Obesity treatment centers offer integrated solutions that include nutritional, behavioral, and exercise therapy, surgical options when necessary, and psychological support for patients. This is provided by multidisciplinary teams that specialize in obesity treatment and related complications.
Specialized obesity treatment centers aim to promote healthy living and reduce the risks associated with excessive weight linked to numerous chronic diseases. In response to this and the close relationship between obesity and many diseases, hospitals and healthcare institutions worldwide have established centers focusing on treating obesity and managing weight.
However, the work of obesity treatment centers is no longer limited to just weight loss and obesity treatment. Instead, it is about maintaining the weight lost by the patient, as gradual weight loss and keeping the weight loss is better than rapid weight loss and then regaining it.
Many studies today focus on weight maintenance as the foundation of weight management rather than just focusing on losing kilograms. The goal of obesity treatment is not just weight loss but also managing weight through essential lifestyle changes that the patient adopts as part of their daily routine, such as exercise, physical activity, and following a healthy eating pattern.
Experts agree that the most important solution for combating obesity and avoiding excessive weight is modifying one’s daily lifestyle behaviors. This step is considered the cornerstone of obesity and weight management and requires a solid determination to follow a healthy lifestyle to lose weight and prevent diseases. It also requires support from the surrounding environment and psychological and emotional support to help individuals lose weight and stay committed to the necessary steps.
Obese patients can find in these centers an integrated team that includes obesity and internal medicine consultants, behavioral therapy specialists, nutritionists, and fitness trainers. They employ the latest internationally recognized methods and techniques to treat obesity and provide solutions and options that are tailored to individual medical cases within a comprehensive work program and a multidisciplinary therapeutic approach.
Obesity experts adopt a comprehensive approach to treating obesity, particularly severe obesity. In addition to endocrinologists and surgeons, these centers provide specialized doctors in psychological disorders and sports medicine for diagnosis and treatment. Everyone works as a team to identify individual medical and psychological causes of obesity, and weight loss programs are created with physical activity and psychological support.
The beginning is always to search for the causes of obesity. The specialized medical team conducts a clinical examination, listens to the patient’s family history, and undergoes various laboratory tests, while a dietary, behavioral, and exercise program is tailored to the patient’s condition. Weight loss programs, in their various forms, are implemented by making changes in eating habits and increasing physical activity. Proper treatment methods depend on the patient’s level of obesity, as determined by their body mass index, as well as their overall health condition, and most importantly, their desire to lose excess weight.
Some cases of obesity may require a specific type of surgery, depending on the patient’s body mass index, age, and overall health condition. These surgeries are performed using the latest techniques in operating rooms designed specifically for this category of patients.
Obesity Treatment Plans
Suitable diet plan
Following a suitable diet plan is what nutrition experts start with in those centers, as they aim to develop an appropriate nutrition plan based on the patient’s age, health problems, height, weight, and other criteria. Experts agree that slow and steady weight loss over a long period is safer than rapid weight loss because it ensures the maintenance of lost weight. Unrealistic practices such as strict diets and radical changes in the diet should be avoided. The typical amount ranges from 1,200 to 1,500 calories for women and 1,500 to 1,800 for men.
Fast food should be avoided and replaced with healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, lean meats, dairy products, fish, and poultry. Food that contains a high percentage of nutrients should be chosen over high-calorie foods, and unsaturated fats, sugary foods, carbonated drinks, and processed foods should be avoided.
Exercise helps to reach the desired goal, especially when accompanied by a healthy diet plan, as it balances the number of calories we consume and the ones we burn. Therefore, to eliminate excess weight, the number of calories burned must exceed the number consumed. Since exercise involves burning calories, it is essential to its success.
To succeed in maintaining physical activity and weight control, some steps must be followed, which are among the services provided by those specialized centers.
A medical examination is carried out to ensure that exercise is safe for the individual, and the exercise program is gradually implemented, ranging from 3-5 times per week, and the training period ranges from 15-60 minutes. Experts recommend starting with low-intensity exercises, such as walking, and gradually increasing the intensity and duration of the training. Choosing an enjoyable activity that fits the individual’s lifestyle is also essential.
Psychological support helps obese patients overcome these obstacles by learning healthy ways to reduce the frustration they experience. It also helps them understand how to monitor their diet and exercise routines, their timing, and how to deal with triggers that lead to overeating and manage extreme food cravings, especially after following a dietary regimen.
Obese patients need to realize that a healthy diet and exercise are new lifestyles and behavioral changes in their daily lives that they must follow in a balanced way for the rest of their lives without feeling deprived.
However, this behavior change may have psychological repercussions and frustration. Hence, an obese patient in such situations needs psychological support from mental health specialists and coaches to deal with such situations and to provide assistance on how to cope with behavioral and emotional problems associated with food consumption.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy has shown high effectiveness in reducing the psychological disorders that obese people suffer from while encouraging them to lose weight by enhancing their self-confidence. The aim is to radically change obese patient’s life and turn their daily habits into healthy ones, including the quality and timing of food intake and exercise, and setting realistic weight loss goals so that they feel capable of achieving them gradually over time. Cognitive-behavioral therapy also includes supporting the surrounding environment and encouraging the patient to adopt healthy habits.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps people change their eating and exercise behaviors through a series of individual or group counseling sessions where behavioral therapy specialists deal with the psychological aspect of weight management by helping the patient understand the thinking patterns, emotions, and behaviors that encourage them to eat and thus gain weight, as it is possible to eat without feeling hungry just because they are sad.
This type of obesity treatment relies on enhancing the patient’s ability to develop their skills and confidence to change their lifestyle patterns and adhere to a healthy diet and exercise habits to lose weight and achieve long-term health benefits.
Among the treatments that have become popular in recent years for treating obesity are slimming injections, which provide an ideal solution for many cases of extreme obesity that have not responded to any dietary or weight loss medication, or for those with health risks that prevent them from undergoing surgery. However, these injections must be administered under the supervision of a treating physician who is the only one capable of determining the extent of the problem and the need for this type of injection.
This type of injection has shown accurate and effective results with minimal or no side effects when supervised by a physician. In addition, it is simple and easy compared to surgical weight loss methods, which may be scary for some people.
The concept behind the effectiveness of these injections is based on the secretion of a natural hormone within the body responsible for regulating appetite by activating certain areas in the brain responsible for feelings of satiety and hunger. This makes the person feel full and satisfied after consuming small amounts of food, resulting in a low-calorie intake and safe and healthy weight loss.
These injections are recommended for those with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30 or greater than 27 with chronic diseases and severe health problems associated with obesity, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
In this area, the US Food and Drug Administration recommends discontinuing injections if the person has not lost 4% of their weight after about sixteen weeks.
Weight Loss Surgeries
If a person’s body mass index is above 40, diet and exercise do not provide any benefit, or if obesity causes a serious health problem, the best solution is often weight loss surgery after studying the case overall and making sure there are no health problems that prevent it.
There are several weight loss surgeries, and the specialized surgeon determines the best type of surgery according to the case. These include gastric bypass surgery, gastric sleeve surgery, pancreatic and bile duct surgery, and duodenal switch surgery. The patient should realize that weight loss surgery does not eliminate the need for permanent healthy changes to their diet and exercise habits to help ensure the long-term success of obesity treatment surgeries.
Some types of procedures that may be used include:
- Gastric sleeve surgery involves removing a large portion of the stomach to reduce its size so the patient feels full after eating a small amount of food. In this case, the doctor will prescribe some vitamins due to the changes that will occur afterwards. Staples are used to close the gaps.
- Gastric banding, which involves placing a band around the upper part of the stomach to divide it into two parts with a narrow passage that allows a small amount of food to slowly reach the lower part of the stomach. This method does not affect calorie intake but only the amount of food that can be consumed.
- Bariatric bypass surgery involves creating a small pouch in the stomach and connecting it directly to the small intestine. After the stomach is rerouted, food passes through the small bag to the small intestine, bypassing most of the stomach and the first part of the small intestine. This procedure is not suitable for everyone and is only for those with a body mass index of 40 or more, considered extreme obesity, or a BMI of 35 or more with a serious health problem related to obesity.