There's an obesity epidemic raging in North America, and it's probably a rare individual who has never looked in a mirror and wondered, “Am I obese?” Although your weight certainly matters in defining obesity, there are other considerations as well. For example, if you have a family history of heart disease or diabetes, being overweight increases your risk of developing those conditions. Being obese ups the risk even more.
The good news is that medical weight loss can help you stop counting calories and become healthy by losing weight.
What Is Medical Weight Loss?
Medical weight loss is a weight loss regime that is carefully supervised by a medical professional like a doctor, nurse practitioner or physician's assistant. What makes medical weight loss different from other programs is a focus on your health as well as your weight. These programs take place in a clinical setting. In addition to the doctor, you have access to other health care professionals like nutritionists, psychologists or physical therapists. The program includes nutrition education, behavior counseling and an individualized physical fitness program.
Obesity is based on your body-mass index, or BMI. BMI is a measure of your body fat, based on your height and weight. BMI calculations apply to both men and women. The official designation of overweight is a BMI between 25.0 and 29.9, while obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 or above. Getting an accurate and detailed BMI is critical to determining whether you’re overFAT versus overWEIGHT. This is why a customized medical weight loss program is critical – one size does not fit all!
Health Risks Of Obesity
Being obese doesn't just raise your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Obesity can contribute to sleep apnea and respiratory problems. Even if you are otherwise very healthy, excess weight is hard on your joints and may lead to degenerative joint disease. People who are obese often have hypertension, or high blood pressure. A medical weight loss program can help you lose weight, but since the focus is on overall health, all of these conditions are also treated and managed as part of the program.
Strategies That Work
Although calories do matter when it comes to weight loss, just counting calories isn't likely to solve the problem. You need help learning why you overeat, what your triggers are and how you may be using food to soothe your emotions. The nutritional education you receive helps you learn about meal planning and appropriate portion size. Exercise helps you build lean muscle, which increases your metabolic weight and makes it easier to lose weight, as well as improving your heart health and endurance. The health care professionals work with you, supporting and educating you during your weight loss program.
As you learn to eat right, exercise and manage your emotions, you will lose weight. You will also become more aware, thus able to make healthier food choices moving forward. You may even be able to stop taking medications for your blood sugar, aching joints or high blood pressure. Eventually, you'll be able to look in the mirror and answer the nagging question, “Am I obese?” with a resounding “No!”