By Jenny Seger, MD, FOMA, Diplomate ABOM, ABFM When it comes to topics about weight loss and obesity, there is a sea of misinformation. As healthcare professionals, we frequently encounter patients who have incorrect ideas and unattainable goals around weight loss that stem from commonly believed myths. Setting the record straight and helping patients recognize these untruths is the first step in guiding them to achieve their long-term, holistic health goals.
[MYTH] Eating less and exercising more are the keys to weight loss success.
[REALITY] While a reduction in the overall amount or quantity of calories may be a helpful tactic for inducing weight loss, there is strong evidence suggesting the overall quality of calories is just as important, if not more. Equally, while exercise has countless benefits, it has been shown repeatedly to not be a very effective tool when it comes to weight loss. Addressing an unhealthy diet is far more important to address initially when trying to lose weight.
[MYTH] Health is synonymous with the number on the scale.
[REALITY] Weight loss progress is not always reflected by the number on the scale. I encourage patients to look at other indicators of progress on their journey, such as how they are feeling emotionally and physically. Better sleep, enhanced gut function, decreased pain, and improved blood sugar, cholesterol, and liver function tests are all great reflections of improved health and progress.
[MYTH] BMI is an accurate indicator of obesity.
[REALITY] This is simply not always the case. If we only looked at BMI and not body composition, many elite athletes would be considered overweight or obese. Increased waist circumference has a strong correlation to increased adiposity and is one of the indicators of metabolic syndrome that can increase one’s risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
[MYTH] Fat makes you fat.
[REALITY] Fats and proteins are essential to a healthy human diet. Numerous studies demonstrate that consuming a reduced carbohydrate, moderate protein, and healthy fat diet can lead to more weight loss and better improvement in blood sugars, insulin, inflammatory markers, and lipids, compared with a traditional low-fat dietary approach.
Debunking weight loss and obesity myths, as well as educating patients, is key to helping them manage their weight loss expectations, measure their overall progress, and guide them on their health and wellness journeys.
Jenny Seger, MD, FOMA, Diplomate ABOM, ABFM, currently serves as the Medical Director of the Comprehensive Medical-Surgical Program at BMI of Texas, which offers an integrated and comprehensive approach to the treatment of obesity. In addition to previously serving as a Board Trustee for OMA and being active in numerous OMA committees, she is currently serving on the ABOM Board of Directors. Dr. Seger is active in her community and enjoys speaking at local events to raise awareness about obesity and working with medical students in the Obesity Medicine elective she created.
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