Some lucky people might find losing weight an easy process, but most of the time people struggle to safely approach weight loss that is effective for the long term. About half of U.S. adults are trying to lose weight, but the pandemic has made the process even more difficult. A little less than half of U.S. adults gained weight during the pandemic with 29 pounds being the average weight gain. 10% have even gained more than 50 pounds.
Unfortunately, only 56% of doctors are confident in treating obesity while just 46% feel successful in doing so. The low percentage of doctors in the U.S. trained in obesity management as well as evidence that healthcare professionals have negative opinions about people with obesity have increased the need for a new approach to medical weight loss, especially after studies from Johns Hopkins have found that 21% of overweight patients were more unlikely to trust their doctor’s advice because they felt judged during appointments. As a result, there is a higher probability of overweight patients switching doctors due to unsolicited weight advice or negative comments. There is also an 85% greater chance of overweight patients who are constantly switching doctors to land in the emergency room. Anxiety over being weighed has also caused 55% of overweight patients to cancel at least one appointment.
Not a lot of people are using medications to help them with their weight loss. Less than 3% of eligible patients are given weight-loss medications even though there are several safe and effective medications being sold. For example, semaglutide can help patients lose 14.9% of their body weight through 68 weeks of use.
Weight issues can have a serious effect on our health as well. In fact, 80% of people with serious mental health problems are overweight or obese. Toxic stress floods the system with cortisol, which impacts the brain’s ability to function. Memory and mental processes impaired due to mental illnesses make it harder to adopt behaviors for weight loss and maintain motivation. Obesity also leads to a high death rate compared to the rest of the population due to reduction in levels of activity leading to slower metabolism and more difficulty in losing weight. Depression is another issue that can be affected by weight issues. Some people living with depression feel hungrier than usual or eat emotionally while others find a decrease in their appetite and many experience unintentional weight loss.
Food addiction can also be associated with obesity. Eating can help some people with soothing anxiety, fear, or anger in a similar manner as alcohol or other substances, but food addiction can result in behavior and physical patterns that are similar to substance abuse. For example, food addiction can cause changes in brain activity that are related to restraint and overeating can result in a feeling that is similar to being hung over.
Unfortunately, keeping weight off is as tough as losing it. 9% of dieters regain everything they lost within 3 years while those who lost significant weight were at greater risk for depression after 4 years. Nonetheless, if you educate yourself of the issues that need to be considered and addressed properly about weight loss, you can make a weight loss plan that will help you maintain a healthy life.
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