Doc, Can You Help Me Lose Weightby Dr Pascale Anglade on July 17, 2012
If you are reading this portal, you probably already care about your health. Perhaps you already make sensible decisions about what you eat; you try to exercise regularly, but somehow the weight loss you desire has eluded you. If that is the case, this article is for you! Losing weight is an uphill battle; and an uphill, epic battle for most of us. It is clear that being overweight or obese comes at a significant cost to your health: increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and diabetes, just to mention a few. The obesity epidemic which has already enveloped the western world has officially spread to Nigeria.
But what if you have really tried to lose weight, made menus and stuck by them, exercised and yet the kilos don?t seem to be coming off? It may be time to schedule a chat with your doctor. There are certain medical conditions, for example, thyroid gland malfunction, that can cause people to gain weight or have difficulty losing it. Once those conditions are excluded, you should talk to a doctor with experience in weight management. You will first need to have an honest sit-down with yourself, and then with a nutritionist, to closely examine your diet and see where changes need to be made. Working with a nutritionist will help keep you on track and give you the encouragement that is essential to keeping up healthy eating habits. In terms of exercise, find a work out you enjoy, that is fun and then enroll a friend to participate with you.
For some people though, more invasive interventions will be needed. There are surgeries performed routinely throughout the world where part of your stomach is either removed or stapled off or a band is be placed around your stomach to restrict its size. All those interventions have one goal - to give you a smaller stomach, make you feel full after eating only a small amount of food and thus lead to weight loss.
In Nigeria, bariatric surgery is not yet widely available; however a much less invasive procedure is available - the gastric balloon. A balloon is placed in your stomach during an endoscopy (which is not technically a surgery). The presence of the balloon makes you feel full after eating a small amount of food and thus helps you lose weight. The balloon is typically left in place for 6 months, during which time we work very hard with the patient to retrain them into healthy eating and exercise. The weight loss varies depending on how compliant and motivated the patient is. The gastric balloon in not for everybody and is no substitute for hard work! It is just one more tool available locally in the fight against obesity.