‘Preach what you practice’ is not mandatory always. Our society expects a science professor to know the A-Z of science, a chess professional to be aware of every possible chess move and a physician to be trim and fit without any health issues. Individuals looking for a weight loss program expect their nutritionist/dietitian to be thin in the first place rather than fit. One look at a slightly plump dietitian and your mind voice questions you, ‘How is this fat dietitian going to help me lose weight?” One survey conducted on overweight doctors and their influence on obese patients shows that such doctors imparted greater influence on helping their patients successfully lose weight and were more confident in prescribing weight-loss techniques.
Obese Doctors Better Understand Obese Patients
Most patients complain of lack of physical empathy from their doctors. Such patients feel that obese doctors may show greater empathy towards overweight patients compared to their normal-weighted counterparts. These patients trust their heavier doctors when they are given diet recommendations too.
Fat female patients feel more comfortable in the presence of a fat doctor as they experience fat-shaming otherwise. Some patients even cancel their appointments with a physician until they lose a kilogram or two. Most people tend to brand obese individuals as lazy, sluggish personalities who don’t take any effort to stay active or fit. But, an overweight doctor is more unlikely to brand such people negatively which helps to build a better physician−patient rapport that is critical for seeking the patient’s trust.
Empathy is critical for a physician and when a doctor understands the staggering difficulties that exist underneath the blanket of ideal body weight, he/she is sure to show more empathy towards patients.
Why Doctors Avoid Discussing about Lifestyle Changes?
Most doctors don’t bring up the topic of a healthy lifestyle unless it is essential due to various reasons:
One other reason why a doctor might be a motivating factor for increased weight loss is that a doctor will be able to assess multiple factors such as diet, exercise and medical history and conclude whether the patient is at an increased risk of obesity. But, one common problem is that doctors don’t take much time interacting with their patients. If there are more conversations happening, the patient might open up on his//her lifestyle issues, troubles faced while trying to follow a healthy lifestyle and so on. Hence, regardless of whether the doctor is thin or fat, patients follow their doctors’ advice regarding lifestyle modifications and healthy eating. If you are looking for a healthy lifestyle/weight loss program, you can get in touch with nutritionists/dietitians at www.firsteatright.com who can help you with healthy diet modifications and accurate guidelines to stay fit.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.