What is the best way to lose weight fast? It’s an aggressive combination of:
- Personalized diet
- Adequate exercise
- Weight loss pills
The best way to get this aggressive yet safe combination of treatments is under the care of an Obesity Medicine Physician. This special doctor or specialist has training in multiple types of weight loss diets (including meal replacements and low carbohydrate (low-carb) diets, etc.). I am certified as an obesity medicine physician. I counsel on exercise, help with behavior changes and use medicines or pills that help weight loss, formally called Anti-Obesity Medications.
As of the beginning of 2018, there are about 2068 physicians in the United States and Canada who are certified by the American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM.org). To become an Obesity Medicine Certified Physician, I had to take special courses on how to lose weight, the science behind fat, hunger and hormones and then take and pass an advanced test given every spring.
I have been certified as an Obesity Medicine Doctor since 2012. Before that, this specialty was called bariatric medicine. In 2006, the American Board of Bariatric Medicine (ABBM) certified me. In 2012, the ABBM was closed down so that a new Society the American Board of Obesity Medicine could be started.
If you decide that you want fast weight loss, you start out by booking an appointment with my coordinator. To prep for your initial consultation, my staff will have you complete a medical history form as well as draw some blood for testing (don’t worry if you hate needles, my staff is pretty darn good at drawing blood) and do an EKG (electrocardiogram).
At our first visit together, I usually start with a question something like “why now?” This gets us started in discussing why you may have gained weight and why you want to now, lose weight. Some people that I take care of have struggled with their weight from as early in their life as grade school and others it started only over the last few years as something has changed in their lives.
We then discuss the medicines that you are taking and I will let you know if some of them are causing weight-gain even the medicine is helping you treat something specific like depression or blood pressure. If you are on one of these “weight-gaining” medicines and there is a good “non-weight gaining” alternative medicine, I will call your primary care provider (whether you see a physician, nurse practitioner or physicians assistant) and discuss with him or her the benefits of switching you to a better medication for weight loss.
I will ask about your current overall diet and what you currently eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Do you snack at work? Do you binge at 9pm? Do you wake in the night and eat if you cannot sleep? Do you eat when you are stressed? Do you eat when you are bored? Do you eat when you are tired? Do you cook? Do you grocery shop (or if not you, who?) Are you a picky eater? Have you tried but been unsuccessful as a vegetarian or vegan? Are you gluten sensitive? Are you on autopilot when you drive through the drive through on the way home from work? Do you start the day with coffee and a muffin? Do you skip breakfast? Do you or someone near you keep food in your desk at work? Do you clean your plate? Do you ever feel full? Do you get overstuffed?
Between looking at records that your physician, NP or PA may send me about your past medical history, talking to you about your medical history and doing the initial blood work, I will find out if you have diabetes, high blood pressure or have had cancer or have other medical conditions.
I will do a focused physical exam. I will review with you the set of blood tests that you usually have drawn the day prior along with your baseline EKG (electrocardiogram).
Finally, I then propose a weight loss treatment plan which takes into account nutrition and diet, activity and exercise, long term changes including classes taught by psychologists and dieticians (covering such topics as why you stress eat, the concept of emotional eating and really what a carbohydrate is and what a carbohydrate is not), and finally we have a discussion on whether you should or may want to start pills that help with weight loss and why.
By the end of this visit, you have an initial plan that we decide together as the best way to start this personalized and fast weight loss process.
We have studied our patients weight loss over the last 12 years that we have been doing weight loss at Scottsdale Weight Loss Center in this way and you can average 12 pounds in the first month and then 10 pounds in month 2 and another 10 pounds loss in month 3. This ends up being an average of 32 pounds lost in the first 3 months. Of course, this number can be higher if for instance, you have more weight to lose, exercise regularly, and use a full replacement plan of Optifast and medications that help with weight loss. As long as you stay on the diet, you can expect to lose about 10 lbs. a month for the next few months also.
I will continue to see you quite regularly. Usually, you will start a structured program that we call JumpStart. In the JumpStart program, I will see you every other week, with you seeing one of my great medical assistants on the opposite weeks. This program lasts about 20 weeks. At these visits, first of all, I will make sure that you are losing weight and if not, figure out why. The job of a weight loss doctor is to find the diet and overall weight loss program that will work for you. We will talk about issues and concerns that come up in your life that may interfere with your weight loss and eventual maintenance. I will enjoy cheering on your success and of course will help you get past roadblocks along the way.
When discussing the whole process, the first part of fast weight loss is the right diet. It is hard to eat a diet that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates while getting all of the vitamins and nutrition that your body needs. To make it easier, we have chosen to use Optifast meal replacements. These are a combination of medically designed protein shakes, bars and soups that first of all taste good and second, provide all the nutrients (macronutrients and micronutrients) that you will need to properly lose weight. Optifast has been around since the early 1970s and the science (and taste) keeps getting better and better. These are not like the protein shakes that you get at the grocery store. Some of us call them “astronaut food”. This means you can but may never go into outer space but eat Optifast and drink water and stay completely healthy and feel great without eating any other food or taking any other vitamins.
One thing I hear all too often from patients is that they do not like to cook and so they eat out. They eat either fast food or regular restaurant food or takeout. Optifast makes eating easy: for the powdered protein shakes, you just add water. For the bars, you open the package. Some of the bars taste even better after 15 seconds melted in the microwave.
The second most important factor for weight loss is exercise and activity. Some people I take care of used to exercise but have fallen out of the habit. Some are already mildly active but need some structure in their day.
What is the best exercise? Its simple, it’s the one you like. The more you like the exercise that you are doing, the more you will look forward to doing it. If you like many exercises, the best is a combination of cardiovascular exercise. This may be walking, running, bicycling, hiking, treadmill, elliptical, swimming or one of many others. If its not cardiovascular exercise, it is probably weight lifting or strength training. The goal in a weight loss program is to do something active on most days of the week. You do not have to go out and do something for several hours (unless you enjoy that stuff). 30 focused minutes at a time are usually enough. Besides weight loss, exercise will help you sleep. Will keep you calmer. Will make you happier. Will help your blood pressure go lower. Will help your blood sugar come down. There are so many benefits to exercise, I will write a whole blog on it in the future.
The last of the big 3 parts of a fast weight loss program is sleep. It’s the kind of deep sleep that us doctors call restorative sleep. Some people I take care of just do not go to bed at a reasonable time. Others go to bed ok but something wakes them in the middle of the night and then they cannot get back to sleep. Some others may have sleep apnea and at worst wake up every thirty to forty-five seconds in the middle of the night. Sleep is best at eight hours per night with the average from seven to nine hours per night most nights. Studies have shown that if you sleep less than 7 hours per night, you will more likely be overweight and if you sleep more than 7 hours, you will be less likely to be overweight.
A fast weight loss plan is based on a strong foundation of science that has developed over many years. It is a combination of diet, exercise and sleep prescribed by an obesity medicine certified physician and is by far the best way for someone who has been on a hundred diets in the past to stop just trying to lose weight and finally successfully lose weight and keep it off.