When it comes to losing weight, there are some first steps that everyone should try. There are also some weight loss methods that I don’t recommend, either because they don’t work or because they aren’t healthy.
We’ll also discuss when it’s time to get some expert/medical help with weight loss, such as from Deaconess Weight Loss Solutions.
Weight loss and health tips for anyone
There are some important techniques that everyone should use when attempting to lose weight. These general recommendations can not only help with weight loss, but will also improve overall health and well-being.
- Cutting way back on foods and drinks that are strongly linked to weight problems. Such as sweetened soda, sweet tea, candy, pastries, fried foods, alcohol, etc. They’re calorie dense and low in nutrition.
- Portion control. Most of us have been conditioned to eat more than we should of any particular food. And a lot of us were raised as part of the “Clean Plate Club”—we were taught not to waste food and to eat everything put in front of us. Learning proper portion sizes and learning to measure food can make a big difference. (As a sidebar, switching to a smaller plate [such as a 9” salad plate instead of a 12” dinner plate] can help trick your brain into being satisfied with smaller quantities of food.)
- Increase your activity and start moving. Guidelines recommend 150 minutes of moderate activity (such as brisk walking) each week. That’s about a half hour most days.
- Keep a food journal or track your food in an app. Logging every bite or sip of a drink with calories in it can help you track what you really eat. Sometimes that piece of chocolate after lunch, or a few bites off your kids’ plates, can really add up to more calories than you think you’re eating. An app we consistently recommend is MyFitnessPal.
Most Americans significantly underestimate how much they eat and overestimate how much they move. So keeping track of these numbers realistically can make a big difference.
What if those changes aren’t enough?
If after implementing all of these steps, and not seeing progress over a couple of months, it’s time to see your doctor. Your PCP is your partner in health, and he or she will be glad to help you along this journey. Your doctor may want to do a thorough examination. This could include some lab work, to rule out medical reasons for weight gain, such as a thyroid problems, obstructive sleep apnea or medication side effects.
Some doctors feel comfortable discussing nutrition, activity, and even medications for weight loss. Some of these medications are weight loss suppressants; other medications address weight loss in new and varied ways (medications are discussed below).
Other doctors prefer to refer to our clinic, where we have experts specializing in weight loss. We offer surgical weight loss options, but we also offer medical weight loss programming for those individuals who don’t want to have surgery.
How medical weight loss programs can help
Medical weight loss programs, such as those offered at Deaconess Weight Loss Solutions (DWLS), offer a variety of options. Our comprehensive programs ensure the safest and most successful experience for every patient. Our dietitians, exercise specialists, nurse practitioner and physician specialize in weight loss and provide the care and support necessary for success.
Some insurance plans cover this program. Coverage is usually related to a health condition related to excess weight, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.
Our non-surgical weight loss program includes the following components:
- Monthly visits, meeting with me (Tammy, nurse practitioner), and the exercise specialists/dietitians.
- We have a weight loss support group that meets here twice per month.
- Nutrition classes are available in person and online.
- Medication when appropriate, but our focus is on nutrition and activity.
This is why our program is focused on teaching more about nutrition overall, such as an understanding of carbs, protein and fats and how they affect metabolism and fat storage. We also teach about the best sources of nutrition, appropriate portion control and related education that results in gradual weight loss that stays off.
Note: Many weight loss medications aren’t currently covered by insurance. However, there are medications available that help people lose weight. This happens through reducing nutrient/fat absorption, reducing appetite (affects the gut and/or the brain), or slowing digestion to help you feel full. Medication has its place, but we really focus on lifestyle changes for long term success.
Weight loss techniques we don’t recommend
These are methods that have been around for a while or keep resurfacing. We don’t recommend them because they either don’t work or can cause health problems.
- The juicing trend. While juice may be full of vitamins, it’s also often high in sugars (even natural ones) and can raise your blood sugar quickly, leaving you hungry soon after. You’re better off eating an orange that has fiber content than drinking orange juice.
- Over-the-counter diet pills or supplements can have side effects, including jitters, difficulty sleeping, heart palpitations, sweating, upset stomach/nausea, etc.
- Prepackaged and/or frozen meals, while lower in calories, may be high in sodium, and are very processed, leaving you feeling hungry soon. High blood pressure and swelling can occur.
- Powders that add high quantities of protein can be hard on your kidneys, especially if you already have early stages of kidney disease or high blood pressure.
- Many of the meal replacement programs, such as shakes and bars, may help you lose weight quickly, but don’t help you make permanent change, and then weight is easily regained. Also, while some have balanced nutrition, most do not.
If you’d like to learn more about both non-surgical and surgical weight loss programs offered here at Deaconess Weight Loss Solutions, we invite you to attend a free informational session. We offer them twice each month, one at lunchtime and another in the evening.
For more information, visit the Deaconess Weight Loss Solutions.