It's that time of year, when many of us take stock of ourselves and vow to do better. Most new year resolutions revolve around fitness, eating habits, addictions or losing weight. Despite the popularity of the practice, odds are success will elude many of resolution makers. Consider this:

-- Nearly half of all Americans (45 Percent) usually make new year's resolutions. -- 17 percent of us infrequently make new year's resolutions. -- 38 percent never make new year's resolutions.

Of 62 percent who at least try to make a change, only eight percent will actually be successful in achieving their resolution. Another 49 percent will have occasional success and 34 percent fail to realize their resolution every year.

While the odds are not particularly in your favor, they can be especially long for those in the severely (morbidly) obese category, but I see people successfully losing weight every day. It can be done with determination and some help. The fact is, now more people in this situation, whose body mass index (BMI) is 40 or greater are achieving good results through bariatric surgery. At St. Mary's Medical Center Bariatric Services, our preferred procedure is Laparoscopic gastric banding (Lap Band) surgery.

It is the least invasive weight loss surgery, with fewer complications. It is by no means, a "quick fix" for obesity. It will greatly change your lifestyle and requires a substantial lifetime commitment. You must diet and exercise after this surgery. You may have complications from the surgery and a poor weight loss outcome if you don't. I like for my patients to think of this in terms of a journey. It takes time and much work but the results can be well worth the travels.

During the procedure, a surgeon places a band around the upper part of your stomach to create a small pouch to hold food. This band limits the amount of food you can eat by making you feel full after eating small amounts of food. After surgery, your doctor can adjust the band to make food pass more slowly or quickly through your digestive system as necessary. How does one qualify? Lap-band surgery may be right for you if:

-- Your BMI is more than 40; or more than 35 with obesity-related health conditions. (A healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 25.) -- You are mentally fit and between the ages of 18 and 65 -- You have been overweight for five years or more -- You have been unable to lose weight through diet and exercise -- You do not have an illness that has caused you to be overweight -- You do not drink too much alcohol -- You are committed to making changes in your diet and lifestyle -- You are willing to continue working with and be monitored by your doctor. Most insurance companies will require you to have a psychological evaluation prior to having bariatric surgery.

Some pundits would have you believe that new year's resolutions are simply a waste of time. But, many experts agree the very act of making resolutions improves your odds of success. If weight loss is a problem for you and you would like more information on the procedure, St. Mary's offers free educational seminars on weight loss surgery or you can visit us at

I wish you all the best of luck in fulfilling your 2014 resolutions! I leave you with Benjamin Franklin's advice. "Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors and let each new year find you a better man (or woman!)".

Dr. Brook Redd, M.D., specializes in Bariatric surgery at St. Mary's Medical Center, through Advanced Surgical Associates in Lee's Summit. To contact a nurse navigator about free bariatric seminars, call 816-655-5560.