Your Doctor’s Support is Key to Help You Successfully Lose Weight

As of 2015, the CDC estimates that approximately 69 percent of American adults are overweight or obese, but many of them are trying to shed the pounds. While eating well and exercising remain the most effective method for losing weight, there are factors that can help make the process more successful. It has been widely reported that people who have a strong support system are more likely to be successful with their weight loss program, but this support system extends beyond family and friends.

According to a recent study conducted by Johns Hopkins University, people with supportive doctors are also more successful. “A review of survey data from more than 300 obese people who participated in a federally funded weight loss clinical trial found that although the overall weight loss rates were modest, those who rated their primary care doctor’s support as particularly helpful lost about twice as many pounds as those who didn’t.”

A Supportive Doctor May Be More Empathetic

When your doctor is empathetic, he or she is more likely to help you, rather than making you feel as though you are being shuffled through the system. A paper published by Duke University Medical School called Medical Context and Importance of a Physician’s Empathy outlines the benefits of teaching doctors how to perform medicine with empathy. The paper states, “ In order for a physician to engage, he needs to be able to self-transpose into his patient’s situation and identify with a diverse group of suffering individuals. Understanding a patient’s emotions is a key difference between sympathy and empathy.” An empathetic doctor is more likely to be supportive of you and your weight loss efforts. 

Your Doctor Can Help You Find Your Program

There’s a lot of information floating around about what is healthy and what is not. If you have a supportive doctor, you can work together to wade through all of the conflicting information and develop a diet and exercise plan that works for you. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers a guide to working with your doctor to devise a weight loss program. Its website offers tips for prepping for your appointment: “…write down questions for the doctor or nurse ahead of time. Print out this list of questions and take it with you to your appointment. You may want to ask a family member or close friend to go with you to take notes.” Doing this before you begin your program allows you to assess which parts of your weight loss plan may need to be tweaked to increase your chances of success. 

A Supportive Doctor Can Help You Prep For Your Program

If you’ve ever done an exercise video or bought a personal training session or gym membership, you’ve probably read the disclaimer to “talk to your doctor before starting this or any other exercise program.” Most people ignore these warnings and fail to see the doctor until something is wrong. But talking to your doctor before starting your diet and exercise program can help you tailor your program. Setting up an appointment for a physical will allow your doctor to find potential health issues that may affect your success. It also offers the perfect opportunity for you to ask questions. For example, if you’re concerned about training for a marathon with a potentially bum knee, your doctor can refer you to a sports physician or a podiatrist that can help you correct the problem before it becomes an injury. 

There are plenty of reasons to talk to your doctor before starting a weight loss program, but finding a supportive doctor can greatly increase your chance of success. A supportive physician will be empathetic and enthusiastic when it comes to helping you set and meet your goals. If your current general practitioner isn’t supportive, it may be time to look for a new one.