So, What Does Work?
Whether it’s the potentially monotonous cabbage soup diet or one that relies on prepackaged, processed foods, fad diets may offer quick weight loss, but the gains aren’t sustainable over time.
“Long-term, maintainable weight loss requires a multi-pronged approach. This includes exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet that is low in calories, animal proteins, and processed foods, and rich in whole fruits, vegetables, and whole grains,” says Dr. Seun.
Weight-loss surgery can help people who are severely overweight lose weight gradually and keep it off. It also can reduce or even eliminate the health risks associated with obesity. The two most popular procedures are gastric bypass surgery and gastric sleeve surgery. During gastric bypass surgery, surgeons reconfigure the stomach and small intestine to reduce the amount of food patients can eat and digest. In gastric sleeve surgery, the size of the stomach is reduced to a smaller banana shape, which limits food intake and cuts down the production of the hormone that causes hunger.
With these procedures, patients require less food to feel full. In addition, weight-loss surgery creates a metabolic effect, whereby gastric hormones drive weight loss.
“Paired with a healthy diet and lifestyle, bariatric procedures help patients lose weight by making them feel full on only a small amount of food,” says Dr. Seun.
To be eligible for weight-loss surgery, you must have a body mass index (BMI) greater than 40 (about 100 pounds over ideal weight) or a BMI of 35 or higher with complications related to obesity, such as high blood pressure or sleep apnea. In addition, the ideal candidate should be motivated to lose weight, committed to changing their lifestyle, and understand the risks and benefits of surgery. Attending a support group and working with a nutritionist helps patients stay motivated.