By Melinda Maryniuk, MEd, RD, CDCES
Many people out there feel frustrated with their progress managing their weight, feeling that their efforts & hard work aren’t leading to the results they were hoping for. The medical community now recognizes that obesity is a chronic medical condition, and that there are multiple treatment options that may need to be considered.
For many people with obesity, diet and exercise alone are not enough to help them reach a healthier weight. Other treatments need to be explored, ideally with a physician who specializes in weight management. 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 & 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. Ask your doctor about a referral to a physician who specializes in obesity treatment. 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 may want to consider having a dietitian review your meal plan and assess where things can be adjusted. You can also talk to the dietitian about whether trying something more structured might be a good approach. (For example, having a high protein shake or bar to replace one meal a day for a period of time.) With the right medical supervision, this can be a helpful option for many people.
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 over time.
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 approaches that may need to be explored to help you achieve your best weight. Just as you would not manage a condition like hypertension on your own, you need to have a good medical care team that recognizes obesity as a medical condition supporting you.
Diet and exercise alone aren’t enough to help many people reach a healthier weight. Medical treatments are needed to address the biological changes happening in our bodies that can drive weight regain. To find a physician near you who specializes in weight management, click here.
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