In the US, millions of people are struggling with obesity. They are at risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and a range of other conditions. Additionally, they often have trouble taking part in activities they enjoy. At Southside Medical Center in Atlanta, GA, we offer comprehensive weight management programs that help patients to achieve their goals in the long term.
Weight Management: What Are the Keys to Success?
Learning the principles behind weight loss is easy, but implementing them consistently is extremely challenging. Studies have shown that around 80% of people who lose a significant amount of weight eventually gain it back. That’s why a good management program doesn’t end when the patient has achieved their target weight. Instead, it’s a long-term support system that involves setting and sticking to realistic goals.
When a patient comes to see us about weight loss, we start by discussing their motivation and medical background. Then, we provide them with accurate information about a range of weight-related topics. We help them to set goals and support them as they lose weight. Once they’ve reached their target, we encourage them to maintain their healthy lifestyles and keep checking in regularly, so they don’t fall back into old habits.
If you’re not motivated to lose weight, it’s almost impossible for you to succeed. That’s why we’ll invite you to an initial consultation, during which we discuss your reasons for losing weight and evaluate whether our program is a good fit for you. We might ask you about your current health issues and how your weight is contributing to them.
Then, we’ll dig deeper to find out why you’re struggling with weight loss. Are you an emotional eater? Do you use food as a way of comforting yourself, or do you see it as a reward? Do you have any medical issues, and do you take medications that contribute to the problem? Once we have a better understanding of your situation, we can provide you with the resources you need to successfully lose weight and keep it off.
One of the biggest problems is that most people are misinformed when it comes to weight loss, nutrition, and exercise. There are hundreds of fad diets out there, and most of them don’t provide patients with the results they desire. Some are even dangerous because they involve extreme exercise and unhealthy fasting practices.
During the initial consultation, we ask you about diets you’ve tried, and you get a chance to ask questions about weight loss. We also provide you with helpful resources that explain how nutrition, exercise, and other lifestyle habits affect your body’s metabolism and weight. Once you have a better understanding of how to safely reach your goals, your chances of success increase dramatically.
At the beginning of your weight loss journey, you might want to eat as little as possible to shed your excess pounds more quickly. But this isn’t a good idea because it leads to cravings, and it can be dangerous. Most people should eat around 1,500 kcal per day if they want to lose one pound a week or every two weeks, but it depends on the individual’s weight, age, goals, and metabolism.
As part of your weight loss program, we’ll help you to come up with a healthy meal plan that takes into account your preferences and intolerances. The focus is always on making meals as delicious and nutritious as possible because weight loss shouldn’t be painful or damage your body.
The CDC recommends that adults perform muscle-strengthening exercises two times a week and exercise for at least 150 minutes every week. If you haven’t exercised in a long time, this might sound like a lot. Don’t overwhelm your body by going to the gym every day. Instead, slowly increase your activity levels, so your muscles, tendons, and ligaments have time to adjust.
Start with low-impact exercises if you have joint problems. Some good options include swimming, water aerobics, and cycling. Over time, you can try more strenuous types of exercise like dancing, weight lifting, and running. If you have medical conditions that might make exercise unsafe for you, speak to your doctor before starting a new routine.
Several other lifestyle habits either help or hinder your weight loss journey. If you’re stressed all the time, your body produces too much cortisol, which affects your metabolism. You might crave sweet and fatty foods, so it’s harder for you to stick to a healthy diet. A lack of sleep has a similar effect on the body because it places stress on your system.
If you’re stressed or overworked, speak to your family, friends, and boss about your situation. They might be able to reduce your workload or take on some of your daily tasks. Stick to a regular schedule that includes an evening routine and a set bedtime. Practice relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, and Tai Chi. Spending time in nature also has a calming effect on the body.
Some people come to the clinic believing that they can lose 50 pounds in a few months. They might have read articles online or been told about fad diets by their friends. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to safely lose large amounts of weight in a short time. Every good weight management program takes at least a year or two.
Most researchers agree that humans can lose one to two pounds per week. At that rate, the body has enough time to adjust, and the patient is unlikely to become ill or experience significant side effects related to their weight loss journey. Their new habits are sustainable because they’re not starving themselves or doing unhealthy amounts of exercise. For this reason, patients who set realistic goals are more likely to stick to the program long-term.
A Good Team
You can’t lose weight on your own. To succeed, you need the support of a medical team and those around you. At Southside Medical, we educate patients and keep them accountable. We often work with people for many years. Their sessions at the clinic help them to stick to their plans and provide them with much-needed support.
During your weight loss journey, you won’t be able to regularly visit fast food restaurants, eat unhealthy meals, and drink large quantities of alcohol. Speak to your loved ones before you get started, so they can help you to adjust. You might also want to join a support group, either online or in person. That way, you can exchange ideas and stories with people who are on a similar path.
A Medical Evaluation
Most people are overweight because they don’t lead a healthy lifestyle. However, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, health issues or medications contribute to the problem. In this case, the patient might not be able to lose weight even if they stick to a healthy diet and exercise regularly.
If you’re struggling to shed your extra pounds, we might offer you a comprehensive medical evaluation. We can analyze your blood to figure out whether a nutrient deficiency is putting stress on your system. We might also examine your metabolism to determine the best weight loss strategy for your body type.
A Strategy for Setbacks
Setbacks are inevitable. At some point, you’ll slip up and binge on unhealthy foods or drinks. You might also plateau for several weeks at a time. Understand that this is normal, and it doesn’t have to be the end of your weight loss journey. Discuss your challenges with us, so we can help you get back on track.
A Long-Term Plan
Your journey isn’t over once you’ve reached your target weight. Although losing dozens of pounds is a massive achievement, maintaining your new body shape in the long run is a much harder challenge. That’s why we recommend that you keep seeing us or participating in a support group periodically, even if you’ve already achieved your goals.
During the maintenance meetings, you can discuss your lifestyle habits and general health and ask questions. The sessions are a safe space for you to explore new ideas and talk about sensitive topics.
Get Rid of Excess Weight with a Comprehensive Weight Loss Plan
The majority of people who go on a diet without consulting healthcare professionals don’t achieve their goals. If they manage to lose weight, they eventually gain it back because they don’t have the knowledge and skills to maintain their healthy habits. That’s why supervised weight management programs are so important. Contact us at Southside Medical Center in Atlanta, GA to speak to an expert about weight loss.