While bariatric surgery procedures such as gastric bypass surgery and adjustable gastric banding surgery make it much easier for a person to lose weight than dieting and exercise alone, these procedures present several risks and do have some drawbacks. In some cases, patients living with morbid obesity can benefit from non-surgical methods to trigger weight loss and improve their health.
When treating obese patients, many weight loss surgeons and weight loss professionals use a holistic approach that includes diet modification, a special exercise regimen, psychological counseling and even drug therapy. Here’s a close look at the non-surgical options available for patients living with morbid obesity:
Exercise Programs for Weight Loss Patients
Even patients that undergo gastric bypass and gastric banding procedures are encouraged to increase physical activity to promote weight loss. Those that choose a non-surgical approach can trigger and sustain weight loss by adding between 30 minutes to 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity to their weekly schedule. Regular exercise not only helps the patient achieve their weight loss goals, but can also reduce the risk of depression, increase energy levels and boost self-esteem.
Most weight loss patients will be advised to begin with a very simple aerobic exercise and work their way up to high-intensity exercises as the weight comes off. Engaging in vigorous exercise at least three times per week can help the patient sustain weight loss for several months.
Dietary Changes for Weight Loss Patients
Eating a low-calorie diet (LCD) continues to be the primary approach for losing weight without surgery, but the decrease in calories can be difficult to sustain for more than a few weeks. Commercial diet programs such as Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers may help some patients who are living with morbid obesity finally lose the weight, as these programs incorporate coaching methods and help a patient set and meet their goals. A weight loss professional may also recommend a diet program such as the Zone Diet or Atkins that help to reduce weight over a very short period of time.
Drug Therapy for Weight Loss Patients
Drugs that suppress the appetite and increase the heart rate are among the most commonly-prescribed medications for weight loss patients, but a physician can only prescribe these drugs under certain conditions. Appetite suppressants are typically prescribed for patients who need to trigger the weight loss process, and are not designed to be administered for longer than three to six months.
These drugs also have their limitations and risks – patients who have a history of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and certain psychological conditions may not be good candidates for drug therapy. Still, patients who have a BMI of 30 or greater may be good candidates for a combination of drug therapies and a new diet and exercise regimen.
If you have been struggling to lose more than 100 pounds of body weight and don’t want to undergo bariatric surgery, you may be a good candidate for a non-surgical approach. Learn more about nutritional counseling in our information guide, or consult with a weight loss professional in your area to discuss various non-surgical options available.