Weight Loss - Is There a Magic Wand?

Aparna Chandrasekaran Internist Somerset, New Jersey

Dr. Aparna Chandrasekaran is a board certified Bariatric physician and Internist practicing in Somerset, New Jersey. Dr. Chandra specializes in the medical treatment of obesity and other chronic diseases like diabetes. Internists are primary care physicians who focus on preventive care, immunization, counseling as well... more

The term obesity may have different meanings to different individuals. For someone who has been carrying the extra weight (literally), it’s a curse, and it’s the remainder of their multiple failed attempts at weight loss, a lifelong battle with the scale. Society, however, views it as laziness, inefficiency, and self-inflicted. The stigma attached to it is senseless. No disease in medical history had to fight as hard as obesity to get its place in the medical directory as obesity. After being recognized as a “Disease” by WHO in 1948, it took 65 years for AMA to give obesity its much-deserved status. So is the natural history of this disease caused by excess fat accumulation. 

The prevalence of obesity in the US is about 42.4%. From 2000 to 2018, the prevalence of obesity increased from 30.5 to 42.4%, and severe obesity from 4.7% to 9.2%.  The annual healthcare cost of obesity-related illness is $1.7 trillion. Obesity-related illnesses like heart disease diabetes are the leading causes of preventable, premature death. It's predicted that more than half of the population will be affected by this disease by 2030 if we don't take action now. 

What does it mean? This means that the time to take action is now! 

 Here is what you can do:

  • Schedule a wellness exam with your Primary Care Provider. A wellness exam is always a good time to start the dialogue about your weight issue.
  • Have a set goal weight, weight loss plan, and most importantly, realistic expectation.
  • Track your caloric intake. Many smartphone calorie-tracking apps are user-friendly and free.
  • Have a calorie-conscious eating plan. Find out the calorie content of every food before you place it in your mouth.
  • Follow smart grocery shopping tips. Never go to the grocery store hungry; shop only in the store’s periphery with fresh produce and stay away from the free samples.
  • Incorporate physical activity and fitness into your routine.
  • Consult a professional if you follow all the above steps but still struggle with weight. Some physicians are trained exclusively in obesity medicine and are certified to treat it medically. Consulting with a weight loss physician for medical weight loss will be a prudent first step before considering bariatric surgery. Dietitian/nutritionist, a health coach, can provide additional help.
  • Talk to your health insurance company and your employer about coverage for weight loss treatment, be it Rx medications or surgery. 
  • Do not blame yourself. Poor self-esteem, depression, anxiety, substance abuse are closely linked to weight gain and poor treatment outcomes. 
  • Never be a silent spectator for weight bias...speak up!
  • Beware- those fad diets and over-the-counter weight loss products that could do more harm than good.

There is neither a magic wand nor a quick fix to treat obesity. It's a life-long commitment as well as a team effort. As frustrating as it seems, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Physical fitness, emotional well-being, longevity are some of the gratifying perks awaiting to greet you at your healthy destination.


Dr. Aparna Chandra, MD, FOMA

Diplomate in Internal and Obesity Medicine

Medical Director Jersey Medical Weight Loss Center

Somerset, NJ