Obesity is a multifaceted, chronic and progressive disease. Many people think “Eat Less, Exercise More” is the only thing that needs to be done to lose weight. Those folks are wrong!

Medical Bariatrics is the nonsurgical treatment of obesity by a health professional trained in addressing the many different factors that contribute to the problem of obesity for effective treatment and long-term success. Weight loss is only part of the treatment plan. Maintenance of healthy weight over the long-term is truly the goal of treatment. Without the help of a Bariatrician and long-term treatment, the risk of regain is over 90%!

Obesity is a complex disease. Certainly nutrition is a major contributing factor to why we have trouble with our weight. I think we all realize we don’t always make the best food choices we can. Nutrition, however, is only part of the solution.

To be successful we need to look at several other areas. Many of us are stressed out with life, work, family, finances, etc. I often think food is the most commonly used drug in the world because when we are stressed or anxious or depressed, a common way to make ourselves feel better is to eat something. This doesn’t last very long nor solve anything so if we keep doing it repeatedly, we gain weight.

To effectively manage a healthy weight, these issues need to be addressed. A pre-diabetic condition called insulin resistance is very common and makes weight loss exceedingly difficult. Sometimes medication is necessary to treat this to assist in losing weight.

Finally, we have abnormal behaviors that can contribute to being overweight. For example, Mom always made us clean our plates as kids and, by golly, we eat everything on our plates now even if we aren’t hungry. Plate sizes are larger now than fifty years ago, especially in restaurants, so we feel we have to eat more. Some people binge eat or hide eating. All of these need to be looked at and addressed to be successful.

Medicines are available to assist with weight loss but understand that these don’t make you lose weight. Appetite suppressants, or anorexients, only help to modify your behavior around food — eat smaller portions, have less intense hunger and handle cravings better. They can be very beneficial in losing weight, however, you must meet certain weight criteria to have them prescribed. They have potential side effects so need to be used safely and responsibly. They are typically used in the short-term but can be used long-term if needed, producing results, and not causing worrisome side effects. Most importantly though, using them only makes sense if all aspects of obesity are being addressed and you learn the nutrition, behavior and exercise tools you need to manage your weight for the long run.