If your BMI is at the obesity level, the health care provider will usually check your medical history thoroughly, perform a physical examination and recommend some tests.

In general, these exams and tests include the following:

  • Prepare your medical history. The doctor may review your weight history, weight loss efforts, exercise habits, eating patterns, other diseases you have had, medications, stress levels, and other health issues. Your doctor may also check your family’s medical history to see if you have a predisposition to certain diseases.
  • A general physical examination. This also involves measuring your height; check your vital signs, such as heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature; listen to the heart and lungs, and examine the abdomen.
  • Calculate your BMI The doctor will check your body mass index (BMI) to determine your level of obesity. Your BMI also helps determine your overall health risk and the treatment that may be appropriate.
  • Blood test. The tests you perform depend on your health, your risk factors and the current symptoms you are having. The tests can consist of cholesterol analysis, liver function test, fasting glucose, thyroid analysis, among others. The doctor can also recommend some heart tests, such as an electrocardiogram.

Gathering all this information will help you and the doctor determine how much weight you should lose and what health problems or risks you currently have. This will serve to guide treatment decisions.

Treatment for weight loss

The goal of obesity treatment is to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. You may have to work with a team of health professionals – including a dietician, behavioural counsellor or obesity specialist – to help you understand and change your eating and physical activity habits.

The initial goal of treatment is usually a moderate thinning (from 3 to 5 percent of your total weight). This means that if you weigh 200 pounds (91 kg) and are obese according to the body mass index, you would only have to lose around 6 to 10 pounds (from 2.7 kg to 4.5 kg) so that your health begins to improve.

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All slimming programs require changes in your eating habits and an increase in physical activity. The most appropriate treatment methods for you depend on your degree of obesity, your general health and your willingness to participate in a weight loss plan.

The following are other treatment tools:

  • Changes in diet
  • Exercise and physical activity
  • Changes in behavior
  • Prescription medications to lose weight
  • Surgery to lose weight

Changes in diet

Reducing calories and adopting healthier eating habits is essential to overcome obesity. Although you can lose weight quickly at the beginning, slow and steady long-term weight loss is considered the safest way to lose weight and the best way to not gain weight again.

Avoid drastic and unrealistic diets, such as “lightning” diets, because they are likely to not help you maintain a low long-term weight.

By Skyler West

Piper Skyler West: Piper, a sports medicine expert, shares advice on injury prevention, athletic performance, and sports health tips.