Finding a Doc Who Sees beyond the Scale

By , SparkPeople Blogger
By Beth Donovan, ~INDYGIRL

It's not easy finding a doctor you like, especially when you're overweight. Some unlucky patients are simply told that their symptoms will go away if they lose weight, without any diagnostic testing to see if there is any other underlying cause for health issues. While it is true that being at a healthy weight is optimum, it is not true that being at an unhealthy weight is the cause of all health problems. Yes, being overweight exacerbates many health issues, but sometimes there is an underlying problem that needs to be addressed--such as chronic pain or depression--before the patient can make any progress. If properly treated, a patient might feel better and thus be able to move more, and therefore lose the weight. So how do you go about finding a doctor who will look further into your situation than just what shows on the scale?

(Note: I'm not a health-care expert, but I am a strong advocate for respect for people of all sizes. These are simply some tips that worked for me and other people I know.) If you want a physician who specializes in dealing with obesity, check for doctors associated with bariatric hospitals, which are the hospitals that perform weight loss surgeries. Doctors affiliated with those hospitals have more experience with larger patients and are often more understanding of the special health issues they have. You don’t want a surgeon; you just want an internist or a primary care physician who is associated with the bariatric hospital.

If there are no bariatric hospitals in your area, opt for an internist, if your insurance and/or budget will allow.

To find the doctor who is right for you, you should first call and ask questions--before making an appointment. Explain your conditions and find out if that provider is qualified or has experience dealing with your conditions. Ask if the care provider has experience dealing with people at your weight and if they are sensitive to the issues that arise with being that weight. If you get satisfactory answers to your questions over the phone, then set up an appointment. At your appointment it is important that you are very clear about your issues and conditions, as well as how you would like to be treated.

This is what I had to do to take my health back. I had grown tired of doctors telling me to “just lose weight,” and “just get out and walk,” with my degenerative spine, herniated discs, and pinched nerves, I couldn’t. Yet, the answer I kept getting from the doctor was either have weight loss surgery or just walk. When the doctor did finally send me to one specialist, he referred to my large abdomen as “that thing” as in “Have you got any hernias in that thing?”

One specialist wouldn’t take my case because of my weight, and another told me to stop making excuses about my pain without offering any solutions to my herniated discs. My pain was debilitating, and I slowly stopped moving and began living in bed.

I also have clinical depression and am bipolar, so that needed to be addressed with medication as well. Many psychiatric medications cause weight gain, so I needed a doctor who really understood the severity of my need to lose weight and my need for sanity. My anxiety kept me awake at night eating, and my depression kept me in bed all day eating.

Why am I telling you this? Simply to show you that weight and non treatment of your other symptoms are solid reasons to go find a good doctor and take the bull by the horns.

After doing what I described in the first part of this blog, I found an internist and nurse practitioner team who helped me greatly. They were able to get me in home physical therapy, provide a walker when I got strong enough to use one, pain medications, anti-depressants and all the other things I required to get myself out of bed and moving again. They helped me with my goal of getting my life back and being able to do the exercise and lose the weight that was so crucial to my good health and well being. I am now 124 pounds thinner, and I simply started by addressing my health issues and setting Fast Break goals.

I’m not saying everyone has a bad doctor or that everyone needs medication. What I am saying is that if you’re out there and you want to take your life back, and your medical team is not giving you the tools or time of day, find a new medical team. Sometimes there are underlying medical reasons we become overweight or stay overweight and we owe it to ourselves to address those issues and have care.

Have you ever had a bad experience with a doctor or health-care provider because of your weight? What did you do about it?

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I'm in the healthcare field (nurse manager for over 15 years) so my perspective is different, but I agree that it is in the patient's best interest--always--to be their own advocate. My Ob/Gyn is actually managing my weight loss and although I love my PCP I feel like she's dropped the ball a couple of times and I'm ready to find another one.
The truth is, doctors are usually just as uncomfortable discussing weight related issues with their patients as we are with our friends. They know that we know we need to lose weight, so some feel like they'll alienate us by bringing up a sore subject. They know that most of us know WHAT to do, we just don't seem to be able to make it happen. And sadly, they don't have time to have a long discussion about all the nuances of effective weight loss. Report
I am lucky that my internal medicine doctor is GREAT! Of course, I had to try a few who weren't any good for me to find her. She is encouraging my weight loss goals and exercise goals and told me she is SO proud that I am following what she recommends when most of her patients just complain and do nothing to change their lifestyles or follow what she recommends. AND because she knows I am working hard in trying to be healthier, when I tell her i feel I have a problem, she doesn't brush me off as "it is in your head" or "you are stressed" or "it is your hormones"! Since I have multiple sclerosis, after doing lab tests when I told her I didn't feel good, she found out my level of vitamin D was so low, my kidneys were starting to ge affected. With MS, sunshine isn't enough for the vitamin D requirement.

Thanks for this blog! It got me thinking. Report
My current doctor on our initial visit, said I need to eat less to lose weight, then she rolled her eyes. I was prepared and determined. I gave her my eating food diary summary -- basically I was eating 14-1500 calories and GAINING about .25-.5lbs/month. Told her I had to do ADKINS and eat under 1200 cal to lose ANYTHING. She did start really listening at that point. She ordered tests. I came back a couple of weeks later and was diagnosed with low thyroid, PCOS, and pre-diabetes. Medication worked! suddenly I can eat a whole vegy sandwich and not gain-- 2 slices of bread in one sitting! Wow! Now when I diet at 1400cal, I lose weight--about 1lb/week. So my suggestion is, get ornery, get proof and insist they listen. Something other than "eating" may be the problem. And too, as the article said, sometime you need to keep looking for a doctor until you find one who WILL listen. Society is completely prejudiced against overweight people. Only from experience do I know that sometimes eating and weight are unrelated. Report
Another excellent daily spark blog from INDYGIRL, sure hope we see many more from her.

Kudos for teaching others how to be your own advocate for getting the health care you need, and for teaching others courage. Many in the thyroid community experience the same and we have learned to become self-informed, how to discern a good or bad doctor, etc. Report
About a year and a half ago, I fell and sprained my ankle. I went to an orthopedist who told me that I had a "big body and little ankles," and that this was why I hurt myself. He perscribed some painkillers and told me to stay home from work for 2 weeks.

After 2 weeks, my ankle still hurt (I couldn't stay home for more than a few days). I went to a different orthopedist. This one didn't say a word about my weight, but sent me to physical therapy.

Sure, doctor #2 actually took action to help me heal. But as upset as I was after visiting doctor #1, he was probably right--my weight probably did contribute to my injury. Because doctor #2 didn't say anything about my weight, I was able to dismiss doctor #1 as a quack. It wasn't until a year after seeing doctor #2 that I started taking steps to get my weight under control. Maybe if doctor #2 had said something to me about my weight and the role it played in my injury, i'd be at my goal weight by now. Report
I've been very lucky. All the doctors I've had have always been very professional. However, up until I lost the weight, every single one of them would tell me that I needed to lose a few pounds. Okay, thinking back, yes, I definitely needed to lose weight. I suppose I should be grateful they were thinking of my health. At the time, I just wish they were able to give me more "help" than... you need to lose a few pounds.

None of my doctors really seemed to have an idea of how I should lose the weight. I suspect that had they given me something to work with, I probably would have tried to lose weight sooner.

I wish doctors could be more helpful when it does come to the actual losing of the weight. Report
I like to checkout my doc in a non/doc appt the first time i see them. i can mostly size them up at first glance and chat! Report
I'll never forget when my boss sent me to a doctor because I had handwritten 700 interviews in one day, and the next day my hand hurt really bad. The doctor he sent me to told me if I wasn't fat, it probably wouldn't hurt so much. LOL! Report
It is important for all of us to be our own best advocate. Searching for the right doctor and/or specialist can be the difference between being healthy and not. If your doctor is not listening look elsewhere or if you know what area of concern you need more support in seek out a specialist to help.

Also, use the internet to search out information. Use reputable sites and educate yourself as best as you can.

I have hypothyroidism and for years it has been treated by my internist. Earlier this year, I finally went to an endocrinologist who was willing to aggressively treat me and today I feel immensely better for it.

Always seek out information. You will be happier for it. Report
I, too, am bipolar and also have hypothyroidism. I didn't have a regular doctor and I was gaining weight and becoming unhappier with each passing day. Someone from the mood disorders association of Manitoba recommended a doctor for me and I am so happy I went. We are adjusting the medication to address the bipolar disorder and the hypothyroidism is improving. I am gaining my energy back and feel strong enough to tackle my weight issues with diet and exercise with SparkPeople to back me up. I agree that finding a good doctor to help you is so important. Report
My primary physician, who is an internal medicine specialist, was recommended to me by my nephrologist. In the two years I've been seeing her, she has never kept me waiting for an appointment, always takes time to talk, and in general supports me in making medical treatment decisions. Although she weighs about 120 herself, she has never pressured me about weight and insisted I make my own decisions about lapband surgery while giving me all the pros and cons. In short, she embodies all the qualities in the article. Way to go, Dr. H. Report
My doctor is OK, but I really feel he and his clinic just see me as a "revenue stream", as I am Type II diabetic and have had issues with cholesterol (thankfully that is under control). I did try another doctor who specializes in endocrinology but that did not turn up anything new. She referred me to a registered dietitian, which I thought might be the answer, but I felt like she just talked down to me! So I am back to square one.

What bothers me is that I do more right things than wrong with my diet and exercise, and yet the scale does not reward me in kind, which leads me to believe there is a larger big picture issue that no one is helping me with. I'm hoping to find, using the ideas in the blog, a doctor who will take interest in me and help me to achieve my goal of becoming a more healthy person. Report
You would ask this. The first time I went after I got over my pneumonia. I told the doctor that I thought I had a water retention problems I was snickered at. told I was just over weight and when I start loosing it would not be a problelms. 2-weeks later the back of my left leg broke out in what looked like giant water blisters that ozed a clear sticky fluid. thankfully it didn't smell. But it filled my shoes, had to wrap my leg in a towel at night. IT was awful. I called the dr. office and told them I had sprung a leak. They told me to come in right now. I did the doctor looked at the leg, felt the sticky stuff and looked at me & declared that I probably have a water retention problem. I wanted to reach out an just bop the dr over the head. I was put on lasix in a week the leaking leg healed up and a lot of water weight came off. Now I am down to the real weight which is a lot harder to loose. But now the doctor listens to me. Just had to have a little proof.. LOL Report
I have not had an issue with my doctor and weight to date, just my own issues with getting weighed at the doc's office. Like most, I have a love/hate relationship with the scale--more hate than love. I have come to a place in my life where I am able to use the scale sensibly to guide my progress--1x a week weigh-ins. That is a far cry from several years ago when it used to rule my life everyday. The number on the scale would guide how I felt, my emotions, and obviously my calorie intake at any given moment. Definitly not a healthy way to live. So, when I finally made peace with the scale, I would go to the doc's office & get on the scale backwards & ask the nurse to keep it to herself. I can't believe how often they would say it out loud anyways, with a smile, as if they thought it was funny. I was like, "No, really, I meant for you to keep it to yourself!"
I honestly don't see why it is ALWAYS necessary for the doctor office weigh-in. I went to on orthopedist for a knee injury--got weighed. Went to a dermatologist for a skin problem--got weighed. Went to the gynocologist for a test. Went back a week later to discuss the results with him--got weighed. Really? Is this even necessary? I mean, I understand when you are getting your yearly physical or have a legit problem that may be weight related, or a possible condition that may be causing weight loss/gain. But, what I would really like to do is to take a big black sharpie pen to that entire column on my patient chart.

I'm not a medical genius, but I know that being thinner doesn't automatically equate to being healthy. There are plenty of UNhealthy skinny people. Ever seen a meth-addict, Doc? I really feel for those of you that have had doctors brush you off with the "just lose some weight" mentality. I hope you have the time and/or opportunity to look into new doctors. Good luck with all your goals.
I understand your issues completely. I am a Natural Health Care consultant and also a LTC in the Army. I have not personally experienced your issues of being obese, but I do personally have spinal degeneration that cause me a great deal of pain. I found relief outside of the military on my own dime.

I am dealing with the issues of getting the correct medical care for one of my nieces at FT Gordon who fell and has had a severe back injury more than nine months ago. It has been difficult to get them to even send her to a neuralogist for her injury and not just a GP or Internist. I am sure she has L4-L5 injuries, as is her mother, but getting the proper medical care, no matter where you are at is what is needed first. If you can't get to an appropriate health care practitioner, you can not begin to address the problems. Once you find the true cause or issue, you can begin to properly treat those issues, which will help the individual progress in their healing and recovery. Then that individual can progress on their own quest for weight loss, better physical fitness and balance in their life. Report
I am very luck to have a wonderful doctor who genuinely is interested in my health. Only one time did I see a doctor who had no interest in what I had to say and did not even look at me when he spoke. It was a quick let take a look after I waited over an hour in the waiting room and another 45 minutes in the examining room. I never went back.
Beth you are GREAT! I am so happy for your weight loss as well as improved health along this journey we are sharing here through Spark People. Your blogs are heart touching, helping, healing, and motivational ~ always! Thank you so much.

I did have a bad experience with a doctor who was a former military doctor~that showed through immediately! I dismissed him in the middle of labor with "GET THAT MAN OUT OF MY ROOM NOW!!!" Had a new doctor on the spot, and all went well after that. It was just for delivery of course, and then I didnt see him again, as I was back in my hometown with my warm hearted doctor.

Just recently my absolute favorite doctor's contract wasn't renewed here without warning to him or the community. He had great faith in my potential for weight loss, and knew I was seeking it, as well as having already vested years in eating healthy, exercising, and living right, without success. After blood work showing I was the ultimate bill of health where lab work was concerned he put his neck on the line funding me with the program I now represent at the same clinic as the only weight loss coach in our small town. God bless him for having the faith in me he did. He too saw I needed a couple scrips to help me with anxiety, possibly bipolar symptoms, and got me straightened out there too. His only downfall was taking a look at my 100 pound plus weight loss, and then seeing my 13 year old daughter and questioning how I could help so many others with weight loss, but not her.

Her body is still growing, bones forming, and she has severe food allergies that are literally life threatening. There isnt any way I will force her to lose weight. She is beautiful inside and out, with a great self esteem naturally. If and when she is ready I will help her, but not until she lets me know its time. Personally I call this good parenting, rather than forceful parenting. I'd feel horrible if I set her up for binge eating, anorexia, or any of the other obsessions that can come with young girls and boys who are suddenly told they arent acceptable because of their current size. Sooo this doctor who is a five star doc in my eyes, and forever shall be have agreed to disagree, and thus carry on with our relationship from there. :o) Report
Whenever I meet a doctor, instead of being a passive advice recipient, I always discuss what should I do, what do I need, sort of half-challenge the doctor. The two-way interaction is working quite well but I hope the doctors here look they also actively do fitness program instead of just advising the patients. The frustrating part was when the doctors looked not quite confident when answering even though the answers were good. Report
The medical profession in my area is stuck on PARAMETERS...
they don't look at symptoms...they only look at LAB VALUES...

Sometimes I think we were better off as a Nation when the Doctors were in 'it' for the HELP factor, and not the almighty dollar. Report
Congratulations Beth! Way to go.

You are spot on when saying you need a doctor, or a team of doctors to help you when you have multiple problems associated with weight gain.

I have Major & Chronic Depression, disintegrated discs in my back, Diabetes and Ischemic Heart disease. Luckily for me, my three specialists, a nurse and my GP provide me with support and advice on how to handle my different issues.

It's difficult, but if you don't accept anything but the best, things are going to look nearly insurmountable, which triggers the Depression which triggers harder blood glucose control which triggers the heart to have to work harder which . . . .

Without a good team who really has your best interests in mind - it will be a long hard road.

PS: If any doctors had made comments such as you experienced to me or my wife, they would have been reported to the state medical board (hopefully my temper would have been held in control and I just didn't smack them!). Report
The doc I am seeing tells me different things to do that go in direct opposition to my nutritionist. I have had this doc since May 2010. I have had the nutritionist since May 1, 2009, at my initial consult for the Gastric Bypass. Unfortunately, I don't have the option of changing docs. Report
I am in this situation right now. The Dr. I am seeing rushes in, asks "How are you?" doesnt wait for an answer, and tells me to take this and see me in a month. Then he rushes right back out! ARRGH! I am shopping for a new one right now! I am getting more info on this website than I have gotten from him! Report
I have had some good but many terrible doctor experiences! A recent one: I tore my meniscus (on the inside of the knee) and literally couldn't walk, and the orthopedic surgeon I went to said I had arthritis! I even described the snapping sensation. He couldn't seem to understand arthritis wouldn't have an immediate onset that involved a snap. Even I knew that, and I'm not a doctor!

The office kept shuffling me around to different doctors, and when one of them ordered an MRI and it confirmed a meniscus tear, I went to see yet another doctor for a surgery consult and he didn't even have the MRI report because it was at another of their offices. Then he told me some people with torn menisci didn't need surgery, so it was optional... I guess he, too, ignored the part where I said I could barely walk. This office is, by the way, an area where most people are very thin and very wealthy, and I genuinely believe part of my sub-standard care was based on them viewing the fat lady as somewhat less than human.
I am new to the area and didn't know what to do. I finally did a google search, read some doctor ratings, and picked a new ortho surgeon that way. I lucked out, because this one knew his stuff. I had my consult, during which he told me this type of tear definitely needed surgery, and had surgery within a few weeks of the consult. And now I can walk!
It burns me up to think about those sub-standard doctors I saw who no doubt make a ton of money and live in huge houses... and kept me in pain for two months as I navigated through their incompetence, all the while paying co-pays to go see them and get the wrong information. As someone else on this board said, I really wish there were more doctors who remember they are supposed to be healers, they took an oath, and less that are in it for the money and prestige. Report
Grrrr... I would love to take that one doctor who made such a horrific reference to your abdomen and boil him in tar, then hang him out to dry! Yes, Beth, over the years, I've had a few docs I'd almost throw into that vat of tar with YOUR ex-doc! These experiences are always so painful - even scarring - for us, yet you've emerged from so much not only wholly, but immensely strong, too!

Thanks for a very thoughtful - and thought-inspiring - blog, Beth :) - Sandi Report
At every appointment, my old doctor would tell me to lose weight. Well, when I finally lost 40+ pounds, I was anticipating my next appointment with him. Guess what? He didn't even mention it, so I fired him! My new doctor will listen to me, and has never even mentioned my weight. All my stats are good, so I guess being a bit overweight isn't the end of the world :) Report
Those of you who have found a doctor you can work with - count your blessings! As for asking questions when you make a first appointment: not sure how it is where you live, but where I live (Toto, we're in Kansas!), calling the office does me no good whatsoever. The person making the appointment asks the questions. She (usually a she) does not answer them, but responds with, "You'll have to ask the doctor that question." I have to have a reason to see the doctor, but only one. If I have more than one reason, I have to make two appointments. (A doctor has actually fired me for asking an "unrelated" question).

I've learned to research my own condition, find out about the medications or treatment I need, and to be as specific as possible with my doctor. Otherwise, I won't get what I need. Fortunately, my HMO allows me to select a specialist without my primary care doc getting involved. Of course, I'm doing all the work while my docs are being paid the big bucks. What's wrong with that picture??

I always enjoy reading your blogs. You are such an inspiration. And congratulations on your weight loss! Report
Good for you!!! Report
thank you for this article. I'm so tired of my doctor (who is single, no kids, naturally small, and can attend 90 minute yoga sessions) talking to me like I must be stupid to be overweight. Of course I know I have to eat less and exercise more, but I'm not fat because I'm stupid. There is so much more going on and thank you for shining the light on that. Report

I too have switched doctors a number of times over the years. Many seem to loose sight of the fact that they are healers and the employee of the patient. We patients also MUST remember that WE are the ones who have the control and power. If the care we are receiving is substandard, then WE MUST act to do something about it.

I found a wonderful physician who ultimately became MY advocate with insurance companies so that I could be approved for weight loss surgery. At a "get acquainted" visit we chatted and I told him I was not interested in losing weight at THAT time (I wasn't) and could we do business on that basis. He answered, "Yes." I knew he was a keeper! He helped me manage high blood pressure, depression and repeated bouts of bronchitis until I asked him.

I have fired a number of doctors, if they don't listen to what I'm saying then I don't go back more than once (everyone has an off day). I might be labeled as that "B" but I know this body, and I know what I need. I do my own research, and make my own decisions. I had a great doctor, but we switched insurance and he doesn't accept our new one, so I now have a good PA (the doctor she works for is one of those who has the "I am the doctor, do as I say" complex, we lasted 2 visits). As long as she behaves we're good to go (I can see her on Saturday and not have to take time off of work).
WW Report
Here's a good one for you. I was seeing a physician who put me on antidepressants within the first three visits. STRONG ones. Their effect was to deaden EVERYTHING that was fun, in addition to everything that was bad. In other words, I felt nothing. I almost lost my fiance because, as he put it, "you're just not alive anymore".

This same doctor decided I was far too overweight and needed exercise. Rather than realize that if you can't walk without pain, you can't enjoy a walk, he gave me Tylenol #4, told me to take a couple and get out and walk. Needless to say, I never filled the prescription.

I have deformed bones in my feet, and my right leg is a quarter inch shorter than the left, a condition that should have been addressed when I was a child. At 45 years of age, I finally couldn't walk one morning and went to an emergency clinic. The physician who saw me there was appalled at what I had been told by the pill-pusher and did several things, three of the most important were in recognizing that in order to lose weight, I have to be able to move without pain. What he did was: a) confirm that I have a legitimate problem CAUSING my weight gain, b) ensured that I saw a reputable podiatrist to alleviate the pain in my feet, and c) gave me a form to have access to handicapped parking until my foot situation was resolved, which was about a year.

I have not even spoken to the other physician in five years. I see him in the street and cross over. I will not have anything to do with him and I will not acknowledge him when and if I do see him. His treatment of me was dismissive, irresponsible, and dangerous as I believe most overweight people are treated. We are not seen as feeling people but rather as problems that need to be shoved under a very large rug.

Finding the right physician is imperative, but there are so few of them out there. There has to be something done, but what? Far too many overweight people are living in isolation and solitude out of shame and fear of persecution. There are far too few people out there that recognize that we are the symptoms of what is wrong with a society of overeaters. We are victims of over-processed foods produced by indifferent corporations and their media hype that are only interested in the bottom line, their dollar profit. We are seen as the jokes of society and not worth being taken seriously, and that includes the medical profession. Report
I have a painful mass the size of a small water mellon. I was told if I lost weight it would go away. I have snapped at several Jewish doctors who feel the reason why I'm obese is by eating "pork" I tell them I'm a northern black and they don't have a clue in what I am telling them...Ignorance is bliss. (just in case...northern blacks eat lamb). Oppose to southern blacks eating pork. Report
This is a wonderful topic. My mother was obese and she had a tumor on her adrenal gland. It was causing her pain near her hip and so the doctor told tell her to just lose weight. Of course he did not know it was a tumor at the time because he didn't order any tests. The pain got worse and persisted for over a year. At my mom's request he did agree to do a CAT scan where the tumor was found. She battled 5 years with cancer that could have been detected early and perhaps prevented the cancer from spreading and her eventual death.

I have struggled with this because I feel the doctor should have taken her pain more seriously. Just because someone is overweight does not mean that all ailments are caused by that weight. Especially in my moms case. She was rather active prior to the tumor, despite her high weight. However, had my mom made healthier choices during her life she would have been at a healthier weight and may have had a better chance against cancer.

In the end it is so very important to have trusted medical advisers who treat people as individuals and respect them. Our bodies are just one part of who we are. We are mind, body and spirit. Report
It was not specifically about weight but my husband went to a doctor about back problems and the only thing he did was offer pain killers and muscle relaxants. He did not even try to find out the source of the pain and acted like it was an inconvenience. We were both so mad when we left!
A chiropractor was more help - he actually did did x-rays before he made recommendations - with care, the muscles became stronger and for several years DH was able to keep himself aligned - the bulged disk and calcified bone growth several years later did require surgery but that is another story.
The moral is you do have to shop around for proper medical attention to your particular needs.
Great blog! Report
A lady in the same office and I have the same doctor. My office mate watches every morsel she eats and it is very healthy. We all come to her with questions. She gets up at 4AM and walks, jogs, rides bike. She walks to work. At lunch she has an exercise class. After work yoga and she & her boyfriend love to go salsa dancing. To log over 150 miles on a week with her bike is nothing. When she started getting hot flashes, the doc told her to exercise. On answer for everything, thinness and exercise. Mary is trying to figure out if she can fit any more in. Report
My doctor is battling weight issues herself, so many times when I'm at her office, we end up trading recipes or sharing tips. Report
I am so glad Beth that you were able to find a compassionate and caring medical staff to help you with your journey to health and weight loss.

But more important, thank you so much for sharing and encouraging all of us to be our advocates in our quest for health. And if the medical staff we have chosen chooses not to be in our best interest then we have the God given right to seek that medical attention elsewhere without feeling bad about it.

We wouldn't want that for our own children, so why should we be any different?

God bless you Beth for your contribution and most worthy article for sparkpeople sparkies! Report
i have found two very good medical experts in my RA specialist and endocrinologist. also, my newest g.p. has been very helpful. but over the years i have had those very words said to me - lose weight and everything will disappear. i was young enough the first time i was told that - to believe it. Report
Beth, you are a mindreader! I am dealing with this very thing! (not the weight loss, but the medical "team") I need to find a (ok SEVERAL lol) Doctors who would be on the same page. They arent even reading the same BOOK! Thank you for this dear one and I'll keep this in mind! Hugs Laurie Report
You know it seems so obvious now that I read your blog, but I know that it isn' many people don't view doctors this way. You have done something great by making it so plain and clear. Report
You are so right on with this. I am so lucky to have a doctor who is wonderful and doesn't give "the lecture" when I see her. She is as much the reason that I am still in the game of trying and working at weight loss. I did have a horrible experience with infertility docs, though. I went to Mass General Hospital when we first began our journey with assisted reproduction. There are many things I can say, but all I will say is this: they continually had problems performing intrauterine transfers, and continually blamed my weight. When I had finally had enough and changed to another program, I met a doctor who said simply: there is NO reason we should be having this kind of difficulty. He did the diagnostic tests, and found a fibroid that was right at the opening of my took a while to find all this out, and clearing it up wasn't a piece of cake either, but my experience is exactly what you are talking about Beth..blaming the weight for everything. Eventually, we were able to succeed in having a child, but by the time it was all said and done it took years..

But it IS possible to find a good doctor and I urge everyone to do so, it really makes a huge difference!! Report
Finding a good Dr is crucial. Congrats finding one who will work with you and listen! Report
Good for you in stepping up and insisting that you get the care you need. I know how difficult that can be when you are dealing with depression. I am very lucky to have a good GP but had struggles finding an OB/GYN that would address my crazy PMS symptoms. Thankfully, I didn't give up and managed to find a new doctor that helped me sort out my moods and since then, I have been able to focus on losing the weight. Report
It's so true that some doctors are better than others - I've had both. Fortunately, the one I have now is really good and I have recommended him to several people. As I read through the comments, one of them reminded me of something - doctors are "practicing" medicine. The medical field is so vast and they still don't know everything about it, so they are practicing. Hopefully, one day all the practice will pay off and they will finally get it perfect. :-) Report
You are so right, Beth! Your doctor can make all the difference in this journey. I am so blessed that we have a doctor in our little mountain community who left heading up a nice medical center/hospital to become (as he calls it) "a country doctor". He not only has supported me in my journey, he was so impressed with what he saw me doing that he joined Spark People! He's not very active on the site, but he's lost a lot of weight and looks fantastic! He's apparently telling others about SP and getting them to join! So how wonderful- my doctor is not only talented and willing to find me any help I need, he's also a Sparkie!!! Report
What really bugs me is dr's that are overweight themselves telling you to lose weight! this wasn't a dr, but when I was nursing my last son, the people at WIC told me to lose weight when the dietician lady herself was way more overweight than me! Also, telling me my child was too small and to put him on Pediasure and then telling me that my other child was too big at a certain age, when he was just getting ready to grow again!

Finding a great dr. is hard. I usually prefer females, but our family dr. is pretty good, although he is in his mid 30's, so maybe it helps that he is younger, too. Report
Beth, thank you so much for sharing your experience and advice! When there was information the other year about problems from low Vitamin D levels, I asked my doctor to check mine. He said I didn't have to worry about it because my weight added so much pressure on my bones. The test showed that my level was low and he ordered a Rx for me. Report
Congratulations on your weight loss success and in your determination to take your life back, no matter what it takes! You are such an inspiration to others! I have had the same doctor for a long time and usually she is very good. She took a leave of absence a few years ago and I had to see someone else in the office where she was working at the time and I did not care for that person. I had been having some issues with fluid retention in my legs and had been put on a mild diuretic for it. The problem actually started when I was at my goal weight after losing 130 pounds. I asked this new person for a new prescription as my old one had expired. She asked what I was taking it for and when I told her she very rudely told me that if I would lose weight (I had gained back quite a bit at that point) I wouldn't need it. After that I avoided going to the doctor until my regular doctor opened her own practice and I could see her again. I have only had one experience in all the years I have gone to her when I felt she was not taking my concerns seriously. That was earlier this year when I saw her for an annual checkup and I expressed concern that I had been steadily gaining weight for months in spite of exercising regularly and not eating differently than I did when I was losing. She didn't see a problem because she was comparing my weight to what it had been when she first started seeing me (when I was at my heaviest). I was comparing my weight to what it had been 8 or 9 months before. I was a little disappointed by her response, but there were some other issues (that turned out to be a false alarm fortunately) that I was dealing with at the time that were more important than my weight so I let it go. Report
Great blog with many great comments. I learned some valuable info from this blog. Report