Causes of Obesity

appleThe reasons for obesity are multiple and complex. Despite conventional wisdom, it is not simply a result of overeating. Obesity results from a complex interaction of genetic, behavioral and environmental factors causing an imbalance between energy intake and energy expenditure. Research has shown that in many cases a significant, underlying cause of morbid obesity is genetic. Studies have demonstrated that once the problem is established, efforts such as dieting and exercise programs have a limited ability to provide effective long-term relief.

Science continues to search for answers. But until the disease is better understood, the control of excess weight is something patients must work at for their entire lives. That is why it is very important to understand that all current medical interventions, including weight loss surgery, should not be considered medical cures. Rather they are attempts to reduce the effects of excessive weight and alleviate the serious physical, emotional and social consequences of the disease.

Contributing Factors

The underlying causes of severe obesity are not known. There are many factors that contribute to the development of obesity including genetic, hereditary, environmental, metabolic and eating disorders. There are also certain medical conditions that may result in obesity like intake of steroids and hypothyroidism.

Environmental Factors

"Genetics loads the gun—the environment pulls the trigger."  George Bray, 1996

Environmental and genetic factors are obviously closely intertwined. If you have a genetic predisposition toward obesity, then the modern American lifestyle and environment may make controlling weight more difficult.

Fast food, long days sitting at a desk, and suburban neighborhoods that require cars all magnify hereditary factors such as metabolism and efficient fat storage.

For those suffering from morbid obesity, anything less than a total change in environment usually results in failure to reach and maintain a healthy body weight.

Metabolism

We used to think of weight gain or loss as only a function of calories ingested and then burned. Take in more calories than you burn, gain weight; burn more calories than you ingest, lose weight. But now we know the equation isn't that simple.
Obesity researchers now talk about a theory called the "set point," a sort of thermostat in the brain that makes people resistant to either weight gain or loss. If you try to override the set point by drastically cutting your calorie intake, your brain responds by lowering metabolism and slowing activity. You then gain back any weight you lost.

Eating Disorders & Medical Conditions

Weight loss surgery is not a cure for eating disorders. And there are medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism, that can also cause weight gain. That's why it's important that you work with your doctor to make sure you do not have a condition that should be treated with medication and counseling.

 

PATIENT TESTIMONIAL
Numbers don't lie. Waist size 62 down to a 38 (and almost into a 36). Shirt size 5-6x down to a XXL. I've lost 208 pounds in less than a year. Had someone told me this last summer when I was 470 pounds and struggled to put shoes on, I would have laughed in your face.

I had tried every diet under the sun. Every one of them. Not a single one of them proved successful. I tried exercising. I tried everything. I was spiraling out of control. My portions were enormous. A Double-quarter pounder sandwich, TWO large fries, and TWO double cheeseburgers and a large Coke were the norm on a trip to McDonald's. A DiGiorno's pizza with a bag of shredded cheese on top was a meal, not to mention snacking while it was cooking.

To even think of those portions or that type of food today, however, makes me absolutely disgusted. Not only can I not eat that food, I won't.

In 2007, I had enough. As a truck driver, I was encountering trucks that I could not fit into. I was at the lowest point I had ever been. I kicked smoking in 2006, I quit dipping snuff in 2007, and quit sugar and carbonated drinks in 2008. In 2008, I was up to 12-24 cans of diet pop per day.

Something had to give. I made the decision that, after years of trying (and a lot of failing) I could not lose the weight on my own. I contacted Hope Bariatrics, desperate and scared. I figured if I could give up my addiction to caffeine, sugar, and fatty foods, I could do it for a lifetime. Enough was enough; there were people who weighed LESS than I did who died of a heart attack! The thought of my wife having to put me in a supersized coffin or being removed from my house by a crane was NOT what I wanted my final memory to be. What did I have to lose? Everything else failed, and I must admit I was a tad scared this may fail too. I had my share of advice from people and know-it-alls...Many people may say that surgery is the "easy" way out. Those are the same people who don't struggle with weight!

After the hoop jumping process my insurance company requires, I was scheduled for surgery. I was eating low fat foods, but still big portions. I was drinking 1-2 gallons of water a day. Every day. August 12, 2008 was the moment God and Dr. Felix and his staff gave me a new life. They enabled me to start over. Dr. Felix was my personal miracle worker. I literally owe my life to Dr. Felix and the Hope Bariatrics staff. EVERYONE at Hope Bariatrics treated me like gold from day one. I didn't get the "MY God he's huge" stares from anyone on the staff. No one talked down to me. No one made me feel bad about being 30 pounds shy of 500 pounds. Cindy is just as nice to me at 260 pounds as she was when I was 470. I love the staff!!! I can't say enough good things about them!!!

At almost one year post-op, I am often asked if I would do it again. Yes. Without hesitation I would. I went from 470 pounds to 260 pounds in less than a year. It is a lifelong commitment. Even at a year out, I am often asked if I miss junk food like pizza and McDonald's. Simply, no. I don't. The smell of McDonald's nauseates me now (seriously). Do I miss the all-you-can-eat buffet restaurants? No. Do I miss the pop? The tobacco? The caffeine? No. Not at all. I still am able to eat the good things, just in small quantities. There is a wonderful variety of no sugar added or sugar free "sweets" I had never noticed before while buying Oreos and sugared ice cream.....As for fast and processed foods? No way. I don't eat them. If I can succeed, anyone can!

Thank you to everyone at Hope Bariatrics for giving me my life back. With all of my heart, thank you all so much for everything.
 

- Bill



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