For anyone who has considered a weight loss program, there is certainly no shortage of choices. In fact, to qualify for insurance coverage of weight loss surgery, many insurers require patients to have a history of medically supervised weight loss efforts.
Weight Loss Surgery
Weight loss surgery is major surgery. Its growing use to treat morbid obesity is the result of three factors:
- Our current knowledge of the significant health risks of morbid obesity
- The relatively low risk and complications of the procedures versus not having the surgery
- The ineffectiveness of current non-surgical approaches to produce sustained weight loss
In many cases, patients are required to show proof that their attempts at dietary weight loss have been ineffective before surgery will be approved. More important, however, is the commitment on the part of the patient to required, long-term follow-up care.
Diet & Behavior Modification
There are literally hundreds of diets available. Moving from diet to diet in a cycle of weight gain and loss - yo-yo dieting - that stresses the heart, kidneys and other organs can also be a health risk.
Doctors who prescribe and supervise diets for their patients usually create a customized program with the goal of greatly restricting calorie intake while maintaining nutrition.
These diets fall into two basic categories:
- Low Calorie Diets (LCDs) are individually planned so that the patient takes in 500 to 1,000 fewer calories a day than he or she burns.
- Very Low Calorie Diets (VLCDs) typically limit caloric intake to 400 to 800 a day and feature high-protein, low-fat liquids.
Behavior modification uses therapy to help patients change their eating and exercise habits. Like low-calorie diets, behavior modification, in most patients, results in short-term success that tends to diminish after the first year.
Starting an exercise program can be especially intimidating for someone suffering from morbid obesity. Your health condition may make any level of physical exertion next to impossible. The benefits of exercise are clear, however. And there are ways to get started such as:
- Park at the far end of parking lots and walk
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Cut down on television
- Swim or participate in low-impact water aerobics
- Ride an exercise bike
A National Institute of Health survey of 13 studies concludes that physical activity: results in modest weight loss in overweight and obese individuals increases cardiovascular fitness, even when there is no weight loss can help maintain weight loss.
Over-the-Counter & Prescription Drugs
New over-the-counter and prescription weight loss medications have been introduced. Some people have found them effective in helping to curb their appetite. The results of most studies show that patients on drug therapy lose around 10 percent of their excess weight and that the weight loss plateaus after six to eight months. As patients stop taking the medication, weight gain usually occurs.
Weight loss drugs can have serious side effects. Still, medications are an important step in the morbid obesity treatment process. Before insurance companies will reimburse/pay for weight loss surgery, you must follow a well-documented treatment path.