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Losing Weight in the New Year – The Doctor is IN!

With the new year officially upon us, many of us want to lose weight but don’t know where to start. While a quick Google search may yield dozens of diet programs, fad and detox diets, most of us know that these plans typically don’t work and often aren’t good for our long-term health.

This leads to a bigger question – why do we turn to the Internet, TV or bookstore when looking to lose weight? Since our weight is one of the most influential predictors of our overall health, doesn’t it make more sense to consult a physician for advice on how to safely lose weight?

That’s why we asked Dr. Theresa Amerson, Director of WakeMed Primary Care to spend a few minutes with us explaining the value of working with a physician to lose weight.

“What I love about medical bariatrics is the ability to really help patients who haven’t had success losing weight no matter how hard they’ve tried in the past,” explains Dr. Amerson.

7 Things We LOVE About Medically-Supervised Weight Loss

peanuts-cartoonMedical bariatrics is an emerging field that involves working with patients to medically (not surgically) manage your weight.

Physicians who are specially-trained in medical bariatrics are primary care doctors who have several years of additional training dedicated exclusively to medical weight management and counseling.

Here are a few things I love about medically-supervised weight loss.

#1 – A Healthy Option

Medically-supervised weight management is led by specially-trained physicians who understand that weight management is a complex process that can only be successful when you take a person’s full health profile into consideration – including underlying medical conditions and health concerns, metabolic rate, and much more.

#2 – A Diverse Set of Tools

Physicians not only have medical training that you don’t have access to through other diet programs, we also have tools such as prescription medications that can really help patients who just can’t lose weight on their own.

Medication therapies can help with hunger and craving control or can impact metabolism – both of which can safely help patients who just haven’t had success with other techniques.  These tools must be used with the guidance and supervision of a physician who knows you personally and understands your health history and can monitor your progress on a routine basis.

#3 – Personalized Approach

Successful weight loss looks different for every patient – some patients absolutely cannot commit to an exercise program. Other patients need nutritional guidance or counseling to be successful.  Many patients don’t want to use medication therapy. Finally, everyone’s metabolism is a little different.

By getting to know patients personally, a physician can help navigate these preferences to develop a customized program that will actually work.  It’s very rewarding for both the physician and the patient.

#4 – A Setting That Works For You

Some people prefer the support and accountability that comes with a group visit.  Others want to work through the challenging process of achieving a healthy weight in a more private setting – working one-on-one with a physician. The ability to choose either option or a combination of both can help improve your success.

#5 – It’s Not All About Weight Loss

While losing weight is great, what’s really rewarding is watching patients experience the other medical benefits of weight loss over time. I’ve seen patients significantly reduce their risk for heart disease and other serious health problems.

Other patients with conditions ranging from diabetes and osteoarthritis to depression or anxiety have seen improvement once they’ve gotten their weight under control.  Some patients have been able to reduce or eliminate the use of certain medications after losing weight.

#6 – Coverage Through Insurance/Health Plan

Medically-supervised weight management is covered through most medical insurance plans. Most patients simply pay a primary care co-pay for each visit, making it an extremely affordable weight loss program.

#7 – Ongoing Maintenance

In most cases, patients maintain a relationship with their primary care physician for many years. For patients who partner with this same physician for weight management, the ongoing guidance and support from a partner who knows your history can be very helpful for long-term success.

Learn more about the nutrition services we offer, including nutrition and weight management for adults as well as bariatric surgery options.


About Theresa Amerson, MD

Dr. Theresa Amerson is board certified in medical bariatrics.  She helps patients who want to manage their weight in a small group setting or one-on-one with her or one of her partners – all for the cost of a primary care co-pay. To learn more, call (919) 350-9000.

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