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Sharon Lobo

IWB Blogger

Dr Madhu Goel Busts Some Common Myths About Obesity And The Need For Bariatric Surgery

  • IWB Post
  •  January 10, 2018

Dieting and exercise don’t always work when obese people are trying to lose weight. As a solution to this, bariatric surgeries are often conducted. 

Centre for Metabolic Surgery represents a comprehensive team of surgeons, physicians, dietitians, and psychologists to assist people after their weight loss surgery.

Dr. Madhu Goel is the co-founder of Centre for Metabolic Surgery and a trained bariatric physician. She discusses the importance of maintaining a healthy diet and a steady exercise routine and busts some myths about obesity. Excerpts:

Who can undergo bariatric surgery?

People with 32.5 BMI are overweight by 25-30kg and can undergo this surgery to lose weight. Also, those who have uncontrolled diabetes and cardiovascular diseases and have a BMI of 27 can get metabolic surgery done to stabilize their weight.

Please tell us about the advantages of bariatric surgery, compared to liposuction.

Liposuction is a cosmetic procedure to remove fat from a particular part of the body. There’s no change in the metabolic activity and food consumption habits, unlike bariatric surgery. Bariatric surgery is a permanent fix for weight issues, thereby curing all related diseases.

We have seen a sudden increase in the obesity rate in India. How is that affecting our mental health?

Excess and uneven consumption of calories, sedentary lifestyle, and stress are some of the most critical factors leading to obesity. Talking about mental health, people suffer from depression because of weight issues and that further makes it difficult to lose weight and disturbs metabolic activity.

Can alternative therapies like yoga help in reducing extreme obesity?

Yoga can definitely aid in weight loss by having a calming effect on our mind and reducing stress. It won’t wholly suffice for extreme weight loss in overtly obese people.

But surgery should always be the last option, right? 

That’s right. Surgery is an option only for morbidly obese people. Because it’s difficult for them to reduce weight, and they also regain weight faster than others when they go back to their previous lifestyle and diet.

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Tell us about some myths related to obesity and bariatric surgery.

Talking about obesity, people think obese people are lethargic and must not have a disciplined lifestyle and diet, but that’s not always the case. Obesity could be a result of various factors. Also, there’s a myth that bariatric surgery will have a lot of side effects but that’s not at all true, if the surgery is done correctly then it won’t have any kind of side effects.

What measures can we take to avoid obesity and other health problems?

We must eat moderately and exercise routinely. Indian food especially is comprised of a lot of oil and butter and spices, and hence we must set the limit on consumption of these ingredients. Also whenever you get holidays for festivities or just a weekend, make it a point to go on a trek or take up some physical activity so that you make up for the time you didn’t exercise and all the extra calories as well.

What healthcare would you recommend to women going through menopause?

Exercising is very important for women going through menopause. Also, they must inculcate a strength training routine because we lose muscle mass as we grow older and that makes us weak. Basically, a proper diet and exercise routine will get you through everything.

Could you share the story of one of your most memorable cases?

There are many such inspiring stories, but one memorable incident that I remember is this young girl who had come to us and wanted to reduce weight. She was in her 20s and obese. After she reduced weight, she came, and she joined us as a bariatric counselor and had turned into an entirely positive person. We could see a massive shift in her confidence level and her persona. Another such incident was when a father of a young girl narrated his ordeal of a daughter losing weight because of the bariatric surgery and how she was happy again because of the weight loss during one of our support group meetups. He literally had tears in his eyes and was extremely content with our services.

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Name one person from the field of medicine who has been your inspiration.

My mom has been a great inspiration for me. She wasn’t from the medical background but always helped at my father’s clinic back then. She was passionate about helping ailing people and that has always been very inspirational for me.

What are some of the innovations you would like to see in the industry in the coming few years?

Insurance for bariatric surgery or for other treatments for obesity is the need of the hour. In western countries, obesity is considered has a life-threatening problem, and they already have made it a covered disease under insurance. Also, for international patients to avail any kind of service in India they need medical insurance which becomes a cumbersome process.

Any other reforms you would like the government to implement?

I think we must include some specialization courses or electives in all medical studies so that even a person who is studying to become a physician will have an in-depth knowledge of at least one area.

Can you share your health routine with us?

I exercise at least 4-5 times a week and eat decidedly less oily stuff. In fact, we cook most of our food without oil. Even when we go out to eat we specifically opt for cuisines which are on the healthier side.

All the views and opinions expressed in the article are of the expert.

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