Weight loss – Where do I start?

About two thirds of Australian adults are above a healthy weight range. For those who want to reduce their weight, the process can be daunting, difficult, and frustrating.

People may not know where or how to start, or who to go to for support. Others may feel they have tried everything possible, and nothing has worked.

Unfortunately, there are also people who have tried to get help from healthcare professionals and been met with judgement or a lack of knowledge.

There are lots of different causes of weight gain. Some people have found it difficult to manage their weight since childhood and may have family members who have also had issues with their weight. Other people can track their weight gain back to major life events, such as an injury, pregnancy, or menopause.

Some people are above a healthy weight but do not have any related medical problems. Others might have issues such as high blood sugar or cholesterol, high blood pressure, hormone abnormalities, joint pain, mood concerns, or snoring. For people with these issues, losing even a small amount of weight can make a big difference and, in some cases, even reverse the problem altogether.

Scientists and doctors are now realising that weight management is not necessarily as simple as calories in and calories out. Some people might find it easy to lose weight by changing their diet and increasing their physical activity, but others might work hard at these and not lose much weight at all. This can feel frustrating and discouraging.

We now know that once you have been at a certain weight for a while, your body wants to keep you at this weight.

This means that even with a healthy diet and regular exercise, your body will try to counteract these, so you do not lose weight. Some of the ways it does this is by increasing your hunger levels and reducing the amount of unconscious movement you do throughout the day.

Diet and exercise are still the cornerstone of weight loss, and sometimes it is just a matter of finding the right thing that works for you. However, for certain people there are new medication options available that can help. There is good evidence that when used in conjunction with diet and exercise, these medications can lead to significantly more weight loss than diet and exercise alone.

If you are wanting to lose weight, please make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your options. They can help you come up with a plan involving diet and physical activity, as well as medication if this is appropriate for you. They will also support and monitor you through your weight loss journey.

At Leichhardt GP all our doctors are motivated to help people get to a healthy weight, and some of us have done extra training in weight management. We also have great dietitians working at the practice who can provide additional support.