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Previous Weight Loss Efforts

A patient’s history of weight loss efforts will help determine their eligibility for bariatric surgery. Most surgeons, and almost all insurance companies, will expect proof that a patient has tried at least a few weight loss attempts before considering weight loss surgery. Weight loss surgery is, in the end, a procedure of last resort and both surgeons and insurance companies take that very seriously.

Proving a history of weight loss attempts will start with a food and exercise journal. As a patient begins to consider weight loss surgery, they should write down their diet and exercise routine on a daily basis for as long as they can. A food journal will be most effective when kept for six months to a year or more, as is often required by many bariatric insurance policies. Keeping a journal of food intake and exercise will also help the bariatric dietitian and surgeon determine what dietary plan is best after surgery, making it all the more important that the food journal is accurate and complete.

Download an example food journal
Download an example exercise journal

Medical Weight Loss:

Some insurance companies, as well as Medicare and Medicaid, will expect the patient to provide proof of physician-supervised medical weight loss. These are programs, varying in cost, that are administered by a medical doctor, usually in conjunction with a dietitian or nutritionist. Medical weight loss programs can be very effective, offering professional supervision over the patient’s dietary plan. Whether or not insurance requires it, a medical weight loss program should be considered before undergoing a weight loss surgery procedure. Some bariatric surgeons offer a medical weight loss program as part of their overall program.

Insurance and surgeon requirements for weight loss history can vary drastically, so it is important that patients speak to their insurance provider as soon as possible when considering weight loss surgery. They should also attend a bariatric surgery seminar or two to learn more.

Once again, patients must remember that weight loss surgery is a procedure of last resort and it is certainly not a cosmetic procedure. Providing a history of weight loss attempts will add credence to the idea that surgery is indeed a medical necessity.

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