When to see someone about your weight
Struggling with your weight can be hard to talk about. You may feel a sense of personal responsibility or failure over the pounds you’ve put on. But while it’s common for people to think that it’s their fault when the number on the scale goes up, the science doesn’t back that up.
“The American Medical Association officially recognized obesity as a disease in 2013,” says Dr. Oscar Quintero, internal medicine physician who works in the nonsurgical weight management clinic at Aurora Sinai Medical Center. “Patients need to know that obesity is not their fault. Obesity has many causes that contribute to their weight gain, including many things that are beyond your willpower.”
Factors that influence an obesity diagnosis include hormones, behaviors, diabetes, renal disease, diet and more. A doctor who specializes in obesity medicine will do a complete medical history and identify any other conditions that may be contributing to obesity. Understanding all of the factors can help you and your doctor figure out the best plan to move forward.
“Although obesity is a complex disease, we can help with a variety of treatments. My main purpose with each patient is not just to see how much weight they can lose, but to help them be healthier and decrease their risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension and more,” says Dr. Quintero.
Managing the disease can involve a variety of treatments and interventions. Your doctor may have you work with a physical therapist, talk to a psychologist to work through any behavioral or emotional elements or help make sure you have access to the right food. They also may refer you to a dietitian or nutritionist to help with your diet. It’s important to understand that the complexity of obesity often means your doctor may prescribe support in more than one area.
“Weight management requires long-term care, and we make sure that our patients have support throughout their life,” says Dr. Quintero. “If you are trying to work on a more significant lifestyle or behavioral change, coming to see a specialist can help. Make sure you are going to see your primary care physician regularly and ask about talking with a specialist.”
The stigma around obesity in society and even the medical community can be a roadblock. While obesity isn’t curable, it is very treatable. You should understand that this isn’t your fault, and that there are a broad variety of options that can help.
“We can help every patient. We make sure our patients feel this is a place where they are listened to and not judged,” says Dr. Quintero. “This is a place to help you, not discourage you. If you are not happy with your weight or feel that your weight is unhealthy, you are not alone. We care and we have the resources to help.”
Are you trying to watch your weight? Take a free online quiz to learn more about your healthy weight range here.
About the Author
Ben Hoekstra is a public affairs coordinator with Advocate Aurora Health. He previously worked in marketing and PR for various Milwaukee nonprofits and received his master’s degree in Corporate Communications from Marquette University. He enjoys the outdoors, cooking, and all things Milwaukee.
Make sure you are going to see your primary care physician regularly and ask about talking with a specialist. Would it be a crime if our primary care physician asked his or her patients about seeing a specialist. The primary care physician should be as proactive about their patients as the patients being proactive. The information I read it was very informative but I’ve never had a primary care physician to offer me any programs that would help me deal with my obesity. thanks for the information.