Did your doctors ever tell you to lose weight?

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  • 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.
  • Check out the link. This is probably the reason why:
  • Kiramira,

    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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • 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...
  • 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 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Quote: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.