You’ve reached your goal. We’re very proud of you. Now, we need to plan on maintaining your success. It’s time for you to begin the early maintenance phase. If you are taking medicine for weight loss, the physician will begin weaning you off the medication. If you are taking more than one medicine, each month will involve the removal of one medication.
It will be very important that you keep your monthly appointments during this time period, because you don’t want to lose what you have worked so hard to achieve. Some patients have been known to become overly confident and stop all their medications abruptly, hoping that they can maintain their weight loss on their own. If they re-gain their weight, they return a few months later, ashamed and frustrated at their failure. Or, worse, they are so ashamed that they don’t return at all, and they regain all their weight, losing everything they have worked so hard for. Don’t let that happen to you!
In addition to helping you wean off your medications, the physician will discuss with you any medical conditions you have sought to control with weight loss. Together you may decide to re-test to see if abnormal lab tests have now become normal. Many patients discover that they no longer need cholesterol pills. If you are diabetic, you may have already been taken off your diabetes medication. It might be time to re-check your diabetes tests. If you have high blood pressure, it may be time to re-assess if you can reduce hypertension medications. Most patients no longer need acid reflux pills after weight loss. Asthma and sleep apnea are improved with weight loss, so those medical issues may need to be re-evaluated, too.
Long-Term Maintenance Phase
After you have maintained a full month with no medications, the physician will discuss with you Long-Term Maintenance. At this point, patients are seen anywhere from monthly to yearly. Most patients are seen every three months. Some patients desire the close accountability of monthly visits. Very few patients (for example, the dieticians and personal trainers) need only be seen every year for medical check-ups.
At any time during the Long-Term Maintenance, if you slip up and begin to gain weight, you can come in sooner than your scheduled follow-up appointment.
Obesity is a chronic disease. Bariatricians recognize that there are patients who require long-term treatment with medication. Just as a person with hypertension or diabetes may need long-term treatment with medication, so too, may a person with Obesity. Since we are a medical practice which specializes in the management of Obesity, we have more patients with familial genetic obesity than a regular medical practice; and, as a result, we have more patients who need to take pills for management of obesity on a daily basis lifelong. If you think that Obesity runs in your family, please discuss with your physician whether you may be one of these patients who needs daily medication for life in order to maintain your health.