Having a conversation around weight management can be challenging to navigate. It will always come from a place of care and concern but trying to convey this in a way that doesn’t offend or upset the patient can be difficult. One of our Sports & Spinal Exercise Physiologists has provided some helpful tips on how best a clinician can bring up the conversation of weight management.

Acknowledge the Reason For the Appointment

  • Address the main health concerns first.
  • Approach conversation with respect.
  • Use active listening for the first 2 minutes and allow the patient to discuss their health.
  • 5A approach- Ask, Assess, Advice, Agree, Assist.
The 5 A’s for approaching weight management.

Questions To Ask

  • How is your weight affecting your life?
  • How have you tried to lose weight?
  • What do you think are the reasons for your weight gain?
  • History taking; evaluate diet, exercise, and sleeping patterns.
  • Insight of previous diets, medication, and exercise.
  • Don’t prescribe the same thing if it wasn’t effective.
  • Explore the patient’s understanding of their health and provide education.

How To Address Time Constraints

  • Establish a relationship with your patients and ensure they feel heard and listened to.
  • If patients feel judged or your bias, they are unlikely to return.
  • Give a handout/complete homework such as a food/sleep/exercise diary.
  • Follow up in 1-2 weeks’ time.

How To Ensure Patient Engagement

  • Acknowledge weight gain is a chronic and relapsing condition.
  • Talk about realistic goals and link to previous weight loss:
  • How much did you lose?
  • How long did it take you to lose?
  • What were the roadblocks that resulted in regaining weight?
  • Acknowledge roadblocks in the initial stage.
  • Develop strategies to address roadblocks,