This study investigated the relationship between weight loss from gastric bypass surgery, patient characteristics, and compliance with physician instructions before and after surgery. A chart review of psychiatric and medical files was conducted for an initial cohort of 172 patients in a postsurgical management program. A total of 112 patients (primarily women (85%), white (79%), and well educated) from this cohort had presurgical data. Of these 112 subjects, 67 (60%) had postsurgical compliance information and BMI at 24 months postsurgery. The relationships between weight loss and a number of demographic, psychiatric, comorbid, and behavioral compliance factors were examined for these 67 patients. Missed appointments and noncompliance with exercise and weight loss plan instructions were high before and after surgery (65% vs. 72% for missed appointments, 39% vs. 51% for exercise, 42% vs. 57% for weight loss instructions). Although poor food choices were not frequently a problem before surgery (11%), they increased significantly after surgery: 37%, chi(2)(1) = 25.00, P < 0.001. Participants who lost the least weight at 2 years postsurgery were more likely to be nonwhite (r = 0.27, P = 0.039), have a lower socioeconomic status (SES) (r = 0.285, P = 0.02), and have a diagnosis of binge eating before surgery (r = 0.25, P = 0.039). Having more contact with patients and requiring adherence to behavioral changes, especially with respect to exercise and dietary restrictions, may improve the long-term outcomes for bariatric procedures. In addition, those patients who are depressed and suffer from binge eating may need special attention from physicians during long-term postoperative follow-up.