by Melinda D. Maryniuk, MEd, RD, CDE
Many people out there are feeling frustrated with their progress managing their weight, feeling that their efforts and hard work aren’t leading to the results they were hoping for. As the medical community acknowledges that overweight and obesity are chronic medical conditions, we also recognize there are multiple treatment options that may need to be considered. For anyone feeling a little stuck, take a look at the following questions and see if it is time to explore some new directions.
Is my doctor providing the guidance and help I need?
Not all doctors, wonderful as they may be for most medical conditions, have the experience and training to manage individuals with overweight or obesity. If you’ve been talking with your doctor about your weight and feeling like you’re not making progress, perhaps it’s time to think about a different doctor. Talk with your physician about extending your healthcare team to include others, like a specialist in weight or a dietitian if needed. A psychologist with an expertise in obesity and eating behavior may also be helpful.
Is my eating plan the most effective it can be?
You might need a different approach to eating for a while to give yourself a jump-start if you’ve hit a plateau. Consider having a dietitian review your meal plan and trying something more structured. For example, have a high protein shake or bar (such as SlimFast® or Ensure®) to replace one or two meals a day for a few months.
Am I doing the right exercises?
Walking and other aerobic exercises is wonderful. However, research shows that adding resistance or strength training exercises to your routine helps reduce muscle loss. Muscle burns more calories…both during and after your workout.
Have I talked with my doctor about weight loss medicines?
There are several kinds of prescription medicines that are helpful when combined with lifestyle changes. If you’ve not talked with your doctor about them, it might be time for the conversation. In addition, if you have diabetes and are taking medicines for your blood sugar, ask your doctor if they could be making weight loss difficult. There may be other options available.
What about surgery?
Metabolic surgery – also known as bariatric surgery– may be the right option for you. There are several kinds of surgical procedures. The pros and cons of each need to be reviewed and discussed with your doctor.
In summary, keep in mind there are a variety of effective weight loss therapy approaches that may need to be explored to help you achieve your best weight. Just as you would not manage a condition like diabetes on your own, you need to have a good medical care team that recognizes excess weight as a serious, but treatable medical condition.
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