Keeping all of the Weight Off, Safely
Everyone’s heard about the obesity epidemic. According to JAMA, in the US 40% women and 35% of men are classified as obese. Why does it matter? Because obesity affects the length and quality of people’s lives. Obese men and women are more likely to have diabetes. Obesity might cause them to have joint pain. Recently, obesity has even been linked to some forms of cancer. This is a very serious health problem.
A Tense Social Climate
Many obese adults feel like they’re under assault by the media. Sometimes they’re frustrated by a medical establishment that seems uncaring. Often, obese men and women feel they’ve tried everything. They describe patterns of losing and gaining. In spite of the medical evidence, sometimes they’re defiant. They insist they were meant to be big, full stop. Activists including Regan Chastain and Virgie Tovar have asserted that they feel no need to slim down. They believe that people can be healthy, and fabulous, at any size.
Other obese Americans look to permanent medical interventions as a means to change. Procedures such as the gastric sleeve and gastric bypass have soared in popularity. Both operations reduce the size of the stomach. Patients feel more full more quickly. Most see incredible results. Some of them drop up to 70% of their starting body weight. For these people, these operations are life-savers. There can be serious side-effects, however. Absorption of nutrients is affected. Sometimes, weight-loss surgery patients require infusions of vitamins and minerals in order to remain healthy.
Gaining It All Back
There’s also the issue of regaining the weight. Over time, in spite of the surgery, the new, smaller stomach pouch can become stretched out. Suddenly there’s more room to overeat, again. When this happens, the patient may be devastated. After making a huge commitment and real change, it looks like they’re heading right back to the starting point.
Sometimes, patients panic. They may take up smoking in hopes of curbing their appetite. This is a terrible choice. Smoking is linked to chronic conditions like COPD and lung cancer. And like obesity, it exacerbates cardiovascular disease. If you or someone you love has made the choice to start smoking, it’s important that you stop immediately. Smoking is a killer.
A reliance on other appetite suppressants, like caffeine, is also a common choice. There’s nothing wrong with the occasional cup of coffee. But too much of anything is unhealthy. Caffeine overload can make people jittery, shaky and affect their ability to sleep.
So what are some healthy ways to stave off post-surgery weight gain?
No Liquid Calories
Whether you want juice, soda, beer or wine, get used to the idea of not having it. From now on, liquid calories are strictly off-limits. Keep anything with artificial sweeteners off the menu, too. When your brain senses the sweet taste, it expects calories to accompany it. Your whole system will be looking for the energy that sweetness typically signals. In practical terms, they just make you hungrier.
When you’re thirsty, water is always the best choice. It will keep you hydrated. Your skin will look better. And a glass before your meal will help fill you up. Of course, black coffee and tea are also acceptable in moderation.
Load Up On Greens
Greens are one of the keys to good health. They’re loaded with vitamins like C and K. Kale and spinach contain iron, too. One of the keys to maximizing your iron absorption is to drizzle your greens with lemon or lime juice before eating. Though greens are low in calories, oils are not. Be aware that even a small amount of oily dressing packs a huge caloric punch. It’s best to avoid these.
Weight doesn’t come on overnight, and it doesn’t drop off that way, either. It will take time to see a change. It will also take time for your taste buds to adjust to your new program. For a week or two, you can expect headaches. When those happen, do something to distract from them. Go for a walk. Read the news online. Call a friend for support.
Remember, you’ve done it once. You can do it again, too.