We’re in the world of instant gratification right now. Many of us are being sold on so-called “quick fixes” or “easy” options to weight loss, almost giving us the sense of if we pay for it, we will get results. This is so true when it comes to buying a car, a dessert or the new iphone, but when it comes to weight loss and truly achieving the body you want… not so much. We start to think if I just get this surgery or I just do this diet, it will help me get the first 10-40lbs off and then I can go from there. This thought process typically sets us up for short and long-term failure versus true results. Not only does it waste our time and money, it truly wastes our health! The chronic dieting and weight loss industry is creating a slow miserable death for many of us causing depression, injuries, chronic health conditions and 99% of the time leaving us unhappy with our results. Yet still these common weight loss offerings tempt us to repeat the same mistakes over and over with hopes of success if we give it just one more try.
Lets take a look at a couple common options put before us and break down just how quick they really are.
Lap Band and Gastric Bypass Surgery
Here we think we can’t possibly lose weight on our own and that our body defies science. All the eating healthy and exercise in the world does not work for us. We are made to think maybe we can just get a surgery which physically restricts us from eating making results achievable. It will make it easier in our busy lives to not have to be in control, but to kind of have our own built-in governor which keeps us under the speed limit and helps us avoid more negative repercussions such as more weight gain. Some physicians stress the need for us to lose weight for better health and then sell us on this being the best way or the only way to get there.
Reality Check #1: The body was designed to eat. We require energy to survive. Healthy calories offer the body nutrients needed to burn off fat, build tight bodies and create well-being. Having a surgery which restricts food to the point of mild to severe starvation does not create health or a nice body. Physiologically, it just can’t work. Yes, you can lose weight because you are essentially starving yourself to right before the point of death. I know most are thinking, “I don’t care. I just need this weight off so I can feel better”. Here’s the downside, being a lower weight does not mean you will feel “better”. It’s nice to be a lower weight, but feeling better begins first in your mind and how you think about yourself and then second in your actions as to how you treat yourself. I have been as low as 112lbs and did not feel “better” until I made some serious changes to my mindset, diet, stress and exercise.
Reality Check #2: A recent study by researchers at the University of Washington found that 1 in 50 people die within one month of having gastric bypass surgery, and that figure jumps nearly fivefold if the surgeon is inexperienced. (2004). 1 in 10 die within the first year! Why is this? Because many who sign up for weight loss surgery are already so severely depleted from poor diets and high stress, their bodies can not handle the stress of the surgery or the malnutrition following. Your body can not heal without quality fuel and if it does, it takes several times longer than someone who is eating a balanced diet.
Reality Check #3: We are told that even with weight loss surgery, we are going to have to watch what we eat and exercise. So many think if they get a jump-start they will be able to have the energy and a lighter body to do so. And although this may mentally make it easier for a person to get moving, the surgery is not needed to achieve this. It’s all about changing a mindset. It’s all about getting control over your choices making your health and movement a priority. If we realize that we are going to have to put in the time and energy to exercise and eat right anyway, why not commit to that prior to surgery? Do what you can do! People do not have to exercise the way they see on TV or how their fitness bunny friend does. The goal is to just get moving whichever way you can without pushing yourself to the point of injury. Its appreciating that you have the ability to move and to use it while you can.
Reality Check #4: Weight loss surgery never makes it easier. It’s actually a lot of time, money and effort. You have to prepare time for prepping and getting approval. You have to make time for surgery, recovery, meal planning, mental support and follow-up appointments. Then you have to learn how to tweak your diet and exercise again when you hit the infamous wall. Many times exercise and diet becomes more and more difficult, because as your body starves to death, it slowly eats away at your tendons, cartilage and healthy muscle mass creating more joint pain and a slower metabolism. It becomes this big snow ball effect in which the very thing you were trying to make easier, becomes even more difficult than it was before the surgery. So guess what? After 1-2 years, you typically take off 80-200lbs depending on how much you had to lose and then most still feel sluggish and flabby, missing the happiness they were looking for. This is the truth to the after effects of surgery. It’s not so easy. Most could take off 80-200lbs in the same time frame just committing to living better allowing them to bypass the pain, sluggishness and doctor visits.
Rapid Weight Loss Plans- HCG, Phentermine and all the others
This plan typically consists of a Very Low Calorie Diet, High Protein and some type of hormone or appetite suppressant. Another plan which goes against physiology and how the body was designed to work. Plans work short-term and again sell us on the fact that we don’t have to think much. Just eat anything that’s a protein and maybe a couple of cups of vegetables and we can drop 20lbs pretty easily in a month.
Reality Check #1: Why are you trying to lose weight in the first place? Is rapid weight loss going to serve your true purpose? Are you losing weight to look less flabby, to be firm in your swim trunks or bathing suit or do you really just want the scale to validate your beauty? When you lose weight on this type of plan, more than half of that is muscle and water weight. If you continue on the plan, you continue to lose lean muscle mass and healthy tissue. Your gall bladder starts to experience stress, your heart gets weaker, your thyroid starts to slow or shut down, slowly but surely you are rapidly losing weight and rapidly aging your body. You may feel elated that the scale is going down, but before long, you will start to scrutinize your body realizing that it still doesn’t look so hot just because you dropped a few pounds.
Reality Check #2: When you attempt to eat “normal” with your family again, the weight piles back on as fast as it came off. As we lose lean muscle mass our body starts to require less energy. As we fall back into our old habits not really ever committing to living healthy, our body starts to put all the weight back on and even faster than before. So we spend a few years up down, up down, up down.
Why create health issues such as heart palpitations, gall bladder failure, hypothyroid and blood clots just to drop a few pounds if they’re just going to make you look flabbier and most likely pile back on with a vengeance?
Reality Check #3: Many who start this diet to lose weight, we’re not eating enough in the first place. Their metabolism was already too slow from skipping meals, eating too small of portions and only snacking on 100 calorie snack packs. If your lack of weight loss was due to your already nutrient deficient diet, taking on a diet which guides you to eat even less is not the answer for you. If you are someone who has been overeating, this may help get your eating habits under control or help you break a carb addiction, but you can truly achieve these same results through simple life changes not requiring you to buy special pills or hormones.
These reality checks are just the tip of the ice berg. I can not even begin to share the side effects, the science, the results I have seen over the past 18 years in just a few paragraphs within a blog. Know that I share this information with compassion and empathy for each of you who have been through this or are striving to get weight off. I practice no judgement, because I understand we each just want to feel and look our best. I share this information because it is my hope for you to achieve each of your goals as effectively and painless as possible.
You have to ask yourself, where do I want to be 3 years from now? Do I want to rely on so-called quick weight loss options losing the same 40-100lbs over and over again? Or do I want to commit to improving my life and actually achieve my goals long-term? I assure you, if you commit the next one to two years to making true lifestyle changes such as exercise and fueling your body with “real” food, you will achieve your goals and maintain them! Achieving a healthy body and a healthy mind, really takes commitment, perseverance and a love for self. You can’t sign up for college and get the degree in a few weeks. No you actually have to study, take the test and study some more. You have to apply what you are learning for a consistent amount of time without quitting, but the amazing thing is, with a few years of commitment, you gain a degree which lasts for life. This is what will happen if you truly take the so-called “slow” route to weight loss. Within a few years of learning how to reprogram unhealthy habits, you will actually get the 50-200lbs off you have been working at for the past several years and they will stay off! You will have educated yourself as to how your body works and how to make better choices no matter what is happening in your life. And best of all, you will LOOK and FEEL the best you ever have, achieving better health, less pain and a tighter body!!!