By Kayla Schleining & Brianna Connors
Oh, to be healthy, wealthy, and wise! For most people, these three concepts help drive New Year’s resolutions. Whether it be losing weight, eating healthier, tightening the budget, or curbing addictions, almost everyone hopes to be healthier, wealthier, and wiser than the year before. In 2021 especially, people are ready to bid goodbye to the 2020 slump and start thriving again.
Dr. Kern Brar, Internal Medicine Specialist from southern California who specializes in medically monitored weight loss, has witnessed the 2020 challenges first-hand from his patients: “A lot of my patients are coming in with a lot of depression, sadness, and mental health issues because of the quarantines and things that have never been seen before in US history…and unfortunately, a lot of that sadness then reflects in their personal lives with increased use of alcohol and decreased feelings of self-worth and having more of a subclinical depression almost.”
In a report released in August, the CDC further underlined this problem by publishing that “over 40% of U.S. adults reported struggling with mental health or substance abuse.” With some mental challenges, such as anxiety, the CDC mentions 2020 numbers were three times those reported than the 2019 numbers. It’s a sobering fact.
In addition to mental health struggles, many Americans are also struggling with unwanted weight gain. Dr. Brar comments, “A lot of my patients are complaining about the ‘COVID-15’ or the ‘COVID-20’, and the amount of pounds that they’ve put on because they haven’t been able to do the things they used to…we’re home more, so we spend more time at home…[so people] look at things in their life and they’re like, “oh, I’m having 3 glasses of wine every day because I don’t have a big meeting tomorrow and every day is Friday.”” This weight gain not only contributes to mental health decline, but also to the overall health decline of the American population. In a time when being healthy is of utmost importance, those unwanted pounds can be very discouraging.
But with 2021’s fresh start, people are ready to begin anew. And Dr. Brar is one of the richest resources when it comes to seeking a positive lifestyle change through medically monitored weight loss. Unlike just diets, gym regiments, and cold-turkey methods, Dr. Brar’s methods encourage a lifestyle change that extrapolates on “healthy, wealthy, and wise” – that’s right, medically monitored weight loss not only creates a personalized health plan for patients, but also helps people save money by adopting a holistic view that takes finances into account. That means saving money and eating healthy at the same time, a concept Dr. Brar explains is far simpler than most would think. “You should be able to save money on fast food and realize you’re spending $10 on a fast food meal,” Dr. Brar mentions, “And most of the weight loss recommendations that we make in our office and clinic are about 50 cents to a dollar a meal, some even cheaper.” Lifestyle plans are far more effective and overall less expensive than products, making it a step above the rest. “Patients come in spending hundreds of dollars a month on supplements…sometimes they don’t even say what’s in them.” Products, on top of that, can also cost upwards of $30 a month, an expense that some people simply can’t afford. Medically monitored weight loss is both cheaper and more effective than these options, making it a far better alternative.
So what exactly is medically monitored weight loss? Dr. Brar answers this question by saying, “We look at medically monitored weight loss which includes everything: what the patient is eating, what they’re drinking, what times they’re eating, what times they’re drinking, as well as their exercise regiment.
We use a holistic approach to look at a person’s day-to-day as well as their financial resources. Each person is different, there’s not one pill that will suddenly have you lose weight and become healthier.” This means the program is flexible and caters to each individual’s needs, goals, and financial capabilities. Additionally, he’s a world of knowledge for those with celiac disease and helping others manage other food related diseases and allergies. From athletes to computer programmers, from millionaires to those with foodstamps, Dr. Brar promises a lifestyle program that molds and grows with the patient. In 2021, this program is the perfect mix of accountability, encouragement, and personalization from a medical specialist that helps create a healthy lifestyle and get rid of those quarantine pounds.
One aspect of the medically monitored weight loss program that sets Dr. Brar apart is his emphasis on behavior modification versus actual diagnosis.
Unnecessary medications, using supplements as a substitute for healthy eating, and getting weight-loss surgery are not long-term or reliable solutions for a healthy lifestyle. “There’s a lot of things that people do need to be treated on, but a lot of things that are just behavioral modifications” Dr. Brar explains, “so we help give people tools in their arsenal to be like, “Okay, I can make that decision and I’ll feel better tomorrow about it,” and actually solidifying that mindset to help people improve and make better lifestyle decisions.” For some people, this means doing intermittent fasting 5 days a week, for others, leaner eating, and yet others, limiting alcohol intake. Or a combination of all of the above. For everyone, though, it includes being aware of what people are consuming and when. “[We encourage] a natural way of eating and documenting everything that goes into your mouth.” For those who’ve felt they’ve gained unnecessary weight, losing those pounds can make all the difference. Dr. Brar explains that shedding those excess pounds can lead to “less infection, less joint issues, less back pain, less knee surgery because you’ll have less weight on these joints.” That’s good news for everyone!
Even better news, adopting a healthier lifestyle doesn’t mean eating bland foods and bidding sweets and flavors an eternal goodbye. “I’m not going to ever tell anyone, “Don’t ever eat ice cream!” I actually just had some yesterday. But at the same time, limit the amount of serving to just one serving or just a couple of bites.” Additionally, he encourages his patients to think outside of just salads and quinoa. “I love different types of food that can challenge you, whether it be Asian, Vietnamese, Indian, or anything. Even burgers or steak or barbeque, there’s an incredible amount of flavors everywhere.” Sometimes, food isn’t even the main culprit – Dr. Brar also warns his patients to be aware of food or drink crutches that contribute more to weight gain than we realize, like sodas and alcohol. Ultimately, limiting snacking, finding crutches, and managing serving sizes are often more important than only counting calories and piling on the salads.
Despite California still being under home-order and most locations closed down, Dr. Brar doesn’t let this stop his quest to help people improve their health. Dr. Brar uses a secure online site to connect with patients and meet with them face-to-face on their phones or their computers monitors. Some patients, particularly those with hip pain and those who need joint injections, do need to come into office. Nonetheless, Dr. Brar stresses safety above all and makes certain to take precautions.
Medically monitored weight loss is an affordable, personal, holistic plan through online/in person meetings and accountability from a passionate medical specialist. Dr. Brar’s work speaks for itself, as a lot of his patients are a result of word-of-mouth recommendations. “My patients tell me, “Hey this works this is great I want to continue doing this.” I have their neighbors come, I have their golf buddies come, and they’re like, “Joe told them you helped him lose 20 pounds and he looks great, I want to do that too.”” While medically monitored weight loss can be started at any point, there’s no better time than the new year to jump into a healthier lifestyle. And 2021 is the perfect time!
Dr. Brar encourages people to use their primary care physician to help them establish a medically monitored weight loss plan and not wait until they have to go to the hospital or are suffering from weight-related pains. By using their primary care physician, people’s plans would be covered by insurance, making it a worthy investment of people’s time and resources. If someone is hoping for medically monitored weight loss from Dr. Brar, then he would love to talk with them in a consultation to see whether obesity plans or switching care physicians would work best.
Overall, Dr. Brar is optimistic for the future. He has a passion for helping people find healthier, holistic lifestyles: “That’s what I base my philosophy on.” He, and about every American, is hoping for a healthier and happier (and wealthier and wiser) future. And Dr. Brar thinks that this is just the beginning for medically monitored weight loss: “A lot of my colleagues and people that I’ve trained through residency have shown interest in collaborating and instituting similar types of weight loss systems in their practices, so we’re working on collaborating with people in California, and even the United States and eventually internationally. I think we can work together to set a better stage for the world for healthy lifestyles. It’s an exciting initiative.”
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Brianna Connors & Derek Archer Co-Editors