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:
May 13, 2014
- 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.
- Recognition of obesity as a disease. American Medical Association House of Delegates. http://www.ama-assn.org/assets/meeting/2013a/a13-addendum-refcomm-d.pdf. Accessed Nov. 4, 2013.
- Defining overweight and obesity. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/adult/defining.html. Accessed Dec. 3, 2013.
- Jensen MD, et al. 2013 AHA/ACC/TOS guideline for the management of overweight and obesity in adults. Circulation. In Press. http://content.onlinejacc.org/article.aspx?articleid=1770219. Accessed Nov. 17, 2013.
- Bray GA. Pathogenesis of obesity. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 16, 2013.
- What are overweight and obesity? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/obe/printall-index.html. Accessed Dec. 3, 2013.
- Bray GA. Etiology and natural history of obesity. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 16, 2013.
- Bray GA. Health hazards associated with obesity in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 16, 2013.
- Understanding adult overweight and obesity. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/understanding.htm. Accessed Nov. 16, 2013.
- Papadakis MA, et al. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2013. 52nd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2013. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=1. Accessed Nov. 16, 2013.
- Sacks F, et al. Comparison of weight-loss diets with different compositions of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. New England Journal of Medicine. 2009;360:859.
- Moyer VA, et al. Screening for and management of obesity in adults: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2012;157:373.
- Bray GA. Drug therapy of obesity. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 16, 2013.
- Blumberg RS, et al. Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Gastroenterology, Hepatology, & Endoscopy. 2nd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=55957514. Accessed November 16, 2013.
- Nelson DW, et al. Analysis of obesity-related outcomes and bariatric failure rates with the duodenal switch vs. gastric bypass for morbid obesity. Archives of Surgery. 2012;147:847.
- Weight loss and complementary health practices: What the science says. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/providers/digest/weightloss-science. Accessed Dec. 3, 2013.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.