The New Year signifies a chance for new beginnings. For many, that means making resolutions that center around improving their physical health or, more specifically, their weight. It’s no wonder weight loss continues to be one of the most common resolutions year after year.
41% of Americans suffer from the disease of obesity, and nearly 10% are severely obese. Studies demonstrate that only 1% of patients who are at least thirty pounds overweight are able to lose it and keep half or more of the weight off long-term.
It is a problem that can greatly impact a person’s quality of life, especially given obesity is often associated with other health challenges, including diabetes, sleep apnea, heart disease, and more. It’s not just their health that suffers. Household budgets and even relationships can be affected. So, weight loss can be an important goal. If you find yourself making and breaking the same resolution annually, you are not alone.
Our body’s view weight loss as life threatening and, therefore, react to weight loss by simultaneously increasing our appetite and decreasing the number of calories we burn at rest. The result is weight re-gain, usually above where you started. That is because we have the same biology our ancestors had when they were hunter/gatherers, and starvation was much more common. The same hormonal mechanisms that might have saved your life a thousand years ago now act to sabotage attempts at long-term weight loss.
Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery is the field of medicine and surgery where we actively interrupt those mechanisms to create a much more successful long-term success. As a result, it has been proven as an effective tool in reducing the long-term personal, clinical, and economic costs of obesity by helping patients successfully lose weight and prevent it from coming back long-term.
More than 80% of bariatric surgery patients keep half to all of their excess weight off in studies exceeding twenty years. Research also demonstrate that bariatric surgery patients live about three times longer than obese patients who do not undergo surgery, and that the overall risk for cancer is 32% less after bariatric surgery than it is for other obese patients.
While effective, bariatric surgery is not a shortcut to becoming a healthier you. Obesity is a chronic disease that requires a long-term commitment to successfully treat. Bariatric surgery is not a guarantee of long-term success in weight loss, but is a powerful tool, and when combined with a commitment to dietary change and exercise, it provides the best results.
Fewer than 1% of qualifying patients are ever referred for obesity treatment. So, talk with your health care provider and ask them for a referral to find out if bariatric surgery can help you. It could mean 2023 is finally the year you make those weight loss goals happen.
*Jeffrey T. Landers, MD, FACS, FASMBS is a board certified Bariatric and General surgeon with over 6,000 cases of experience. He graduated from Case Western reserve University School of Medicine and completed a University of Rochester General Surgery residency. Dr. Landers served as a surgeon in The United States Navy and completed Bariatric Surgery and Surgical Endoscopy fellowship at The Cleveland Clinic. He is a Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Assessment and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP) Verified Surgeon. Dr. Landers is the Director of The Mercy Health Lorain Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery Clinic at 440-222-4181. Live, free Bariatric Surgery classes are given the third Thursday of every month at 6 PM, in Ross Conference Room 2 at Mercy Health – Lorain Hospital.