Surgery is supposed to be the ultimate shortcut when it comes to weight loss: Let the doc put you under, and when you wake up you're on your way to a brand-new body.

If only it were that simple.

Now, the FDA is finally starting to crack down on the companies that promote one of the most common weight-loss procedures, the adjustable Lap Band that squeezes the stomach so you can fit less in it.

When your stomach holds less, you eat less... and when you eat less, you lose weight.

For many people, that's all they need to hear. If their insurance covers it, they're on their way to a new life that's a lot more difficult than any of them ever would have guessed.

That's because while the billboards and TV ads promise quick and easy weight loss, they don't really talk about risks. And they barely even mention that this is a major surgery with serious side effects, up to and including death.

In some cases, the Lap-Band needs to be adjusted. Some patients need two or more surgeries before it's on right, and they face the risks of complications each time they go under the knife.

Once the band is in place, patients often experience difficulty swallowing, severe and miserable heartburn, and nausea.

Although the FDA's recent warning was specifically directed at a series of clinics offering Lap-Band in Southern California, those warnings could have been directed at clinics across the country. Because no matter where you live, odds are you've seen signs and heard ads that conveniently leave out those very real risks.

And believe it or not, this is actually one of the "safer" forms of weight-loss surgery. Other procedures, such as gastric bypass, promise more dramatic results -- but come with even more risks, including an even higher risk of death than the Lap-Band.

So forget surgery. You can do a better job on your own anyway -- and as I told you a couple of weeks ago, it starts with just two days a week of an easy-to-follow low-carb diet. (Read about it here.)

Start with two days a week -- but don't end there. Turn that two-day lifestyle into an everyday habit, and you'll lose weight the right way... and enjoy all the benefits of a thin, new you without the risks of surgery.