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Co-Constructing A New Story

For many patients, searching for the underlying reasons for their weight journey is fraught with shame and self-blame.

This is why it was not surprising that from our interviews with patients and providers, published in Clinical Obesity, it became apparent that helping patients make sense of their journey was such an important step.

Not only did this lead to context integration but also reprioritizing what was important to them:

“Providers summarized and integrated all relevant factors from the patient’s story andassessment that led to their current health status, highlighting strengths, and offering a perspective on which challenges to address first. Providers validated their interpretation with the patient, asked for clarification, and agreed on a priority. This provided an alternative narrative of the patient’s obesity: one that explained and acknowledged underlying root causes, offered an alternative, capable and resilient, patient identity, and set a direction for change that made sense in light of their life context. From the patients’perspective this offered a tremendous shift in the way they thought about themselves and their ability toimprove their health.”

In my own practice I have often witnessed patients going through “aha moments” and ultimately shifting their focus on health rather than weight goals.

This is of course a process – insights, reflections, and reorientation of goals does not happen overnight – but when it happens, I often witness the transformation that takes place before my very eyes.

Copenhagen, DK

1 Comment

  1. I have found your postings helpful, and I agree with this particular one especially. I began to understand the possible link between stress and overeating when I learned from feminist discussions that many women had been sexually abused as a child, which I had. And some time upon thinking of this, I recalled one incident where after an incident I sat cramming crackers into my face while my abuser threatened me not to tell. I believe that’s where my overeating began. That of course, was just the first incident, which I was doing to try to cope. Mindless, standing at the fridge, cupboard, drawer under the oven where my mother kept crackers and such and handful after handful, shoving them into my mouth while I sobbed, shaking and swallowing them whole. Why that, then? I don’t know. But I still do this, for stress. This behaviour persists, and the understanding has come to me in bits and pieces over the years, from sharing what was never able to be shared except with other women who call themselves feminists. This is where by binge eating has come from. From other women with a feminist perspective, that is where my understanding has come from, of that small girl, trying to find comfort.

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