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Why You Should Check with your Doctor before Starting a New Diet or Exercise Program

Updated on October 10, 2010

At the beginning of most exercise programs or books on dieting, you will notice a high recommendation that you see a medical professional before taking the plunge into a new routine. Though many of these programs place that warning there to prevent themselves from facing legal responsibility in case of an injury or illness caused by their system, they point out that your health is your responsibility and you should make sure you are not doing anything that will damage it in any way. Taking your first step toward fitness should be right into your physician's office.

See Your Doctor

Fitness Trainers and Nutricianists Don't Cut it

When the warning says "see your physician" it means "see your physician." It does not mean to run off to the first nutritionist or fitness trainer you can find. Nutritionists and trainers are very important and very useful to have around on your path toward being healthy, but they are generally not medically trained.

You are an individual. Yes, you have genetic material that shows that you inherited your mother's nose and your father's over sized ears, but what about your grandmother's diabetes? or your grandfather's heart disease? Are you more susceptible to these medical problems than you would be otherwise? Would it be dangerous to start off a new exercise regime that may induce a heart attack? Or start a new diet that would do more damage to your body than good?

Nutritionists are an incredible resource for explaining how food works in your body, suggesting good diets and knowing the molecular compounds of food. They can show you how to choose, prepare and consume the right types and portions of food.

Fitness trainers know how to tone your body. They understand what your body needs to be doing to lose unwanted fat around your waist. They can show you how to properly do push-ups, squats, pull-ups and use every machine in the gym. They are an incredible resource to have when sculpting your body to where it needs to be. But neither fitness trainers nor nutritionists are trained to check and understand the genetic makeup of YOUR body.

One Program does NOT fit All

Many fad diets promise that ANYONE can lose weight if they only cut out certain foods or certain types of foods. There is everything between a carb diet and a no-carb diet, only fruits and vegetables to only meat and cheeses. With so many choices of fads to choose from, it is not surprise that people have no idea what is and isn't good for them.

In the same way, not everyone may be fit enough to do every exercise, or exercise as long as others are able. People with heart-related health problems must be careful on the amount of cardio they do. Others may have physical injuries that must fully heal before they can use them safely.

It is your doctor's job to identify these things and put you on a diet and exercise program that will give you the results you NEED (notice I didn't say want) for your body. They will be able to help you sort through all the junk and set you in the right direction.

There May be Something You Don't Know

Dieting and Exercise can potentially put a lot of strain or stress on your body. In some cases, this can be very dangerous for you.

Generally, if you get the flu, you will notice right away. You may have a runny nose, itchy eyes or may experience more uncomfortable symptoms such as vomiting. This is not always the case with more sever medical problems which may "sneak" up on you. Many people don't realize they have heart related problems, cancer or diabetes until months or even years after it begins to develop. In the event that you have developed a serous medical issue, it may need to be addressed before you change anything about your current routine. Failure to take this step could result in more serious illness, additional medical problems or even death.

Will you Follow Through?

If I had to guess the percentage of people that would actually go to their doctor before starting a new program even after reading this, I would say maybe 10 -15 percent. The reasons you may ignore the warnings may be numerous. Perhaps you have been healthy your whole life or have lived a fairly active lifestyle.

I would recommend that you check what they Mayo Clinic has to say at this link about who should check and when to do it. Though not meeting anything on their list does not automatically clear you for your new diet or exercise program, you will have an informed opinion. If you do meet something on the list I urge you to see your doctor. It could be the healthiest step on your road to fitness.


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    • L R Goodman profile image

      L R Goodman 5 years ago

      I agree. It is hard to do it alone. If you don't know anyone personally to go alone with - I recommend checking out It is a good way (and free way) to meet people who will help encourage you one your weight loss journey. Good Luck!

    • profile image

      kirsty 5 years ago

      I am going to see a doctor before going on a diet.i know im fat n unhealthy.i need help,i don't recommend anyone go it alone.