The Medical Management of Obesity

The Medical Management of Obesity

Medical management of obesity has been the mainstay for a vast majority of people who struggle with their weight. Americans spend around $40 billion each year on various diet programs and products with little to show for it. Whether it’s miracle pills that claim to melt the pounds away while you sleep, or the more reputable programs that involve special meal preparations, support groups, counseling with behavior modification, or doctor supervised weight loss programs, they all have two things in common:

1) In the vast majority of cases, the total amount of weight lost is modest at best.

2) They are ineffective at maintaining long-term weight loss.

The cornerstone of all weight loss programs is a healthy diet and some form of exercise. You have to burn more calories than you take in. The concept is correct.

Weight loss scams are a multibillion dollar industry. From pills, potions, and creams to body wraps and bracelets, these weight loss gimmicks promise to melt the pounds away, firm up those thighs and get rid of belly fat. These products market to an audience desperate to find a solution. Since none of these products are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and no standards have been set for these weight loss products to live up to, they can make virtually any claim they want with little repercussion. If an advertisement sounds too good to be true, or promises weight loss with no effort on your part, you should start your exercise by running as fast as you can away from these products.

Some legitimate, science-based weight loss programs enjoy an excellent reputation and have been around a very long time. If you have 10, 20, or even 50 pounds to lose, some of these programs may be just what you need. After all, even modest weight loss can have a significant impact on your health. Losing as little as 10 or 20 pounds may be enough to get your high blood pressure or diabetes under better control. The key to success with these programs is to begin them with realistic expectations and long-term commitment. Long-term commitment is usually where these programs begin to fail. Not because you lack the willpower, but because your body is working behind the scenes to fight you every step of the way.

Most of these programs will combine a well-balanced diet (some with pre-packaged food products available for purchase), with physical activity and some form of emotional support through a personal contact or online support. With the advent of the internet and smart phones, it has become easier to keep track of calories consumed and burned through various online support programs and apps. With the right attitude and realistic goal setting, these programs can be effective tools in your effort to lose weight and improve your health.

Some patients chose to seek the assistance of a physician to help them with their weight loss efforts. This usually follows a number of failed attempts using diet and exercise alone. Most patients resort to physician-guided weight loss programs so they can take advantage of the added pharmacologic remedies the physician can offer. In reality, there are very few drugs approved for weight loss and most should only be taken for brief periods, usually not to exceed a few weeks to a couple of months.

Drugs prescribed for weight loss fall into two basic categories. 1) The amphetamine related drugs such as phentermine that act by suppressing the appetite and speeding up metabolism and 2) The drugs that interfere with the absorption of dietary fat like Orlistat.

The amphetamine class of drugs is very powerful and potentially dangerous drugs that require the close supervision of a licensed physician. While these drugs can be very effective in curbing appetite and revving up your metabolism, their effects are limited as the longer you use them, the more your body adapts and the effects on appetite and metabolism diminish over time. When combined with a healthy diet, exercise program, and close supervision, these drugs offer an effective boost in short-term weight loss. Like most other weight loss remedies however, they fall short over the long haul.

On the other hand, Orlistat works by blocking certain enzymes from the stomach and pancreas resulting in decreased absorption of dietary fats. The effects of this compromised fat absorption often results in frequent bowel movements, flatulence, oily stool, nausea, vomiting, and reduced absorption of fat soluble vitamins. With all of these side effects to worry about, prescription strength Orlistat will likely only add five to seven pounds of weight lost after one year of use compared to diet and exercise alone.

After trying all of the fad diets, the legitimate and reputable diet programs, and even with assistance from your doctor, it’s easy to feel disheartened and discouraged when all of these efforts fail to provide long term weight loss. It’s easy to blame yourself for this failure. But, before you start beating yourself up too much, remember that obesity is not a character flaw.


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  • Why some seem to gain weight by simply smelling food while others eat freely without fear of weight gain.
  • Why societal prejudices against those who struggle with their weight are absolutely wrong according to medical research.
  • Why some people experience the “Yo Yo” effect of dieting (lose it and gain it right back)
  • Why some Permanent Weight Loss Solutions actually work while others don’t.
  • Why those who struggle with their weight can Finally Rejoice in knowing that Dr. Hargroder is leading the fight to educate the medical community AND The World about the FACT that Obesity is NOT a Character Flaw!

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