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JBSA News
NEWS | Feb. 7, 2020

Weight loss: there is no 'magic pill'

By 59th Medical Wing Public Affairs 59th Medical Wing Public Affairs

Fat loss solutions abound on social media, in the news, on your favorite celebrity’s lifestyle website and sifting through the abundance of “tea-toxes” and supplement sales pitches can make it difficult to determine what will work best.

According to 1st Lt. Kathryn Welch, 59th Diagnostics and Therapeutics Squadron, at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, it’s best to steer clear of almost all of them.

“Find a weight loss management program that works for the individual specifically tailored by a registered dietitian,” she said. “Sustained weight loss is difficult; it is not as simple as picking the latest fad diet to drop pounds quickly to pass a physical fitness test.”

Welch also foot-stomped that weight loss shouldn’t be all about passing a physical fitness test, it should be about overall health.

How obesity occurs is simple enough: the amount of calories consumed far exceed the calories expended in activity – eating more than exercising. The additional medical effects, or comorbidities, of obesity are substantial and anything but simple. These effects can include type 2 diabetes, hypertension, stroke, reproductive problems and a multitude more.

“The scale isn’t the only indication of loss, we have to look at what is happening inside,” Welch said. “Sometimes, those comorbidities are the first sign of loss – the patient starts feeling better. A three to five percent weight loss will see substantial health improvements.”

Maintaining a healthy and balanced nutrition plan while exercising for at least 150 to 300 minutes per week is key. Preventing obesity and weight gain is much easier than treating it and the comorbidities associated with it, so military members should focus on sustaining a healthy lifestyle. For those who need some extra help, Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center and Brooke Army Medical Center have many programs available to beneficiaries who can self-referrer or be referred by their physicians.

The Nutritional Medicine and Bariatric Surgery Clinics and the Diabetes Center of Excellence offer nutrition briefings and classes to aid in healthy weight management. Since weight gain has such a tremendous effect on overall health, all clinics work together to ensure each patient is getting the education and support they need through physical therapy, cardio rehabilitation and more.

“Sustained weight loss is difficult and there is no ‘easy’ button for losing excess weight and keeping it off,” Welch said. “However, with the help of a licensed dietitian, we can find sustainable lifestyle choices that will work for you for the rest of your life by adjusting the foods you already enjoy. Adherence to a diet is improved when the patient’s food preferences are modified to fit their needs and do not eliminate foods unnecessarily.”

In extreme cases that do not respond to diet and lifestyle changes, the Nutritional Medicine Clinic may prescribe medications or refer to the Bariatric Surgery Clinic at Brooke Army Medical Center at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston for further treatment.

For more information, call the Nutritional Medicine Clinic with its five licensed dietitians at 210-292-7578, or the BAMC Bariatric Surgery Clinic. which offers classes for pre-surgical candidates. at 210-916-9029.