Obesity causes an increased risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and musculoskeletal disorders, all of which can lead to premature death or disability. Those who are obese may consider several options to lose weight and achieve the healthy lifestyle they desire: diet and exercise alone, or weight loss surgery if they qualify. Typically, to be a candidate for bariatric surgery, individuals must:
- Have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or greater, or be more than 100 pounds overweight or
- Have a BMI of 35 or greater, and have at least one obesity-related disorder, such as type 2 diabetes or heart disease
If you want to lose weight and gain a healthier lifestyle, here is what to consider regarding diet and exercise versus weight loss surgery.
Pros and cons of diet and exercise
A nutritious diet and regular exercise should be an essential part of any healthy way of life, whether you opt for weight loss surgery or not. Besides reducing your risk of all the aforementioned conditions, physical activity provides plenty of mental benefits, including elevated mood. A well-balanced diet with lean proteins and lots of fruit and vegetables increases energy levels, helps prevent brain disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, and improves heart, bone and teeth health.
Weight loss surgery patients can expect to need to transition to healthier diet and exercise habits after surgery, so these practices are ideal to implement immediately anyway. But what are the pros and cons of losing weight through diet and exercise alone?
- Pro: You don’t incur risks associated with surgery. While Dr. Naim and the bariatric surgery team at Soma Weight Loss take all proper precautions to ensure the utmost comfort and safety of all patients, every type of surgical procedure does inherently include risks. These can include excessive bleeding, blood clots and infection.
- Pro: You may save money without surgery. Many weight loss surgery patients enjoy the options they have with insurance coverage for weight loss surgery at Soma Weight Loss. Because coverage varies, some patients may find that putting in the effort for diet and exercise alone saves them money, though others may find that the results with surgery are more cost-effective than diet or exercise efforts may be, such as having to hire a personal trainer or buy special meals to stay on track.
- Con: Weight loss may take longer. The effects of diet and exercise vary depending on each person. While regular exercise is vital for overall health benefits, exercise alone rarely produces substantial weight loss results unless it is paired with changes in diet. It can be tempting to feel like it’s OK to intake extra calories since you burned some through exercise, which then causes a weight plateau or even weight gain with exercise alone.
- Con: Precision and vigilance are required for diet and exercise to be effective. Without a physical change to your body like the one weight loss surgery creates, it is up to the dieter/exerciser to have the willpower to control calorie intake.
Some people simply won’t see noticeable weight loss results no matter how well-regimented they are to a healthy diet and exercise routine. Genetics predispose people to veer toward a certain weight range, and some people have a propensity to be overweight or even obese. For others, health conditions such as hypothyroidism, lipedema and polycystic ovary syndrome can make weight loss through diet and exercise alone difficult.
Pros and cons of weight loss surgery
If you have attempted to lose weight through diet and exercise alone and you’re still at an unhealthy weight, weight loss surgery may be the answer. Especially for those who are at a weight that is life-threatening — a high-risk obesity occurs when BMI is at least 40 — weight loss surgery is proven to achieve dependable results.
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Patients considering weight loss surgery should talk to their general practitioner for insight and recommendations. Here are some aspects to consider regarding weight loss surgery:
- Pro: You gain a social support network. Social support is a vital component for long-term weight loss success. Weight loss surgery patients at Soma Weight Loss receive group support resources that help them to connect with others who are on the same journey.
- Pro: You get easier control over calorie intake. The purpose of weight loss surgery is to reduce hunger and the amount of food a stomach can comfortably hold, so patients eat less and lose weight. Weight loss surgery helps you feel fuller more quickly, so you naturally are not as inclined to keep eating or overeat.
- Con: Weight loss surgery requires recovery time. Weight loss surgery patients do have to plan for recovery time, which could mean missing a few days of work or not being able to return to a normal activity level for at least a couple days. Also, there are pre-op diet restrictions as well as post-ops diet restrictions.
- Con: Weight loss surgery is, well, a surgical procedure. Surgery can make anyone nervous. Receiving anesthesia and being operated on can cause uneasiness or stress. A positive thing to remember is that these feelings often subside after surgery and are replaced by increased confidence and happiness as weight loss results emerge. Additionally, when your surgeon is experienced and has an excellent track record of successes, patients can be more confident going into surgery.
Even patients who undergo weight loss surgery must be willing to make positive changes to nutrition habits if they want to sustain long-term weight loss results. Exercise is important for everyone who wants to reduce risk of disease and gain mental health benefits. Patients who undergo weight loss surgery receive nutritional guidelines to follow to achieve their goal weight and maintain long-term weight loss.
Is weight loss surgery for you?
If you’ve tried various forms of diet and exercise with unsuccessful weight loss results, you may be an ideal candidate for weight loss surgery. Contact us to see what weight loss surgery options you might benefit from today.