‘Do you think I’m fat, doctor?’ Using Empathy to Help Patients Lose Weight
A compassionate and non-judgemental approach to weight loss management helps to foster an open environment where patients are encouraged to be honest about their obstacles and desired outcomes. Dr. Shima Hadidchi MD offers medical weight loss. Contact now or schedule an appointment online. We have convenient locations to serve you in Apple Valley, CA and Victorville, CA.
Table of Contents:
What is the relationship between weight and chronic illness?
How do medical weight loss doctors encourage a patient to lose weight?
Is self-compassion critical for weight management?
How do medical weight loss doctors use empathy to motivate patients?
Chronic illness and weight can have different types of relationships. It is possible both for weight problems to lead to chronic illness, and, for chronic illness to lead to weight problems. Being overweight for instance, can lead to the development of diabetes or chronic heart problems among other health issues. While certain chronic illnesses may limit an individual’s movement and alter their lifestyle in a way that impacts their ability to maintain a healthy weight. As a result weight issues and chronic illness have an unhealthy relationship with one another which can perpetuate the effects of each other.
In other instances weight could itself be a chronic illness, as is the case with obesity. The underlying cause of obesity is more complex than many people realize. Rather than being a condition that is controlled by individual choices and caused only by environmental factors, obesity involves multiple biological systems that are constantly fighting to keep us from losing weight. Obesity development is therefore influenced by genetics, biology, and the environment.
The obesity rate among American adults is high, about 70 percent of American adults are overweight or obese. People who are overweight may develop type 2 diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, and certain cancers. The health benefits of weight loss can be seen even with a modest 5 percent loss.
Medical weight loss doctors encourage patients to lose weight in a compassionate manner by setting out a weight loss management plan that is achievable. By setting out manageable goals for patients to pursue during their weight loss journey they will be less inclined to feel discouraged and defeated either by taking on too much right away or by failing to see the progress they expected. A compassionate and non-judgmental approach helps to foster an open environment where patients are encouraged to be honest about their obstacles and desired outcomes. This open and positive communication promotes the best outcomes by motivating the patient while making them feel safe and guiding them through their weight loss journey.
Healthy behaviors and weight loss may be supported by self-compassion for a number of reasons. According to some researchers, self-compassion increases mindfulness, which increases awareness of thoughts, feelings, and actions. Many people believe that self-compassion enhances weight outcomes by encouraging mindful and intuitive eating, overcoming dietary disinhibition (overeating when tasty food is present), and enhancing healthy behavior intentions. In addition, studies have shown that self-compassion can reduce body dissatisfaction and shame as well as increase body appreciation, leading to better eating habits.
Additionally, self-compassion can support weight loss efforts and help you stick to your diet, while decreasing stress, depression, and anxiety and increasing optimism, life satisfaction, and well-being. When attempting to lose weight, positive individuals with high life satisfaction tend to maintain their weight loss more successfully than negative individuals with low hopes.
Medical weight loss doctors use empathy to motivate patients through a patient-centered approach. The provider guides the patient rather than tells them what to do in a patient-centered, motivational approach. The non-directive nature of these approaches differs from the advice-giving (directive) of healthcare professionals. Instead, healthcare providers recognize the expertise of patients regarding their own motivations. As the provider guides the patient to examine and resolve the problem, they are only somewhat directive. Through the use of empathy, doctors reinforce the patient’s personal motivation to lose weight while fostering a positive and supportive environment in which to guide them.
Dr. Shima Hadidchi MD offers medical weight loss. We serve patients from Victorville CA, Apple Valley CA, Adelanto CA, Hesperia CA, Crestline CA, Highland CA, Barstow CA, and BEYOND!
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