The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) Foundation is hosting a virtual walkathon on Nov. 5 to raise awareness and funds for obesity treatment and prevention. The Weight Loss and Metabolic Center at Baylor Medicine is encouraging community members to join the walkathon.
More than 40% of adults in the United States are obese, and obesity can decrease life expectancy by 7 to 14 years in addition to increasing the risk of leading causes of preventable, premature death like diabetes, stroke, cancer and heart disease.
“Obesity is a serious disease here in the United States,” says Dr. Juliet Holder-Haynes, associate professor in the Division of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. “There are so many health problems associated with it but lifestyle changes like eating whole foods and walking every day can make a big difference.”
The ASMBS Foundation’s Walk from Obesity is the only national walkathon that brings attention to the disease of obesity by raising awareness in communities all over the country. The event also provides educational materials regarding obesity and the treatment options available.
Although walking is a great way to exercise and keep your waistline down, not everyone can lose the weight they need to on their own.
“Obesity is a real disease,” says Holder-Haynes. “And weight loss surgery is one tool we can use to help those who suffer from obesity to get better. Of course, they must make changes to their diet and lifestyle, but surgery helps a lot of patients achieve long-term weight loss.”
Kimberly Craig was one such patient. She had tried all the diets, from weight watchers to keto. She was able to lose 80 pounds herself but then hit a plateau and decided to have weight loss surgery. With the surgery and consistent diet changes, Craig has lost 195 pounds and went from a size 24 to a size 10. She says surgery might not be right for everyone, but for her it was the best option.
Kimberly’s story continues after a video about her journey.
“My energy is through the roof now,” she says. “I’m happier. I can do so much more than I ever used to do.”
In addition to diet changes, Craig quit smoking and gave up coffee. She says the things she had to give up to lose the weight and become healthier were more than worth it.
“I want to be healthy and there for my kids and grandkids,” she says. “I want to be able to run around with them and not just be a couch potato. And now I can.”
The Weight Loss and Metabolic Center at Baylor Medicine offers nonsurgical options to weight loss, including pills and diet education, in addition to surgical options.
By Tiffany Harston, communications associate in the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine