I’m writing this in response to the outrage about doctors being told to refer patients to diet programmes. In particular this Telegraph article – I’ll say from the outset that the headline is a little misleading and I don’t like that they include information about the 5:2 diet
I’m going to start this by saying that I’ve been on the wrong end of a conversation with a doctor about my weight. At the time I was in the middle of the healthy range of BMI but was struggling with problems that being overweight would have a bearing on. He told me to lose weight, I ignored him as I wasn’t overweight, got a different doctor and that was that.
As you can possibly see – right now, I’m obese (according to my BMI) and I can feel it. The health conditions I have are much worse, my body feels sluggish, I ache in ways I never used to and I find sleeping uncomfortable. I both know I need to lose weight and my body is telling me that I need to.
I’ve been pretty vocal on Twitter about the people in my life who’ve had a go at me for putting on weight and tried to shame me into losing it. Then constantly questioned me about why I haven’t… I don’t believe that it’s is okay for everyone and anyone to be chatting shit about people’s weight. I do think that people should be left alone to be happy at whatever size they are. I know that I still love my body and feel beautiful.
However, I really feel that doctors should be able to have a frank conversation about weight with their patient. Being obese for a long time IS unhealthy and they’re there to look after our health. I don’t think anyone should be discriminated against, or forced to lose weight – being advised to do something isn’t being forced to do something though. I don’t think it should be a conversation that is forced upon people each time they go to the doctors. I do think that clearly providing free options if someone does want to lose weight is essential. Obviously it would have to be a well thought out, gentle, kind and easy to say a simple ‘no’ to conversation.
If nothing else, I think this conversation could help adults get the education they need to produce easy, healthier meals. Working in a secondary school, it is devastating seeing obese children. Morbidly obese children who can barely walk. They aren’t adults to have made that decision for themselves. If doctors having a 30 second quick – ‘we can refer you to Weight Watchers, if you wanted to lose some weight’ could help that – I’m shouting out a big yes.
Also, I’d be horrified if a doctor saw someone becoming increasingly underweight and said nothing… I’m kind of horrified that my doctor, knowing my health conditions are worsened by being overweight, hasn’t said anything to me about my weight gain.
I get that doctors can already focus heavily on people’s weight when the issue is something else and sure this could make that worse? Though, from what I’ve seen, could it actually get any worse?
I mean, I’ve been told that I’m making up my condition in my head – that’s it’s not actually real and I’m imagining the symptoms. Sometimes you just need to tell your doctor to jog on and get a different one 😉 (I’m fully aware that’s easier said than done).