Researching Alternatives to Weight Loss Surgery

The University of Buffalo announced today that they have partnered with a major insurance company to undertake a five year study of alternatives to weight loss surgery for those who are 100 pounds or more overweight.

According to an overview of the study, participants will be divided into four groups and will test four different combinations of behavior modification, lifestyle changes, meal replacement, counseling and medication over the next five years. Researchers cite the importance of identifying effective options for severely overweight individuals. Kudos to them. The annual cost of obesity in the United States is 117 billion and that doesn’t begin to factor in the emotional and physical pain and suffering that accompanies chronic weight struggles. Gastric bypass surgeries increased 1000% between 1995 and 2005.

Researchers say that all four groups in the experiment will receive education in two critical areas: relapse prevention and motivational strategies. I hope they hit these areas hard.

Everyone who struggles with their weight knows how important it is to learn how to keep the weight off. Preventing relapse means developing strategies for feeding yourself that you can maintain–for life. Weight loss surgery patients know this too.

Enduring weight loss means so much more than changing what we eat. We all face pressures to use food to feed our feelings, combat stress, be social and have fun. If we don’t have the right tools to address these pressures or if we aren’t aware of our own individual vulnerabilities, the weight will come back.

If you’ve lost weight, I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment. What has helped you lose the weight? Keep it off? What important lessons have you learned and where have you struggled?


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