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Weight Management: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

Last Updated: Jun 20, 2024

What is the treatment?

A person’s body undergoes some changes as he/she ages. The body’s metabolism rate decreases and the person tends to put on weight. Many people all over the world tend to gain some weight due to a combination of factors like aging, healthy appetite and leading a less active lifestyle. The body weight is determined by the amount of energy that we take in as food and the amount of energy that we expend through our activities per day. A person is able to control the amount of calories (energy) that he/she intakes in a day by regulating the amount of food intake. He/she can also regulate the amount of energy expended by indulging in physical activities. However, energy spent is also dependent on another factor known as the BMR or basal metabolic rate. A person whose basal metabolic index is between 18-25 is said to have normal weight.

Dieticians and other doctors have recommended 12 tips regarding how to lose weight and prevent it from coming back. These tips are building more lean muscle, fighting off hunger with more filling foods, counting calorie intake, avoiding temptation, planning the meals in advance, measuring what a person eats, exercising more, including dairy in your diet, using the ‘plate’ method, leading a more active lifestyle and also by eating regular breakfast.

An underweight person should have five-six small meals per day rather than having 2-3 meals. He/she should also do some strength training to build up muscles and also to gain weight.

How is the treatment done?

A person is generally able to manage his/her weight by incorporating certain changes in lifestyle. However, people who are obese can develop various health-related problems, and for such people medicines like orlistat are recommended. Medications are generally recommended for people with BMI greater than 30 or people who have BMI greater than 27 and suffering from conditions like high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and diabetes. BMI or Body Mass Index is a simple, inexpensive and non-invasive procedure of measuring body fat based on a person’s weight and in relation to his/her height. Simply put, the BMI acts as a screening tool to determine whether a person is overweight, underweight, obese or has healthy weight.

A person is morbidly obese if he/she has a BMI of over 40. Such people and also people with BMI above 35 and also suffering from diseases like cardiovascular disease, hypertension, sleep apnea or diabetes mellitus are often recommended bariatric surgery to lose weight.

To manage weight, the desire must always come from the individual himself/herself. A person not serious about losing weight or who has been forced to do so is bound to fail in managing weight. It is also essential to not skip breakfast. People who have breakfast are more likely to manage their weight. Low-fat dairy helps a person to lose weight. One of the most important ways by which a person can manage weight is by working out daily. A person should also avoid temptations and surround himself/herself will similar-minded people. Planning a meal ahead also prevents a person from eating more and thus, helps to manage weight.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

A person whose basal metabolic index is greater than 25 or people with basal metabolic index less than 18 are overweight and underweight respectively. Such people are eligible for weight management program. A person whose BMI is greater than 30 or a person having BMI greater than 27 and also suffering from ailments like diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are eligible for treatment with medicines. A person with BMi greater than 35 is eligible for weight reduction surgery.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

A person who has a BMI between 18-25 is deemed to be of ideal weight. Such a person is not eligible for treatment. A person suffering from some serious condition is not eligible for weight reduction surgery even if he/she is morbidly obese. This is because surgery in those cases may lead to disastrous consequences for the person.


Are there any side effects?

The side-effects of orlistat, the medicine used to lose weight, are drowsiness, confusion, mood changes, severe pain in the upper stomach, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, dark urination, jaundice, clay-coloured stools and itchiness. The side-effects associated with bariatric surgery are long-term. Some of them are low blood sugar, malnutrition, vomiting, ulcers, bowel obstruction and hernia. Another side-effect associated with bariatric surgery is the dumping syndrome that is a condition that can lead to nausea and dizziness. Otherwise managing weight involves some lifestyle changes that do not have any side-effects as such.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

There are no such post-treatment guidelines for weight management. A person will have to adhere to certain guidelines and adopt a healthy lifestyle throughout his/her life to manage weight. It is of absolute importance for an overweight person to check his eating habits and also to exercise regularly. An underweight person should also include calorie-rich foods in their diet and also do strength training exercises to gain weight.

How long does it take to recover?

Losing weight depends on a number of factors like the constituency of the patient’s body, age, medical history and also how much overweight the person is. A person can lose weight by eating less as the body fats will burn to make up for the difference in calorie intake. A deficit of 500- 1000 calories per day can help a person to lose about 1-2 pounds in a week. Therefore, the complete treatment will depend on how much the person needs to lose.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

Consulting a doctor who can devise a proper weight management program can cost something around Rs 500 –Rs 2000 per visit. 10 capsules of orlistat can cost something around Rs 380 in India. There can be different types of bariatric surgery that help a morbidly obese person to lose weight. However, the cost of the treatment varies between Rs 396000 to Rs 516000 in our country.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Weight management is a continuous process and a person has to follow a strict routine to ensure that the extra weight does not come back or so that he/she does not lose weight. Lifestyle changes including dietary changes help a person to maintain a normal weight. However, this is not a permanent result as a person may again become underweight or overweight if he/she deviates from the weight management program.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

Drinking 1 to 2 teaspoons of apple vinegar cedar and 8 ounces of water 3 times a day help to lose weight. Consuming a little protein in every meal will help a person to lose weight. Another important way to lose weight is to get enough sleep every night. Otherwise, lack of sleep can lead to worsening of the overall mental and physical condition and makes it harder for a person to lose weight.

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Written ByDt. Ms. Archana Desai P.G.In Dietitics,BSc - Dietitics / NutritionDietitian/Nutritionist
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