Weight Loss Surgery Connection to Suicide?

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At the bottom of the television screen, during virtually every newscast, there is now a crawling parade of headlines informing us of everything from the latest world disasters to which celebrity is hooking up with whom.

Recently, one story caught my eye: “Weight loss surgery connected to increased risk of suicide.”

One might assume this to be counterintuitive, reasoning that if someone’s lifestyle was so unhealthy that he underwent successful major surgery to change it, he would be so relieved with the outcome, that the resulting emotions would be happiness; possibly even jubilation.

Yet dig deeper.

First, the details; according to a study, troubled individuals were about 50 percent more likely to try to take their own lives after they lost a lot of weight with surgery.

“While we are clear and confident about the medical benefits of weight loss, especially through weight-loss surgery, I think we’re not as attentive to the potential psychological benefits or harms of it,”

said Dr. Amir Ghaferi, director of bariatric surgery at the Ann Arbor Veterans Administration Healthcare System in Michigan.

Some of the correlation might be obvious.

[Read more…]

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The Obesity Paradox

It takes all kinds.

People can (and will) believe just about anything they put their feelings to. From the criminally tragic, such as Holocaust Deniers, to the hopeful yet silly – that Elvis Presley is still alive and living in Ottawa running a nightclub, there is no shortage of conspiracy theories or reality-free propositions available for one to latch onto.

Consider the “obesity paradox.”

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In a nutshell, the concept promotes the notion that being at one’s ideal weight is unnecessary. Actually, it goes beyond that and says that — based on studies — people who are classified as overweight (or even moderately obese) seem to have better health and mortality outcomes than “normal” or “thin” folks.

The concept is controversial (ya think?) but its foundation lies in the hypothesis that extra pounds might actually help defend one’s health, especially when it comes to certain chronic conditions like diabetes, kidney disease, and high blood pressure. The “paradox” was first floated in 2003, where researchers were puzzled by the fact that heavier patients suffering from heart failure seemed to do better than their thinner counterparts. So, two plus two became five and it was deduced that having extra weight might actually be good for you.

There’s an old adage about data: “Figures don’t lie; liars figure.”

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Ask the Right Questions to get the Right Results

If you’re not happy with the results, maybe you need to change the question.

One reason so many people lose weight — and then unhappily put it back on again — is because they ask of themselves the wrong question.

They ask themselves the wrong question, “How long will it take?”

Based on that question, they will seek out the answers that focus on speed and never learn how to maintain their weight since that wasn’t in the question.

If the question is “What do I need to do to lose weight and keep it off while staying healthy?”

Here are some  powerful questions to ask yourself:

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Twenty One Years at Goal Weight

I entered the planet at nine pounds 14 ounces.

Assuming that to be normal, thirty years later, as a newly minted father, I panicked when the doctor informed me that my firstborn weighed six pounds six ounces.

Looking me in the eye, attempting to calm my jitters, he replied, “Six-six is normal. I promise he’s fine.”

“But I weighed ten pounds when I was born!” I protested.

“I can’t help it if you were cruel to your mother,” he replied.

Moral of the story: I was born big, and from that moment, packed on the pounds, tipping the scales at ten pounds for every year.

To explain, I weighed 50 pounds at age five, 90 pounds at age nine, and 130 pounds when I was a teen. From there, I accelerated, reaching 230 upon entering high school — poor timing to say the least. Of the 1107 students in my class, I was the second fattest. Further putting this in perspective, that was in the day when childhood obesity was an oddity, rather than unfortunately as it can be today, quite common.

Kids are brutal, so what were supposed to be some of my best years were anything but. Girls ignored me; guys badgered and bullied me.

Physical education was the lowest of the low.

[Read more…]

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The Fitness App Explosion: For Better or For Worse

Back when I first started losing weight, we didn’t have fancy-schmancy apps.

caveman-with-boneWe wrote down what we ate on cave walls. You couldn’t figure out the carbs or proteins in a Wooly Mammoth by looking it up on the internet. No sirreee Bob! Kids today have it too easy.

Okay, maybe a slight exaggeration, but one of the more significant changes in health monitoring is the explosion of fitness apps of every stripe. As of last year, there were more than 45,000 fitness-related apps in the app store, giving one the ability to monitor how far he walks and with what intensity, calories consumed and burned, even heartbeat and sleep patterns, all from the convenience of code in your phone.

This trend is in its infancy.

In the not too distant future, we will look at Fitbits and other wearable trackers in the same manner as we would observe a woman wearing a bustle today. Tomorrow’s apps will be woven into our garments, creating smart clothing and “wearable tech.” At any moment, one can be aware of everything from blood pressure to the amount of salt in her sweat.

Having that type of data available 24/7 will provide countless benefits.

Not only will it allow one to adjust his or her patterns for enhanced health, but also we will be able to predict incidents such as heart attacks BEFORE they occur, giving one the ability to go to the doctor in advance of collapsing on the street. Medical information could precede the trip to the hospital, so that upon arrival, potential treatments could be tailored to the specific circumstances in advance, saving precious time and lives.

Privacy issues yet to be worked out, that’s all well and good. However, all is not rosy in “app-alachia” as there are some pretty silly fitness apps available currently, providing insights and assistance into all facets of one’s physical, mental, and emotional health. [Read more…]

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