The Culture Consult: Dr. Abraham Kirkhely on What He’s Been Reading Lately


Abraham Krikhely, MD, robotic and minimally invasive general and bariatric surgeon, curates our list this week and shares what he’s been reading.

Bariatric Surgery, Weight Loss Linked To 60% Lower Risk Of Severe Covid-19

A very interesting study suggests that patients who had undergone bariatric surgery for morbid obesity and its associated medical problems had better COVID outcomes compared to similarly obese patients that did not have bariatric surgery. In the study, the authors analyzed patients who underwent bariatric surgery at the Cleveland Clinic and matched them with similarly obese patients who did not have bariatric surgery. After an average follow-up duration of 6.1 years, it was noted that those patients who had bariatric surgery had less than half the mortality from all causes before COVID than those who did not have bariatric surgery. Those who had bariatric surgery also had a lower risk of hospitalization, need for supplemental oxygen, and less severe COVID infection.

One would predict this is related to the fact that bariatric surgery leads to improvement of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and many associated medical problems. Leaving the body more fit and able to deal with the impact of COVID. Most patients lose the majority of the weight within the first year, so the protective benefits against COVID would be present soon after surgery. Particularly relevant today as COVID continues to spread around the world, and it may be relevant in the case of future pandemics too. 

This is also something that should be taken into account as hospitals often have paused bariatric surgery for periods of time during the COVID pandemic. Bariatric surgery is frequently regarded as not essential. Do these regulations take into account the potential for saving lives? (From /

“Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” and “Effortless: Make It Easier to Do What Matters Most” by Greg McKeown

These are great books that should be relevant to all walks of life and to anyone who is trying to lose weight and live a healthier, happier, and more balanced life.

We live in a world that seems to pull so many of us in many different directions, whether in our personal or professional lives. We are flooded with information and content. So much to see. So much to do. And as we get pulled here and there, it’s difficult to find time and focus on the things that we really want to do, things we enjoy, and also the things that we need to do to stay well.

This is also true for those trying to achieve sustained weight loss. As effective as bariatric surgery is, it is not a replacement for living a healthy life. The secret sauce is in developing healthy habits and making healthy choices. It is important to identify the factors that really matter, and then to be able to create opportunities in which to do them.

In “Essentialism,” Greg McKeown shows how important this is and also gives some tips about how to approach it. Some key quotes:

“Only once you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all, to stop saying yes to everyone, can you make your highest contribution towards the things that really matter.”

“Once we accept the reality of trade-offs we stop asking ‘how can I make it all work’ and start asking the more honest questions ‘which problem do I want to solve?’ “

“Burnout is not a badge of honor”

“Sometimes what you don’t do is just as important as what you do.”

“Say no to many good things to say yes to a few great things”

In “Effortless,” Greg McKeown explores how after you’ve already narrowed your focus to just the essentials you could make the process of achieving the essentials as easy as possible. He stresses the importance of being “physically rested, emotionally unburdened, and mentally energized.” He recommends making progress by “pacing yourself rather than powering through. You overachieve without overexerting.”

“Instead of asking ‘Why is this so hard?,’ invert the question by asking ‘What if this could be easy?’” “Challenge the assumption that the ‘right’ way is, inevitably, the harder one.” Similar to how one can focus on the essentials in life, one can focus on the key aspects of the processes to achieve them – stop procrastinating and take the first step, focus on the steps that have the greatest impact, cut out what doesn’t need to be there, simplify the rest and automate what you can.

To apply this to our lives, and to efforts to achieve weight loss and live healthier lives, it is clearly important to prioritize our health by not trying to “do it all.” Be more present. Slow down. Identify what is most important and focus on that. Focus on how we could approach things in ways that make achieving them easier. Make time for the things that are important to you. This will help us live happier, healthier, more meaningful, more fulfilled lives, and also help us achieve more by putting our energies into what really matters in ways that make achieving them easier.

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