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Non-surgical Weight Loss Management - Primary Weight Loss and Weight Regain

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Non-surgical weight loss management involves losing weight with diet, exercises, and without performing surgery. Read to know more.

Written by

Dr. Janani R S

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Atul Prakash

Published At April 13, 2023
Reviewed AtApril 19, 2023


Non-surgical weight loss is made with dieting and exercises for satisfactory results. Dieting involves cutting down carbohydrates, fat-rich foods, soda beverages, etc. Exercises include going to the gym and performing exercises on the treadmill, elliptical, abdomen exercises, etc.

What Is Non-surgical Weight Loss Management?

In non-surgical methods, the following techniques will be followed:

Dieting: Dieting is a method of restricting carbohydrate, sugar, and starch intake. And increase protein, whole grains, fats, and vegetables. It helps reduce weight and fat loss and improves overall health. There are different types of dieting. Each diet method is unique and is not suitable for everyone. People choose the suitable diet method and follow it for weight loss.

Mediterranean Diet: This diet is generally consumed by people in countries like Greece and Italy. The Mediterranean diet comprises,

  • Fruits and vegetables.

  • Nuts.

  • Fish.

  • Whole grains and lentils.

  • Olive oil.

  • Eggs and red meat are consumed minimally.

  • Foods like processed meat, trans-fat, processed food in containers, and refined grains are taken in limited amounts.

Benefits: Since this diet involves consuming limited processed foods and a high intake of plant-based foods, it aids in weight reduction and prevents the risk of chronic diseases.

Disadvantages: This diet does not comprise dairy products, so there are chances of calcium deficiency. So, including calcium and vitamin D is essential.

The Dash (Daily Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet: This diet is formulated to treat and prevent hypertension (high blood pressure) and is not a weight loss diet. However, reports have recorded that it causes weight loss.

In the DASH diet, different groups of foods are served, and the servings depend on the daily calorie intake of a person.

  • Five servings of fruits and vegetables.

  • Seven servings of healthy carbs, such as whole grains.

  • Two servings of dairy products, low fat.

  • Two servings of lean meat (beef, lamb, pork, etc.)

Benefits: This diet helps reduce blood pressure, heart disease risk, and breast and colon cancer.

Disadvantages: Since this diet is a sodium deficit, it is not advisable for everyone to follow this method. It can cause insulin resistance.

Plant-Based Diet: Vegetarian or vegan are popular plant-based diet programs that restrict consuming meat and animal products. Vegetarian diets include dairy products but do not include meat. In contrast, the vegan diet restricts meat and animal products, including dairy products.

  • Consuming proteins from plants.

  • Most of the time, consume fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.

  • Eating natural forms of food rather than processed foods.

  • Limiting sweets and sugary drinks and foods.

Disadvantage: It will be challenging to follow plant-based diets if one is switching from including meat in the food.

  • However, a flexitarian diet includes plant-based foods and allows the consumption of meats in moderate quantities.

Benefits: Plant-based foods decrease the risk of chronic diseases and improve metabolic activity. It is also beneficial for environmental and ethical reasons.

The MIND (Mediterranean-Dash Intervention) Diet: It comprises a combination of both the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet. This helps improve brain health and promotes weight loss.

  • The MIND diet does not follow a strict meal protocol but encourages taking ten particular foods.

    • Six servings of green leafy vegetables.

    • One serving of starch-free vegetables.

    • Five servings of nuts.

    • Berries and beans.

    • Whole grains.

    • Fish and poultry.

    • Olive oil.

Benefits: It reduces the risk of Alzheimer's disease and improves brain cognition.

Weight Watchers (WW): It is a very popular form of weight loss program.

  • This diet works on a points basis, where points are assigned to foods and beverages. The points are based on calories, fats, and fibers a person should take daily.

  • There is no food restriction, but the person should consume foods based on the points assigned for the day to reach the desired weight.

Benefits: It helps lose weight and helps maintain the lost weight.

Low Carbohydrate Diet: This diet encourages a low intake of carbohydrates and increases protein and fat intake. The keto diet (ketogenic) is an example of a low-carb diet.

  • This diet uses increased protein intake than a low-carbohydrate diet. Proteins can help cut appetite, preserve muscle mass, and raise metabolism.

The Ketogenic Diet: In the keto diet, the body uses fatty acids and converts them into ketones for energy. This process is called ketosis. And hence the name.

Benefits: Reduces the risk of heart disease and improves blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

Disadvantage: This method can increase LDL (low-density lipoprotein), causing bad cholesterol to rise. It can also cause digestive problems in some people.

Intermittent Fasting: Intermittent fasting alternates between intervals of eating and fasting. It has a 16/8 method, where calorie intake is restricted to eight hours per day.

  • Also, it includes a 5:2 method where 500-600 calories per day are restricted two times a week.

Benefits: This method restricts eating time and helps lose weight effectively.

  • It also improves brain health and anti-aging properties, increases insulin sensitivity, and reduces inflammation.

Disadvantage: Since this method has restricted eating time, this will cause the blood sugar levels to drop and is not advisable for diabetic patients. Also, pregnant females and people with low weight may develop some complications.

Exercise: Numerous exercise methods and equipment are available in the market. Exercise also includes walking, jogging, aerobics, and using machines like the treadmill, elliptical machine, etc. Regular exercise in any form for 30 to 45 minutes a day can help in weight loss.

What Are the Chances of Weight Regain After Non-surgical Weight Loss Management?

  • A few studies have shown that weight gain was reported after a few years.

  • At five years, the weight regain was observed to be above ten kilograms in about 39.5 percent of people.

Causes: The reasons may be due to the following:

  • Hormonal imbalances.

  • Metabolic activity disruption.

  • Non-adherent to dietary modifications.

  • Physical inactivity.

  • Mental health condition.

  • Gender.

  • High BMI (body mass index).

  • Presence of comorbid conditions like diabetes, hypertension, or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).


Non-surgical weight loss management helps people reduce weight with standard and manageable methods. It initially gives positive weight loss results by adhering to diet and lifestyle modifications like walking, yoga, or exercising. These methods cause significant weight loss, but there will also be weight regain if the routine is not followed. Weight regain results when a person is not sticking with a diet plan, not exercising regularly, is sedentary, mental health is affected, etc. So, following the recommended diet or exercise practice will help lose weight and prevent weight regain.

Dr. Atul Prakash
Dr. Atul Prakash

Orthopedician and Traumatology


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