More than a health endeavor, losing weight has become a fad as many new programs, diets and exercise regimens have sprouted. Some people willingly jump into the weight loss bandwagon because they know they need it.

However, because of lack of ample information about what is suitable to their needs, as well as the medical aspects of such interventions, some of those who choose to lose weight without their doctor's guidance fail.

A new study from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has found that a satisfactory patient-provider relationship, although not thoroughly associated with weight loss, may still result in more improved weight loss results. With this, the idea of involving doctors in people's weight management regimens proves valuable.

Consulting a doctor before starting out on weight loss programs is beneficial. Doctors can help patients know how much weight they need to lose, the type of diet and physical activity they need, the necessity for dietary supplements or surgery, and the health conditions that may occur during the process.

Therefore, it may be best to go to the doctor and ask important questions to understand and the ins and outs of weight loss. Here are a few inquiries that may help guide anyone during a doctor's appointment:

What is my ideal weight?

A single ideal body weight for all people does not exist simply because it depends on each individual person.

"No one really knows the precise answer, so this is something you want to negotiate with your physician," said Richard Weil, weight loss program director at the New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center.

Majority of doctors will take the patient's height and weight to get the body mass index (BMI). How the height and weight are related to each other determines if a person is underweight, normal, overweight or obese. Scoring 25 or above in the BMI chart indicates that a person is overweight. People whose scores are between 18.5-24.9 are said to have a healthy BMI.

How long before one sees results?

After the initial assessment and interview, the doctor can now more or less determine the suitable diet and exercise regimen for the patient. According to most experts, 1 to 2 pounds of weight loss per week is ideal and exceeding beyond this number is not advised.

Massive weight loss over a short period of time more likely means that the water and muscles were lost, not too much fat. However, dropping about 3 to 5 pounds per week during the first few weeks of the regimen may be fine, especially if the patient is 30 pounds overweight, says Melina Jampolis, M.D., a nutrition specialist and co-author of The Calendar Diet.

What are the effects of weight loss on one's health?

Although many people are aware that losing weight may have a tremendous positive impact on health, many are not quite sure of the specifics. Asking the doctor about the potential effects of losing weight on one's individual health may further boost one's motivation to lose weight.

Do some medications serve to hinder weight loss goals?

Some drugs do, so it is important for patients to report all prescribed maintenance medications they have so their doctor can devise a way to achieve weight loss goals amid the intake of these drugs.

Are there other people who can help?

Based on their assessment and interview, patients may ask their doctors about possible referrals to other members of the health care team who specialize in a specific problem.

People who have no idea or are having a hard time figuring out the best food items to include in their meals may ask for a nutritionist-dietician referral. Those who are having mobility problems due to knee pain and other physical conditions may seek a referral to a physical therapist. Patients may also ask for a referral to a psychotherapist should they feel emotionally and psychologically troubled due to their weight problems.

What are the available weight loss supplements and medications that dieters can take?

Some doctors may be able to recommend prescription weight loss medications, aside from correct diet and adequate exercise. As there are many diet pills available on the market and advertised online, it is best to ask the doctor first before deciding to try anything.

When should weight loss surgery be considered?

For people who have tried everything but are still not seeing results, it may be time to ask the doctor about the possibility of weight loss surgery. Surgery is an invasive procedure that is not recommended for everyone. Usually, people with a BMI of at least 40, or 35 with associated conditions such as diabetes type 2, are candidates for surgery. Doctors know when this procedure may be necessary so it is best to ask them about it.

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