Could you just try exercise & dieting?
The topic of this week’s blog is a question a lot of patients are asked by their family and friends when they are considering weight loss surgery. “Why can’t you just do it on your own?”, “Can you not just cut back and start exercising?”, “Surgery is the easy way out.” These are all questions and statements that sound familiar to weight loss surgery patients. However, the truth is that weight loss surgery is a last resort. Individuals who are considering having surgery have exhausted all other measures and attempts to lose weight. Most of them have struggled with their weight for the majority of their life, and they have tried numerous diets, diet pills and exercise several times without significant results.
Obesity is a complex, multi-factorial, chronic metabolic disease. It is not just an excess of adipose tissue or a lack of willpower. It is a disease influenced by many interconnected factors such as:
- Environment (food availability, amount and type)
- Behaviors (level of physical activity)
- Psychological profile (stress management and will power)
- Physiology (body build and other conditions)
- Metabolic (metabolism and hormonal activity)
Weight loss surgery is not meant for individuals that only need to lose 10-30 pounds of weight. It is meant for those that have a significant amount of weight to lose (a BMI of at least 35) that cannot be accomplished with diet and exercise alone. A research study was performed using 160 patients with an average BMI of 35. The average weight loss after following a specific diet for one year was as follows: Atkins: 4 lbs., Zone diet: 7 lbs., Weight Watchers: 6lbs. This amount of weight is not significant enough for individuals who need to lose 100 or more pounds in order to improve any medical conditions and their quality of life.
Weight loss surgery is also far from being “a cop out” or the “easy way out” when it comes to losing weight. The surgery is only a tool. It will aid with portion control, and it will keep individuals from feeling as hungry as they did prior to surgery. The surgery can also help them immensely in their effort to achieve a healthy weight. However, healthy food choices and exercise are necessary in order to be successful long term. It is a lifestyle change; it is not a quick-fix.
If you have already had bariatric surgery or you are getting ready to have surgery, we would like to congratulate you! You have already taken steps to improving your health and quality of life. And we will be here every step of the way to help you and to cheer you on!
Written by: Anna McCullough, MS, RD, CDE, LDN-Bariatric Dietitian