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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that that 30 percent of American adults (20 and older), more than 60 million people, are obese. Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30. Being obese increases the risk of many health conditions. Fortunately, achieving significant weight loss can decrease a person's odds of developing one or more of these conditions.

There is no fast and rapid way to permanent weight loss. While bariatric surgery may be a possibility for morbidly obese individuals, weight loss still requires self discipline in the form of lifestyle changes like diet modifications and regular exercise. Sadly, many people do permanent harm to themselves by implementing unhealthy weight loss methods, over-exercising, or denying their bodies essential nutrients in an effort to lose weight too quickly. For the safest and most effective weight loss results, individuals should seek information from a certified healthcare provider before beginning any new weight loss routine. Read on to learn more about your own weight loss options.

Diet & Exercise

Unfortunately, there is no easy, fast way to weight loss. A steady regimen of a proper diet and exercise routine will help men, women, teens, and children to maintain a healthy weight. For individuals who are not morbidly obese and who have reasonable weight loss expectations, diet modifications and routine exercise are the most effective means for permanent weight loss. While diet and exercise will not lead to rapid weight loss, this is the healthiest and most sustainable method by which individuals can maintain a healthy weight.

  • Set Reasonable Goals: Individuals hoping to lose weight naturally through diet and exercise should be careful to set reasonable expectations for themselves. People who set unrealistic weight loss goals tend to become discouraged and fall prey to the depressing trend of "yo-yo dieting".
  • Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle: In order to avoid becoming discouraged, dieters should find healthy foods they actually enjoy eating, and set a reasonable exercise routine. Many people also find it helpful to embark on healthy lifestyle changes with a friend or a partner who will help keep them motivated.
  • Speak to Your Physician: People who are interested in weight loss should seek information from a healthcare professional before beginning any strenuous lifestyle changes.

Pills and Creams

Though advertisements of weight loss pills and creams inundate us on a daily basis, physicians recommend following a health diet and exercise routine to lose weight.

The media is flooded with advertisements for pills and creams that promise consumers fast, rapid weight loss. Unfortunately, the majority of these products are ineffective. In fact, a recent study shows that in one year, Americans spend over $6 billion on fraudulent diet pills and weight loss creams. While these products may promise fast and rapid weight loss, they can have very serious and life-threatening side effects. It is of crucial importance that individuals who strive for permanent weight loss seek information and support from their doctor.

  • Diet Drugs: Prescription diet aids, or diet drugs, are designed for sufferers of life-threatening and debilitating obesity, not for the average person who would like to shed a few pounds for cosmetic reasons. These pills have proven to be effective in aiding weight loss when used under the supervision of a doctor and in conjunction with healthy diet and exercise routines. However, diet drugs, including over the counter diet pills, can have serious and life-threatening side effects. Patients interested in using diet medications should consult with their doctor before taking any pills.
  • Weight Loss Gels and Creams: Many companies advertise weight loss creams and gels designed to aid in rapid, permanent weight loss. These products are usually to be applied to the skin prior to exercise. Unfortunately, there is currently no FDA approved weight loss cream or gel, and these products can pose some very serious side effects to users, including tremors, dizziness, irregular heart beat, nausea, and diarrhea.

Weight Loss Surgery

Weight loss surgery is growing in popularity as a fast weight loss solution for morbidly obese patients. According to the American Obesity Association, the most effective treatment for morbid obesity is bariatric surgery. The risks of the various types of morbid obesity surgery are thought to be outweighed by the benefits of achieving significant weight loss when other weight loss efforts have failed.

Bariatric weight loss surgery such as gastric bypass and gastric banding surgery forces patients to drastically reduce the amount of food they consume, permanently. In fact, most gastric procedures reduce the stomach's holding capacity from about 2 quarts to 2 ounces. Patients may become very sick if they overeat. These surgical procedures can help patients achieve rapid weight loss in two ways: they can either restrict the amount of food allowed into the stomach, or restrict the amount of nutrients that can be absorbed from the food. Some procedures offer a combination of both methods.

Surgical Techniques

  • Restrictive: In restrictive surgery, bands or staples are used to restrict the amount of food that a person can comfortably ingest by making the stomach smaller. A stomach "pouch" is created. An example of restrictive surgery is the LAP-BAND® system and REALIZE® Band procedures.
  • Malabsorptive: Malabsorptive surgery makes the small intestine smaller, changes where it connects to the stomach, or both. These changes limit the amount of food that is absorbed; thus the surgery is called "malabsorptive." An example of the combined technique is the Biliopancreatic Diversion procedure.
  • Combined: Combined restrictive and malabsorptive surgery is comprised of a restrictive obesity surgery (making a stomach pouch) and a bypass (the malabsorptive surgery), in which part of the small intestine is bypassed. The small intestine is where most of the body's digestion and absorption of food take place. An example of the combined technique is the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure.
  • Open: Morbid obesity surgery may be performed in an open procedure, with one major, large incision made.
  • Laparoscopic: With laparoscopy, the surgeon uses a long, narrow tube with a light and camera at the end, inserted through several small incisions.

One of the major advantages of the different bariatric procedures is that they result in quick weight loss compared to less invasive weight loss options. When the stomach is reduced to the point that a patient cannot consume more food than he or she really needs, and/or the amount of food the body will now absorb is limited, the excess weight starts to fall away at a dramatic rate.

Locate a Bariatric Surgeon

If you feel that you are an appropriate candidate for bariatric surgery, it's imperative that you find a qualified bariatric surgeon. DocShop makes finding such a professional an easy and rewarding experience.

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