Many people ring in the New Year with weight loss and health related resolutions. At this point, you’re likely well underway with your resolutions, but did you know you don’t have to go at it alone? Your primary care doctor and other health care practitioners can be extremely beneficial partners and advocates in your journey to a healthier you. We’ve compiled a list of seven top questions to ask your health care providers to help get you and keep you on the right track.
What should my goal weight be?
The days of the popular goal weight body mass index (BMI) formula are gradually on the decline. Medical experts now realize that a healthy weight can be different for many and relies on a variety of factors. Ask your health care provider what they feel an ideal, healthy weight for your body type and lifestyle is. This number needs to be realistic, achievable, and sustainable.
Do I have any medical conditions that may interfere with my new exercise routine?
Moderate exercise is safe for most people, but it’s always a good idea to clear it with your health care provider prior to starting something new. Weight loss exercise programs in particular, can be more rigorous and strenuous than more regular, daily movement. Tell your doctor if you’ve experienced any pains in your ribs or chest or if you’ve felt dizzy or fainted in the recent past. Your doctor will also evaluate your risk factors for heart attack, stroke, and diabetes, and may test your blood pressure and cholesterol.
How long should it take me to reach my weight goal?
Most experts advise losing no more than 1-2 pounds per week. This number may increase to 3-5 pounds per week, especially if you have more than 30 pounds to lose. While rapid weight loss may seem amazing at first, really it’s mainly water and muscle weight falling off your frame, not fat weight. Your practitioner will consider a variety of factors in determining how long your weight loss should take—including the total amount of pounds wanting to be lost, lifestyle factors, any existing medical conditions, and more.
Will losing weight impact my health?
Your primary care provider knows your medical history and can likely inform on the many ways weight loss may impact your overall health and well-being. They may be able to tell you that losing weight could lead to lower blood pressure and thus could take you off certain maintenance medications. If you’ve suffered from chronic knee pain not related to an injury, they may tell you that losing weight could reduce joint pain and discomfort. How’s that for additional weight loss motivation?
Could an underlying health issue be impacting my weight?
If you’ve been working on losing weight and aren’t seeing the results you or your doctor anticipated, it’s possible that an underlying health condition could be the culprit. Conditions such as prediabetes and thyroid disorders can lead to extra added pounds. Your doctor will likely conduct blood work to rule these conditions out.
Do any of my medications have weight gain as a side effect?
Many medications have the dreaded side effect of weight gain. Drugs like antidepressants, steroids, antihistamines, and some birth control pills can lead to excess weight gain or fluid retention. Ask your doctor to go through the common side effects of any medications you’re on and if weight gain is one of them, they may be able to prescribe an alternative medication.
What else can help me?
Your primary care doctor specializes in overall health care concerns, but weight loss and nutrition may not be their area of expertise or an area they can spend ample amounts of time on. Your doctor may refer to you other specialists such as nutritionists and fitness coaches and provide you with additional informational resources to help you on your journey.
Your healthcare provider wants you to be successful in your journey to be healthy and maintain a proper weight. By asking these questions, your provider will help give you a more complete picture of how to be successful and will help encourage you to reach your goals. Northwest Primary Care offers a complete nutrition counseling program and the services and tools to help you succeed.