Author: Richa Mittal, MD
When someone is looking for a weight loss program, how do they find the right program?
Why would they seek out a medical weight loss doctor?
How is a medical weight loss program different? Let’s take a look.
A comprehensive, effective medical weight loss program should offer the following:
- Safety: You need to know that recommendations for diet and medications will be overseen by on-site medical staff that will ensure proper screening, ongoing monitoring and use of FDA-approved medications. If herbal supplements are recommended, they need to ensure they do not interfere with existing prescription medications. It is also important to be screened for nutritional deficiencies and monitored accordingly. Often, while losing weight, people have issues with low blood sugar, low blood pressure or other complications that require medical care.
- Proper medical screening: A complete medical evaluation by a doctor certified in Obesity Medicine ensures that you will not only be screened for medical conditions that could be contributing to weight gain, but also evaluated for conditions worsened by excess weight. Often, evaluation with comprehensive labs can reveal problems with metabolism, signs of insulin resistance, thyroid dysfunction and signs of increased cholesterol and inflammation, which can all lead to an increased risk for heart disease and other health problems. If you require referrals to other specialists to assist in your care, those referrals would be made.
- Proper use of medications & treatment of medical conditions: In our practice, we are well-versed in the treatment of medical conditions that go along with overweight/obesity. Often, adjustments of medications for type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure is required. We are able to make these adjustments as you lose weight and communicate with your primary care doctor about these changes. We also review your chronic medications to ensure they are not contributing to weight gain as this is often the case! Last, we partner with your doctors to ensure your whole care team is working together.
- No fad diets: Nutrition recommendations should be based on the most recent science-based information, need to be sustainable and reasonable to continue long-term. Even if using meal replacements in the short term, you will have to learn how to eat to maintain your weight loss in the long term.
- A complete plan: You are a whole person. If you are treated and coached with the goal of optimizing all the pillars of health: sleep, stress, nutrition, medical conditions, and behaviors, you are more likely to be successful. You are also more likely to have learned new habits and skills to keep the weight off! Often, if the reasons for why people turn to food are not addressed, it is easy to fall back into old habits and patterns of eating.
- Practical, sustainable solutions: Yes, you can do anything for a month or two and “lose 20 lbs in one month” but then what? How do you know if that is going to be sustainable? How many times have you been told to change your lifestyle and actually received practical advice on what to eat, cook or shop for in the long term? This piece is essential to a successful, lasting lifestyle change.
- A plan for weight regain: People who struggle with weight are all too familiar with the phenomenon of weight regain. It happens. It is not always your fault. It needs to be addressed and a plan needs to be in place as you approach your goal. In our practice, we help our patients not only plan how they will eat, but we also discuss whether long-term medication to maintain weight loss is appropriate. A transition and maintenance plan ensures proper follow up and treatment if regain start to occur.
- Support and accountability: Last but not least, a comprehensive program offers this crucial piece. When making a lifestyle change, it takes time to develop new habits. Having someone to support you and keep you accountable makes a big difference.
Have you searched for a medical weight loss program in your area? We are able to offer our services to patients in Frisco, Plano, McKinney, Allen and surrounding areas in the DFW metroplex. After the initial visit, we can even offer our program via telemedicine. If you would like to learn more about what we can do for you, we offer a free 30 minute informational consultation. Schedule your free consult today!