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San Diego, CA

Overweight / Weight Loss Treatment in Leucadia, CA

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Effective Strategies for Weight Loss

Achieving and maintaining weight loss can be a challenging journey, especially for individuals who are morbidly obese. While many weight-loss approaches yield temporary results, less than 5 percent of morbidly obese individuals can successfully lose a significant amount of weight and sustain it through non-surgical programs involving dieting, behavior modification therapy, and exercise.

Non-Surgical Approaches

Although weight loss without surgery is possible, it is crucial to work with a licensed healthcare professional to develop a safe and effective weight-loss program. It is important to note that most health insurance companies require individuals to make serious efforts using non-surgical strategies before covering weight-loss surgery. Here are some commonly used non-surgical treatments:

Dietary Modification: Many people have tried various diets, often resulting in a cycle of weight gain and loss known as "yo-yo" dieting, which can have adverse health effects. Unfortunately, about 90 percent of individuals who participate in diet programs regain the lost weight within two years. However, for those who undergo weight-loss surgery, dieting becomes an essential aspect of maintaining weight loss post-surgery. If you choose to pursue a diet, it is recommended to work with a healthcare professional who can tailor a diet plan to meet your specific needs. Calorie-restrictive diets fall into two categories:

-Low-calorie diets (LCDs): These are individually planned diets that involve consuming 500 to 1,000 calories fewer than you burn each day.

-Very low-calorie diets (VLCDs): These diets typically limit intake to only 400 to 800 calories per day and consist of high-protein, low-fat liquids.

Behavior Modification: Behavior modification therapy aims to change eating and exercise habits to promote weight loss. Examples of behavior modification techniques include:

-Setting realistic short-term and long-term weight loss goals.

-Keeping a diary to track diet and exercise patterns.

-Identifying and avoiding high-risk situations.

-Rewarding specific actions related to exercise or eating habits.

-Cultivating rational beliefs about weight loss and body image.

-Establishing a support network, such as family, friends, coworkers, or participating in support groups.

While some individuals find success with behavior modification, most patients achieve only short-term weight loss during the first year. For those considering weight-loss surgery, behavior modification and dieting are crucial for maintaining weight loss post-surgery.

Exercise: Regular physical activity significantly increases the likelihood of long-term weight loss. Exercise is a fundamental component of any sustainable weight management program, particularly after weight-loss surgery. When you decrease your calorie intake, your body naturally responds by slowing down metabolism, making weight loss more challenging. Engaging in daily physical activity can help boost metabolism and lower the "set point" in the brain, which regulates weight gain or loss. Starting an exercise program may seem daunting for those who are morbidly obese, but there are strategies to begin a reasonable exercise regimen, such as:

-Parking farther away and walking through parking lots.

-Reducing time spent watching television.

-Riding an exercise bike.

-Swimming or participating in low-impact water aerobics.

-Taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

-Incorporating brisk five-minute walks in the morning and afternoon.

Medications: Both non-prescription and prescription weight-loss drugs are available to assist with weight loss. Some individuals find these medications helpful in suppressing cravings. Studies show that individuals on drug therapy typically lose around 10 percent of their excess weight, with weight loss plateauing after six to eight months. However, once the medication is discontinued, weight regain is common. FDA-approved weight loss drugs include:

-Beta-methyl-phenylethylamine (Fastin): This stimulant increases fat metabolism.

-Orlistat (Xenical): This drug works by blocking about 30 percent of dietary fat absorption. Alli is an over-the-counter formulation of the same medication with a lower dosage.

-Phentermine: An appetite suppressant that has been available for many years.

-Sibutramine (Meridia): An appetite suppressant approved for long-term use.

It is essential to consult with a certified healthcare professional who can prescribe suitable medications for weight loss. Weight-loss medications can have serious side effects, and following a well-documented treatment plan, including medications, is often a requirement for insurance coverage of weight-loss surgery.

Surgical Approach

Weight-loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, is a viable option for individuals who are morbidly obese and have been unsuccessful in losing and maintaining weight through other methods. Bariatric surgery involves reducing the size of the stomach to limit food intake, resulting in significant weight loss and long-term maintenance. To be considered for weight-loss surgery, individuals must meet specific qualifications, such as being more than 100 pounds over their ideal body weight or having a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher (BMI 20 to 25 is considered normal). In some cases, individuals with a BMI as low as 35 may be eligible for surgery if there are medical indications for weight reduction. The decision to undergo weight-loss surgery requires a thorough medical and psychological evaluation, as well as a commitment to long-term follow-up care and lifestyle changes.

Different bariatric surgical procedures carry varying risks and benefits. During the initial consultation, the surgeon will provide detailed information about the available options, along with associated risks and benefits. The most common bariatric surgeries are "restrictive" procedures that reduce the stomach's size, limiting caloric intake.

For further information about Dr. Stengler's practice and his clinic in Leucadia, California, please visit the website at or contact them at (760) 274-2377.

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