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Dr. Shantanu Gaur

Founder and CEO, Allurion

Losing weight — and then keeping it off — requires a change in behaviour that can be hard to achieve. That’s why getting support from healthcare professionals is so crucial.


“Weight loss is a difficult journey,” admits Shantanu Gaur. “It’s a battle against our underlying biology and our increasingly sedentary lifestyles. So, it doesn’t matter what action we take to lose weight. If we don’t change our underlying behaviour, any weight we lose in the short-term will just come back.”

Gaur — Founder and CEO of weight loss company Allurion — has created a weight loss programme involving an intragastric balloon which patients swallow in capsule form. This inflates in the stomach to the size of a grapefruit and is designed to curb hunger and prevent overeating. Figures suggest that 10–15 kg (1.5–2.3 stone) can be lost within 16 weeks, and 25–30kg (3.9-4.7 stone) can be lost if a second capsule-delivered balloon is used. After four months, the balloon dissolves naturally.

Clinical expertise to support patients on the weight loss journey

As effective as this solution can be, Gaur admits that it’s only half of the answer. The other half is clinical support — and lots of it. It’s why people on the programme also have access to a behaviour change programme and a team of healthcare professionals including physicians, nutritionists, sleep experts, fitness coaches and psychologists. Together, they help patients make that all-important lifestyle/mindset change so that when the weight comes off, it stays off.

“Different experts fight weight loss on different fronts,” explains Gaur. “For example, a psychologist can help patients examine their relationship with food, while a nutritionist will improve their diet. A sleep expert can advise them on getting a good night’s rest, so they have the energy they need to make a lasting lifestyle change. We combine this expertise with a comprehensive behaviour change programme.”

Lack of support has plagued the weight loss space.

Gaur’s message is: if you try to achieve weight loss on your own, you could end up being disappointed. “Trying and failing to lose weight can be an isolating and defeating experience that minimises motivation,” he says.

“That can lead to the loneliness and dissatisfaction that those trying to lose weight often feel. There are all manners of weight loss devices, drugs and surgical approaches available but, ultimately, they leave the patient on their own. Lack of support has plagued the weight loss space, actually. The fact is that, alongside safe and rapid weight loss techniques, people also need to feel heard, understood and guided. That requires a cohesive programme and healthcare professionals who can help turbocharge behaviour change.”

Personalised programmes can be a weight loss game-changer

Everyone’s weight loss journey is different. To be really effective, any programme should also be tailored to an individual’s personal needs.

Gaur’s solution uses AI and machine learning to monitor patients, study their data, predict outcomes and identify those who need a correction course to get them back on track. This cutting-edge technology allows the solution to scale while still being personalised and has revolutionised the way weight loss is delivered; and, Gaur says, in the future, it could even be deployed to flag a potential issue and help prevent people from gaining weight in the first place. “Personalised weight loss programmes are a game-changer,” he says.

“Unlike cookie-cutter approaches, they provide individualised support and strategies that account for the unique needs and challenges of each person. Take exercise, for example. Some people might prefer to take up long-distance running. Others might prefer swimming. Others might simply prefer to get the most from walking. But that’s the beauty of a personalised programme. It can increase your motivation, help you shift towards healthier habits that work for you and, ultimately, increase your chances of weight loss success.”

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