Many of us have had the experience of suddenly realizing we've gained weight without really noticing it. This is partly because we are surrounded by food wherever we go, and it's easy to develop eating habits that can lead to a gradual increase in weight.
The good news is that you're working to figure it out now. That's great! Here are some resources to help you create the habits that will lead to LASTING change. We also recommend talking to your physician about reaching a healthier weight. It may be that a medical treatment will really make a difference in helping you be successful.
Studies show that people who work with a healthcare professional for weight loss lose five times more weight than those who don’t. That’s why this report is designed to be shared with a physician and your healthcare team so you can have the most productive conversation with them, and leave the office with a personalized plan of action. Consider printing out this report and bringing it to your next appointment. Seeing your weight history, what your biggest challenges are, and the treatment options you’re interested in exploring will help them build the right plan for you.
If you’d like to find a physician who specializes in weight management near you, click here.
It sounds like you can point to the time when something in your life changed, and your weight began to increase. The question is, what do you do now? We suggest you consider speaking with your doctor about the treatments available to help you reach a healthier weight, including nutritional & behavioral changes and medications.
We're linking to several articles which provide tips on how to make sustainable changes that will lead to better health, and also an article about how your healthcare providers can help you on your weight-loss journey.
You've been struggling with your weight for a long time, and here's the thing - it's not your fault. There are biological mechanisms that cause this. When we lose weight, our brain thinks we're starving, and it slows down our metabolism and changes our hormones so we regain the weight.
The good news is that there are now medical treatments that can counterbalance this physiological response - here are several articles that explain more that you can discuss with your doctor. In addition to talking to your family doctor, you may also want to consider getting a referral to a physician who specializes in weight management. They can assess any underlying conditions, adjust medications if needed, and help you find the treatment that's right for you.
It sounds like you can point to the time when something in your life changed (an injury, going through menopause or starting a new medication), and you started to gain weight. The question is, what do you do now? In addition to making small changes for better health, we suggest you consider talking to your doctor about the medical treatments available that may make it easier to reach a healthier weight.
The good news is that there are now proven medical treatments that, in combination with a healthy lifestyle, can help people reach a healthier weight and achieve better health overall. Talking to your doctor about weight is the first step to a healthier life. Here are some resources for getting that conversation started:
Studies show that people who work with a healthcare professional for weight loss lose five times more weight than those who don’t. That’s why this report is designed to be shared with a physician and your healthcare team so you can have the most productive conversation with them, and leave the office with a personalized plan of action. Consider printing out this report and bringing it to your next appointment. Seeing your weight history, what your biggest challenges are, and the options you’re interested in exploring will help them build the right plan for you.
Many people have the experience of gaining weight despite working hard and trying every option available. If you’re not sure what’s driving your weight gain, there’s one important thing to know: it's not your fault. For many people living with obesity and excess weight, diet and exercise alone aren’t enough to reach a healthier weight.
The good news is that there are now safe and effective medical treatments that can address many of the biological drivers of weight gain. When speaking with your family doctor, you may want to ask for a referral to a physician who specializes in weight management. They can assess any underlying conditions, adjust medications if needed, and help you find the treatment that's right for you.
You identified as your biggest challenge(s) for reaching a healthier weight. Here are some suggestions for managing these obstacles:
Emotional eating is a challenge for many people - and it makes sense. Food is so often used as a reward, as a way to celebrate in our culture, and often, the only “sweetness” that people allow themselves in their lives.
There are two strategies that experts agree can help with managing emotional eating. One is to make sure you’re getting enough movement in your day. Physical activity can help people struggling with emotional eating for several reasons: being active can help us cope with stress without having to turn to food, it can improve our mood, and it can improve our sleep, which is also associated with lower stress and fewer cravings.
The second strategy is to use a food journal to track not only what you’re eating, but when you eat, and how you’re feeling when you eat. This can really help us identify patterns. For example, “Wow, I notice that I tend to emotionally eat at night after a hard day at work.” We can then think about how to address those issues with an alternative plan, for example – “When I’ve had a hard day at work, I’m going to make a plan to talk to a friend when I get home, or make sure I have another fun activity to look forward to.”
Asking ourselves whether we’re experiencing physical or emotional hunger can help, too… the article linked below, “Emotional Hunger Versus Physical Hunger”, includes a chart with several questions to ask yourself to understand which one you’re experiencing. Having alternative coping strategies for the times we’re experiencing emotional hunger (reading a magazine, waiting 15 minutes to see if the craving will pass, or going for a walk) can help us negotiate those moments.
We also suggest speaking with your physician about any difficulties you’re experiencing as they may be able to refer you to resources (such as a dietitian or a weight management specialist) that will help you address these challenges.
If you’d like to learn more about developing the skills that can help you manage emotional eating, here are some resources to explore:
It’s a reality that tempting food is everywhere… to the point that we can buy candy when checking out at the hardware store! That’s why learning how to “play defense” and make the healthy choice the easier choice is so important. Here are suggestions for managing cravings and avoiding uncontrolled eating:
1. Identify your high-risk times of day. When are you most prone to overeat? What are other things you could do during those times? For example, if you identify that in the evening after dinner is your biggest trigger time, you could develop another plan - perhaps, call a friend at 9 pm each night or listen to a podcast at that time to distract yourself.
2. Don’t keep tempting foods in the house. Out of sight, out of mind really does apply when it comes to trigger foods. This doesn’t mean those foods are forbidden, just that you try to eat them outside of the home so they’re not as distracting.
3. Practice mindfulness. Sitting down at a table and paying attention to what we’re eating without distractions can help us not only enjoy our food more, but pay close attention to our hunger and fullness cues. How often do we mindlessly eat a treat, only to look down, realize it’s gone and don’t really remember eating it? 🙂 Mindfulness can help with this!
If you’d like to learn more about managing tempting foods and challenging social situations:
Many of us lead busy lives, and it’s easy for self-care to slip down to the bottom of our to-do list. This is where some planning can make all the difference. Here are three suggestions that can help make incorporating healthy habits into your day easier:
1. Develop a daily routine that’s structured enough to help you prioritize things that matter, but flexible enough to feel that you can “go with the flow”. Trying to wake up and go to bed at the same time each day, and building in time to get some activity, are two priorities that are worth focusing on.
2. Meal planning at the beginning of each week, shopping based on your plan, and prepping whatever you can ahead of time is a great way to ensure that nutritious lunches and dinners are a reality! Knowing what you’re going to make in advance helps you avoid the 5pm “What am I going to make for dinner?” crunch that often leads to a less healthy choice.
3. Psychologist Dr. Michael Vallis has a fantastic suggestion for those days you just don’t want to go for a walk or get some exercise - tell yourself that you “just have to do five minutes.” If after five minutes, you want to quit, you can. The sneaky thing about this tip is that 99% of the time, once you’re five minutes in, you’ll keep going!
If you’d like to learn more about developing the skills that can help you prioritize taking care of yourself, here are some resources to explore:
Often, there are medical issues or conditions that can get in the way of our best efforts to reach a healthier weight. That’s why it’s critical to talk to your doctor about your weight loss goals, and work with them to identify what barriers stand in your way. It might be other medications you’re taking that are causing weight gain, or mobility issues that keep you from being active – whatever it is, your doctor will most likely have resources, referrals, or medical treatment options that can help you solve the problem.
Also, a small amount of weight loss can help lower our risk of complications and improve health overall. Losing just 5% of our body weight has been associated with lower blood pressure numbers and lower cholesterol levels.
If you’d like to learn more about addressing the medical issues that can stand in the way of reaching a healthier weight, here are some resources to explore:
Many of us have heard so much conflicting advice about what to eat that it’s hard to know where to start. Here’s the good news – there is no one BEST diet or eating approach. We have to find the one that works best for us, and that means choosing an eating style we can stick to for the long-term. For example, if you love bread, then choosing a super low-carb eating approach probably won’t work. 🙂
Regardless of the nutrition approach you follow, one of the most helpful guidelines we’ve heard from many dietitians is called the 80/20 approach. This means eating healthy, nutritious foods 80 - 90% of the time, and foods that we really love 10 - 20% of the time. Completely depriving ourselves of our favorite foods will always backfire in the long-run, and this approach allows us to enjoy celebrations, holidays, and birthdays, while still prioritizing our health.
If you’d like to learn more about finding a healthy eating pattern that you can stick with, here are some resources to explore:
You’ve never seen a physician who specializes in the medical treatment of weight, which means that you may not have been treated for obesity, a real medical condition. Despite what popular culture would have you believe, diet and exercise are NOT effective long-term treatments for obesity. There are, however, a growing number of non-surgical treatments that are both safe and effective. A physician who understands the biology of obesity and how it can be treated can help you develop a weight management plan that utilizes the right treatment for you. You can find a specialist near you here.
Doing some planning ahead of time can help you make the most out of your time with a doctor. We’ve listed some questions below that your doctor may ask you about your weight journey so that you can think about how you’ll answer them.
It’s also a good idea to think through the questions you’d like to ask your doctor and be ready to talk about the treatment options you’d like to explore.
Here are several statements you can use to bring up weight with your doctor… choose the one that feels right for you, and change it however you’d like to make it specific to your situation.
The science around excess weight and obesity is still emerging and evolving. Even though evidence around the medical management of weight is strong and treatments are effective, it is possible that some doctors have not come yet across the most up to date information and may not provide the most accurate information.
If you’ve brought up weight with your doctor, and have been told to “eat less and move more,” we suggest that you ask them about whether they’re familiar with the Canadian Adult Obesity Clinical Practice Guidelines that were released in 2020. A summary of them can be found here.
Two important key points from the guidelines:
If your doctor is unfamiliar with current management options for excess weight and obesity, you can suggest that they refer you to an obesity medicine specialist for further care. You can find an obesity management provider near you here.