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How do I know if I qualify for weight loss surgery?

Posted on March 05, 2018 by

gastric sleeve sleeve gastrectomy GeorgiaIf you are at least 50 pounds over your ideal body weight and have been unsuccessful with other methods of weight loss, you may be a candidate for weight loss surgery.  However, most insurance companies additionally require a BMI of 40 or greater or a BMI of 35-40 with other potentially life threatening health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure and/or sleep apnea.  Your BMI is your weight in relation to your height.  So how do you calculate your BMI?  You need to take your weight in kilograms and divide by the square of your height (meters).  For example, If your weight is 80 kilograms and your height is 1.8 meters, you would square your height (1.82=3.24) and then divide it into your weight (80 divided by 3.24 = a BMI of 24.69).  Or you can simply enter your information online for quick results with a BMI calculator.4

General BMI classification guidelines include:

BMIClassificationHealth Risk
Under 18.5UnderweightMinimal
18.5-24.9Normal WeightMinimal
35-39.9Severely ObeseVery High
40 and OverMorbidly ObeseExtremely High

The decision as to whether or not weight loss surgery is right for you is ideally made by you and your surgeon after careful consideration of your weight, your past medical/surgical history and your current health problems or co-morbidities.  However, there are general guidelines that most surgeons and insurance companies adhere to when choosing who an appropriate candidate for weight loss surgery is as noted below:

General Guidelines for Weight Loss Surgery Candidates3:

  • BMI of 40 or greater
  • Comorbidity: You have a life-shortening disease process, heart disease, diabetes or obstructive sleep apnea that can be improved by losing weight.
  • For at least two years, you have attempted to lose weight.
  • You have been obese for an extended period of time, at least three to five years.
  • You are able to effectively care for yourself and follow a physician’s instructions.
  • You are motivated to lose weight and maintain a healthful lifestyle.
  • You do not abuse drugs or alcohol.
  • You are a nonsmoker or have quit smoking.
  • You are an adult under the age of 65.

These guidelines vary by insurance carrier and your individual policy.  Your insurance policy is an agreement between you and your insurance provider.  However, if you are working with an experienced bariatric surgeon/center, they can easily help you navigate through your particular insurance requirements and efficiently submit your information for surgery authorization. This topic is covered in Chapter 6 of the book, Less Weight…More Life! Is Weight Loss Surgery Right for You?

As with any general guidelines, there are caveats that cannot be ignored. Some of the ones we find most important include age, motivation and mindset.  With regards to age, you can see by the general guidelines listed previously that it is recommended that an adult be under the age of 65.  At the Center for Weight Loss Success ( we do not put a cap on age for good reason.  Age is just a number.  You likely know someone who is over 65 years of age yet physically, emotionally and intellectually they are really more like a 40 year old.  Conversely, you likely know someone around 40 who walks, talks and acts as if they should be 80+ years old.  In terms of lower age restrictions, although there are a few centers in the United States performing weight loss procedures on patients under the age of 18, most surgeons prefer to wait until you are 18 years of age or older and able to better decide and commit to such a life changing procedure.

Of great importance is your motivation and mindset.  If you are considering weight loss surgery, you need to be motivated and an active participant throughout your entire pre-operative and post-operative phases.  This is how you will experience the best results.  Weight loss surgery is something you need to do for yourself, not someone else.  You need to prepare yourself physically and mentally prior to surgery and proactively plan for your post-operative phase.  If you believe surgery is a “quick fix” or the “easy way out” you likely should not pursue weight loss surgery.  With this mindset, you may not fully commit to the lifestyle changes that result in the rewarding outcomes that will transform your life in so many positive ways.  However, if you do commit, get ready for an amazing journey.  Try not to get overwhelmed here.  An experienced bariatric surgeon/center will provide a comprehensive process to help guide you through these considerations.

Finally, it is important to note that some people are actually too obese to qualify for weight loss surgery.  If you are too heavy, you will usually be instructed to lose weight before your surgeon can proceed with weight loss surgery.  Once again, an experienced bariatric surgeon/center will guide you through this process and help you optimize your physical and emotional health prior to surgery and beyond.

3 Bariatric Surgery for Severe Obesity. Consumer Information Sheet. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. March 2008. http://


If you don’t qualify for weight loss surgery under your insurance provider, contact my Surgical Coordinator, Cat Williamson at CFWLS to discuss your options.

The Problems I Faced – Big and Small – Weight Loss Surgery Helped Them All

Posted on July 31, 2017 by

Allen Fabijan 4Meet Allen Fabijan – you may already know him as ‘Some Guy Named Allen’ from US106.1. What you may not know, is Allen chose weight loss surgery as a tool to help him improve his health and quality of life.

Allen has recently completed Weight Management University for Weight Loss Surgery™ here at Dr. Clark’s Center for Weight Loss Success.  He has lost over 130 pounds since he began his journey to lose weight and improve his health. Join him as he shares his struggles and successes along the way!

“I’m radio personality.  I’m out and about all the time. I have to be confidant. I have to exude confidence. I think that the hard part for me was that I was faking it all the time. I was worried about my weight so I would make a joke to deflect.”

“Unfortunately, I’m thin now so I lost all of my fat guy jokes. But I’ll come up with new ones! The confidence that I needed with my job, career, family, and friends was really being impacted by my weight. I was internalizing that and it leads to all kinds of problems. Insecurity is a miserable thing.  I don’t think anyone who is out there dealing with weight issues isn’t insecure on some level somewhere, some time. I don’t think people realize that how the guilt and burden of weight you carry isn’t just on your body. It’s hundreds of pounds on your soul. I don’t know how else to really say that. It’s not just the physical weight that you carry. It’s the weight of shame, guilt, insecurity, that drives from being overweight.”

To learn how weight loss surgery could change your life, watch our free webclass at:

I Finally Said ‘Enough is Enough’! Weight Loss Surgery is My Solution

Posted on July 24, 2017 by

Allen Fabijan 3Meet Allen Fabijan – you may already know him as ‘Some Guy Named Allen’ from US106.1. What you may not know, is Allen chose weight loss surgery as a tool to help him improve his health and quality of life.

Allen has recently completed Weight Management University for Weight Loss Surgery™ here at Dr. Clark’s Center for Weight Loss Success.  He has lost over 130 pounds since he began his journey to lose weight and improve his health. Join him as he shares his struggles and successes along the way!

“I honestly can say it wasn’t one thing that pushed me over.  It was the culmination of everything.  But there is one thing. I woke up in the middle of the night and I thought “what am I waiting for?!” Am I waiting for the heart attack?  Am I waiting for the diabetes? Am I waiting for my kids to have another intervention with me about putting the hamburger down Dad and taking a walk? What am I waiting for?  It made no sense. I saw a pattern of ‘I’ll do THIS after I do THIS’ or ‘when I hit THIS age’, etc…. I recently turned 40 and what was I waiting for?”

“Now that I’m 40 I’m at one of the lowest weights I’ve ever been in my life and what did I wait for? Now the biggest question is why did I wait so long to take this step?”

To learn how weight loss surgery could change your life, watch our free webclass at:

Pumpkin Spice Protein Balls

Posted on October 21, 2016 by

These can be flattened a bit as cookies too~

A seasonal treat!

A seasonal treat!



2 scoops vanilla protein powder (Leaner Living)

¼ cup pumpkin seeds

¼ cup rolled oats

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp pumpkin pie spice

½ cup canned pumpkin

1 tsp sugar-free maple syrup



  1. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Stir to blend.
  2. Add canned pumpkin and syrup. Stir to blend.
  3. Form small (walnut-sized) balls by rolling in in your palms.
  4. Place on plate or tray and chill for 30 minutes until more firm.
  5. Enjoy!


Makes 12 balls

Nutrition Facts: (each ball)

Calories 40

Total Fat 2g

Total Carbohydrates 3.5g

Dietary Fiber 1g

Protein 3.5g


Print Recipe: Pumpkin Pie Protein Balls

When Your Doctor Doesn’t Agree With Weight Loss Surgery

Posted on April 25, 2016 by

Does your doctor mention weight loss as a solution for your ailments, aches and complaints? If obesity related diseases are problematic or your body mass index exceeds a healthy range, your doctor may refer you to a weight loss specialist or nutritionist.  You, like the majority of people with weight issues have tried numerous diet plans, most resulting in failure at long-term results. You’ve possibly even considered weight loss surgery. Do you know if your doctor is on board with surgical weight loss options?  We receive patient referrals from many practices but some doctors are not in favor of the surgical option. Their bias may be based on lack of research or experience with patients who have had successful weight loss procedures. Seeking a second opinion is common-place in the medical field. Don’t be afraid to keep looking.

At CFWLS, we encourage people considering weight loss surgery to be their own best advocate for personal health. Gather the information necessary to have an educated discussion with your doctor. Watch our Weight Loss Surgery WebClass or attend one of our free Weight Loss Surgery Seminars  to get started.

The medications that are prescribed to combat high cholesterol, diabetes, hyper-tension and other conditions often simply mask the symptoms while failing to get to the heart of the problem. Losing weight and keeping it off may result in eliminating these medications from your daily routine! The benefits don’t stop there, you may notice less joint pain, more energy, better sleep and a host of other positive outcomes!

CFWLS StaffFinding an experienced, board-certified Bariatric Surgeon who can answer your questions and explain your options to you is imperative. A comprehensive post-surgical follow-up plan will provide your best possible long-term outcome. Your search may be over. Dr. Thomas W. Clark is double board certified as a surgeon and Bariatrician. He has performed nearly 5,000 weight loss procedures and has dedicated almost 25 years to helping people lose weight and learn how to keep it off for life. His experienced staff will guide you and help you enjoy the process along the way!

Having a supportive doctor is important, but ultimately, it’s your body and Weight Loss Surgery is a personal choice. Do your research and obtain all pertinent information. Weigh the risks versus the benefits. Make an informed decision. Schedule a call with our office manager, Cat Williamson, to discuss your next step.

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Lime & Coconut Bars

Posted on July 31, 2015 by

lime and coconut barsIngredients
¾ cup coconut flour
¼ cup almond flour
1 and ¼ cup Splenda sugar substitute
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ cup coconut oil, room temperature
4 eggs
½ cup lime juice
2 Tbls lime zest
¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Spray 8×8 or 7×9 baking dish lightly with cooking spray.
3. Line with parchment paper, leaving ends to hang over the edge on 2 sides.
4. Whisk coconut and almond flours together. Add salt and ¼ sugar substitute and stir to blend.
5. Cut in coconut oil until well blended. Press into bottom of baking dish. Press down with back of spoon to smooth.
6. Bake for 10 minutes.
7. Beat together eggs, lime juice, 1 Tbls lime zest and remaining 1 cup sugar substitute.
8. Pour gently over crust and sprinkle top with coconut flakes.
9. Sprinkle with remaining lime zest and bake for 12-15 minutes or until center is set.
10. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Run spatula around edge of dish and lift parchment gently to remove bars from baking dish and place onto cutting board.
11. Slice into bars and enjoy!
12. Keep refrigerated.

Makes 16 servings.

Nutrition Facts:
Calories 100
Total Fat 7.2g
Total Carbohydrates 5.7g
Dietary Fiber 2.5g
Protein 3.5g

Print recipe: Lime and coconut bars

Doc Weight Loss – Carbohydrate Sensitivity and Insulin Resistance

Posted on April 15, 2015 by

Doc Weight Loss – Your Weight, Your Health and Your Life

Posted on February 04, 2015 by

Doc Weight Loss – Are There Any Benefits to Sports Drinks?

Posted on September 17, 2014 by

Weight Loss Surgery Success – Can I Have Sports Drinks After Weight Loss Surgery

Posted on July 02, 2014 by