As we approach the summer months and begin planning outings with friends and parties by the pool, we often take a closer look at our wardrobe and our weight. Did we gain weight over the winter and need to shed some quick pounds?
If your answer is yes, we are here to help! We have a plan to get you back on track and ready for a fun summer feeling good about your weight and self-image.
Fast Is Not Better
We may want it fast, but quick weight loss is often not permanent or healthy. Below we list several reasons why rapid weight loss is harmful to your overall health.
Muscle loss: Rapid weight loss often involves a significant loss of muscle mass along with fat loss. Maintaining good muscle mass, especially as we age, should be a prime concern for us all. Most of us know that losing muscle mass will slow down our metabolism, making it harder to maintain weight loss in the long term.
But more importantly, we need to consider how our muscles are vital to our health and maintaining our bodies. One of the world’s leading medical researchers specializing in muscle metabolism, Dr. Robert Wolfe, says that muscle plays a central role in maintaining our health and controlling disease. Muscle loss can lead to weakness, reduced physical performance, and a higher risk of injuries.
Nutritional deficiencies: When you lose weight rapidly, you often restrict your calorie intake severely. This can lead to inadequate intake of essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and protein, which are necessary for your body’s proper functioning. Nutritional deficiencies can result in weakness, fatigue, impaired immune function, hair loss, and other health problems.
Gallstones: When you don’t eat for a long period of time, or you lose weight quickly, your liver releases extra cholesterol into the bile. Fast weight loss can also prevent the gallbladder from emptying properly. Rapid weight-loss (three pounds or more per week in this case) can significantly increase the risk of forming gallstones. Gallstones are solid deposits that form in the gallbladder and can cause severe abdominal pain, nausea, and other complications. Weight cycling – losing and regaining weight repeatedly – also increases the risk of gallstone formation.
Weight regain: Rapid weight loss is unsustainable in the long term. Many people who lose weight quickly tend to regain the weight shortly afterward. This weight cycling, also known as yo-yo dieting, can have negative impacts on your metabolism and overall health.
Like all good things, true fat loss takes time.
Weight Loss Drugs
A trending weight-loss fad is the prescription of common type-2 diabetes drugs to nondiabetic patients to control blood sugar and help with weight loss.
These drugs, commonly called glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) agonists, artificially and temporarily help the body lose weight. When an individual eats, their blood sugar levels start to rise. These drugs stimulate the body to produce more insulin and lower blood sugar levels.
The drugs are also known to slow the movement of food from the stomach into the small intestine, which causes the individual to feel full faster and longer and, thus, eat less.
Patients will need a prescription for these diabetes drugs, and often insurance will pay for this. Most of these drugs have varying effects on their patients. Studies have found that GLP-1 drugs can lead to a weight loss of about 10.5 to 15.8 pounds when using Liraglutide. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Studies found people using Semaglutide and making lifestyle changes lost about 33.7 pounds (15.3 kilograms) versus 5.7 pounds (2.6 kilograms) in those who didn’t use the drug.”
Below is a list of the most common GLP-1 drugs below. All but one is administered with a shot either daily or weekly:
- Dulaglutide (Trulicity) (weekly)
- Exenatide extended-release (Bydureon BCise) (weekly)
- Exenatide (Byetta) (twice daily)
- Semaglutide (Ozempic) (weekly)
- Liraglutide (Victoza, Saxenda) (daily)
- Lixisenatide (Adlyxin) (daily)
- Semaglutide (Rybelsus) (taken by mouth once daily)
Unfortunately, these drugs are not a cure, and the weight returns when the patient stops taking the drug. Please call our office at (469) 300-0750 to discuss with Dr. Fliedner this type of weight loss plan versus other options that may be better for your overall health.
Best Way to Lose Weight
According to Dr. Fliedner, “Many people are trying these new medications, but nothing has really changed. The best way to lose weight is still following the basics: a healthy diet, good sleep, exercise, and managing stress.”
A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association reveals what you eat is most important for weight loss. The pounds will peel off more quickly by improving the quality of the foods you ingest.
A healthy diet is one that provides your body with the necessary nutrients, vitamins, and minerals while supporting overall health and well-being. While everyone’s body has slightly different requirements and responds differently, a healthy diet that promotes healthy weight loss (1 – 2 pounds per week) includes some key principles:
- Balanced macronutrients: Macronutrients are the cornerstones of your diet. They include carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Focus on consuming complex carbohydrates like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, lean sources of protein such as poultry, fish, legumes, and nuts, and healthy fats like avocados, olive oil, and nuts.
- Fruits and vegetables: Aim to include a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables in your diet. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and dietary fiber, which are important for maintaining good health and reducing the risk of chronic diseases.
- Whole grains: Choose whole grains such as brown rice, whole wheat bread, quinoa, and oats over refined grains. Whole grains retain their bran and germ, which contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
- Lean proteins: Include lean sources of protein in your diet, such as skinless poultry, fish, tofu, legumes, and low-fat dairy products. Protein is essential for building and repairing tissues, supporting immune function, and maintaining muscle mass.
- Healthy fats: Incorporate healthy fats into your diet, such as avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. These fats provide essential fatty acids, which are important for brain health, hormone production, and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.
- Limit added sugars and processed foods: Minimize your intake of sugary drinks, sweets, processed snacks, and foods high in added sugars.
“One of the healthiest ways to shed weight is to reduce your intake of sugar and rapidly metabolized carbohydrates,” says Dr. Fliedner. “Cutting back on the French fries, crackers, and chips will speed up your weight loss program.”
- Hydration: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Water is essential for digestion, circulation, and temperature regulation.
- Portion control: Pay attention to portion sizes to avoid overeating. Use smaller plates and bowls, and listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues.
- Mindful eating: Practice mindful eating by savoring your meals, eating slowly, and paying attention to the flavors and textures. This can help you develop a healthier relationship with food and prevent overeating.
- Individualized approach: Finally, remember that everyone’s nutritional needs vary based on factors like age, gender, activity level, and any underlying health conditions. Consult with Dr. Fliedner to create a personalized and sustainable healthy diet.
According to Esra Tasali, MD, Director of the UChicago Sleep Center at the University of Chicago Medicine, getting more sleep reduces caloric intake and contributes to weight loss. How easy is that?
Good nightly sleep contributes to weight loss in the following ways:
- A longer nighttime sleep may help keep the weight off, while a shorter night of sleep (less than 7 hours per night) has been associated with weight gain.
- A good night’s sleep moderates your appetite. Many studies have found that people who are sleep-deprived report having an increased appetite and a higher daily calorie intake. The increase in food intake is likely caused by the effect of sleep on the hunger hormones ghrelin and leptin. When you do not get enough sleep, the body makes more ghrelin and less leptin, leaving you hungry and increasing your appetite
- A good night’s sleep helps your brain make better food choices. Poor sleep can decrease your self-control and decision-making abilities, as well as increase your brain’s reaction to food. Poor sleep has also been linked to an increased intake of foods high in calories, fats, and sugar.
- Going to bed early prevents late-night snacking. Pushing your bedtime later means you’re staying up longer, which creates a larger window of time for eating late into the night, which increases weight gain.
- Sleep enhances energy levels and physical activity. Sleep and physical activity have a close two-way relationship. A lack of sleep decreases physical activity, and lack of physical activity may lead to worsened sleep. It becomes a vicious circle. Getting a good night’s sleep is a great start to an active day.
Combining exercise with a healthy diet is a more effective way to lose weight than depending on calorie restriction alone.
If you don’t have an exercise plan in place, we recommend you reach out to Dr. Fliedner to develop one for you. Starting to exercise on your own can be risky without the supervision of a doctor. It’s important to have a relationship with a doctor you trust who knows your health history and will prescribe a safe exercise regimen for weight loss.
Would you ever guess that stress plays a huge role in the size of your waistline and how easily you can lose weight? It turns out multiple studies show how stress can lead to an increase in cortisol levels (the stress hormone). Having higher levels of cortisol in your body will cause you to feel hungrier and crave sugary, high-calorie foods. That’s why it’s comfort food!
The higher cortisol levels can cause both men and women to build up fat around their bellies. Learning to reduce your daily stress through exercise and meditation will have a large impact on your well-being and help you keep weight off long-term.
According to a study published in Maturitas, “hormone replacement therapy not only prevented weight gain but favored weight loss.”
At North Texas Vitality, we have been treating weight gain and obesity in men and women in the Dallas area with great success. To learn more, read our article, “Hormone Replacement Therapy and Weight Loss.”
Once our patients get started with our bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, they see immediate improvements in their health. Read Carolyn’s review of North Texas Vitality …
BHRT … Simply put, I FEEL better, mentally and physically! I am about 6 weeks in. Within the first 7 days, I was definitely sleeping better at night … no hot flashes or night sweats to disturb my sleep. I was able to fall asleep quicker and sleep more soundly, both without the use of an otc sleep aid! I have more energy and the presence of mind to be more active! I cannot wait to see how much more of my life I get back! Scheduling was easy, and getting the lab work done was both convenient and timely. The only thing I hate is that I waited so long to give Biote a try! Thanks, Dr. Fliedner and Cheryl!
While it may be tempting to engage in rapid weight-loss programs, our office does not recommend it. Medically supervised diets are the best way to lose weight and provide the appropriate safety measures to protect your health.
We monitor your body for side effects and help to assure your safety. If you are thinking of attempting rapid weight loss on your own, it is important to consider the health risks. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Fliedner to get on a healthy weight loss plan.
To request an appointment with Dr. Fliedner, call our office at (469) 300-0750 or fill out the form below.