Obesity is a real medical condition, and there’s only one way to fight it

Diets & pills don’t work for morbid obesity

Happy New Year, everyone. Holidays are done and it is back to reality. Everyone is figuring out how to lose the 5-10 pounds they picked up during the merry making and the extra 50 pounds they have picked up in the last 10-20 years.

The decision is which diet plan that has not worked for you in the past will you use to NOT lose weight again!  As an obesity surgeon in Dallas, TX, I will clear up misconceptions about diets and weight loss related to obesity.

Obesity is not the same as overweight. These are 2 different things.

•Overweight– is just that. Carrying 10, 20 , 30, 40 extra pounds.
•Obesity – a real medical condition where the extra fat impairs every single organ system in your body, negatively affecting its ability to do their job. Heart, lungs, pancreas, intestine, muscles, nerves, bones, bladder, reproductive organs and even the ones used for hanky panky.  Obesity means you are carrying anywhere from 50 to 100+ pounds over your ideal body weight.
•Age – the older you are, the harder it is to lose weight. Age does not mean you can not have obesity loss surgery.
•Sex – is the best exercise you can do to lose weight. (Didn’t buy that? Sorry, guys I tried).
Women have a harder time losing weight because of their higher ratio of fat to muscle.  The older women become the more muscle they lose, which means they have a harder time burning calories.
•Diet – is something you do for a very short period time where you chew carrot sticks until
somebody at work orders pizza. You then walk in to a doughnut shop, order 2 of everything, finishing them in 5 minutes.  Diets might help you lose about 10 pounds. Studies looking at diets (Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, NutriSystem, Atkins) show the most weight lost was 10-15 pounds after 1 year! 6 months in to it over  50% of folks dropped the diet. No surprise the best one was the Atkins Diet ®, but it still only got to 10-15 pounds.

Hey smarty pants doctor! What about a high powered doctor written prescription pill! Got you now! 

diet pills and obesityNope. Prescription pills are no better than diets in number of pounds lost.  They are more expensive AND they have serious side effects.  I always laugh when people tell me a pill is safer than surgery. The side effects of different drugs are bad dreams, insomnia, anxiety, dry mouth, irregular heartbeat, heart damage, loss of libido, erectile dysfunction, depression, suicide and my favorite…wait for it…Anal Leakage!

Yeah, I am going to pay money to experience anal leakage!

That is not enough! Drug companies will now combine 2 different drugs in to one, so you can have the same amount of puny weight loss with twice as many side effects. Ooh, ooh, me, me, pick me!

Diets definitely don’t work for obesity. Studies have shown that diets help less than 5% of folks have serious weight loss.

Diets don’t help obesity because it is a medical condition where the chemistry of the body is changed and resists weight loss with all of its might. Using diets to treat obesity is like using voodoo, howling to the moon, lighting candles and rolling chicken bones to treat appendicitis!

Years ago studies confirmed that obesity is the number one cause of type 2 diabetes in the world. It is directly responsible for high blood pressure, sleep apnea, high cholesterol, acid reflux, back pain, joint pain and arthritis. Obesity is linked to an increase risk in heart attack, stroke and different types of cancer. And you want me to treat all that with a diet or a pill?  Seriously?!

What drives me nuts is how insurance companies will force patients to go on a 3, 6 or 12 month supervised diet before approving obesity surgery. Insurance companies do not demand that for heart or cancer patients!

Only surgery can safely change the chemistry of the body to force it to lose weight. Only  surgery can improve health by getting rid of all those conditions.

People tell me that surgery to treat obesity is “drastic”. You should see their faces change when I tell them losing your eyes, legs or kidneys to diabetes is drastic. Suffering a heart attack or stroke is drastic. Not being able to sleep because you are choking on acid reflux or suffocating is drastic.

Drastic is NOT getting the most safest and most successful treatment for all of those obesity related conditions.

Diets are not the answer for obesity.
•Obesity surgery is the answer for obesity.  Surgery is so good, the World Health Organization (WHO) is considering recommending obesity surgery as the first line of treatment for Type 2 diabetes.  If you are suffering from obesity, have medical conditions related to obesity, wasted time and money on diets, your mortality is staring you in the face, the time for surgery is now.

-Dr Dirk