With all the exciting new drugs being developed to help people better manage weight, you may wonder if the time you’re spending on improving health habits are still worth your time and effort.
Choosing healthier foods, becoming more active, getting more hours of restful sleep and better managing stress do take lots of time and planning to fit into your life.
But the effort is worth it!
Whether you’re starting on a new anti-obesity medication or considering bariatric surgery, I still see lifestyle modification as foundational to all weight management treatment modalities.
1-Losing Weight is About Getting Healthier, not Just Thinner
Weight is only one parameter of health.
The goal of weight management is not just to drop pounds on the scale but to improve your quality of life, how you feel and how you function.
This may also include improving other health conditions worsened by excess weight like diabetes, hypertension, arthritis or heartburn, to name just a few.
Eating more plant-based foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber and less processed foods with too much fat, salt and calories help lower one’s risks for cardiovascular diseases and some cancers.
Being inactive, having poor sleep and experiencing high stress levels deplete your energy and increase your risks of developing chronic diseases.
This reinforces the importance of improving your health habits – even if you are starting a new weight loss medication.
2-Weight Management Treatments Work Together
We know that managing weight is not just about eating less and moving more.
Successful weight management is also not just about taking a pill or having a surgical procedure.
Because the disease of obesity is a complex one, we use multiple weight management treatments that work well together.
Anti-obesity medications alter one’s appetite which allows individuals to better follow a calorie-controlled and healthy diet.
Bariatric surgery reduces the volume of food you consume which means every meal and snack must be nutritious.
And there is no pill or surgery that will replace the health-promoting benefits you get from aerobic activities and resistance training.
The best treatment approach uses lifestyle modification in addition to medication or surgery.
3-Weight Management Takes into Account the Whole Person
Optimal health and wellness can mean different things to different people.
For one person, it may mean having the confidence to be more social and engaged in life.
For another person, it may mean staying active, keeping muscle strength and improving one’s balance.
For someone else, it may involve decreasing sodium in the diet.
Setting goals for improving your health habits will always remain important to helping you be successful managing weight, whether or not you take an anti-obesity medication.
If you want to find your path to better managing weight while also improving your health habits, check out my self-help book, Six Factors to Fit: Weight Loss that Works for You!
Robert Kushner, MD