Lifestyle Transformation Therapy

Meet Dr. Joshua Long:
Our Bariatric Surgeon

A nationally renowned and double-board-certified Denver bariatric surgeon, Dr. Long uses a partnership care model with each patient to tailor care to their individual needs. Patients routinely thank Dr. Long for his warm, compassionate bedside manner. He’s considered to be at the top of his field, having performed over 1,000 bariatric surgeries. Peers praise his technical skill, and he has some of the lowest complication rates among bariatric surgeons in the nation. Dr. Long and the staff at the Bariatric and Metabolic Center of Colorado consider it an honor to serve every patient with the highest quality of care.

Dr. Joshua Long headshot

Dr. Joshua Long

MD, MBA, FACS, FASMBS

What Is Lifestyle Transformation Therapy?

Lifestyle Transformation Therapy consists of a series of stepwise lifestyle changes that can empower you to transform your weight and your health. Lifestyle transformation can sometimes serve as a stand-alone tool, but also serves as the foundation of our medical therapies at the BMCC, and will be important even if you choose bariatric surgery.

It is very important to note that for Lifestyle Transformation Therapy to have any potential for lasting impact it must become more than a diet or a temporary exercise fad. Lifestyle Transformation Therapy is just that, a lifelong commitment to a different lifestyle. It must be an everyday commitment for the rest of your life to have a chance of meaningful and lasting success.

No two people are the same and even when you commit to this pathway, this may not ultimately give you the weight loss you’re looking for. In fact, national data indicates that at least 90% of patients who start this approach may not enjoy lasting success. This is because fat cells are hormonally active and actually defend against weight loss, which traps many people in their current state of health. Additionally, there may be more than 100 different genetic mutations that make weight loss by lifestyle modification alone very difficult or impossible for many people.

If you are interested in lifestyle transformation therapy you must be very motivated and prepared for a lifelong commitment. And, you must promise not to blame yourself if this method is not successful for you.

However, for some, lifestyle transformation therapy can yield significant weight loss that leads to improved health. At the BMCC we use an integrated approach that is specifically molded to fit individual needs and limitations. And it is designed to comprehensively address every element important to your long-term weight loss success.

  1. We’ll start with a full assessment of all medical conditions and medications that could be contributing to weight gain.
  2. Then, our team performs a thorough dietary assessment and will make specific structural dietary recommendations.
  3. A behavioral interview will then identify relational aspects of eating, and stress and emotional triggers. We will also offer motivational support strategies to help you work around your unique obstacles.
  4. Then, you will enroll in a specific educational group curriculum to give you staged opportunities to translate small incremental knowledge into powerfully improved habits.
  5. Throughout this process your progress will be tracked, and our team will offer additional support if you need it.
  6. If an isolated approach is not successful, then other tools can be added to enhance your success.

Lifestyle Transformation Dietary Principles

If you are considering committing to lifestyle transformation therapy, several nutritional principles will be very important.

  1. Reducing processed foods: Processed foods often contain flavor enhancers that actually stimulate the appetite as you eat. Additionally, they often contain empty calories and are missing key nutrients.
  2. Calorie control: This starts by understanding how many calories you are consuming every day. There are many apps that can make calorie counting easier. It is very important that you discuss these specific goals with your doctor and bariatric dietician before starting to ensure that you will be approaching your weight loss journey in a healthy and effective way.
  3. Building your micronutrient environment: Micronutrients are vitamins, minerals and another class of compounds called phytochemicals. These nutrients are critical for optimal health and prevention of chronic disease. Unfortunately, due to current agricultural methods, your foods likely contains less than 25% of the micronutrient levels that they would have 100 years ago, which leads to micronutrient deficiencies. In addition to damaging health, these deficiencies may contribute to weight gain, because your starving micronutrient condition causes you to strive to replace them with depleted food sources.
  4. Optimizing your microbiome: Your microbiome is all of the bacteria living inside your intestines. It is also a very important part of your digestion process. Recent studies have indicated that often patients who struggle with obesity have a different microbiome than those who do not (in fact,. surgeries such as the gastric bypass have been shown to produce changes in patients’ microbiome so that it resembles a microbiome found in non-obese patients, which may be one reason the surgery is so effective at generating weight loss. Our food choices also influence our microbiome.

Water

A healthy body is composed of at least 60% water. Drinking enough water is essential to modify your weight and health. On a biochemical level water is necessary to burn fat and to flush toxins out of the body. When you drink water throughout the day it can also help to curb your appetite to some degree because it fills up your stomach. Committing to regular water consumption also prevents you from drinking other beverages containing calories that would derail your weight-loss efforts. Finally, when you drink water your body actually has to burn some energy to absorb it and this can actually help you burn more calories.

Lifestyle Transforming Exercise

Activity is also an important part of transforming your weight and your health. Unfortunately, for most people who struggle with their weight, activity can be very challenging and may even feel impossible. That is why the first step in our approach is a full exercise physiology assessment to better understand all of your unique limitations. Then using this information, a specific activity plan will be crafted to help you work around your barriers rather than through them. In nearly every case our patients at the BMCC are able to gain some level of activity.

Cardio

Cardio exercise is vital, because it raises your heart rate and helps you burn calories quickly. However, it’s important to start slow. Start by walking up stairs instead of taking the elevator, or by taking a walk around the neighborhood. Look for ways to walk more rather than less, like parking a little further away from your destination.

Once you build up your endurance, bicycling and swimming are both excellent cardio exercises. We often recommend against running, because of the wear and tear that it causes on your body.

It’s important to monitor your heart rate during cardio exercise, to ensure you’re pushing yourself hard but not too hard. You can find our Heart Rate Calculator here.

Resistance Training

Resistance training helps you burn fat and build muscle. It improves weight loss because muscle cells burn more calories than fat cells do, so more muscle means faster weight loss. It also helps you to build stronger bones, reducing your risk for several health conditions.

Good strength conditioning workouts include pushups, rowing machines, and using weights.

Stretching can also be a powerful conditioning exercise.

Health Benefits of Lifestyle Change

Making lifestyle changes for weight loss—whether after bariatric surgery or as a substitute—is not easy. It requires dedication and willpower.

However, in some cases the results can be powerful. Conditioning workouts, which build your muscle mass, naturally boost your metabolism.

Regular exercise can also reduce your risk of health problems by strengthening your bones and improving your body’s functioning. It can reduce muscle pain and give you more energy.

A protein-rich diet, with low sugar, can also help you live a richer, fuller life. Changing your diet, just like adding an exercise regime, can give you more energy and reduce your pain. It can also reduce your risk of health conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Is Lifestyle Transformation Therapy Right For Me?

Lifestyle transformation therapy is essentially a lifestyle change for weight loss. The goal is to use proven exercise tips and weight loss diets to help you shed your unwanted weight and keep it off.

For moderately overweight users, diet and exercise can be a solution. If your BMI is under 35, and if you’re only looking to lose 20 or 30 pounds, then bariatric surgery or weight loss medication may be excessive treatments. In these cases, diet and exercise might be sufficient to help you lose weight and improve your quality of life.

Why Can’t I Lose Weight?

People who are severely overweight, and who struggle with their weight, often talk about how lifestyle changes aren’t enough to lead to weight loss. The problem is that, for patients who are severely overweight, their body actively resists weight loss. When you lose a few pounds or decrease your caloric intake, your body thinks that it’s starving. It then works overtime, slowing your metabolism and increasing your hunger, to make you regain any lost weight.

We are wired to resist losing weight. If you are consistently implementing these lifestyle transformation principles and struggling with your journey, please do not blame yourself. This is damaging, counterproductive and will only lead to a sense of helplessness. When you do lose weight, your body responds with a variety of adjustments that promote weight regain. It goes into starvation mode, working overtime to regain the pounds. In fact, the reason that bariatric surgery is so effective is that it levels the playing field in your struggle with your weight and makes tools like exercise and a healthy diet more effective than they would be otherwise.

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This page was medically reviewed by Dr. Joshua Long, MD, MBA, FACS, FASMBS. Dr. Long is a double-board-certified bariatric surgeon and bariatric medical director for Parker Adventist Hospital.
Full Bio: Dr. Joshua Long, MD, MBA, FACS, FASMBS
Page Updated: February 25th, 2020

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*Please note that individual results can vary and are not guaranteed.