Beyond the Scale: Redefining Obesity Treatment with Dr. Shauna Levy

Disclosure :: This post is sponsored by Tulane Bariatric Center. 

Beyond the Scale: Redefining Obesity Treatment with Dr. Shauna Levy

Dr. Shauna Levy is a woman on a mission: to reeducate the world on obesity. As we observe World Obesity Day, we wanted to chat with Dr. Levy about some of the myths surrounding obesity and celebrate local mom Amy’s transformational weight-loss journey. 

“One of the most common misconceptions about obesity is that diet, exercise, and willpower are all you need to lose weight and keep it off.  This is why we see so many fad diets being offered and why so many people, especially moms, feel shame when they cannot keep weight off,” says Dr. Levy. She explains that weight loss is complicated and is influenced by different factors, including genetics, gender, hormones, and more.

AMY: “I wasn’t always overweight. I started to gain weight my freshman year of college. I tried everything from diet pills to paid meal plans. I would lose weight, but I always gained it back, and it was a cycle that I just got tired of.” 

“Research indicates that strict diet and exercise programs lead to about 4% total body weight loss long-term. Obesity is a hormonally driven disease; when people try to lose weight on their own, the body literally fights against them by increasing hunger hormones and slowing down metabolism,” explains Dr. Levy.  She goes on to say, “You should not feel bad if you need treatment to lose weight just like you would not feel bad if you needed medicine to control your blood pressure or surgery to treat your cancer.”

People can consider obesity treatments if they have around 30 pounds or more to lose. “Obesity is best treated when we use a combination of diet and exercise plus medication, surgery, or both,” says Dr. Levy. “One of the ways anti-obesity medications like Wegovy and Zepbound and weight loss surgery such as the sleeve gastrectomy or gastric bypass work is by reducing the hunger hormones in our body.  These treatments are excellent tools to help us succeed in our weight loss journeys.”

AMY: “Six years ago, I had a girlfriend who did bariatric surgery, and at the time, I thought, I’m not ready to do that. I don’t want to take the easy way out. Two years later, I had three more friends who had done it, and just hearing their stories and seeing their success, I said, you know what? I’m doing it- I’m tired of being overweight. That is when I made the decision to see Dr. Levy” [and get weight loss surgery]. 

“Everyone deserves to feel comfortable in their own skin and live a long life. Treating obesity is about more than changing your appearance. It’s about getting on the floor to play with your kids, going on walks with your partner without feeling short of breath, and riding rollercoasters.”  Dr Levy says, “It is also about treating weight-related conditions such as diabetes, acid reflux, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea.”

AMY: “After losing 113 pounds, I did have more energy, and I felt like I was more active with my kids. But the biggest takeaway for me was, hands down, my patience level. I had been active even when I was overweight, but my patience with my kids was lower because I was struggling internally. After losing the weight, my patience level went back up because I was happier with myself.

Beyond the Scale: Redefining Obesity Treatment with Dr. Shauna LevyDr. Levy explains, “There are many misunderstandings not only about obesity but also about its treatments.  Many people believe that weight loss surgery is invasive and dangerous. It is actually done through small incisions, performed in less than 2 hours, and it is safer than a hysterectomy.  It is hard to know what to believe when it comes to weight loss. This is why it is so essential to work with a team that can provide all weight loss options, like the Tulane Bariatric Center.” 

AMY: “From the first day I went in, they just welcomed me and were all so nice. Dr. Levy is so personable, and you can tell she cares about every single one of her patients. Bariatric surgery really, truly is not the easy way out, and you can’t go in with a mind frame that this is going to be a one-shot thing because it truly is a lifestyle change. You have to change your habits. You have to follow the book. Dr. Levy and the Tulane team definitely provide a lot of support to help you be successful in this. They are there on hand for you.”

According to Dr. Levy, we shouldn’t put it off. “Moms juggle so much, from caring for children to managing household tasks and pursuing careers, that we sometimes forget to put our health first. As a mom myself, the number one thing I want other mothers to take away from this is that there is never shame in making your health a priority. Obesity is a serious disease, and it’s time we start recognizing and treating it as such. The sooner we treat it, the better the outcomes.” – Dr. Levy.

For more information, call the Tulane Bariatric Center at 504-988-BARI (2274) or visit

Losing Weight in New Orleans
This bench holds special significance as it is the bench that patients sign when they hit their goal weight.

Shauna Levy, MD, MS, FACS, FASMBS, DABOM is an Assistant Professor of Surgery who Shauna Levy, MDstarted as full-time faculty at Tulane University Medical Center in October 2017. Dr. Levy is double board certified in General Surgery and Obesity medicine. She is fellowship trained in minimally invasive surgery with an emphasis on Foregut and Bariatric surgery. She is also the Medical Director of Tulane’s Bariatric and Weight Loss Center.

Dr. Levy has always been interested in fitness, weight loss and nutrition; she is very passionate about helping patients treat the disease of obesity.  She works closely with patients to determine the best treatment for disease including medication, surgery or both. She specializes in anti-obesity medications as well as surgical weight loss treatments including vertical sleeve gastrectomy, roux en y gastric bypass and duodenal switch. This clinic can also help patients who have gained weight back after bariatric surgery. Dr. Levy works with each patient to help them achieve long term weight loss.



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