Medical Weight Loss
One out of three Americans is obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with millions of individuals reaching “clinically severe” obesity. For many individuals, attempts to diet or exercise fail to result in sustained weight loss. In response to the needs of these individuals, medical professionals have developed medical weight loss protocols to help overweight people lose weight.
What Is Medical Weight Loss?
With medical weight loss, you’re not on your own in a struggle to diet or exercise. Instead, a team of medical experts assesses your physical fitness, diet, and everyday routine to help you make healthy changes. These efforts are led by a bariatrician, or weight loss doctor, who has been trained to help overweight individuals improve their health.
Medical weight loss often includes nutrition counseling, low-calorie diets, meal replacements, and specialized fitness training. All of the activities in a medical weight loss program are geared toward people who are significantly overweight and may have struggled with weight for years. In some cases, your physician may also recommend appetite suppressant medications or special injections to stimulate fat burning.
Who Is an Appropriate Candidate for Medical Weight Loss?
Medical weight loss is an appropriate choice for anyone struggling to control his or her weight who wants a scientifically validated, physician-supervised method of weight loss. Unlike fad diets or dietary supplements, medical weight loss has been demonstrated to be an effective method of weight control for obese individuals. Furthermore, losing weight through a medical weight loss program can help with a variety of medical conditions. Weight loss frequently reduces the risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, stroke, depression, and gallstones.
Limitations of Medical Weight Loss
Medical weight loss programs are overseen by medical doctors and other health professionals with extensive experience treating obesity. Each program is tailored to your individual needs, resulting in a customized experience that maximizes the likelihood that you will lose weight and keep it off.
While the long-term results of medical weight loss are better than commercial diets and do-it-yourself programs, keeping weight off for an extended period proves to be difficult for most people. Extensive behavior modification is required to relearn not only eating behaviors but also many everyday behaviors that often involve food such as coping with stress and dealing with other people. Making these changes while dealing with restricted calorie diets is challenging.
The behavior change that is required for medical weight loss programs are usually the same as needed for long term-success with a surgical weight loss program such as lap band surgery. The advantage of surgical weight loss is that the issues of hunger and controlling portions is taken care of using a surgical procedure allowing the patient to focus on success behaviors. In this way the surgery becomes a tool that assists the patient to make positive change and proves to be more successful for long-term weight maintenance than medical weight loss.