Even though medical weight loss surgery is a viable option for the overweight and obese there are other options that should not be discounted. Recent research presented to the Obesity Society reminds people struggling with weight that calorie restriction and physical activity can, in many cases, work.
Strategies that Work
The common view has been that lifestyle approaches to weight loss for the severely obese have little effect. The problem with this view is that little sound research has been done to either confirm or disprove it. But in a recent study evidence was produced that gives hope for non-surgical approaches to obesity. In the study 139 obese adults with an average age of 46 were divided into two groups. Both groups were provided prepackaged and liquid meal replacements. Over the course of the study the meal replacements were gradually reduced. Incentives for weight loss were offered through small financial rewards and individual and group support. One group immediately began a daily walking regiment while the second group did not begin an exercise plan until six months later. The group that delayed exercise was able to catch up in weight loss within an additional six months. The conclusion: while it takes work, the obese can make improvement if they are willing to stick out for the long haul.
In another study 442 obese women were assigned to one of three groups: a center-based commercial weight loss program, a telephone-based commercial weight loss program, and a “usual care” group that served as a comparison group. After 24 months those in the commercial plans lost about three times as much weight as those in the usual care group.
There can be no doubt the benefits of a structured weight loss program with accountability and professional oversight is far more effective than going it alone.