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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Weight Loss Questions to Ask Your Doctor

    Related Topic
    What weight loss questions should I ask my Doctor?
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    Dr Jill Gamberg

    GP (General Practitioner)

    Dr Jill Gamberg graduated with Honours from the University of New South Wales with a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery in 2007, after which she … View Profile

    How do I know if I need to lose weight?
    Your doctor will calculate your body mass index to begin with and in some cases, they may look at your body composition as well. If you fall above the healthy BMI range, you will likely need to lose weight.

    Am I well enough to change my diet and to exercise?
    Anyone is able to make important lifestyle changes – like improving your diet and becoming more active. You should speak to your doctor to discuss any health issues prior to implementing dietary changes or starting an exercise program.

    How much weight do I need to lose?
    The amount of weight that you need to lose will depend on your current health. In addition, your doctor can calculate how much weight you need to lose in order to fall into a healthy BMI range.

    Does my weight affect my health?
    Improving your weight can improve many health conditions. For example, Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure often improve significantly with weight loss.

    How will my health improve if I lose weight?
    Many functions of your body will improve as you lose weight. The way you process or uptake the sugar in your blood will improve with weight loss. Your blood pressure may decrease as you lose weight. As the weight improves, your ability to move your body comfortably and with less pain will be a benefit.

    Should I take weight loss medication?
    You can talk to your doctor about types of weight loss medications if you are significantly overweight. However, making healthy lifestyles changes like eating better and exercising are much better and safer for you than taking pills. Diet medications have side effects and can make some health conditions worse.

    How soon will I see any benefit?
    You will be amazed how soon you will see benefit from weight loss. Just a small amount of weight loss is needed to improve body movement, energy, health and motivation.

    Will my medical condition affect the diet plan or exercise that I chose?
    It is important to discuss all your medical conditions with your doctor. Then appropriate dietary recommendations and an exercise program can be tailor-made to you. For example, people with type 2 diabetes should not eat a lot of processed sugars and people with high blood pressure should not eat a lot of salt.

    Are there foods I should avoid?
    In general, unhealthy fast foods and fried foods should be avoided. They are calorie dense and nutrient poor. Also, rich desserts are to be eaten infrequently. Excessive amounts of salt and alcohol are not good for weight loss either.

    Am I healthy enough for physical activity?
    Make sure you speak to your doctor about participating in both strength and cardiovascular exercise. You should always start slowly and build up your exercise tolerance. If your doctor provides limitations, make sure you stick to them, so you don’t hurt yourself and worsen any medical condition you may have.

    How should I monitor my exercise intensity?
    Most exercise programs require that you work at different levels of intensity. Not all methods of monitoring exercise intensity work for all people. For example, heart rate monitors do not work well for people who are on medications that keep their heart rate low. Speak to your doctor before you embark on an exercise program.

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