Remember when liposuction was all the rage? It seemed like a simple solution for a person who wanted to reduce their body fat – remove it from the body and poof, problem fixed. Not only does the person feel better about themselves (because we're told fat=ugly), but they are also presumably healthier (because we're told fat=unhealthy). So why did the trend fade? Because it doesn't work; the results didn't last, and the fat came back. Bummer, huh?
Fast forward a few years and now we have a "new and improved" solution – bariatric surgery. Instead of removing the fat, let's remove (or limit) part of the digestive system to decrease food consumption and watch the pounds melt away and the individual's health miraculously improve.
Most people assume that it's because the person lost weight. Again, because we so firmly hold the belief that weight loss = health. Yet, many individuals see improvements in their health parameters before weight loss even occurs after bariatric surgery, especially those with diabetes.
And for people who had liposuction (i.e. instant weight loss), studies show that there is no improvement on blood sugar control or insulin sensitivity. The Diabetes Prevention Program demonstrated that a person's health improves with lifestyle changes, regardless of weight loss.
We need to continue to change the conversation around health and weight. By operating under the faulty assumption that weight determines health, we miss the mark on how to actually improve a person's health. There is no proven effective long-term intervention for weight loss. In fact, 95% of those who attempt to lose weight via dieting regain it. Studies also show that yo-yo dieting is worse for your health than simply maintaining a higher weight.
By shifting your focus to behaviors that impact your health you are much more likely to see improvements. Nurturing your body with nutrition, movement, and sleep will go a long way in managing your health. And the funny thing is that when you are treating yourself well in these areas your body will take care of your weight on it's own.