Health At Any Size:
Implementing the concepts in a clinical setting
I read with interest an article in the 2000 March/April issue of the Healthy
Weight Journal. The author, Cindy Byfield, outlines the frustrations many
dietitians have in a clinical setting when they try to embrace the concepts of
health at any size. Dr. Byfield states how difficult it is for many health
professionals to follow these concepts when they have strict orders from the
doctor to "get this patient to lose weight." Dr. Byfield offers some
great suggestions on how to implement the principles of health at any size, even
when a health professional works in a clinical setting that may not fully
embrace the concepts.
- Talk to patients about what they CAN eat, not what they CANíT eat. Talk
about adding more delicious fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
- To implement this new paradigm based on health and not weight, large-size
patients must feel accepted as they are right now. We must make a conscious
effort to lose the belief that excess fatness equals poor health.
- Talk to patients about improving their health by making realistic changes
in diet and activity. Promote the concept that these changes improve health
in their own right. They are not just a means to weight loss.
- Accept that health professionals have no real control over a patientís
weight - neither does the patient. The majority of patients who lose weight
gain the weight back. Weight gain occurs in both crash diets and
state-of-the-art treatment programs - and everything in between. Promoting
weight loss as the first line of treatment is not in keeping with a
commitment to promote health and wellness.
- Explain and promote the concept of "metabolic fitness" (normal
readings with blood lipids, blood glucose and/or blood pressure readings).
Promote the goal of metabolic fitness, not weight loss.
Source: Cindy Byfield, RD, PhD, "The New Paradigm in Action," Healthy
Weight Journal, March/April 2000, pages 27-28.
Compiled by Betty Holmes, MS, RD
Return to Thought Bullets--main page.
Return to home page.