- Bray, G A et al, “Obesity: a chronic relapsing progressive disease process. A position statement of the World Obesity Federation” Obesity Reviews, 18: 715– 723. doi:10.1111/obr.12551.
- “Genes and obesity” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available: https://www.cdc.gov/genomics/resources/diseases/obesity/obesedit.htm
Let’s talk: 13 questions to ask your doctor about obesity
Too many people are trying to manage their weight on their own – but it does not have to be that way. Obesity is a chronic condition and managing it is a lifelong process.
Starting a conversation with your doctor or an allied healthcare provider can open up doors to treatments and therapies you might not have known about or otherwise considered.
1. I want to lose weight. How do you usually develop a treatment plan with your patients?
Put the conversation within the context of others to get a picture of how your doctor normally helps patients achieve their health goals. Be prepared for a conversation about your weight history and expectations for the future.
2. How much weight should I lose?
Your doctor should help you to identify meaningful and realistic goals that match your weight loss plan. To better prepare yourself, ask your healthcare team what you can expect throughout and at the end of your treatment.
3. Which other treatment options would you recommend to me, and why?
It can help to ask this question as your doctor will offer a number of different therapies, sometimes in combination. The goal is to select the treatments that best address the reasons for your weight gain, like your biology, psychology, and behavior.
4. Which treatment options can you recommend for me and why?
This is an important question because no single approach works for everyone. Your doctor will consider your circumstances, health conditions, and previous treatments to come up with the types of tests, evaluations, and treatments that fit your weight loss plan.
5. How frequently should I check-in to make sure I’m progressing with losing weight?
Your doctor will advise you on how often you should check in depending on your treatment plan. Your appointments are meant for support, keeping track of your progress, and adjusting treatment if necessary.
They may not always be with a doctor, as appointments with support staff are also extremely valuable and should not be overlooked.
6. How much will the treatment cost and will it be covered by my insurance or through a public health service?
The systems that cover medical costs for weight loss vary a lot between countries. To avoid an unpleasant surprise, it’s important to understand what your financial commitment will be from the start.
7. What happens if my weight loss treatment plan does not work?
Obesity is a complex chronic disease. You need to know that your doctor has more than one approach to help you succeed. In case your treatment plan does not meet your weight loss expectations, your doctor will adjust it for you.
8. Are you committed to helping me reach my weight loss goals?
It might seem like a very direct question, but it’s important that you feel you are in good hands. You need a doctor who will become a real partner on your journey, who stays in constant dialogue, and who shares the responsibility for your success.
9. What can I start doing today in order to reach my weight loss goals?
It is important to remember that reaching your weight loss goals will not happen overnight. But your doctor will help you to start your journey today. Some options include healthy eating and increased physical activity.
10. Are there challenges associated with my genetics or ethnicity?
Obesity can be connected to genetics, and it’s important to be aware of genetic factors that might affect your weight loss journey. Talk to your doctor to find out how you can refine your diet and lifestyle based on your own unique heritage, and reach your weight loss goals.
11. How long will it take me to reach my weight loss goals?
Your doctor will be able to provide you with an estimate on when you will reach your weight loss goals. The doctors estimate will most likely be based on various factor such as your weight loss expectations, your lifestyle, and any existing medical conditions.
12. Who else can help me with my weight management?
Ask your doctor for a referral to other professionals. Dieticians, psychologists, and exercise physiologists can all be helpful.
Aside from friends, family, and your professional healthcare team, there are plenty of local and online support groups for weight loss. Getting others involved in your journey is a great way to stay the course while exchanging experiences to keep motivated.
13. What are the biggest health benefits I can expect to get from losing weight?
To know and understand the health benefits of your weight loss plan will keep you motivated. The good news is even a modest weight loss of five percent or more can have a positive impact on your health.
Having a list of important questions (in hand) when visiting the doctor gives you a point of reference for addressing possible health concerns.
Bringing up the right questions with your doctor is just the start.
Remind yourself why you have decided to commit to a weight-loss treatment plan and work with your doctor towards your goals.
Every weight loss journey has obstacles and challenges. But you do not have to do it alone.
Asking your doctor these questions will help you set the sails. Start the journey by scheduling a visit with your doctor.
Download the list of 13 Questions to Ask Your Doctor