Stop Focusing on Weight Loss! Other Options for Healthy Living

Other Options for Healthy Living is the fifth in a blog series helping you to focus on making healthier choices and living a healthier life. 

Struggling with weight is nothing new, and if weight loss is achieved, many struggle to maintain it. With hectic schedules, convenient foods, genetics, and changes in your metabolism that accompany age, weight loss and maintenance can be a challenge. For some, especially those suffering from comorbidities such as diabetes, reflux, joint pain, sleep apnea, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and even infertility, changing their lifestyle through exercise and healthy eating may not be enough. 

If you have not, we invite you to read the first four blogs in the series, focusing on changing to a healthy living mindset, developing a healthy eating plan, physical activity, and the importance of sleep. We invite you to also check your BMI. AARP has a BMI calculator that can be used by a person of any age to help you determine where you are currently and where you should be based on your height and current weight.  

Other Options for Healthy Living  

Weight Loss Drugs 

Weight loss drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may be an option for some patients and patients should consult with their physician before taking weight loss supplements. If approved by your physician, these drugs or supplements should be used only as part of a program that includes diet, physical activity, and behavioral changes. Weight loss drugs may be considered for people with the following: 

  • A body mass index (BMI) ≥27 who also have obesity-related risk factors or diseases. 
  • Those with a BMI ≥30 without other obesity-related risk factors or diseases. 
  • For those if weight loss of one pound per week has not occurred after six months of a calorie-controlled diet and physical activity.  

Two weight drugs have been approved by the FDA: Sibutramine (Meridia) and Orlistat (Xenical). These drugs have been shown to produce modest weight loss (between 4.4 and 22 pounds), although some people lose more weight. It is not possible to predict exactly how much weight an individual may lose. Most weight loss occurs within the first six months of therapy. If you think you’re a candidate for weight loss drugs, you should discuss this option with your physician.  

Patients on weight loss drugs need to be monitored for side effects. Follow-up visits are generally recommended within two to four weeks after starting the medication, then monthly for three months, then every three months for the first year after starting the medication. After the first year, your physician will advise you on appropriate return visits. The purpose of these visits is to monitor weight, blood pressure, and pulse; discuss side effects; conduct laboratory tests; and answer your questions.  

Weight Loss Surgery 

Weight loss surgery may be an option for patients that meet the following criteria: 

  • A BMI ≥40 or a BMI ≥35. 
  • Comorbidity conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, severe sleep apnea, and obesity-related cardiomyopathy.  
  • For those with severe obesity when other methods of treatment have failed.  

Two types of operations have proven to be effective in reducing and maintaining weight loss:  

  • Gastric Sleeve Surgery (VSG) – A restrictive procedure that works by shrinking the size of the stomach and slowing down digestion. If a normal stomach is able to hold about three pints of food, after the surgery, it will be smaller, and it may hold three to four ounces. The smaller the stomach is, the less the patient can eat, and more weight will be lost via a restrictive technique. 
  • Gastric Bypass surgery (RNY) – A restrictive and malabsorptive procedure that will make the patient’s stomach smaller and at the same time, remove or bypass part of the digestive tract, making it harder for the body to absorb calories.  Here the calories bypass the body and the RNY helps the patient lose weight via malabsorption. 

It is important to discuss weight loss surgery with your physician and consult with a surgeon that specializes in weight loss surgery. Consider using a physician and hospital that are accredited by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. For a physician and hospital to receive this accreditation, the program must be comprehensive and include psychological and dietician requirements, meet rigorous standards, and demonstrate positive outcomes.  

This series will continue to deliver tips to help you achieve your goals. There are times when focusing on making healthier choices presents challenges and help is never far away. Speak with your healthcare provider about your health goals, your weight goals, your overall health, and the challenges you face. Your provider can assist in guiding you on your health journey.  

As part of living a healthier life, RPM Healthcare offers remote patient monitoring for weight loss and maintenance with the goal of not only helping you feel good, but to prevent or help treat heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.  

Article has been reviewed by Dr. Irina Koyfman, DNP, NP-C, RN, Chief Population Health Officer, RPM Healthcare. 

Weight Management Series 

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