Friday, May 13, 2016

Eye of the Beholder

It's a bit of a cliche to say that perception is everything, but it is an awfully big part of just about everything we do in life. At Dr. Feiz & Associates, we are particularly concerned with, naturally, how people perceive food and representations of food. We were thinking about this as we contemplated a picture of a pile of cheeseburgers and fries that accompanied a recent Facebook post.

Here's what interesting: While the picture clearly was meant to be less than appealing, it was before lunch and we found ourselves thinking about those cheeseburgers in a way that was clearly not intended. That, in a nutshell, is the problem that obese people have. We might know intellectually very well that certain kinds and amounts of food are very bad for us and, over time, will make us less happy as well as less healthy, but their short-term appeal overrides just about everything...even if we know the foods themselves might not even taste particularly good!

Fortunately, it's those kind of impulses that procedures like the gastric sleeve can help us deal with. Like all forms of bariatric surgery  it makes the available stomach area a great deal smaller, making overeating acutely uncomfortable. However, by removing roughly 75-85% of the stomach itself, it also greatly reduces the production of an appetite stimulating hormone called ghrelin. While patients still have to do a great deal of the work of weight loss on their own, reducing the number of powerful brain signals which cause us to be driven to eat food that we would be able to easily avoid if we were in our right mind, is an enormous help.

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