Working With Your Doctor on a Big Lifestyle Improvement

Dr. Cindy Haines Health Guide
  • You've probably heard about a single treatment that can help protect you from a whole slate of diseases, from diabetes to osteoarthritis to heart disease and more. Your doctor can tell you how to make use of this fantastic approach, though many physicians don't talk about it with their patients all that often ... and many people get embarrassed or even offended if their doctors suggest it.

    The approach is weight loss.


    This is a conversation that many people should think about having. Nowadays one-third of adults ages 20 and older are overweight. Another 34 percent are obese, which means seriously overweight. That's a full two-thirds of American adults who are carrying around excess pounds. This extra weight is putting people at risk of chronic diseases that can lower the quality of their lives, drain their bank accounts to pay for medical care, then lead to an early death.

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    Your doctor can't magically make your extra weight go away. But your doctor's help can be useful in helping you trim down. Making an appointment to discuss your weight can help by:


    -Making you more accountable. It's easy to put off making big lifestyle changes, and losing weight is no exception. It's something you might feel like starting, oh, next week or sometime before swimsuit season. But if you think you need to lose weight for your health, visiting your doctor establishes a kickoff point you can't ignore. And once you bring your doctor on board, you now have someone who can help hold you accountable. It becomes harder to "forget" that you made a decision to lose weight if you have a follow-up appointment on the calendar.


    -Providing helpful information. Many people embark on their weight loss by hopping onto a fad diet or other lose-quick scheme. It's true that the typical doctor isn't a weight-loss expert, but your doctor can tell you whether your plan seems safe and effective. If you don't have a plan, your doctor can offer some basic steps and advice on how to successfully lose weight and keep it off. In some cases, your doctor may be able to prescribe or recommend medical treatments to help you reach your goals.


    -While you're at the appointment, ask your doctor the following questions:

    • What would be a healthy weight for me?
    • Do I have any medical conditions that would affect the types of exercise I can do or the types of food I should or should not eat?
    • How much weight should I try to lose each week?
    • What would be an ideal amount of calories for me to consume each day?
    • Would I benefit from weight-loss medication?
    • Would I be a candidate for weight-loss surgery?
    • Would I benefit from working with a personal trainer or dietitian? If so, could you recommend any names?
    • When might I start to notice improvements in any weight-related symptoms (such as blood pressure or blood sugar if they're too high)?
    • Can you recommend any tips or hints for staying motivated toward my weight loss goals?

    More tips can be found in my upcoming book, The New Prescription, available May 2011.



Published On: February 02, 2011