While trying to lose weight, how many times have you given up—declared no more dieting, no more being hungry, and no more feeling miserable? You’re certainly not alone.
In the United States, more than 1 in 3 adults are obese, and more than 2 in 3 adults are either obese or overweight. But now that the American Medical Association has classified obesity as a disease, there is a growing recognition that being overweight is not just about a lack of willpower to stop eating too much. Over time, defining obesity as a disease may help remove some of the stigma of the condition.
Although being careful about what you eat and staying active are important, now more than ever, your healthcare team will want to help you take control of your weight so you can get healthy and stay healthy.
How Can Your Healthcare Team Help?
For years, healthcare providers have struggled with how to address obesity and weight problems directly, and not wait for the health problems that can eventually be caused by obesity. Obesity can be associated with both immediate and more chronic health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, skin conditions, orthopedic problems, asthma, cancer, and low self-esteem. Recognizing obesity as a disease might help doctors become more proactive about partnering with patients in their efforts to lose weight. After all, battling obesity should not be something you have to do on your own.
Take the time to talk with your healthcare team about any struggles you have with your weight. There are many ways to treat obesity and they don’t all work for everyone, every time. But if Plan A fails, there’s usually a Plan B or a Plan C. The important thing is that you don’t give up. Your healthcare providers can offer you encouragement and guidance as you find what works for you.
Your healthcare partners are not only an excellent source of information on nutrition and physical activity, but they can also follow your health and advise you about the prevention of risk factors for serious chronic diseases. By building a partnership with your physician as you learn to manage your weight, you can also help prevent and address some of the other risk factors for chronic diseases that you may have as well.
Dr. Black-Noller is a clinician and Medical Director at Pfizer.