Many of you may be familiar with Sally Squires’ Lean Plate Club at the Washington Post. Squire describes the community as a “virtual” club – not a diet – with the primary focus of promoting healthy eating and increased fitness. The expectation, of course, is still that weight loss will naturally follow.
In a column reprinted today in The Oregonian, Squires recounts meeting a physician at a conference who expressed great anger at a patient who had lost 18 pounds only to regain the weight. His story inspired Squires to ask readers via her e-mail newsletter for their opinions on how doctors ought to approach weight loss with their patients. Some of the submissions are worth reprinting here:
Lean Plate Club member from South Portland, Maine, commenting in the chat about the doctor who lost his temper, said this was “exactly why so many overweight people avoid going to their physicians. Doesn’t this doctor realize that most people regain the weight they lose? They need support, not recriminations. The doctor’s temper tantrum didn’t do anything except make him feel better. He wasn’t helping his patient at all. Shame on him.”
“I dread seeing my primary-care physician because I have heart disease and I am 60 pounds overweight,” wrote a Fairfax, Va., member. “Every visit is about how I must lose weight or else I will have a heart attack or stroke. I lost 25 pounds in one year only to quickly gain almost all of it back. I am now trying to quickly lose it again before I must visit my doctor and have him find out that I have regained instead of losing more weight.”
“Very few people respond well to being yelled at or scolded,” a Lean Plate Club member from Pasadena, Calif., noted. “They also do not respond well to being demeaned or put down. Providers also need to remember that the patients’ behavior is not a reflection on them and that it isn’t personal. Lastly, providers need to, at all times, stay professional with their patients.”
And my personal favorite:
“My aunt’s doctor told her to lose 25 pounds, and she informed him that he needed to lose at least 50. Neither has lost weight, and now he doesn’t mention her weight, which is not a favorable medical practice for an internist dealing with older patients. So, docs, get skinny and talk about the weight.”
How do you feel doctors should approach issues of weight with patients? Should weight even be an issue? What are your thoughts?