Why we need to talk about obesity
Obesity is a widespread, common issue, but it can be hard to talk about it — even with our doctors. Some people mistakenly think that obesity is a sign of laziness or lack of self-control, but that’s not true. Obesity is a health condition that can be caused by a variety of things, including:
- Mental health issues
- Changes to daily habits
- Chronic stress
- Hormonal imbalances
- Medication side effects
- And more
Whatever the cause, you can’t treat a health condition by suffering alone in silence. Instead, we need to treat obesity the same way we treat any other medical issue: by talking about it with our doctor.
How to talk to your doctor about obesity
Your doctor is an advocate for your health. They want you healthy and will work with you to figure out the best course of action.
If you feel you’re at an unhealthy weight, bring it up during your next visit (or schedule a visit to talk about your concerns). While it may feel uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to share your challenges. For example, if you’re an on-the-go college student who’s struggling to make quick, healthy meals, let your doctor know. They may be able to refer you to a dietitian or help you craft a meal plan that will suit your lifestyle.
Explore your options
Finding the right approach can be hit or miss at first. Give it time. We often try to lose extra weight as quickly as possible, but this can create unnecessary stress. And since chronic stress may also cause fat storage, it will only set you back.
To keep your weight-loss plan as stress-free as possible, try to make small changes at first.
Let’s say your doctor recommends you work out for 30 minutes and eat 5 small meals every day. You may want to spend the first week of your weight loss plan going for 30-minute walks. Once you’ve made walking a daily habit, then start researching healthy meals that will leave you feeling full and satisfied. Each time you make a new habit, celebrate your success, and move onto the next small step. Over time, your efforts will create a solid foundation for a healthier lifestyle.
And remember, if a weight-loss plan isn’t working for any reason, tell your doctor right away. Together you can discuss alternatives.
Build your support team
Having supportive people in your life who want you to succeed can make a world of difference. You can build your support team by finding people you can trust and talking with them about your weight-loss journey. This could be a loved one, family member, support group, or therapist.
If you decide to open up to a loved one, you might even find out they’re struggling with weight loss, too. Together you can encourage one another to stay on track.
Take advantage of available resources
As a Kaiser Permanente member, you have access to care teams who are invested in your overall well-being. Be sure to discuss your options with your doctor or check out our Health & Wellness resources.
And remember, it’s not about the numbers on the scale, or shame, guilt, and frustration — it’s about the changes we make today to live a healthier tomorrow.