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Obesity Center

Obesity Treatment

Treatment for weight gain
Treating obesity is an important step for many Americans to live healthier lives, and to reduce other complications.  Just by losing 5-10% of your body weight, you may be able to significantly reduce the risk of other disorders and diseases.  Losing weight is not just about looking better . . . it is about making real changes to your life that may lengthen how long you live, and improve the quality of your life

Treatment options for weight gain are strongly dependent on a commitment to weight loss.  Your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, but acting upon these lifestyle changes is really up to you.  In other situations, your doctor may determine that other treatment options are necessary, or preferable. Examples of treatment options may include a combination both lifestyle and medical therapies.   

Lifestyle

  1. Exercise - Increase the quantity of your physical exercise. In general, always start with an easier physical activity such as walking and increase activity from a slower tempo to a faster tempo. The purpose of this graduated exercise program is that the heart is supposed to get used to the increased need of blood flow due to physical activity. After few weeks, you might then start riding bicycle and later running at short distance with slow tempo. Exercises that require a lot effort such as aerobics and running should be avoided at the beginning due to risk of heart symptoms that can provoke a heart attack. If you have a child that is overweight or obese, your doctor may recommend physical activities that involve the whole family.  Working with your doctor is important to establish a healthy exercise regimen, given your body's needs, and medical history.  Always consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine. 
  2. Keep a journal - Keep a written record of what you eat, and how much you exercise. Your doctor may also recommend that you write down how much you eat.  Also, you may want to include your weight in this journal every several weeks.  Adults can safely lose between 1-2 lbs per week. 
  3. Diet - Modify what you eat to include different types of foods in your diet. For example, eat more fruits and vegetables instead of fatty meats, and wheat bread instead of white bread.  Additionally, you may need to cut down on the size of your food portions, especially in restaurants.
  4. Reduce stress or anxiety - For some, stress, depression, and anxiety leads to both reduced physical activity and an increase in eating.  By reducing stress through exercise, you will be able to better manage both your stress and your weight gain.  Also, stress may increase weight gain for some people due to a lack of sleep; maintaining a regular and healthy amount of sleep, will allow you to better maintain your weight.

Medications
Medication may be prescribed if the underlying reason for obesity is due to another medical condition. For example, doctors may prescribe drugs for psychological issues, or in the case of hypothyroidism.   In addition, some drugs used to treat other conditions, such as seizures (topiramate and zonisamide), and diabetes (Metformin), have been shown to reduce weight loss.   Medication is also prescribed for some of the following reasons:

Curb appetite – Medications such as Sibutramine may be prescribed to curb appetite.

Reduce calories – Some medications such as Orlistat can help reduce the amounts of calories and fats absorbed by your body.  Over-the-counter medications might also help reduce the amount of calories and fat that your body absorbs.  

Supplements - There are many supplements that are touted as having weight-loss capabilities, including ephedra (also known as ma-huang), diuretics, and more.  Over-the-counter supplements should be carefully evaluated with your doctor, as some types have been known to increase the blood pressure and puts stress on the heart.  Other over-the-counter weight supplements may not have solid, clinically-proven results indicating effective weight loss.  Again, carefully evaluate any over-the-counter supplements with the supervision of your doctor.

Surgery
Surgery may be an option for obese persons who cannot find other effective methods, or for those with life-threatening complications.  Surgery options include procedures called banded gastroplasty or gastric bypass. 


Banded gastroplasty - Banded gastroplasty involves using a band or other device to limit the amount of food that your stomach can hold. 

Gastric bypass - Gastric bypass limits food intake by creating a small stomach area that bypasses an area of your small intestine, which is where most calories are absorbed.  As any surgery carries risks and side effects, you will need to carefully explore these options with your doctor to determine how they will impact you.

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