Weight Management

Successful weight management requires a combination of long-term solutions

Obesity is a complex disease with no single treatment plan that will work for everyone. There are a number of treatments that can be used to help reduce body weight, prevent weight gain, and improve overall health and well-being.

Mindfulness

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by cravings?

Fortunately, there are ways to overcome these cravings when they appear. Mindfulness is an approach to eating that requires you to engage deeply with your five senses, heightening your awareness in the moments when cravings appear and empowering you to make decisions you can be proud of in the long-term. When you are mindful, your eating is guided by genuine hunger, rather than cues like sight and smell that appear to your senses and drive temptation.

Eating & nutrition

While weight management goes beyond simply “calories in vs calories out”, diet does play a role in overall health. The body has two different drives to eat, Body Hunger and Reward Hunger. To understand them is to understand the factors that drive appetite.

Body Hunger
Body hunger is the drive to eat when feeling physically hungry. This type of hunger is regulated by hormones in the gut, blood sugar, and fat tissues. Strategies to manage body hunger include: eating regularly, consuming balanced meals, and limiting the intake of foods high in sugar and fats.

Reward Hunger
Reward hunger compels one to eat, even when not feeling physically hungry. This type of hunger includes stress eating, emotional eating, and eating as a reward for positive events or in celebration for an achievement. Reward hunger is typically a sign of stress or being overwhelmed. In this scenario, the brain is looking to use food as a way of coping with the stress or emotions being felt. To manage reward hunger, it is important to identify triggers and what actual need the body is trying to satisfy.

Physical activity

As managing eating habits is not exclusively about the number of calories you consume, one’s level of activity is much more complicated than just burning calories.

Focusing on increasing daily activity levels can help to promote overall fitness and well-being. Setting manageable activity goals can build confidence and contribute to improved weight management.

Medication

While it is possible to achieve weight loss through diet and exercise alone, the majority of people are unable to maintain this weight loss over time.

Prescription medications for the treatment of obesity, when used in combination with lifestyle modification, such as reduced calorie diets and exercise, can help patients lose weight and keep it off.

In Canada, there are prescription medications available for the treatment of obesity. Family doctors are able to advise which is the most appropriate for a given patient.

Bariatric surgery

Bariatric surgery is a medical procedure performed on the stomach or intestines to assist with weight loss.

There are three types of bariatric surgery. Restrictive bariatric surgery produces weight loss by limiting food intake through gastric banding. Malabsorptive, is when an intestinal bypass induces weight loss by interfering with digestion and absorption. Finally, mixed bariatric surgery procedures limit food intake and produce malabsorption with a gastric bypass or duodenal switch.

Talking to your doctor

Obesity is a medically recognized, chronic condition that requires long-term treatment and support. It is important to speak to a doctor about the options that may be right for you. While talking about weight management can be difficult, doctors are there to help.