Diet and exercise are a great start if you are trying to lose weight. Of course it will also help to put your doctor on your side. Your doctor knows about the most effective, scientifically proven weight loss options – including lifestyle changes, medications and surgery. A step on the scales will allow you and your doctor to decide what the best approach would be for you.
The first step in achieving a healthy weight is committing to changes in your lifestyle. If you want to lose weight, you need to change your energy balance by taking in less energy into your body than it uses. You can do this by altering your diet (eating habits), increasing exercise and changing your behaviour. Behavioural changes mean first getting an understanding of the factors and/or behaviours that have contributed to you becoming overweight, or have stopped you from losing weight. Your doctor may refer you to a psychologist, counsellor or behavioural therapist for help with this.
Pre-prepared meals and VLED products
Various commercially prepared meal programs are available. These can help by providing energy controlled meals. Other options include VLED (very low energy diet) products and meal replacements. A VLED product (e.g. shakes and bars) can be used to replace all or some meals. This option should be used with supervision from your doctor as part of a weight management program. VLEDs should not be confused with meal replacements. Meal replacements are not nutritionally complete, so there is a danger you could end up with malnutrition if you ONLY eat meal replacements.
Weight loss medications
Weight reducing medications may be used as part of an overall weight loss program that includes diet, exercise and behaviour changes. There are several weight loss medications that are currently approved for use in Australia. It is important that you speak to your doctor to discuss your options.
Weight loss surgery
Surgical treatments are often considered as the last resort, as they are only suitable in people with a high BMI. Weight loss surgery is quite expensive and can be difficult to access. That said, surgical treatments are an effective way for severely obese people to lose weight. There are three common surgical weight loss options available; adjustable gastric banding (the most common surgical method used in Australia), gastric bypass (which changes the way the stomach and intestine handle food) and gastric sleeve (which reduces the size of the stomach).
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.