Obesity is a multifactorial disease. While people commonly assume that gaining weight is a simple calculation between calories eaten and calories expended (eat less, exercise more), this is not an accurate reflection of the complexity of obesity. Other factors that contribute to obesity include genetic and environmental factors. In this month’s chat, we will focus on one factor that individuals have control over: lifestyle.
Changing unhealthy habits requires, by definition, a change in lifestyle. Whether that is quitting smoking, exercising more, or making healthier food choices, lifestyle change is hard. Indeed, one of the things often emphasized to patients undergoing bariatric surgery is the need to make significant lifestyle changes after surgery. Part of this is by necessity--the new configuration of their stomach will typically accommodate less food. Thus they will commonly eat smaller, more frequent meals in order to avoid nausea and vomiting. This is part of why caloric intake typically drops significantly after bariatric surgery. Over time, people who have had bariatric surgery can adapt to their new anatomy and potentially increase their caloric intake. To the extent that patients use bariatric surgery as a tool to help them make a more enduring lifestyle change, they are more successful in maintaining weight loss.
For those with obesity who lose weight with medical management, a similar philosophy applies. Losing weight with a diet typically results in later weight regain when one discontinues the diet. This is part of why many people are able to lose weight, even significant weight, without surgery. Unfortunately only about 5% of people are successful in maintaining this type of weight loss long term. However, to the extent that people can make a lifestyle change rather than adopting a short- term diet, they may be successful in maintaining long-term weight loss.
Whether people have bariatric surgery or not, lifestyle changes are challenging to make and maintain. Establishing routines can help, but when there are logistic transitions (such as children going back to school in the fall or finishing school in the spring) these routines can get thrown off. In this month’s chat, we will discuss how to make and maintain lifestyle changes with the following questions:
What is meant by "lifestyle changes" in weight management? Do patients and practitioners share the same definitions?
What stumbling blocks have you (or your patients) encountered in trying to make lifestyle/habit changes? How were they overcome?
It is difficult to make lifestyle changes alone. How can one succeed even if friends and family are not making changes?
Fall is here. How do you (or your patients) maintain lifestyle changes in face of changes to their schedule and routine?
What motivates you (or your patients) to make lifestyle changes that last?
We hope you will join the discussion 9:00p EST* Sunday, September 10!
~The #obsm chat leadership: Arghavan Salles, MD, PhD; Heather Logghe, MD; Neil Floch, MD; Amir Ghaferi, MD, MS; and Babak Moein, MD
*Please note, an earlier version and incorrectly listed the time as 6 pm. The correct time is 9pm EST.