Woman interested in starting the weight conversation with her doctor
Woman interested in starting the weight conversation with her doctor

Start a New Conversation

There are any number of ways to start the conversation. The important part is that you have it.

Start a New Conversation

There are any number of ways to start the conversation. The important part is that you have it.

Focus on your goals

If you’ve discussed your weight before and haven’t felt heard or were never able to get to a useful strategy for weight management, you should consider talking to a different health care provider or change the conversation. Focus on what matters to you and ask for the support that you need to reach your goals.

Learn about starting a new conversation

Dr. Robert Kushner encourages people living with obesity to partner with qualified health care providers who are empathetic and respectful. Watch now.

If your health care provider does not bring up the topic of weight, I would encourage you to be assertive and bring it up yourself. Tell the health care provider that you are looking for additional support and ask them “are they able to do so?”. Tell them why you’re concerned about your weight and if you can, what kind of help you’re looking for. For example, do you need more guidance on diet or physical activity, or behavior change or emotional eating?

Then, of course it's up to the health care provider how they would respond. If they respond, "Yes, I can help you," then you may want to have some of the questions ready to ask as appropriate as follows:

  • Which of my medical problems are related to my weight?
  • Do any of my medications cause weight gain?
  • Will any of my medications need to be adjusted if I lose weight?
  • Will I need any lab tests repeated as I lose weight?
  • Do you have any additional weight management tips that you can help me with?
  • Can I begin an increased physical activity program? Are there any precautions that I should take?
  • If I need additional help with my food intake, increased physical activity, or health behaviors, will you be able to refer me to the right person?
  • If I would benefit from medication to treat my weight, can you prescribe that for me or refer me to an obesity medicine specialist?

Dr. Kushner provided input into the content of this material and was compensated for his time.

Getting off to a good start

When you have obesity, it’s understandable that you may be less than excited to bring up weight with a health care provider.

If you’re not comfortable discussing your weight, these tips may make it easier to start:

Describe what’s led to your request for help with weight management.
Express how you feel about your weight with “I” statements.
Assert your needs—ask for what you need directly.
Reinforce how your request is related to other things the HCP cares about.

What matters to you

When you meet with a health care provider, consider discussing what your weight is holding you back from doing, concerns you have about your health, and whether your current weight puts you at risk for other diseases. You can also ask any questions you have about your body mass index (BMI).

Ava is living with obesity

When Ava started to understand obesity as a disease, she began to insist on getting the appropriate support. She realized her life depended on it. Here’s her advice to health care providers on bringing up the subject of weight.

“Ask for permission to discuss it. Be respectful and compassionate and invite patients into an equitable partnership for managing weight and improving health. Do the best that you can to support them the way that they need from you.”

Ava is living with obesity

When Ava started to understand obesity as a disease, she began to insist on getting the appropriate support. She realized her life depended on it. Here’s her advice to health care providers on bringing up the subject of weight.

“Ask for permission to discuss it. Be respectful and compassionate and invite patients into an equitable partnership for managing weight and improving health. Do the best that you can to support them the way that they need from you.”

You don’t have to do it alone. There are so many ways to work with your health care provider—but make sure they are working for you, too.

Work with a health care provider on a weight-management plan that’s right for you

TrueWeight® Report

Get your free, personalized TrueWeight® Report. Answering a few questions about your weight-management history, current lifestyle, and goals is a great way to prepare for a conversation with a health care provider.

Get started

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Learn more about obesity care from Truth About Weight®

Get more information

Learn more about obesity care from Truth About Weight®