Medical Weight Loss 101

Medical Weight Loss 101

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Think you know about weight loss? Test yourself. How? Simple. Read this piece. In it, we tell you all about medical weight loss. Knowledge is power. Prepare to be armed!

It’s no secret that losing weight can be a hard journey. There are many methods for weight loss and no one way works for everyone. Most people have heard of the tried and true calories in versus calories out, but there are a host of options and procedures that enable weight loss using the help of a medical professional.

Choosing a medical method of your weight loss plan is a major decision that is not suitable for all. As with anything, there are benefits and disadvantages to consider when opting for a method that may be more invasive.

But, what is medical weight loss?

What are the options?

Do they work?

Let’s look inside the world of medical weight loss and clear up any misconceptions about this possible weight loss solution.

What Is Medical Weight Loss?

As obesity rates have climbed over the years, people have started looking for the magic solution to weight loss. Debates have raged over the best method for long lasting success. While we know that diet and exercise program are proven approaches for most, there are some that require a stricter system for their efforts.

Medical weight loss is usually equated with weight loss surgery. But, there are many weight loss plans that are considered medical because they are supervised or commissioned by a medical professional.

Some of them are invasive and require weeks and even months of recovery. Some are day surgeries that can be performed under local anesthesia. Others are ongoing programs that require frequent monitoring from a health practitioner.

While all of these methods are meant to provide rapid weight loss results, they all require varying amounts of effort and diligence to see them through.

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What Are The Options For Medical Weight Loss?

Medical weight loss comes in many different forms. Not all options are available to everyone. The candidacy of any person considering medical weight loss is based on a number of factors. These include your age, physical activity level, overall health and the amount of weight loss needed to achieve a healthy lifestyle.

The length of commitment for each program and how they are designed to work varies. The one thing they all have in common is that they are rooted in solid research to help each person achieve the best results. Keep in mind that since medical professionals developed these programs, choosing the right health practitioner to help facilitate the program is vital to success. None of these options should be chosen without careful consideration and extensive research.

Restrictive Surgeries

In a nutshell, restrictive procedures are a form of weight loss surgery that reduces the amount of space in your stomach.

How?

It’s achieved by removing a portion of your stomach.

A smaller stomach will make you feel fuller faster. It will prevent you from taking in a lot of food. This will be most familiar to those who have tried and failed the calories in versus calories out method. A significant reduction in calories will innately help with weight loss.

There are many different types of restrictive surgeries. The two main ones are the gastric sleeve and the gastric band. Their approaches differ. But, it is vital to note that both require diet changes to work.

Gastric Sleeve

The first thing to note about gastric sleeve surgery is that it is permanent. Choosing to have this done will result in a permanent lifestyle change.

Why?

During the gastric sleeve surgery, a large portion of the stomach is removed. As a result, the patient is left with a long sleeve-like shaped stomach. This new version of your stomach is then sealed shut.

How?

They do so using staples creating an entirely new version of your stomach.

As with any surgeries, there are complications that can occur in post-op phase.

What can happen?

Sometimes the staples that hold your new stomach together can leak if you don’t eat the foods prescribed by your doctor. You also run the risk of stretching your newly formed sleeve. If you continuously eat too much, your stomach may expand. If that happens, your results may not be quite what you want them to be.

Gastric Band

Many people think that the gastric band and the gastric sleeve are the same. That’s not true. How so? Instead of cutting and stapling your stomach, an adjustable band is placed at the top of the stomach. This cuts the size of the stomach.

The band can be adjusted to allow food to pass quickly to the larger portion of your stomach or slowly to hold food in the small pouch portion of your stomach. Unlike the gastric sleeve, the gastric band is completely reversible.

The gastric band has varying degrees of long-term success as it can be removed. When it is on, the band tends to require frequent doctors visits to adjust the tightness. Once the band has been removed, some people have a hard time adjusting to the new size of their stomach. That can lead to overeating and regaining weight.

Malabsorptive Surgeries

Malabsorptive surgeries require doctors to change the connections between the intestines and the stomach. They are like restrictive surgeries in that your stomach is reduced to limit the amount of food it can hold. Still, they differ in the sense that it’s far more invasive than simply restricting parts of your stomach.

The reason they are classified as malabsorptive is because these surgeries prevent your body from absorbing essential nutrients. This can pose health risks if not supervised by a doctor following the procedure.

The most popular malabsorptive surgery is gastric bypass. With malabsorptive surgeries, it is especially vital to watch your diet. Because your body doesn’t absorb all of the nutrients of the food you’re eating, it’s important to eat foods that are nutrient dense.

Why?

This is key so that your body can get the most out of your food choices.

Gastric Bypass

With gastric bypass a small portion of your stomach is cut and stapled. A portion of the small intestine is attached to the pouch so that your body doesn’t absorb as many calories.

In a normal digestion process, food enters the stomach. It is then passed through the entire small intestine. This absorbs nutrients and calories along the whole path. In a gastric bypass digestion, parts of the small intestine are bypassed. This allows food to pass through the small intestine quicker, which inhibits the body from absorbing all of the calories and nutrients it normally would.

Gastric bypass has a high level of success. With that said, it’s vital to note that when your body can’t properly absorb nutrients, it often has a hard time functioning.

How so?

You can start to feel weak and sick with your body lacking essential nutrients.

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Who Can Have These Surgeries?

As a general rule, to qualify for weight loss surgery you need to have a body mass index over 40. That’s considered morbidly obese. Because the risk of complication with surgery increases if you’re extremely overweight, some surgeons may require patients to lose weight before surgery.

With both restrictive and malabsorptive surgeries the patient is usually required to do two weeks of prep work before the surgery. This prep work usually involves changing your diet to get your body used to consuming less calories and nutrient dense foods. You will also tend to go through a psychological assessment to make sure you’re emotionally prepared to handle all of the effects.

These Are Post-Surgery Considerations

The road after surgery is not an easy one. In most cases, your stomach is reduced to a small pouch. It can typically hold no more than one to two ounces. It is common for recent patients to misjudge the amount of food their stomach can hold. That can lead to issues like food reversal or bowel problems.

You will be given a special diet to follow until your doctor determines that your stomach is ready to handle a healthy diet of whole foods. It is vital to follow your post-op diet to ensure that everything heals the way it should. Having abdominal surgery of any kind is not easy. It makes physical activity and normal day-to-day functions hard.

These Are Non-Surgical Methods

Not all medical weight loss methods involve surgery. There are many different programs and options that are less invasive.

With non-surgical methods there is less recovery time. Still, there is usually more post-recovery work involved on the part of the patient. These programs are usually designed for those with less weight to lose, as they don’t offer the same rapid weight loss results as surgery.

Many of these methods also involve physical activity to help move weight loss along. Non-surgical methods of weight loss can often be reversed. This means that they only offer temporary support. It is up to the patient to learn the lifestyle tools they need to make these methods a permanent weight loss solution.

Gastric Balloon

The gastric balloon works much the same way the surgical gastric procedures work.

How so? 

It helps you consume less food by reducing the space in your stomach. This makes you eat less. The gastric balloon is meant to be a temporary weight loss device. It is only meant to stay in your body for six months at a time.

Having the balloon inserted is a day procedure done by a doctor. Only the throat is numbed with a local anesthesia. You’re awake for the entire insertion. The balloon is deflated and folded like a pill so that it’s easy to swallow. Once it’s inside of your stomach, either saline or air is inserted into the balloon to inflate it. As soon as it’s inflated, it will take the place of food in your stomach leaving you feeling full.

The gastric balloon is removed the same way it is inserted, through your mouth. The patient is sedated and a camera is sent down the throat to help retrieve the balloon.

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Medically Supervised Weight Loss Programs

Medically supervised weight loss programs vary based on the provider. And you might be asking how many calories should I eat to lose weight? The idea behind these programs is that they are based on research and overseen by a medical professional. This could include a doctor, nurse, nurse practitioner or other licensed healthcare provider.

They help patients with their weight loss using a number of methods. These programs involve some sort of educational component that shows participants how to eat and exercise for optimal weight loss success. Most programs include behavioral therapy to help address any psychological or emotional issues that might be holding back success.

Lastly, what makes these programs different than those without a medical professional is that they can prescribe weight loss medication to help curb cravings, suppress appetite, provide energy, help regulate blood sugar or burn fats in the body.

There is a difference between over-the-counter weight loss pills and those that are prescribed by a doctor. The strength of doctor prescribed pills is more intense than the over-the-counter versions.

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Conclusion

At the end of the day, medical weight loss is not a one-size-fits-all approach to long-lasting weight loss. While all of the methods mentioned work, their success is based upon the patient and what they learn from the experience.

If you choose to go the surgical route but continue to consume a poor diet, at some point these methods will fail you. If you choose a non-invasive method but fail to follow orders or learn how to lead a healthy lifestyle, these methods will fail you as well. While these methods are designed for your optimal success, they are not foolproof.

These methods are also not designed for the average person who only has a little bit of weight to lose. They are designed for those who are facing a significant amount of weight to lose.

Losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle are not one in the same. It is vital to learn proper nutritional techniques and lead an active lifestyle for the best possible results.

By Aly Tyghter

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Terry

Gym Junkies Founder & Editor in Chief at Gym Junkies LLC
I’m Terry and I’m here to help you achieve your fitness goals. I truly believe anyone can achieve the figure they want with the proper guidance. Through my extensive fitness blog, top fitness videos, leading workout supplements, and top selling eBooks, I have been able to help thousands of people online lose weight, tone up and get in shape. My passion is helping people all around the world change their lives for the better.
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4 COMMENTS

  1. Hey, very nice site. I came across this on Google, and I am stoked that I did. I will definitely be coming back here more often. Wish I could add to the conversation and bring a bit more to the table, but am just taking in as much info as I can at the moment. Thanks for sharing.

    Keep Posting:)

  2. The information seems good. Also, sports training’s can help you to loose weight. While being involved in sports like soccer, you will always be strengthened to move in the direction of getting into good shape.

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