When you are ready to start tackling your target weight, take the extra time to create the kind of plan that will support your success. You don’t have to tackle this goal alone; your primary care provider can be a valuable resource to help you realize your weight-loss goal.
Why Should I Talk to My Doctor About Weight-Loss?
The first and most important step before you make any significant dietary or fitness changes, is to talk to your doctor. You want to make sure that you are checking with your healthcare professional, to review your current health needs, and to address any concerns with tolerance for exercise or nutritional changes.
Your family physician or a nurse practitioner will start by assessing whether your current weight is at a healthy level or not. The most common measurement for clinical purposes is the Body Mass Index (BMI). However, some people with a normal BMI may still carry excess fat in the abdominal or chest area, where risk factors of certain diseases like diabetes and stroke are higher. And that is something that your medical care provider will address with you.
Do I Need to Get a Physical?
A diagnostic physical is a great place to start, which will provide you with a baseline of your current health condition. This may include blood tests, hypertension data (blood pressure monitoring) and an evaluation of preexisting health conditions, lifestyle inventory and hereditary factors, that help complete your personal health profile.
Once these assessments are done, your general practitioner will help you calculate a new weight goal and discuss steps and plan to help you get there, and may have some recommendations regarding daily nutritional supplements. They will either give the ‘all clear’ or have some suggestions and recommendations to make, to help you set the right weight-loss goal with some modified activities.
Other Supports and Resources That Doctors Can Provide
Many weight-loss experts agree that the optimal amount of weight-loss to target per week, should be no more than 1-2 pounds. This may sound discouraging at first, as you calculate how many weeks it may take to reach your target weight, but there are many reasons why this approach is best.
Clinical studies have shown that weight-loss that exceeds 2 lbs. per week does not target fat deposits. When the body is placed into a situation where exercise levels (or energy used) has increased, and the number of calories it receives have decreased, it has a number of physiological triggers that can work against your weight-loss efforts. There is a reason that they call it a ‘crash diet’, and it’s not because the number your bathroom scale comes crashing down. Losing more than the recommended amount of weight too quickly, can actually put you at risk for several health problems including:
During the first few weeks of your diet plan, you may find that you do drop more than the recommended 2 lbs. per week. That is perfectly normal, as your body will expel fluids, or what is referred to as ‘water weight’. It is important to focus on hydration with fresh water, to help your body flush toxins and remain healthy and hydrated. Avoid using high sodium or caffeinated drinks excessively as they can cause further dehydration.
Your physician may also recommend an app for your smartphone or provide an online health portal to help report and monitor your progress, and organize other checks such as hypertension, blood glucose, iron levels and other diagnostics. Schedule your regular check-up appointments to review your progress and use your physician as an ‘accountability partner’ to help encourage you to keep making positive healthy nutritional and lifestyle changes. Learn about weight management and aging.