Q: I’m 100 pounds overweight and desperate to get into shape, but I read that there’s really no chance that someone like me can take it off and keep it off. Can you help me?
Janie W., Lincoln, Nebraska
A: Bravo! You might be discouraged, but you’re still fighting to be healthy; otherwise, you wouldn’t have written to us. And we’re glad you did, because the recent rash of news reports delivering that gloomy message is infuriating!
True, in the recently reported U.K. study of health records of 1,283 men and 2,245 women, researchers determined that an obese person’s chance of achieving a normal body weight was 1 in 210 for men and 1 in 124 for women. But that’s badly misleading! If you have the right information, inspiration and support (clearly, those folks did not), YOU can lose weight and keep it off. Here are several proven ways to do it. (Remember, it took a while to put it on, and it takes a while to take it off, safely.)
Enlist support, and once you lose weight, keep the support going. It protects against regaining the weight.
• Lifestyle coaching keeps you on the right path. Check out info at MyClevelandClinic.com (there’s a quiz, “What’s Your Eating Style,” plus ways to improve your eating habits) and search online for “free weight-loss apps.”
• Check out “YOU on a Diet” and “This is Your Do-Over” for more ways to lose and keep weight off.
• Overeaters Anonymous offers all the help that 12-step programs can provide as you try to change your relationship to food.
Establish new habits.
• Keep a food diary; then you’ll really know what you’re eating.
• Find a workout buddy; it’s the No. 1 way to make sure you stick with your routine! Then check out the interval walking program at sharecare.com. A new study in JAMA Oncology suggests that postmenopausal women who get 300 minutes a week of moderate or vigorous exercise can lose a substantial amount of body fat and significantly improve their hip-to-waist ratio.
• Talk to your doctor about bariatric surgery. One metastudy of more than 160,000 people found that those who had gastric bypass saw their body mass index plummet by 12 to 17 points — from a BMI of 35, for example, to 23, a normal, healthy weight. After surgery, you still need to pay attention to what you eat and continue working to maintain weight loss, so don’t think it is an easy way out!
Q: My friend is in his early 70s, and he just had eyelid surgery so he could see better. It worked great for him, and I think I’d like to get it done too. But info on the Internet is confusing. So, what is brow-lift surgery, and when should I get it? — Marty S., Largo, Florida
A: Don’t confuse brow-lift surgery, browplexy and blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery). Some doctors will say a brow-lift means browplexy, but if they do, keep your hand on your wallet while you look for a second opinion. They might be trying to sell you something you don’t need. Here’s the difference:
A brow-lift raises the entire forehead.
A browplexy raises or stabilizes the eyebrows.
A blepharoplasty removes excess skin directly around the eyes.
If an ophthalmologist or optometrist — through a visual field test — determines that your sagging eyelids are causing vision problems, raising them should be considered medically necessary, not cosmetic surgery. (As an elective cosmetic procedure, it was the third most popular in the United States in 2013.) The surgery usually is done on an outpatient basis. The sutures are removed after five to seven days, and most of the swelling should recede in six to eight weeks.
If you need it, you will find that blepharoplasty restores your peripheral vision. That makes you safer while doing everyday tasks, from walking into the coffee shop to driving a car.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. Email your health and wellness questions to Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen at firstname.lastname@example.org.