Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Not a Piece of Cake

Rachel Ginsberg

Last year alone, half a million people put their stomachs under the scalpel in order to undergo bariatric surgery for fast, drastic weight loss. Is this the new, easy way out of obesity, replacing the noble struggle of diet, willpower, and self-discipline? And are the pain, discomfort, and danger of this life-altering surgery a realistic swap for the hoped-for health benefits?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

At a table in the corner of a popular Jerusalem all-you-can-eat hummus and falafel diner, Shimon Klaffer studies the menu as if it were his monthly Mifal HaShas exam. In a way, it’s an even bigger test. Last summer, at 330 pounds, he sat here in his favorite eatery with his newlywed wife calculating how massive a meal (including the basket of free pitas) he could get for his money, while she shrugged good-naturedly and ordered a salad. Today she’s still ordering a salad, but Shimon has to make an even trickier calculation. Old habits die hard, but what can he choose that won’t make him sick, that will be easy to chew and swallow, that won’t give him heart palpitations or send him to the nearest couch to lie down for two hours in excruciating pain? Shimon, now a drastic 90 pounds lighter after gastric “sleeve” weight-loss surgery, flips his menu back and forth. He settles on an appetizer, half of which will wind up on his wife’s plate. “Now I can finally eat like everyone else,” he says. But that’s not exactly true. His stomach is now just a fraction of its original size, and if he has more than a spoonful of food within a ten-minute period, he’ll feel sick. A slice of bread will take half an hour to go down, eaten in increments. Other foods will cause a common post-op “dumping” reaction — racing heartbeat, sweats, and dizziness. And if he drinks together with his small meal, he’ll pay with nausea and searing pain. But 21-year-old Shimon, a chassidic yungerman, is happy with the trade-off. He’s joined the ranks of about 500,000 men and women around the world who’ve put their stomachs under the scalpel in the last year alone, undergoing one of several bariatric surgical procedures that guarantee fast and drastic weight loss for the morbidly obese — those at least 100 pounds overweight. 

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
Not a Newspaper
Shoshana Friedman A deeper difference between newspapers and magazines
Services in Shards
Rabbi Moshe Grylak “Such a painful, malicious lie!”
The Pittsburgh Protests: All Politics All the Time
Yonoson Rosenblum The old rule — “no enemies on the left” — still applies
Danger: School Crossing
Eytan Kobre The hypocrisy of YAFFED’s assertion is breathtaking
Real Laughter and Real Tears
Rabbi Avrohom Neuberger The two sides of a life lived with emunah
Work/Life Solutions with Eli Langer
Moe Mernick I was proud to be “that guy with the yarmulke”
Is Ktchong! a Mitzvah? When Prayer and Charity Collide
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman These cannot both be done effectively at the same time
An Honest Shidduch
Jacob L. Freedman “Baruch Hashem I’m cured, and this will be my secret”
A Blessing in Disguise
Riki Goldstein “I never thought the song would catch on as it has”
Ishay and Motti Strike a Common Chord
Riki Goldstein Bringing together two worlds of Jewish music
What’s your favorite Motzaei Shabbos niggun?
Riki Goldstein From the holy and separate back to the mundane
Rightfully Mine
Faigy Peritzman Don’t regret the job you didn’t land; it was never yours
Growing Greener Grass
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Nurture your blessings and watch them blossom
My Way or the High Way
Rebbetzin Debbie Greenblatt We know what we want — but do we know what He wants?