Treatments for Obesity

Drug therapy is available for people with a BMI 30 or over with no medical conditions or for people with a BMI of over 27 with two or more obesity-related conditions. Like surgery, drugs do not the place of a regular diet and exercise program.

With regards to other medical solutions, there are three most commonly prescribed FDA-approved weight-loss medications. They are Orlistat, Sibutramine, and Phentermine.

Orlistat – Orlistat is a fat-blocker. It blocks about 30 percent of dietary fat from being absorbed in the body. This undigested fat is removed from the body in bowel movements. Patients usually take one capsule three times a day with each meal. Side effects include oily bowel movements, stomach pain, increased number of bowel movements, and irregular menstrual periods.

Sibutramine – Sibutramine is an appetite suppressant. People normally take it once a day with or without food. It is approved for long-term use, but it can be habit-forming. Side effects include headache, constipation, insomnia, mood changes, and stomach pain.

Phentermine – Phentermine is also an appetite suppressant. People usually take it one single dose in the morning or three times a day 30 minutes before meals. Phentermine is not prescribed for long-term use and is usually only prescribed for three to six weeks. It can be habit-forming. Side effects of phentermine include dry mouth, unpleasant taste, diarrhea, constipation, and vomiting.

Surgery for Obesity

Health professionals always recommend weight loss through diet and exercise, but in some instances they will perform weight-loss surgery, known as bariatric surgery. As with any surgery, it comes with many risks, and its not a solution for everyone.

In order to qualify for surgery, most people must be severely obese or obese with serious medical conditions. Doctors will usually have patients attempt to lose weight through diet and exercise or drug therapy before agreeing to surgery. Patients must also understand that with surgery comes a lifelong commitment to changes in eating habits and exercise. Its not a quick-fix.

There are two types of obesity surgery, restrictive and malabsorptive.

Restrictive Surgery

Restrictive surgery means just what it sounds like, it restricts food intake by making the stomach smaller. Gastric bypass is the most common type of restrictive surgery.

Malabsorptive Surgery

Weight Loss Recommendations for Obesity

So what should you eat if you’re trying to lose weight? The majority of obese people eat too much, and they eat too much of the bad stuff. But even if you’re eating the good stuff, you can still eat too much. So, you first need to know what to eat, and second, you need to learn how to recognize when you’re full and when you’re really hungry.
It’s also important to remember that your weight should be lost gradually. Don’t expect miracles overnight like some fad diets promise. When you first start dieting, you will probably lose more water weight, therefore you may be losing more pounds initially. But, if you’re doing it right, your weight loss will slow down to an average of one to two pounds per week. Studies have shown that you can only lose three pounds of fat per week, so anything over that is water loss or muscle loss, which you need to stay away from.

AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION RECOMMENDATIONS

The American Heart Association recommends that you eat a variety of foods from the different food groups. In order for women to lose one to two pounds a week, they should consume between 1200 and 1500 calories a day. Men should consume between 1500 and 1800 calories a day if they want to lose one to two pounds a week. Let’s examine the different food groups the American Heart Association suggests you consume.

Obesity and Fad Diets

Americans spends millions of dollars each year on diet books, products, and weight-loss plans. With all of this dieting, you would think obesity would be decreasing every year instead of increasing. So, why aren’t they working?

Because people are doing the wrong things! These popular diets often offer promises of quick weight-loss with no hunger, and the majority of those dieters who do succeed end up gaining the weight back plus some within a year. First, we’ll discuss some of these fad diets and then talk about what you can do to lose weight and keep it off.


High-Fat, Low-Carbohydrate Diets
– Millions of Americans have joined the low-carb craze and started high-fat, low-carb diets such as the Atkins Diet, and the Zone Diet. They are made up of about 60% fat, 10% carbohydrate, and 30% protein. These diets say you can eat high amounts of fat and protein while getting very low amounts of carbohydrates in the form of vegetables. The main premise of the low-carb diet is that a diet low in carbohydrates leads to a reduction in body’s production of insulin. The end result is that fat and protein stores will be used for energy. So you stuff yourself full of unlimited amounts of meat, cheese, and butter, and only eat a small portion of carbohydrates.

Childhood Obesity

Along with the increase of obesity in adult, childhood obesity is on the rise. Around 15.5 percent of adolescents in the United States, aged 12 to 19 are obese. Even more alarming, about 15.3 percent of children ages 6 to 11 are obese. These children are developing Type II Diabetes and high blood pressure at an early age. They are placing themselves at increased risk for heart disease and other obesity-related diseases. Their weight also makes them the target of bullies and children who insult and taunt them about their weight. This can ruin their self-esteem and put them at risk for depression.

Today’s children make up the digital generation. They’ve been surrounded by computers their entire life and are not as physically active as children of past generations were. Instead of going outside and playing, they tend to hang out indoors, watching TV and playing computer and video games. Along with lack of physical activity comes the convenience of fast food. There are fast food restaurants virtually around every corner, and they have easy access to snack foods full of saturated fats and sugars. In addition, obese parents are more likely to have obese children. The reason for this is two-fold. First, obese parents probably pass down their poor habits to their children. Second, genetics plays a role in obesity.

Weight, Calories and Obesity

A pound of fat represents approximately 3500 calories of stored energy. In order to lose a pound of fat, you have to use 3500 more calories than you consume. Although this seems like a simple formula remember that your body is a thinking organism designed to protect itself.

If you were to try to reduce your intake by the entire 3500 calories in one day, your body would register some type of alarm and think that there is a state of emergency. Immediately your metabolism would slow down and no weight loss would be achieved. It’s better to spread your weight loss out over a period of a week, so that you aim to reduce your caloric intake by 3500 to 7000 calories per week, resulting in weight loss of one to two pounds per week. It’s generally not recommended to try to lose more than two pounds in a week. Attempting to do so may cause health risks, and on top of this you’re unlikely to be successful.

In the example of attempting to lose two pounds per week, you can use a basic method of calorie counting to help you accomplish your goal. To do so, you need to figure out how many calories a person of your age, sex, and weight usually needs in a day, subtract 500 from that amount, and follow a diet that provides you with that many calories. For example, if you would ordinarily need 3000 calories in a day, you would follow a 2500-calorie a day diet. Next, figure out how much exercise a person of your weight would need to do to burn 500 calories per day, and engage in an exercise plan that will help you achieve your goal. The result is simple: 500 fewer calories consumed and 500 more calories expended equals a 1000 calorie per day deficit, which, over the course of a week adds up to 7000 calories, or two pounds. Although individual results may vary, the bottom line is if your body is consuming fewer calories than it’s expending, then weight will be lost.

The Science of Obesity: Fats & Cholesterol

For years we heard that a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet would keep us healthy and help us lose weight. And many of us jumped on the bandwagon, eliminating fat and high-cholesterol foods from our diets. Well, unfortunately, we were doing it all wrong.

Instead of eliminating fat completely, we should have been eliminating the bad fats, the fats associated with obesity and heart disease and eating the good fats, the fats that actually help improve blood cholesterol levels. Before we examine the good fats and bad fats, lets talk about cholesterol.

Obesity and Other Eating Disorders

Obesity itself is not an eating disorder, but people who are obese or who fear becoming obese may develop one. Let’s take a look at obesity and its relationship to special eating disorders.

Binge Eating Disorder – The most common eating disorder is binge eating disorder. Approximately 4 million Americans have this disorder. Binge eating disorder is more than just occasionally overeating. It is characterized by eating uncontrollably, quickly eating an unusually large amount of food at one sitting, even when the person is not hungry, and eating in secret because the person is embarrassed about the amount of food he/she eats.

More women than men have binge eating disorder, and most of the people who have it are overweight or obese. Binge eaters eat mostly sugar and fat, and as a result, they may be lacking certain vitamins and nutrients. Many of them are also depressed. Treatments for this disorder include therapy and medications such as antidepressants.

Bulimia Nervosa – Binge eating is also present in another eating disorder, bulimia nervosa. It is estimated that 1.1 to 4.2 percent of females will have bulimia nervosa in their lifetime. Bulimics are caught in a binge/purge cycle. They binge eat, usually in secret, then purge to get rid of the calories just eaten. Purging may involve either self-induced vomiting after eating or using laxatives, diuretics, or enemas. People with bulimia may also exercise intensely for long periods of time in attempt to burn off the extra calories taken in during binge eating, or they may go for long periods of time without eating. Many bulimics do a combination or all of these things.