There are numerous and diverse factors that contribute to obesity, and for years, it was debated whether it constituted a chronic disease or a behavioral disorder. The National Institute of Health designated it a disease in 1998, the American Obesity Society followed suit in 2008, and the American Medical Association (AMA), one of the most well-known and authoritative organizations in the United States, agreed in June of 2013.
Their objective in exploring this avenue was to increase research, financing, therapies, and health insurance coverage, as well as eliminate the stigma associated with obesity.
Unfortunately, today the misconceptions surrounding the causes of obesity still exist, and very often individuals are made to feel ashamed of the weight loss that occurs due to having bariatric surgery. Many misinformed people think these individuals have “taken the easy way out.” This is an extremely inaccurate assumption because losing weight after bariatric surgery will require hard work, dedication, perseverance, and a lifelong commitment to a healthy lifestyle.
Today we are going to talk about obesity, the myths surrounding losing weight, and why you shouldn’t feel ashamed about weight loss surgery.
Facts About America’s Obesity Epidemic
Over the past 15 or so years, the incidence of obesity in the United States has risen from approximately 31% to 42%, and the prevalence of class III obesity (formerly known as morbid obesity) has escalated from 5% to 9% of the adult population. 19 states now report adult obesity levels of over 35%, whereas a decade ago there were no states in this category.
What Underlying Causes Contribute To Weight Gain?
Obesity researchers have identified many potential root causes of obesity, but the condition is still very much an enigma. It is hard to understand why some individuals can drop 20 pounds rather uneventfully while others experience little to no weight loss under the same circumstances.
According to the CDC, weight gain occurs when an individual consumes more calories than they burn in a day. This is a basic truth; however, there may be reasons beyond a person’s control that cause them to burn calories very slowly or even not burn them at all but store them as fat.
The human metabolism is much like an engine, and to run efficiently it must be properly maintained. When it is not provided with the things it needs to function optimally or an outside influence is inhibiting its functionality, weight gain can occur.
Obesity can be influenced by heredity, menopause, stress, metabolism, malignancies, psychological, hormonal, and neurological impairments, medications, and some medical conditions.
Busting The Willpower Myth
One of the most damaging myths that is projected onto overweight individuals by themselves and others is that weight loss is driven by willpower. Not only that but also that willpower is completely driven by internal forces. This is a seriously inaccurate belief because, while you will need willpower and discipline to govern your choices (making healthy food selections vs. unhealthy ones), this puts ALL the responsibility for an individual’s obesity back on them and assumes they are in complete control.
The situation is much more complicated than most people believe. An individual’s ability to make the correct choices is greatly influenced by their habits, routines, physical environment, social circles, hormones, metabolism, brain chemistry, amount of sleep they have gotten, how stressed they are, etc.
In their book titled “Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength,” authors Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney discuss this perplexing issue. They discuss the fact that the body has its own will and reacts intuitively to the things that we do.
A diet may be tolerated by your body once or twice, but then after that it will begin to adapt, storing additional body fat despite a calorie deficit. If the body anticipates a food shortage, it will take the necessary steps to prepare for it. The human metabolism does not understand weight-loss diets.
Why Do People Feel They Must Come Up With Excuses For Weight Loss Surgery?
When questioned, most bariatric patients will reveal that they did not want anyone to know and wanted to hide weight loss surgery from most of their friends, family members, and co-workers.
One reason for this is society’s reinforcement of the theme that an individual’s decisions regarding nutrition and physical activity lead to obesity. Another incorrect and widely held belief is that bariatric surgery is unnecessary for significant weight loss. The social stigma caused by this flawed thinking causes overweight individuals to feel inadequate or like something is wrong with them because they are unable to lose weight on their own.
Misinformed people feel that individuals who choose to undergo weight loss surgery want to avoid the hard work. However, the exact opposite is true. Individuals who have undergone bariatric surgery will tell you that there is nothing easy about the journey. Instead, many see it as a life-saving measure when all past efforts at weight loss have failed.
Bariatric surgery patients should be hailed as brave and courageous individuals who were not afraid to get help for a situation that they were unable to handle alone.
Society Is Blindly Aiding The Rising Obesity Epidemic
Are you starting to see a pattern here? While we are all taught the basic truths about how to treat people in kindergarten, society as a whole is causing over 41% of the population to feel inadequate. And, to the point that these individuals do not seek help for their condition.
Putting this into a bit more perspective, let’s consider a few questions: If obesity is a disease, and experts have determined that many outside forces can be at work to inhibit an individual’s efforts at losing weight on their own, is it fair to assume their condition is their fault, they should fix it themselves, and they should not need help to address it? Is someone who is diagnosed with cancer always responsible for their condition? Furthermore, even if a person’s previous actions have led them into a situation of poor health, does that remove their right to seek help for treatment?
The obesity epidemic in America needs to be actively addressed, and one of the first critical steps in this process needs to be educating society as a whole on the complexities of the disease of obesity.
Why You Shouldn’t Feel Ashamed About Weight Loss Surgery
Why do individuals feel guilt about undergoing bariatric surgery? Why do they either keep it a secret or fear the criticism of their friends and family if they do reveal it? Numerous common factors exist, including:
- They do not wish to be called into question or explain their reasons;
- They do not wish to be told about the awful experiences of others;
- They do not want to hear that they simply need to work harder to lose weight;
- They are struggling to admit they require help and support to lose weight.
How To Hide Weight Loss Surgery
While weight loss surgery can improve the health and quality of life of those who undergo it, many people keep the fact that they have had weight loss surgery hidden.
Unfortunately, there is still a strong societal stigma linked to obesity and weight loss surgery, that it is a “simple way out” and a “quick fix” and implying that a person undergoing a weight loss procedure is too lazy to lose weight through conventional nutrition and exercise. There is also a widespread misconception that people who choose to have weight loss surgery do so only for aesthetic purposes. Consequently, these factors are major contributors to the secrecy surrounding weight-loss surgery.
Patients were asked for the best strategies for hiding that they had weight loss surgery, and they provided the answers that follow.
- Tell only a few trusted friends or family members about your surgery. Utilize the support team at your weight loss clinic and join a support group consisting of others like you who have undergone weight loss surgery. They will understand the struggles you are dealing with and be more “tuned in” to the type of support you need;
- Wear loose-fitting clothing to help disguise any changes in your body shape following surgery;
- Avoid mentioning your surgery;
- Push food around your plate during mealtimes to look like you have eaten more than you have;
- If and when you use social media, you should be cautious about what you publish and with whom you share your information. You might also consider modifying your privacy preferences to restrict who may view your postings;
- Strategically use your vacation time to recover from bariatric surgery.
Non-surgical Weight Loss Is An Option
If you do not want to admit to weight loss surgery, undergo endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG) instead. This procedure delivers results that are similar to the bariatric gastric sleeve but without surgery. The recovery time is less than a week, and there are no incisions, no scarring, and no external evidence of ever having had an intervention for weight loss.
ESG is performed using an endoscope, which is a medical tool that resembles a thin, flexible hose and is placed down a patient’s throat to gain access to the stomach. This hollow tool has a light and a camera attached and transmits real-time video to a monitor that is located nearby the doctor. As they are guided by the camera, a special suturing device is lowered down the endoscope and is used to reshape and reduce the size of the patient’s stomach until it is only a quarter of its original size. The new size and shape of the stomach are held in place using several strategically placed sutures.
After ESG, the patient is unable to eat large portions because their stomach capacity has been significantly reduced. They also stay “full” for longer periods of time because their digestion process slows down because of the smaller stomach size. ESG is performed as an outpatient procedure, so there is no hospital stay, and patients go home the same day.
After a few days, most patients can return to work and all of their normal activities. The only sign that they have had ESG is that they will be on a special diet for a few weeks and will eat less going forward. If you want to lose weight with a procedure that you can keep under wraps, then endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty may be perfect for you!
Contact IBI Healthcare Institute Today To Learn More
You should not feel ashamed or like you have to make excuses for weight loss surgery, and the compassionate professionals at IBI Healthcare Institute understand this. These highly qualified obesity experts know that obesity is a complex disease and that it affects each individual differently.
The underlying factors that lead to obesity are rarely singular, and it is our responsibility to help the public grasp this. Neither a lack of willpower nor a lack of discipline can be blamed for obesity. Obesity is a chronic disease, and choosing to get treatment for it is an act of responsibility.
At the IBI Healthcare Institute, we will develop a personalized plan and investigate any underlying causes that may be inhibiting your ability to lose weight. These factors will be addressed, and a weight loss plan will be tailored for you that will help you succeed in reaching your weight loss goals.
If you would like to learn more about non-surgical ESG, bariatric surgery, or other weight loss programs available at IBI Healthcare Institute, contact us today! We are here to help and support you throughout your journey to wellness through weight loss. Call or set up your appointment online today!