Is Surgery the Missing Weight Loss Cure?

20 Minute Fitness Podcast #24

About 40% of the American population can be classified as obese. According to recent research one of the best tools to combat chronic weight gain, is gastric weight loss surgery. However, the stigma surrounding weight loss surgery may be preventing people from receiving the treatment. Find out more about why surgery is a legitimate option…

Body Composition 101

Things You Will Learn

1.) Doctors Don’t View As A Character Fault Obesity

Many doctors actually view obesity much like they do a disease. In that, those who suffer from obesity don’t have much say about it. Meanwhile, the general public views obesity as a fault in the person’s willpower or character.

2.) Weight Loss Has Proven To Be More Effective Long Term

Comparatively, large weight loss reached through crash dieting is less effective in the long term than gastric surgery.

3.) Trendy Weight Loss May Work (With Side Effects)

You may have heard of cool sculpting. The trendy “fat reduction treatment” has proven to get results. Only at the price of some serious side effects like bruising. So the question is, is it worth it?

Show Notes

The Stigma of Surgery

An article by Vox “We Are Barely Using the Best Tool We Have To Fight Obesity” peaked our interest in the stigma around surgery. Specifically, weight loss surgery. The article essentially raises the point that bariatric surgeries or surgeries such as gastric bypasses and gastric sleeves are not being utilized.

Doctors Vs. The Masses

Researchers view obesity as a complex, chronic disease, like cancer. A disease people do not have a say in having. Also, the same researchers are also no longer looking at diet and fitness as the holy grail for weight loss.

The public, however, believes obesity is caused by a lack of a lack of trying. In one 2016 survey of more than 1,500 Americans, 60 percent of the participants said dieting and exercise were even more effective than surgery for long-term weight loss.

Also, 2014 study aimed to compare the efforts of massive traditional weight loss to gastric surgery. The comparison was between participants from the Biggest Loser reality TV to people who had gastric bypass surgery. Within a year metabolisms normalize for bypass surgery patients. Meanwhile, the Biggest loser contestants gained much of the weight back shortly after.

Therefore, gastric surgery has a proven track record of efficacy.  Especially, in place of fad or short-term dieting. That’s why Medicaid now covers the procedure in 46 states. Along with national health systems in countries as diverse as Israel, Brazil, and Canada.

Not All Surgeries Are Equal

Liposuction is not a weight loss procedure. Also, the treatment can only remove small, localized concentrations of fat. Therefore, ten pounds of fat or less will be removed from the treated area. So, the ideal liposuction candidate is already close to or at a healthy weight but is interested in subtle body contouring.

As emphasized by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the best candidates for liposuction are not chronically overweight. Since liposuction removes only fat and not skin, other areas considered for liposuction (e.g. “belly”) should have good skin tone and minimal excess skin.

Do Trendy Weightloss Treatments Work?

Cool Sculpting

Cool sculpting is a “fat freezing procedure and non-surgical fat-reduction treatment”. According to the cool sculpting website, the way this procedure works is by using controlled cooling to eliminate stubborn fat. Targeting fat that resists all efforts through diet and exercise.

Cool scuBased on early experiments conducted by scientists Dieter Manstein, MD, Ph.D. and R. Rox Anderson, MD, Cryolipolysis®, the concept behind CoolSculpting®, was invented.

Side Effects: Common CoolSculpting side effects include the following:

  • temporary redness
  • swelling
  • bruising
  • skin sensitivity


Thermage is a non-surgical skin tightening treatment that uses radiofrequency energy to provide subtle skin tightening and body contouring.

The results of Thermage vary. Some patients receive subtle but noticeable results. Other patients report minimal to no results. Therefore, the results can depend on how much skin tightening is required. It could take up to six months for the full results of a Thermage treatment to be evident.

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Lesley George

Lesley is a content writer and community manager at Shape.
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