What is the best approach to lose weight? Consulting with a particular professional, like a nutritionist, or consulting with a team of professionals with a multidisciplinary approach?
Obesity is a worldwide problem and there are many types of weight loss programs out there. Some are more effective than others. It also depends on the context and the reality of the individual who is trying to lose weight. But what is the best approach?
Traditionally, people that needed to lose weight were likely to consult with a dietitian. It made sense since that’s the professional that deals with food; just like you would consult an accountant when you have a tax issue or call a plumber when you have a leak in your faucet. For years, many patients who suffered from obesity consulted with dietitians with varying degrees of success. The dietitians did their jobs, evaluated the patients, inquired about their food habits, gave reasonable advice, offered diet plans, and followed their patients as best as they could.
Is that enough?
This may be enough if you have 10, 15 or 20 lbs to lose to wear a bikini next summer. It may be enough if you have to lower your mildly elevated cholesterol count or blood sugar level ( otherwise, chances are that you would be on medication). However, when you must lose 50, 70, 100, 150 pounds or more, or have serious and complicated medical issues, the odds are that this approach will fail. The task is too difficult for one specialist to succeed.
Obesity is not just a nutritional problem. It is multifactorial. Obesity transcends into different aspects of one’s life, which is why a dietitian alone is not likely to be able to help most patients achieve such degrees of weight loss. Obesity is foremost a behavioral problem. Without addressing the psychological dimension of someone’s obesity issues, you are missing an opportunity to help someone understand why he or she became obese in the first place and to learn how to make the right decisions and to stay focused on their goals. We have often heard the saying: “Motivate your mind, your body will follow.” Or “the body achieves what the mind believes”. The truth is that no one is always motivated, so you must learn to navigate your motivational highs and lows, and that is one of the reasons why a psychologist is so important in your weight loss journey.
A kinesiologist, also known as a fitness trainer, is another professional who plays a very important role in a weight loss program. As everybody knows, the calories that you consume but that you do not spend are transformed into fat and stored in your body, here and there, in different places that we do not usually like. You cannot possibly lose a substantial amount of weight simply based on limiting your intake. It is too restrictive and not sustainable in the long run. You need to find a balance between a healthy diet and exercise. Furthermore, exercising on a regular basis brings all kinds of benefits other than just burning calories.
Amongst other things, exercise helps to prevent heart disease, type 2 diabetes and lower our risk of stroke. Exercise also helps reduce stress, combat anxiety and promote relaxation while simultaneously making you feel energized. Fit people tend to be more productive because they have more endurance. In short, exercising helps extend life and improve its quality. Fitness should be fun and enjoyable. The objective of a kinesiologist is to help patients find this enjoyment and to experience it over and over.
For obese patients who suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiac problem or any other chronic medical conditions, it is also important to have a nurse as part of the multidisciplinary team, who can follow the evolution of the patient through his or her weight loss journey. This is because medications will have to be re-evaluated as the weight decreases over time. Some medications will have to be reduced and some will have to be stopped. Some patients may feel new symptoms that need to be addressed.
All these adjustments need to be done in the context of a multidisciplinary team to ensure a smooth “evolution” of an individual from obese, possibly with chronic diseases, to a leaner and healthier person. Each of the professionals in the multidisciplinary team brings an expertise that is unique and vital to the success of the weight loss program.
Take a few minutes and watch the attached video of obese patients that experienced the multidisciplinary approach of our Zero excuse GO weight loss program. Their testimonials are amazing!