So, let’s start here. Weight does not equal health. You can be smaller and be healthy and you can be heavier and be healthy. So why do we focus so much on weight? We have indisputable medical evidence that obesity has an association with an increased risk of cancer, heart disease, poor pregnancy outcomes and so much more. But so do... lots of things. Mental stress, environmental exposures and a sedentary lifestyle also increase the risk of many conditions.
For this reason, I always prioritize focusing on the HABITS. A habit is defined as a regular tendency or practice. Coping with stress by taking a walk is a habit. Journaling is a habit. Eating 5 servings a day of fruits and vegetables is a habit. Good sleep hygiene is a habit. Drinking plenty of water every day is a habit. It’s these habits that lead to health. We cannot control all the factors that can lead to disease, but adding these habits makes you a healthier person, despite your weight. Focus on the habits and, many times, the weight will improve.
However, there is undeniable evidence that obesity is more of a medical condition than a failure of willpower. Medicine has gotten too comfortable blaming patients for their weight. Hunger and fullness hormones, increased cortisol, worldwide environmental stress, social determinants, and inconsistent, confusing nutrition messaging lead to overall poor eating habits and increased weight. It takes patience, consistency and sometimes medications, therapy, and/or a registered dietitian to improve this.
However, it is very difficult to implement a multidisciplinary weight management plan in the current primary care model. Physicians typically have 5-15 minutes per visit to help address weight struggles and healthy habits. Multiple visits to the doctor add up! A direct primary care doctor focuses on longer, meaningful discussions about health and wellness. Joining a direct primary care membership practice allows unlimited access to a physician who puts your health first. Ask your questions, discuss side effects, get a good understanding of a healthy diet and exercise routine, learn how to shop in the grocery store. Text me when you go grocery shopping after work if you have a question about healthy foods! If you are ready to get help to change those habits, call Fresh Start Primary Care at 904-474-9922 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.