More than two thirds of people in the United States are considered overweight or obese. There are a variety of approaches that people utilize in an attempt to lose weight. Finding the right weight loss program to fit your needs and lifestyle is challenging but critical.

When trying to lose weight, some people simply eat less, exercise more, and lose weight. Most people, however, are not able to achieve results on their own. Some may try to use one of the many different diet plans that are readily available in books, online, and at weight loss centers.

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Those who are significantly overweight or obese may resort to other techniques such as diet pills. While more extreme, bariatric surgery may be another choice. Still others may decide to opt for a medical weight loss program.

What is a Medical Weight Loss Program?

Medical weight loss programs are diet and lifestyle plans that are supervised by a physician. They are not programs where weight loss is due to surgery or just diet pills. Rather, they are programs where a participant is evaluated, plans are created, and habits are changed.

There is scientific evidence proving that losing weight is accomplished by reducing calories and expending energy. Medical weight loss accounts for this information and prepares a specific plan based on your body. A good provider will take the following into consideration: your current weight and body fat percentage, your resting metabolic rate, your blood pressure, any present health conditions, any current medications, and your lifestyle.

Once a plan has been designed, the provider should explain all of the details to the patient. All questions should be answered, and then tips and encouragement can be shared. The patient then must put the plan into action. Follow-up and result tracking should occur frequently at first. Counseling may be instituted as necessary.

There are usually three phases to a medical weight loss program. The first phase is the time when most of the weight is actually lost. During this stage, the patient learns and creates healthy habits about eating and exercise. The second phase is a transition phase where the patient’s body gets used to the new weight. Additionally, the patient may begin to eat small amounts of the foods that were restricted during the first phase. The final stage is maintenance and should continue for the rest of a person’s life. The patient has reached their goal weight and has learned to live a healthy lifestyle.

Who Can Benefit from Medical Weight Loss?

Anyone can benefit from medical weight loss. While some people may need to lose one hundred pounds or more, others may only need to lose 15 or 20 pounds. It doesn’t matter. The program is tailored to an individual’s needs so it will work for everyone.

What are the Advantages of Medical Weight Loss?

Medical weight loss programs have many advantages over pills, surgery, and other programs. First of all, the doctor supervision is a big plus. The guidance, support, and experience of professionals who specialize in managing weight loss through nutrition and fitness are the best at teaching patients how to live a healthy lifestyle. Doctors and nutritionists are available to help answer all questions and encourage patients to stick to the plan.

In addition, because a doctor evaluates each patient from the start, medical conditions preventing weight loss can be uncovered. For example, it is common for obese patients to have a thyroid that does not produce enough of the thyroid hormones. Medications can be prescribed to provide the thyroid hormones needed for healthy metabolism. This will greatly improve the patient’s health and ability to lose weight.

The goals of these programs are another huge advantage. While weight loss is important, it is even more important to improve nutritional and fitness behaviors. This will not only help a person to lose weight, but will enable each individual to be a healthier person. This is why most people who use medical weight loss programs are more successful than those who use self-managed programs

How to Choose a Medical Weight Loss Program

The first step in choosing a program is to make sure that it is supervised by a qualified doctor. Nutritionists, exercise coaches, and psychologists on the team are also beneficial. Check out the staff’s credentials, the facility and ask for references from other patients.

It is equally important to select a program that will encourage patients to maintain healthy lifestyle changes. Programs that simply supply diet pills will not help a patient achieve the long-term health results that one desires.

Achieving and maintaining weight loss requires healthy behaviors that last a lifetime. A healthy diet is only a part of that program. Additionally, one needs a healthy attitude towards positive changes in nutrition and fitness habits.

Sara Miller is a patient care and weight loss specialist at Wellness & Hormone Centers of America, a Boca Raton Medical Weight Loss Center. In her spare time, she enjoys writing health articles, is a certified personal trainer, and enjoys watching people transform themselves to lead healthier, happier lives.