On the Embarrassing Bodies website I’ve noticed that hundreds of you are leaving comments about your weight. You’re worried about your weight and you don’t know how to go about losing it. Well the truth is everyone has a different technique that’s going to work better for them but there are some key tips. The first one is not to do it too quickly; crash diets will not work and will make you put on more weight afterwards, so slowly and surely is the best way. About two pounds weight loss a week is ideal.
The next thing to tell you is that it is easier than you think. Don’t cut out all your favourite foods because you’ll miss them, simply cut down. Small changes are really the key. Cutting down on high calorie foods, over time, will actually make a big difference and you’ll see good results.
I’ve got a message here from someone who needs to lose around 7 stone in weight but is worried about being left with a lot of excess skin. In fact we’ve had a number of cases on the show of exactly that. Excess skin is a very real problem in people who have suffered from obesity and sometimes it can be hard to avoid. The best way to do so is not to become obese in the first place and certainly not to put any more weight on if you’re already overweight. To try and avoid excess skin as much as possible it is crucial that you lose weight slowly. Around one or two pounds a week is ideal, too rapidly and you almost certainly will be left with excess skin.
A lot of you have been asking about diet pills, whether you should get them and whether they’re effective. Well I’d divide them into two classes. Prescription diet pills, of which there’s one main one, which you can get from your GP, it can be very effective but it does have significant side effects. The other class is all the other ones that you can buy on the internet or get them from over the counter in health shops. The truth is that many of these have never been tried or tested, pills bought on the internet often contain dangerous substances and there is no evidence that they work whatsoever. Use them at your peril.
A number of you are asking whether hypnosis might be useful to help you lose weight. Well hypnosis can be extremely effective with weight loss and there are various techniques available. It’s important that you realise it doesn’t work for everyone however, and some people are just not that responsive to hypnosis. If you do decide to go ahead make sure you choose your hypnotherapist carefully.
A lot of you are leaving messages saying that you don’t understand why you’re overweight. You’re not sure what’s causing it. Well there is a very simple truth. It is usually lifestyle that causes weight problems; it is very rare that we doctors actually find an underlying medical problem that’s causing the obesity. Having said that there are all sorts of reasons why we behave the way that we do. Mindless eating, eating out of boredom, eating because we’re sitting watching television and not thinking about what we’re eating is very commonly seen in obese people, as is emotional eating, eating to try and heal a hurt, to heal a wound. Do have a think about what drives you to eat. How are you feeling when you eat? What’s it doing for you? Getting in touch with why you eat the way you do is key to changing things. Ask yourself two questions: How am I feeling and what do I need? How am I feeling means am I actually really hungry or am I just feeling down and depressed? And what do I need? What do I need means do I need food? Probably not, or do I actually need a hug, a phone call, a walk or a distraction? Ask yourself those two questions, work out the answers to those and they’re a really good first step to losing weight.
A few of you have been asking whether obesity and depression can be linked and the short answer is yes they can. Depressed people can eat more due to emotional eating self-esteem issues. If you’re worried that you might be depressed do go and have a chat with your GP because treating your depression can also treat your obesity.
A lot of you are asking whether gastric bands would be useful for you to help you lose weight. Gastric band is just one of a variety of different operations called bariatric surgeries to help with weight loss. They all basically work by reducing the size of the stomach and so reducing the amount of food that you can eat and absorb. The truth is they can be extremely effective but require an awful lot of before and after care, and will dramatically change life for you, particularly in the amounts and what foods you can eat. They are certainly not an easy option.
A few of you have written in complaining that you’ve had bariatric surgery, mainly gastric bands, and they’re no longer working, you’re putting on weight. Well it is true that if you carry on eating in the same way, or increasing the size of the meals that you’re eating, you can undo all of the good work of the surgery. You can expand your gastric band or you can increase the size of your stomach again. It is possible to reverse it so do bear that in mind. If you are putting on weight after having had bariatric surgery do go back and see your GP or the surgeon who performed the surgery for you to try and work out why.
If you’re unsure whether you are a healthy weight for your height go and have a look at My HealthChecker where you’ll some simple tests to work out your BMI and your body fat. These tests do have their limitations but can be a useful starting point and you’ll find them on the Embarrassing Bodies website.
Doctor Responses: Obesity
In this video, Dr Christian answers some of the most commonly asked questions about weight loss, dieting and obesity. Most of the questions were submitted by Embarrassing Bodies viewers on our obesity and morbid obesity condition guides.
If you’re worried that you may be obese then you should consider taking the BMI and body fat tests within My Healthchecker.
Comments and Questions
Comments & Questions are now archived, but if you see anything on the site that worries you, please report it and one of our moderators will look at it as soon as possible.
Please note: Unfortunately Channel 4 cannot respond to individual inquiries. If you have any concerns, you can check out NHS Choices, but ultimately it is always best to check with a health professional.