As an Obesity Medicine specialist, Lisa Oldson, MD meets her patients at the intersection of science, skills & mindset to transform lives with weight loss. Health is the driver, specifically healthy longevity, as she guides her patients with practical, flexible and sustainable habit changes. Medication has a role in the treatment of obesity, as with many chronic conditions. Dr. Lisa’s background in primary care means she has an understanding of the various medications and conditions that impact her patients. Dr. Lisa is also a certified life coach, allowing her to fill in the missing pieces of MINDSET and “thought work” for weight loss. So many of our patients have years of experience belittling themselves and feeling unworthy. Addressing self esteem, belief and mindset are just as important as understanding ghrelin and leptin, when it comes to weight management.
Why did you pursue obesity medicine certification? Like so many doctors in primary care, I was playing Whack-A-Mole, treating the consequences of excess weight, like diabetes, metabolic syndrome and sleep apnea. I wanted to get at the root cause of chronic disease, which is often nutrition and weight related.
Many doctors have told us about the “aha” moment that stimulated their interest in obesity medicine. Do you have an obesity medicine “aha” moment that sticks out in your memory? My sister was thin her entire life, until she developed Crohn’s Disease. She had to take high dose steroids for a year, and gained a lot of weight from her medications. Fortunately for her, she got off steroids eventually, and her weight returned to its baseline. However, during that year, I saw the way she was treated by both friends and strangers. Weight bias, like any bias, is a terrible thing. People often have no boundaries when it comes to being rude or directly discriminating against people with excess weight. It gave me compassion for people struggling with the chronic disease of obesity.
How do you currently incorporate your obesity medicine training into your practice? 100% of my work is in Obesity Medicine, helping clients 1:1 and in my group coaching program.
Why do you believe obesity medicine certification is valuable? It’s a game changer to do a deep dive into the science of weight and obesity. There are so many people out there selling gimmicky weight loss programs, supplements, diets and procedures…we need people out there promoting actual science. The scientific rigor in Obesity Medicine is equal to that of other specialties.
What is the biggest challenge you face in your practice? Insurance reimbursement for weight loss medications, and generally the high cost of the newer weight loss medications, is a huge challenge. Even when I can get insurance reimbursement for my patients, there is often a considerable cost of my time to achieve that approval.
What do you wish other physicians knew about treating obesity? That this is a CHRONIC DISEASE THAT REQUIRES CHRONIC TREATMENT, and that we should approach it with the same objective approach that we use when treating diabetes, high cholesterol and other chronic conditions.
Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience with obesity medicine? I’m always striving to help people see that excess weight isn’t their fault. As Obesity Medicine specialists, we can spread that message to our patients, their families, our communities and our colleagues. We can help people treat this disease thanks to the amazing scientific research that allows us to better understand the pathophysiology of excess weight and the options for treatment. It feels amazing to have certification in Obesity Medicine, knowing I’m an expert in helping people who are desperate for support.
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