Posts Tagged ‘obesity’
July 12th, 2016 |

People, not Patients

The medical profession has a tough task in trying to combat obesity. It’s not simple. It’s costly and it’s frustrating.

As a nutritionist, I’m personally frustrated. We need to be more creative in our approach. We need to champion smart people and organizations to work with people (not patients) to move in the right direction. We need to listen more. Talk less. We also need to work as teams. Straightforward communication is key.

Recently a client shared a handout of directions from his new doctor about what he NEEDED TO DO to lose weight. It was a list of high calorie foods to be avoided at all costs. Or he’d fail.

The list was a slash and burn of foods, many of them nutrient-dense and real foods that any trained nutrition professional would include in daily in a sound weight loss plan. It also included one line about how it was ok to have artificial sweeteners (really?, that’s not even food, but go ahead, have all you want).

It was a typed list, New Times Roman font, totally uninspiring and didactic, like the kind of handout you get for a colonoscopy prep. Everyone gets the same one. You either succeed or fail. Follow the list. FOLLOW THE LIST. See you in six months.

Here’s the thing that really gets me. This client has been doing incredibly well with his weight loss and lifestyle goals. We’ve been working together weekly through video sessions. We check in about what’s going well and what’s not. We set goals, together, but mostly he does the goal setting and I give him advice to balance it all out. We talk about a new food to try each week. Real food. Real cooking. Recipes. Walking. Shooting a few hoops. Doing things he enjoys. Things he’s never done before. Things he never thought he could do before.

Did the doctor ask him about that? Did he ask him about his success? How he felt? No, just treated him as another number and handed him the paper of what he must do.

This simple piece of paper just reduced 11 months of our hard work to a second guess. So, yeah, I’m frustrated.

We can do better. We must do better. Let’s get back to listening more and fostering real relationships, inspiring ones. That’s how we’ll make changes that last a lifetime.

November 2nd, 2015 |

“I Know What To Do, I Just Don’t Do It”

We talk about prevention and lifestyle change, but what does it actually entail?

Prevention means eating healthfully, exercising, getting quality sleep, decreasing stress, enjoying meaningful relationships and managing finances. These all deserve a slice of the wellness pie and are known to be cost-effective strategies for reducing our chances of getting chronic disease or the progression of these burdensome conditions. We know this much.

Our healthcare system can’t support the sickcare model any longer. It’s time to stop talking about prevention. We need to do something. Something large scale, innovative and sustainable. And, we need to do it right now. (more…)

May 18th, 2014 |

Fed Up: A Few Thoughts

A few weeks ago, I was invited to a special preview screening of Fed Up, the new food documentary at the Harvard School of Public Health. The screening was followed by a short panel Q&A with film producer Laurie David, ChopChop Magazine  founder Sally Sampson and Dr. Eric Rimm, nutrition epidemiologist at HSPH.

The film intends to piss people off about the state of food marketing and the inability of the government to make changes to protect our collective health, especially that of American children. (more…)

July 20th, 2013 |

Thoughts on The Heavy: A Mother, A Daughter, A Diet by Dara-Lynn Weiss

Dara-Lynn Weiss is a NYC mother who writes of her experience raising a young daughter with obesity. This intense memoir is a front seat personal navigation of the challenges that face anybody trying to lose weight. The added controversy of childhood obesity is perhaps captured best here:

I knew how universal this quagmire was, how uniquely helpless parents feel when they see themselves as having to choose between denying a child the joys of childhood or letting them barrel toward bad health.  

Read this book. At times you’ll be downright angry at what appears to be an uptight, overbearing control freak of a woman with a history of eating issues of her own. I was. But, perhaps she’s really on to something as she portrays a brutally honest view of the tenacity that must be consistently employed when making lifestyle changes necessary for ongoing weight loss and maintenance.

Losing weight is easy. Keeping it off is next to impossible unless you make defensive & mindful eating a priority. Actually, it has to be the #1 priority for many. In the end, I applaud Ms. Weiss. She did everything (sometimes too much) to protect her child from a statistically bleak health future. She put her foot down.

As with other tricky areas of parenting, there isn’t one right way for a parent to guide an overweight child. Support, knowledge, resources and education are all essential components but it seems to me that consistency is the key ingredient.

Childhood obesity is anything but cookie cutter.

Your thoughts?

By Tara