A realistic weight loss objective of 5-10% is recommended to benefit health. Weight loss beyond 12% activates the biological processes of energy conservation that make the organism resist to subsequent weight loss.
The first step to achieve your objective is to talk to your family physician to find the best strategy for getting it right. Your physician will be able to make a comprehensive evaluation of your health and discuss the options with you.
Behavioural therapy aims to reduce energy intake, using food restriction, and to increase energy expenditure by physical activity. This is the first line strategy for every overweight person wishing to loose weight. The process of changing lifestyles and habits is more successful when social and psychological support is available throughout the whole weight loss period.
To make it and to get good support, it is advised to contact a health professional such as a nutritionist and a kinesiologist or a support group.
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The pharmacotherapy strategy is a complement to the behavioural strategy aiming at changing a person’s lifestyle. It targets only obese patients, specifically those with comorbidities.
Currently, three types of medication directly aimed at weight loss are available on the market: Orlistat (Xenical), Sibutramine (Meridia, Reductil), and Rimonabant (Acomplia)
There are also anorectic compounds such as phentermine, a drug administered on a short-term basis, which mimics the stimulating effects of the sympathetic nervous system.
All these medications have side effects and their long-term effectiveness is moderate.
Surgery is exclusively for persons affected by extreme obesity and for whom behavioural strategies and pharmacotherapy did not produce the required weight loss. The various surgical techniques are described in our dedicated section. Surgery is the most efficacious method: it allows patients to loose half of their weight in the following year.
To know more
Surgeon General's Healthy Weight Advice for Consumers (Surgeon General)
Weight Loss Programs
American Heart Association Guidelines for Selecting a Weight Loss & Maintenance Program (AHA)
Practical Tips and Tools
Setting Goals for Weight Loss
Weight Control and Obesity Resources
The problem of overweight in children and adolescents (Surgeon General)
Other brochures on weight control from WIN