For Apple-A-Day Doctors

Here is another befitting reply by Rujuta
Last week, I was invited to speak at the Obesity conference at Nair Medical, a reputed hospital and medical college. I was to speak about nutrition and obesity; I used the opportunity for some advocacy instead. These were my points:
1. Ask your patients to ‘get fitter’ or ‘improve body composition’ and not to ‘lose weight’. Losing weight doesn’t guarantee better knees, heart or insulin response, but getting fitter does. Losing weight is a mere byproduct of that process. But if the focus is on the byproduct, then the methods adopted like starving or drastic workouts or juice diets can make your patients sicker than when they came to you first. Not really what a patient wants from a good doc.
2. Tell your patients to ‘eat better’, as against ‘eating lesser’. Eating lesser may seem to be a quick way of reducing calories but in real life it doesn’t quite work that way. When you eat ‘lesser’ at one meal, you compensate by eating more at the next meal or by ‘snacking’ on chocolates, biscuit, ‘just a bite out of the cake’, and land up consuming more than you bargained for.
3. Decode ‘eat better’ for your patients by telling them to ‘eat more at home’ and carry food from home. This improves the nutrient to calorie ratio and leads to satiety, and the need to consume chocolates, coffee, biscuits, mithai after a meal lessens.
Why the advocacy? Two reasons: a) In the doctor-dietician-trainer triangle, they are the ones who enjoy maximum credibility and compliance from patients, and, b) The right words lead to right actions.
And no, the doctors didn’t beat me up in the end.

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