how weight loss can cause constipation

Weight Loss and Constipation

 

Constipation is the most common digestive complaint in adults. There are various causes of constipation including weight loss. In this article we will examine why weight loss causes constipation and the steps to resolve it.

 

What is constipation?

Constipation is defined as difficult or uncomfortable bowel movements. There is no universal standard for “normal bowel movements” since they vary for everyone. However, two or less bowel movements a week is suboptimal. Bowel movements vary based on eating habits, activity level, medical conditions, medications, and stress.

According to the World Gastroenterology Organization if you meet any 2 of the following criteria for at least 12 weeks (within 1 year) you may be constipated:

 

  1. Less than 3 bowel movements a week
  2. Stool is hard or difficult to pass
  3. Small stools or feeling the bowel movement has not completely evacuated
  4. Straining to pass stool
  5. The need to digitally manipulate stool (using finger to remove)

 

But doesn’t obesity cause constipation?

 

Being sedentary contributes to constipation; however, obesity is more correlated with loose stools and diarrhea than constipation. Obesity is also associated with increased risks of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and other functional GI disorders such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

  

How does weight loss cause constipation?

 

Changes in diet and eating behavior

 

Deviations from routine eating patterns, which often occur in weight loss, can cause constipation due to disruption of circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythm ensures that biological processes are completed according to proper timing and the digestive system, like the brain, has its own circadian rhythm. This explains why you may get hungry at the same time each day or have certain eating habits that are difficult to change no matter how hard you try. This is also the reason for constipation while traveling or on vacation, it is due to changes in eating pattern, meal frequency, food volume, meal timing, and overall eating behavior.

 

  • Less Food Intake In weight loss, people often eat less food and eat less frequently. Eating less food reduces the muscle contractions within the digestive tract therefore reducing stimulation of the bowels. This muscle movement is called peristalsis and it happens due to the normal rhythm of the bowels on a periodic basis but also happens as a result of food entry into the GI tract. As less food enters the mouth, stomach, and intestines, there is less need for muscle movement and this leads to less propulsion of stool; therefore, causing constipation.

 

  • Not enough water – Water is essential for digestion and is mainly absorbed in the large intestines where stool is formed. Adequate water intake helps to push fiber forward and softens stool.

 

  • Fiber- Dietary fiber is a double-edged sword. Constipation can occur due to a low dietary fiber intake or high fiber intake with inadequate water. Fiber is not digested by the body, so it is pushed through the digestive tract leading to the bulk of stools. Fiber also expands and absorbs water which helps with bowel movements.

 

  • Dietary impact on gut flora and microbiome- The gut flora are the natural bacteria that live in the intestines and help with breaking down food, releasing nutrients and other chemicals essential for digestion. These bacteria also aid in the production of vitamins and minerals like Vitamin K. It has been shown that obese individuals have lower variety of gut bacteria and therefore gut microbiome may have an impact on weight.

 

To increase microbiome, eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, fermented foods, nuts and seeds and grains. If needed prebiotics and probiotic supplements can also be used to aid in constipation.

  

  • Food Sensitivities – A food sensitivity or food intolerance occurs when the immune system (also referred to as leaky gut) responds to certain foods or food parts. The most common inflammatory responses to food sensitivities are GI related and range from reflux to loose stools, bloating and gas, to constipation and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

 

Could you have a Food Sensitivity?

Order a Home Food Sensitivity Kit

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Read more about Food Sensitivities

  

Physical activity reduces constipation

 

Muscle contraction and tone play an important role in digestion and stool formation. Physical activity increases muscle tone and reduces stool transit time via direct force especially with physical activities like walking, jumping, and running. In addition, being sedentary increase the risk of constipation.

 

Ways to increase dietary fiber

 

Foods high in Fiber:

The dietary forms of fiber come from fruit, vegetables (including beans and legumes) nuts, seeds, grains, and supplements. If you are in a weight loss program, you should choose dietary sources of fiber based on your personalized weight loss and nutrition plan.

Vegetables

Non starchy Vegetables high in fiber

 

  • Cauliflower
  • Zucchini
  • Lettuce
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Cabbage
  • Bell peppers
  • Green beans
  • Asparagus
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Green peas
  • Collard greens
  • Artichoke
  • Squash
  • Swiss chard
  • Mushroom
  • Turnips
  • Fennel
  • Eggplant
  • Celery
  • Leaks
  • Okra

Starchy Vegetables high in fiber

  • White potato (higher with skin intact)
  • Sweet potato
  • Butternut squash
  • Sweet corn
  • Carrots
  • Beans
  • Legumes
  • Parsnips

Fruits

  • Prunes
  • Raspberry
  • Strawberry
  • Tomato
  • Apple
  • Pear
  • Banana
  • Orange

Nuts and Seeds

  • Chia seeds
  • Almonds
  • Pistachios
  • Sunflower

Grains

  • Flaxseed
  • Quinoa
  • Lentils
  • Whole wheat spaghetti
  • Barley
  • Bran
  • Oat bran
  • Brown rice
  • Bread
  • Popcorn

 

Fiber Supplements and Medications

Supplements can be natural or synthetic and are used to aid in stool production, bowel regulation, and more comfortable bowel movements for individuals with constipation.

  • Psyllium Husk –is a natural fiber supplement composed of both insoluble and soluble fiber that makes stools softer and easier to pass. Psyllium husk also increases bulk of stool aiding in the elimination of digested foods
  • Various fiber brands such as Citrucel, Metamucil, FiberCon, and Benefiber can be found at the local pharmacy. Some of these forms of fiber contain fillers, added sugars and artificial flavors so always read the ingredient list when choosing supplements.

 

Stool softeners

Docusate sodium or Dulcolax and Colace are stool “surfactants” that work by lowering the surface tension of stool making it easier to absorb both water and fatty molecules. This is essential because making stool softer reduces the risks of straining and hemorrhoids.

 

Gut Stimulants or laxatives

 

Bisocodyl and Senna are nerve stimulating medications that increase colonic contractions to push stool forward. Overuse of laxatives should be avoided as it can cause abdominal pain, cramping, nausea and vomiting. Prolonged laxative use can cause either constipation or diarrhea due to the dysregulation of the bowels.

 

Magnesium – Magnesium citrate and Milk of Magnesia cause relaxation of the bowel muscles and moves water into stool making stools softer and easier to pass. Individuals with certain medical conditions may not be able to take magnesium due to risks of electrolyte abnormalities, be sure to consult a physician before taking.

 

Teas that aid in constipation – Most of the teas that are marketed for weight loss do so by either reducing appetite or constipation.

How tea reduces appetite:

                              1. It is hot
                              2. High water content fills the stomach and is hydrating
                              3. Some teas contain caffeine, a natural appetite suppressant
                              4. Increased fluid in the stomach reduces cravings

 

Herbal teas that contain senna or cascara (dried bark from tree native to Western North America) are laxative teas that push stool forward by stimulating nerves that cause muscle contraction, laxatives should not be overused as they can cause bowel dysregulation.

 

Will fiber aid in weight loss?

 

Yes, it certainly can. Fiber expands in the gut, slows down digestion, and can create feelings of fullness that reduce overeating. Fiber can also stimulate healthy gut bacteria that aid in making digestion easier.

 

Severe constipation

 

If none of the above methods work for constipation you may be suffering from severe constipation and in need of a doctor or specialist. Severe forms of constipation can result from neurological complications such as neuropathy from longstanding diabetes.

 

Tips for discussing constipation with your doctor

#1 Don’t be embarrassed.

Everyone has or will have constipation at some point, your doctor understands.

 

#2 Be prepared with a description

Use a journal or notepad to describe exactly what you are experiencing. The more detail the better.

    • How often you have a bowel movement?
    • What is the color?
    • Is it small, medium, large?
    • Is there blood?
    • Do you strain?
    • Is there pain?

 

#3 Changes in your diet

 

#4 How much water do you drink daily in ounces or cups

 

#5 Associated symptoms i.e. bloating, gas, abdominal pain

 

Your doctor will likely ask about medical history as well as family history to determine risks for certain diseases that may be contributing to constipation. Be sure to share any family history of colon cancer or other conditions.

 

Have you lost weight just to find that your bowel movements are hard, infrequent, or difficult to pass?

 

Download our Constipation Log to help keep track of your symptoms.

 

fertility

Weight loss Improves Fertility

 

Infertility is defined as an inability to produce offspring after 12 months of unprotected consistent sexual intercourse. According to the CDC 13% of women ages 15-49 are impacted by infertility. One in seven couples struggles with fertility. It is well established that weight loss yields several health benefits such as improved energy, increased longevity, and improved overall health. Excess fat loss also greatly improves fertility for both men and women.  There are several causes of infertility ranging from anatomical to hormonal, the good news is that excess weight is a factor that can be potentially cured with the correct weight management plan. 

 

Excess weight and female fertility  

 

Women who are overweight or obese can take up to twice as long to become pregnant when compared to women of normal weight. In addition, women who are overweight are at higher risk of pregnancy and post pregnancy related complications such as pre-eclampsia and/or eclampsia (a common cause of bedrest, emergency c-section, and pregnancy induced seizures), gestational diabetes, hypertension, and large weight babies. Other risks include a higher risk of miscarriage and still birth. Studies show that although the still birth rate is low, this rate doubles for women with BMIs over 30. 

 

The menstruation cycle involves a host of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone and when these hormones are circulating at abnormal levels it impairs ovulation and therefore, interferes with the ability to become pregnant. Obesity greatly impairs normal reproductive hormones as well.  

 

Excess weight and male fertility 

 

For men, excess weight reduces libido (interest in sex), lowers sperm count, impairs sperm quality, and reduces sperm motility. Excess body fat increases body temperature and this is particularly harmful for sperm encapsulated in the scrotum, which is intended to provide a slightly cooler climate in order to support healthy sperm function. Poor sperm quality and quantity directly reduces the chances for pregnancy. In addition, overweight men are more likely to have low testosterone levels. Testosterone is an important male hormone that is responsible for male sexual development, lean muscle and bone mass, mood, and the storage and utilization of body fat.  

 

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and Infertility  

 

Polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS is one the most common endocrine conditions impacting women. It is a leading cause of infertility due to the imbalance of female reproductive hormones. There are different types of PCOS but in the most traditional type women experience abnormal menstrual cycles, androgen (male hormone) excess, and ovaries with multiple cysts. Hormone irregularity makes it difficult to become pregnant due to interfering with key processes required for successful conception.  There are other features of PCOS that interfere with overall health as well such as high levels of insulin caused by elevated testosterone and high estrogen levels due to increased fat production. PCOS does not have a cure; however, it is significantly improved with weight loss, proper nutrition, and lifestyle changes. Weight loss is the primary recommended treatment for PCOS even before starting medications. The good news is that women with PCOS who lose weight, even an amount as small as 3-5%, increase their chances of pregnancy. 

 

How does normal pregnancy work? 

 

A woman’s ability to become “fertilized” is based on many factors such as age, genetics, the reproductive system, overall health, and just plain luck. The luck part is due to ideal timing. A well-intentioned sperm has a small window of time to reach the egg before it disintegrates. Once the window of opportunity is missed it will be another 28 days before a mature egg is available for fertilization. For child-bearing age women the monthly cycle coincides with the journey of the egg from the ovary through the reproductive tract to the uterus. The egg is first expelled by the ovary into the fallopian tubes to start the journey (a process known as ovulation). The egg has 24 hours to either team up with sperm to create a future baby or dissolve forever. Despite the sperm’s ability to survive inside the female reproductive tract for 3-5 days, the timing for fertilization must be exactly right in order to lead to pregnancy. 

 

Obesity and Fertility Treatment  

 

Fertility specialists are doctors who help women struggling to naturally conceive by using medical treatment to aid in pregnancy. Most fertility doctors will ask that weight and overall health are addressed before starting fertility treatments. Although excess weight can negatively impact fertility it is not the only factor. 

 

Even with fertility treatment, excess weight creates barriers such as poor quality embryos, difficult egg retrieval, risks for less viable embryos, poor uterus implantation, and the same pregnancy related risks mentioned previously, including higher risk of respiratory complications if intubation or emergency surgery is needed.  

 

Fertility doctors use the following treatments for infertility:  

  • Medications and hormones to stimulate ovulation 
  • In vitro fertilization 
  • Intrauterine insemination 
  • Intravaginal insemination
  • Referral to weight loss doctor for medical management of obesity 

 

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a scientific method for overcoming the anatomical or physiological barriers to pregnancy. IVF is a form of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) which accounts for 1-3% of live births and over 7 million births since the late 1970s. A woman undergoing IVF will take medication to stimulate the ovarian follicles then have these stimulated eggs retrieved and fertilized by sperm in a laboratory. The fertilized egg (or several eggs) are then implanted directly into the uterus. 

 

In intrauterine insemination (IUI) motile concentrated sperm are directly inserted into the uterus. In intravaginal insemination, similar to IUI but in some instances a cheaper alternative, highly motile sperm are directly inserted into the vagina. These alternatives are useful for couples hoping to increase the chances of pregnancy or couples with barriers to sexual intercourse. Ovulation tracking devices are often used to predict the best time for insemination based on maximum fertility.  

 

At Abundant Health & Vitality Associates, we not only help women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and infertility accomplish their goals through weight loss but we promote long term weight management that will keep both mom and future generations healthy for a lifetime.  

 

Watch patient pregnancy testimonial here  

 

If you are a woman interested in weight management to increase your chances of pregnancy

Please call our office at 704-997-9661 or complete appointment request on the home page 



 

 

 

 

 

 

References:

Clark AM1, Ledger W, Galletly C, Tomlinson L, Blaney F, Wang X, Norman RJ.Hum Reprod. 1995. Weight loss results in significant improvement in pregnancy and ovulation rates in anovulatory obese women. Oct;10(10):2705-12. 

Veronica Sarais, Luca Pagliardini, Giorgia Rebonato,Enrico Papaleo, Massimo Candiani, and Paola Viganò.23 February 2016. A Comprehensive Analysis of Body Mass Index Effect on in Vitro Fertilization Outcomes. 

talk to your doctor

How to talk about weight with your doctor 

 Always consult a physician before starting any fitness or nutrition programs. Be sure to tell your doctor about new weight loss programs, medications, herbs, supplements, or online products that you are taking.

So, you’ve decided that it is time to start a weight loss journey and before exercising or making dramatic dietary changes you want to talk to your doctor. If you are like most patients, you may be a little nervous about discussing your weight. This is normal.

We hope that after reading this article you will feel more confident about discussing your weight with a medical professional.

Bariatricians are weight loss doctor who specialize in weight management

Many patients are unaware that doctors exist who specialize in obesity, nutrition and weight management. A bariatrician or medical weight loss doctor (also called an obesity specialist) is a medical doctor experienced in non-surgical weight loss methods.  These doctors have completed medical school, a residency program, and board certification in a primary medical discipline such as Internal Medicine or Family Medicine and have also completed additional certification in Obesity Medicine. Speaking with a professional who understands weight management makes the discussion much easier. Patients can visit a bariatrician through a referral from a doctor such as a Primary Care Doctor or by calling the clinic directly to schedule an appointment. Bariatricians tend to be less judgmental regarding weight and open to various treatment modalities such as FDA approved weight loss medications, meal replacement programs, nutrition, and exercise plans. In addition to weight management, bariatricians also diagnose and treat co-morbidities related to excess weight such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea.

charlotte bariatrician

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Be Prepared

Most individuals seeking to discuss weight with a medical professional will begin with their personal doctor or a Primary Care Provider (PCP). The more organized you are for this visit, the better. It is important to maximize the appointment time and ensure that all of your concerns are organized so that they can be easily addressed.

Start by reflecting on your weight history

  • When did you start gaining weight?
  • What events in your life have affected your current weight?
  • Have you successfully lost weight in the past and if so, how?

A Weight History Chart is a great tool to help prepare for this discussion (download a free copy of our weight history chart). Providing your PCP with a weight history chart serves as a powerful visual that quickly provides a summary of trends in your weight.

How to complete the weight history chart.

Step 1:

On the bottom line or x-axis add your age (use increments that work for you). For example, if you are 50 years old you may want to apply your age in increments of 10. On the other hand, if you did not gain weight until adulthood you may want to skip from 0 to 20 or the age where weight gain began.

Step 2:

On the vertical or y axis plot your weight, again use increments that work for you.

Step 3:

Chart your weight and identify important life events that impacted your weight.

weight history chart

Be Honest

In addition to your weight history, be prepared to discuss what you eat and drink along with physical activity. If you don’t eat healthy this is the time to be honest with yourself and your doctor. Nutrition is paramount to weight loss so knowing exactly what you eat is necessary, don’t rely on memory, write it down. Prior to the doctor’s visit use an electronic food diary like MyfitnessPal or a paper food diary.

As you reflect on your food intake be prepared to discuss your weaknesses. Do you overeat? Do you have cravings or food triggers? Do you eat healthy throughout the week just to blow it all on the weekend? Eating habits are essential and will help provide insight for your doctor to make recommendations to facilitate weight loss.

Be clear when discussing your concerns with the doctor

The Primary Cweight loss clinic in charlotte ncare Doctor will evaluate weight, Body Mass Index (BMI), medical history, medications, and bloodwork while providing a preliminary plan for weight loss. The PCP is a great place to start since this doctor knows you best. When approaching your PCP be open and honest and clearly state your needs. Do you desire weight loss, nutrition education, accountability, a weight loss referral to a specialist, or simply a discussion about your concerns? If you are uncomfortable discussing your weight with your primary doctor either find a doctor that you are comfortable with or let your guard down so that you can receive the help that you need.

Be Open to Weight Loss Referrals

Your Primary Care Doctor may refer you to additional specialists in order to maximize the time, tools, and resources needed for weight management, counseling, nutrition, exercise, and accountability. These professionals are intended to enhance your weight loss success.

#1 Dietician:

A registered dietician (RD) is a professional who provides food recommendations, nutrient intake, grocery lists, meal plans, and even recipes to help with healthy eating. Dieticians are great accountability partners and will focus on structuring the eating plan and routine.

#2 Bariatrician

A bariatrician is a doctor who specializes in weight loss. These doctors provide nutrition along with a comprehensive treatment plan for weight management. In addition to structuring food intake they may also provide advanced nutrition testing such as food sensitivities or comprehensive nutrition labs for nutrient deficiencies. Bariatricians measure body fat, body composition, may order labs, EKGs, or other studies in order to diagnose or treat conditions related to excess weight. Bariatricians may also prescribe FDA approved weight loss medications to aid in weight loss.

#3 Psychiatrist and Psychologist

The bariatric doctor may request that a psychologist or psychiatrist work with a patient regarding certain behaviors, emotions, or psychiatric conditions related to weight. Psychiatrists are consulted to work with weight loss patients regarding eating disorders such as binge eating, bulimia or body image disorders such as body dysmorphia. A psychiatrist will also be consulted to treat severe depression and anxiety or to clear a patient for bariatric surgery, if applicable. A psychologist or counselor may be asked to provide intense counseling for weight loss behaviors, habits, trauma, and emotions.

#4 Bariatric Surgeon

A bariatric surgeon specializes in weight loss surgery techniques ranging from lap band, vertical sleeve gastrectomy, to gastric bypass. The bariatrician may refer a patient to a bariatric surgeon if they need more intense intervention beyond medical weight loss. In addition, a bariatrician often starts the required medical weight management process to qualify for surgery by most insurance programs.

#5 Gastroenterologist

Gastroenterologists and bariatric surgeons both perform the weight loss balloon system or Orbera procedure. A gastroenterologist may be consulted by your bariatric doctor to provide this weight loss method if it is considered to be suitable for you.

#6 Plastic Surgeon

A plastic surgeon can be helpful if the issue is related to cosmesis such as loose skin or diastasis recti or excess tissue needing reduction or augmentation such as a breast reduction. Your bariatric or primary care doctor may refer you to a plastic surgeon for cosmetic surgery in this case.

#7 Physical Therapist or Exercise Physiologist:

A bariatric doctor may refer a patient to a physical therapist or exercise physiologist for education, fitness assessment, and weight loss routines.  A physical therapist is often preferred over a fitness trainer for patients who have severe obesity, osteoporosis or joint pain, or certain medical conditions that require professional modifications.

#8 Massage Therapist

A massage therapist is a great adjunct for soothing tight muscles and improving circulation and flexibility. A bariatric doctor may refer a patient to a massage therapist for muscle pain related to physical activity. Massage therapy is great for improving tension related headaches.

weight loss specialist in charlotte nc

Treating your weight may cure other medical problems

 Often excess weight is the underlying cause of other medical conditions and chronic diseases. Weight loss provides several health benefits including less fat around visceral organs, less inflammation, improved oxygenation and blood circulation. For these reasons weight loss improves the following medical conditions:

  • Diabetes
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Reflux Disease
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOS) and Infertility
  • Joint pain and osteoporosis
  • Chronic Pain
  • Autoimmune Diseases

Be Aggressive

Obesity is related to the top causes of death in the United States, therefore, it is not to be taken lightly. Obesity increases the risks of heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers such as breast and colon cancer. The longer individuals carry excess weight the harder it becomes to lose weight due to brain and hormonal changes.

It is imperative that you become aggressive regarding your weight loss efforts. Although a BMI over 30 is categorized as obese, it is recommended to seek professional weight management for a BMI over 25 (overweight category). Patients who have rapidly gained weight for unknown reasons should also consult a doctor. Patients with more than 15 pounds to lose, more than 1 medical condition, or more than 1 medication are recommended to consult a doctor for weight loss.

If you would like to visit

Abundant Health & Vitality Associates for medical weight loss

Please call 704-997-9661 to schedule a new patient appointment

Medical insurance is not required or accepted (all patients receive super bills for insurance reimbursement)

 We accept cash, credit, HSA, FSA, and Care Credit for payment

charlotte weight loss center

How to Choose a Weight Loss Doctor

It’s no secret that the weight loss industry is a $60 billion a year industry but did you know that less than half of the products and services in the weight loss arena are effective or safe? Unfortunately, most of the weight loss programs and supplements advertised as weight loss solutions are fake with exaggerated claims. Exploiters of the industry know that individuals suffering with weight are desperate to lose weight quickly at any cost. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that individuals consult a doctor for weight loss if they have more than 15 pounds to lose, 1 or more weight related diseases, or taking 1 or more medications.

If you want to lose weight the safe and effective way, consulting a weight loss doctor is the best and most reliable option.

# 1: Ensure that your weight loss doctor is indeed a weight loss doctor

weight loss doctor in charlotte nc

A weight loss doctor or bariatrician (sometimes called an obesity specialist) is a medical doctor who specializes in overweight, obesity, and the diseases associated with excess weight. These doctors are licensed and board certified and often well versed in nutrition, behavioral health (related to weight and eating disorders), chronic medical conditions, and pre and post bariatric surgery. The majority of bariatricians are internal medicine doctors followed by family medicine, gynecology, and endocrinology, but any licensed medical doctor can complete additional training to practice obesity medicine.

When researching a potential weight loss doctor be sure to Check the “about the doctor” section of the website for credentials, experience, and medical training.

Red Flags:

  • Unable to find the doctor or their information on the clinic website
  • Credentials and training are vague, or licenses are from illegitimate or unknown organizations
  • Non-medical professional providing clinical services illegally
  • Unable to find the doctor outside of the website (i.e. Healthgrades or WebMD)
  • Website is a “carbon copy” or identical to several other websites as part of a national chain or franchise
  • Staff members listed on the website change constantly due to high turnover
  • Website with no contact information

It’s important to note, that a bariatrician is more likely to use effective, safe, and evidence-based methods for weight loss. If the  weight loss solutions are not FDA approved such as HCG shots, lipotrophic injections, or non-FDA approved medications, the office may be more interested in making money than your health.

Some weight loss clinics are supervised by a physician who is not physically present in the office or actively seeing patients, it is important to know this beforehand. When scheduling the appointment be sure to clarify whether the doctor will be on-site and an active part of your care.

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#2 Ensure that the weight loss program is personalized

It is true that there are various weight loss options ranging from multiple diets, fitness programs, and weight loss medications but the only weight loss program that matters is the one that is especially suited for you! A weight loss program with only one treatment option is not personalized. For example, Weight Watchers works for a lot of people but not everyone just like the FDA approved weight loss medication phentermine works for a lot of patients but not everyone. A weight loss clinic with only one method for weight loss increases the chances of failure.

#3 Weight Management is a Priority or Significant Part of the Clinic

There’s nothing worse than being a low priority customer. What is the real focus of the business? Is it a gynecology office that has agreed to see you on the side for weight loss or a spa that specializes in facials and massages with a sliver of space for weight loss patients?  The true intent of the business will be obvious in the name, the services offered, lobby paraphernalia, the wait time, and the type of professionals working in the business. If the business specializes in skin and hair, obviously weight loss is not their real forte. Does the clinic have the proper accommodations for overweight or obese patients (appropriately sized furniture, weight related reading material, and a proper body composition scale that can measure fat mass and extremes in obesity)? Many businesses add weight loss services for additional income, and they have no interest in treating patients with obesity or the related medical conditions. Don’t allow businesses to exploit you! If you are serious about losing weight only invest in weight loss programs that fully invest in you.

#4 The weight loss professional offers support not judgement

You’ve decided that you not only need to lose weight but are open to help. You are excited and nervous and vulnerable. You discuss your concerns only to be told that your weight is your fault and you should move more and eat less. What a waste!

Obesity is one of the only diseases where patients are blamed for the disease. Yes, individuals may overeat or dislike exercising; however, weight is much more complicated than mere eating and drinking and partnering with a weight loss doctor who understands this is essential. If you feel guilty or uncomfortable during the weight loss process, you are in the wrong place! If you are unable to receive weight loss treatment from your primary care doctor, ask for a referral to a bariatrician (a non-surgical weight loss doctor) or skip the referral and request an appointment on your own.

comprehensive weight loss program in charlotte

#5 The Approach to Weight Loss is Comprehensive

Obesity is a chronic disease that can be successfully treated but this does not mean there won’t be relapses, plateaus, and other challenges along the way. Weight is complex and multifactorial; it combines genetics, physiology, behavior and habits, emotions, education, nutrition, and environment. If a weight loss program fails to explore these facets of weight management, it is likely due to ignorance or lack of resources. A one-dimensional view of weight loss may impede long term success so be sure to join a program that addresses the entire patient and not just how much one eats or drinks.

#6 The weight loss doctor listens to you and addresses your concerns

how to choose a weight loss doctor

The most important resource that a doctor will use in her career is the ability to listen. Weight management is not just about weight loss, it’s about the journey. It’s the struggle, growth, the learning experiences, the ups and downs, setbacks and triumphs. Weight loss is personal and should be done with a medically competent and supportive doctor who understands the science of weight loss and how to execute a plan to get the results you desire and deserve.

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Make a New Year Resolution the Right Way

The RIGHT Way to Make a New Year Weight Loss Resolution

A resolution is a “firm decision to do or not do something”, it’s a promise but unlike most promises it is made to oneself. Many people set a new year resolution but sadly year after year the same goals are simply copy and pasted onto a new list.

This year, let’s make a weight loss resolution that sticks.

Be sure to download our free New Year Resolution Worksheet to help you apply these tips and stay on track.

Write it down

This goes without saying, unless it is written it does not exist. The resolution deserves an official record. Putting pen to paper also makes it easier to check off each goal once completed.  

Be Specific and Make Goals as “I” Statements

Make goals specific and always state “I will” or the present tense of the resolution as if it already exists. 

Examples of “I” Statements:

“I will reach my goal weight of 130 pounds by (enter specific date including year)”

“I will walk daily from 6 -7 pm for 1 hour 5 days a week”

“I will meal prep every Sunday and Wednesday for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and 2 snacks daily”

“I exercise 60 minutes a day 5 times a week”

Start with no more than 3 weight loss goals

Keep it Simple.

Less goals are more attainable and achieving simple goals builds confidence. This will require prioritizing what is most important.

Examples of simple weight loss goals (Choose no more than 3):

  • Lose 1-2 pounds a week
  • Weigh in Weekly
  • Track foods in daily food diary
  • Walk 30 minutes to 1 hour daily
  • 10,000 Fitbit steps a day
  • Drink 64 ounces of water daily
  • Eat lean protein and healthy fat at every meal
  • Stick to daily goal macronutrient balance
  • Cut back from 3 alcoholic beverages a week to 1
  • Strength train twice a week
  • Pack daily lunch for work
  • Eat out at a restaurant twice a month
  • Cut out sugary beverages
  • Remove added sugar from diet by cutting out baked goods and packaged sweets

Don’t forget these goals still include the first step, make “I” statement and be as specific as possible.

A goal without a deadline is just a dream

Setting an end date makes the goal real. Deadlines create accountability, require monitoring, and ensure step wise progression toward measurable success.

An example of a specific resolution with an end date would be “I will lose 20 pounds to reach a healthy goal weight of 140 pounds by April 15, 2019”.

The goal must be realistic

Your goals are as realistic as you want them to be so this part of the exercise requires honesty. A disciplined person may be able to lose 20 pounds in a month with a well personalized plan, precise execution, and the perfect schedule; however, a busy executive with limited time, poor sleep habits, and a team of employees working long hours may find reaching an aggressive weight loss goal difficult.

When setting resolutions ask yourself, “what am I willing to give in order to achieve the outcome?”. Anything worth achieving requires sacrifice. The sacrifice may be time, dedication, discipline, discomfort, or disappointment. If you are unwilling to sacrifice, then find a new resolution.

Learn something worthwhile in the process

Weight loss is more about the journey than the destination. On the road toward long lasting weight loss results ask yourself the following:

  • How will I grow?
  • What will be added to my life?
  • What do I need to learn about myself?
  • What will I accomplish that will change my life forever?

Identify the Obstacles and Crush Them

There are guaranteed to be obstacles along the way! However, with proper planning most obstacles can be anticipated and what you can anticipate you can plan a strategy for. On the Resolution Worksheet next to every resolution identify a barrier and write out how you plan to overcome it.

Long term successful weight loss is just as much about diet and exercise as is it about strategy, planning, and execution.

Build Accountability

Accountability is paramount. On the journey to crushing obstacles and achieving goals your brain will play tricks on you. These “tricks” come in the form of resistance, self-doubt, and negative self talk. An accountability partner serves as a force outside of yourself to provide support, encouragement, and honesty.

The accountability partner is unique in that they lend a helping hand while upholding the promise you’ve made to yourself.

Examples of Accountability Partners:

  • Family member (spouse, sibling, child, parent)
  • Friend
  • Co-worker
  • Physician
  • Fitness trainer
  • Dietitian
  • Health Coach  

Build the maintenance plan into each goal

In the case of weight loss, achieving the resolution is only the beginning. The next step will be maintaining it. The best way to maintain a weight loss resolution is to build the maintenance plan into the original goal.

Celebrate Your Success and then Raise the Bar

Once you’ve completed the resolution then it is time to celebrate!

Reward yourself for a job well done but don’t stop there… after celebrating, raise the bar.

The brain needs constant challenges so although you’ve reached a goal it will be essential to continue making new and exciting resolutions year after year. Each year that you achieve a new resolution will provide the momentum needed for future resolutions.

Happy resolution making!