How Your PCP Can Help You in Your Weight-Loss Journey

PCP Primary Care Provider

In his March 2021 “Healthy Nudges & News” newsletter, Robert Kushner, MD, obesity medicine physician and author of Six Factors to Fit: Weight Loss that Works for You shared about the power of PCP’s (primary care providers) to help you in your weight-loss journey. Since the Your Weight Matters Campaign is based around starting the conversation about weight and health with a healthcare provider, we wanted to expand on this topic a bit more.

Can a PCP Help with Weight Management?

As Dr. Kushner stated in his post, “though most PCP’s may not be trained as experts in weight management, they are experts in knowing YOU and your medical history.”

At the very least, your PCP can be a great starting point in your weight-loss journey. They know of any medical problems you have, what your lab tests say, and have a baseline knowledge about how to live a healthy lifestyle that supports your health goals. For instance, they can recommend dietary changes, share any precautions you should be taking when starting an exercise plan, and point you to other resources that can help you such as weight management programs, dietitians, and psychologists.

Dr. Kushner also says, “Some PCP’s may be comfortable prescribing a weight-loss medication. Ask if you are a candidate. Depending on your weight and health status, some PCP’s may decide to refer you to an obesity medicine specialist certified by the American Board of Obesity Medicine who is trained to provide comprehensive weight management.” If you are interested in finding such a provider, check out the Provider Locator powered by the Obesity Action Coalition.

How to Make the Most of Working with Your PCP

To get the most out of working together on weight management with your PCP, try these tips:

  • Be transparent about your medical history, any medications you are taking, and what your lifestyle looks like as these will help your PCP put together the full picture of your health.
  • Be honest about what your reasons are for wanting to manage your weight. Maybe you want more energy, more confidence, or to manage weight-related health conditions like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or osteoarthritis.
  • Get your labs done as recommended so that your PCP can monitor any changes in your health and identify improvements.
  • See your PCP on a regular basis and don’t skip appointments.
  • Be willing to collaborate with your PCP about approaches to weight management and optional treatment avenues, but be empowered enough to speak up if you are concerned about their advice or want to seek out additional help from another care provider.

For more information about working with your PCP to manage your weight and health, click here.

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