Thursday, May 24, 2012
Weight Loss: Separating Fact from Fiction
ABC’s “20/20” recently aired a special, entitled “Losing It: The Big Fat Money Pit”, that examined the burgeoning weight loss industry as a whole. Many of the methods discussed – from dieting to pills and surgery – have been popularized by celebrities who get paid as much as $60,000 for each pound that they lose for their endorsements. There are two important takeaways from this in-depth look at the industry. First, anyone interested in losing weight should ignore the celebrity commercials, billboards and unsubstantiated claims. Instead, it is vital to do some of your own legwork and find a method based on peer-reviewed research (they are out there!). Secondly, and this is really important for long term success, stop thinking of any single method as a silver bullet. Sustainable weight loss demands long-term commitment from the patient – even when it comes to proven methods such as bariatric surgery – and no responsible physician will tell you otherwise.
The “20/20” special examines many different weight loss solutions, from perennial favorites (with dubious efficacy) like diet pills, as well as “fat camps” for the ultra-wealthy and even feeding tubes. The special also touches on Lap Band surgery, highlighting individual cases of negligence while responsibly pointing out that, when done right, this procedure is very safe and can offer dramatic weight loss results. The key is to carefully select a doctor who has a solid reputation and a proven track record of success. At Dr. Feiz & Associates, a well-known weight loss surgery center in Beverly Hills, Dr. Michael Feiz has maintained a complication rate far lower than the national average, and has never had a single mortality. Nevertheless, he believes strongly in educating anyone interested in the procedures that he offers (the Lap Band, sleeve gastrectomy, and gastric bypass) about ALL the potential risks and benefits. Responsible surgeons like Dr. Feiz are rightly appalled by some of the stories of misleading advertising and neglectful care that have found their way onto the airwaves. He and his team of medical professionals have dedicated themselves to raising the standard of care for the entire industry.
The special also points out the tragic phenomenon of “yo-yo dieting”, where people lose weight with one method, regain the pounds, and then go searching for the next big thing. Many of these methods are scams, but even if they offer what they promise to offer, lasting success demands total commitment from the patient. Dr. Feiz and his team foster long-term relationships with their patients, helping oversee proper nutritional and exercise regimens after the operation is finished. This is the only way to keep off the pounds and achieve a healthy lifestyle. “Easy fixes” make for great sound bites, but experienced and responsible surgeons like Dr. Feiz know better, and that is why they have seen so much success with their patients.