse when people lose weight on their own can feel like almost like a form of enslavement. It's often easy for thinner individuals to sit in judgement of people who are morbidly obese and dealing with issues like type 2 diabetes because they've never really had to struggle with an irrational, but impossible to ignore, drive to repeatedly overeat. People with weight issues don't actually choose to overeat, they are driven to it.

As for love, well, anyone who has performed a job as difficult as surgery might understand what we're struggling to say. Yes, this is what we do for a living, but every time we help a patient by freeing them from the persistent drive to overeat, we are motivated by a drive that goes beyond simply wanting to do a good job on behalf of our patients. We're not sure what to call it, a love of our work and a genuine concern for the people we're trying to help really does play into it, though. Call it what you will.

Have a very happy and peaceful holiday, everyone and, if you or someone close to you is struggling with severe obesity and feels trapped, please feel free to contact us at 310-855-8058.

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