Medical Weight Loss: What is it and Why Does it Work?
More than one in three adults in the United States are considered to have medical obesity. Having a higher weight can increase the risk of a variety of health problems, leading to an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and depression.
Being overweight can reduce one’s quality of life, and one study found that obesity can also shorten one’s lifespan by as much as fourteen years.
Understanding how to lose weight can seem daunting, but collaborating with a doctor on a medical weight loss plan can provide an ideal way to lose weight.
What is Medical Weight Loss?
Medical weight loss is the process of losing weight with the help and guidance of a healthcare professional, typically a doctor.
The doctor uses their knowledge and medical experience to help the individual attempting to lose weight to create a realistic plan that meets their unique circumstances.
Doctors can also help you find and keep the weight loss motivation that you need to succeed.
There are three main components to medical weight loss – the initial consultation, behavior changes and weight loss medications.
1. Initial Consultation
The doctor will meet with you to learn more about you and your goals.
During this initial consultation, the doctor will discuss your ideal weight and work with you to create a plan that will help you to meet your goals, while also working with your lifestyle.
This initial consultation will provide you with the opportunity to get to know your doctor and provide the doctor with the information necessary to help you.
2. Behavior Modification
Changing behaviors is the best way to lose weight. Essentially, extra weight is stored energy that the body is saving as fat tissue.
Weight is gained when there is more energy being taken in through food than is being expended through activity.
Weight is lost when more energy is used during activity than is taken in through food.
The key behaviors that influence weight loss are eating foods that are lower in energy and having a higher level of activity.
Energy in food is typically measured in calories.
During a medical weight loss treatment, your doctor will create a diet plan for weight loss that includes foods lower in calories.
Calories from different sources will also affect how you gain or lose weight, and your doctor will be able to walk you through some of the different diets that are used for weight loss, such high protein diets, low carbohydrate diets, and intermittent fasting.
Your doctor will help recommend a healthy diet plan that includes foods that promote weight loss and eating schedules that help your body to burn more of the energy that you get through eating.
Exercise is very important when losing weight. Extra activity helps your body to burn the energy that it is storing as fat and helps your body to more effectively use energy from the food that you eat.
Your doctor can recommend various workouts to lose weight and find weight loss exercises that best work with your desired lifestyle.
Behavioral changes are most effective when they are individualized to meet your unique lifestyle and personality. By following a medical weight loss plan created by your doctor that incorporates exercise and healthy foods to lose weight, you will have a plan that is optimized for your specific lifestyle and needs.
3. Weight Loss Medications
Weight loss medication may be prescribed by your doctor to help complement the weight loss diet or exercises that he or she recommends.
Weight loss medications can help your body to burn extra energy; however, there are some potential negative side effects that can be caused by these medications.
Because of these side effects, these medications will typically be used to complement other weight loss behaviors and will not be the only method of weight loss used.
Your doctor will monitor you carefully if you are using these medications to ensure you are healthy while taking them.
Why Does it Work?
Medical weight loss is a very effective way of losing weight for several reasons.
Having a trained physician create a weight loss plan and monitor your progress provides a unique, individualized weight loss program that is specific to your needs.
Focused on the Individual
Having a plan that is personalized to help fit your unique goals, lifestyle, and personal preferences helps the plan to be more successful.
Not only is it easier to implement a personalized plan, but it is also much easier to stay on the plan than it is to adhere to a one-size-fits-all diet or weight loss program.
Managed by a Doctor
Medical weight loss plans are unique in that they are designed and monitored by a licensed physician.
Doctors typically have 11 to 18 years of education and will be far more knowledgeable about the topic of weight loss than any fitness professional or wellness coach.
They will also be able to help identify and treat medical barriers that may prevent you from losing weight as well as you could.
Support Throughout the Process
Some weight loss plans have health coaches that will help hold people accountable, but the individualized attention of an experienced physician provides an outstanding benefit that other weight loss programs cannot match.
Having the personalized support that a doctor offers makes medical weight loss programs an invaluable method for achieving a healthy weight.
Is It Worth It?
Losing weight may seem daunting, initially. With so many weight loss programs and fad diets making extraordinary claims, it can be difficult to know what the best option is.
By trusting the education and knowledge of a doctor and pursuing a medical weight loss program, you can rest knowing that you are receiving professional, individualized care and a plan that is tailored to your unique needs.
Following a medical weight loss program set by your doctor will provide you with the best opportunity to lose weight and achieve the healthy lifestyle you desire.