View Single Post
Old 05-03-2009, 04:08 PM   #12
Senior Member
kaplods's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Wausau, WI
Posts: 13,383

S/C/G: SW:394/310/180

Height: 5'6"


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.
My Etsy shop (currently closed for the summer)
etsy link by permission from 3fc! Want to add yours? Ask them!

Last edited by kaplods; 05-03-2009 at 04:11 PM.
kaplods is offline   Reply With Quote