NATIONAL - Is extreme weight loss possible, and long-lasting, without surgery? Now there's a study that's helping severely obese people lose weight while bypassing bypass surgery.
Ray Lehner is looking lean these days, but he used to look like a different person. "I was unhappy about my weight, I mean it was impeding me in my job and running around after the kids."
At his highest, Ray weighed over 300 pounds. While diet plans initially worked, results didn't last. "You can't continue to diet your whole life, there's no, you know there was nothing afterwards."
Ray enrolled in a pilot study at the University at Buffalo, looking at alternatives to gastric bypass surgery. Dr. Michael Noe says, "Individuals will not only learn more about themselves, but also how to live in the very difficult and toxic food environment in, in which we all live."
Limiting calories and boosting activity levels were essential to the program. But most important were changes in behavior. Dr. Noe says the program gives "an opportunity to participate in a prolonged and aggressive behavioral change program, which is really, along with diet, at the center of our interventions."
Weekly meetings gave participants information and support. Dr. Noe says participants "learn more about themselves, their decision-making behaviors, how to cope with, with the environment, and not only in the initial weight-loss phase, but also during an extended period."
For Ray, the program vaulted him over a goal. "The first time that I was able to get under 300 pounds, it was just like, great, okay, then I'm successful. And then all of a sudden it's like another ten pounds, and then another 20 and another ten."
It was a transformation that changed Ray's body, and his life. Since his involvement in the pilot study, Ray has lost 152 pounds, dropping him from 337 pounds to 185.
And he wasn't alone in weight loss success - two others lost more than 100 pounds. The average weight loss of participants at just over 50 pounds.