Few challenges are tougher to overcome than the disease of obesity. According to the National Center for Health Statistics (a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) almost 70 percent of people in the US are considered “overweight” or “obese” and more than 33 percent of adults are considered “obese”. Not only is there a social stigma linked to obesity, there are also serious health risks associated with the condition. People who are overweight or obese have a risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke among other conditions.
Since awareness of the risks of obesity is increasing, advice and products in the area of health and wellness are everywhere. Many people are willing to try almost anything to lose weight, and marketers know this, so they tap into the desperation, turning the weight loss industry into a $60 billion market in the US. But there is now a large shift toward a do-it-yourself approach by consumers, where people are realizing that there is no substitute for a change in lifestyle. So in this minefield of options, how does one find an approach which truly works when so many tactics have failed?
Let’s look at three recent celebrity weight loss successes and compare the methods that worked for them. First is the stunning 2014 revelation of a 50-pound weight loss by Rosie O’Donnell. She attributes her victory to bariatric surgery. Second is Kelly Osbourne, who changed her lifestyle and followed a strict eating plan and exercise routine, including the M-Plan. Finally we will look at the dramatic weight loss of Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, who is almost unrecognizable after a weight loss regime which she admits included diet pills.
Weight Loss Surgery
Bariatric surgery is a fairly drastic medical procedure performed by a surgeon for patients who have been unsuccessful in efforts to lose weight through lifestyle changes and medication. There are two types of bariatric surgery: restrictive procedures and malabsorptive procedures.
A restrictive procedure makes the stomach smaller so that it can hold about one cup of food. A normal stomach can hold 4 to 6 cups of food. One cup is 250ml. Malapsorptive procedures decrease the ability of the small intestine to absorb calories. A celebrity who achieved successful weight loss after weight loss surgery is Rosie O’Donnel She revealed that she underwent gastric sleeve surgery (a restrictive procedure) in 2013. She is now an advocate for women’s health.
A Change In Lifestyle
Kelly Osbourne revealed in the spring of 2013 that she changed her body and spirit the hard way – through hard work and a change in lifestyle. She is also admitted that she followed the M-Plan, in which one daily meal such as dinner or supper is replaced entirely by a mushroom dish.
Nutritionist and health broadcaster Jeannette Jackson told the Daily Mail :"If we eat more mushrooms, it’s likely that less high calorie foods will be consumed throughout the day over all because of the vegetable’s powerful nutritional values." Although it is true that mushrooms have a high fiber content and a high nutritional density (meaning it has a high amount of nutrients compared to its caloric value), most registered dieticians agree that a diet which singles out one particular food is generally not recommended, since it is unbalanced. Nonetheless, Kelly Osbourne’s active lifestyle and positive outlook helps her stay healthy and make her a good example of a successful approach to weight loss.
Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi, who starred in Jersey Shore, lost 17 pounds in 2011. They weight loss was so dramatic for her 4’9” stature that her face was completely changed. She admitted to using the weight loss supplement Zantrex-3. Although Zantrex-3 is amphetamine-free, it contains compounds such as yerba mate, green tea, and guarana, and is very high in caffeine.
Research has shown that supplements such as guarana are extremely high in caffeine and come with some risks. Health experts such as WebMD.com advise that taking over-the-counter diet aids is not a good idea, since these products are not regulated and manufacturers can make any claim under the sun about their product. Furthermore, Zantrex-3 could be dangerous, so although ‘Snooki’ was successful in losing weight, she may not have done her long-term health any good.
Making The Right Choice
Comparing the three weight loss methods used by Rosie, Kelly and Nicole, the bariatric surgery is certainly medically acceptable but drastic. Certainly the diet pills approach doesn’t seem to be a good idea. But the longer-term balanced approach followed by Kelly Osbourne seems to be the one which anyone can follow and which is the healthiest approach.
Quite simply, there doesn’t seem to by any magic formula. So how does one follow a balanced lifestyle? There are many excellent, medically based sources, such as the highly acclaimed Dr Oz, and WebMD.com’s Nutrition 101. WebMD.com is a health resource run by doctors and is based in the US.
The simple science is that one pound of body weight is equivalent to 3500 calories. So in order to lose one pound in one week, one needs to have a calorie deficit of 3500 calories, or 500 calories a day for seven days. It is called a calorie deficit because one simply needs to either burn 500 calories more per day, or consume 500 fewer calories per day (which is hard) or a combination of the two.
This is where the challenge lies. For most people, unless one undertakes a concerted effort, achieving the 500 calorie a day deficit over a long period is truly challenging. Still, there are people who have overcome this challenge, and it is within reach for anyone with the willpower necessary to see it through. However, the best person to help us start on the road to weight loss is our doctor. One should always consult a physician before embarking on a lifestyle change for weight loss.
Please understand this article is not an endorsement of any product or strategy and professional advice should be sought from a medical practitioner in all health matters.