Factors contributing to obesity

Obesity is neither a cosmetic issue nor a psychological problem. It is very important for our patients to understand that obesity is a CHRONIC PROGRESSIVE MEDICAL DISEASE. Our understanding of obesity, energy metabolism and weight control has greatly evolved over the past few years. We now understand that many hormones control body weight and obesity is the result of an imbalance in these complex hormonal systems.

Therefore, obesity is no longer viewed as a consequence of over-eating, self-indulgence or lack of self-control. Rather, obesity is the result of multiple environmental and genetic factors that disrupt a variety of hormonal systems that control body weight and energy metabolism. The disruption of these hormones results in the progressive body fat accumulation.

It is important to know that diet and exercise, unlike weight loss surgery, are less likely to restore the underlying hormonal disruption that has led to obesity in the first place. Accordingly, overweight patients who loose excess weight by decreasing calorie intake, or increasing calorie expenditure through exercise, tend to regain their lost weight. This cyclical weight loss and regain also known as yo-yo diet is not only counterproductive but also harmful. It leads to frustration, disappointment and guilt feeling. Some studies have suggested increased risk of stroke and hypertension.

At Houston Weight Loss Surgery Center, we recommend changing your eating habits in a reasonable, realistic and intelligent fashion to avoid the yo-yo dieting effect. We emphasize to our patients the importance of changing what and when they eat before simply decreasing their total daily calorie intake.

Not all calories are created equal and the first step towards healthy living and weight loss is eating clean food. Our patients are asked to stop completely all form of processed food like potato chips and candies. Patients are encouraged to avoid restaurants and to start cooking at home. Second, patients are asked to stop skipping meals and to front load their calories in the morning while decreasing the amount of food consumed at night. Calories consumed towards the end of the day and at night tend to accumulate as body fat. Calories consumed in the morning boost our metabolism and are burnt during the day. Third, we ask our patients to decrease their meal carbohydrate content while increasing their consumption of lean protein and good fats like avocados and nuts. Lean protein and healthy fats increase satiety, curb excessive appetite, and increase metabolism especially the setting of insulin resistance.

Once these recommendations are followed, patients are asked to start reducing their total daily calorie intake. Keeping a calorie count, paying attention to hunger cues and avoiding eating for comfort and out of boredom further promote durable weight loss.

Endocrine disease

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Cushings syndrome
  • Growth hormone deficiency
  • Polycystic ovarian disease

Mental & Physical Disability

Mental

  • Schizophrenia
  • Downs syndrome
  • Mental illness
  • Learning disabilities
  • Eating disorders

Physical Disability

  • Greatly reduced activity levels (eq. Wheelchair bound)
  • Combination of difficulties in regulating food intake and energy output

Social Factors

  • Reduction in exercise
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • TV
  • Computer games
  • Sedentary jobs
  • Pregnancy – may eat more or erratically

Genetic Factors

  • Prader – Willi syndrome
  • Other dyndromes
  • Leptin deficiency
  • Other defects and deficiencies

Environmental Factors

  • Advertising and marketing of high density foods and soft drinks
  • Social deprivation
  • Lifestyle changes, more cars, etc

Behavior Factors

  • Consumption of fast food
  • Consumption of processed foods
  • High fat diets
  • Snacking
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Weight gain associated with smoking cessation
  • Disorganized eating patters and eating disorders
  • Drug use