Friday, 5 January 2007

All you can eat

In January many people think about losing weight. Either because they stuffed themselves over the holiday period or because they make a new year resolution to control their weight. Unfortunately, many resolutions are short-lived.

I'm interested in the different approaches to weight control . Take weight loss surgery, for instance. I've just read an interesting article on the subject. What follows may be too graphic for some. You've been warned.

Apparently, a gastric balloon can be placed down your oesophagus to control obesity. Once inside your stomach, the balloon is inflated, causing it to take up space so that you eat less. Some doctors have even proposed a sleeve that can be shoved up your intestines to block calorie consumption.

Weight loss surgery involves stomach-intestine procedures. The intestinal part bypasses your bowels so that you don't absorb calories. With the stomach procedure, the aim is to reduce the amount you can eat by making you feel full. But it's now possible to stretch the reduced stomach by eating past the point of fullness. In the US, some doctors even offer to 'readjust' the gastric band so you can eat more.

The gastric bypass is supposed to discourage you from eating too much sugar - apparently your body suffers if you do. Still, it is possible to work around this limitation by having procedures focused on the intestines. These procedures reduce more fat than gastric bands and bypasses, and they allow you to have a much bigger stomach too.

These are all drastic procedures that are not without risk. Yet, reports suggest more and more people are undergoing weight loss surgery. It seems that people can now lose excess weight without changing their eating behaviour. As a weight loss coach, I believe that it is better to control one's weight through diet, exercise and self-restraint rather than surgery (if you need help with weight control, click here). But some doctors that carry out weight loss procedures may disagree.

Will the increasing availability of such procedures promote guilt-free gluttony? I don't know. What do you think?

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