Non-surgical weight loss methods and do they work?

Essentially, non surgical weight loss methods have only been shown to achieve an average of 10kg of sustained weight loss.

Non Surgical Weight Loss Methods

Slim Smoothies
Diet
Exercise
Medication

 

Diet

A calorie-controlled diet is central to any weight loss strategy (including weight loss surgery). Without this the body simply will not give up the stored fat. Starve the body and it will resist weight loss also. So the key phrase is Calorie-controlled, and not low calorie or no calorie. However, there are no studies showing that weight loss any where near 30kg can be achieved and maintained with calorie-controlled diets. Surgery is well and truly alone when it comes to this range of major weight loss.

Exercise

Exercise has only ever been shown to lose any weight if it is combined with a calorie controlled diet. Exercise increases the amount of weight you can lose and the amount you can keep off, if the diet is also maintained. But most studies on weight loss and exercise show that obese people (and many others also) tend to reward themselves for exercising by eating a food reward of some kind. This invariably takes them into what is effectively no longer a calorie-controlled diet, but a diet too rich in calories to lose weight, and so weight loss fails. To the extent that people often get the impression that going to the gym does not help them lose weight. Going to the gym would help lose weight if you don’t reward yourself with food before or after exercising. As part of our programme we encourage people to lose more weight by exercising while maintaining their calorie controlled diet which is assisted of course by the surgery.

Medication

Most medication is very effective at losing weight. But there are a number of limitations to current medications that make them essentially ineffective. The weight loss is not maintained, because the medications can only be used for a few months. There are side effects, which are usually minor and well tolerated, but include cardiac and other potentially hazardous diseases. Hence the brief course of treatment that can be used. Also, and importantly, the average amount of weight loss is not as great as surgery. The ideal medication is probably decades away from being invented and usable.

For more information on non surgical weight loss methods, consult with one of our dietitians.

 

Non Surgical Weight Loss Results

Results are very variable
Many methods are unproven
You have to keep trying, everyday, forever….Ease up a little and the weight flies back on
And is then harder to budge the next time…dieting makes you fat
If you could keep it up, then the best weight loss is (on average) only 10kg

 

Results are very variable

This is not something new to anybody who has tried to lose weight. The method that works for your friend, has you excited at also losing weight, and then strangely (?) fails to deliver is all too common. Everybody who considers weight loss surgery has pretty much tried everything out there that might help. It gets expensive and demoralizing. But the reality is that this is happening to you not because there is something wrong with you, or your self control or determination or any other reason you may have come up with. The reason may simply be that because we have not yet truly completely unraveled the physiology of obesity, we simply don’t have a method that works for everyone. And hance the results are so variable, that claims seen in the advertisements may apply to you, but are often nothing like what really happens to you.

Many methods are unproven

The reason most of these methods fail is because they have not necessarily been scientifically tested and proven to work. They are sometimes obviously a fad diet, or a gimmick, but other times they sound very credible. Perhaps a book that sounds great in principle, a class or programme that has been around for years, well advertised and apparently very good. The real trouble with trying all these, and try you do because you really want to lose weight, is that eventually all this dieting makes you fatter. For example, a weight loss method claiming things like “Lose 5kg in 10 days” might mean they tested hundreds of people or only a few, achieved loss of fat or everyone just became dehydrated or cleared out their bowels a great deal. Unfortunately, just because a weight loss method is getting your attention, doesn’t mean it has been proven to work. Some, of course, have been proven to work, but most non surgical weight loss results are very small amounts of weight, temporary weight loss only, worked in a small proportion of people, required unsustainable lifestyle changes, or cannot be applied outside the study (ie they don’t work in the real world).

You have to keep trying, everyday, forever

Lose Weight

Temporary minor weight may have its appeal. It still may have some appeal for various reasons (“I want to look fab on my wedding day”). But to keep it off forever, live longer, feel better about yourself or improve you quality of life in the long term, it needs to stay off. So you have to keep trying to keep the weight off forever. But your body is smarter than we are. It adapts to your changes in eating habits and exercise regime and gets better at holding on to weight. Remembering that the body is determined to hold on to weight at all costs in case there is a famine around the corner (imagine bears preparing for hibernation), you have to keep on outsmarting the weight gain hormones etc for months and months, and even then the struggle just keeps getting harder and harder. So you must keep trying to lose weight for the rest of your life, assuming you scan lose it in the first place!

And is then harder to budge the next time…dieting makes you fat

Once the body has activated the profat hormones and weight maintaining systems, they get more efficient. And each time they are activated they seem to get more and more efficient at preventing weight loss. In other words, it is apparent that dieting makes you fat in the long run.

If you could keep it up, then the best weight loss is (on average) only 10kg.

Most non surgical weight loss methods do not achieve any where near an average of 10kg weight loss. Let us assume that you can find the method that works well for you, it is on average only likely to shed 10kg. You onviously can do better than this, or worse, but the average result is only 10kg. This is not enough weight oss for most people considering weight loss surgery.

So if all ,this is true, I hear you ask, then why do some people, say on TV shos like The Biggest Loser lose so much weight. The answer is that, for most people living in the real world, major maintained weight loss is not achievable. Exceptions exist, but they are not at all typical .

Essentially, non surgical weight loss methods have only been shown to achieve an average of 10kg of sustained weight loss.

 

Please Contact Melbourne Bariatrics on  03  9770  7189  for more information or to make an appointment
Royal Australasian College of SurgeonsAMA - Australian Medical AssociationFRACS - Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeonsmattu - Minimal Access Therapy Training Unit GuildfordIFSO - International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic DisordersMonash University
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