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My seventh book is out! Helping Patients Outsmart Overeating—Psychological Strategies for Doctors and Health Care Providers is co-authored by Paige O’Mahoney, M.D., CHWC. Don’t be fooled by the title and think that the book is only for health professionals. It has two audiences: health care practitioners and patients who want their providers to understand and truly help them with their weight or eating concerns. Based on the psychology of eating rather than on the biology of weight-loss, the book aims to educate doctors, nurses, dieticians, health coaches, and diabetes educators on why it’s crucial to stop using a moralistic, restrictive, fat stigmatizing, weight-loss diet model for treating eating problems. Instead, it maps out compassionate, empathic, empowering, lasting wellness and self-care strategies.
The book’s goal is to put providers and higher weight patients on the same page and to start a positive conversation about eating and weight by describing why both parties are frustrated with current treatment approaches. It educates clinicians about the thinking and behavior of dysregulated eaters and how they are influenced by genetics, trauma, hormones, personality traits, lifestyle choices, stress, and our current fat phobic, thin obsessed culture. Citing current research, it teaches doctors why diets don’t work long-term and how to collaborate with patients to make them feel better about their efforts toward healthy eating and exercise by using strategies from the psychologies of eating and success, motivational interviewing, and intuitive eating.
Zeroing in on the clinician-patient relationship, Paige and I discuss how cultural anti-fat bias and practitioners’ feelings about size and weight—including their own struggles with food and the scale—may undermine their ability to treat higher weight patients without judgment and prejudice. By focusing on both self-compassion and compassion, no matter what their eating or weight concerns, we encourage practitioners and patients alike to collaborate on developing strategies for working together and with ancillary personnel to achieve enduring solutions.
Our book addresses the support that doctors need in order to make such partnerships succeed, offering ways for engaging colleagues and developing office practices to enhance the wellness of staff, patients and themselves. It also empowers patients to do their part in getting effective mental and physical care by openly and honestly sharing their dysregulated eating and weight concerns with practitioners. Our hope is that patients will bring this book to their health care providers’ attention and that it will bring both parties the success they desire and deserve for lasting wellness and well-being.
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