Medically Supervised Weight Loss
Patients who are motivated to lose weight can often achieve excellent weight loss results without surgery when properly instructed and cared for. A medically supervised weight loss program generally consists of changes in diet, physical activity levels and behavioral therapy. Treatment involves a two-step process of assessment and management. Assessment includes determining a patient’s degree of obesity and overall health status. Management involves weight-loss, maintenance of body weight and measures to control other risk factors.
There are a number of tools which our doctors use to assist patients in their goal of health improvement through weight loss:
- Individual coaching on lifestyle improvements and self-monitoring of diet, nutrition and exercise
- Targeted use of appetite-suppressing medications
- Strategic use of meal replacements
Who can be helped by medically supervised weight loss?
Any person of any age who has extra body fat to lose may work with a physician to help with weight loss. Weight loss medication is not always appropriate, depending on age and amount of weight needing to be lost. The decision to use medication is individualized to each patient. Medically supervised weight loss can be especially helpful to people with chronic health conditions (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, asthma, heartburn/GERD, heart disease, depression and anxiety). Often, many of these problems are substantially improved or may go away completely with adequate weight loss.
Who can help manage weight loss?
Talking to your primary care provider is a great first step in establishing an effective weight management program. Some physicians, known as bariatricians, have received special training and are licensed in the medical treatment of overweight and obesity and its associated conditions. Bariatricians work with each patient to develop a comprehensive program of diet and nutrition, exercise, lifestyle changes and, when appropriate, the prescription of appetite suppressants and other medications. (The word bariatric stems from the Greek word barros, which translates as heavy or large.)
How much weight can I expect to lose and how long will it take?
This depends upon your goal. People are individuals who respond at different rates to treatment. The doctor works with each weight loss patient regularly on an individual basis to make sure they are meeting their goals.