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Partner with your doctor and make a plan

Obesity is a complex disease but treating it does not have to be. Trained healthcare providers have the knowledge and tools to create a treatment plan that works for you.

You might have already started your weight management journey, but without making any major progress. Or you might be just starting out, but unsure about which direction to take. In either case, your next step should be finding a compassionate healthcare provider who has been trained in obesity management. Together, you can identify the causes of your obesity and roadblocks to its effective management.

It’s important that you understand what you have to do, so take some notes or bring along a friend or family member. And if you’re unsure about anything, don’t hesitate to ask for more information. You can also share ideas about how to improve your treatment, or discuss any concerns you might have.

Looking at the causes of obesity and setting your goals

Don’t be surprised if you are asked to talk about your weight history and what you have done to try to manage your weight before. Past and present health conditions are important to note, as well as any medications you are taking at the moment. You might also talk about your eating, sleeping, and mood patterns and how they have changed over time.

Based on your individual needs, the next step is to talk about treatment options that are relevant for your situation. There are a range of different scientifically-proven treatment options that you can access through your healthcare provider. For example, healthy eating and physical activity, behavioural therapy, anti-obesity medications and bariatric surgery. Your personalised weight management plan will include different treatments, depending on your particular situation.

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Goals that support your health and quality of life

When it comes to setting weight management goals, the good news is that even a modest weight loss of five percent or more can have a positive impact on your health.

"Good goals should motivate us to make lifestyle changes. It works best when the goals are realistic and sustainable, and when you can keep track of them."

-Rekha BK and Aronne LJ. Medical Evaluation of Patients with Obesity.

But goals are about more than a number on a scale. Good goals should motivate us to make lifestyle changes. It works best when the goals are realistic, sustainable, and when you can keep track of them. You and your doctor will agree together on how to measure the success of your specific plan.

Improving your health will be one type of goal. But there are many other goals that you can prepare for and discuss with your doctor. These might be:

  • Simply feeling better and having more energy
  • Playing sports with your kids
  • Rising easily from the floor
  • Decreasing or eliminating medications
  • Walking up the stairs without losing breath
  • And many more...

Remember that you are the expert when it comes to your life. So, you know best what makes you feel good and what motivates you. We are all different, and your doctor will appreciate it if you are open about your thoughts.

What to expect from your weight management journey

Like any journey, weight loss has its ups and downs. And for a journey to be successful you need to cross the hard parts and not give up. Thankfully, your doctor can help you to prepare for the difficult moments.

The weight plateau is one common but frustrating stage of the weight management journey. This is when your weight starts to stabilise after some time of weight loss. This weight plateau can feel discouraging, but it’s perfectly normal and part of most – if not all – successful and sustained weight loss efforts.

Your doctor is the key to finding a new route to overcoming difficult moments, such as the weight plateau. Depending on your weight management goals, they might choose to intensify your treatment, or simply maintain the weight loss you have achieved.

You don’t need to walk alone

Managing obesity is a lifelong process. For many, it is a lonely struggle that can seem rather hopeless. But it doesn’t have to be. More and more doctors understand the latest science behind obesity and have the necessary knowledge to treat it effectively.

Finding the right doctor to partner with can be the first step towards changing your path and improving your health and quality of life.

References
  • Rekha BK & Aronne LJ. Medical Evaluation of Patients with Obesity. In: Thomas A Wadden & George A Bray (eds.). Handbook of Obesity Treatment. New York: Guilford Press 2018; 243-252.
  • Tronieri JS & Wadden TA. Medical Evaluation of Patients with Obesity. In: Thomas A Wadden & George A Bray (eds.). Handbook of Obesity Treatment. New York: Guilford Press 2018; 243-252.
  • Hall KD & Kahan S. Maintenance of lost weight and long-term management of obesity. Medical Clinics of North America 2018; 102(1):183-197.

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