"MasterChef" star Graham Elliot is thrilled with his 150-pound weight loss after gastric-sleeve surgery, and doesn't care about critics who say he took the "easy way out."
“You can keep saying, ‘You’ve got to do it the real, old-fashioned way. You’ve got to do it on your own. The surgery is the easy way out,'" Elliot said on MSNBC's News Nation.
"But when you get to 400 pounds and you have a family to look after, you realize that’s all ego. You can try to do it on your own, [but] if you don’t get the results, you’ve got to do whatever you’ve got to do.”
The 6-foot-1 Elliot slimmed down from 405 pounds to 255 pounds just eight months after undergoing gastric-sleeve surgery in July 2013.
Elliot said he no longer binge-eats because he's no longer physically able to consume as much food as he used to. Graham also works out every other day and runs regularly. He recently completed his first 5K race.
In the gastric-sleeve surgery, three-quarters of the stomach is removed to create a small sleeve-shaped stomach, about the size of a banana. In 2012, comedian Lisa Lampanelli lost 106 pounds after undergoing the gastric-sleeve procedure. And Rosie O'Donnell recently lost 40 pounds just seven months after gastric sleeve.
Bariatric surgery has skyrocketed in popularity, as more medical experts embrace the procedure for producing dramatic weight loss and for reversing diabetes and heart disease. To learn more about whether bariatric surgery is right for you, check out Weight Loss Surgery For Dummies.
Research confirms that surgery beats diet and exercise for producing rapid weight loss, but bariatric surgeons are frustrated by the negative stigma surrounding weight-loss surgery. "People lose sight of the fact that the patients aren't just obese, they're sick," said bariatric surgeon Dr. Alan Wittgrove. "It's not as easy as just losing weight."
Dr. Wittgrove said it's unfair that weight-loss surgery is viewed as the lazy person's way out of obesity, saying no one would accuse someone who gets cancer surgery as lazy.
Meanwhile, Chef Graham loves how much better he feels. "It wasn't about just how I looked," he said. "Being healthy for my family was the trigger."
Elliot is so excited about his new-found energy that he wants to run the 2014 Chicago Marathon with fellow MasterChef judges Joe Bastianich and Gordon Ramsay.