In 2016, the University of Chicago surveyed 1,509 American adults. The study found that 95% of the participants had previously failed to lose weight using a combination of diet and exercise. 15% had tried more than 20 times. And yet, three quarters of the study’s participants still claimed that obesity results from a lack of effort.
From a young age, many of us are taught that dieting and exercise will always lead to weight loss. And when we fail to shed the weight, we blame ourselves. We do this because we are conditioned to believe that our weight is the direct result of our willpower and self-control.
This way of thinking is outdated, dangerous, and completely inaccurate.
You see, those affected by severe obesity are often resistant to long-term weight loss. A body with long-term obesity defends itself against weight loss by reducing its metabolic rate, the amount of energy used by the body.
Furthermore, dieting affects the body in ways the medical community is only just beginning to understand. Dieting has been found to decrease metabolism, increase hunger, and have negative psychological effects. As a result, 97% of dieters—obese or otherwise—regain the weight they had lost within three years. Believe it or not, research has suggested that there is only a 5% chance of keeping off the weight you lost while dieting.
Having tried diet after diet, many of our patients come to us feeling dejected and discouraged. There is a stigma that weight loss surgery is only a last resort, that bariatric surgery is a sign of failure. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, the National Institutes of Health Experts Panel recognizes that, for those affected by obesity, ‘maintained’ weight loss is close to impossible without surgical intervention.
At our practice, Dr. Balsama and the rest of our team work to educate and encourage our patients in order to help them lead a healthy lifestyle. We guide them away from “yo-yo dieting” and introduce them to sustainable healthy eating habits. Our goal is to inspire our patients to continue living an active and healthy lifestyle long after they have left our care.
Interested in learning more? Read about how Dr. Balsama is ‘Making Weight Loss Surgery Less Invasive’ on the Balsama Buddies Blog.