Medical Ways to Lose Weight
When diet and exercise just aren’t working for you, it’s time to look into medical ways to lose weight. Be aware that these weight loss methods aren’t for everyone–they are only for extreme cases or those who have specific medical problems that make weight loss difficult. Your doctor will be able to suggest a weight loss program that’s right for you. Don’t try to attempt any of these methods without doctor supervision, as it could be dangerous.
Weight Loss Surgery
A popular option, weight loss surgery, or bariatric surgery, involves making modifications to the stomach or intestines to reduce the amount that you are able to eat. All weight loss surgeries cause weight loss by severely limiting the amount of calories that you eat permanently, though they do so in different ways.
Gastric banding places a band around your stomach, creating two halves of the stomach. By reducing the size of the stomach, you cannot eat too much–usually less than two cups. In a sleeve gastrectomy, a majority of the stomach is actually removed, creating a smaller space for food to go, which lessens the amount of food you need to eat to reach satiety. A gastric bypass is an invasive surgery where the doctor seals off a part of the stomach and connects this directly to the small intestine. A biliopancreatic diversion is similar to the gastric bypass, but the doctor removes a part of the stomach and bypasses more of the small intestine. Gastric bypass is the most common of weight loss surgeries, representing 80 percent.
Risks associated with weight loss surgery include hernia, blood clotting, infection, and death.
Weight Loss Medication
Some medications may help to support weight loss. Your doctor will prescribe weight loss medication only if you are at an increased risk for health problems due to your weight. Some drugs, such as phentermine and orlistat, are approved by the FDA for weight loss. Other medications are not for weight loss, but still have that effect. One example of this is metformin, a treatment for diabetes. You can also purchase over-the-counter weight loss pills that have FDA approval, such as Alli.
Weight loss pills have the potential for abuse and you should only take the ones that are prescribed by a doctor or that are approved by the FDA for over-the-counter sale. Weight loss pills are not a quick fix solution and you should use them in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise.
Doctor Regulated Very Low Calorie Diets
When your weight is causing health-related problems, your doctor may order you on a highly restricted low calorie diet. Most regular diets fall into the 1200-1500 calorie range, but under a doctor’s care, you can go below 1200 calories. A very low calorie diet, or VLCD, uses specially formulated powders that you mix with water to get the nutrition that you need on less than 800 calories a day. Doctors sometimes recommend them for people with a BMI over 30.
Once you lose weight on this type of diet, you will have to commit to a low calorie diet for the rest of your life, though you will be able to eat normal healthy foods.