Have you ever wondered why it is so hard to lose weight, or why it is even harder to keep it off, despite all of your best efforts, and hard work?

You are not alone.

Recently, scientists have discovered that obesity is a chronic, relapsing and very complicated disease. There are many reasons for this. Think of your family — did your brothers, sisters, mom or dad ever struggle with weight? There has been a lot of evidence lately that point to genetics as source for weight struggles in many families. In fact, there is a gene called “FTO gene” that specifically puts an individual at risk for higher weight and higher body fat (adiposity).

Understanding obesity as a disease gives doctors the ability to look beyond the thinking of simply “eating less and exercising more.” Who hasn’t heard that advice, time and time again, only to struggle more?

Seeing a doctor regarding your weight can be very beneficial. Doctors can order blood tests that look for biochemical reasons that you may be struggling with weight. They can perform and interpret EKG’s, a test that can be done in the office, and look to see if your weight is affecting your heart health. They can do body composition measurements, such as a waist and neck circumference, to see if your weight may be affecting your ability to breathe and sleep properly. They may also have a machine in their office that looks beyond the BMI, where they can assess the percent body of your body that’s made up of adipose (fat) tissue, and other tissues such as muscle tissue.

In addition to helping you achieve a healthier lifestyle and activity, doctors can also talk to you about medications that can potentially assist you with your weight-loss. They understand the science behind many of the reasons for weight gain, the health conditions that worsen with weight gain (some of your current medications may promote weight gain!) and how to help give you the best advice that may help you beyond a healthier lifestyle and activity. Doctors can individualize their approach and care for you.

Doctors also understand that there is more to weight-loss than seeing the numbers on the scale start to go down. Science has proven over and over that losing 5-10 percent of baseline weight can significantly improve some health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea and arthritis. Who doesn’t want to move better, feel better and sleep more soundly?

There are many doctors today that have specialized training and education that can help you with your weight struggles. They are uniquely equipped to understand the complexities that you face in nutrition, medications and activity recommendations. They are Board Certified by the American Board of Obesity Medicine, and have sought out the additional education to help you get well. They understand YOU.

As you think about what weight-loss might mean for you, please consider this: there is MORE to weight-loss than “eating less, moving more.” There are very complex processes in the body that affect your hunger, energy and ability to lose or maintain weight. They are hormones that come from many parts of the body, and they directly influence how our brains work in regards to hunger, food intake and overall weight balance.

Doctors can help.

Obesity is a disease. This has been supported by many organizations and societies, including the American Medical Association and the World Health Organization. If you struggle with weight and wonder who can help, the time is now to think about different opportunities to get healthy, and get your life back!

About the Author:

Amy Articolo, MD

Dr. Amy Articolo is a Board Certified OB/GYN and Obesity Medicine specialist. She has been practicing medicine for more than 15 years in private practice, and is inspired by her patients every day. She enjoys working with each and every one of them to aspire to greater health. She currently sees patients in Voorhees, NJ at “Weigh Under,” a private practice focused on the comprehensive treatment for those affected by excess weight and obesity.

Dr. Articolo is active in advocacy and awareness of the disease of obesity, both locally and nationally. She is a board member of the Obesity Treatment Foundation, where she serves as the Secretary-Treasurer, and is active in the Obesity Medicine Association, where she serves on the advocacy and education committees to advance knowledge and awareness regarding obesity as a disease.