Number one, a person must have their diet under control. The number of calories taken in is very important—if you take too many calories in, it's going to show up on your waist line.
Secondly, the Surgeon General recommends you exercise for between 150 and 300 minutes per week. That may be a little antiquated at this point, but you really have to get active. Everybody should be briskly walking for 30 minutes, or even 60 minutes, a day. A healthy diet and a good amount of exercise are the two key hallmarks.
In terms of weight loss surgery, you have to be in a supportive environment. All of my patients have to commit to going to a support group for a couple of reasons: One is education and information—we can get information from patients to track them. And two, people do better when they are supported to live a healthy lifestyle.
You have to see a doctor regularly. In my particular specialty, patients have to commit to seeing me life-long after their surgery, so I can really engage and help them if they run into stumbling points. Even if you haven't had surgery, make sure you have a good physician relationship, so you can be guided to achieve a healthier lifestyle and weight.
It's difficult sometimes for patients and physicians to talk about weight. Oftentimes patients don't see themselves as being unhealthy, and doctors are sometimes afraid to bring it up—it's a sensitive issue. It benefits the patient if the doctor says, “You know what, your weight is really doing this, or it's affecting your health, or it's giving you high blood pressure, or it's giving you diabetes, you have to get it down.” And if the patient can recognize that their health is tied to their weight, it will help them to engage and be more proactive about managing it.
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