Don't Be Afraid to Talk to Your Doctor about Weight Loss

1SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
8/16/2011 2:00 PM   :  49 comments   :  19,651 Views

Have you ever felt like your doctor was judging you or made you feel ashamed of your weight? Do you avoid seeing your doctor or postpone seeking medical care because you are embarrassed about your weight or want to avoid a potential lecture about weight loss? 
 
Unfortunately your fears are not entirely unfounded.  Many studies have shown that medical professionals do in fact stereotype obese patients.  In September 2003, the journal Obesity Research (now called Obesity) published a study that revealed a weight bias among health professionals who work with obese patients.  These professionals “significantly endorsed the implicit stereotypes of lazy, stupid, and worthless” using a self-report questionnaire.  Not very comforting is it? 
 
Despite studies such as this one, it is important that you do not let your fears interfere with your medical care.  Lack of medical care in obese patients is a serious issue and can be harmful to your health.  Studies have shown that obese patients are less likely to receive preventative care.
 
Do you think correcting the perception of health professionals will fix the problem? Yes, it will help, but there is another side to this story.  Physicians are faced with the difficult task of potentially insulting a patient.  Words must be chosen carefully. Doctors fear that patients may feel insulted by the subject of weight loss even if they did their best to bring up the issue of weight with compassion. 
 
Because of these issues, the topic of weight loss frequently remains the pink elephant in the examination room and is addressed by no one.  The obese patient receives inadequate care and the physician may feel like it is a no-win situation to try to encourage weight loss. 
 
Physicians treat obesity-related conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes on a routine basis.  Many of these conditions can be prevented and/or controlled with diet and exercise alone.  Often, physicians place their patients on medications to control the disease process without addressing the root cause.
 
Many Americans see their physicians only when they are unwell.  They feel that if you walk out of the office without a prescription you have received inadequate care.  For example, if a patient presents with an upper respiratory tract infection (a cold) and you tell your patient that there is no indication for antibiotics because they have a virus (which antibiotics don’t treat) they usually leave unhappy and may even find another physician who is willing to prescribe the antibiotic. 
 
So instead of a lengthy dissertation about how and why antibiotics are prescribed or the risks associated with their overuse, many physicians give in to their patient’s misconceptions and write the prescription anyway.  They avoid an argument or disagreement, and they know this patient will feel more satisfied that the visit was a good one.
 
This fear is only one reason why weight loss and exercise are rarely discussed.  To make matters worse, studies show that a significant percentage of physicians actually feel inadequately trained to counsel patients about weight loss--myself included in my days before SparkPeople and my own weight-loss experience.
 
Still the biggest factor in why physicians aren't counseling patients about weight loss? Time. Your doctor literally does not have the time to teach you about how to change your entire lifestyle.  Seasoned SparkPeople members know that just defining what the word calorie means is not going to cause you to change your life.  This in no way is a five-minute conversation. Honestly, it is an unrealistic expectation for your doctor to be the main source of information regarding a healthy lifestyle. 
 
So, on one side, we have the patient who feels (and in many cases is) judged and stereotyped by the physician.  On the other side is the overworked physician who fears insulting--and possibly losing--the patient. 
 
So, is there anything that you can do to bridge this gap? Yes!
 
You must take the initiative and tell your doctor your plan to lose weight. Remove the pink elephant from the room by bringing up the subject of your weight first so you and your doctor can have a productive conversation.  Only then will you receive complete and adequate care.
 
Some tips for speaking with your physician about weight loss:
 
  1. Come prepared to discuss how weight loss and the how losing weight will impact your medical conditions.  Ask your doctor:
  • How will my medications be affected by losing weight? 
  • Will my doses change? 
  • Should I come in for more frequent follow ups while I am losing weight so that we can check if it is time to adjust medications?
If you are like me you, will forget everything that you wanted to say if you feel rushed.  Consider writing your concerns down so you are sure to discuss all of them. 
 
  1. SparkPeople.  How can SparkPeople play a role? Bring your physician this handout and tell your him/her that this is the plan that you will be following.  In the majority of cases, your physician will be supportive and interested in your progress.  If you are successful, you physician will more than likely recommend SparkPeople to more patients.  How’s that for spreading the spark?
  1. Get clearance.  Make sure you have the green light to participate in the diet and exercise plan you have chosen.  Find out if you need to modify your plan due to any restrictions you have been given.  Be sure that you are clear on any restrictions given before you leave. 
 
More than likely your physician will be thrilled that you have taken charge of your health.  Having a plan and knowing what you need to do will remove the pink elephant in the room.  Hopefully, everything that needs to be discussed regarding your health can be done without the fear of judgment on either side.  
 
What if your physician does not seem receptive to your new take-charge attitude?  It is vital that you feel your concerns are being heard and met by your doctor.   If not, exercise your right to find a new doctor--one who makes you feel comfortable and who puts your health first.
 
Instead of feeling like, “I knew it! I knew my doctor was judging me!”  Rest assured that not all physicians feel this way, but most importantly take charge of your health and get the care that you need and deserve!
 
 
Was your doctor supportive of your decision to lose weight? Does he/she tell other patients about SparkPeople? Have you ever had to "break up" with a health-care provider?
 
Dr. Birdie Varnedore, M.D., is happy to offer her expertise to the SparkPeople community; however, she cannot offer specific medical advice to dailySpark readers. Please do not share confidential medical information here. If you have a personal question or a concern about your health, please contact your health-care provider.


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Comments

  • 49
    I have never really discussed my weight gain and or loss with my Doctors. Funny thing happened. A couple weeks ago I was admitted into the ICU. Meaning I had to take all of my clothes off and put on a gown.
    The first thing that came to my mind - is dang, they have seen each and every one of my tattoos.
    If you don't know me from years ago and are just meeting me for the first time, you may see a woman that carries her self my class and confidence. The the mistakes that I made with the tattoos on my body. - 2/28/2014   1:01:33 PM
  • 48
    My doc is useless. Went in to see him because I couldn't seem to loose any weight and I was classed as 'overweight' after a several month long bad eating stretch.
    He said to me that I was only just overweight and that I've probably gained a heap of muscle mass with all the exercise I've been doing. I know my body really well thanks very much and I KNEW it was fat!
    He didn't offer any advice and just said that my waist measurement is in a good range to put me in the low risk range for weight related injuries and illnesses, and as far as he was concerned I should be ok with that. Well, thanks doc. That's really helpful. *grumble*. I guess he's just used to seeing the people who are quite overweight but don't want to admit or do anything about it. The idea that someone that's quite fit and isn't really *too* overweight and wants to do something about it is a bit of a novelty. - 11/3/2011   5:18:19 AM
  • 47
    I spoke to my doctor about weight loss. I carry my weight well and most people don't realise that I am obese (BMI-33) so I brought up the issue.

    I was rather shocked when she touted a branded weight loss system to me. I won't name them, but this is from their website

    "The main objective is to raise Leptin Levels in the body. This consists out of a series of daily injections in conjunction with the taking of supplements and a balanced meal plan. The injections consist of a formula that raises your Leptin Levels which controls hunger and cravings. It helps to mobilise your fat out of the fat cells so that it can be used as energy."

    I left and came back to Sparkpeople. Daily injections? Supplements? Not for me. - 11/2/2011   7:02:42 AM
  • 46
    "You must take the initiative and tell your doctor your plan to lose weight. Remove the pink elephant from the room by bringing up the subject of your weight first so you and your doctor can have a productive conversation. Only then will you receive complete and adequate care."

    I am very proactive. I am a nurse and I grew up with health issues. I have negotiated the health system for most of my life - as a patient and as a professional. I live in Canada where we are supposed to be very pro-active in health care, yet when it comes to weight it appears this isn't the case. There are still many barriers and prejudgements from professionals when dealing with the issue of weight. Until fat discrimination ends, there will always be issues and barriers when it comes to seeking medical support on this issue. - 9/27/2011   3:33:14 PM
  • 45
    My experience isn't that I want quick fix or prescription, its that the doctors want the quick fix. I'm confused on the comment "patients only see a doctor when unwelll." Not sure why anyone would see a doctor if living healthy and have no medical issues - except for the regular physicals, such as Pap test (for example). Why on earth would I go to the doctor and say "I am really healthy, no issues for me, I am great weight, no illness, feeling wonderful. Just wanted to fill up your busy day with my happy news." To be proactive in your health, it makes far more sense to spend time away from the clinic - where germs abound and illness reigns. If you want to include professionals into your healthy lifestyle, that can be done without medical visits - such as a trainer at the gym. Last, you can have diabetes, high blood pressure and other so-called obesity health issues, even when you are at a healthy weight - it is not exclusive to being overweight. - 9/27/2011   3:24:52 PM
  • ELECTRALYTE
    44
    I didn't need a doctor to tell me anything. I haven't had health insurance or a Doc visit in well over a decade. That's why I'm trying to take such good care of myself.
    Last time I did see a Dr. she put me on phen-fen for a year until they pulled it off the market.
    I gained all the weight back plus much more.
    I am down to that lowest weight now doing it the RIGHT and only way. Thanks to SP for the tools to succeed. - 8/18/2011   12:45:21 PM
  • WITCHYWOMAN45
    43
    If I had 5 bucks for every time a doctor told me "you need to get some weight off" as they sent me out the door, I could take the vacation of my dreams! Then to return the following month and hear the same words again has been sooo frustrating. I got so aggravated with one physician (she is no longer my doctor) that when she said it one visit after I'd been her patient several years, I stopped in my tracks, looked her in the eyes and said "Well why don't you just tell me HOW because what I've tried hasn't worked!". Her response was "keep trying" and she turned and walked out of the exam room. That was my last visit to her! I went in search of better doctors and now have a wonderful endocrinologist who not only assisted me in getting my diatetes under control (she ^^^ up there, blamed lack of it's control on me) with only 1 visit and a change of insulin, but he recommended diet and nutrition counseling in his office which I took advantage of and began my journey to healthy weight loss! When the right doctor is found, you'll know and won't trade them for the world. Don't settle for poor quality care. - 8/18/2011   1:06:46 AM
  • 42
    I have a wonderful doctor who has cut back to 3/4 time (good for her, bad for me). She has always been very supportive. She usually asks about my weight (as in am I doing anything to change it). She also got me involved in a program run by a cardiologist that is fantastic. Ten sessions each 3.5 hours long - an hour of medical education, then a half hour to eat a healthy, vegetarian meal that we are given the recipes for, then an hour with a nutritionist, and finally an hour with either an exercise physiologist or a stress reduction person. I now know so much more about heart disease, cholesterol (HDL, LDL and triglycerides) and what makes each of those go up or down. I know a lot more about nutrition. Probably the most important thing I learned was how to make exercising a habit and how to get back to it when you've had a break from it - injury, illness, or stubbornness. Paired with the support on SparkPeople I am finally losing weight and getting healthier. Oh and there's also the therapy ;) - 8/17/2011   11:41:02 PM
  • 41
    My doctors have been incredibly supportive. My GP really is my best weight loss cheerleader. She gets so happy for me (without being patronizing) every time I come in and weigh a bit less. And she was very understanding about the whole situation; I have never felt judged. Then again, I live in a part of the country where the obesity rate is VERY high...maybe she's just used to big patients? - 8/17/2011   11:27:28 PM
  • ALLIB22
    40
    i did when i started gaining out of now where...she sent me for testing but all my results were good. she also sent me to see a nutritionist - 8/17/2011   8:20:31 PM
  • 39
    Our Dr is marvellous in every way - BUT - excuse the pun - a fat lot of good when it comes to wanting to lose weight!!!

    His reply is always "Well, we won't worry about it right now!"

    I'm sure having hypothyroidism is one thing that makes him wary, but is no help to me!

    Sue - 8/17/2011   6:50:25 PM
  • 38
    My OLD doctor used to tell me every time I saw him, that I needed to lose weight. It didn't matter why I was there, it always came back to my weight. So, I lost 40 pounds, went back to see him and was happily awaiting his comments. NOT A WORD about the weight loss! That's why he is my OLD doctor. My current doctor doesn't seem too worried about my weight. I've brought it up a few times and he is more concerned with my "numbers" which are all pretty good. I'll be seeing him next week :) - 8/17/2011   6:27:30 PM
  • 37
    Like many of the comments that have been posted I have also had doctors that thought I was lazy and overate ALL of the time until I found my doctor/ nurse practioner that I go to now. She is very helpful with my weight loss and health issues but I had to search for someone that I was comfortable with and its made my weight loss with Sparks even more helpful. - 8/17/2011   6:06:47 PM
  • 36
    I love the Dr.handout sheet! I hope doctor's appreciate it too! - 8/17/2011   5:45:11 PM
  • JULIA1154
    35
    You know, I simply do not believe there are MDs out there who write RX for antibiotics just to avoid disappointing a patient. We see this example used time and again as if it's Gospel truth (see above posting by Dr. Birdie) but honestly, has anyone EVER encountered this? I think it's an urban myth :) - 8/17/2011   5:22:32 PM
  • 34
    the first time when I was a kid ( i later found out I had pcos, thus the hormonal weight gains) he just said I was fat and that I should eat apples instead of candy bars - except I rarely ate candy bars!

    Later, I had hormonal weight gains after I had mirena (google it, others have experienced it). yeah the dr gave me a lecture on NOT drinking my calories - i told her I only drink water or tea with stevia sweetener.

    they don't believe you at all. drs don't believe that I eat eggs for breakfast, small amounts of steak, ezekiel bread, tons of veggies. they don't believe it.

    they really think that I'm sitting around being lazy. they don't believe me about my back pain or any of it. - 8/17/2011   2:15:57 PM
  • 33
    I adore my doctor. She is an Internist and an OB/GYN, so I see her for *everything*. What I love about her most is she is never afraid to say "I don't know," and even happily offers to refer me to a specialist if I wanted, like the last time I incurred a sports injury. That is honesty!

    As far as weight loss and health issues, she is an avid reader of the Times, so she is always very eager to chat about the latest research and methods. She never ever pushes me to do solve a problem using one solution; instead, she offers several solutions and lets me pick what I think is best.

    Lastly, what my most favorite thing about my doctor is that she encourages me to ask questions. She's always saying "So what else is going on?" when I get quiet. I only recently learned that a doctor who wants to chat with her patients is unusual. I am very lucky! - 8/17/2011   1:31:17 PM
  • 32
    I must say that I am eternally grateful that I am Canadian. I don't deal with being unable to change doctors, or have limited choices of treatment because of insurance or not having any...health care is a right here, not a privilege. That being said, my doctor, who is only slightly older than I am, started the lecture on weight and its effects on my health with the phrase "When people get to our age, they have to watch their sugars and blood pressure, especially if they are carrying extra pounds [I am -- he's not]. My pressure was 106/69 and my sugars in the low normal range...he stopped right there, saying, "You're numbers are significantly lower than mine....." Since then he hasn't said much - 8/17/2011   1:05:13 PM
  • 31
    I'm lucky to have a wonderful family doc who has seen me go from pudgy, inactive child, to muscular, motivated varsity all-star, to obese and unhappy newlywed... She always treated me like an individual, and not just a body type or stereotype. I hope that I'll give her a chance to see me get back to my best self!

    Through all of the various phases my body has gone through, she has consistently emphasized that, aside than the number on the scale or my appearance in the mirror, what matters is good nutrition, that I'm living an active lifestyle, and that my biochemistry is indicative of health, rather than being full of red flagfs. Although I'm overweight and have at times been borderline obese, I've never had high blood pressure or cholesterol and have always remained active -- I'm so lucky and happy to say that I've never felt judged by my doctor.

    Interestingly, recent research shows that there are significant benefits in considering patients obesity in the context of their overall health using the recently developed Edmonton Obesity Staging System (full article at: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2183860
    2
    ) which ranks obesity into "stages" based on mortality risk, as is already done for conditions like diabetes and cancer. The ranking is based on the persons overall health, rather than just the degree of their obesity, and shows that obese people who are otherwise healthy don't share the disproportionately high risk of mortality that their less healthy counterparts do. Interesting research, which will hopefully help healthcare professionals assess risks and make recommendations for obese patients. For professionals who may be tempted to see their obese patients as "fat" stereotypes, hopefully research like this will also open up their thinking! - 8/17/2011   12:47:14 PM
  • 30
    I used to work in a doctor's office. Before that I never knew that you could request a longer appointment. But you can! If you want to talk to you doctor about certain issues and you know you'll need extra time, tell the receptionist when you're scheduling. They'll usually give you two appointment slots so that you have twice as long. That way the doctor doesn't have to worry about getting behind in their schedule. Plus, they'll usually make a note when scheduling so the doc knows that you want to chat before they ever walk in the room with you. - 8/17/2011   11:37:53 AM
  • 29
    When I was sick all the time several years ago, I couldn't get any doctors to listen to me. They all blamed my weight and wouldn't listen to anything I had to say. I tried to explain that I was gaining weight because I was constantly fighting colds and flus and that I was normally fairly active. All I heard was, "If you lose some weight you'll feel better."
    The doctor I saw most recently was judging me as well.
    I don't plan to share my weight loss journey with a doctor! - 8/17/2011   11:09:24 AM
  • DINALORI1969
    28
    I've had doctors of both types. Dr. #1 was VERY negative towards me, and even refused to accept me as a patient if I didn't go on a supervised fast ($1500, not covered by insurance!), Dr. #2 kept pushing weight loss surgery EVERY. TIME. I. SAW. HIM! Even after I told him I 1.) couldn't afford it, 2.) didn't think it would work (I've heard from many surgery patients who gained all the weight back, plus more!) and 3.) I would never even consider having the surgery. EVER!

    Finally now I'm with and MD/Nurse Practioner duo who are completely supportive of the healthy changes I've made. Every time I see one of them they just gush over how great I look, how great my lab results are and keep up the great work! The nurse even wrote down SP's web address and taped it on a cupboard door, saying she was going to reccomend SP the next time someone asked about weight loss! - 8/17/2011   11:05:18 AM
  • 27
    My doctor is fabulous. He never lectured, gave good advice when I asked for it, and is thrilled with my weight loss. - 8/17/2011   11:03:58 AM
  • 26
    great article. If the doctor doesn't have time - for whatever reason - you can schedule a separate appt to discuss weight, or ask for a consult to a nutritionist. These are usually covered by insurance. - 8/17/2011   10:26:47 AM
  • MOMMYBYCHOICE
    25
    In Feb 2011 I went to see a NEW MD. He did not bring up the weight loss although its obvious I am over weight. I did bring it up- he gave me a 2 week calories counted diet plan. discussed the fact I should quit smoking. we discussed the fact he is an avid runner - I hate to run, even though I have done a couple of races with my little girls. In August I went back to see him for the 6 month f/u I was 15 punds lighter and now a non- smoker.... I am not sure who was more happy me or him.... he kept saying keep up whatever you are doing... it was kinda cool getting so much positive feedback from him. - 8/17/2011   9:14:43 AM
  • SILENTSGIRL
    24
    I had a very negative experience with my doctor when it came to weight loss. I went to her feeling very pleased that I had managed to get moving and had started losing weight (it was the beginning of my journey), and that I had even come home from a two-week vacation (to Georgia, land of crab cakes and pecan pie) 1 lb. lighter than when I left because I worked so hard every day to offset my treats with exercise. Her response? "Wow. One whole pound. You're still dangerously fat so I'm not sure why you're so happy." It was my last visit to her.

    My current doctor is supportive but happy to remain in the background unless I have specific questions. Her view is that anything I'm doing which is more than I did for the 20 previous years (which was nothing) is a huge improvement, and that small steps will lead to great strides. The difference is that I leave her office knowing I'm moving in the right direction, and not feeling like a failure. - 8/17/2011   9:08:59 AM
  • 23
    My doctor has been supportive of me for 20 years and stood by me with WW, Jenny Craig, Nutri Systems, you name it. She was always encouraging me to get on a program, get a trainer, etc., etc., Now that I am on SP she is still supportive. - 8/17/2011   9:02:48 AM
  • PARISTASAI
    22
    My doctor is very slow to prescribe drugs, listens to me, and encourages me to get healthy using SparkPeople. Wish you all could see her! - 8/17/2011   8:36:28 AM
  • 21
    What school did this doc go to? I learned that Docs were trained that if people came with a list, to be concerned about their mental health -- and sure enough, I was treated that way!! When I first talked about weight gain issues, it was when I was having thyroid surgery -- it was all my fault, what I put in my mouth. 10 years and 46 pounds more, I finally get thyroid medication -- after all those years of complaining about these issues and even going on a nurse supervised shake diet ($200/month for the shakes alone). I had to go to a doctor who didn't take insurance so that the insurance company couldn't interfere with treatment. But this doc recommended an unlivable vegetable fast --- weeks and weeks of fasting. After 5 months on thyroid medication, I started responding normally to diet and exercise. There were docs who looked at my symptoms and took them seriously until my blood tests came in at the bottom of the scale -- if insurance will disallow it, they won't apply the appropriate treatment ---- and while I was working so hard and so confused and frustrated with the weight gain and fatigue, when the blood tests came in, the tone switched from, oh, we can help, to it's your fault or it's all in your head.

    Don't be afraid to talk to the doc, but have lots of support and skills to cope if it doesn't go well. - 8/17/2011   7:28:25 AM
  • 20
    My physcian is very much into weight loss. However, last time I saw him he called me a .... and emphasized weight loss. He has a history of heart disease and goes overboard. What really offended me is that he knows nothing about nutrition. I have actually made myself ill following his advice. Another example of being armed with information. I haven't been back to him since. Will I, Perhaps.
    I just need to get over my sensitivity, and realize some things he just is simply wrong. Additionally, he absolutely doesn't understand about muscle gain, and to him all fat is equal. - 8/17/2011   4:00:38 AM
  • 19
    I'm lucky enough to have a fantastic doctor (through my university) and he and I have discussed my weight pertaining to a few issues I have, but he has never made me feel bad or lazy, or any other negative about my weight, especially since many of my test results come back very good. When I told him I was working on losing weight he took a few minutes to discuss with me my goals to learn if they were realistic, and as they were he gave me full encouragement. My doctor knows that despite being very overweight, I am healthier then most of the students he sees who are at, near or even below "target" weight. I can never be a size 6 ( I just don't have the body structure for it) but I can be a very healthy 14/16 and as I understand it, being healthy is better than being a weight that is unhealthy for me. I am so lucky to have my current doctor, I wish all the ones I'd seen in the past were as good, I might never have reached my highest weight. - 8/17/2011   1:20:31 AM
  • 18
    I have to go to a military hospital and the doctors there are no help at all with my weight loss. I get "Well, MOM, at your AGE, you can't expect to lose any weight now, but cut back a little on what you eat and exercise a little more."
    RIGHT!
    I know I have Metabolic Syndrome/Insulin Resistance and my Triglycerdies was 550 (normal is under 150), so I found Sparks on-line and did something about losing weight for myself. - 8/16/2011   11:50:06 PM
  • 17
    While I agree that some doctors are probably less than sensitive when discussing weight issues with their patients, it is also important to realize the significant constraints they are under in trying to resolve as many issues as possible during a very short timeframe. A usual visit with a doctor is probably only 10-15 minutes long and should be focused on the primary reasons that the person sought to make a doctor appointment. If the patient tries to add other concerns such as weight loss, the doctor may not be prepared to discuss the issue at length -- he already has a waiting room full of people growing more restless due to the extended delays in seeing their physician. I am fortunate to have a very caring and professional primary physician who has been extremely supportive -- but that didn't happen overnight. Over the years we have developed a doctor/patient relationship that allows for more probing discussions regarding issues such as weight. I also find that my doctor's office staff, from the nurses to the clerks, are respectful and will make every effort to assist in any possible way -- as long as you are respectful to them and appreciate the very difficult work they do on a day to day basis. I guess I may be a bit prejudiced as I am a retired RN and I see the situation from a different angle than most. I only hope that as medical education improves and changes are made in insurance coverage regarding the types of interactions that are covered, all of our lives will improve for the better. For now, every patient needs to take more responsibility for the time available in any face to face appointment with their physician and don't expect that some answers given by the doctor may not be what they hoped to receive. I do feel that if you are not being respected as an individual with valid concerns regarding your health and well-being, opting to seek another doctor for further care is the best solution to a very difficult situation. - 8/16/2011   9:23:49 PM
  • RUNESHADOW
    16
    I have no intention of discussing my nutrition plan with my doctor. There isn't time; my insurance only covers visits for a specific reason/ailment. And I have done my research and want to pursue my plan to reduce portion size, introduce more fruits and veggies, etc, going extremely slowly because I am making long-term lifestyle changes, not dieting. I don't want his input.

    What I find absolutely appalling is the doctors who don't treat conditions when a patient has a lot of weight to lose. Two family members have been totally dismissed, told only to lose weight, as if that'd cure the problems. One went ahead on her own, with dietary changes, OTC diet pills, exercise, and lost 100+ pounds, only to have her symptoms continue with the same severity. PFFTTTT.

    My doctors have been startled by my test results, standard blood tests, stress test, etc... as if they could not believe I had completely healthy levels despite being quite a bit heavier than I "should" be. When one doc scheduled my test, he didn't say we'd see if I had a problem; he actually said the test will show us how severe the problem is... and there was absolutely none. Then I couldn't get his office to send those test results to my family doctor. What, did he think the test was in error??

    I miss my dearest doctor, who closed her practice to move out of the country to join her grown children. Otherwise, I have little faith or respect for doctors I have encountered and go only when I absolutely positively need to do so. If your doctor is supportive, go ahead, and discuss your nutritional plans etc. I think it should be patient intiated, as one commenter wrote. - 8/16/2011   6:48:44 PM
  • 15
    Many of us, have "been there" when a doctor, or healthcare "professional, and in this case, I am using the term loosely, LOOKED AT US AND SAID "YOU ARE FAT BECAUSE YOU EAT TOO MUCH AND ARE LAZY!" This was listed in the BLOG, so I understand. YES, it did happen to me, and sadly, due to insurances, I was unable to change doctors at that time.

    I for one, honestly, and I do mean honestly, AM NOT AN OVEREATER, NOR AM I LAZY. But there are a few people that view many, as such. I have a wonderful doctor now, and work with her very well. I am already scheduled for my annual checkup in September (before I leave any office, I make my next appt, mark my calendar, and follow through) and I have already copied my SPARKPEOPLE letter for my doctor and Spark cards! I can't wait to go...spread the SPARK!

    - 8/16/2011   6:37:31 PM
  • 14
    I think the third poster, Pixie Mom, raises a good point: how many doctors may simply have given up? I mean, we KNOW how hard what we are doing is, and many of them do, too, so to give good advice over and over, with very few people doing anything about it must be extremely discouraging.

    I'm not talking about the care-nothings, but the good ones who are up against it with intransigent, or simply stuck, patients.

    I LOVE the letter/handout. If I were changing doctors I would definitely take that with. - 8/16/2011   5:14:09 PM
  • 13
    I once went to the doctor specifically to talk about a weight loss plan, and insurance wouldn't cover the visit because it wasn't a "necessity." We need insurance plans to get on board with us too to make this all work well. - 8/16/2011   5:10:22 PM
  • 12
    I told my doctor that I wanted to lose weight. She directed me to Spark People. I also come in once a month to weigh in and get my blood pressure checked. In three months we will do blood work and decide on several of my medicines if they can be adjusted or not. She has been wonderful through this whole process. If I ever have any questions about my diet I can call in and talk to the dietician that they have available through their clinic staff. They fully believe in treating the whole person. I'm very glad that I brought the subject up. I was nervous to do so. - 8/16/2011   4:57:40 PM
  • JAY75REY
    11
    current doctor is very supportive. She doesn't make weight a huge issue, but I was the one who told her I was starting (again) to try and lose weight because I'd blown it. I asked if I could delay my next A1C for a couple of months to lose more weight and see if it made a difference, and she agreed. She also advised me that if I lost 30 lbs, that would be reasonable, make a great impact on my health, and was maintainable easily. Although my real "goal" is to lose 60-70 lbs, it was so helpful for her to let me know that 30 was enough if it came down to it. And, I really do feel good when I'm about 30 lbs less than now. - 8/16/2011   4:43:00 PM
  • 10
    Honestly never had a doctor who wasn't afraid to tell me to lose weight. Sadly, none of them would help me or guide me, other than to give me some stupid stapled pack of paper and say follow this. None of them considered sending me to a dietician (my current one WON'T send me to a dietician, because she thinks they are idiots and will only teach me to carb count.) None of them will or would even consider doing tests for PCOS and none of them had the background to understand how that could impact weight loss. The only person ever to give me anything for Insulin resistance was my OB, and he did it to help me get pregnant. Once I was pregnant, no more metformin. Now, my current doctor, she's totally into organic, holistic, non processed foods, and this is ok, until I get something like a yeast infection, and her cure is to consume yogurt, oregano oil and lose weight. Funny, her cure for my diabetes is the same... - 8/16/2011   4:17:42 PM
  • 9
    I only saw my doctor when I had a problem. Then I started losing weight and thought I should se him to see what he had to say. Wow! It was really cool to get his opnion and his approval for the way I was doing it. He also told me about plateau's and not to be upset when I get there. That your body just needs time to adjust.
    He has also been teaching me to listen to my body about how fast to go,what foods to eat, etc. When I eat, I should write down how I feel afterwards. That'll help me stay away from things I should not be eating.
    The bad part to me is that these preventative type appointments are not covered by my insurance. They will pay the fee if I go there for a "problem" but not if I am going to talk about weight loss. That part really bums me out, but I go and pay the fee. The system is messed up. If people are trying t get healthy, they should not have to pay more. We'll be costing the insurance company less in the long run. Sorry for the rant.
    I think discussing your weight loss goals with your doctor is one of the best things you can do. When mine tells me that I'm doing a great job, I just beam with pride and excitment! - 8/16/2011   3:53:39 PM
  • 8
    I was one of those people who never went to see a doctor unless I absolutely had to. After being hospitaqlized for 13 days with pnumonia, I decided I had better start taking better care of myself. I quit smoking, joined SP and have now joined a fitness center, I will meet with my trainer tomorrow morning. I need to lose 112 pounds and want my doctor to be a part of this transformation. Not only to moniter my health, but to see that through SP you can learn to live a healthy lifestyle, if only you choose to do so.

    I have printed the handout from above and have printed off my nutritional report as well as my fitness reports for the past month. I see my doctor this Friday and am looking forward to it.

    I had bloodwork done a few weeks ago and it came back very good, which suprised my doctor because I am 112 pounds overweight. Being overweight doesn't always mean that your bloodwork will be bad, but it is still unhealthy. It is hard on my joints and I'm sure it's hard on my heart and other organs. Now is the time to get my body in tune with my bloodwork and get everything healthy.

    My doctor is learning, through me, that some people do want to take the next step to a healthy lifestyle and not to judge people by thier size. - 8/16/2011   3:38:52 PM
  • SSCHUETZ1
    7
    I left my long-time family doctor because of his attitude towards my weight. This was the doctor who delivered 3 of my children, and was their doctor! Every time he walked into the room, no matter what i was there for, he would tell me "If you would just lose a few pounds everything would be better". So I did lose some weight, over 100 pounds, due to very high stress and not eating... certainly not the healthy way to do it! But he loved it, at first. Then he started saying "If you could just lose 20 more pounds". I realized right then and there that he would NEVER be happy with my weight and I got fed up with it. I haven't been back to see him in almost 10 years. Thankfully I am a very healthy person, in spite of gaining back that 100+ pounds. If I truly need a doctor, I go to the neighborhood clinic, except for my female needs. I am looking for a new family doctor though, because I would like to start getting annual checkups for more than GYN needs. I have no doubt that doctors judge you by your weight.... mine was the worst offender! - 8/16/2011   3:27:52 PM
  • FIRECOM
    6
    My approach at any dr visit is to do a complete "core dump" so that EVERY thing is on the table. I tell him/her that I want to know any and all impacts of the symptoms I have delineated and what are just nonsense. I believe in helping me to get to the absolultely best protocol. I have yet receove nothing but thanks from the doctors in my life, and that appears to be many (darn it) - 8/16/2011   3:23:19 PM
  • 5
    I used to feel very hurt by my doctors remarks. One day I scheduled a longer appointment and explained to him how I felt and told him I need your support and I need to feel comfortable coming into your office with a problem, I also told him he was making things worse instead of better. - 8/16/2011   3:14:19 PM
  • 4
    Hmm, Ive never really met a doctor who cared whether or not I was insulted. I guess that must be something new. - 8/16/2011   2:54:07 PM
  • 3
    I can see the benefit of the weight discussion being patient initiated, but the truth is that sometimes people are deliberately blind to their own problems. And a good doctor should bring up such a major concern that negatively impacts all aspects of health!

    On the other hand nothing will work until the person is ready to do it for themselves!

    My doctor would mention my weight and I did dread going to him because I hated to hear "the talk". But when I was finally ready to do something -- watch out! Now my doctor likes to use me as a "good example" -- he once told me "Its a pleasure to have you visit...for every person like you there are 9 more out there that just give me excuses." And to be fair I told him "Remember, it wasn't that long ago that I was one of the nine!"

    And obesity CAN affect issues like the flu... before I lost weight I would get bronchitis and other such infections at LEAST once or twice in the cold weather.. since I've lost weight... I don't get sick as easily or for nearly as long. - 8/16/2011   2:36:37 PM
  • 2
    Unfortunately, with most doctors I have been to, I have discovered they dismiss concerns, even if I bring them up. Instead of addressing that fact that I have something wrong with the way my body metabolizes food, they simply tell me "you eat too much" or "you need to exercise more." Well, yes, except that I have PCOS and am insulin-resistant. I had to go and do research and tell my doctor what was wrong with me and get it confirmed through tests, etc. I didn't go to medical school; why do I have to diagnose myself before my concerns are treated seriously? Since my doctor was zero help with discovering what is wrong with me, why would I bother to consult him at all about this when I can do the research and figure out a plan of action without him? - 8/16/2011   2:24:58 PM
  • 1
    I think it is way better for this conversation to be patient-initiated. My daughter went to a doctor for the first time with symptoms of flu. Her basic goal was to get a note to legitimize her absence from work. The doctor brought up the weight issue. Did that have anything at all to do with the visit that day? Would reducing her weight have prevented the illness? Would dealing with her obesity issues cure her bout of flu? The answer to all of the above is "Probably not!" - 8/16/2011   2:21:56 PM

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