Sunday, January 20, 2019

Physician Weight Loss Tips

Although I have confessed that I am not a seasoned expert in this field, here are some tips and pointers I’ve gleaned over the years.


Slow and Steady Wins the Race!

  • Avoid gimmicks.  We’ve all seen ads and telemarketing pitches that promise to melt off pounds by the hour.   These products are very effective for the companies, but not for you.  They don’t work.  Yes, you may enjoy some short term weight loss for as long (or short) as you can stay motivated, but the chance of keeping the weight off is vanishingly small. 
  • You don’t have to be perfect.  Allow yourself some backsliding and seek continued motivation from these events.  The path to your successful destination may include some zigzagging.
  • Weight loss medications don’t work well.  Of course, the notion of a pill solving any medical problem is seductive, but the history of weight loss medications includes an array of side effects and relatively modest results. 
  • Bariatric surgery, including gastric bypass procedures, has made great strides in recent years.  I have seen many successes and failures in my practice.  These procedures will not work unless the individuals have made the difficult mental commitment to a profound life changing procedure that will be present every day of their lives.  In my view, these procedures should not be casually or prematurely entertained.  Is a candidate for surgery unable to lose sufficient weight in any other way?   If the candidate couldn’t stay motivated to stay on a diet, will they have the motivation to make surgery a success?
  • I recommend partnering with a professional, such as a dietician, to offer guidance, support and accountability.  If not, recruit a family member or a friend to serve as your coach.
  • You will not exercise the weight off.  Patients lament to me all the time they can’t understand why their weight stays the same or even creeps up despite their walking and exercise routines.  To burn off serious weight, a person would have to intensely exercise for hours and hours each week – far beyond the capacity and willingness of almost all of us.  From a weight loss perspective, a more successful strategy is to restrict the calories that are coming in rather than burn them off after they have been swallowed.  In other words, eat less. 
  • Set reasonable and achievable goals for yourself.  
Achieving sustained weight loss is hard.  If it were easy, all of us would be skinny.

2 comments:

Bruce Sherman, Ph.D. said...

Good post. Sad but true...as an Exercise Physiologist I agree with your second last bullet point. There are many wonderful benefits from exercising regularly, but exercise should not be used as the primary driver in weight loss.

Michael Kirsch, M.D. said...

Bruce,

Thanks for your comment and for raising the level of intellectual discourse on the blog.

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