For many patients, searching for the underlying reasons for their weight journey is fraught with shame and self-blame.
This is why it was not surprising that from our interviews with patients and providers, published in Clinical Obesity, it became apparent that helping patients make sense of their journey was such an important step.
Not only did this lead to context integration but also reprioritizing what was important to them:
“Providers summarized and integrated all relevant factors from the patient’s story andassessment that led to their current health status, highlighting strengths, and offering a perspective on which challenges to address first. Providers validated their interpretation with the patient, asked for clarification, and agreed on a priority. This provided an alternative narrative of the patient’s obesity: one that explained and acknowledged underlying root causes, offered an alternative, capable and resilient, patient identity, and set a direction for change that made sense in light of their life context. From the patients’perspective this offered a tremendous shift in the way they thought about themselves and their ability toimprove their health.”
In my own practice I have often witnessed patients going through “aha moments” and ultimately shifting their focus on health rather than weight goals.
This is of course a process – insights, reflections, and reorientation of goals does not happen overnight – but when it happens, I often witness the transformation that takes place before my very eyes.