Five questions for successful weight loss

The American Society of Bariatric Physicians (ASBP) works with physicians so they’re better prepared to deal with society’s obesity epidemic. Even though people focus on weight loss more in January than any other month, successful weight loss is a year-round long-term initiative that goes far beyond just diet and exercise. The ASBP has highlighted five questions everyone who needs to lose weight should ask their physician.

“Obesity is a medical condition, and it should be treated as such.”

1. Do I have other conditions that may be keeping me from losing weight?

It is important when you begin any weight loss program that you visit with a bariatric physician who can identify any weight-related conditions that can slow or stop successful weight loss. A bariatric physician will do a complete medical work-up to assess your overall health and metabolic state.

2. Do I have hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the body lacks sufficient thyroid hormone. Since the main purpose of thyroid hormone is to "run the body's metabolism," it is understandable that people with this condition usually have a slow metabolism and thus, difficulty losing weight. A bariatric physician can identify a thyroid problem and provide a treatment plan that addresses hormonal and metabolic problems.

3. How are my Vitamin D levels?

Vitamin D levels are almost always low in patients who are overweight. Low Vitamin D levels can cause fatigue, muscle pain, bone pain and an overall feeling of lethargy, making it hard to lose weight.

4. Am I insulin resistant?

Insulin resistance turns off fullness signals to the brain. Typically, the heavier a person is, the more insulin resistant they may be, making them feel less full, causing them to continue to overeat. It is a complex condition that can be treated with the use of medications, exercise and dietary changes. Once it is treated, patients can feel more satiated, leading to more effective weight loss.

5. Am I ready for exercise?

This question may seem obvious, but exercise can be dangerous cardiovascularly in patients who are severely overweight. The heavier a person is, the more prone they are to injury. Often, it makes more sense medically for a patient to lose weight first and implement an exercise program when it is safe to do so, using exercise to maintain weight.

According to Dr. Wendy Scinta, a board certified family physician, a board certified Diplomate of the American Board of Bariatric Medicine (ABBM) and a member of the Board of Trustees of the ASBP, there is a skill set to managing obesity.

“If it were as simple as just eating less, we wouldn’t have an obesity epidemic in this country,” said Dr. Scinta. “Obesity is a medical condition, and it should be treated as such.”

Physician supervision is necessary to detect and treat weight-related medical conditions. A program supervised by a physician who is a member of the ASBP and who has completed specialized training in bariatric medicine, offers a comprehensive and effective approach to maximizing overall health and reversing co-morbidities.

Source: American Society of Bariatric Physicians

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