Have you been considering a weight-loss program, but aren’t sure which one to choose? Commercial weight-loss programs have been around forever, but do they really work? These days, more advanced weight-loss programs are able to offer a higher degree of personalization than those that focus on counting points or calories. These programs, known as medical weight loss programs, are supervised by a doctor, and they’re highly effective.
What is medical weight loss?
Medical weight-loss programs use medical tests to see what’s going on inside your body, and to create a picture of how hidden health conditions may be getting in the way of your weight-loss goals. This often includes checking for potential hormone imbalances, because when your hormones are out of whack, it’s almost impossible to lose weight.
A medical weight-loss team will also check for inflammatory markers, as chronic inflammation in the body is also a barrier to weight loss. They may also offer genetic testing, which goes far beyond what any commercial weight loss program can provide. Certain genetic variants can influence how your body responds to different foods. Studies have shown that people can lose up to 287% more excess weight when following a diet that’s suited to their unique genetic makeup.
If all this sounds intriguing, continue reading to find out more about medical weight loss, and its myriad health benefits that go above and beyond commercial weight-loss programs.
Commercial weight loss programs are one-size-fits-all
Perhaps the biggest problem with many commercial weight-loss programs is that they offer the same plan to everyone. They aren’t overseen by doctors or other medical professionals, so they can’t take your personal medical information into account.
We all have different body types. Not one human is exactly like another. Wouldn’t it make sense that our needs for weight loss also vary? Commercial programs simply don’t take this obvious truth into account. Yes, there are some universal rules for staying healthy and losing weight, such as reducing inflammation and avoiding processed foods. But, your ideal diet may look very different from the best diet for your spouse or coworker, because we’re different people with different genotypes. Without proper testing, you’re forced to adopt a trial-and-error approach to diet and fitness, which often causes people to become frustrated and give up.
How does medical weight loss differ from commercial weight loss?
For those who struggle with weight loss, and especially those who fall into the obese category, medical weight loss may be exactly what you need. A person’s inability to lose weight is a multi-faceted health issue that requires just as much medical attention as any other condition. Many people simply cannot lose weight when there are unidentified, underlying health issues at play. Following are just some of the ways medical weight loss differs from commercial programs.
A truly personalized approach
A medical weight-loss program takes a more individualized approach. Together, you and your health care professional design a weight-loss plan based on your current health status and genetic factors. The initial step involves meeting with a physician to determine your body composition, body mass index, and vitals. Your doctor will draw blood for your labs, so that any potential underlying issues can be identified or ruled out.
Identifying medical reasons for weight gain
For example, if you have thyroid problems, weight loss becomes a challenge. If your body produces lower levels of a hormone that helps your body use glucose for energy, you may be more likely to gain weight — even if you’re following a healthy diet. If you have sleep apnea, depression, or anxiety, you’ll need to address these issues to truly lose weight and keep it off. If you’re taking medications that contribute to weight gain, your doctor may be able to work with your other healthcare providers to identify alternatives.
Lifestyle habits also play a part in your ability (or inability) to lose weight. Our stress levels, sleep habits, eating and drinking habits — these all impact our weight. Your overall lifestyle is also addressed when customizing a medical weight-loss plan. Sometimes, lifestyle changes are necessary. Medical weight-loss programs supervise these changes.
Your doctor can also use your labs to identify nutritional deficiencies that may be contributing to weight gain, and recommend supplements accordingly. In some cases, you may even be able to obtain custom-blended supplements designed especially for you, so you know you’re getting exactly you need from your vitamins. Medical weight-loss providers also often offer certain supplements in the form of injections to improve absorbency.
Better meal replacement options
Commercial weight-loss programs often offer ready-made meals and meal replacements, but these packaged foods are often no more healthy than processed foods you would find at the supermarket. There’s also typically little or no real nutrition education. That means you either have to stay on the program indefinitely and continuing using their foods, or you finish the program and you’re right back to eating what you were before.
Medical weight loss typically puts much more emphasis on patient education, so that you don’t feel dependant on certain foods. While meal replacement options may be offered, these are typically used as tools during the active weight-loss phase, and not as long-term solutions.
Support from trained healthcare professionals
Another part of the efficacy equation is the ongoing involvement of a healthcare professional. You won’t be on your own. You’ll have expert guidance along the way. This support is priceless, as commercial weight-loss programs are often criticized for a lack of expert support.
If you’re on a diet plan that shifts you drastically from your typical eating habits, supervision helps immensely. You might experience strange symptoms; your team of medical professionals can determine if your reactions are normal or if your diet plan needs to be modified.
For example, many weight-loss diet plans cut carbs in a major way. This results in something known as ketosis, which is when the body begins to break down fat and use it for energy. When this happens, symptoms like headache, nausea, and fatigue often follow. Staying properly hydrated and replenishing your electrolytes can greatly help reduce these symptoms. Your medical professionals can monitor your progress to make sure you aren’t experiencing any unnecessary side effects.
A truly integrated approach to weight-loss
You can see how lasting weight loss is much more than a matter of calories in vs. calories out — which is the approach offered by most commercial programs. It’s no wonder so many people regain weight after they’ve lost it! By providing you with a clear understanding of how your body is working and what it needs — along with sound nutrition education and lifestyle modification strategies — medical weight loss offers the most integrated, comprehensive approach to weight loss available.
At Elite Physique, we believe an equal balance of nutrition, activity, rest, and confidence is the foundation for achieving a healthier you. Our personalized weight-loss programs are custom-tailored to help you meet your goals and to address the underlying factors that can make weight-loss difficult. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation!