Get a free REAL FOOD INGREDIENT GUIDE with clear 'buy this, NOT that' advice in every food category:

Weight Loss, the Right Way {Scary Stories of Bariatric Surgery and Should We “Just Exercise More”?}

weight-loss-right-wayLearn more about weight loss… The right way!

joanieToday meet my sweet friend, Joanie. She’s been the Ventura County, California chapter leader of the Weston A. Price Foundation since 2010, and I know her from the Weston Price conferences through the years (anyone coming to Indianapolis this November I hope?!), and she also helped me get the interview for this post: “Mom, why do we farm, why do we work so hard when you’re going to go to jail?” (She’s good friends with both Victoria and Sharon.) She puts out an amazingly well-written newsletter now and then, which I hope to share more from in the future if she lets me. This topic is on weight loss, the right way…

Weight Loss

Let’s pretend!! Let’s pretend you’re a researcher in a white lab coat and your job is to discover the effect of food on health. So you start the experiment by giving your lab animals food they would never eat in nature. For example, high levels of carbohydrates and sugar. Then you remove most of the nutrients and replace them with hidden chemicals specifically designed to make the denatured food artificially taste better and create cravings to eat more. (The shareholders of the company you work for are delighted and management gives you a raise, but that’s another story…) And lo! Due to the wonders of science, the animals not only eat the food, they eat a lot. And eventually become obese.

Why do they gain weight?

Well… the food is lacking in nutrition, so the animals crave more simply to get a bare minimum of nutrients to function. Very little nutrients with lots of processed carbohydrates makes them gain weight. They are never full because they are not nourished, and consequently begin to develop health problems while continuing to crave more food. So, how can we make our animals lose weight? Brilliant! We’ll perform surgery to artificially shorten their gut and shrink their stomachs so they’ll be forced to eat less. This, my friends, is the “miracle” of weight loss surgery and we are their lab rats… (From Dr. Mercola: Obesity Surgery Even Worse than Previously Thought.)

I’ve known two women who had bariatric surgery. Neither could eat post-surgery. And I mean that literally.

Everything they ate came back up, got stuck, made them nauseated or gave them heartburn. And it wasn’t just that they weren’t eating the right food. With the onset of their post-surgery digestive problems, both women struggled to teach themselves how to eat nutrient-dense foods. Wouldn’t you think that the medical profession would teach all obese patients the rudiments of proper eating choices and nutrition to achieve weight loss BEFORE recommending life-altering surgery? Instead these patients had to learn it after! After surgery these women simply didn’t have the physical space internally and could barely hold anything down, no matter the quality of the food. Ironically, these two were considered success cases because they never chose (or couldn’t afford) to have the band removed. They simply learned to live with their disability.

Tragically, one of these women got pregnant after her bariatric surgery.

The baby was born with multiple birth defects and died shortly after birth. The doctor said the birth defects were due to fetal malnutrition as a result of the mother herself not getting enough nutrients. I know this mother. I know she tried. I wonder if her bariatric surgeon ever warned her about this possible complication BEFORE her surgery? I wonder if there are other young women like her? In fact, nearly 40 percent of patients who undergo weight loss surgery experience major complications, including:

  • difficulty swallowing
  • reflux
  • malnutrition
  • blackouts
  • infection
  • kidney stones
  • bowel & gallbladder problems
  • liver failure and
  • increased risk of death (source)

A study published earlier this year found that:

  • Nearly 50% of patients required removal of their bands
  • Nearly 1 out of 3 patients experienced band erosion
  • 60 percent needed to undergo additional surgery

As such, the researchers had no choice but to conclude: LAGB (laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding) appears to result in relatively poor long-term outcomes. (Also from Mercola: Woman Loses Legs After Weight Loss Surgery.) Since most lap-band centers are located in SoCal, I regularly meet someone who has already had or is considering undergoing bariatric surgery.

That fact only makes it common in our area (for now), and NOT SAFE! (From Natural News: Post Fatalities, FDA Issues Warning to 8 Bariatric Surgery Centers.) So weight loss surgery isn’t a good option. What next? Exercise?

Why “Just Exercise!” Will Never Make You Healthy

You hear it everywhere – in the media, at school, at work, in the doctors office… You’re overweight, tired, depressed and generally don’t feel good? Just exercise! You’ll feel better! That advice is wrong on so many levels. First of all, doc, let’s skip the gym and instead give you an extra 100-150 lbs to carry around. Might that not be enough “exercise” for the day right there? It certainly would make me tired. Second, doctors’ medical school training includes next-to-nothing of nutrition. With no real understanding of or effective tools for obesity, doctors over-focus on the simplest answer: exercise. diet-cureAnd yet, as Julia Ross clarifies so elegantly in her book, The Diet Cure, obesity is fundamentally a condition of malnutrition and brain starvation. Most people in this country – and most especially the overweight – are depressed and exhausted. And when they go to their doctor for help, they’re told, Everything that’s wrong with you is because you’re overweight. Ignore your fatigue and just exercise. You’ll feel better! So they drag themselves to the gym. The problem is, they don’t feel better. They usually feel worse. So telling someone obese to just get out and exercise isn’t wise, how about sugar-free substitutes in our food?

Stevia is Not the Answer Either

And sorry, but the consumption of any kind of no-calorie-low-glycemic artificial sweetener only makes us fatter. Turns out all artificial sweeteners stimulate particular centers in the brain which, in turn, make us crave calories, thus stimulating overeating. (Artificial Sweeteners Gaining Increasingly Bad Press – and for Good Reason.) Here’s a better idea when it comes to sweets… The real key to losing that sweet craving is to control your blood sugar levels by decreasing processed carbs while good fat in the diet. (Get Your Fats Straight!) Most everyone who switches to a Traditional Foods diet remarks on how their desire for sweets falls away effortlessly.FB Sarah book

Every form of diet out there failed this 300lb man.

You name the weight loss program and Richard Morris tried it. And being a person of iron will, he tried and tried and tried again and again… It wasn’t until he replaced ‘dieting’ and ‘counting calories’ with nutrient dense Traditional Foods and regular, not extreme, exercise that he was finally able to gain energy and reduce fatigue while secondarily losing weight.

Get healthy first and the weight loss will take care of itself.

Personally, I do not believe fat people are fat because they don’t exercise enough. Nor do I believe they are fat because they necessarily eat more than thin people.

Issues commonly affecting the obese include:

To learn more about weight loss as an aspect of getting healthier, check out these two books by diet experts: life-unburdened

Joanie Blaxter Founder, Follow Your Gut

Thanks Joanie! By the way, contact Joanie here for health consultations. And for more about eating a traditional foods diet and how to implement this, check out the Kitchen Kop Real Food Ingredient Guide or take the Real Food for Rookies online class.



  1. Actually, when barbaric surgery first debuted, a requirement to qualify for the surgery was for candidates to lose a substantial amount of weight beforehand. This was before the advent of the lapband, so the procedure was irreversible and therefor much more drastic. Doctors wanted to be sure their patients were serious about getting thin, ’cause there was no going back and they could subvert the process by intentionally eating extreme amounts of sugar and fat (and fat was the big concern). Also, the patients were required to be ‘morbidly obese’ and have a track record of failing to lose weight (just put all those characteristics together for a second – say what?). Since the lapband has come along and so many new practitioners are offering it, a lot of that has fallen by the wayside as the doctors prioritize making money over patient health. It’s much like the boom in plastic surgery where suddenly everyone was performing it, with new “experts” turning up all the time. Many people were disfigured as a result. In this instance, people die or are crippled. But the obesity epidemic is so prevalent, and people understand so little about nutrition, that they are willing to risk it.

    • This is exactly what I was thinking. I’m in the Northeast, so bariatric surgery is not as common as SoCal, but I know a few people who have had it. All of them had to commit to nutrient-dense, low-carb diets, and prove they could stick to it – before the doc would agree to the surgery. But all of these folks had the surgery 8 or more years ago. The standards may have relaxed since then, and that’s a shame.

      I will also say, for people who are serious about losing weight, there are really 3 factors involved: eating wholesome food, not eating too much food, and exercise. My husband counts calories, and has successfully lost and kept off a significant amount of weight. Because he tracks his calories, it has made him far less likely to choose nutritionally empty foods, because he knows they won’t keep him satisfied – he knows that real foods will work better (and often taste better) BUT he still wants to know how many calories he’s consuming because it’s too easy to overdo. It’s hard to adjust your brain to eating the right amount of food when you’ve been an over-eater from childhood and everything in our culture pushes you to eat huge portions.

  2. I had weight loss surgery in 2010. I have lost 150 pounds. Have had no ill effects. After doing a lot of years of research I found the same information you did. However you are missing a very big piece of information. There is another surgery that you don’t discuss. it is a gasterectomy, or Gastric Sleeve. With this surgery there is no moving of or shortening of intestines, your body does absorb nutrients so you don’t have the problems that are associated with the other surgeries. No Banding, to have to re adjust.
    I advise everyone who asks me about weight loss surgery to do their own research as to what is best for them. And to look at every kind of surgery that is out there before making a decision.

  3. Reflux can cause HUGE dental issues–loss of enamel and tooth loss due to bone/jaw instability from lack of minerals.

    Loss of weight doesn’t equal health. A perfect example was a woman I knew who only ate bagged snacks and diet pop after her bypass. She was thinner but still very unhealthy.

  4. Wait! What’s in Indianapolis in November? The WAP conference ad on your sidebar says Houston in March? I live just north of Indianapolis, so if there’s going to be a WAP conference (and you – Kelly – will be there) here, I’m DEFINITELY going! Ever since I read about you helping Sarah Pope’s son get good fat-laden foods at camp, I knew you were someone I’d have to meet someday (even if it had to wait until we meet in heaven).

    • Jennifer, you are so sweet, I’d love to meet you, too, as I know you’ve been a faithful reader friend for a while now! :)

      Yes, the *National* conference is in Indianapolis this November!!!!! The one coming up in Houston is another regional conference.

      So let’s plan on getting together!


  5. I’ve know many people who’ve had gastric bypass and one who has had the lap band. Only one with gastric bypass has maintained her weight loss over the years, but she exercises daily and goes to Weight Watchers regularly. The others lost a lot, then gained it back. The woman with the lap band didn’t lose weight. I’ve had my own lifelong struggles with weight, trying every diet ever known and exercising to the extreme. I’ve been a healthy weight for a few years now thanks to hcg (not recommending this extreme choice for others, but it worked for me). Eating WAPF-style didn’t help me lose an ounce, but it definitely helps me maintain my weight now. And it makes a huge difference in how I feel.

  6. Hi Kelly. Great post! Sadly, most doctors don’t know the proper rudiments of eating choices and nutrition. They regurgitate the same debunked diet advice that has become sacrosanct dogma in the nutrition world– adopt a low calorie, low fat diet. That diet, which is naturally high in carbs actually perpetuates obesity and is unsustainable because it keeps you hungry and starves the body of micronutrients. When will the medical establishment wake up to the truth about nutrition?

  7. I had a gastric bypass Roux-en-Y in 2001 when I was 25 and weighed over 380 pounds. i also had my gallbladder removed as i had problems with gallstones prior to surgery. I lost nearly 200 pounds in less than 18 months, 100 of that in the first 6 months after surgery.

    I suffer from two types of anemia now, both controlled by supplements, (pernicious anemia, caused by the lack of b-12, and iron based anemia) without issue.

    I’ve had two successful pregnancies, one in 2007, the other last year and have two beautiful children. I’ve successfully maintained my weight loss now for 13 years. It’s ONLY a tool, not a magic bullet.

    So many folks are looking for a quick fix, and it just doesn’t exists! Having the surgery and the work it took, and still takes to be healthy, is NOT easy. It was the hardest thing I ever did, and don’t regret it, but It’s not for everyone. You have to make a sustainable choice!

  8. I worked as a nurse on a post op nurse where mainly the Roux-en-Y procedure was performed. I worked there for only one year and remember 3.young people (in their 30s) dropping dead in the hospital after this procedure. This doesn’t include the numerous patients that had complications and would return for subsequent surgeries after developing ulcers, bowel issues, electrolyte imbalances, etc. I’ve since moved and left nursing to be a homemaker. I can’t see myself ever going back to a profession that supports main stream medicine.

  9. What would you suggest for someone that all this isn’t working for? I have been eating the “Weston Price” way for a few years now, and though it has not helped me to lose any weight (I’m a little bit over what I should be, but not obese), it has made me feel much better. My husband has been eating good, nutrient dense food for two years now. He has cut out fast food, junk food, most sugar, nearly all processed carbohydrates (except an occasional bit of pizza or something, and then he says it makes him feel bad later), we eat lots of homegrown vegetables, raw dairy, some lacto-fermented foods, and meat from the best sources we can get. He is obese. He is about 150 pounds overweight, and has been obese most of his life, except for a few years ago when he lost a lot of weight by starving himself. He would only allow himself to eat on weekends, and in between would often even go a couple of days without water. But when he started eating again at that point, he went right back to junk food, and of course gained it all back. He is convinced that starving is the only way he will lose weight, but he is unable to do it now without getting sick, and I don’t think it’s good anyway. Now, he is having a lot of health problems. In his late twenties, and he is balding, his knees and back hurt all the time, he is prediabetic/insulin resistant, has no energy, dark circles under his eyes, sleep apnea (he uses a CPAP but it doesn’t seem to help a lot), erectile disfunction, and he sleeps way too much (sometimes all day on weekends!). Rather than losing weight when eating good food, he is just staying steady, but he obviously needs to lose all this weight! We are at a loss. Where does he go from here?

    • Last year my husband was about 80 pounds overweight. He decided to cut out grains completely (after trying gluten-free with no change) and lost all 80 pounds within 6 months. he started exercising a few times a week only after losing 40 pounds or so. He now can eat moderate amounts of grains, mostly soured or soaked, with no problem or weight gain. Just thought I would share what works for him :) I think that he had some digestive issues that just needed some rest. Basically he did GAPS but didn’t take all of the probiotics.

    • You might want to look at Dr Jack Kruse’s website for the Leptin Reset. It made a major difference in my life. After 3 years of the GAPS protocol (I had developed many Asperger’s symptoms over the years; they healed), I was much healthier, yet still overweight. Once the master hormone pathway, Leptin, was reset, the weight started falling off. Dr Kruse is, IMO, somewhat controversial in some of the things he recommends, yet as a science geek myself, I find that most of his science is impeccable (he cites multiple references for everything). That’s, search for Leptin Reset. And I suggest also that you google GAPS diet; it probably would help your husband to regain his health. Best of luck to you!

  10. My friend lost 5 lbs in 5 days by eating mostly fats and hardly any carbs. She has been doing it for 2 weeks now (I need to get another update from her). So last week I started eating WAY more fat (I already have been eating 2 T of coconut oil every morning, but now I am also taking out as many carbs as possible. I LOVE drinking milk so I get half a glass of milk, mix it with PIIMA yogurt (it is liquidy) and then 1/4 full of straight CREAM. Oh so yummy. So that way I don’t have as many carbs from my milk. The only other carbs I drink are the few carbs I get from my water kefir.

    And I have only had a teeny bit of oats in a meatloaf I prepared, and maybe 1 tomato a day.

    I can tell a difference in just one week. I don’t have a scale but it is noticeable. And, I get to eat grassfed butter, grassfed milk, CREAM (YUM) and bacon and pastured eggs all the time. How cool is that! :) I am going to continue on for another month just to see. If I can lose 10 lbs (thereabouts) so my size 8s are loose on me I will be happy. Right now they are super tight and uncomfortable.


  11. Help! I eat a traditional, WAPF diet and have gained 20 lbs (when I needed to lose about 5). I agree that carbs and sugar make me overeat but healthy fats seem to trigger overeating too. What do I do? I heartily believe in this diet but no one will listen to me because I gained so much weight doing it. How can I lose weight while not going back to fake food, veganism, etc? (Two lower calorie diets that I have used to maintain a good weight but I realized were killing me).

    • Maybe your normal weight is higher than you would like? How is your metabolism? Have you read any of Matt Stone’s stuff?

    • Hi Stefanie,

      good to see that I am not the only one gaining weight on a traditional diet. I wholeheartedly believe in this diet too and it makes me feel great, feminine and energetic but the weight gain has become a serious issue for me as well. I’ve been doing quite a lot of HIIT training, which is pretty much a training that gets everything out of you every time you exercise, heart rate high, heavy weights etc. This kind of training plus a higher protein intake (lots of eggs, some raw cheese, some raw milk, pastured chicken, occasional soaked nuts) finally made me to loose some weight without giving up on all the “goodies” of the WAPF diet. I cherish the fermented veggies and raw milk products especially and my beloved sourdough bread as well. I personally think there is no way around exercise when we want to loose weight, unfortunately. But it actually gets enjoyable after a while.
      Another key I found out is MODERATION. I simply reduced my calorie intake a little (not majorly) and I still get all the nutrients my body needs (I’m in my twenties) and I won’t be starving either. Maybe a bit of self-discipline is required in the beginning in order not to overeat (because it’s sooo yummy=)) but I think we all can learn to be a bit more self-controlled, it’s not just a good thing when it comes to eating but also in our family life, work etc. Hope that helps a bit.

Leave a Reply