Possible to maintain life-long weight loss after morbid obesity?

Anyone have any insight about maintaining long-term healthy weight naturally if you were once in the 300+lbs range?

My doctor recommended WLS to me a few years ago and said it was very unlikely someone of my weight could lose/maintain a significant weight loss. I asked him to give me a year. I lost 100+lbs that year, but then regained every bit over the next few years.

He’s now pushing hard for WLS. But in talking to him, he admitted that as much as 50-70% of all WLS participants regain much of their weight within the first 10 years. But he still recommends it as it “prolongs life and delays health complications even if it isn’t a permanent solution.”

Anyone have doctors with similar opinions or have personally gotten down to a healthy weight from 300+lbs and maintained for a long period of time?


  • shaumom
    shaumom Posts: 1,008 Member
    edited July 2020
    Okay...this is gonna ramble, but I'll answer this by the end, LOL.

    A ketogenic diet is one that seems to be increasingly recommended by doctors to help people who overweight and are prediabetic/slightly insulin resistance.

    In the USA, about 1 in 3 people are estimated to be prediabetic, and higher weight is one of the common things that may cause this. It's usually not diagnosed, as there aren't necessarily symptoms that stand out or anything.

    The reason I mention this is because insulin resistance will actually alter how your body puts on weight, and the more carbs/sugars that are eaten, the more the body seems to put into fat instead of it being utilized by the cells like it should be (I'm just starting to research this myself). Because of this, a diet with the recommended level of carbs/sugars may potentially lead to weight gain, while a low carb or ketogenic diet may help.

    So...I have known a few folks who were prediabetic, and overweight, and medically HAD to keep that weight down, you know? And while it's only been a few years, some who went low carb/keto seem to still be doing all right.

    Myself, I might be insulin resistant. When I eat 'normal' levels of carbs, I gain weight. Same calories but eating very low carb, I can keep weight lower. Same exercise, or sometimes even less exercise when I go low carb, too.

    I have never seen anything reliable that suggests the keto diet is great for losing weight for everyone. But for folks who were overweight, and did become insulin resistant, it might be worth exploring to see if that or low carb might be able to help you maintain your weight when the weight is lost, maybe.

    Wishing you good luck. I know it's so hard, and SO frustrating when the weight starts coming back, but we're rooting for you!

    EDIT: this article talks about it for losing weight with Type 2 diabetes, but again, some docs are recommending it BEFORE Type 2 diabetes kicks in, from what I read.
  • spiriteagle99
    spiriteagle99 Posts: 3,596 Member
    It is possible to keep the weight off after major weight loss, but it requires making permanent changes to your way of eating and living. Going back to old habits will result in weight gain, so you have to stick to your new habits as much as possible. From what I've read about the Weight Loss Registry, where people who have lost more than 50 pounds and kept it off do surveys about their habits, most who lose weight continue to be vigilant about what they eat, they weigh themselves often, and they exercise regularly.
  • Courtscan2
    Courtscan2 Posts: 497 Member
    Certainly it's possible, but once you've lost the weight you can't just go back to eating "normally", as your version of normal, your collective habits and attitudes towards food, will be what made you overweight in the first place. You can relax a little bit once you've lost the weight, but you will likely still need to monitor and track and weigh and measure everything you eat for quite a long time after you have reached your goal weight so that you know what your new "normal" eating looks like, and you have established long term habits that you will be able to maintain. The idea of watching what they eat forever is, I think, often just too overwhelming for people, so they fall back in to old habits as it's easy and comfortable. Forming new habits actually takes a really long time, and consistency is so, so important. It's hard. Possible, yes. Easy, no.
  • Geneveremfp
    Geneveremfp Posts: 504 Member
    Lots to agree with on here. I think that is worth having a bit of support with mental health to improve your chances of success. I generally believe that everyone could do with a bit of therapy and support sometimes as you never really get taught how to deal with emotions and negative feelings we just bumble along hoping we're getting it right.

    I also really noticed the words "naturally" in your post and I'm curious. When you lost the weight did you keep logging and keep an eye on your weight? Did you have a number that if you saw on the scale you'd get on the scales every day to see if it was genuine and then you went into loss mode again? From what I've seen people who have been successful in maintaining have a solid plan. It might be worth planning for maintenance now. Think about what went wrong the first time and really examine your habits and think about where you made choices that led to regain that you can change. Did you stop logging? Did you stop doing exercise? Did you give yourself too many treat days? It'll probably feel horrible but don't judge yourself for those actions. They're done now and as you know lots of people do them. No shame in it just try to formulate a rescue plan based on it.
    I know when I regained it happened when I became pregnant so I didn't have the scale check in and so I went to myself well that's fine I don't really need to log and then I avoided the scale and took too long to get back on it because I knew I'd gained and didn't want to handle it. It was when I felt a bit better that I got back on it. I now plan on weighing myself once a week when I'm in maintenance and if I see a set number up weigh three days in a row. If it stays there to go in deficit. I also have an I have stopped logging plan to make myself just log and not worry about hitting any goals. Just log all my food to get myself honest and then I can work on things.
  • callsitlikeiseeit
    callsitlikeiseeit Posts: 8,628 Member
    I weighed 300+. Lost 130 6 years ago. Gained back 30 over last 2 years. Now working on losing that as well as the rest of the weight I needed to. So yes, it can be done but yes, it does take some discipline and permanent lifestyle changes.