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Interpreting Your BMI

BMI Weight Category
Under 18.5 Underweight
18.5- 24.9 Normal
25 - 29.9 Overweight
30 - 34.9 Obese
35 - 39.9 Clinically Obese
40 or greater Morbidly Obese

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a general indicator of whether or not you are maintaining a healthy weight based on the ratio of your weight to your height. It’s an imperfect scale as it doesn't account for differences in body types. For example, a 5 foot 9 inch bodybuilder who weighs 215 pounds and has a 6% body fat would be labeled obese. And there is already a new scale just for people from Southeast Asia where the ranges are lowered.

While it can be a good indicator of the healthiness of your weight if you fall within certain statistical norms that were used to develop it, it should be taken with a significant grain of salt and should not be used as a substitute for a professional evaluation of your health by a doctor.

Contact Us

Center for Weight Management
Two locations:

20 Research Place
North Chelmsford, MA 01863

203 Turnpike Street
2nd Floor
North Andover, MA 01845

Contact Us Form

Phone: 978-788-7200
TTY: 978-937-6889
Phone: 877-LGH-WELL

What to Expect for Bariatric Surgery

There will be many steps ahead toward reaching your goals for surgical weight loss. While your program will be uniquely designed just for you, here are some of the things you can expect along the way.

The Steps in Our Surgical Weight Loss Program

Taking you through each step of the way

  • Schedule your initial consultation to review your health history and determine what testing and appointments will be required
  • Attend a Group Nutritional Session, where you will get your first appointment for an individual dietary evaluation
  • Meet with the mental health provider for your psychological evaluation
  • Meet with your bariatric surgeon to discuss your procedure, risks and benefits
  • Attend at least 3 support group support group meetings
  • Complete all x-rays and tests and see any specialists that is recommended

Please keep in mind this process will take at least 2 - 3 months before you have surgery. This is a big step you are taking. Your preparation and the many stops along the way will bring you to your ultimate goal safely and well-prepared.

Initial Consultation

After making your appointment for the initial consultation, you will be sent an intake questionnaire. This will be important to complete since your initial consultation will review your complete medical history. At this appointment you will also have a chance to have many of your personal questions answered. Based on your meeting with our provider, she will determine what testing is required for you prior to surgery.

Blood work, X-rays, and any cardiac or pulmonary testing that is specific for you will be ordered. You will also be given appointments for evaluations by a psychologist, dietitian and your primary care physician.

We may also request that you see a pulmonologist (lung doctor) or cardiologist (heart doctor). This decision will be based on your past medical history and or any of the results obtained from your initial testing.

Surgery Prequalification

In addition to the basic information gathered about your health history, you should expect the prequalification process to include a series of tests. You also will meet with a nutritionist, psychologist, and other support staff members in sessions leading up to surgery.

Mental Health Consultation

As a requirement of this program, you will have a psychological evaluation with our Mental Health Provider. The psychologist will review your psychological appropriateness and readiness for this surgery. During your visit she will review your present lifestyle, what type of support network you have, any depression or anxiety issues you may be dealing with, and what kind of stresses you may face after the surgery. If you already have a therapist, the psychologist will ask for your permission to speak with him/her. You will also be required to attend at least three support groups prior to the surgery and commit to monthly support group attendance for at least one year after surgery.

Nutritional Evaluation

After the initial meeting at the Patient Information Session, you will need to attend a Nutritional session to schedule an appointment for a nutritional evaluation. Your dietitian will ask you about your eating habits and will develop an individual eating plan for before and after surgery. You will see the dietitian at least twice prior to surgery.

Meeting with Your Surgeon

You will be given an appointment for a consultation with one of our bariatric surgeons, Dr. Jiser, Dr. Shen, or Dr. Shore, who will review the surgery with you and address your questions and concerns. He or she will also review the tests that you have had. Any additional testing or appointments that we may require will be determined at this meeting with the surgeon.

You may wish to print a list of questions for your surgeon.

Preparing for Surgery

Bariatric surgery is like other major surgeries. You can best prepare by knowing the benefits and risks of surgery and by closely following your doctor's instructions.

Mentally prepare yourself

  • Understand the surgical process and what to expect afterward.
  • Keep in mind that you'll never be able to eat the way you did before, and that you'll have to watch the way you eat for the rest of your life.
  • Talk to people who have had bariatric surgery. Attending three or more support groups before surgery is a good way to prepare yourself.
  • Write a letter to yourself and your surgeon explaining your reasons for having bariatric surgery and outlining your plans to maintain your weight loss after surgery.
  • Start a journal. Record how you feel now, the challenges you face, and the things you hope to be able to do after bariatric surgery.
  • Get a letter of support from your family. It helps to know you have people behind you, waiting to help.

Physically prepare yourself

  • It is critical that you follow the guidelines that your doctor gives you. The guidelines will be based upon your procedure, your personal profile, and other factors. You want to ensure your best outcome and the guidelines will help you do your part.

Read our Getting Ready for Surgery Guide.

Post-surgical expectations

After gastric bypass surgery, the amount of food that you eat is less than what you could eat pre-surgery. At the same time, a feeling of satisfaction, or satiety, is achieved with these small quantities of food. If you eat a large meal or foods high in fat and/or sugar, you very likely will have a painful physical reaction. This "dumping syndrome" response provides a deterrent to large meals and unhealthy foods.

The actual weight a patient will lose after the procedure is dependent on several factors. These include:

  • Patient's age
  • Weight before surgery
  • Overall condition of patient's health
  • Surgical procedure
  • Ability to exercise
  • Commitment to maintaining dietary guidelines and other follow-up care
  • Motivation of patient and cooperation of their family, friends and associates

In general, weight loss surgery success is defined as achieving loss of 50% or more of excess body weight and maintaining that level for at least five years. Clinical data will vary for each of the different weight loss procedures mentioned on this site. Results may also vary by bariatric surgeon. Ask your doctor for the clinical data stating their results of the procedure they are recommending.

Support along the way

Your multi-disciplinary team at the Center for Weight Management and Bariatric Surgery will provide you with very specific instructions, a nutrition plan, exercise recommendations, and other follow-up and supportive care to help you through the days, weeks and months that follow surgery. We are here to help you on this journey and you should contact your counselor any time you have questions or concerns.

You'll find support groups helpful both before and after surgery, as you can discuss concerns and hear from other patients who have gone through bariatric surgery. It is a good way to understand what lies ahead and think about how you can prepare for your own experience.

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