So much of Western healthcare is focused on weight. Every doctor’s visit starts with a step on a scale, and many medications are dosed based on a person’s physical size. Yet, when a patient has concerns about their weight, they often find that they need to be the ones to bring it up with their healthcare provider.
If you are concerned about your weight for any reason, you need to be careful and confident with how you approach the issue in the exam room. By following this guide for addressing weight-related issues with healthcare providers, you can receive the answers you need to develop a healthier lifestyle going forward.
Prepare for Your Visit
Almost regardless of your reason for scheduling the visit, most appointments with healthcare providers proceed in a similar fashion. To contextualize your health concerns, they need access to your health present and history, which means you need to provide them with some critical information. Before your appointment begins, you should collect relevant information, such as your weight and height, any diagnoses and medications you are taking — to include over-the-counter medications and supplements — and any symptoms that may contribute to your concerns.
If you have anxiety around doctor’s visits, you may enlist the help of a support person. A trusted friend or family member can accompany you to your appointment, either remaining in the waiting room or coming with you to the exam room. Their presence alone may help you speak up for yourself with your healthcare provider, or they may be able to answer questions and explain concerns on your behalf.
Whether or not you bring a support person, you may find it useful to write down the questions you have for your healthcare provider before your appointment begins. Even if you do not consult your notes during the visit, writing down your questions and concerns can provide you with the focus you need to direct your provider’s attention in the exam room. When you understand more clearly what information you want from your provider, you can achieve it with greater efficiency.
Understand Your Weight Goals
Through different tests and assessments, your doctor will be able to provide you with a holistic view of your current level of health. They may offer insight into the health risks associated with your current size — which may be negligible. It is entirely possible that your current weight is safe and healthy, in which case you might not consider trying to alter your weight at all.
Most individuals who come to their healthcare provider with concerns about their weight do so with the intention of dropping a certain number of pounds and achieving a certain body size. You should talk to your doctor about your goals for your body weight and shape to better understand if they are achievable for you. Likely, your provider will help you understand how rapidly you can shift your body toward your goal weight, which should set your expectations realistically for the future.
Ask for Effective Tools
Losing weight is undeniably difficult. If you have struggled with a dangerously high weight for some time, you may need help from your healthcare provider in the form of different tools and techniques for dropping pounds. Depending on your size, your provider may recommend using medications like Ozempic for weight loss, which helps control blood sugar levels and slows down stomach processes to help you feel full and appropriately energized for longer periods between eating. Your doctor might also connect you with resources for physical training, as exercise is critical for weight loss, and nutrition support to provide you with a healthier diet as you continue on your fitness journey.
Focus on Health
As tempting as it might be to lose weight to look good, you should keep in mind that your long-term health is much more important than your appearance. Studies have found that it is much safer for a person to be a few pounds “overweight” than for them to be underweight to any degree; with some extra fat, your body is better prepared to fight diseases and recover from injuries into old age. You should keep your health at top of mind whenever you are talking to a healthcare provider about changing your weight.