Preparing for Your Appointment
Talking to your doctor openly and honestly about your weight is one of the best things you can do for your health. You’re likely to start by seeing your primary care doctor. In some cases, you may be referred to an obesity specialist if one is available in your area. You may also be referred to a mental health provider, dietitian or nutrition specialist.
What you can do
Being an active participant in your care is important. One way to do this is by preparing for your appointment. Think about your needs and goals for treatment. Also, write down a list of questions to ask. These questions may include:
- Why can’t I manage my weight on my own?
- What other health problems might I have?
- Should I see a dietitian?
- How can I overcome obstacles that keep me from being more physically active?
- What are the treatment options for obesity and my other health problems?
- Is weight-loss surgery an option for me?
- Will counseling help?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me?
- What websites do you recommend visiting?
In addition to your prepared questions, don’t hesitate to ask other doubts during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
During your appointment, your doctor or other health care provider is likely to ask you a number of questions about your eating, activity, mood and thoughts, and any symptoms you might have. You may be asked such questions as:
- What and how much do you eat in a typical day?
- How much activity do you get in a typical day?
- During what periods of your life did you gain weight?
- What are the factors that you believe affect your weight?
- How is your daily life affected by your weight?
- How is your mood affected by your weight?
- What diets or treatments have you tried to lose weight?
- What other medical conditions, if any, do you have?
- Do you have any family members with weight problems?
- What are your weight-loss goals?
- Are you ready to make changes in your lifestyle to lose weight?
- What do you think might prevent you from losing weight?
- How committed are you to losing weight?
- What medications or over-the-counter herbs and supplements do you take?
What you can do in the meantime
If you have several days or weeks before your scheduled appointment, you can start making some changes on your own to your eating and activity levels as you begin the journey to lose weight.
- Start making healthy changes in your diet: such as eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains and reducing portion sizes. Eat breakfast.
- Track how much you’re eating or drinking each day: so that you get a sense of how many calories you’re taking in. It’s easy to underestimate how many calories you actually take in every day.
- Begin increasing your activity level: Try to get up and move around your home more frequently. Start gradually if you aren’t in good shape or aren’t used to exercising. Even a 10-minute daily walk can help. If you have any health conditions, or if you’re a man over age 40 or a woman over age 50, talk to your doctor before you start a new exercise program.