Health Benefits of Modest Weight LossPosted: Jan 13 in Favorites, Medical Weight Loss News, Weight Management Strategies by Dr. Lazarus
All too often, people feel helpless when it comes to losing weight. Often we have already lost it so many times only to experience weight regain. Many people set goal weights lower than what is realistic biologically only to “fail” and regain.
What is realistic? Most lifestyle-based weight management programs can help individuals lose up to 10% of their total body weight. Adding medication can increase this to 10-20%. The average weight loss with a lap-band surgery is 20%, while with gastric bypass surgery it is 35%.
All too often and reinforced by “Reality” TV programs, the lay press, and commercialized weight loss program claims, individuals choose a goal to lose an extraordinary amount of weight, for example wanting to go from a BMI of 54 (morbid obesity) to a BMI of 22 (“optimal”). Unfortunately, this usually results in frustration and then weight regain. Every day I see individuals who have lost 10 – 20% of their weight and experienced dramatic improvements in their health. Not only can they walk up steps without getting out of breath, bend over and pick something up off of the floor, sit on the floor and play with the kids or grandchildren, but also have improvements in blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, knee and back pain, often with a reduction in prescription medication. Further, we are significantly improving the odds of living additional years. Often these benefits go unnoticed because the individual is set on hitting a certain number on the scale or BMI chart. They tell me they feel like a “failure,” in spite of having lost substantially more weight than one would have expected based on the above facts. How unfortunate!
At CNC we always try to work with you to achieve realistic healthy goals as opposed to unrealistic lofty goals espoused by many of the commercialized programs.
In the biggest study of its kind to date, LookAHEAD is studying the effects of modest weight loss on diabetes. With only 8.6% weight loss, they have shown dramatic improvements in diabetes control with LESS medication, compared to the traditionally-managed diabetics who are experiencing a worsening of the diabetes over the study years with MORE medications.
Certainly at CNC we have many patients who have lost 20%, 30%, or even 40% of their weight and kept it off. Nonetheless, rather than setting a goal of 40 to 50% weight loss, an amount that for the majority is not biologically possible, think about a goal of losing 10-20%. We can usually accomplish this, and get all of the associated health benefits! If we set a realistic goal, we can not only be healthier, but feel “Success.”