“Weight Coach” vs “Obesity Medicine Physician”

Apr 27, 2022
“Weight Coach” vs “Obesity Medicine Physician”

What is the difference between a “Weight Coach” and an “Obesity Medicine Physician?”


I get this question a lot: You are a practicing obesity medicine physician and you provide weight coaching for clients, what’s the difference?

It is a great question!  While they both have similar goals, there are many differences between the two, and those differences determine which one would be most beneficial for you.  

Obesity medicine is a medical specialty dedicated to the comprehensive care of patients with overweight or obesity. Obesity medicine is a science-based approach that focuses on the “four pillars:” nutrition, physical activity, behavioral changes, and medication.  Obesity can be caused by medical, behavioral, genetic, hormonal, environmental, and immune factors.  I approach treatment of patients from a medical perspective focusing on medical history, nutrition, and physical activity.  I look for factors such as insulin resistance, medications, poor sleep, or stress that could be contributing to weight gain. Treatment plans focus on nutrition, physical activity, and some behavioral changes and can incorporate medication if necessary.

Weight coaching blends the latest science of weight loss with the tools of life coaching.  Coaches help clients become aware about how their thoughts drive their feelings, which ultimately lead to actions related to their weight goals and results.  Clients learn tools that will allow them to successfully implement lasting changes.  Weight coaching focuses on decreasing overhunger and overdesire while helping the client create a way of eating that is sustainable for their whole life rather than relying on will power or an endless cycle of dieting. Coaching addresses urges, buffering/stress eating, and thoughts that ultimately lead to weight gain or struggling with weight loss.


How do I know which is right for me?

While both are extremely beneficial, they each serve different purposes.  Weight coaching is very valuable for anyone who has struggled to achieving their weight goals.  Also, many of the tools learned through coaching can be applied to other aspects of your life.  Obesity medicine is helpful for individuals whose weight gain may be caused by medical related issues or whose weight might be causing medical issues.  

If you have questions about whether weight coaching is right for you, feel free to schedule a mini session with me. 


DISCLAIMER: Sarah Smith MD is a medical doctor, but she is not your doctor, and she is not offering medical advice on this website.  If you are in need of professional advice or medical care, you must seek out the services of your doctor or health care professional.