Do You Need Exercise on a Medical Weight Loss Diet?

Overweight woman wearing sports bra while exercising on an indoor bicycle with a coach cheering her through medical weight loss

Medical weight loss drugs are one of the hottest topics of conversation in the studio right now. The economic implications alone are so expansive that several of the biggest box gyms in the U.S. will soon be rolling out in-house services to members to prescribe drugs for weight loss. This is a fascinating, and of course, promising development for those who have struggled to maintain a healthy weight due to neurobiological factors. 

This article is not intended and does not serve as medical advice. Rather, it’s an important topic and a conversation we need to have with our friends, family, and clients. As with all medications, I recommend my clients learn as much as possible, exhaust lifestyle changes and explore all possible contradictions with their physicians prior to taking drugs.

Obesity and the Need for More Fitness Solutions

Obesity rates have been steadily increasing over the past few decades. In fact, according to a report by the World Obesity Atlas, more than half of the global population will be obese by 2035. This is leading to a surge in demand for more advanced weight loss interventions. Among the most talked about today are medical weight loss programs, where physicians and healthcare providers treat patients with holistic, science-backed methods to ensure weight loss success.

Amidst all this popularity, though, there has been much misinformation about this type of intervention. Mainly, some people believe medical weight loss eliminates the need for traditional diet and exercise for results. This is far from true, as medical weight loss programs consist of various factors equally important to contributing and maintaining weight loss. So, what exactly are these factors, and how does exercise play a part in the program?

Medical weight loss and its factors

Medical weight loss programs are often designed and supervised by healthcare professionals who deeply understand the complexities of weight management and can provide personalized care and support. It comprises of several factors, all of which are necessary for the program to be successful in helping individuals achieve weight loss safely and effectively.

Prescription medications are a core part of medical weight loss as they can help people who struggle to lose weight due to their biology. Phentermine for weight loss is one medication often prescribed by doctors as it can help patients overcome those biological limitations that inhibit weight loss through diet and exercise alone. These medications work by stimulating the release of neurotransmitters in the brain, specifically norepinephrine and dopamine, that decrease appetite and increase feelings of fullness. Another type of medication that gets prescribed is the bupropion antidepressant. It is the only antidepressant associated with long-term weight loss as it works on the brain’s reward system to decrease food cravings and increase metabolism.

That said, another important aspect of medical weight loss is behavioral and lifestyle changes. This is why medical weight loss is often practiced alongside a healthy weight loss program. The latter is designed by wellness experts to teach tailored healthy habits that cover various aspects like nutrition and sleep, which can impact the efficacy of medical initiatives. For example, sleep helps with medical weight loss through its impact on metabolism. By getting enough proper sleep, the body can go through a variety of complex processes, including hormone regulation and energy balance, which are responsible for regulating metabolism, appetite, and the way the body uses and stores energy.

How does exercise play a part in medical weight loss?

Exercise is an indispensable part of medical weight loss for several reasons. First, it can increase energy expenditure and accelerate the process of shedding pounds as more calories are burned. Exercise can also help with maintaining muscle mass, which can boost the metabolism and prevent the loss of lean body mass during weight loss. This helps to heighten the resting heart rate, which signifies how much the body can burn even at rest.

Furthermore, exercise is essential for maintaining weight loss over the long term. Since exercise encourages the release of happy hormones, individuals are more motivated to maintain their healthy new habits. They are in a better mindset to face the journey of weight loss. On top of this, regular physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

When considering exercise with medical weight loss, it is essential to find the balance between calorie restriction and physical activity. Determining the appropriate level of exercise based on individual health and fitness goals should be done with the help of a healthcare professional. Listening to one’s body to avoid overexertion is also crucial, especially when beginning a new exercise regimen.

Fitness approaches for those under medical weight loss

Aerobic workout

Regular moderate-intensity aerobic workouts are one of the best fitness approaches for those under medical weight loss. This can include activities such as brisk walking, cycling, swimming, or using an elliptical machine. Such aerobic exercises are enough to help burn calories, improve cardiovascular health, and build lean muscle mass without too much pressure on the joints or the lungs. It is crucial to start with manageable activities and gradually increase the intensity as fitness levels improve.

Strength Training

Strength training helps build muscle, increase metabolism, and improve overall body composition. For strength training to be effective, focus on exercises that target major muscle groups such as the chest, back, legs, and core. This can include squats, lunges, push-ups, and dumbbell or resistance band exercises. Strength training is ideally performed two to three times a week for optimal results.

Get Outside

Never underestimate the power of nature to help you heal. Since 2007, the guiding principle of each and every one of our WebbWell outdoor fitness retreats has been to move the body in a way to prepare the mind to have a healing, restorative experience in nature. Transformation processes are challenging even in the best of circumstances. The human brain evolved hand in hand with nature, and making an effort to move outside can provide the extra support the body needs for healthy physiological functioning. 

Trapped inside? The WebbWell App includes a curated collection of workouts and meditations from our favorite places in Mother Nature’s Gym. Now you can access the wonders of nature and movement anytime, from anywhere.

We hope this article and the credible sources cited helps you and your loved ones make the best educated decision to support you on your medical weight loss journey!

About Melanie Webb and WebbWell

Named “The person to call” by DEPARTURES Magazine, “a leader in the adventure travel industry” by Norie Quintos of National Geographic Traveler, and “one of the top trainers in the industry” by The Sports Club/LA (now Equinox), Melanie Webb is the founder and creator of WebbWell and the WebbWell wellness app. A sought-after industry and corporate retreat facilitator and speaker, her fitness course Mother Nature’s Gym Outdoor Fitness Guide is approved for 1.6 CEC’s from American Council on Exercise.