Lap-Band Surgery: Is it as Good as Everyone Thinks?

June 18, 2011 By: afeldman 8 Comments

Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding surgery, or lap-band for short, was FDA approved in February to be used  by a wider range of patients. Before, patients had to have a BMI of 40 to have this procedure done and now, it can be as low as 30. BMI is a formula that calculates an individuals weight to height ratio and is expressed as Weight (kilograms)/ Height (cm)2. For someone that is 5 ’6 to have a bmi of 30, their weight would be 186 pounds.

When a patient gets the lap-band surgery, there is an inflatable silicone band placed around the upper stomach. The concept is that this band lessens the stomach stretching that normally takes place when food is eaten. With this stretching of the stomach minimized the feeling of being full takes place more quickly after eating smaller meals. The FDA only approved this surgery in 2000 so it is still relatively new.

While most studies have been favorable of weight loss with the lap-band, there is a new study that has been released showing some potential detriments. The study, which was conducted by a hospital group in Belgium, followed up with patients who had the surgery done between 1994 and 1997. Tests were done in 2009 that assessed surgical complications, post-surgery weight loss, overall satisfaction, quality of life and side effects. While surveys showed a 60% satisfaction rate, there are some other numbers that are troubling. It was said that about 40% of subjects experienced major complications from the surgery and an additional 22% experienced minor complications. That means that 2 out of every 3 subjects had surgical complications. At some point after the lap banding, almost half of the subjects had to have the band removed and 17% of the subjects ditched their lap-band to get gastric bypass. This data does not show us a positive outlook for weight loss surgery.

I realize that this is just one study. However with gastric banding recently getting the green light to be used on more patients, I think we will see more studies like this one popping up that show negative statistics. Even though it is true that many studies have good things to say about weight loss surgery, the problem is that many of the people conducting these studies are surgical groups or they are funded by surgical groups. Why would a surgical professional want to conduct a study that will go against the product they are trying to sell? When looking at studies, it is important to find unbiased sources. A study can sometimes be manipulated to express the beliefs that the experimenter has about what they are studying.

Another important thing to consider when looking at weight loss surgery is the fact that most people who get it probably don’t need it. The recent approval by the FDA states that a person with a BMI of 30 can undergo this surgery. From my experience, clients with a bmi of 30 are still fully functional which means that an exercise program supplemented by healthy eating and lifestyle should be the focus, not surgery. My fear is that next, they will lower that number even more which is sad because I do not think that weight loss surgery is necessary except for in extreme circumstances. These circumstances have to do with medical issues that prevent weight loss even with hard work.

The weight loss trend of late seems to be a flocking to these surgeries. False advertising leads to the belief that surgery is a fast and painless fix but that is not true. Even with a surgery, eating and nutrition habits have to change so why not see what happens by changing them without surgery? At Shane Diet Resorts weight loss camp for adults, we can give you a jump on a healthy lifestyle and at the same time, enjoying a fitness retreat.  We pride ourselves on working with individuals, such as yourself, to overcome your weight boundaries. We must remember that a little effort and discipline can go a long way. If people get lap-band surgery without correcting unhealthy eating and activity habits, the lap band can stretch out and stop doing what it is supposed to. When that happens, welcome to post surgery weight-loss relapse.

Weight Loss, Fitness, and Binge Eating Q&A Session

April 13, 2011 By: afeldman 33 Comments

These come from a collection of fitness and weight loss-related questions that have been submitted to me through email.  Submit your questions to us through email or leave them as a comment and you may find them in the next article!

Q: I recently joined a gym as part of my New Year’s resolution.  How long until I can see results?

A: There is a three part process when it comes to the overall improvement that a fitness program brings.  The first thing that takes place is that during and outside of workouts, you will start to feel better or fit.  This means making it through your workout more easily (leading to you increasing the resistance of various exercises) and not getting out of breath as easily.  You will start to notice this after the first week of a continuous program.

As you progress through your routine from week to week, others will start to notice a change in your appearance.  It can be your face becoming slimmer or your friend noticing that your arms and neck look leaner.  This can take place between 3-6 weeks after the start of a regular exercise program with healthy eating.  Lastly, you will start to notice a difference in your physical appearance.  This is the one that takes the longest.  In weight loss programs, after 5-7 weeks, you’ll notice your clothes fitting loosely.  For general fitness training, you may start to see some new lines that signify muscle development.  One day, you will look in the mirror and it will hit you that you look and feel amazing.  For most, this will take 6-12 weeks.

Q: What is the best stomach workout for weight loss?

Ab Workout

There are a great variety of exercises to tighten those abdominal muscles and lose weight.

A: An abdominal workout does not necessarily equate to weight loss.  You can do 1,000 sit-ups a day and never lose a pound.  The best routine for weight loss in general, however, is to combine resistance training with a healthy diet and cardio training.  Abdominal work should be included, as well as the lower back and oblique areas since the core area is responsible for maintaining a healthy spine and helps keep you free of injuries.  To strengthen the abs, equipment is not needed; you can do ground exercises like crunches, leg raises, and sit-ups.  For more advanced exercisers, take advantage of the plank, bicycle crunches and hanging leg raises.  A goal of abdominal training should be to start with basic exercises like crunches and gradually incorporate more advanced exercises like a plank and v-ups.  All of these exercises can be made harder by adding resistance.

Q: Will one day of binge eating hurt me?

A: I call them cheat days.  One cheat day will not hurt, but there is a difference between having a cheat day and binge eating.  In a cheat day, you will pick one or two meals and indulge a little bit or have a few drinks.  If you jump right back into the routine the next day, this should not be a problem.  However, when people start binge eating, they just throw anything into their mouth and that becomes an issue as the calories will continuously add up.  If one day becomes two days and then three days, then we are running into some problems as you can add 2-3 pounds onto the scale if you’re consuming enough calories.  After enough days of binge eating or getting away from the exercise, your progress will quickly become undone.

Q: I’m a woman and don’t want to get bulky from working out. How can I incorporate weights into my routine?

Woman Working Out

A woman won't have to worry about becoming "bulky" with proper exercise technique.

A: Your fear of getting “bulky” just happens to be the number one concern of female gym goers across the country.  Fortunately though, it is also a misconception.  The muscular appearance that comes from training is impacted by three variables: 1.High volume resistance training; 2.The proper calorie intake; and 3.The right genetic make-up.  When these three variables are put together, you have the perfect formula for muscle building.

Addressing the high volume resistance training, this is a training program that specifically focuses on getting bigger and stronger, for lack of better terms.  When it comes to proper calorie intake, a calorie surplus is needed every week in addition to high volume training to continuously build muscle.  If you are eating a normal healthy diet that keeps you in your recommended calorie range for weight loss or general fitness, then this will not be a concern.

Lastly, and the most important, is genetic make-up.  Men and women do not have the same levels of hormones; there is a big difference when it comes to testosterone, estrogen and growth hormone levels.  In exercise, this means that the woman’s body will not respond to an exercise program in the same way that a male body does.  So, even if you decide to do an abundance of weight training and eat an abundance of calories, your body will still have a hard time getting “bulky.”

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