How to Tackle Medical Professionals Stuck in Diet Culture: A Compassionate Approach
In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the harmful impact of diet culture on individuals’ physical and mental well-being. Unfortunately, even within the realm of healthcare, some medical professionals may unintentionally perpetuate harmful diet culture norms. It is important to be able to tackle medical professionals stuck in diet culture if you feel confident enough. If you don’t perhaps as advice from an Intuitive Eating counsellor such as myself. Addressing this issue requires a thoughtful and compassionate approach. In this article, we’ll explore ways to engage with medical professionals stuck in diet culture and foster a more holistic and supportive healthcare environment.
Understanding Diet Culture:
Before approaching a conversation with a medical professional, it’s crucial to understand the concept of diet culture. Diet culture promotes the idea that thinness equates to health and moral virtue while stigmatising and pathologising certain body sizes. It often encourages restrictive eating, weight loss as the primary indicator of success, and the pursuit of an elusive “ideal” body.
Approaching the Conversation:
Choose the Right Setting:
Begin the conversation in a private and comfortable setting. This allows for a more open dialogue without the pressure of judgment.
Express Concerns Non-Confrontationally:
Start the conversation by expressing your concerns with empathy and understanding. Use “I” statements to convey your feelings and experiences rather than placing blame on the professional. For example, say, “I’ve noticed that discussions about weight and diets make me feel uncomfortable. I wanted to share my perspective and hear your thoughts.”
Provide Education on Health at Every Size (HAES):
Introduce the concept of Health at Every Size (HAES), emphasising that health is not determined by weight alone. Share resources and literature that support the idea that focusing on overall well-being and healthy behaviours is more beneficial than fixating on weight.
Share Personal Experiences:
If you feel comfortable, share personal experiences related to diet culture and its impact on your mental and physical health. Personal stories can be powerful tools for fostering understanding and empathy.
Suggest Alternative Approaches:
Encourage a shift in focus from weight-centric approaches to ones that prioritise overall health, intuitive eating, and sustainable lifestyle changes. Suggest exploring factors such as stress management, sleep quality, and mental well-being as essential components of a holistic health plan.
Tackling the Demand to be Weighed:
The only medical procedure that requires the medic to know your weight is for a general anaesthetic for an operation. Therefore, if they demand you be weighed they are more firmly stuck in diet culture than even you imagined. A way around this are to stand backwards on the scales and asked not be to told (or shown, even by accident) your weight.
Promoting Continued Education:
Recommend Educational Resources:
Suggest relevant books, articles, or documentaries that challenge traditional notions of health and wellness. Encourage the medical professional to explore these resources to gain a more comprehensive understanding of alternative approaches.
Highlight Continuing Education Opportunities:
Many healthcare professionals value ongoing education. Recommend workshops, conferences, or courses that focus on weight-inclusive and HAES principles. This can help them stay informed about evolving perspectives in healthcare.
Engaging with medical professionals stuck in diet culture requires patience, empathy, and a commitment to fostering positive change. By approaching the conversation with understanding and providing resources for education, we can contribute to creating a more inclusive and compassionate healthcare environment that prioritises the well-being of all individuals, regardless of their size or weight.
Help with Intuitive Eating
For help with this and all aspects of Intuitive Eating contact Alison at Try Freedom.