Is Weight Loss Surgery Right for You?

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Obesity is a growing national epidemic, with rates of the condition increasing by as much as 34 percent between 1970 and 2008, according to The Disease Control and PreventionOff Site Icon (CDC). If you are among the many Americans struggling with obesity, you have a variety of options which cover the spectrum from changes in your diet to weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery.

Having any kind of operation to aide in weight loss is major surgery and should be carefully considered after discussing options with your doctor. There are many options adults and youth might want to try before deciding surgery is the best choice.

Trying to lose weight naturally can be an important step in the process of deciding if weight loss surgery is right for you. The National Institutes of Health National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon describes weight loss surgery as an option when lifestyle changes are not enough to treat obesity.

Before choosing weight loss surgery, the NIH suggests you try the following as part of a healthy diet and exercise plan:

  • Count your calories – To lose 1 to 2 pounds per week, you need to reduce your caloric intake by 500 to 1,000 calories each day.
  • Choose healthy foods – Opt for fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meats and fat-free or low-fat dairy products. Try to avoid or minimize trans fats, saturated fats, added sugar, cholesterol and salt. Cut back on fried foods, fatty meats and processed foods.
  • Consider medication – In some cases, medication is helpful in weight loss. Talk to your doctor about whether or not taking medicine to improve your weight loss efforts is a good option for you.
  • Get moving – Exercise is just as important as eating right. Plan for at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day.
  • Set realistic goals – Trying to lose a lot of weight quickly is difficult and an easy way to become discouraged. Setting smaller goals along the way can make your overall goal seem more attainable. For example, a healthy weight loss for adults is 5 percent to 10 percent of their current weight over a six month period, which is about 1 to 2 pounds per week.
  • Seek help – Talking with a nutritionist, dietitian and/or personal trainer can help keep you on track.

If you still fall into the category of overweight or obese after you have lost 10 percent of your body weight and kept it off at least six months, you may be a good candidate for weight loss surgery, according to the NIH.

A body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher, or a BMI of 35 or higher with weight-related health problems, might also make you a good candidate for weight loss surgery if your other weight loss efforts haven’t worked out, according to the Department of Health and Human ServicesOff Site Icon (HHS).

There are several types of weight loss surgery available, and talking with your doctor can help you determine which type, if any, would be right for you. The NIH suggests considering the following questions when talking with your doctor:

  • What are the risks of each surgery?
  • What can I do to lower those risks and/or complications after surgery?
  • How are the recovery times different for each procedure?
  • What kind of pain will I be in afterward?
  • How much assistance will I need doing daily activities, such as walking, eating and bathing?
  • What should I eat immediately after surgery, and how will that change over time?
  • What kind of scar does each surgery leave?

Choosing weight loss surgery is a major decision that should be well thought out after discussing all your options with your doctor.

For more information about how weight loss can improve other health issues, talk with your physician or visit Premier Weight Loss Solutions.

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Answer a few questions and we'll provide you with a list of primary care providers that best fit your needs.

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