Many of our patients are interested in losing weight. As excess body weight can contribute to low back pain and even many common life threatening health conditions, we have provided expert guidance for years.
The desire to lose weight can be so all compelling that some will even chance dangerous surgical procedures. These surgeries can produce dramatic weight loss results at dramatic costs. Obviously, there is the substantial financial expense and unexpected surgical mishaps to consider, but few ever really consider the not so obvious price of future health requirements associated with the surgery itself.
Some doctors worry about the likelihood of malnutrition when the digestive tract is surgically altered in a significant way. What happens after a bariatric surgical procedure is completed and some ideal body weight is achieved? What exactly stops the dramatic loss of weight once the weight loss goal is achieved? There is little research supporting the achievement of any health goals with such measures, only the weight loss goals. It is likely that future research could show that such drastic surgical weight loss efforts were ill considered and dangerous.
Surgery should be recommended for treatment of actual medical conditions - not merely for symptomatic relief. Obesity is seen by many researchers today as a symptom of food addiction. Can you imagine what an appropriate surgery would be for someone suffering from a drug addiction. We must look at the problem as it really is to have any real chance at reaching a worthwhile solution.
The real problem is that we like sugar too much. Actually we don't like sugar as much as we love sugar. In fact, the truth of the matter is, we are addicted to our sugar in all its various forms. And sugar, also known as carbohydrates or carbs, is everywhere. It's not only in sweets and pastries, its in bread, pasta, rice, beer, wine, vegetables and fruit.
Sugar is so addictive that many fast food restaurants will put extra sugar in their buns and french fries so you will eat more. It's so addictive diabetics will not give it up even to avoid the amputation of a limb.
Carbohydrates affect the same part of the brain as does cocaine, alcohol and gambling. Breaking the sugar addiction involves going through withdrawals just like we see when breaking away from addictive drugs.
In the past 100 years sugar consumption has skyrocketed. And with this rise in sugar consumption we see a huge rise in obesity and diabetes. Along with this exponential growth in obesity and diabetes we see an associated rise in dementia, autoimmune disease and even cancer.
From this perspective you can see why weight loss, in and of itself, is actually a poor choice for a goal. The better goal would be to get well and stay well. The weight loss should be only one of many expected benefits of an improved diet.
The basics of any successful diet plan is straight forward:
1) Reduce daily carbohydrate intake to less than 20 grams. Most of our daily carb intake should be from green leafy or cruciferous vegetables. Be careful about fruit as it really packs a lot of carbs. Low carb fruits include apples and most berries. Try to eat no more than one fruit for every four vegetables.
2) Increase healthy fats to over sixty percent of your daily food intake. Healthy fats include fish oil, coconut oil, olive oil, and saturated fats from animal sources as well as fruits such as avocados. A hand full of raw nuts can also provide healthy saturated fats.
3) Eat clean, grass fed animal protein or wild caught fish every meal. Your protein intake should be about twenty percent of your daily diet. If you weigh about 160 pounds your daily protein intake should be about the size of a deck of playing cards
Most dieters have dieted before, lost weight or seen others lose weight only to gain most, if not all or more, right back. This is actually the norm for most dieters and will likely make any future weight loss efforts less encouraging. Avoiding such poor outcomes is more likely when your whole lifestyle is changed versus just trying to reach a certain weight on the scale.