Who to Partner with to Manage Weight and Achieve Better Health?

With all the exciting new treatments available to help those who struggle with weight, you may be wondering who you should turn to for help?

Though your primary care professional (PCP) may not be an expert in weight management, they are likely to be an expert in knowing about you and your medical history.

This is always a good place to start.

Ideally, your PCP will have resources to share that may involve helpful apps, online programs, books, medications to try if you are a candidate and other professional counseling tips and referrals pertaining to diet, exercise, surgery, mood, stress or sleep management.

But what can you do if your PCP offers you responses which you find unhelpful, such as the following?

1-“I want to help you but don’t have the time.”

Because medical visits can be quite short, this is a common complaint I hear from PCP’s.

One solution is to schedule a weight-focused follow-up visit with your PCP where they can dedicate this time to devising a personalized weight management treatment plan.

During your wait time, I recommend that you track your diet and physical activity behaviors and bring that information to the weight-focused visit.

Know that digital tools can complement any weight loss program and boost success.

2-“It’s really quite easy – calories in, calories out – just eat less and move more.”

Managing weight is a lifelong endeavor that is never easy.

Also, excess weight is complex as it can be affected by multiple reasons such as genetics, metabolism, one’s psychosocial and behavioral influences as well as one’s environment.

If a health care professional is dismissive and makes you feel shamed that you’re unable to easily reverse your excess weight by eating less and moving more, it may be time to seek a new partner, such as a board-certified obesity medicine physician specialist.

You can search for ABOM-certified specialists (called diplomates) in your community by going to the American Board of Obesity Medicine website. Note that some ABOM-certified physicians are also PCPs.

3-“I don’t prescribe obesity medicines.”

This is a comment I do hear but thankfully only from a minority of PCPs.

Yes, the obesity medications are new and PCPs need to learn more and get comfortable prescribing them, but it would be helpful if all PCPs became part of the solution by improving patient access to new and effective treatments.

Efforts are on the way to provide education and support to help PCPs provide more efficient and effective obesity care.

Toward that end, my next book, Patient-Centered Weight Management: The Six Factor Professional Program & Toolkit, will be coming in 2024!


Robert Kushner, MD

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