There is a real tendency in our society to brand the morbidly obese as taking the easy way out of the problem they’ve created by considering gastric bypass surgery.

Gastric bypass reduces the size of the stomach by stapling off the majority. This causes massive weight loss due to the inability to take in enough food to amount to significant calories and simply curbing appetite. Saying that gastric bypass is the easy way out is a bit like saying heart bypass surgery is the easy way out of having a heart attack.

The truth is that chronic morbid obesity can lead to diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Studies have shown that diabetes can actually be cured by the forced weight loss that comes with gastric bypass. And as much as those of us who have never been obese would like to think it’s no big deal to drop 100+ pounds, get a grip. It is a big deal and it is not easy. Dropping large amounts of weight and keeping it off is a mental and physical battle. Just like being a life insurance agent, if it was easy everyone would be doing it.

From a life insurance perspective gastric bypass is a good thing….after some time. The rule of thumb with the best of companies will be a year to two years after weight loss stabilizes. It can take one to two years to reach that point, so post gastric bypass it can take three to four years before companies will consider you at rates commensurate with your actual weight. Why the caution? There can be post surgical complications such as infection or intestinal leakage. Weight loss can be reversed in some cases where the new, smaller stomach stretches. Underwriters want to know that everything has worked out and generally, given those timetables, they can be pretty confident that the issue is gone.

Bottom line. Any stigma that gastric bypass has should be stuffed away. It is a life saving procedure, not an easy way out.