When starting a weight loss journey, evaluate the factors that have attributed to weight gain

Posted: Monday, November 1, 2021
Family Medicine Resident at Northeast Georgia Health System

Did you know that if you have difficulty sleeping, fatigue, osteoarthritis or depression, it could be related to obesity? Obesity-related diabetes can lead to increased cancer risks such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer and liver cancer.

There is good news! People do win their battle with obesity. The first step when starting a weight loss journey is to evaluate the factors that contribute to weight gain.

Culture

It is essential to have education on the importance of losing weight, eating better and exercising. However, in some countries, the norm is to be heavier because it signifies being healthier. For some cultures, being bigger is a sign that you are eating the proper food, stronger, or even protected from injuries and sicknesses. Some women put on unhealthy weight and compromise their health because heavier-looking females is simply more attractive in some cultures.

Let’s applaud people who embrace their natural size, small or big, if the size does not interfere with the quality of life.

Environment

When we talk about environment and obesity, we refer to the quality of the food available, accessibility to various foods, culturally based foods and socioeconomic status. 

Culture plays a big part in our identity. Consuming comfort foods in moderation is far better for our health. Many of our meals are prepared with oils, carbohydrates and sugar. Our culture has a direct impact on our health. We should incorporate more vegetables, fruits and leaner proteins — such as lean cuts of meat, fish and chicken breast (no skin).

Healthier oils include almond oil, avocado and olive oil. Studies have shown that incorporating these types of food may help us live longer, lower the risk of heart diseases or diabetes, help maintain a healthy weight and improve quality of life overall.

The Georgia Mountain Food Bank provides more nutritious and healthier food options locally. They distribute in specific neighborhoods through organizations, and they can also provide healthy recipes for you to try. You can get more information on their website, gamountainfoodbank.org.

Exercise

When people hear exercise, it can be an overwhelming concept; however, exercise combined with a better diet increases health benefits and can be achieved in small daily steps. We know it’s essential to stay active throughout the day, and lucky for us, exercise can be achieved in various forms. 

If you enjoy going to the gym, great! Others enjoy walks, bicycle rides, dancing or playing sports. For people with limited time, I suggest going up and down the stairs at work, walking in the hallways and even parking the car farther away from your destination to maximize walking. Small, consistent daily effort will compound over time.  

When diet and exercise just doesn’t work

For those who cannot exercise due to medical conditions, old age or simply do not see results with dieting and exercising on their own, I strongly recommend visiting your primary care physician. We can discuss and create exercise plans, refer you to a nutritionist for a better diet, possibly provide weight loss medications and certainly provide you with important moral support. If further help is needed, bariatric physicians who are specialists in weight loss, can help determine what other weight loss options are available. These specialized physicians are available in our Gainesville community. Check out ngpg.org/general-surgery/bariatrics to learn more.

It is crucial to fight obesity for all these reasons, as doing so will significantly increase your quality of life.

Next steps

Talk to your Northeast Georgia Physicians Group primary care provider today about the prevention and treatment of obesity. Disease management, disease prevention and health education are at the core of NGPG’s patient care philosophy.