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Weight Loss Surgery with Dr. Marc Zerey, MD, CM, MSC, FRCSC, FACS

Jan 12, 2017, 10:58 AM by Sansum Clinic
Dr. Marc Zerey and patient Deanna
There is a disturbing trend emerging from studies evaluating weight-loss strategies. It seems almost impossible to permanently lose weight. As incredible as it sounds, only about 5-10 percent of people who try to lose weight ultimately succeed and keep it off. Health products, diets, exercise machines, training videos, websites, dietitians and physicians may be successful in helping individuals lose weight.

Our genetic make-up, however, makes it difficult to maintain those losses over long periods of time. Studies have shown that our brains may be wired to maintain a certain metabolism that may induce our weight to creep up again. Indeed, when comparing trials that separate patients into groups of intense exercise with nutrition counseling, the results show only minor sustained weight loss. The study from the University of Minnesota found that the average amount lost was only about two pounds from the original weight.

Most clinicians know this from anecdotal experience. For most people, even those that are slightly overweight, the message should be about a healthier lifestyle rather than weight loss. The healthier lifestyle is for achieving and maintaining your health. In other words, eating right, exercising is healthy…but it might not make you thin overnight! Is that enough of a motivator? Are you willing to change your lifestyle (exercising, limiting caloric intake) to achieve better health knowing your weight may not change much? Consider that you only need a daily excess of energy of 100 calories (the equivalent of a small chocolate bar) to lead to an increase of around 10 lbs of fat over 12 months or 100 lbs over 10 years. Making a small improvement in your lifestyle for a long period will likely be more beneficial than an intense effort for a short period.

For people who need to lose more weight (more than 50-70 lbs), bariatric surgery is likely the most effective tool. Research suggests that the Rouxen-Y gastric bypass or the sleeve gastrectomy— the two most commonly practiced surgical procedures for weight loss — can induce long-term weight loss in the severely obese, improving health and quality of life at the same time. Surgery, however, is not a suitable option for everyone.

With the world’s population becoming heavier— particularly children— more needs to be done. In a recent online issue of the British medical journal The Lancet, the latest statistics are troubling. The study warned that more than one in five kids in developed countries are now overweight or obese. This is not surprising given that we are constantly faced with a flood of promotional advertisement for food consumption. This may all be part of our evolution since early on, our biology favored an ability to gain weight not knowing when our next meal would be. The problem is if we do not make significant changes in our individual lifestyles and at all levels of food production and marketing, what was once an evolutionary advantage may become more of a liability.

Dr. Marc Zerey is a board certified physician specializing in bariatric weight loss and advanced laparoscopic 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.

Learn more about the Bariatric Surgery Center >