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


 
Drink to Eternity
Rabbi Moshe Grylak Redemption doesn’t simply mean being let out of jail
Klal Yisrael Is Always Free
Yonoson Rosenblum "In that merit will Klal Yisrael continue to exist”
Home Free
Eytan Kobre My baseline for comparison is admittedly weak
Believe in Your Own Seder
Rabbi Judah Mischel Hashem is satisfied when we do our best
Picture Perfect
Yisroel Besser Take a picture — and this time, send it to yourself
Flying Solo
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman As Pesach loomed closer, his resentment was growing
Hanging on by a Hair
Jacob L. Freedman MD “Do you still think that I’m not completely crazy?”
A Song for Every Season
Riki Goldstein Influencers map out their personal musical soundtracks
Subliminal Speech
Faigy Peritzman The deeper the recognition, the deeper the effect
The Big Change
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Spelling things out clears clouds of resentment
The Count-Up
Mrs. Shani Mendlowitz Tap the middos of Sefirah to recreate yourself
The Baker: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP with Zivia Reischer "She can't get married if she can't build a relationship...
Know This: Infertility
As Told to Bracha Stein There was no place for me. I didn’t belong
Dear Shadchan
The Girl Here's the thing: I need time