Exam Room Nutrition: Nutrition Education for Health Professionals

Mini Series | A Provider's Guide to Helping Patients Lose Weight: Part 1 | 3 Questions to Ask First

January 12, 2024 Colleen Sloan, PA-C, RDN Episode 29
Exam Room Nutrition: Nutrition Education for Health Professionals
Mini Series | A Provider's Guide to Helping Patients Lose Weight: Part 1 | 3 Questions to Ask First
Exam Room Nutrition Podcast
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Show Notes Transcript

This is the first of a 10-part series in which Colleen will equip you with the tools you need to guide your patients to achieve their weight and health goals in 2024. 

If you're unsure how to help your patients who ask, "how do I lose weight?", this series is a must-listen!

Throughout this series, Colleen shares invaluable insights starting with three essential questions to unlock your patients' weight loss goals– probing into their motivation, past attempts, and challenges faced. Alongside, get equipped to tackle psychological factors, balance macronutrients, and customize diet plans as we dissect the 'best diets' of 2024.

If you're a primary care provider looking to enhance your nutrition counseling skills or simply seeking a refresher, join me as we make our patients healthier, one exam room at a time!

Grab the companion PDF at examroomnutrition.com/weightloss, and let's confidently guide our patients towards their best lives in 2024.

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Speaker 1:

Can you feel that electric energy in the air? I've got a brand new series for you, filled with the vibrant spirit of the new year. It's that magical time when we bid farewell to the past and welcome the endless possibilities of the future. There's a freshness and an enthusiasm that the new year brings, and it's this time of year when a lot of patients are motivated to make some healthy changes. So for this series, I'm giving you a step-by-step process on how you can guide your patient who asks I want to lose weight, what diet should I go on? Now? I know you probably barely received any nutrition training in school and you definitely didn't learn any nutrition counseling skills. But don't worry, I got you. Friend. My name is Colleen Sloan, I'm a pediatric PA and a registered dietitian, and this is the Exam Room Nutrition Podcast where, each week, I'm giving you the nutrition education you never got in school. So this 10-part series will equip you with the information and confidence to guide your patients, not only to achieve their weight loss goals, but also improve their labs, chronic conditions and live their hashtag best life. Now, before we get into today's topic, I want to give you an overview of what to expect from this series and how you're going to walk your patient through this health journey. In this week I'm going to give you three questions. You must ask your patient if they're going to be successful in 2024. Next we'll talk about other metrics you need to be monitoring and why it's not all about the weight and BMI. In the third episode you'll learn why it's vital that you address any psychological factors with weight, like stress and emotional eating, and then you'll help your patients set up a plan before they even start. In the fourth episode of this series, I'll teach you what macronutrients are, their function and why a balance is key. In that episode we're going back to the basics, but this is a really important one for you to understand. Then I'll explain the three main diet types and why one might work for one patient and not another. Remember it's not a one-size-fits-all approach. I'll also review the recent article that's hot off the press from the US News listing the best diets for 2024. And we'll talk about that more in the fifth episode. In episode six, you'll learn how to help your patients set goals, and it's going to go beyond setting those smart goals. Remember the acronym we learned in school. Then, in episode seven, I'll teach you how to handle a resistant patient who says I've tried that and it doesn't work for me, or maybe a patient who just seems totally unmotivated. In episodes eight and nine, you'll learn how to celebrate your patient's success and what to do when a patient fails. And finally, in episode 10, I'll give you some quick nutrition tips you can suggest all of your patients follow. So there you have it, your complete guide to counseling your patients toward their weight and health goals for 2024. Now I want to remind you there are registered dietitians who specialize in weight management for patients. So if you don't have a dietitian that you work with on your team, I would love to connect you with some brilliant registered dietitians. So just shoot me a message on Instagram at exam room nutrition, or reach out to me on my website, exam room nutritioncom, and I would love to connect you with someone. But this series is really to help equip you, primary care providers, to help your patients navigate this question when they do come to you in the clinic, because I know your patients are asking for your guidance when it comes to weight. By the way, if you would like a PDF of this series so you can follow along or refer back to later. Just go to exam room nutritioncom, forward slash weight loss, and you'll have access to a summary of each episode. That's exam room nutritioncom slash weight loss. Alright, let's get into the topic for today. So here are three questions you should ask First, why do you want to lose weight? Second, what have you tried in the past? And third, what do you struggle with the most? Alright, let's break these down one by one. First question why do you want to lose weight? This is so important because you need to find out their motivation. If they're having a hard time figuring out their why, maybe you can ask a question like this what do you want to do in the future that you can't do now? So, for example, maybe they would love to play with their grandchildren without getting tired, or maybe they want to feel confident in their suit, or maybe they would like to sit comfortably on an airplane. But asking what would you want to do that you can't do now is a great way to get some tangible results and find out your patient's motivation. Another way I like to ask this question is by saying how would your life be different if you lost 50 pounds? Or how would your life be different if you got off your medication. These questions help the patient think through their reasons for wanting to lose weight. Beyond just losing weight, they need to have an alternative goal, beyond just meeting that target number. Number two what have you tried in the past? This is a really important question to kind of get an idea for if this patient struggles with yo-yo dieting and or what type of diet system actually has worked for them and what type didn't work at all. And so a follow up question to asking what have you tried in the past is asking why do you feel that it hasn't worked? Or maybe why couldn't you stick with that plan? Because, as we know, a lot of the different diets out there are very restrictive and it can be very difficult to stick to long term. So asking them why do you feel like it didn't work is a great way to help you gauge the diet that might work for them now moving forward and what might not work. So, for example, if they tried intermittent fasting already in the past and they said it was just really difficult to eat within that window because they got really hungry late at night or something like that, then that wouldn't be a diet that you might recommend for them. Within this context, I also like to ask them when in their life have they been most successful with maintaining a healthy weight? Because, again, this gives you an idea into their lifestyle, into their schedule and creating a plan that's personalized for them, that will work with their schedule and lifestyle. And third, ask the patient what do they struggle with the most? Is it late night snacking? Do they skip breakfast? Do they just really not know what to eat because there's so much information out there and so many social media influencers that are making them afraid to eat fruit, for example? This will give you some direction into the areas that they need most help with. So, for example, if the patient is really struggling with late night snacking, that gives you an idea that they may be under-fueling or skipping meals throughout the day. Or is there some sort of emotional binge eating going on late night? But all these questions give you more information to help you tailor a diet approach for the patient that would work with their schedule, with their lifestyle, and be easiest for them to follow. So the three questions you need to ask right off the bat when a patient asks you about losing weight and going on a diet is number one why do you want to lose weight? Number two what have you tried in the past? And number three what do you struggle with the most? We really need to get down to the core motivation of our patients so we can help them stick to this plan and so we can find a plan that works with their lifestyle and schedule. All right, next episode we dive into body composition metrics and why it's not just about tracking the patient's weight and BMI. Come hang with me on Instagram and shoot me a DM letting me know what you think about this series. All right, guys, until next time, let's make our patients healthier, one exam room at a time. See you later.