Weight Loss

Your best option for weight loss is to find sustainable lifestyle changes that you can implement and stick with long-term. Healthy eating, physical activity, and stress management techniques can provide great results. Even in cases that require more extreme methods, these will still be foundational in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

There may be some who require a little extra help achieving their weight loss goals. In these cases, it is best to consult with a healthcare professional to discuss options that might be best for you. Some of those options include:

Doctor-supervised very-low-calorie diet: These diets involve drinking a liquid nutritional formula of about 500 to 800 calories each day for the first few months, before slowly reintroducing healthy solid foods while working with a counselor to modify your behaviors so you can keep the weight off. One of the great benefits of this form of dieting is rapid weight loss (5-10+ pounds per week) which can be motivating.

Surgery: When other obesity treatments and weight loss programs have failed, you may consider undergoing bariatric surgery. Bariatric surgeries, such as gastric bypass and other weight-loss surgeries, involve making changes to the digestive system to restrict the number of calories a person can consume and digest.

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One treatment option for obesity is intensive behavioral therapy (IBT). This type of therapy focuses on teaching patients how to change their eating and exercise habits for sustainable weight management. IBT varies depending on the program in which you're enrolled. This therapy generally involves:

1) Focusing on small, realistic changes.

2) Screening for depression, which often complements obesity.

3) Self-monitoring. This is a key part of the therapy. You may be required to keep a food and fitness journal for a few weeks or even a few months to get a clear picture of where you can improve.

4) Learning healthy habits. Learning about nutrition, stress reduction techniques, how to identify and overcome weight loss obstacles, and more.

The best treatment for weight loss is always eating less and moving more.

However, if your current weight is causing health problems, your healthcare provider may suggest the use of a prescription weight loss medication. Doctors will usually only prescribe them if your body mass index (BMI) is 30 or higher (27 or higher if it's accompanied by weight-related medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, or type 2 diabetes). Before you get a weight loss drug prescription, make sure you talk to your doctor about your medical history. This includes any allergies or other conditions that you may have, medicines or supplements that you're currently taking, and whether you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or are planning to get pregnant soon.

Weight loss surgeries are collectively known as bariatric surgery. Bariatric surgery is used to help patients that may be at high risk of potentially life-threatening weight-related health problems such as heart disease, stroke, severe sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, and more to lose weight. Generally, patients are considered good candidates for bariatric surgery if they have a BMI of 40 or higher or a BMI in the 35-39.9 range accompanied by a serious weight-related health problem.

These procedures can be potentially life-saving to individuals who are exceptionally obese, though it is not without its dangers. Gastrointestinal surgeries, for example, have a death rate of approximately 1%, while as many as 20% of people may need additional surgery to mend complications. Additionally, because the surgery disrupts the absorption of key nutrients, roughly 30% of people develop nutritional deficiencies, such as anemia and osteoporosis. Despite the severity of the risks, weight loss surgery remains a good option for patients who may otherwise be high risk or suffering from serious weight-related conditions.

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