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Ask the Doc :: Losing Weight

by Jason Faulhaber, M.D.
Contributor
Monday Feb 14, 2011
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Question:
Dear Doctor Jason,

What’s your advice on losing weight? I’m just sort of a stocky guy, but it seems that every gay man out there wants the same body type. And it isn’t mine. I’ve tried to lose weight, and it’s just not easy. I’ve seen TONS of commercials about weight loss systems, but I’m not sure I believe their claims. And liposuction? Sounds dangerous. Are there any ways to know what works and doesn’t work?

Signed, Weighing Options

Doctor Jason’s Response:

Weight loss is not necessary for everyone. The "ideal body weight" from a medical perspective may be different from that of the individual. There are a few factors that play a role in determining if someone needs to lose weight: body fat percentage, height, cholesterol values, diabetes, high blood pressure.

There are "natural" ways to lose weight and artificial (aka surgical) ways. The natural ways would include a strict diet and exercise regimen where you spend more calories than you eat/drink. Putting your body into this negative balance will cause it to leech the calories from parts of your body, notably the fat tissue.

Many of the advertised weight loss systems include substances that, in theory, try to increase the metabolism of the fat cells; however, it still requires you to adhere to a strict diet and exercise regimen. Some of these substances also include a variety of other compounds not regulated by the FDA and consequently may cause more harm than benefit.

For some people, a strict diet and exercise regimen are not sufficient for the necessary weight loss. This is where surgical options can play a role. There are a variety of weight loss surgical options, including liposuction, Lap-Band, and gastric bypass. Consultation with a Weight Loss team, including a surgeon, would be the best approach because they can help provide support and determine which options are available to you.

Stay healthy,
Doctor Jason

Dr. Faulhaber is a graduate of Tulane University in Psychology and Cellular and Molecular Biology and received his medical degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. He performed his residency training in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at Saint Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan, where he then served as a Chief Resident in Internal Medicine. He completed his fellowship in Infectious Diseases at New York University, where he specialized in HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, and fungal infections. Since fellowship, he has been working as an Internal Medicine/Infectious Diseases physician at Fenway Community Health in Boston. He is a Clinical Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and he is affiliated with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He has been the lead author or co-author of several journal articles and textbook chapters on infections with HIV, other viruses, bacteria, and fungi. He is also accredited by the American Academy of HIV Medicine.

This article is part of our "Ask the Doc" series. Want to read more? Here's the full list»

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