It sounds like a dream. After a 15-minute, non-surgical procedure at a doctor's office, you start losing weight--A LOT of weight. You keep losing it for six months, while at the same time getting coached by nutritionists on how to keep the pounds off.
Well, the dream is actually a reality, thanks to a bariatric procedure known as a gastric balloon. The procedure is pretty simple: A doctor sedates you, and then inserts a small balloon in your stomach by threading an endoscope (a long, flexible tube with a camera attached) through your mouth. The physician fills the balloon with saline, and then you're done--in less time than it takes to run a load of laundry.
With the balloon in your stomach, you always feel full, which prevents you from over-eating. The balloon slowly deflates over six months, which gives you enough time to train yourself to eat smaller portions.
People who've had the weight-loss procedure swear by it. Virginia Trice (pictured below) has lost over 70 pounds; others have shed between 20 and 70 pounds. "I have literally been on a diet since I was 13 years old," Trice told People magazine. "I've tried every fad diet out there but I've never been able to keep weight off until now."
But it's not for everyone--to qualify you have to have a body-mass index of 30 to 40 (so someone who is obese, not overweight). The other catch is the cost, anywhere from $7,500 to $10,000, which isn't covered by insurance. ReShape, one of the manufacturers of the gastric balloon, does offer payment plans, however. (The other company, Orbera, may also.)