Losing weight and keeping it off is a struggle for most people. I know that. I grew up in Nigeria and was quite skinny as a kid. I came to America as a young adult. And like most immigrants promptly adopted the Standard American Diet. Within 4 years of enjoying cheese burgers and cheese cake, I gained a whopping 90 pounds. Over the last twenty-five years, I have been on numerous diets and continue to struggle to maintain a healthy week. I intimately understand the challenges of anyone trying to shed some weight long term.
Unfortunately, most people continue to struggle alone. A good many even give up out of frustration. Majority of dieters never even discuss their weight problems with their healthcare professional. This is due to that attitude that obesity is a lifestyle choice problem alone. The society at large and the medical community seem to lay blame on the doorsteps of the obese. The unspoken message seems to be “you should have the discipline to push back at the table or get up and exercise if you want to be skinny”.
It is however not that simple. If it was, we wouldn’t have the current state of affairs where two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. By some projections, 86% of Americans will be obese or overweight by 2030. Obesity is complex and in 2013 was recognized as a chronic disease by the medical community. Obesity treatment is more likely to succeed if it is dealt with the way we deal with other chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, heart disease to mention a few. A diabetic will not treat his or her diabetes for 3 months and then stop. Neither will a hypertensive stop taking blood pressure medicine after 12 weeks. Yet the approach to weight management seems to be a short-term diet plan. It should be obvious that a three month plan or even a six month challenge is not enough. What is needed is a lifestyle for the long haul. If you or anyone you are struggling to lose weight and keep it off, here are four reasons why getting professional help can make all the difference:
UNCOVER MEDICAL BARRIERS
There are several medical reasons why you may gain weight or struggle to lose weight. Hormones that out of order such as underactive thyroid, insulin resistance, polycystic ovaries syndrome could make losing weight very difficult. Even medications used to treat common disease including anti-depressants and over the counter cold medicines can make you gain weight or struggle to lose weight. A professional can help you find alternatives that are weight neutral or even helpful.
CRAFT EFFECTIVE TREATMENT PLAN
An experienced professional can help you create a meal plan that is right for you and exercise program that is practical and sustainable. You may benefit from prescription medications that can jumpstart your weight loss. Equally as important is the coaching you need to effectively change the behaviors that are not serving you well.
This is essential for long term success. Changing old patterns of behavior is very challenging. Without accountability, the likelihood of success if extremely slim. This explains why most people who lose weight gain it back. Your healthcare provider is a perfect accountability partner. There is inherent trust and respect in the relationship, key factors for success in an accountability partnership.
Studies show that dieters who engage support programs lose twice as much weight as those who do it alone. A trusted an empathetic healthcare provider is a tremendous source of support for individuals struggling to lose weight and keep it off.