The 3 Most Effective Strategies for Weight Loss

There are many different ways to lose weight and improve your health — here are the three most effective for long-term success.

If you’re looking to lose weight, you might feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of options available. Flash diets, fitness crazes, detox teas — which are the safest and most effective? Studies have shown that for people struggling with obesity, lifestyle changes, weight loss medication, and bariatric surgery are the best strategies to lose weight and keep it off. 

Here’s what you need to know about each option — and why weight loss surgery offers unique benefits for your health and well-being. 

Lifestyle Changes

Doctors, nutritionists, dieticians, and other healthcare professionals agree that sustainable weight loss involves making permanent changes to your lifestyle. If you’re trying to lose weight, using the age-old tradition of a healthy diet and regular exercise is a great place to start. 

Begin by reevaluating your eating, sleeping, and exercise habits. Doctors recommend transitioning to a diet full of fiber-rich vegetables, lean meats, and healthy carbohydrates. If you can’t fit 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise three days a week into your schedule, try integrating small steps like short walks or standing regularly throughout your workday. Lack of sleep can make you feel too tired to work out and exacerbate junk food cravings, so make sure to get seven to eight hours of rest each night. 

While diet and exercise offer significant benefits, sometimes lifestyle changes alone aren’t enough. Once you start cutting down on calories, your body fights to maintain its original weight, which is why many people who lose weight gain it back. Plus, medical conditions like hypothyroidism can make weight loss even more difficult. It’s a good idea to make smarter lifestyle choices no matter what, but this approach to weight loss can sometimes be over-simplified. 

Weight Loss Medication

If lifestyle changes have not produced the desired results, weight loss medication may be an option. These medications work best for individuals with a BMI of at least 30 or a BMI of 27 or higher with serious health complications.  

There are a lot of FDA-approved weight loss medications out there, and you should only consider drugs with at least two years worth of data. Some common brand names include Xenical, Saxenda, Belviq, and Contrave. Drugs like these work by reconfiguring your hypothalamic pathways, the nerves in your brain that tell you how much you’ve eaten. In this way, these medications can curb your appetite and help you feel full sooner. 

Studies have shown that weight loss medications can help people lose three to seven percent of their body weight at the end of a year. That may seem like a small number, but five percent is enough to reduce the risk of heart disease, lower blood sugar, and improve blood pressure. 

Once you and your doctor have decided on the best medication, you will most likely work the drug into your diet and exercise regimen. However, it’s important to keep in mind that all medications have side effects and that weight loss medication is not for everyone.

Bariatric Surgery

Although bariatric surgery is often seen as a last resort, it has been proven to be the most effective weight loss strategy. Aside from restricting your caloric intake, bariatric surgery fundamentally changes the way your body processes nutrients, leading to sustained weight loss. 

On average, surgery participants lose 15 to 35 percent of their body weight. This results in significant psychological and physical benefits. Out of all weight loss options, surgery has the highest rate of success in terms of remission of chronic conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. 

Weight loss surgery is also effective because, contrary to popular belief, it is not the easy way out. Committing to bariatric surgery also means making healthy lifestyle changes before, during, and after the procedure. Many people feel more motivated to maintain their new body after surgery, and since bariatric surgery helps alleviate weight-related disorders like sleep apnea and joint pain, it is easier to stay active. Ultimately, combining weight loss surgery with appropriate lifestyle changes sets you up for long-term success. 

If you’re interested in learning more about how bariatric surgery can change your life, contact Long Island Laparoscopic Doctors today!