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Research Shows Health-Care Providers Not So Sympathetic to Their Overweight Patients

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
1/15/2011 8:30 AM   :  214 comments   :  21,101 Views

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Last month Coach Nicole sent me a link to an article from the LA Times she thought I would find interesting. After reading the article I knew this was a great topic for me to blog about. In a heartbeat I jumped at the opportunity to give my own personal insight regarding the reaction I experienced in my own life-long journey to overcome the stigma of being overweight, especially from a few not-so-sympathetic health-care providers.

In the article Rebecca Puhl, director of research at the Rudd Center of Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University is quoted saying, "overweight people are often stereotyped as lazy and undisciplined." However the article also states that adjectives such as "mean, stupid and unhappy" can also be equated to those overweight/obese individuals. And these labels aren't just from doctors and nurses, but teachers, employers, classmates, even our own family members. While others may have viewed me that way, that was not the way I viewed myself, EXCEPT when I was around those people who made me feel that way.

Back in 2003 researchers at the University of Pennsylvania "surveyed more than 600 primary care doctors and found that more than half viewed obese patients as awkward, unattractive and non-compliant. One-third characterized them as weak-willed and lazy." And that doesn't surprise me as I experienced this trend in my own life.

I recall three months after giving birth to my daughter going to see my OB/GYN for my follow-up appointment. I had lost 30 pounds and was quite proud, that was until I was berated by my doctor for being lazy and undisciplined. He insisted that I go on a diet to get the weight off , now. Keep in mind I had gained closed to 50 pounds when pregnant and was quite proud of my accomplishment considering I had to have a Caesarean delivery and was still adjusting to the role of being a Mom.

After that day in May of 1988 I came home in tears feeling like a total failure. The thing was, I did not feel like a failure when I went into my appointment--in fact I was quite proud that I was doing as well as I was. And the sad reality is, I was watching my diet and doing as much activity as I could. No I was not running, but I was active. But in the course of a few minutes my balloon of enthusiasm was deflated and this put me on a diet roller coaster for the next 17 years. I allowed judgment of others to affect how I felt about myself.

Finally, after years of doctor hopping I found a wonderful female physician who diagnosed me with hypertension and offered me ways to change my lifestyle. I must confess that I had every good intention when I left her office in January 2004 to get my act together. However, it still took me another year to finally decide I was worth the effort to reclaim my life. In January 2005 when I was having my yearly physical my doctor laid out the worst case scenario--my risk for stroke, heart disease and type II diabetes was going up each passing month if I did not do something to change my path. She stated just losing 10% of my weight could do wonders for my health.

I went home and laid out a plan for me to get healthy. Not lose weight per se, but to become as healthy as I could. It took me a good 3 1/2 years to lose 80 pounds, but I found a sympathetic doctor who understood my plight. We worked together as a team and I no longer fear going into the doctor's office.

One thing I have learned in life is compassion goes a long way. While some people will respond to the tough love approach, it isn't a one-size-fits-all scenario. For me having support and encouragement from others is what has given me the power to say no to the donuts or yes to working out when it would be so much easier to skip it. But I had to discover my own self-worth before I could take that leap into change.

What role do you feel a health-care provider should take in helping us acheive our healthy fitness goals? Do you prefer a doctor sympathetic to your plight or one who takes the "Just Do It" approach?


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Comments

  • 214
    I find this article extremely interesting, having worked in our local hospital until becoming disabed due to nerve disorder after injury (not really related, just my bad luck) at that same hospital. While I was overweight, Idid not have a major weight problem until after this happened and I became immobile due top this injury and subsequent disability. Anyway, I digress. Long before all this happened and I was healthy, very healthy in fact, - my job included visiting every floor of the 5 floor hospital so I knew or was acquainted with many of the employees on my shift. I would use the stairs (my way of getting exercise) and it ALWAYS amazed me that the heaviest employees were the nurses (not all of course, not even half). Registewred nurses, mind you, the ones that should know better, the ones that were treating these,'stupid, lazy, udisciplined obese patients'. I oftened wondered how they could explain to patients about diet and nutrition of did they leave that to the lowly nurses aides (trust me, in my hospital if you did not have a nursing degree, the nursing admionistrator felt and treated you as a peon and made it obvious). Just something to think about..... - 11/29/2011   8:06:14 AM
  • 213
    I think most physicians show lack of interest because patients just do not listen to them when it comes to matters of weight. A physician once told me that a patient fired him for suggesting that he needed to lose weight to get his medications under control. I told my physician about spark and now he recommends it to people that need to improve the quality of their lives. - 2/8/2011   3:16:06 PM
  • 212
    I prefer a sympathetic ear! - 1/22/2011   9:36:03 AM
  • 211
    I need the sympathetic type that will lead me to a wonderful web site such as sparkpeople.com - 1/21/2011   11:20:32 PM
  • CODAMINX
    210
    I am, also, overweight and I am a healthcare provider. I did study nutrition when I was in school. I think it is a crime that instead of teaching people how to be healthy the healthcare industry builds bigger rooms with bigger equipment and puts steel beams in the ceilings to attach lifts to. Why don't we just give them a gun! I am deeply saddened when I see a morbidly obese person who is about my age dieing as the result of obesity. - 1/21/2011   2:22:28 PM
  • 209
    About 20 years ago, I had a doctor who, every time I went in basically said, "You're fat. Lose weight." He was a runner, and had zero tolerance for anyone who was not physically fit. He would put down something about weight control, and then my insurance wouldn't pay for my office visit! I was stuck with him because of insurance for about a year and a half. When my insurance changed, I looked for a woman doctor, found one, and immediately was much happier with my medical care. And, I started losing weight! (And she was careful about the coding for my visits!)
    - 1/20/2011   2:32:40 PM
  • 208
    My Dr. and I have an understanding. I understand that nutrition is not something that is focused on in med school (at least it wasn't when he was in there), and I understand that he expects me to be honest with him when I am not being healthy. So sometimes it stinks that I have to go into his office and fess up to a week of eating pizza but at least I am telling him the truth so that when I have a problem it just doesn't get pushed aside because of my weight. My problem is with his nurse. More than once she has told me that I need to put down the fork and push away from the table. I finally lost my temper with her and she is no longer allowed to speak to me when I go into the office. - 1/20/2011   12:58:47 PM
  • 207
    Don't subject yourself to a Dr that is not the right fit for you. There are many out there.
    I personally do better with a health partner not a drill sargent - 1/20/2011   8:58:13 AM
  • 206
    As a Family Physician, I feel that it is my role to try to help my patients live a healthy lifestyle and to give them tools to do so. Whenever someone has an unhealthy lifestyle, whether it be that they smoke, drink too heavily, use drugs, are overweight or sedentary (and the 2 are not always combined), I try to encourage them to make small changes so that they can see long lasting results. This is especially the case if they have an underlying disease, such as hypertension (high blood pressure), hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), diabetes (problems with their sugar) etc. I do try to present it in a health light - eg losing 5-10% of your weight may mean that we can cut down on the number of pills you take. Or encourage them by saying that they are more likely to see children/grandchildren grow up and graduate/marry/have children themselves if you take care of yourself now.

    In saying all of that, unless the person has the drive to make changes themselves, there is little more I can do to help them. I can't live their lives for them, or make the choices they make after they leave my office/the hospital. But I always let them know that I am there for them, and will always listen and try to help them, regardless of the number of times I have to do that.

    If you feel that your current doctor/health care provider is not treating you well, try to find one who will. There are plenty of us out there who feel that providing excellent patient care is our priority, and that includes trying to keep you out of our offices by getting and staying healthy! - 1/20/2011   7:34:39 AM
  • 205
    I don't have a lot of choice in my 'assigned' GP. I never get a pat on the back of any kind, not so much as a quiet 'You are doing very well in terms of becoming healthier.' Whenever I have a problem (I've developed plantar fasciitis, for example) the bottom line from him is 'Well, if you'd only lose weight, you wouldn't have this trouble.' Argh! My self-esteem isn't as fragile as it once was, so I can shrug off some of this and manage without having positive feedback from him. But for those of you who have encouragement and support from your physicians? Oh, lucky you! :-) - 1/20/2011   5:00:46 AM
  • ONLYTEMPORARY
    204
    I have an awesome Dr. She has never gotten on to me about my weight but look pleased and comments when I have a loss like I did last year. In a 7 month time I had lost 12 pounds and she was pleased. Her approach works great as the meds she has me on for Fibromyalgia are weight gainers and she tested my thyroid and found it wasn't doing what it needed to and put me on a med for it which also has the weight gain side effect. So, while it takes me longer to lose weight, it is coming off. - 1/19/2011   5:03:15 PM
  • 203
    I will never forget when my doctor told me, "if you just exercise for 90 minutes a day, you can pretty much eat whatever you want." I kind of balked at that, telling her I didn't have that kind of time! Now, being on SparkPeople has taught me that you can't out-exercise a bad diet and I have found in my own experience this is certainly true! So a lifestyle change was what I needed. Well a few years later I was 10 lbs lighter and telling her about how I have run 3 5-k races, and she was very happy to hear that. A funny thing is, one of my motivations for losing weight is being able to go to the doctor's office lighter so she will smile at me and say Good Job. - 1/19/2011   2:23:03 PM
  • FIT2SWING
    202
    I went to my mothers OBGYN once cause the one I liked was no longer in my health network. This woman was barely 5 feet tall and could not have been more then a size 6. She told me there was no way I could possibly be happy weighing 230 pounds. I was a size 16. I left that appointment discouraged and told my mother that I was not going back to that woman. It always amazes me when someone who knows nothing about your life tells you "Theres no way you can be happy."

    My following OBGYN appointment took me to Planned Parenthood. This doctor was about my height (5'9ish) and maybe a size 20. She was studying to be a nutritionist and we talked about my eating habits and work out routine (or lack there of) and she told me that most of my weight was in my stomach and legs (and boobs) and that was easy to get off since I didn't have back fat. She just suggested walking 30 minutes a day at a fast enough speed to get my heart up a little and adding some greens and fruits into my life. So i tried it. I stopped thinking about that and then about 3 month later I feel in love with Swing Dancing and came back to becoming fit. Now that I have insurance, I still go back to Planned Parenthood because of that doctor. - 1/19/2011   12:42:28 PM
  • 201
    My doctor was very matter of fact towards my weight. He recommended several approaches (south beach, atkins, weight watchers)... but it was up to me to do the work. What finally lit my spark was a scare I had about my heart...
    Now that I'm on my way to reclaiming my health, I no longer dread doctor visits... in fact, at my last one my doctor gave me a high five and praised my hard work and attitude! - 1/19/2011   12:15:18 PM
  • 200
    I detest "Just Do It". I'm already "doing it", but it doesn't seem to be enough. I'm not stupid, I'm not lazy, I just have a body that only wants to shed 2 pounds a month. Please take a look at my chart and notice that I am losing weight, just not as quickly as Atkins or Nutrisystem or you say I should. Take a look at my food diaries and my exercise logs, then give me suggestions or hints about what I'm doing wrong. "Just Do It" doesn't do it for me.
    - 1/19/2011   12:10:40 PM
  • SEJULY
    199
    For me, being tall helped "hide" the extra weight that had been creeping on. None of my doctors ever mentioned the scale's upward trend. Granted it wasn't huge gains, but the cumulative effect was not good.
    Once I realized that I needed to get control of my health, I dumped 30 lbs, and gained muscle weight. After that, the next couple of visits to the doctors got me kudos for doing such a great job. Wonder why they never said anything before? Keep in mind, it wasn't just the number on the scale. It was also my cholesterol level, my body fat percentage, etc, etc. I don't know how I would have responded had either doctor even nudged me and said, "you seem to be putting on weight. What kind of physical activity do you do? What kinds of foods are you eating? etc, etc...
    I don't think berating does anyone any good. If your doctor has a poor bedside manner, find another dotor. - 1/19/2011   10:43:02 AM
  • RAINERN
    198
    I work in healthcare and I have observed both sides of the spectrum. Recently an overweight patient told me that due the caring supportive attitude expressed at our clinic, she now has the courage to leave the house and enjoy social events. She had remained housebound for years due to her perception that she would be judged by her size. I appreciate the challange in this blog to be caring and compassionate to all. - 1/18/2011   10:18:52 PM
  • 197
    I was always overweight, even as a kid/adolescent. I don't remember even ONE doctor or healthcare worker ever saying anything to me about my weight. I'm glad I'm making good lifestyle changes now, but I wish one of them would have (respectfully) said something to me much earlier. - 1/18/2011   6:37:27 PM
  • 196
    Wow, Nancy! You won't believe my status! It totally applies to your wonderful blog today!! “To often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” By Leo F. Buscaglia I think that DOCTORS would do well to remember this quote every morning before they visit with their patients! - 1/18/2011   5:03:51 PM
  • SLM1988J
    195
    I work in the health field and I have witnessed some terrible biased comments being made about overweight people. Apparently someone got the message because now yearly as part of our training we have to take a weight biased/sensitivity class.. and I am glad that we do. - 1/18/2011   3:28:20 PM
  • 194
    Wow, I can relate...I've been considering changing my PCP for quite some time. She is totally unsympathetic to my weight issue and everytime I go in she's like "You need to start thinking about losing weight/diet/excercise, etc." Like I don't already think about it almost every day!! Thanks for telling me I have a weight problem lady...I've been overweight for about 20 years but until you said something I really hadn't noticed! Then I lost about 20 lbs (thanks to SparkPeople!) and she didn't even comment! I'm looking for a new doc asap. - 1/18/2011   1:38:13 PM
  • 193
    I have had some doctors treat my obesity as an "elephant in the room," as someone said earlier on this blog (well said!). I have also had other doctors make faces of disgust when talking with me. But my current PCP is a wonderful internist who worked with me for several years on my weight, including sending me to a nutritionist, doing annual tests on my thyroid, cholesterol, and triglycerides, and finally making a recommendation for gastric bypass. Though I pooh-poohed the idea of gastric bypass for a year, thinking of it as a "last resort" option, I finally came to the realization that she was right, and accepted her offer to refer me to the gastroenterologist who ultimately performed weight loss surgery for me. Every time I see my PCP now, she smiles as wide as the Grand Canyon and praises me up and down for my hard work, and says I'm one of her most successful patients. I am always happy to see her, and am glad to say that I only ever see her now for my annual exam, rather than seeing her every few weeks for some weight-related issue or another. Comparing her generosity of spirit to my parents, who were always being negative about my weight gain, and telling me to "just get on the ball" and lose it, I will take her kindness and support any day. - 1/18/2011   12:56:18 PM
  • 192
    I wouldn't want a physician that would coddle me, but respect goes a long way. Telling a patient that they are "fat" is disrectful and hurtful on so many levels. There are better ways of communicating to patients that they need to lose weight. I have been in the healthcare profession for 23 years and know first hand how some physicians can be downright rude. On the other hand, there are more than a few providers out there who are compassionate, yet stearn and go the extra mile to help their patients. It is our job as patients to find the right fit for us. It also is our job as patients to let our providers know when the are being rude or if you feel they are uncaring. If we don't speak up, there will be no change. Don't just walk out or not go back to the provider. Let them know how they make you feel while you are there or follow up with a letter. Trust me, the last thing a physician wants is an unsatisfied patient for this can lead to several unsatisfied patients who hear about the bad experience. - 1/18/2011   12:55:18 PM
  • 191
    I would choose the sympathetic dr
    who will sit down with you and help map out
    a plan to help you out to lose weight. - 1/18/2011   11:37:02 AM
  • GAILSFITNESS
    190
    sorry for your being subjected to a Dr. so insensitive. Find another dr., this one doesn't deserve your time or money - 1/18/2011   7:32:31 AM
  • 189
    I am 51 and I have been through pure hell with every doctor I have been to until we moved to a different state 10 years ago.
    I found a physician`s assisstant that treats me like a human being.
    It`s not that I want to be babied or have things candy coated.All I ask is to be treated like a human being.
    I would treat a dog better than what I have been subjected to all these years.
    I neglected my health for many years because of my refusing to go to a doctor.
    I found out last year that my thyroid is abnormally small so it`s more than just having low thyroid levels.
    And being on thyroid meds does not make it easier to lose weight.I have to work at it still. - 1/18/2011   6:44:54 AM
  • 188
    I have a doctor that is the right "fit" for me.
    She told me, "You know you are overweight. I know I am overweight. If you decide to do something about it, come to me and I can help you. If you don't decide to do it, nothing I say will help.
    She was right. And I am delighted with her support when I am successful and her lack of censure when I am not. That works for me. - 1/17/2011   9:38:31 PM
  • 187
    Oh my goodness, some of these stories just break my heart! I doctored for more than 20 years with a doctor who never once told me I should lose weight, even at my highest, as I had no complaints and my blood work was always fine. He retired and my PHCP is now a nurse practioner who endorses Spark People. She is kind and encouraging, though she is firm now that I have health issues that losing weight will help with. - 1/17/2011   7:29:46 PM
  • 186
    I finally decided I wasn't able to do it on my own after trying WW, JC, exercise, you name it. So I made an appointment for a FULL physical. Every test came back normal, and when my doctor asked me if I had any concerns I said yes, my weight. Her reply was, "well, all it takes is discipline, I'll be right back." She left the room, and I left the office. - 1/17/2011   7:02:23 PM
  • 185
    Great questions! My old doctor used to tell me to lose weight every time I saw him. When I finally lost 40 pounds, I couldn't wait until I saw him again. Well, when my next appointment came around, he didn't even mention my weight loss! I was just floored! That was my last visit with him. My current doctor doesn't really seem too worried about my weight. As long as my blood work stays good and I have no complaints (other than wanting to lose!) he seems ok with with my weight. I wish I could be so happy :( - 1/17/2011   4:23:49 PM
  • 184
    I am overweight, but do not have any self hatred. I'd like to be 20 pounds thinner, and really would love to look better in my clothes. Maybe I don't have enough extra weight, to feel too bad. I do like a sympathetic Dr. but also one, who expects me to do better. I don't have any issues, most of my overeating stems from boredom. - 1/17/2011   3:42:27 PM
  • 183
    I have had the same experience. I remember one doctor visit, which is when I decided I didn't need a PCP and started seeing specialists. I went to the clinic that was set up to make you feel like cattle being herded. After waiting for 30 min. to be called the nurse took me in to weigh in and shouted my weight across the room to another nurse, where everyone, patients, doctors & nurses could hear. I was at my heaviest then, 235lbs. and was completely humiliated. When I finally got to the doctor I told her that I was having trouble with my hip, without asking anything or even looking at my hip she said, "You're fat. Lose weight and your hip will feel better." I almost burst into tears on the spot but I held it in until I got to the car where I cried for half an hour before I could get myself to a place that I could drive home safely. It was the worst and most humiliating doctor visit I have ever been to. There were a succession of doctors after that who were more "diplocatic" about it but said the same thing, yet none of them were willing to help me work on it. They all just said, "Eat less and exercise more". Years later I was diagnosed with PCOS, which means that "eat less and exercise more" doesn't work the way it should. I finally found a great network of doctors, specialists, that are supportive and encouraging. I have yet to find a primary care doctor that is, but I keep looking. - 1/17/2011   2:43:10 PM
  • 182
    So much for higher education being the saving answer toward tolerance. Yes, being over-weight isn't healthy and becoming more fit is best yet it shouldn't be an excuse to belittle others. A well balanced doctor should care about the whole personage of their patient. Having said all this I have an excellent resource for support with my doctor and I think I will start taking full advantage of her skills. - 1/17/2011   12:15:34 PM
  • MIEZEKATZE
    181
    Give me blunt and honest over coddling any day.

    I'm sorry, but sometimes people need a good kick in the pants. One of my family members is a nurse, and has heard every excuse under the sun. After a certain "saturation point" (her words) she just doesn't want to hear excuses anymore and gets extremely frustrated with her patients after working 12 hour days. For doctors, they put in even longer hours.

    They are only human, to expect them to coddle and be this fantastic, supporting doctor 24/7 is pretty ridiculous if you ask me. - 1/17/2011   12:13:06 PM
  • 180
    This is so true! I began to work with my doctor, going in for monthly check-ins, and talking about ways I could increase my movement and improve my diet, and 14 months llater I weigh 105 pounds less! She was very non-judgmental (as opposed to other doctors I had consulted) and helped me to be successful. - 1/17/2011   11:27:17 AM
  • 179
    The just do it approach. This is a serious matter and losing weight shouldn't be taken lightly. - 1/17/2011   11:21:36 AM
  • 178
    18 years ago I went to a new doctor for my "yearly" I also had questions as I had not been on any birth control for sometime and was concerned that I had not yet become pregnant. At the time, I weighed about 180 lbs - during the exam this (male) doctor had the most disgusted look on his face - when we sat in his office to talk he made me feel I was wasting his time. His whole attitude was one of disdain and annoyance. Then, without even any discussion of what the possibilities were, he told me "lose 50 lbs and then come back and see me" Needless to say, two months later when I WAS pregnant - I found a different doctor. She too was concerned about my weight, and gave me a healthy nutritious plan to follow throught my pregnancy - and wanted to be sure that I did gain some weight (20 lbs total) for the health of my baby. I have never, willing, been to a male doc again. My current GP is an amazing woman. She is wowed by my success so far and encourages me to keep up the healthy life style. Her faith and encouragment help me to do what I need to. Final note: a couple of years ago my insurance changed and that old guys name came up on a list of possible docs. I just said no. - 1/17/2011   11:10:04 AM
  • 177
    I've been overweight for a significant part of my life, and it's funny....I've only had one....maybe two of my doctors instruct me to lose weight. It's almost like it's an elephant in the room. Anyway, my latest Dr. did a blood panel and found that I had high cholesterol at age 34. He said, you can either change your life, or be on medication for the rest of your life. What do you want to do? I chose health and his addressing the "elephant in the room" has changed my life. He is now my biggest cheerleader and he can't wait to see me be successfull. He is an example of what a great healthcare provider is. I hope none of you have to suffer from being ignored or thought of as being less than what you are. - 1/17/2011   11:09:25 AM
  • 176
    Some doctors have their own agenda - if you don't go along with what their advice, they cop an attitude. It doesn't just apply to losing weight.

    My husband, who is overweight (though he gets plenty of exercise), has psoriasis. When we were forced to switch health care plans, he went to see a dermatologist who didn't agree with the conservative approach that his former doctor had taken. This doctor wanted him to try one of the new 'biological' drugs, which though effective in many cases, has high risk factors associated with its use.

    My husband and I talked it over, and decided it wasn't worth the risk. This doctor refused to refill my husbands old prescriptions, and told my him that if he didn't take the biologicals, he couldn't help him.

    Needless to say, we found another dermatologist! - 1/17/2011   10:23:43 AM
  • 175
    I don't know why this posted twice ... - 1/17/2011   10:23:38 AM
  • 174
    Sympathetic, Understanding and Helpful would be ideal and one that I would prefer. I need positive energy to succeed, not negative. Glad you were able to find a physican that could help and understand and direct you to a healthy lifestyle. Yay!! - 1/17/2011   9:23:23 AM
  • 173
    Quote: "A doctor can by sympathetic and supportive or have a "just do it" attitude without being rude, mean, and negative about it. It also does not give them the right to overlook (or not look for) underlying, treatable medical conditions that can be causing a current problem. "

    Amen, sister! As for the woman whose doctor said she was obese at 5' tall and 123 lbs - um, he needs to go back and look at that BMI chart again, because that's just WRONG. - 1/17/2011   8:44:32 AM
  • OKIEGIRL75
    172
    I have read alot of the comments posted. Wow. It really blows my mind. I have only had 2 people in the medical profession in the last 20 years make a comment about my weight to my face. Once when I was about around 16 or 17. I might have been 20 pounds overweight at the most. I don't even remember why I was at the dr. The dr asked me if I sat around and at PBJ sandwiches everyday after school. I responded no. I was in the low 170s, I am 5'6" & have a large frame. The second time a nurse who was taking my vitals, etc after the birth of my 2nd son made a comment that I was needing to lose weight. I don't recall the excat words, but I do remember how she made me feel. I was angry. I was already upset about being overweight. I think at this point I was around 215 pounds. Nevertheless, I thought to myself who is this woman that stands less than 5' and is about as big around as she was tall. I felt insulted. I thought how dare she, but she was just doing her job. I know that now and I knew that then. I didn't change dr's because of that. I moved later and naturally being from away from that dr I had to find a new one. My current GP hasn't said a word to me about my weight. I have never bothered to ask him about it either. My OB/GYN has been the only person I have ever discussed weight to, but not in detail. It was just my concerns about being obese and having another baby. My current OB delivered my 3rd & 4th children. He was very great about all of it. As a matter of fact he ended up lecturing me on gaining weight during my 3rd pregnancy. I had the hardest time with gaining it seemed. I would gain a pound and then lose a pound. At one visit he told me if I didn't stop losing I would have to start seeing a nutrionist. All of this was over concern of my baby. No worries were needed. I had a 9 lb. 6 oz. baby boy and only gained 18 lbs. Alot less weight than the 50 lbs. I gained with the first baby who put me in the obese catergory and have never left. He weighed 9 lbs 15 1/2 oz. I don't blame my son for the gain. I joke or kid sometimes saying that if it weren't for my kids I wouldn't be this big. I almost forgot, at a checkup after the birth of my 3rd son the nurse was getting my weight. I stood on the scale the number came up. I was told to get back on the scale. She didn't believe the number on there. She (not my dr's usual nurse) couldn't believe that was the right number. She didn't think by looking at me I even weighed that much. She was kind. I remember leaving that day feeling good about what little weight I had lost to that point. - 1/17/2011   7:43:44 AM
  • 171
    I understand the financial burden the health care industry is faced with because of increasing obesity. That does not give doctor's the right to be mean about weight or lifestyle. A doctor can by sympathetic and supportive or have a "just do it" attitude without being rude, mean, and negative about it. It also does not give them the right to overlook (or not look for) underlying, treatable medical conditions that can be causing a current problem.

    I'm very careful about which doctors I see because of the way I was treated when my PCOS was diagnosed. I had an OBGYN tell me that I was fat, ugly, and stupid for not getting my "problem" addressed before. Then he proceeded to tell me to quit complaining about my anemia because he had patients much worse off than I was. Had I listened to this doctor and not found a different one, I would have died. While I finally got the dianosis of PCOS, the PCOS was the underlying cause of my current problem: hemorhagging from a ruptured polyp. - 1/17/2011   7:21:05 AM
  • 170
    I was 28 years old and weighed 123 lbs 6 weeks after having my 3rd child when I peeked in my medical chart and saw the word......OBESE! When I asked the doctor about it, he just said, "well, you ARE obese; you are only 5 feet tall, you know". Well, yes, I did know but he could have been kinder and I might not have struggled with my weight for the next 35 years. Now, older and wiser, I know he was a jerk. Yes, tough love has its place but so does compassionate teaching. - 1/17/2011   5:50:20 AM
  • TRYINGHARD1948
    169
    Everyone should be treated with respect. A starting point should always be where the patient is coming from. - 1/17/2011   3:41:23 AM
  • 168
    The health care industry is suffering huge financial problems due to nationwide obesity! - 1/17/2011   3:38:29 AM
  • 167
    As a (retired) health care provider, although I routinely measured BMI with vital signs, offered personalized weight loss and nutrition counseling, recommended Weight Watchers, and supported the local Y, in the end it was still difficult to discuss weight loss with patients because there is no "cure" - no pill. It takes WORK, EFFORT, PERSISTENCE AND TIME - so it HAS to be a team effort. As a doctor, we can only recommend - it is up to the patient to find that Spark. - 1/17/2011   3:32:57 AM
  • 166
    I have also experienced some miserable doctors over the past few years. After far too many tests, an endocrinologist finally diagnosed me with PCOS and explained that my metabolism runs at the same rate as an eighty year old's (I was 20 at the time, who knows it may have slowed even further now). Alright, so I then had a reason why I would diet and work out like a fiend with little to show for results. At least then I knew why it was so much harder for me to lose a pound than my friends.

    Last year my PCP reamed me out for only getting to the gym 3-4 times a week. I was on a nutritionist approved and monitored 1200 calories/day diet and had actually been making slow progress. I told her that I went both weekend days and as much as possible during the week, but I worked in finance and in the midst of a recession I had to be at work for 12-15 hours most days. Some days I got to the gym and worked out for 30-40 minutes before being kicked out as they closed at 11pm! Her response: tell them you can't work so long.

    I've wondered if she was out of her mind! U.S. unemployment was at 11% and my industry was particularly hit hard. If I didn't work so hard, I probably would've been let go!

    I haven't been back to see her since, but will have to go soon for prescription renewal and annual exams. I'm trying to lose another 10 pounds before facing the music. I'm hoping that by showing up 25 pounds lighter she'll keep her venomous tongue to herself... I know better than to expect any congratulations! - 1/17/2011   1:31:18 AM
  • 165
    My dietician was very interested in my weight loss efforts. Even though I don't visit her much these days she always asks my family about me. She sends words of encouragement to me to keep going. She explained that her biggest motivation is those people who are really putting forth the effort and not trying to find unhealthy shortcuts or excuses. I believe that some healthcare professionals feel this way when they sense someone is asking for help but won't help themselves. - 1/16/2011   11:34:32 PM

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