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July 30, 2018 | Family Medicine
Extra body fat can have a negative impact on your overall health, potentially putting you at risk for conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. For many people, weight loss is difficult to achieve alone. You may have considered a weight loss program but are unsure how to find the right one. The good news is there are many programs available out there. Some are in partnership with healthcare facilities and others are commercial ventures. Some provide face-to-face counseling, whether on a group or one-on-one basis, while others are available entirely online; still others may have a combination of one-on-one or face-to-face aspects.
The choices can be overwhelming, which is why it is never a bad idea to consult your family medicine provider when looking for a weight loss program. Your doctor may be able to recommend programs based on scientific methods that have demonstrated proven results.
It is important to consult with your doctor when looking for a weight loss program because, in some cases, patients become overweight due to other medical conditions or as a side effect of medication. If your weight gain is due to a medication, your doctor may adjust the dosage or prescribe something else, whereas if it is secondary to another medical condition, your doctor must first diagnose and treat the primary condition in order for a weight loss program to be effective.
Apart from other conditions and medications, there are other concerns related to weight loss that you should ask your doctor about:
Your family medicine provider may not be able to answer all these questions, but he or she can refer you to a specialist who will be able to give you more comprehensive information if needed.
Not all weight loss programs are alike, nor are they all healthy, safe or able to provide long-term results. That’s why it’s important to get recommendations from your doctor or a weight loss specialist before you invest in a program that may not work or may actually do you harm.
You should avoid programs that make improbable claims about quick weight loss solutions that let you eat what you want and don’t require exercise. These programs are usually scams. At best, they may not be effective, or will be effective for a only a short time; at worst, they may actually damage your health.
Weight loss programs that are safe and effective will emphasize goal-based weight loss at a slow, steady pace. While you may lose more weight at the beginning of a program, a reasonable long-term weight loss goal is no more than 1 to 2 pounds per week. The program should emphasize behavior and lifestyle modification, provide support and counseling, and include a plan for keeping off any weight that you lose during the program.
Weight loss programs that are scientifically based have the potential to bring about favorable results. However, your overall success in any particular program will depend partly on your compliance with the program and your level of commitment to it. Like so many other processes in life, you tend to get out of it what you put in.
Talk to your doctor for further recommendations.
“Choosing a Safe and Successful Weight Loss Program.” The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
“Trying to Lose Weight? 8 Questions to Ask Your Doctor.” WebMD.
The Live Better Team
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.