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Options for Treatment

For anyone who has considered a weight loss program, there is certainly no shortage of choices. In fact, to qualify for insurance coverage of weight loss surgery, most patients are required by their insurance to have a history of medically supervised weight loss efforts.

Lifestyle & Behavior Modification

Healthy weight loss takes time, commitment and significant but doable lifestyle changes. The Methodist Weight Management Program is a tool that helps patients become familiar with, and practice these changes. First, patients are given a complete lifestyle evaluation, looking at how much and how often food is being eaten and also patients’ physical activity. Following the lifestyle evaluations, patients participate in weekly health coach calls. Providers check in with the patient to see how the changes are going and work through each person’s individual challenges and setbacks. Patients are also offered extended appointment times. Providers are dedicated to being sure patients are fully supported and have plenty of time to ask questions and feel comfortable with items discussed during the appointment.  

It is important to understand that diet and behavior modification is instrumental to sustained weight loss after surgery. The surgery itself is only a tool to get the body started losing weight. Complying with diet and behavior modifications will ultimately determine success.

Exercise

Starting an exercise program can be especially intimidating for someone suffering from morbid obesity. Your health condition may make any level of physical exertion next to impossible. The benefits of exercise are clear, however, and there are ways to get started.

Examples to get you started:

  • Park at the far end of parking lots and walk.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Cut down on television.
  • Swim or participate in low-impact water aerobics.
  • Ride an exercise bike.

Overall, walking is one of the best forms of exercise. Start out slowly and build up. Your doctor, or people in a support group, can offer encouragement and advice. Incorporating exercise into your daily activities will improve your overall health and is important for any long-term weight management program. Lifestyle modification and exercise play a key role in successful weight loss after surgery.

Over-the-Counter & Prescription Drugs

Some people have found the newly introduced over-the-counter and prescription weight loss medications effective in helping to curb their appetites. However, the results of most studies show that patients on drug therapy lose around 10 percent of their excess weight and that the weight loss plateaus after six to eight months. As patients stop taking the medication, weight gain usually occurs.

Weight Loss Surgery

Weight loss surgery is not for everyone. Providers evaluate each patient’s unique situation and determine the best course of treatment- whether it be the Weight Management Program, surgery, or a combination of both. ¼ of patients who participate in Methodist’s Weight Management Program don’t end up needing surgery. Before undergoing surgery, patients are educated on the risks and benefits of all options and decide together with their provider what will work best for their individual set of circumstances.

Weight-loss surgery should be viewed first and foremost as a method for alleviating debilitating, chronic disease. In most cases, the minimum qualification for consideration as a candidate for the procedure is 100 lbs. above ideal body weight or a Body Mass Index of 40 or greater. Occasionally a procedure will be considered for someone with a BMI of 35 or higher if the patient's physician determines that obesity-related health conditions have resulted in a medical need for weight reduction and, in the doctor's opinion, bariatric or weight-loss surgery appears to be the only way to accomplish the targeted weight loss.