What is Healthy Weight?
A healthy weight is about more than your appearance. Maintaining a weight that is appropriate for your height and build helps your body function more efficiently. Studies show that individuals experience improved blood pressure, better cardiovascular health, and less incidence of Type 2 Diabetes when their weight is in a healthy range1,2. The digits on the scale are just one factor in your overall health, but they are important. The team at DFW Bariatric Institute is dedicated to helping patients in Dallas and Fort Worth reach their weight loss goals in order to live healthier, more active lives.
Body Mass Index (BMI)
The medical community uses Body Mass Index, or BMI, as a measurement tool to evaluate if a patient is at a healthy weight. BMI is determined using weight, height and gender. If you are familiar with the concept of BMI, you may have heard criticism that it is an inaccurate way to assess health; that may be true for professional athletes who carry a muscle mass that is significantly above the norm. However, for the majority of people BMI is a widely accepted tool to evaluate body weight.
What does your BMI mean?
|BMI < 20||under weight|
|BMI 20-24.9||healthy weight|
|BMI 25-29.9||over weight|
|BMI 35-39.9||severe obesity|
|BMI 40-49.9||morbid obesity|
|BMI > 50||super morbid obesity|
Health Risks Associated With Being Overweight
Scientific studies have found that a BMI over 30 correlates to a higher incidence of chronic disease3. The conditions that are attributed to or exacerbated by excess weight are called comorbidities. The following comorbidities are associated with obesity4:
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Sleep Apnea
- Gallbladder Disease
- Cardiovascular Disease
Research also indicates that several types of cancer are also associated with obesity5. People with obesity may be at higher risk for breast cancer, colon cancer, uterine cancer, pancreatic cancer and esophageal cancer. Obesity can also have a negative effect on fertility for both men and women because hormone levels, sperm production, and ovulation may be altered due to obesity6. In addition to the impact to physical health, obesity may also increase the risk of mental health disease such as anxiety and depression7. At DFW Bariatric Institute, we have been honored to help many people find a path to better health. Our patients often report that they feel healthier, happier and more in control of their lives.
The Cost of Obesity
People struggling with obesity may face personal costs between $9,000 and $17,000 higher than people living at a healthy weight8. These costs are associated with higher medical expenses, including lost wages due to chronic health issues, higher insurance prices, and the cost of medical treatment and prescription drugs for comorbidities. Studies have also shown that people with obesity may encounter discrimination in the workplace which can lead to lower wages9.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than one third of adults in the U.S. are obese10. There are many factors that contribute to obesity, but it is more complicated than many people believe, because it is not simply a matter of willpower and diet. Certain risk factors including gender, age, genetics, family history, lifestyle, and even location can increase the likelihood that a person will become obese. However, just because you have risk factors does not mean that you are destined to struggle with obesity. Physical activity, diet and help from a medical professional can counteract risk factors to help you live a healthier and more active life.
The Science Behind Weight Loss
The human body is incredibly complex. There are some factors that contribute to weight which are in your control, but there are also some that aren’t. Your body has a basal metabolic rate (BMR) which is the rate at which your body burns calories sustaining bodily functions such as breathing and circulation. There are also intricate processes for regulating weight that involve hormones, organ systems, and brain function. If one of these components is disrupted, excess weight can accumulate, and since the body may be hardwired to store weight, losing it is much harder than gaining it. Quick fixes such as fad diets cannot restore balance to the body – only comprehensive lifestyle changes can.
Breaking The Weight Loss and Regain Cycle of Dieting
Many people who struggle to lose weight experience fluctuations in weight, sometimes known as weight cycling or yo-yo dieting. Studies show that two thirds of people who lose weight through diet and exercise regain the weight within one year, and of those who don’t, many regain within 5 years11. Repeated weight loss and gain can cause health issues and make it more difficult to lose weight in the future12.
Which Diet is Right for You?*
If you’re trying to lose weight you may be overwhelmed by conflicting advice about which foods to eat and which foods to avoid. Most medical professionals and diet experts agree that a healthy approach includes whole foods such as vegetables and lean protein while limiting sugar and saturated fats. The best diet is one that you can incorporate into a lifelong healthy lifestyle. Get the details on some of the specific diet plans you may hear about:
- Mediterranean The Mediterranean diet emphasizes fresh vegetables and lean protein with some fruits, whole grains and healthy fats. Red meat and simple carbohydrates are avoided. This way of eating may be beneficial for cardiovascular health, but it might not be the best choice for weight loss because it does not limit starchy grains.
- Keto Diet A ketogenic, or keto, diet utilizes a high-fat, extremely low carb approach. This diet has gained popularity recently because it can produce weight loss results. However, nutrition experts don’t rate it very highly because it is difficult to adhere to, produce is limited, and it may not be very heart healthy.
- DASH Diet This diet cuts back sodium, saturated fat, and sugar and puts the focus on fruits and veggies, low-fat dairy, whole grains and lean protein. The DASH diet was designed to prevent or improve high blood pressure, but it may also help with weight loss.
- Vegan or Plant Based Diets With a plant based diet, any meat, poultry, fish, dairy products or eggs are avoided. Participants eat fruit, veggies, whole grains, and nuts. This diet can be very heart healthy and it may contribute to weight loss, but some experts are concerned about vitamin deficiencies.
- Commercial Weight Loss Plans A commercial weight loss plan is any type of diet you need to pay to join. Some commercial diets, such as Weight Watchers, charge for membership but allow you to choose your own food. The flexibility and accountability of Weight Watchers has helped many people lose weight. Prescribed eating plans such as Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, Medifast, or HMR are more restrictive. Although these plans are designed for weight loss, they can be expensive and are typically not sustainable as a lifestyle choice.
How a Registered Dietitian Can Help You Lose Weight
With so much information available, it can be helpful to talk to a nutrition expert about your individual needs and goals. But who should you look to for advice? Your doctor of course, but they may not have the resources to provide you with a detailed plan tailored for you. That’s where a registered dietitian comes in. There are many types of nutrition experts; registered dietitians have completed specific coursework, degrees, and accredited programs and have been licensed by the state. A registered dietitian who specializes in weight loss can help you make food choices, find new recipes, and optimize your diet with a personalized weight loss plan.
Contact us to schedule an appointment with our experienced bariatric dietitian, or check out our blog for tips from our dietitian.
The Role of Exercise in Weight Management
Regular physical activity is an important part of a healthy and active life. Studies show that exercise is a key component in maintaining weight loss and improving overall health.13 New research also indicates that exercise may be more important to maintaining weight loss than previously believed. In addition to promoting weight loss, regular exercise can also reduce the risk of certain types of cancer and cardiovascular disease by up to 30%.14 The key to a successful workout regimen is consistency.
Tips for Sticking to a Fitness Routine
The first step in a successful fitness routine is identifying exercises that are a good match for your ability, personality and lifestyle. If you’re outgoing and like dancing, then you’re more likely to enjoy a zumba class than a solo run. If you have mobility issues, then a chair yoga class or water therapy session could be a great place to start. Busy parents can find free online workout videos to fit into their schedule. Once you choose your routine, here are some tips for staying on track:
- If you join a gym, choose one that is close to your home or workplace.
- Schedule your workouts on a calendar, just like you would important appointments. (Early morning workouts can be easier to stick with since they are less likely to be interrupted by other events.)
- Find a friend to workout with and hold each other accountable.
- Make a playlist of your favorite up-tempo songs or get a good audiobook to listen to while you workout.
- Set a workout goal such as walking 50 miles per month or working your way up to a certain number of pushups. When you meet your goal, give yourself a reward such as new workout clothes, a fitbit, or a spa day.
Types of Exercise for Weight Loss
- Low Impact Exercise for Weight Loss Low impact exercises involve movement that is easier on joints and muscles. These exercises are a great starting point for people new to fitness, and for people with mobility issues. Some low impact exercises include swimming or water aerobics, yoga (look for gentle or restorative classes), and walking.
- Aerobic Exercise for Weight Loss Aerobic exercise involves vigorous movement that gets your heart pumping. These exercises, such as running or bicycling, burn calories and can improve cardiovascular health. Swimming is an exercise that can be both low impact and aerobic. Check out some benefits of cycling for weight loss patients. If you are just starting your weight loss journey, make sure your doctor has cleared you for aerobic exercise.
- Weight Lifting and Resistance Training for Weight Loss Weight lifting is not just for bodybuilders! In fact, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that all healthy adults perform strength-training exercises at least twice per week, with eight to 12 repetitions per exercise. This can be as simple as the basic pushups and squats or a full weight routine with a trainer. This type of exercising can tone muscles and help your body burn fat more efficiently.
Weight Loss Surgery
The cycle of weight loss and regain that many dieters encounter is controlled by more than just willpower. Metabolic, genetic and environmental factors keep healthy weight maintenance out of reach for many people. Some experts believe that up to 95% of people who lose weight through diet and exercise will regain the weight.15 For people frustrated by the struggle of losing weight and maintaining weight loss, and for people with weight related health concerns, weight loss surgery is an option. Weight loss surgery can save lives, and contrary to some perceptions, it is not the easy way out.
Weight Loss Surgery is an Effective Treatment for Obesity
Studies show that the majority of weight loss patients maintain their weight loss years after surgery.16 Additionally, weight loss surgery such as gastric sleeve has been proven to improve diabetes; 70% of gastric sleeve patients saw an improvement or complete remission of Type 2 diabetes after surgery.17 Weight loss surgery is a powerful tool that can help people live healthier lives. In addition to restricting food intake, weight loss surgeries such as gastric sleeve or gastric bypass can also reduce the hormone ghrelin, which regulates cravings and hunger.18 The patients who have success after weight loss surgery are the ones who commit to changing their eating and activity habits to embrace lifelong lifestyle changes.
Weight Loss Surgery Options
- Gastric Sleeve In gastric sleeve surgery, or vertical sleeve gastrectomy, a large portion of the stomach is removed. The remaining stomach, a small banana shaped pouch, is limited in capacity so patients are satisfied with less food. Gastric sleeve patients lose, on average, 65% of excess body weight.19**
- Gastric Bypass The stomach is also reduced in size during a gastric bypass procedure, and additionally the intestines are rerouted to bypass the upper portion of the small intestine. This surgery restricts intake and decreases calorie absorption.
- Gastric Band The gastric band procedure involves using a device to restrict the portion of the stomach that is in use in order to reduce food intake.
- Non-surgical Gastric Balloon For patients seeking to lose 20 to 40 pounds, the gastric balloon is a temporary and non-surgical option to kickstart weight loss.
Myths and Facts About Weight Loss
- Myth: All You Need Is Willpower
- Fact: Obesity does not equal laziness. Experts agree that there are many things that influence a person’s propensity to gain weight, including genetic, medical, and environmental factors. People who struggle with weight loss need more than determination – they need the support and tools to succeed.
- Myth: I Can’t Lose Weight If I’ve Been Overweight My Whole Life
- Fact: It can be difficult to overcome a lifetime of habits and lifestyle factors that contribute to obesity, but with the right tools and support system it IS possible. Read our success stories to be inspired by before and after photos and stories from people who have succeeded in losing weight and creating healthier lives.
- Myth: I’m Not Overweight Enough for WLS
- Fact: Less than 1% of Americans who qualify for weight loss surgery actually get it.20 If your BMI is over 30 then you may be a candidate for weight loss surgery. Check your BMI Here.
- Myth: Losing Weight Is a Linear Process With a Set Beginning and End
- Fact: Most weight loss journeys are full of ups and downs. Even weight loss surgery patients may hit a plateau a few months post-surgery when rapid weight loss can stall out. The key to success is to stay the course! Don’t get discouraged by setbacks – stay motivated with a new exercise routine or a visit with a dietitian.
- Myth: All Calories Are Equal
- Fact: Nutritious foods are better fuel for a weight loss journey. You may have heard that weight loss is all about “calories in and calories out” but we’re more likely to make good choices and stick to our diet when we feel good. Foods that are nutrient dense such as vegetables, and high protein such as low-fat dairy and lean meats, will keep you feeling full longer and provide your body with the energy it needs for a healthy lifestyle.
At DFW Bariatric Institute, we’re honored to help people succeed on their weight loss journeys. Feel free to contact us with any questions, or fill out our Free Insurance Check form to take the first step toward a healthier and more active life!
2 Kones R, Rumana U (2016) Nutrition Studies, Optimum Cardiovascular Health, and Coronary Atherosclerosis-Ensuring A Solid Foundation for Public Policy. J Clin Exp Cardiolog 7:e145. doi: 10.4172/2155-9880.1000e145
3 The Global BMI Mortality Collaboration Published: 13 July 2016 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(16)30175-1
4 Clin Cornerstone. 1999;2(3):17-31. Obesity and its comorbid conditions. Khaodhiar L1, McCowen KC, Blackburn GL.
8 Thompson D, Edelsberg J, Colditz GA, Bird AP, Oster G. Lifetime health and economic consequences of obesity. Arch Intern Med. 1999; 159:2177-83.
9 Colditz GW, Wang, YC. Economic costs of obesity. In: Hu F, Obesity Epidemiology. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc., 2008.
11 Obesity Reviews February 2015 Volume 16, Issue Supplement S1 Pages 1–96
12 International Journal of Exercise Science. 2009; 2(3): 191–201.Published online 2009 Jul 15
13 Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 2014 Jan-Feb; 56(4): 441–447. Published online 2013 Oct 11. doi: 10.1016/j.pcad.2013.09.012
15 Bijlefeld, M., & Zoumbaris, S. (2003). Encyclopedia of Diet Fads. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
16 JAMA Surg. Published online December 6, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2017.5025
17 Journal of Diabetes Research 2015; 2015: 674268. Published online 2015 Apr 14. Doi
18 World Journal of Gastroenterology 2015 Nov 7; 21(41): 11804–11814
19 World Journal of Gastroenterology 2015 Nov 7; 21(41): 11804–11814
20 Ethicon, Inc. (2016). Bariatric Surgically Open Patient Profiling Initiative. Beth Seltzer. Sanjit K. Bhogal OBES SURG (2015) 25:888–899 DOI 10.1007/s11695-015-1595-9, Inequity to the Utilization of Bariatric Surgery: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, Table 2 6
*Consult your physician before starting any diet plan or exercise routine
** Results may vary