Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Talking to your health care provider openly and honestly about your weight concerns is one of the best things you can do for your health. If you're concerned about your weight, start by seeing your primary care provider. In some cases, you may be referred to an obesity specialist — if one is available in your area. You may also be referred to a behavioral counselor, dietitian or nutrition specialist.

What you can do

Being an active participant in your care is important. One way to do this is by preparing for your appointment. Think about your needs and goals for treatment. Also, write down a list of questions to ask. These questions may include:

  • What eating or activity habits are likely contributing to my health concerns and weight gain?
  • What can I do about the challenges I face in managing my weight?
  • Do I have other health problems that are caused by obesity?
  • Should I see a dietitian?
  • Should I see a behavioral counselor with expertise in weight management?
  • What are the treatment options for obesity and my other health problems?
  • Is weight-loss surgery an option for me?

Be sure to let your health care provider know about any medical conditions you have and about any prescription or over-the counter medications, vitamins or supplements that you take.

What to expect from your doctor

During your appointment, your doctor or other health care provider is likely to ask you a number of questions about your eating, activity, mood and thoughts, and any symptoms you might have. You may be asked such questions as:

  • What and how much do you eat in a typical day?
  • How much activity do you get in a typical day?
  • During what periods of your life did you gain weight?
  • What are the factors that you believe affect your weight?
  • How is your daily life affected by your weight?
  • What diets or treatments have you tried to lose weight?
  • What are your weight-loss goals?
  • Are you ready to make changes in your lifestyle to lose weight?
  • What do you think might prevent you from losing weight?

What you can do in the meantime

If you have time before your scheduled appointment, you can help prepare for the appointment by keeping a diet diary for two weeks prior to the appointment and by recording how many steps you take in a day by using a step counter (pedometer).

You can also begin to make choices that will help you start to lose weight, including:

  • Starting to make healthy changes in your diet, such as eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains and reducing portion sizes. Focus on achievable, enjoyable changes. Eat breakfast.
  • Tracking how much you're eating or drinking each day so that you get a sense of how many calories you're taking in. It's easy to underestimate how many calories you actually take in every day. Bring this information with you to your appointment.
  • Beginning to increase your activity level. Try to get up and move around your home more frequently. Start gradually if you aren't in good shape or aren't used to exercising. Even a 10-minute daily walk can help. If you have any health conditions, or if you're a man over age 40 or a woman over age 50, talk to your doctor or health care provider before you start a new exercise program.
May. 13, 2014

You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.