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Before Deciding You Want to Lose Weight

Read This First!

Dr. Marc Zerey
Dr. Marc Zerey is a board certified physician specializing in bariatric weight loss and advanced laproscopic surgical techniques. Dr. Zerey has published extensively including journal articles in American Surgeon, American Journal of Surgery, American Journal of Surgical Research and is an ASMBS Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence designee. The Bariatric Surgery Center can be reached at (805) 898-3472.

by Marc Zerey, MD, CM, MSC, FRCSC, FACS 

As a new year begins, so does our commitment towards improving our health. The first few weeks in January are famous for being the busiest in gyms as people attempt to follow their New Year's resolution.

The combination of a new year, the weight gained over the holidays and timely promotions from fitness centers and weight loss programs are strong incentives to start the "New You". This is a cycle that repeats itself annually (and often twice annually as summer approaches). An entire industry has been built around this pattern of behavior.

The issue is not about losing the weight.

There are several ways of doing that. Understanding the balance between CALORIC INTAKE – CALORIC EXPENDITURE = ENERGY BALANCE is the basis for all diets. If your energy balance is positive, you will gain weight. If your energy balance is negative, you will lose weight. Therefore, by cutting some calories from your diet (and exercising more often) the goal is to achieve a negative energy balance to achieve weight loss.

So why do most people fail at conventional caloric-restriction diets? Expectations. Many of us set very aggressive goals when we start a weight loss plan. We have expectations both of our end-goals and the rate we expect to lose that weight. Our expectations are high because of what we watch on television or see on the cover of magazines (sometimes in the doctor's office!). Not surprisingly, we are setting ourselves up for failure.

The weight lost is short of our goal and we get discouraged and lose motivation. The pounds re-accumulate (generally faster than when we lost them) and we are back where we started, sometimes worse off.

Therefore, the next time you start a weight loss program:

1. Directly address your primary goals

Be honest with yourself. Why do you want to lose weight? For some, it is to improve health such as diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol. For others, it is to improve their appearance and self-esteem. Both are strong motivators to lose weight but the strategies to achieve success may be different.

2. Identify & moderate unrealistic weight goals

If you need to lose "40 lbs", settle for 10-15 lbs (or 20-30% of your goal) and try to maintain that weight.

3. Tackling body image concerns

We all have body image issues. Even some patients who have lost well over 100 lbs still feel "fat". No amount of dieting or weight loss will change that. Acceptance of yourself will go a long way toward making you feel happier about who you are.

Once you address these issues truthfully, you are ready to start working towards your goal. We have a number of comprehensive solutions that take into consideration not only your current weight, but lifestyle factors that should be addressed at the same time. Good luck and best wishes for a healthy and happy you.


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