The weight loss industry has literally changed overnight. And honestly this has been the moment I have been waiting for!
As a medical weight loss specialist, to finally have quite a list of medical tools that actually work to help patients lose more effectively and in a medical safe way is revolutionary.
BUT…we must use our super powers for good and not evil. What does that mean? The demand for medications for weight loss have skyrocketed. A “national” shortage has been in effect ever since they came out to the market quite frankly. There are several reasons outside of the statistic that almost 42% of the US adults are obese.
- Weight Watchers, Noom, med spas, hair salons, you name it – everyone wants to get in the game but not everyone knows the rules and how to play. Patients are getting access to these medications but are not learning the real habits of what it takes to eventually get off these medications and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- Primary care doctors are part of the problem too. While they have good intentions, they are not equipped either to teach patients the right diet and exercise plan and end up throwing medications at patients much like any other medication.
- “Rewarding” skinny is getting worse. These medications work, period. But it will be a challenge in our society where the pressures of being skinny remain alive and kicking and it’s important to help people who are in it for the right reasons and steer clear of those who have a quick fix mentality.
So where do we go from here…
Thankfully the number of Board Certified specialists in Obesity Medicine is growing so let the experts take over. I was one of the early ones who received my Obesity Medicine certification in 2012 and I am very proud to be part of an organization that is here to help treat this increasing epidemic. These weight loss medications are considered specialty medications that require specialty training much like any other field like cardiology or endocrinology and putting this responsibility into the hands of specialists who have had extra training are the professionals to work with.
COMBINE medication with a diet and exercise program.
Patients should be thoroughly educated in nutrition, exercise, taking the medication, navigate the side effects, and learn how to get off the medication eventually. While some do require medication long term, the key still remains in learning how to create a long term sustaining lifestyle.
Help patients understand that despite medication that treats metabolic disease, the real root cause lives in the mindset. Changing our behaviors, understanding that there are multiple factors metabolically that contribute to obesity, releasing shame, and improving the perception around obesity as a disease is a must and there’s really no shortcut to this and it doesn’t come in the form of a pill.
The good news is that patients finally have a method that can effectively lead them to much better health than before.
Ultimately, I believe it is time for us to change the definition of health. Throw BMI out the door as it has its flaws. Change the word Obesity to Metabolic disease so that it becomes a medical condition rather than a false identity.
And finally have real conversations for those who are struggling, no longer see them with a weight bias lens, and the ones who are there for the right reasons will increasingly show up because there is hope.
If you really need a specialists help, just click the link here.
Can’t wait to meet you!
Dr. Angela Tran D.O.