Weighing me down: it’s only a problem of physiological wiring

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After years of yo-yo dieting, self-judgement and shame, Amanda had enough.

She began struggling with her weight in her teen years, and through her 20’s, she tried diet after diet, elite gym memberships and personal trainers. ‘I’ll start on Monday’ became somewhat of a life motto.

Amanda felt like she finally caught a break when she met Dr. Sean Wharton of the Wharton Medical Clinic, a Toronto-based internal medicine specialist focused on obesity management.

“Dr. Wharton explained that my physiological wiring is what makes weight loss so difficult,” said Amanda. “I feel relieved to know that there is an explanation for why all the work and energy I have put into weight loss seems, at times, to be for nothing.”

Though Amanda and Dr. Wharton have developed a treatment plan to manage her obesity, now classified as a chronic disease by the Canadian Medical Association, her friends and family still do not understand.

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“They often send me information about new fitness classes, or ask if I want to grab a salad, as if I’m not capable of knowing how to eat healthy when I go out,” says Amanda. “Their attempt at being supportive, to me, sounds like they would love me more if I were thinner. I’m happy with myself and my body; I just wish those around me could get on the same page.”

A Leger survey found that 86 per cent of Canadians believe that personal choices about physical activity and food intake is a leading cause of obesity. The survey also found that 55 per cent of Canadians believe that people who have obesity lack self-discipline.

These sentiments could not be further from the truth, as research has identified a number of obesity risk factors including genetics, physical activity, diet, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, immigration and environmental factors.

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If you’re living with obesity, contact your doctor to discuss an individual treatment plan that offers realistic and sustainable strategies to ensure successful chronic weight loss and management. – NC

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