When you think of the American presidents honored by Presidents' Day, several images and ideas might come to mind - the modest heroism of George Washington, the quiet yet unrelenting determination of Abraham Lincoln, or simply the pioneering spirit of all early leaders of this great nation. These were people who did not take the easy road, never backed down from a challenge, and took it upon themselves to work hard for what they believed in.
The "go-get-em" essence of these leaders can be juxtaposed with the rationale for one of the "hottest" weight loss methods available today: bariatric surgery. This outpatient procedure incises the stomach and either removes or sections off a portion of it to limit food intake and encourage drastic (though not necessarily healthy or body fat-dominant) weight loss. The National Institutes of Health recommend it for people with a BMI over 40 (for example, someone 5'5" and 250 pounds) who "instituted but failed an adequate exercise and diet program."
The last part of that recommendation is where bene-fit can help.
People seeking bariatric surgery state their reasons (health, happiness, mobility, fertility, pain reduction) in different terms; but it all boils down to the same statement: "I've tried everything else. Here at bene-fit , we encourage you to ask yourself: "Are you sure?"
"Trying everything" also - if not solely - includes "establishing and monitoring a consistent diet and exercise program to the point at which your calorie burn exceeds your calorie intake." If you burn more than you consume, you will lose weight. It's what they call "the hard way," but as with most major life changes (quitting smoking, changing jobs, or just adopting a new healthy attitude), the hard way is often synonymous with the right way.
One strategy is to form what I call "healthy accounting" habits. Keep a calorie log on a website like DailyPlate or with an iPhone app like Lose It!. Calculate how many calories are burned during exercise for your body height and weight and balance it with how many calories are in the foods you eat. Pay attention to portions and establish regular sleep patterns to make getting and staying healthy fit into the rhythm of your life.
The bottom line is that bariatric surgery should be the last resort of all last resorts - a resource, not a catch-all for bad habits or lack of effort. As you weigh your options, consider the consequences of elective major surgery when viable, cost-effective alternatives like bene-fit Boot Camp, personal training, or individualized fitness plans do exist to help you find your way to health and wellness.
This Presidents' Day, do your nation proud by instituting a healthy, lasting change to bene-fit yourself, exercise your will, and honor your spirit.