How to Get Help With Obesity

Being overweight is no fun, and it’s bad for your health. Thankfully, endocrinologists and doctors can help you. When you’re ready to speak with your doctor about starting a personalized weight loss program, here’s what you should keep in mind.

How an Endocrinologist Can Help

Endocrinologists are doctors who specialize in the endocrine system and everything related to it—primarily hormones and metabolism.

Overweight and obesity have much to do with the endocrine system and metabolism, so an endocrinologist can help by targeting the causes of your weight gain, recommending treatment options, prescribing medications, and predicting any complications that might arise as a result of overweight.

Starting and sticking with a weight loss program is a challenge, and your endocrinologist is an important ally and mentor on your journey to better health.

Causes of Obesity

Weight gain is more than just a problem of willpower and self control—it’s more complex than that.

Generally, obesity is a combination problem, resulting from eating too much, moving too little, and the individual’s personal genetics. As a rule, obesity happens when someone takes in more calories than they need, so the rest is simply stored as fat. However, different people gain weight more easily than others do—this is where genetics come into play.

In some cases, obesity can be the result of a hormonal imbalance. This can be the case with diseases like hypothyroidism and Cushing’s syndrome (although these are somewhat rare). Since endocrinologists deal with hormones directly, this is another good reason to see an endocrinologist about weight gain.

Additionally, certain medications can cause people to gain weight. These are usually medicines used to treat psychiatric illnesses, inflammatory conditions, neurological disorders, and diabetes. If you’re on medication for any of these diseases and you feel that it may be causing your weight gain, your doctor should be able to help you find new medication that doesn’t make you gain weight.

Why Obesity Can be a Problem

If you are overweight or obese, you’re at a higher risk for developing serious complications than people at a healthy weight are. You’re also at a higher risk of early death.

Some serious complications that are connected with obesity include heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, gallstones, gout, and several types of cancer.

Besides diminishing your quality of life and your lifespan, and setting you up for other complications to arise, being obese makes it much more difficult to be treated for other medical conditions. This increases your risk even more.

Possible Weight Loss Solutions

Unfortunately, as of this time, there isn’t any “quick fix” for weight loss. Even with the best weight loss programin the world, it will still take time and effort to see results.

That being said, there are many options open to people struggling to lose weight that can make the process easier, and more effective. Depending on the causes of weight gain and the advice of your doctor, you might benefit from medications for weight loss. Bariatric (weight loss) surgery may even be a viable option for you.

Besides talking with your doctor, the following are some practical steps you can take to begin losing weight.

  • Eat fewer foods that contain high amounts of sugar. Consuming sugar shouldn’t make up more than 10% of your total energy intake for one day.
  • Eat more vegetables, nuts, and whole grains. Fruits are healthy, but have these in moderate amounts, as they are usually high in sugar themselves.
  • Have three meals every day (and that includes breakfast).
  • Engage in 30 minutes of brisk activity daily (such as walking at a moderate pace).
  • Find additional ways to be more active physically—try making a routine of parking your car farther from entrances, or taking stairs instead of elevators.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Weight Loss

These are some good starter questions for talking with your doctor about weight loss.

  • Are medications or surgery for weight loss possible options for me?
  • Which weight loss treatments will likely work best for me?
  • What possible risks and benefits exist for each treatment option available to me?
  • How much total weight should I try to lose?
  • How much weight should I be losing per week?
  • How will I personally benefit from losing weight?

Conclusion

By starting now, seeking the best solutions and support system, and staying consistent with your weight loss program, you’ll find losing weight to be a very manageable challenge.

Philip Rabito, MD

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