Weight Loss Etiquette – Do You Have It?

September 4, 2018 Practice Administration 0


Today I want to talk to you about weight loss etiquette.  Not that I’m Miss Manners or anything, but I do know that I’ve seen patients come in and they seem really downtrodden. They talk about some experiences that they’ve had at other practices. Although none of us are perfect, it’s some experiences that can create quite a bit of sadness for me and the patient. I’m going to go over some weight loss surgery etiquette. You can add in the comments down below if there’s more that you want to say.  I’m sure there’s plenty of etiquette out there. I’m just touching on the highlights.

The first thing patients need is a compassionate and safe environment. So many of the morbidly obese have been exposed to inappropriate treatment, comments, and actions towards them.  They are really awesome people as you know.  Underneath sometimes their greatest accomplishments and some of the things they are so awesome at are overlooked because of their appearance.  A lot of them just want to have that compassionate and safe environment where they know they fit in and someone cares about them and that someone is committed to them attaining their goals. They need to be able to lose their weight in a safe manner, successful, and engaging manner. Also they want to be able to celebrate with their new weight loss family. A compassionate and safe environment entails a lot of things. It could be the décor of the office, making sure it’s very inviting. Make sure the furniture accommodates all sizes. Your staff needs to know where those patients are coming from, and have that same compassion for all of their patients.

The second thing is to recognize their fear. These patients have researched weight loss surgery for years and they’re coming to you for a surgical solution, and that’s fearful for them. So, recognize their fear and allow them to express that in your safe environment. Oftentimes just recognizing that they have that fear and opening frank and honest conversations is important.

It’s also important to keep a kind sense of humor with the patients. Everybody that comes in wants to be able to laugh and have fun while they’re going through the weight loss journey. I think our job is not to make is a drudgery and focus on the ‘cant’s.’  Focus on what they can do. Keep a sense of humor about that and life in general so that they can also have that sense of happiness.

You want to keep them engaged. A lot of times one of the best ways to do that is to have small events at your practice. Make those opportunities for them to get to know other patients. I know places that have fitness included as part of their practice. There are support groups and private FB groups. It’s a great way for them to stay engaged.

One of the things I found really helpful is to have that retail aspect because it keeps people coming in on a regular basis, whether they have an appointment or not. They come in and they stay engaged with you and your patients and staff. It’s great for their sense of satisfaction but also their long-term success.

Sometimes never using the word FAT is probably something I shouldn’t have to say. It’s degrading in many ways. We never include this word in any of our verbal interaction.

The other thing is to be a great example for them. They want to see you also going through and practicing what you preach. Maybe you haven’t had weight loss surgery, but you practice those habits that you encourage them to partake in every day such as fitness, adequate protein, carb control, store products, taking vitamins, and controlling stress.  In our own practice we have a 2,500 square foot workout facility. You see the staff and physician in there working out right alongside the patients. So, it’s something that’s really helpful.

Also you should have zero tolerance in your practice for weight discrimination. You want to make sure that’s not a part of your practice.

These are some things that are common sense to most people. They’re second nature to most of us. But there are times when it’s not adhered to and it can create a lot of discord and a lot of potential animosities towards those who are providing the services that are intended to help patients. Make that journey an enjoyable journey. It’s always great to have those reminders. If you have other tips feel free to share them. I’ll look forward to that. Reach out to me: karol@weightlosspracticebuilder.com

I have lots of free resources on my website.

I look forward to talking with you soon. Thanks so much and take care.