How to achieve effective weight loss

While health and wellness are hot topics nowadays with a wealth of information available, obesity rates are still on the rise in Australia.

With a shocking 2 out of 3 adults in Australia classified as overweight or obese, it is a major health concern. That is 67% (12.5 million adults) who have a BMI of 25-29 or higher at BMI 30+. 

Addressing weight-related concerns is a critical aspect of healthcare. As a specialist in obesity and weight loss management, I often encounter patients seeking effective and sustainable solutions to their weight struggles. In this blog, we will delve into the diverse approaches available in Australia's weight loss landscape, including the role of medical weight loss and the effectiveness of a personalised strategy, including the use of weight loss medication.

The Current Weight Loss Landscape in Australia:

Australia, like many developed nations, faces the challenge of rising obesity rates. Factors such as sedentary lifestyles, poor dietary habits, and genetic predispositions contribute to the increasing prevalence of obesity. Conventional methods like diet and exercise play a crucial role, but for many individuals, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight requires a more nuanced and personalised approach.

As an obesity specialist, with certification through the World Obesity Federation, I am very aware that a one size fits all approach does not work and the solutions that provide the best results are those that take into account many facets about each individual and their needs.

Medical Weight Loss Approaches:

Medical weight loss, overseen by qualified healthcare professionals, involves personalised interventions beyond traditional diet and exercise. This may include the incorporation of weight loss medications, nutritional counselling, behavioural therapy, and regular medical monitoring. The objective is not just shedding pounds but promoting overall health and addressing the root causes of obesity.

Lifestyle Medicine Approaches with Weight Loss:

Lifestyle medicine involves adopting a holistic approach to health, focusing on lifestyle factors that contribute to overall well-being. Integrating lifestyle medicine into weight loss strategies ensures a comprehensive and sustainable approach. 

I take a tailored approach to assessing an individual's unique circumstances, including dietary preferences, activity levels, medical history and psychological factors, to develop a program for each individual.

The Role of Weight Loss Medication in Australia

Weight loss medication has emerged as valuable tools in the fight against obesity. These medications, when prescribed and monitored by healthcare professionals, can aid patients in achieving sustainable weight loss. It's important to note that weight loss medication is not standalone solutions but part of a comprehensive strategy that includes lifestyle modifications.

Common Prescribed Weight Loss Medication:

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) strictly regulates weight loss medications in Australia. Medications such as Orlistat, phentermine, naltrexone-bupropion, liraglutide, and semaglutide are being prescribed for weight loss. New weight loss medications are being developed and there is increasing demand among the population as they become more well known. 

It's crucial to understand the mechanisms, potential side effects, and individual suitability for each medication. This is best undertaken by a specialist health professional with dedicated and intimate knowledge of weight loss and obesity.

When Surgery Options May be Applicable:

In cases of severe obesity where lifestyle modifications and medications prove insufficient, bariatric surgery becomes a viable option. Surgical interventions like gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy can provide effective and lasting weight loss for individuals who meet specific criteria. However, surgery is typically considered when other measures have not yielded satisfactory results.

Medical Devices and Weight Loss:

Advancements in medical technology have introduced devices designed to aid weight loss. Devices like gastric balloons or electrical stimulation devices may be recommended in certain situations. These tools, when used under professional guidance, can complement other weight loss strategies.

Adopting a tailored and comprehensive approach is key to achieving lasting results. As a specialist in obesity and weight loss management, I emphasize the importance of personalised strategies, incorporating lifestyle medicine, medical interventions, and, when necessary, advanced treatments. 

By understanding the diverse options available, individuals can make informed choices on their weight loss journey, ultimately achieving improved health and well-being.

External references:

About the author:

Dr. Maree Poggio is a lifestyle medicine GP who specialises in obesity management and medical weight loss located in Townsville and North Queensland. 

As an expert with certification from the World Obesity Federation, Dr. Poggio provides a compassionate approach to her patients with comprehensive weight management solutions customised to each patient’s unique needs that can include lifestyle modifications, weight loss medications and/or bariatric surgery to empower patients to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

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