Obesity has become a grave problem, just like diabetes or heart disease. It is one of the costliest and devastating health problems and can leave us deep down the dumps if not treated immediately. An effective treatment plan by primary care providers is problematic sometimes, as they are challenged with delivering appropriate treatment counseling in a limited time frame.
Although lack of time is the most-quoted reason for ineffective weight counselling, there is not much proof supporting that more time beyond the usual 5 to 10 minutes of counseling is advantageous. The tragic part in such counseling sessions is that, physicians recommend clients to eat less, move more and lose weight (obese patients have come to the physician in the first place to lose weight!) and this is not going to serve any purpose. For instance, when a client approaches a physician for obesity treatment and the physician sends him/her off with one small phrase of ‘We will do it’, what is the outcome? It is no better than telling a person with depression to ‘cheer up.’
Let Go of the Conventional Idea
Even physicians speak with a mindset that obese people are lazy people who eat too much without any willpower to maintain a healthy diet. Hence, they tend to spend minimum time and speak very little to discuss effective treatment options for patients with obesity.
Weight loss is a difficult but feasible process which poses challenges, both for the patient and the physician. When chemotherapy or insulin injection is not effective on a client we never blame the client but the treatment! But in the case of obesity treatments, it is almost always the client who is blamed for lack of results. We need to understand that obesity is a complex process that involves genetic, developmental and environmental factors as well, along with the client’s effort. Don’t assume falsely that these factors will prevent weight loss, but only try to understand that sometimes we need to work harder to get our perks.
Obesity is not a lifestyle choice but a dysfunction of a highly regulated system. Positive ideologies and proposals encourage clients to work more towards their goal rather than demotivating them using pejorative words that may burn their intentions.
Explore Different Options
While we know that a 5-10% loss of body weight can decrease the patient’s risk of chronic diseases, not every patient’s body responds in the same way.
Patients who do not respond positively to behavioral modification can be subjected to lifestyle interventions. Morbid obesity cases are mostly treated with bariatric surgery which can assure the client of a 20-35% body weight loss after 1 year. It is always better to remember that one size does not fit all. Similarly, one diet or lifestyle change is not effective for all people with obesity.
The effectiveness of the treatment depends on how we treat the patient with excess weight and be compassionate about their condition, similar to the way we treat patients with other health problems. While a 20-minute counselling session with a registered dietitian nutritionist may not solve your problem, it can be a fresh start to a long process of weight loss journey. To get in touch with reputed RDNs to lose weight in a healthy way and stay fit, please visit the website www.firsteatright.com.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.