“But don’t make the assumption that heavier people are responsible for this caloric leap. Interestingly, studies show that large people eat no more than lean people, despite a popular misconception that large people consistently overeat. In the words of the National Academy of Sciences from their report on Diet and Health: “Most studies comparing normal and overweight people suggest that those that are overweight eat fewer calories than those of normal weight.”
Health At Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight by Linda Bacon
“I’m concerned about your weight. Lose weight and all your health problems will go away. See a nutritionist. Stop eating ________, and start eating more fruits and vegetables. We’re running all these “necessary” tests because your weight indicates you can have all these diseases. Oh, and if you want help with your other health issues, lose weight first, because otherwise we refuse to treat you.”
Oh and your doctor is saying this with disdain in her voice. Lovely.
Look, I will never say being obese is healthy. It is clearly not. The problem is still that when health professionals focus on the actual weight, they are looking at the symptoms, not the problem. And sometimes, weight isn’t even the symptom of any problem. I don’t have high cholesterol and my glucose level is normal. Yes I have issues with PCOS and blood pressure, and I’m working on that. I am working on my health.
But doctors are the first person we go to for health. And instead of understanding and guidance, we get scorn and orders. Studies after studies show that doctor’s treat obese people differently. They take less time with patients and are less kind to us. They immediately go to the same problems and don’t look for other possible issues.
We know we are overweight, so telling us that is just redundant. Help us with what is actually wrong. Refer us to psychologists. Talk about supportive family systems. Stop focusing on her weight and focus on suggesting nutritious foods and maybe fun exercises. Focus on the positive changes that need to happen and strides the patient has already made.
If your doctor doesn’t listen to your concerns and makes you feel like less than an individual, try to switch doctors. Write them a letter explaining your concerns. Here is a letter from Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon http://lindabacon.org/HAESbook/pdf_files/HAES_Providing%20Sensitive%20Care.pdf. Insist on fair treatment and compassion. Everyone deserves it, and so do you!