This post is focused on empowering you to overcome obstacles that get in the way of talking to your doctor about your weight concerns
This post is sponsored by Med-IQ through an educational grant from Novo Nordisk, Inc. to write about the realities of obesity as a chronic disease. All opinions are my own.
A few months ago, I published a very heartfelt and enlightening blog post to help generate awareness about obesity in partnership with Med-IQ, an accredited medical education company that provides an exceptional educational experience for physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals. I was excited to partner with Med-IQ because they are trailblazers in the health education industry and they are on the forefront of disseminating the most up-to-date medical and disease information to healthcare providers around the world.
In my previous post, I discussed the many factors that contribute to obesity, but most importantly I shared that obesity is a disease caused by genetic and environmental factors that can be difficult to control through dieting alone. The most poignant message that I shared was that it’s time for us to make an effort to stop labeling people as ‘being obese’ which perpetuates a blaming mentality and shift to the more appropriate and positive person centered language of ‘having obesity’.
In this follow-up post, I want to focus on the importance of being an advocate for your own health especially when it comes to discussions about your weight. Specifically, I want to share some interesting insights as a result of the Med-IQ survey that accompanied the first wave of obesity education posts as well as give you some tips on how to talk to your healthcare provider about your weight concerns.
Reasons Why Patients Don’t Bring Up Weight Discussions with Their Doctor
- Many patients are reluctant to talk about their weight issues with their doctor because a significant portion are embarrassed or to a lesser extent they don’t know how to start the conversation
- In contrast, the vast majority of patients who have spoken to their doctor about their weight have not felt heard and felt that their doctor glossed over their concerns and did not thoroughly explore their individual history of weight gain and loss
- About half of the respondents surveyed will avoid going to the doctor because they fear being judged for having gained weight and for not being able to manage their weight on their own
- Truth be told, most doctors are also reluctant to bring up weight discussions with their patients because they do not want to embarrass, fail or hurt them
How to Have a Positive Weight Discussion with Your Doctor According to the Obesity Experts at Med-IQ
- If you want to discuss your health and weight with your healthcare provider, make an appointment specifically to discuss your weight concerns so that both you and your doctor can come prepared to talk about your challenges. Do not try to squeeze a weight discussion into an appointment that you made for another health concern, because in all honesty it will not get the attention that it deserves
- Be proactive and bring up your health and weight concerns with your doctor first, don’t wait for them to start the discussion. As I previously mentioned, they may be afraid to bring it up first!
- Negative emotions tied to discussing weight make this a sensitive and difficult topic, but it doesn’t have to be that way! If you re-frame your negative weight concerns and bring it up with your doctor in the context of your overall healthcare needs, this can provide a nice segue into a discussion about weight management
Qualities to Look for in a Great Weight Management Doctor According to the Leading Experts at Med-IQ
- They should be a partner and advocate for your weight management and overall health
- They should listen to your concerns, show interest in your personal weight journey and ask you to share your story of weight gain and loss
- They should provide thoughtful care or a referral to a provider who specializes in obesity care, which should be comprehensive and include psychological counseling, different approaches to dietary and lifestyle modification and medical and surgical treatment options
- They should remain a part of your weight management journey, even if they are not the one who directly provides the weight management care
- Beware of doctors who blame all of your health concerns on your weight, offer a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach or who show minimal interest in your weight struggles and concerns
The bottom line is that weight issues are complex and obesity is a disease with multiple causes and it is not about personal willpower or just the foods that you eat. I hope this post sheds light on the fact that long-term success in weight management requires a partnership with a provider that you can trust.
One last thing that I would love your help with in order to help other people learn ways to understand, manage and treat obesity. Med-IQ is conducting an anonymous survey which includes additional education on this topic and will take less than 15 minutes to complete. Survey responses are shared only in aggregate. Your responses to these survey questions will provide Med-IQ with important information about your experiences with obesity and your care team, which will help us develop future educational initiatives. Once you’ve completed the survey, you will have the option of providing your email address to be entered into a drawing administered by SOMA Strategies to win 1 of 10 $100 VISA gift cards. If you choose to enter, your email address will be used only to randomly draw the winners and notify them of their prize and to send a follow-up survey as part of this same initiative. Take the survey HERE
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