A New Prescription for Weight Loss

Most people’s prescription for weight loss? Eat less and exercise more. Yet many people diet this way for years and still continue to gain and lose the same 15-20 pounds; or better yet, find themselves even heavier than when they started.

Amanda Powell, MD, Medical Director of Lahey’s Medical Weight Loss Center advises anyone who needs to lose weight — even if it’s just five to ten pounds — to see a medical obesity specialist.

“Someone with diabetes wouldn’t hesitate to see an endocrinologist,” says Dr. Powell. “Why wouldn’t someone who is chronically overweight see an obesity medicine specialist? The American Medical Association recognizes obesity as a chronic disease. When patients accept that it’s a disease they can accept treatment. They need to take ownership, but there is an element that is not in their control.”

Obesity medicine is one of the fastest-growing fields in medicine, but it’s still relatively new and not widely known; so that may be why so many people wrongly believe they only have a few select options for losing weight.

Obesity medicine offers more than just a diet or exercise plan to help patients lose weight. At Lahey, patients benefit from the expertise of a team of physicians and professionals that include dietitians, nurses, psychologists and behavioral health specialists who are trained to address the physiology behind their weight struggles.

For example, Dr. Powell says if a patient with depression and anxiety uses food to cope, her team considers those underlying issues in developing the patient’s plan.

The program offers a number of treatment options, including:

  • lifestyle modification

  • diet and meal replacement plans

  • emotional and supportive counseling in individual or group settings

  • medication and/or bariatric surgery

  • the non-surgical ReShape gastric balloon procedure

Lahey is also one of the first hospitals in the country selected to offer patients the new SmartByte weight management tool, which is an oral device to help patients control portion size and focus on mindful eating. The program includes the device, a full year of behavior modification with weekly one on one coaching and an app that lets the patient and coaches monitor and track compliance.

Lahey’s Medical Weight Loss Program has helped people lose from a few pounds to a few hundred — and keep them off. Although many patients are women ages 20-60, Dr. Powell says she’s seen a significant increase in men as well as patients in their seventies joining the program. Lahey also has a family medicine trained physician who is able to treat both pediatric and adolescent patients who struggle with their weight.

For more information on Lahey’s Medical Weight Loss Center, please visit Lahey Health online.

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*The content on this website is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. Please consult a physician regarding your specific medical condition, diagnosis and/or treatment.

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