ARE YOU LOOKING TO LOSE WEIGHT
FOR MOST OF US, a few extra pounds (or more) is the norm. According to national statistics, approximately two-thirds of the population is overweight, obese or morbidly obese. Quality of life for overweight people is often worsened by associated medical conditions such as diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure and/or cholesterol, heart disease, acid reflux, infertility and arthritis.
Most people will try multiple times to lose weight on their own before seeking help. The reality of the matter is that most people either won’t be able to lose weight, or if they do, they will gain the weight back, often with a few additional pounds, once the “magic” diet is over.
When people are ready to ask for help, where should they turn? Do you go to the nearby gym? Use a commercial diet? Go to visit your doctor or nutritionist to prescribe you a pill or “a low calorie” meal plan? Or, do you go to an established weight loss center? So how do you choose? The real question is not which is the right method, but which specialist will best coach you throughout this process regardless of the method.
My advice is that you choose a specialist who has the knowledge, the previous results to back it up and the compassion to stick with you for the long haul. Look for a specialist who will not only consider one area of the treatment process. Proper weight loss should be treated with:
Nutrition: Proper nutrition should be the first step in any weight loss program.
Exercise: No healthy lifestyle changes would be complete without an exercise program.
Behavioral Interventions: We all have particular eating behaviors and relationships with food we would like to change. I recommend a behavioral component in the weight loss journey to give you insight to change old patterns.
Ongoing Support: For many, maintaining weight loss can be more challenging than losing the weight initially. Having ongoing support is a critical component in maintaining weight loss.
For some, the above combination with the right specialist will lead to a life of healthy weight. For others, these items may need to be combined with a surgical weight loss tool.
Yannis Raftopoulos, MD, PhD, FACS, FASMBS, is the Director of the Holyoke Medical Center Weight Management Program and Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Connecticut. To learn about the Weight Management Program at Holyoke Medical Center, attend an upcoming information session, held monthly in English and Spanish. Visit www.HolyokeHealth.com/events or call 413.535.4757 to register.