We all strive to live a healthy lifestyle. Good health offers immense benefits, both physical and mental. Although good health has many components, a person’s weight is an extremely important element of overall well-being. In fact, the benefits of weight loss are much greater than just shedding pounds. Losing weight helps to treat a variety of conditions, including diabetes, hypertension, and sleep apnea.
However, for many, losing weight and keeping it off can be easier said than done. The good news is that it’s not too late to take control of your health by rethinking your weight-loss strategy.
Having the desire to make a change is the first step. Many people who are even slightly overweight express sentiments such as “I feel fine, and I’m active, so my weight is fine.” However, if your BMI (Body Mass Index) is considered overweight, you are putting yourself at risk for a variety of long-term health problems.
Making lifestyle changes that include diet and exercise are typically at the core of any weight-loss strategy. However, for some, diet and exercise may not be enough to reach a healthy BMI.
Many people try for years to lose weight, only to gain it back. Weight loss can be frustrating and defeating, and for many, it can be an endless cycle of literal losses and gains. To determine your best weight-loss strategy, a great first step is to arrange a consultation with a bariatric provider.
During this consultation you will meet with a bariatric team who will conduct a thorough evaluation and take time to learn what you want to achieve with your weight loss. For example, some people want to lose weight to become candidates for knee replacement surgery, whereas others may want to achieve better control of their diabetes or to be able to run a 5K. Understanding your goals is key to developing a comprehensive weight-loss plan. This plan may or may not include surgery.
If surgery is recommended, bariatric specialists will work with you step-by-step to ensure that your needs and concerns are addressed and to determine the best type of surgery – gastric banding, gastric bypass, or sleeve gastrectomy – to suit your unique needs.
As you move forward with such a life-changing event, it’s important to have a strong support system. Having encouraging and supportive family and friends is a big help, as is having a dedicated care team that offers a variety of support services to make pre- and post-surgery a great success.
Rohit A. Patel, MD, FACS, is the Director of the Center for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery at Cooper University Health Care. Visit CooperHealth.org to learn more about our free informational seminars for weight loss surgery.