Everyone dealt with lockdown in different ways, but it’s fair to say that, to a greater or lesser extent, many of us put on weight. Our buying habits tell the story – off-licence alcohol sales increased by a third and Hotel Chocolat has been able to create 200 new jobs thanks to a 200% surge in sales during lockdown. It’s no surprise then that many people piled on the pounds this year and are mindful of the need to establish healthier lifestyles.
However, sometimes you need a bit of extra help. Women especially are prone to weight gain when they go through periods of change, such as during menopause when the excess weight becomes even more difficult to shed. That is why we have partnered with the National Medical Weight Loss Programme (NMWLP) to provide support and advice – alongside licensed medication that will reduce hunger, which is effective for people with a BMI of 27 or more.
Obesity affects the body in many ways. There is more general wear and tear, especially on your joints, because of the additional weight you’re carrying. You are also at increased risk of cardiac disease and 13 types of cancer, and you have a greater risk of severe complications if you contract the coronavirus. Which is why the government has launched a new campaign to encourage people back to Better Health.
Our medical weight loss programme offers one-to-one support in your weight loss battle – and it is a battle. We are surrounded by an overabundance of good food, and retailers are always trying to tempt us to eat snacks and treats. Most people enjoy eating, especially sweet or fatty food, so because we can, we overindulge – we’re only human after all!
Through our programme, we will not only help you reduce the amount of food you eat, but also help educate you in how to create a healthier diet and lifestyle that will enable you to keep the weight off.
In your first session, we will take your measurements. We have a machine that will not only assess your BMI, it will also tell us how much muscle, general fat and visceral fat you have – visceral fat is the fat that surrounds your organs, so it’s something you need to be particularly careful about. When you are trying to lose weight, it’s important to know the percentages of fat to muscle – when you are eating less and exercising more, it is very likely that you will go through a period when your weight loss appears to have stalled, and this can be demoralising. However, it is very likely that this is caused by an increase in muscle mass which is offsetting the loss of fat – by measuring fat and muscle at every weigh-in, you will see, hopefully, that you are still losing fat and can rest assured that you are still making good progress.
Occasionally we will also carry out a blood test if we think there may be an underlying condition, such as thyroid problems, menopause or diabetes.
The medication that we may suggest you take alongside the dietary changes will help you reduce the amount you eat. The drug slows down digestion, meaning the food you have eaten will stay in your system for longer, and you won’t feel hungry again so quickly. It will also help you suppress cravings, which will also help decrease consumption. The medication will be administered at home.
As with any prescription drug, there are possible side effects, including nausea, indigestion, headaches, etc., but these should be short-lived. In any event, we will call you after a couple of weeks to check how you are progressing and to chat through any symptoms you may be experiencing. If you need to talk to us sooner, we are available 7 days a week.
Your initial session will last an hour and will include an in-depth consultation where we will take your measurements, discuss your expectations, and plan your programme and medication. After this, we will see you monthly, arranging appointments for a similar time each month. If you are struggling to attain your weight loss goal, we will increase the frequency of appointments in order to give you extra support. If the weight loss programme is working, you will lose at least 10% of your body weight in around three months − although as ever, individual experiences vary.
In one case, we have a patient who lost just under a stone in the first three weeks! However, most patients have a steadier weight loss – we estimate that if you need to lose three stone, you should expect to need around four months of treatment.
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