Posted: Monday, February 5, 2018

When Diet and Exercise Just Aren't Enough

We’re a few weeks into 2018 and, by now, chances are you’ve either made significant progress toward keeping your New Year’s weight loss resolution, or you’ve given up on it already. If you haven’t had the success you were looking for, you really shouldn’t be too hard on yourself. Many resolutions – even those made with the best intentions – don’t last the first month of the year. Sometimes, the problem is the resolution itself. Sure, it’s a popular resolution to make, but for many people it’s one that is, simply put, out of reach. For some, simply deciding to eat well and exercise more won’t produce the desired results. Fortunately, there are options to consider if you find you can’t quite reach your New Year’s weight loss goals on your own.

Registered dietitian and director of the Blount Memorial Weight Management Center Heather Pierce says that for those struggling with morbid obesity, diet and exercise may not be enough. “Obesity is a common problem, particularly in Tennessee where nearly 35 percent of the adult population is battling it,” Pierce said. “It’s a disease that can affect the whole body and one that frequently is stigmatized. People who are morbidly obese not only are dealing with their own feelings, but often the weight biases from their surrounding environment,” she explained. “Added to that, you have all the comorbidities that morbid obesity can cause, such as diabetes, certain types of cancer and other detrimental health conditions. A morbidly obese person dies an average of 10-15 years sooner than an individual who has a healthy weight,” she said. “It’s also important to consider the quality of life issues a morbidly obese person experiences. It’s a disease that can hold someone back from doing many of the things he or she wants to do in life,” Pierce added.

Pierce says, unfortunately, obesity can be difficult to treat. “When it comes to treating obesity, multiple factors come into play, many of which are challenging including environmental, hormonal and genetic issues that require consideration,” she said. “Of course, conventional forms of weight loss always are preferable, but once a person develops morbid obesity, achieving sustained weight loss by conventional means has a low rate of success,” she explained. “Bariatric surgery is one tool that can be used to help assist with sustainable weight loss. At the Blount Memorial Weight Management Center, our board certified bariatric and general surgeon Dr. James Ray performs two different types of surgery – gastric sleeve and gastric band. We also offer other services, however, such as putting people in contact with a registered dietitian or the trainers at our fitness center,” she added. “Either way, we have a team approach that can help guide each person on their journey to better health.”

Ultimately, whether you’ve resolved to lose a little weight on your own, or want to make big lifestyle changes, it all begins with a first step. “We invite anyone who is considering having weight loss surgery to attend one of our educational seminars where you can meet Dr. Ray and hear more about the surgical options available,” Pierce said.

Blount Memorial hosts a free, no obligation monthly bariatric surgery education seminars at East Tennessee Medical Group, located at 266 Joule Street in Alcoa. This month’s session takes place Thursday, Feb. 8 at 6 p.m. in the East Tennessee Medical Group community room. Call 865-984-3864 to register, or register online at

Blount Memorial is a Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP)-accredited center, certifying that its program meets the most-rigorous standards for patient care, professional expertise and proven results.

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