Weight Loss Support - Did your doctors ever tell you to lose weight?

05-03-2009, 03:46 PM
Hey everyone,

When I went out for my morning HIIT this morning, I didn't have my regular workout clothes, but I needed something loose. I decided to put on these old gray pants of mine that used to be the only dress pants I could fit into (they are a very light and soft material, which is why I decided to work out in them.) When I put them on... THEY WERE HUGE. I mean, seriously, huge on me. To the point where they were falling off my hips. While it made me happy to see how far I have come, it also kinda shocked me... how did I ever let myself get so big??? I kinda disgusted myself, looking at how big my thighs and stomach used to be, to fit into those pants.

And it made me wonder. I have been to a lot of doctors in the past few years. Regular physicians (I moved, so I have had 2 primary care physicians in the past few years), and 3 different gynocologists... and never once did any of them ever tell me "hey, I think it would be good for your health if you lost weight."

I'm kinda bothered by this. At my highest weight, I was teetering on the edge of "obese" on the BMI charts, I had high blood pressure, and I was very obviously out of shape. I realize that it is my responsibility to take care of myself and my health... but if I am doing something destructive to my health, isn't my doctor supposed to say something?? Did they think this was just a phase? That I would "grow out of it"? Is it not much of a concern since I am younger? Because I would think they would want to encourage healthy habits NOW, so that I could become a healthy and fit adult with good habits that stick with me all the way until my older days.

I dunno, I guess I am just bothered because I didn't realize just how BIG I had gotten, and I kinda wished someone would have said something... maybe it wouldn't have taken me so long to realize what kind of path I was travelling down.

05-03-2009, 03:48 PM
Check out the link. This is probably the reason why:

05-03-2009, 04:16 PM

that's horrible! Seriously, I am disgusted by that article, and by that woman's actions. and I agree with the comments... it's a doctor's responsibility to tell us of these things, just like if I were a smoker or a drug user or a heavy drinker.

Fat Chick B Gone
05-03-2009, 04:28 PM
Who doesn't know about the health risks of smoking or being obese?
Perhaps the doctor should say something but it's not like it would be any great revelation.

05-03-2009, 04:32 PM
Get a foreign doctor... seriously. American born/trained doctors never say anything. Foreign born/trained doctors will say something every single time. At least that has been my experience.

05-03-2009, 04:36 PM
No, it wouldn't have been a revelation... but I guess I always assumed since my doctor didn't bring up my weight, that he still thought I was "healthy enough." and not overweight enough for it to be a concern... I guess I just assumed I was "ok"? Clearly I wasn't though. But, I guess that's something that I needed to determine on my own.

I guess I am just ashamed of the damage I did to my body, and maybe I am just looking for someone else to blame. Who knows... maybe if he had said something, I still wouldn't have believed it?

05-03-2009, 04:38 PM
Nelie... hmm, I wonder if it's because of the difference in cultural values and political correctness... if foreign doctors didn't grow up with the same PC rules that U.S. doctors did? I dunno... maybe I will consider that. I want a doctor who is brutally honest with me.

05-03-2009, 04:40 PM
I think people fear going to the doctor because they absolutely hate getting on the scale and dread being told they need to lose weight. So maybe drs don't mention it because they don't want their patients to be wary about coming to see them? I don't know...

05-03-2009, 04:45 PM
No. Well, by one Dr, and I only went to her once, and didn't like her - not because of that though. I just didn't like her personality.

They've never really had a reason to tell me to I guess. All my numbers/blood work have always been healthy. No HBP, high cholesterol, no diabetes etc. So its not like they could have said well, you know you have such and such disease/disorder because of your weight, and you need to lose to get rid of that. I'm lucky that its been that way for me, but I'm smart enough to know it cant last, esp not with my family history/heritage.

Though my gyn has congratulated me on my weight loss the last time I was in. And was encouraging and everything. I <3 him though :o:p I was looking forward to getting on the scale the last time I was there, and the jerks didnt weigh me! :) It was just for a consult though. :)

05-03-2009, 04:57 PM
I agree nelie, I had a foreign doctor be brutally honest with me about my weight. Most doctors just check to see if im being active but this guy was staring at my fat roll like it was going to eat him! It was very discouraging since i had lost 20lbs prior to seeing him and when i told him that he asked me if i lost it and gained it back!(i was thinking no a**hole this is me 20lbs lighter!) He really bordered on rude though and to be honest i cried after he left the room!

05-03-2009, 05:03 PM
I think a lot of doctors don't tell people they need to lose weight because the focus of North American health care is not on preventative medicine, but treatment of existing symptoms and conditions. It's a shame.

05-03-2009, 05:08 PM
I've struggled with my weight since age 5. I'm 43 now, and in those 38 years I've had doctors who have brought up my weight as an issue (sometimes appropriately, sometimes not), and those who said nothing. I've had doctors who I swear if I'd gone in with a knife stuck in my eye, would have found a way to blame it on my weight, and would suggest I lose weight before they would treat it (a slight exageration, I'll admit, but sadly not by much).

I can't say that I didn't know that my weight was unhealthy. By 8, I was Weight Watcher's member and diet books and calorie counting probably were more responsible for my excelerated reading and math skills in grade school than any text book. By 14 I probably knew more about nutrition than most doctors. I've definitely put in a lot more hours studying nutrition and weight loss than I did for either my bachelor's or master's degree in psychology.

I usually brought up my weight before any doctor had a chance to (more a self-defence mechanism to head off the lecture). Up front, I would mention that I was trying to lose weight (usually with limited success) and would ask the doctor if they had any suggestions for ways to improve my success - most had no useful answers. Most conversations went like this

Doctor: You need to lose weight
Me: I know. Here's what I'm doing.....what else can I do to be more successful?
Doctor: I don't have a clue.

Even my current doctor, who I think has an amazing attitude about weight loss, couldn't help me much. He first suggested low carb for my insulin resistance, saying that the research is that people with IR tend to find low carb and low GI eating more successful for weight loss. He warned me not to go "too low," though and when I asked what was too low, he admitted to not knowing.

Having had doctors who lectured, and doctors who weren't satisfied even with significant weight loss (I once had a doctor who wasn't satisfied with my losing anything less than 5 lbs per week, and if I "only" lost 15 lbs in month, I wasn't trying hard enough), I suppose I'd rather have a doctor who said nothing, than one who couldn't be supportive about it. One doctor (a walk-in clinic doctor, not my regular physician) decided that he could tell me that I was never going to have a boyfriend or a sex life if I didn't lose weight (I had a very nice boyfriend at the time), and certainly no one would marry me if I didn't lose the weight (I met my husband at nearly my highest weight, and married him at my highest weight, and our sex life has been just fine).

Commenting on the social aspects of weight is inappropriate I feel. A doctor has a right to discuss the health aspects, but should stay away from the topic of the social aspects unless he's a psychiatrist. He or she should also be trained in how to bring up the subject without offending patients. Implying that they haven't or aren't trying, getting angry, insulting... isn't appropriate. Discussing the matter calmly and compassionately, is.

I do find that doctors are more willing and successful in communicating with me about my weight when I bring it up. Some have brought it up first, and done so compassionately and calmly.

A doctor doesn't know a person's experiences, and should ask rather than assume. Anger, threats, and contempt don't work, it only makes people afraid to see doctors. I once changed doctors after a weight gain, just so I wouldn't have to face the lecture and disappointment of my regular doctor.

05-03-2009, 05:19 PM
I think people fear going to the doctor because they absolutely hate getting on the scale and dread being told they need to lose weight. So maybe drs don't mention it because they don't want their patients to be wary about coming to see them? I don't know...

That's why I originally stopped visiting the family doctor as a teen. I didn't need him to point out that I was obese. I knew. It's just none of the suggestions he gave my parents to 'help' me lose weight particularly helped.

05-03-2009, 05:32 PM
Kaplods, I am sorry for the bad experiences you have had with some of your doctors.

I had one doctor where I actually brought it up. I told him "Listen, I have gained weight, and I want to get back down to where I used to be" and his response was... "Yeah, well, don't we all." I had to push him to get him to say anything else, and all that came out was "lower your calories by 100 a day. when you plateau, lower them again."

Personally, I would want a doctor like my old boss had. He told him "we're gonna get you to a healthy weight, 5 lbs at a time." and he would have my boss come in at the end of every month and weigh him free of charge, and hold him accountable for those 5 lbs a month. It took 5 minutes of his doctor's time a month, and after a year my boss was off of his blood pressure medications and much healthier and more active. Maybe that doctor was just special, and there aren't many others out there like that...

Aneleh, I think you are right- doctors here aren't big proponents of preventative medicine.

05-03-2009, 05:41 PM
Look around you - how many overweight people do you see? Many of them, including me, have been told to lose weight by their doctors. I think doctors are being discouraged because they give the advice but people don't do anything about it.

05-03-2009, 05:45 PM
Yes. My doctor did suggest that I lose weight. He didn't really give me any real HELP or SUGGESTIONS on how I was to do that, other than to eat less and move more.

So, I just stopped going to the doctor. aneleh is right - that is a common solution for many of us. Honestly, I didn't go back for 7 years - when I had lost almost all of the weight. Stupid actions from an otherwise intelligent chickie.

Lori Bell
05-03-2009, 05:47 PM
I'm actually very good friends with our family GP and I came right out and asked him after I started losing weight why he never lectured me on weight loss. He said something like.."Well Lori, it's like this; I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't, I don't comment on my adult patients weight unless I see an immediate threat or my advice is asked, if they are mature responsible adults they know they need to lose weight.

I guess that's why I always like him, he didn't lecture and always treated me like an adult.

05-03-2009, 06:21 PM
My doctor told me at every physical. And I'm not that oveweight.

05-03-2009, 06:57 PM
Count me in as another who avoids going to the doctor as much as possible because I don't need a lecture.

I KNOW I'm fat, and I've tried countless times to lose. If you have some actual HELPFUL advice for me, ok. Otherwise, be quiet. :mad:

05-03-2009, 06:57 PM
I'm actually surprised that more people in my life, friends and family as well as physicians never commented on my rise to 200 lbs. One doctor, my gynocologist, did mention that I had gained 20 lbs in a year once, I remember my face going bright red - someone mentioned the ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM, what everyone could see and no one ever mentioned.

Would I have been ready, would I have wanted to face the truth before I was ready? That I was slowly but certainly eating my way into serious obesity? My weight went up every year and none of my avoiding the scale or avoiding looking at myself naked or "head in the sand" activity made me any thinner.

05-03-2009, 07:00 PM
My doctor mentioned it several years ago. He did it tactfully and compassionately (I had a young kid then and he said he knew it was very difficult for busy mothers to lose weight but the health benefits of losing just 10 lbs yada yada...).

Despite that, his effort backfired. I am extremely contrary and I wasn't ready to lose weight for myself at that point (and I was in denial despite his talk). I subsequently gained a bunch more weight and simply avoided getting any routine physicals. (So my case doesn't seem to provide much motivation for a doctor to continue to give weight loss advice.)

After losing 35+ lbs last year, I finally felt comfortable enough to schedule another routine for early this year. My weight loss went unremarked, which was a bit of a bummer, but totally my own fault.

05-03-2009, 07:38 PM
My doctor ALWAYS find a way to bring my weight into my visit. It's annoying. I could have the flu and he'll find a way to blame it on my weight. I finally had to tell him to cut it out. I know I'm fat. I don't need the constant reminder.

05-03-2009, 08:14 PM
Well Im MUCH MUCH MUCH heavier than you were when you started BUT
every freaking time Id go to the Urgent Care places Id have to hear about my weight! I mean Im not stupid I know Im very overweight but I have a cold so could you please treat me for my cold. My BP was always great until recently so it wasnt that.
The last 2 times I went I do understand it a lil more since my bp was high at both. But I do kinda agree with the PP I hate to stereotype but the foreign DRs Ive had were much more mouthy about the fact that I needed to lose weight than the others.

05-04-2009, 06:28 AM
I used to be 165 as well, but I can't remember any doctor saying anything (I live in France, not in the US). As an overweight child, some told my parents 'keep an eye on her weight', but it was never said with any kind of urgency to it. What's interesting though is that the various doctors I've gone to throughout my adult life never mentioned me having to lose weight, and yet they always encouraged me if they noticed I had lost a few pounds. I think the only doc who said something (nicely) was the one I had to see for work, because I once gained ~20 lbs in one year, and she thought it was a lot. (She's the same doc who, a few years later, also said "you don't need to tell me you've taken on sports: I can see it just by your heart BPM" ^^.)

Now I'm told to 'control' my weight, meaning 'just don't regain anything', but that's because of my Factor V Leiden crap.

05-04-2009, 08:08 AM
One doctor, my gynocologist, did mention that I had gained 20 lbs in a year once, I remember my face going bright red - someone mentioned the ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM, what everyone could see and no one ever mentioned.

This is what happened to me as well. I was at the gyn, and I got on the scale and she said that I had gained 20 lbs since my appointment one year before. I honestly had no idea until that moment. That was one of the major wake up calls that spurred me into losing weight.

I can't blame some doctors for not bringing it up though -- 2/3 of all Americans are overweight or obese! You'd be having the conversation CONSTANTLY with almost all of your patients, and so few of them would take the information seriously and do something about it. And in worst-case scenarios you could lose your patient base or get sued. So why bother? Ethics?

05-04-2009, 08:34 AM
When I got my health insurance, finally, this year and I went to the doctor I was prepared. I came into my checkup with my medical history, my weight issues, my progress, and a few core issues I needed advice and help with. I can say that as soon as I brought up my weight, my doctor smiled and really relaxed. She saw right away that I was an open person and this topic was open for discussion.

I think people, in general, don't want to be lectured. I mean a person knows if they are overweight or obese. It is a sensitive issue for most people and personally in my life when someone told me I was huge it actually made things worse for me. That was then and this is now. Taking my own issues into myself and putting them on the table for people, I have found, creates a positive environment, especially with doctors.

You want your doctor to be honest, but you also want a person to have some tact and class and not just be rude or mean. Yet, you also want your doctor to focus on the priority issues and for some people the weight is not. If you're overweight, but generally healthy otherwise it may not be something that a doctor feels they need to focus on during your time with them. I mean they have limited time, are also focused on other patients, and there is the sensitivity of the issue..i can see why it isn't mentioned.

For someone who's weight is part of other health issues, I can see it being mentioned more often. Well I hope it is...I mean when I was 340 + pounds doctors told me to loose weight. "You need to loose weight...this isn't good."

It wasn't the wake up call for me though...that came from myself.

Fat Pants
05-04-2009, 09:25 AM
I think this day in age, you'd pretty much have to be living under a rock to not know that being overweight/obese has its consequences. I guess I am a big believer in personal responsibility. You take a gamble with your health when you become overweight/obese and choose to stay that way. No amount of lecturing from a doctor will change some people's minds...they have to be ready to take the first step.

On the other hand, recently, studies have come out saying that some overweight people are healthier than those of normal weights. I think of my brother and I in this instance. I am still considered obese by BMI standards, but a recent physical found me to be in 100% excellent health. My brother, on the other hand, has been skinny his entire life, and his physical discovered high cholesterol and triglycerides. So perhaps part of a doctor's hesitancy to bring up the overweight factor is that more often that not, being overweight is just one part of the picture.

05-04-2009, 02:08 PM
My doctor brought it up after a few exams, he was gentle about it. When I injured my knee, he said about the only thing I could do for it was these simple exercises and also it would help to lose weight. He said he would like to see me get down to 185 and that it would probably take me a year to lose it, about a pound a week. He told me to reduce my caloric consumption by 500 cals a day and to start exercising. He also gave me a brochure. The next time I saw him, I had lost a little weight (like 8 pounds) and he recognized that and said I was on the right track. I am pleased with the way he handled it all.

05-04-2009, 05:28 PM
I never had a doctor tell me to lose weight until I mentioned that I wanted to lower my blood pressure and he said it should help, even if I don't lose a lot. (By the way, for me, it didn't make any difference at all, even 80 pounds later it's like I'm gonna blow a gasket.)

I do wonder if a doctor mentioned something to my parent in my childhood because they took me to see a doctor and a nutritionist. Despite adding exercise and writing down everything I ate for him to look over, my weight went up instead of down. He seemed a bit stumped, so I told my parents I didn't want to bother any more. In retrospect, he should have run blood tests at that point. He just assumed I was lying. :nono:

05-04-2009, 05:46 PM
doctors were telling me that I should lose weight since the fifth grade lol

05-04-2009, 06:21 PM
I would always be afraid that the doctor was going to tell my parents that I was fat because they would've humiliated me about it. When I first began getting stretch marks on my arms when I was about 13 my dad lifted my arms and asked very loudly "What happened to your arms!?!" I haven't worn a sleeveless shirt in public since. Seriously, Never.

I never got told by a doctor that I was fat, though I obviously knew.
When I tore my ACL in 2007, it wasn't brought up, I've always been athletic, but VERY overweight. Just before my surgery in March, my doctor finally said that to help me recover, I should PROBABLY try to lose some weight before I got older. He said before I was forty! I'm 20!

I guess it's just to sensitive a subject for them to bring up. I do hate being told I'm fat and I believe the best way to avoid that would be to not be fat.

05-04-2009, 06:24 PM
My doctor's have always encouraged me to lose weight- and it's funny cuz this time I have honestly tried and have lost. So last time I go the doctor gives me a referral for a nutritionist. I was like "I know what's good and bad to eat" and she was like "well just go."

Needless to say I tossed it out. I KNOW why my loss has stalled, I KNOW why I got fat in the first place, and so on. I eat very healthy now and don't plan on going back, I honestly don't think a nutritionist will tell me anything I don't know at this point.

05-04-2009, 06:33 PM
There is some evidence that diet (especially fruits and vegetables) and regular, moderate to intense exercise (a lot more than most Americans get or would like to), may have more to do with health than body weight (at least until you get in the obsese and morbidly obese categories - I'm well past the point of thinking that my weight isn't causing health problems directly not just incidentally, but someone who is only a few pounds "overweight?" Maybe lifestyle changes ARE more important than the extra weight.

Sadly, getting people to commit to eating better and exercising is actually harder than getting them to lose weight. In general, people are more willing to eat less (at least temporarily) than are willing to change what they eat, and how much they move. There are a lot of factors, reasons, and even excuses, but that's human behavior.

For me, ironcially it was the fat acceptance movement that got me started on the path I am now. In magazines like Radiance and BBW (both now defunct, I believe), they pushed the theory that it was entirely diet quality (not necessarily quantity) and exercise were the "real" causes of good health, and that a fat person could be healthy and fat - if they ate well and exercised. The encouragement to be active and exercise without apology, really gave me the courage to demand access to an active lifestyle. I didn't have to let my fat prevent me from doing anything it didn't physically prevent me from doing. So, I could and should be active.

The world doesn't always see it that way. A couple years ago, I decided I wanted a bicycle, but I didn't know anything about what kind of bike a person of my size would need. So, I started an internet search. Now, I'm pretty good with internet searching, so I certainly expected to find some information, and instead found very little. There were some really high end bikes that listed wieght limits, but for anything under about $600, I was left clueless. There were very few sites that talked about very overweight bicyclests. It was if they didn't exist (but I've seen a few, so I knew they did). Finally, at about the third specialty bike shop my husband I shopped,
we met a guy who seemed to have some knowledge (ironically, a buff 20-something racing bicycler). He told us what to look for in a bicycle that would support the extra weight (and ironically, the older "cheaper" style bike was perfect - no fancy spring suspension, but an old-fashioned Schwinn style basic bike).

It's rather sad that there is social pressure against overweight people being active. Especially for women, there's a huge pressure to isolate, because of fear of looking foolish. That's slowly changing, but I still encounter it so often, in women far less overweight than I saying they "can't" swim, or bicycle, or go dancing or whatever "until" they lose the weight.

For some people, maybe weight loss has to come first - but I think for others diet and/or activity can be the beginning. I think alot of the barriers to weight loss are psychological and social - we teach people to expect weight loss to be something it doesn't have to be, and expectations create reality.

In a lot of ways, I feel I had to unlearn most of what I read or heard about dieting and weight loss, in order to finally succeed. Teasing the truth from all of the mythology isn't easy. Some of it is so ingrained, we don't even realize we've been taught how to diet unsuccessfully (even something as simple as what do you do when you eat something off-plan, even though we're taught we're supposed to get right back on track, we also see that what most people really do is start fresh the next day, or the next Monday, or the next first of the month.... while we're taught it's not the "right" thing to do, we're also taught that it is what most people do. "Do as I say, not as I do," doesn't work very well, as a teaching tool - children and adults both are most likely to follow examples than rules (Who hasn't read an employee manual as a new employee, and realized that the rules and what people actually do are very different - and that the "real" expectation is that you follow the unwritten rules, not those that are written down).

05-04-2009, 06:55 PM
Well, I know you (kaploids) already have a bike for many years now, but I have seen this come up a few times, like on the men's thread. My father has a 'trike.' There are many; his is similar to this one:


He is new to having a trike but tells me that there are groups of people all over the country who get together to go out on their trikes.

05-04-2009, 06:57 PM
Oops, don't know if that pic showed up. Well, here's the link:


They are expensive, of course, though there are ones cheaper than this one. I know this is kind of a thread-hijack but I figure it might be useful to someone.

05-04-2009, 07:17 PM
We actually have considered the trike for hubby. His balance isn't very good because of neuropathy and spine issues, so we can't ride together until we find a bike he can ride safely and comfortably.

I have found more resources in the last year, so I think the word is getting out - but back to the original topic, with obesity being so common a problem - doctors would be the ideal desseminator of such information. They wouldn't even have to broach the subject with patients, they could just offer pamphlets and magazines and such in the waiting room - they have information on practically everything else. Our doctors' waiting room is pamphlet central. I've always wanted to start up some sort of resource-sharing service, but haven't really given it much thought as to how that would actually work. It's such an emotionally-charged and even taboo subject, I'm not sure where I would start.

Thighs Be Gone
05-04-2009, 07:26 PM
When I was 25 my GYN wrote down a Rx for exercise upon checkout. I was probably 185 pounds at the time and didn't ask him at any time during the appt. about losing weight nor did he bring it up. He was about 150 soaking wet. I went home and told my hubby and he was like "WTH--you look great!" What a great hubby. :)

05-04-2009, 07:42 PM
Hey I just bought a trike a few weeks ago :) Although the type I have is a sporty type and I think they have maximum weight levels around 300-350, depending.

05-04-2009, 08:24 PM
Even as a kid, at the ripe old age of 10, my doctor was telling me to lose weight. I saw a dietician, and my family went on all kinds of diets. I would lose ten or fifteen pounds, but never anything significant. Not that I was an obese child really, I was just heavier than the other kids.

05-04-2009, 11:16 PM
Just for laughs, or maybe inspiration for some of you, try the fat cyclist blog. Don't know if he has any advice on bikes, but he is entertaining:

You can find his blog at fatcyclistdotcom.

05-05-2009, 12:41 AM
I think foreign doctors are more likely to point out a person that is overweight because America has a much higher standard for what is overweight. Doctors from India or China are used to much much smaller, lighter people, and those who are overweight are much more rare, so foreign doctors in their own countries probably point it out immediately since it could be a sign of danger. Here, overweight is normal, and American doctors are likely to size a heavy person up with their eyes, look at their charts, and if there's nothing wrong the doctor won't say anything because he knows, just like you know, exactly why you're heavy. Plus I think foreign doctors probably worry much less about political correctness.
I'm afraid the American culture is just fatter. I've been realizing this recently--that i was never taught as a child that some food is worse than other food, only to eat what tasted good. My mom was a single mom so there was a lot of cheap filling stuff like mac-and-cheese around, and that cheese in a spray can, lots of cheese. If your parents don't teach you from the get-go how to eat properly, and you're a heavy kid, you're going to be a heavy adult. At least that's my experience. And I think we get here and we look around and we wonder how it happened, while our fridges and cabinents are stocked with totally empty, nutritionless and perfectly commonplace foods like Doritos, pizza rolls, Twinkies...you know the rest. Food like that has billions of dollars of advertising behind it, and absolutely NO advertising that it's not REAL food. If there aren't any veggies in your house growing up, how are you supposed to know that veggies are real food, not totally gross--it's weird how we get those two mixed up, thinking doritos are real food but broccoli is disgusting.
When I was probably ten or eleven my doctor told my parents I was going to be FAT when I got older if I didn't change my habits. I was 160 then. Sure enough, she was right, but my parents surely didn't start buying different groceries or taking me to eat at a salad bar instead of CiCi's.
In high school around 195 I had a doctor tell me to lose weight, but I was such a fragile flower then that it just crushed me. Actually, it crushed me both times.
And that's the problem. Like Lori said, you're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't. And doctors know that better than anyone. There's absolutely no incentive for them to talk to you about your weight unless they absolutely have to due to a health problem the weight is causing. Some doctors care enough to sit down and have a considerate discussion with overweight patients, but some doctors are afraid of lawsuits (rightfully so), some doctors avoid it if at all possible so as not to hurt feelings, and some doctors probably feel like it's your fault you're a fat lazy slob, you know you are, and you know why, so why should he say anything?
It's a catch-22. I sure don't want my doctor saying anything about my weight! but I went to the gyn today and my blood pressure was a little high (like 143/78? I'm 18 and that's the highest it's been) but it's the day before finals so she said that's probably it, since "you lost a whole pound since last time!" which was like three months ago and i actually lost and gained that pound probably twenty times, but i told her it better not be weight-related, I'd been eating nothing but salad and grilled chicken for a week, which I have.
Sorry this is so long!

05-05-2009, 01:17 AM
Another part of the equation is that many doctors are overweight themselves (I read that the percentage of doctors overweight is exactly the same as everyone else, so if 1 in 3 Americans is overweight, then 1 in 3 doctors is), and they may feel like a hypocrite telling people to lose weight, when they haven't been able to themselves. Even if a doctor is "only" 20 lbs overweight, telling the person 100 lbs overweight that they're too fat, may still seem a bit awkward (and what doctor wants to be asked why they don't practice what they preach).

I know my doctor is slightly overweight, but still well within a normal range. He's certainly not in the obese category, he just looks like you "average" 65 year old male, with a bit of a tummy. From some things he's said, I know that he's struggled with those few pounds, and often he will say things like when I asked him for suggestions and he said "I don't know, but if you find something, will you let me know?"

When I first went in talking about losing weight, he encouraged me to try, but also asked me to be patient with myself and not to get discouraged if I found it difficult, that most people do. When I asked him for a goal slip for my TOPS meeting, he asked me what I wanted the goal weight and when I picked 200, he asked me to consider a higher weight - just because weight loss is so difficult - and the fact that I hadn't weighed less than 200 lbs before or since high school (I weighed 225 in 8th grade, and dieted with diet pills to 155 freshman through junior year).

I think there's a very fine line between realistic and unrealistic expectations, and doctors aren't always any more skilled than we are in walking that line, especially since medical schools require little or no nutrition classes. I do find it surprising that preventative medicine isn't focused, at least during the medical education, but it's not. Your average doctors may have less knowledge than most of us here, and you can't expect doctors to teach what they haven't been taught.

Our doctor did refer us to diabetic education classes. Our insurance covered one meeting (ever) for me, and I believe one per year for my husband (because I'm "only" insulin dependent, whereas my husband is diabetic). If you're neither insulin dependent or diabetic, the insurance wouldn't cover any (this was true of my husband's last work insurance also, we're both now on Medicare).

It's crazy really, because one meeting with a dietitian or even a diabetic counselor would be such a great preventive strategy. When I think about how much that one meeting might save the insurance companies, it's rather surprising that they don't do so (especially since most people aren't going to do it, unless and maybe not even if they need to). The people who would choose it, are probably the most likely to benefit from it.

We just found out last month, that Medicare won't cover a tetanus shot. Our doctor wanted my husband to have one, since he hasn't had one in over ten years. Medicare does cover one (preventive) mammogram a year for me, but they won't cover one tetanus shot every ten years? Seems insane. We were told to go to the Health Department, were tetanus shots are cheaper.

I think anyone who doesn't think the American health care and insurance system needs an overhaul, has never been on the wrong side of the system. I have to admit, that all of my working life, I had great medical coverage, and had no idea how many Americans were living without vital medications and medical treatment because they couldn't afford it. Because I didn't know anyone who had had to go without medication or medical treatment, I didn't understand how common it was. Even when I worked in social service, I would refer patients to funding sources, making sure they were aware of the charity medication/medical treatment available, and it wasn't until I needed them that I learned how difficult accessing those programs are. Even with a masters' degree I wasn't able to navigate the Medicare system easily (and when I talked to my doctor, he commiserated because he had tried to help his own mother with her Medicare and he got so frustrated that he couldn't figure it out that he gave it to his billing department to sort out), so his advice ot me was "good luck". We eventually learned that almost anyone who could answer our questions, couldn't legally answer them. Pharmacists and medical billing folks knew which programs paid the most and best with the least hassles, but legally couldn't share that information because it "might unduly influence" our choices (heck, yeah it would influence our choices).

Sorry, I'm starting to rant.

05-05-2009, 01:28 AM
I went and got an age-appropriate physical at the urging of my employers last year (having a physical every year reduces our health insurance premiums) and the doctor told me to lose weight and do it immediately, because I'm not getting any younger (I'm 25) and she predicted I'd almost certainly be diabetic by the time I turn 30 unless something changes.

I have a male friend who weighs over 500lbs who insists that there's nothing wrong with his weight because if there was, his doctor would have told him. That astounds me. According to my friend, his dr. has never had anything negative to say about his weight, and has never attempted to attribute his debilitating knee problems to anything other than genetics and "it just happens that way sometimes." My friend will say, "yeah, I weigh 500+, but you gotta remember, I'm 6'3''!" I don't have the heart to tell him he'd have to be near 10 feet tall to be healthy at that weight. Maybe I'm the coward, just as much as the doctor is.

05-05-2009, 05:22 AM
Yes after the birth of my first daughter (I was about the same weight as now) the doctor just said to try and lose a little weight. Another time I went for a medical and the doctor discussed why I'd put on weight (the discussion was required for the medical) and then said to try and lose weight and come back to discuss it if I couldn't. I always worry about going to the doctors in case they nag me about my weight so if they'd said more than that it would of put me off so I think what they said was about right. When I was having my third daughter the hospital made such a big thing about my weight being so high and in front of other patients which upset me a lot (especially as it was because the staff at that hospital had caused me to fall into depression in the first place which was the beginning of my comfort eating :( )

05-05-2009, 07:26 AM
Lately my docter hasn't said anything about it (yet), but when I was 13 (I'm 22 now) he was incredible rude to me. I went up to see him in order to get in touch with a dietician, and he said; "you'll never become beautiful and thin, but..." In other words, I'll never be pretty because I'm already so far gone that it will be impossible to get rid of all the weight I had gained back then, and thin is pretty and fat is unattractive. What a nerve! :bomb:

Little does he know that I got anorexia nervosa three years later. I still think I should have gone back to him in that era to show him how "beautiful" I could be (which I obviously wasn't with that grey skin and that terrified look on my face).

05-05-2009, 01:42 PM
Good Topic!!

My Drs have been telling me to lose weight all my life. I used to hate going to the Dr. Even if it was only 5 lbs. I needed to lose, it bothered me.

Three months ago, I had a baby and while I was pregnant, I felt it was OK to go off plan and eat mini peanut butter cups by the handful and eat donuts and cake when ever I felt like it. My OB's response to my weight (I gained a bit too much one month) was to send me to a NUTRITIONIST. (she is the best Dr EVER!)

WHY do none of these Dr's recommend anyone to a nutritionist? Or mention that some health insurances help out with the cost of some gym memberships? Yeah - most people know - "Eat less, exercise more" but it helps to have the tools and knowledge to know HOW to do that.

05-05-2009, 06:52 PM
My doctor always tells me I'm overweight. Every time my face breaks out, my anxiety, etc, all caused my weight. The thing is I KNOW what weight does cause a lot of health problems for many people, but I personally I have none. Sometimes I think my doctor tells me because they don't know what else to say and weight seems like an obvious factor, even if it may be something.

05-06-2009, 09:20 PM
Yes...all my life. And I have been in and out of nutritionists.

05-28-2009, 09:02 PM
After reading these posts I realize I am very lucky to have the doctor I have. I have been going to Dr. B now for over 20 years!!! WOW I can't believe it has been that long. Dr. B and I, over the years, have become friends. Our relationship is doctor/patient but overlayed with friendship. He knows everything about me, and not just my health. He has been with me thru my early marriage and miscarriage to divorce, death of my mom, subsequent failed relationships, etc. He is a family doctor who treats not just the body but the mind and spirit of his patients. When I have gone in complaining of chest pain he always asks what is going on in my life. 9 times out of 10 it has been anxiety or stress related pain!

The issue of my weight has certainly come up over the years.....by him and myself. But he has always been compassionate and understanding about it. He gives me all the information I need and want and supports me in my efforts and decisions. He isn't one of those docs who feel like the patients shouldn't ask questions. I can ask him anything and he takes the time to explain and listen. Kind of a rare quality for some physicians!!

Because of my family history and working in the medical field I have always gone in for my physicals and tests every year. Like alot of you, I hate the scales and am often embarrassed when those "womanly" visits come around. Don't you just love those lovely gowns!!! NOT!!!! :lol: This past January I had to go in for lab work because of the meds I am on. We talked about my weight and he said there was always bariatric surgery....that I would qualify. I told him that I wasn't quite ready for that drastic step yet. I told him that my insurance would require me to go thru a weight loss program like WW before they would even approve me for the surgery anyway. He asked me if I would start walking and try to lose 10% of my weight by my yearly visit in September. I told him that I would. I have recently been accepted into the HMR pilot program my employer is sponsoring. When I went in last week and told him of the great opportunity I was given he was thrilled!!!! He knew about the program and said that I should do really well. He can't wait to see me in September for my yearly visit. What is great about it is he will be kept informed of my progress as I go along. The have a support person who will be mailing letters and lab work, changes in meds etc to all the docs of the people chosen for the program.

Anyway, I guess I have gone on enough. I get quite chatty at times!! :) I feel I have been very lucky for the Dr. I have. I wish all of you could be as lucky.

05-29-2009, 10:38 AM
I think some doctors are afraid and some crappy doctors have given the rest of them a bad rap.

I haven't been back to the clinic since the doctor told me "You need to lose weight, doesn't your husband have a problem with this???"

That was 40 lbs ago and he can shove it. There's a nice way to go about it and a completely innapropriate rude way! He chose the latter.

I told my husband and he was ready to drive up there and give someone a piece of his mind. For the record, he has never had a problem with "me". He wants me to be happy, end of story.

05-29-2009, 11:10 AM
Hey LittleMoonRabbit:

I have seen a great deal of doctors over the last 5 years due to my thyroid being loaded up with antibodies. One doctor I saw and still see occasionally told me that due to my illness, my efforts to lose weight were of no use and that with thyroid problems, weight loss is fairly impossible.

I've lost six lbs in two weeks by exercising, being on the right dose of medication and eating healthy.

I have learned that DO's and most alternative medicine physicians are best when it comes to taking the holistic approach. Why? Because with regular MD's (not all of them, but a great deal of them) have a "magic pill" for everything. I had a cholesterol level of over 400 before being put on my thyroid medication. Of course they threw statins in my face and I refused. Within 6 weeks of taking only thyroid medication, it was back down under 200!

05-29-2009, 11:31 AM
I just went to a gp and gyn after a long period of no checkups. I was anxious about what they'd say about my weight. All the health stuff was fine, blood pressure, cholesterol.

the gp said that I obviously could use to lose weight (in a nice way), and I said I was working on it. He told me to not eat bananas (!) and cut way back on bread. ha.

the obgyn said I had a frame that could handle the weight, but for my quality of life I might want to lose weight (again, he said it nicely).

I don't think what an outside person, doctor or not, has said to me has had the effect to get me motivated to lose weight, it's always been a decision within me.

kaplods, I hear you about feeling funny about being active. the first time I went into the local Y I was TERRIFIED (I guess I must have thought it just might bite me). I was sure I'd be the fattest one there, and feel humiliated. Not so.

I love to swim, but again, felt so scared to put on my suit and go to the pool. or change in the locker room. I realized that the majority of people are so concerned with how they look, they don't give much of two quacks about me. and if they do look, well, let em.

I love swimming (not that good at it!), what kind of sense does it make for me to give it up bec of what some someone (a stranger) might possibly say. I've seen thin women who look uncomfortable, with towels around their hips. We're really too hard on ourselves sometimes about our bodies.

05-29-2009, 03:26 PM
In high school I had a Dr. comment that I was a little "too thin" and needed to "eat more".

Later, I had many Dr.'s who would tell me I needed to lose weight. Before I started my weight loss journey (this time) my general physician told me that with the medications I was on (namely prednisone) that weight loss would be impossible for me. A month later my hepatologist told me I needed to have a liver transplant and that it wouldn't be done without me losing the extra weight (about 80 lbs.). He wasn't at all tactful about it. I cried and asked about the weight gain I was having with the prednisone. He wouldn't hear it! He said "if it was possible to give a pill to help people gain weight, all the starving children in Africa would be on prednisone!" Point taken. I managed to lose the weight while on prednisone. I changed general physicians.

My only gripe after the weight loss was the hepatologist said "I was expecting you to lose the weight healthily over 3-4 years, not almost 100 lbs. in a year". OH Well!

Each visit now he still comments on my weight. So much so that I sometimes wonder if I'm seeing him only about my weight or about my Liver!

05-29-2009, 08:20 PM
I think that today's doctors and the whole general medical establishment are not the same as 30 years ago when they used to care about their patients' health. Now health care is just a business. Doctors do not want you to become healthy. Why? Because if you and everyone suddenly became healthy, doctors would be out a job and the entire medical system would suffer huge financial losses. Think about it.

05-29-2009, 08:43 PM
I think that today's doctors and the whole general medical establishment are not the same as 30 years ago when they used to care about their patients' health. Now health care is just a business. Doctors do not want you to become healthy. Why? Because if you and everyone suddenly became healthy, doctors would be out a job and the entire medical system would suffer huge financial losses. Think about it.

I honestly think this is flat wrong.

However, there certainly are many pressures that conspire to make much, maybe even most, medical care not what it should be. But I think there must be VERY few physicians out there not wanting their patients to get healthy because they would be out a job. They don't make that much money, particularly weighed against what it takes to reach practice, and the daily stresses they practice under.

Now insurance executives ... that may be a very different story.

05-29-2009, 09:01 PM
ROTHFLMAO!!! Health Freak!!!! Honestly! There is MORE than enough medical work out there if you remove obesity and its sequella from the equation!!! It would be GREAT if there WAS no obesity because then the more interesting stuff gets more attention!

Can you IMAGINE how great it would be not to have a waiting room full of type 2 diabetics? Then you could focus on proper care and treatment of cancer patients, or pediatric cases, or those with Crohn's Disease, and really feel like you were helping those whose disease processes weren't so directly diet and lifestyle related and are often within the patient's ability to control!