Treating obesity involves making lifestyle changes and begins with a thorough examination by your WellStar primary care physician. Your doctor will gather information about current medications, medical and family history, weight gain history and other weight loss plans, diets or exercise programs you’ve tried. Once tests have been run and questions answered, a treatment plan will be developed based on your weight-loss goals and history.
The most cost-effective and low-risk treatment for obesity is lifestyle modification. Lifestyle changes that can result in weight loss include:
- Consuming a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, beans, fish and lean meats
- Limiting calorie-rich foods such as butter, oils, nuts, desserts, whole milk, cheese and processed foods
- Avoiding sugar-sweetened drinks
- Eating small, frequent meals
- Exercising vigorously for at least 2.5 hours each week
Let a WellStar registered dietitian help you make the lifestyle changes that result in long-term weight loss. Research shows that obese people who get the help of a registered dietitian to lose weight are more likely to reach their weight-loss goals than those who do not.
If weight loss is not achieved through lifestyle changes, ask your WellStar physician or a registered dietitian about medication, including over-the-counter diet medications that can be used together with dietary changes and physical activity. Your physician or dietician will advise you of risks or side effects, and also let you know which medications have been scientifically tested and regulated.
Sibutramine and orlistat are prescription medications, and Alli is an over-the-counter medication, that have all been approved by the FDA for use by obese patients to aid with weight loss. It is important to remember that these medications must be combined with diet and exercise in order to be effective. They are not a substitute.
Bariatric surgery is a weight-loss option for people who are morbidly obese (a BMI greater than 40, or greater than 35 combined with other health-risk factors) and unable to sustain lasting weight loss with conventional weight loss methods, such as dietary changes and exercise. Bariatric surgery reduces the size of the stomach and, depending on the procedure, impedes nutrition through malabsorption, a process that keeps the small intestine from absorbing nutrients.
WellStar’s Bariatric Surgery Program has been named a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence (BSCOE) for excellent surgical outcomes, ongoing staff education, a complete complement of consultants and a full line of equipment necessary for quality surgical care.