What to Say at the Doctor’s Office

Healthcare reformIf you are here for the Doctor’s Office Survival Kit, just scroll down!  If you are looking for more support, I have a video workshop called “Dealing With Fatphobia At The Doctor’s Office (with a pay-what-you-can option) and you can find that here!

Last week on Grey’s Anatomy (no spoiler) former Scrubs star Sarah Chalke guest-stars in a plotline about a mother who has to strongly advocate with her doctors because she believes that her son is sick and they don’t.  This was more than an acting job, it was taken from Chalke’s real life – and lots of other people’s as well.

These days doctors have very limited time with patients and when you’re fat many doctors simply diagnose you as fat and prescribe weight loss, no matter what you came in for.  I’ve been prescribed weight loss for a broken toe, separated shoulder, and strep throat.  People close to me have had sudden onset back pain, and an acute knee injury blamed on weight.  Getting access to appropriate, evidence-based, affordable healthcare can seem almost impossible.

I started getting much better care when I decided that my healthcare was going to be a dialog between my healthcare providers and me, rather than thinking that I had no right to ask questions, challenge advice, or request that I be treated based on my values. To be clear, we shouldn’t have to do this, and not everyone is in a position to do it.  I want to give us options to self-rescue from fatphobia among health care professionals, while being clear that we shouldn’t have to do this and that the ability to do so is an expression of privilege, and that other biases – like racism, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, ageism and more will make this process even more difficult for fat people with multiple marginalized identities.

Over the years I’ve developed some strategies that help me deal with health care professionals who are harboring weight bias.  By far the one I use most often when I’m told that something is caused by my weight is “Do thin people get [this issue].” The answer is always yes so I follow up with “What do you prescribe to them? Let’s try that.”  I also talk about research, including asking the doctor how, when there isn’t a single study where more than a tiny fraction of people lost weight, and no study that shows they were healthier for it, does she think weight loss qualifies as evidence-based medicine?

I’ve had readers request that I make cards that they can take with them.  I decided that today is the day. They are below and you can print them out to take with you.

Some notes about the cards:

Of course feel free to re-word these into phrasing the feels comfortable for you.

Use your own discretion – you’ll need to decide if you think that the situation will best be handled by you giving the card to your provider, or discussing it with them, or both.  I highly recommend calling ahead and letting a new provider know that you practice Health at Every Size and asking them if that’s something that they can respect and work with, in order to smooth the way.

The tone and timing are also things to consider.  I try to have this conversation with new practitioners before they prescribe weight loss so that I’m not starting off with conflict but with discussion. With existing providers I might say something like “I feel like I’ve been having trouble getting my healthcare values across to you, I brought in this card to help us have a dialog.” or something that means that, but that you would actually say.

I recommend practicing before trying this with the doctor/healthcare provider – you can practice in the mirror, in your car, with a friend etc.  Practice can help you stay calm and get the healthcare that you deserve.

The doctor card says “I practice Health at Every Size…” because this is what I have found to be the most effective phrasing when working with healthcare practitioners.  It is imperfect in that some people do not consider themselves Health at Every Size practitioners.  I’m absolutely open to suggestions on this.

I encourage you to actually read the research that is referenced. All research has limits, this is a start for conversations.

Consider other resources you can pass along to your healthcare provider, this paper is incredible both in content and references, Linda Bacon also has a great list of other resources specifically for healthcare providers.

If you have other phrases, research, resources etc. that you’ve found helpful working with the doctor, please feel free to leave them in the comments!

Here are the cards (they are also available in Spanish, French and German here!)

Postcard - Personal Front
Personal Front
Postcard - Personal Back
Personal Back
Postcard - Doctor Front
Doctor Front
Postcard - Doctor Back
Doctor Back

Copies without my website info:
Doctor Postcard – Front

Doctor Postcard - Back
Doctor Postcard – Back
Postcard - Personal Front
Personal Postcard – Front
Postcard - Personal Back
Personal Postcard – Back

If you appreciate the work that I do, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time tip or by becoming a member. (Members get special deals on fat-positive stuff, a monthly e-mail keeping them up to date on the work their membership supports, and the ability to ask me questions that I answer in a members-only monthly Q&A Video!)

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Wellness for All Bodies ProgramA simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!

Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members – register on the member page)

Body Love Obstacle Course

This e-course that includes coaching videos, a study guide, and an ebook with the tools you need to create a rock-solid relationship with your body. Our relationships with our bodies don’t happen in a vacuum, so just learning to see our beauty isn’t going to cut it. The world throws obstacles in our way – obstacles that aren’t our fault, but become our problem. Over the course of this program, Ragen Chastain, Jeanette DePatie, and six incredible guest coaches will teach you practical, realistic, proven strategies to go above, around, and through the obstacles that the world puts in front of you when it comes to living an amazing life in the body you have now.
Price: $99.00
($79.00 for DancesWithFat members – register on the member page)

Love It! 234 Inspirations And Activities to Help You Love Your Body
This is filled with thoughtful advice from the authors Jeanette DePatie, Ragen Chastain, and Pia Sciavo-Campo as well as dozens of other notable names from the body love movement, the book is lovingly illustrated with diverse drawings from size-positive artist Toni Tails.
Price: $9.99 softcover, $7.99 Kindle, ($6.95 + free shipping for DancesWithFat Members)

Non-Members click here for all the details and to register!

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRON-distance triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!  (DancesWithFat Members get an even better deal, make sure to make your purchases from the Members Page!)

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m (still!) training for an Iron-distance triathlon! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com .

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

68 thoughts on “What to Say at the Doctor’s Office

  1. Holy smoke! This is perfect! Now for the courage to use them. I have some nagging health problems but can’t begin to force myself to seek treatment. i will make appointments for my children or my husband, but after the years of shame and guilt at the hands of doctors I just tough it out. I keep saying that I will call and make the appointment, but I just can’t.

    I had thought about typing up a letter that says “these are the things I want/need to say to you, but I can’t so here it is as a letter.” and just handing that over at the beginning of the meeting. These are perfect to add!!

    You rock!!!

    1. Lacking in the courage to voice some things with my ent once, I sent him a letter. It went in my file, of course, and every time I saw him, he read it and looked at me as if I were crazy. The letter thing did not work out so well for me. But in its defense, that md was a complete jerk from beginning to end.

      1. I second what Helena says – bring someone with you! I know there are times I’m horrible at standing up for myself, but man-oh-man, don’t get in my way when I’m advocating for a friend/loved one! Bringing someone with to support you, or even to ask questions for you, is a good thing.

        Also, don’t forget who the customer is in this transaction. If you don’t like the service you are being given, then you should find someone willing to give you better service! I support everyone taking charge of their own health, advocating for themselves, and taking their business elsewhere if you have a doctor/nurse/etc who isn’t listening to or respecting you.

      2. It’s a little late, maybe, but I would also like to chime in and encourage you to bring an advocate with you. I recently did this when I needed to discuss a difficult issue with my doctor and it was amazing how just having that support person with me made me able to say what I needed to say. (I would not choose my husband – he and I realized a few years ago that it works better for us to have someone not quite so close as a health care advocate in most situations, but what doesn’t work for us might work fine for you!

  2. Hi Ragen,

    Brilliant tool to help educate all healthcare providers. Succint, science-based, these tools will help alot!

  3. Hi Tracey I’m glad that you’ve found the resources helpful and insightful. Here’s another great–and super-practical–post from Ragen… Tiina

  4. This is amazing! How wonderful!!! Thank you thank you thank you!!! I saw my new diabetes clinician last week and actually said that I am embracing Health At Every Size and that it is important to me that she not place focus on weight loss. I was impressed that she said she was confident that my body weakness and the temporary weight gain from starting on insulin was due to my extreme inactivity caused by dr. orders to be off my feet while they heal. I said, thank you, and told her I was very anxious for the healing to be done so I could get back to camping, swimming, walking and generally more fun lifestyle that just sitting with my foot up. I also let her know that I had a horrid week emotionally and food-wise due to the request to write down all my intakes. It really triggered alot of baggage for me and I had to respect the fact that I should be considered as someone in recovery from eating disorder behaviors. So the conversation completely changed to one of knowing that I was in charge of my medicine and I could modify it depending on how my blood sugar was responding. She did recommend a range of carbohydrates to use for meals, but didn’t attach any weight loss dogma to it.
    The only back side what when she explained how diabetes happens to my son. She described the cells in the pancreas and how they create insulin…blah blah blah… then said “when the body is overweight, it puts too much strain on the pancreas cells and they wear down, eventually stopping production. All type 2 diabetics eventually become type 1”

    This angered me. I know ALOT of type two diabetics who have never been ‘fat’…. they have dieted to keep that figure, but never been more than 10 to 15 pounds heavier than their own usual. I feel like I need to go research it more now so I can re-educate my son. Her statement was classic ‘gloom and doom’ veiled in ‘authoratative medical information’. Sigh.

    1. Hi, I’ve been fat for decades and do not have diabetes of any type. I believe I am part of a large crowd of overweight/obese who do not have diabetes type 1 or 2. And I’ve never heard that all type 2 diabetics eventually become type 1. Why do “health” providers say these things for which they have no proof? Should we be asking them to show us the information to back up their statements?

      1. Ragen, I think type 2 diabetics can become type 1, but it is unusual I have a type 1 diabetic friend whose husband became a type 2, but he has not treated himself kindly, and my husband, a fat-accepting RN, said he may have become a type 1 through destroying the beta cells in his pancreas.

        1. Elizabeth,

          I have looked this up and can’t find a single reliable source that suggests that type 2 can become type 1 – they are, per my research, different conditions completely. Type 2 diabetes can progress, but doesn’t change into type 1 based on my research. If you can point me to a source I’m happy to take a look!


          1. Hi Ragen,

            My experience is that people sometimes use “type 1” to mean you are no longer producing insulin, and “type 2” to mean you are starting off being insulin resistant. So theoretically you could be diagnosed type 2 and then when/if you stop producing insulin people might call it Type 1. Maybe not correct academically (I am no expert on it) but clinically the same situation and I think this is probably what the doc above meant. As you can see from the URL you provided, there is plenty of vagueness and controversy about exactly what is meant by the two names, even when people are not quacks.

            I also know people who were diagnosed with Type 2 because they were fat and had high blood glucose and when it became clear that they were producing no insulin (in one case, it turned out, apparently because a virus attacked their pancreas) their diagnosis was shifted to Type 1.

            The cards are amazing and wonderful, just fantastic, thank you!!!! If I had my way, it would be the healthcare providers who would have to come with a warning label: “Caution! Known to carry a higher risk of weight bias than most other professions. May need assistance to consider other diagnostic possibilities, to maintain perspective on the limited role of weight on health, or to refrain from prescribing the pursuit of weight loss in the absence of evidence.”

  5. Fantastic! Order placed. What a great way to start my Monday morning, with a practical and much-needed tool to add to my strategies for taking care of myself. Thank you!

  6. Oh, it is so important to fight with your doctor when you ‘have a feeling’ about something. My mom’s doc declared a weird-looking mole she had to be ‘fine’ after no more than a quick glance. Dad still had a bad feeling and made her go back and get a biopsy. It was malignant.

    My MIL’s doc kept telling her her lack of energy and anxiety were ‘all in her head’ and that her shaking hands were just essential tremor. He had her on a drug for that that should have worked, but didn’t. He didn’t rethink the diagnosis for YEARS, until she was seen by another doc (for breast cancer). The oncologist referred her to a neurologist. It was Parkinson’s.

    Get second opinions, and don’t let a doc be dismissive of your worries if you really have a feeling that something is wrong.

  7. Thanks for the wonderful ideas and the free cards. I really appreciate the work that you do Ragen.

  8. Regan, I have never emailed u( that I recall:) But I LOVE these cards! Elizabeth Price

    Sent from my iPhone

  9. In my doctor’s office they weigh and check height on every visit for insurance purposes. Being 45 I haven’t started to shrink yet. Next step should be to beat down the insurance companies.

  10. I’m a fat woman with a fat teen daughter. She’s always been heavy, but has gained a lot of weight in the past year due to depression and possibly PCOS. (We’re delaying treatment for PCOS until depression is better controlled – don’t want to start too many new meds at once.) To help sort out all these issues, our family practitioner recommended she see another doctor in addition to him. This new doc actually works out of a sports medicine clinic, and holds special “adolescent clinic” for teen counseling once a week. He brought me in at the end of her last visit and said that on her next visit they were going to work out a “healthy summer plan.” He didn’t go into specifics, but he said something vague like, “I’m going to teach you some things about being healthy that will amaze you.” Red flag! Red flag! Red flag! So I’m expecting a patronizing diet/exercise speech next time. Any suggestions how to prepare for what I anticipate will be a lot of lifestyle assumptions and stereotypes?

    1. It sounds like the prologue to a sales pitch to me. Thank goodness your daughter has you for an advocate. When I was young my mother took me to a number of doctors because of my weight. I went on a cavalcade of diets from the time I was 7 until I left for college. They left me miserable and feeling like I was a failure because I never did lose the weight everyone told me I should. Not good for a child to be made to feel that way.

      What has been helping me today when I see doctors is to remember that I am paying for them to help me. At the end of the day, they have gone home to live their lives leaving me to implement their advice. If that advice doesn’t fit me or my goals, if I can’t go home and live with it, I need to be sure the doctors know it. Otherwise, they are oblivious thinking all is right with the world.

    2. I’m sorry that you and your daughter are going through such a rough time. I would say go into the appointment with an open mind – maybe he’s not going to give you some weight loss propaganda and quackism, Maybe he’s going to say that you’ll be amazed that all the people pushing diets are wrong – wouldn’t that be a breath of fresh air? To keep things from going badly, here are some things that you could do:

      I would prepare your daughter for this, because it’s the last thing that she needs. You can explain that at various points in history we’ve been really wrong about science – the idea that the sun revolved around Earth, the idea that heroin was a non-addictive substitute for morphine, the idea that lysol was a great douche. Explain that it’s happening again with weight loss and that it’s not her fault but may become her problem at the doctor’s office and ask her how she wants to deal with it. (She may just want to smile and nod and then ignore the advice, or she may want to stand up for herself, or want you to stand up for her.)

      if you decide to engage in dialog here are some options:

      Give him a print out of the doctor card.
      Start by saying that you insist upon your daughter getting evidence-based medicine and so you are going to need to see the evidence upon which he is basing his recommendation.

      If he brings up weight loss, you can tell him that your understanding is that there is no study where a majority of people have successfully lost weight long-term, that in fact almost everyone regains all of their weight and that you are not willing to give your daughter a medical intervention that fails almost all the time and often has the exact opposite effect, so he’ll need to provide good research that supports his recommendation.

      Hope that helps, let me know if there is anything that I can do to help!


  11. This is fantastic! I’m a nurse, and I’ve only recently been able to start this conversation with my PCP after reading your work. She was very receptive, surprisingly.

  12. You’re a genius!

    So many people forget that when you go to a doctor, YOU ARE ALWAYS THE PERSON IN CHARGE. That doc is your employee, a person who has one job & one job only: to repair things that are broken & help you prevent further breakage. Just like the guy you hire to fix the dishwasher, he works for YOU. Any decisions on what he does or how he does it are yours to make, no one else’s. Having those wonderful cards in hand should help a lot of people keep the proper attitude at the forefront when dealing with this new employee, the person you hope to recruit for your good-health team.

  13. As a new doctor, I think it is is important for people to take charge of their health. I appreciated how Dr. Grey reacted on that episode, by giving her the benefit of the doubt, but also explaining what they found and why they were taking the actions they were taking. I do not think it is ever inappropriate for a patient to ask a doctor about their thinking process or bring up any of their own research. Doctors have many patients and, while we certainly do our best to research unusual cases, when something “quacks like a duck and looks like a duck” you can’t spend all of your time looking for other types of birds. It is not fair to all of your other patients. That being said, each person is an expert on how they feel and what is normal for them, something that is invaluable to know.

    I use a fair amount of this research to talk to my colleagues and I am going to consider getting cards for my patients for when they need to see doctors besides me.

    1. Thank you for this. The amount of times I’ve said to a Doctor “No, actually I’ve been fat for X years and this problem has only started now” to have them later say to me “Now, as this problem came about with your weight gain…” Aggg!

  14. For the last 15 years I’ve had (some but by no means all) health professionals respond to any and all health issues I see them about with advice to lose weight.

    It’s hugely frustrating, especially when they have all been issues that afflict people of all sizes.

    In some cases, I understand – if I’m reporting something like peeing a lot and feeling tired, it makes sense for them to investigate diabetes and discuss weight loss – diabetes is not only in my family history but does tend to hit larger people more often, I believe. However, the GOOD doctors have first suggested the possible diagnosis and mentioned weight loss only as one of a number of potential actions, should that be what the results show.

    And when I talk about joint pain, I know from my own experience that reducing my weight eases the symptoms so it’s fair for the doctors to discuss that as a good option.

    But in some cases, I don’t understand at all. Chronic digestive problems, an exczema-like rough patch on my calf, chronic headaches – none of these are things which should cause a doctor to start discussing weight issues straight off the bat.

    Those are the doctors I get little alarm bells in my head about – the ones that simply can’t see past weight to the individual who is their patient. A lack of understanding, a narrow-minded and unprofessional approach and failing at their fundamental task of providing best treatment to all.

    I think some of the statements on the card come across as a little confrontational but I think that’s actually just a factor of communication style – softer versus blunt approach. The ideas you list make a lot of sense indeed.

    1. Hi Kavey,

      Thanks for your comment. I absolutely respect what ever you choose for your body. I wanted to reply to the idea that weight loss is an appropriate medical intervention. There is not a single study where weight loss works for more than a tiny fraction of people long term – in fact most people who attempt weight loss end up gaining weight so even if a doctor believes that being thinner would be helpful, it still doesn’t meet the criteria for evidence based medicine since the most common outcome of weight loss interventions is weight gain.

      Just a thought,


    2. Have you ever been tested for coeliac disease – they can cause those symptoms, as can exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. The doc will try and tell you that only very thin people get either of those, but that isn’t true. A lot of people with coeliac do struggle with a very low bodyweight until after diagnosis, but there are also fat people who get it. Ditto EPI makes people either very fat or very thin. Both of these diseases are very easily treated.

  15. These are great! Thank you so much for creating them! I will definitely pass them onto my clients and will order them myself to show them off. 🙂

  16. Actually, studies show that weight loss is the best treatment for broken bones. Less weight = less stress on your body = less breaks. Also, I’m glad our doctor prescribed weight loss for my husband’s current sore throat. Fat creates germs, so being thin will mean less infections for him to pass on to me.

    1. I’m assuming that you are being sarcastic here, but just in case someone is reading this comment and thinks it’s serious: There are two things I would need to consider your statements above -references to the studies you mention (including the idea that fat creates germs!?)and a study that shows that weight loss was successful long-term for the majority of people. (flying might be a great treatment for broken bones but we don’t prescribe it because we don’t know how to do it – the studies that I’ve read say that most people who attempt to lose weight gain it back and many gain back more than they lost so whether or not we think people would be healthier if they were thin, I’m not aware of a study showing that we know how to get that done, and our current attempts tend to create the exact opposite of the intended effect. References here: https://danceswithfat.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/for-fat-patients-and-their-doctors/)


    2. Not sure if you are being serious or not. But weight loss is VERY harmful to bones, and people with low weight often develop osteopenia as young as their 20s or 30s. Heavy people on the other hand have strong bones, because their bones are weight bearing all the time. It is unusual for a fat person to develop osteopenia, and rare for them to develop osteoporosis.

      1. Glad you weren’t serious – what I am saying is v true, when I had a deca scan the technician said that my bones are “awesome”, I have the bones density of an athlete in her 30s, and that I am unlikely to develop osteoporosis before age 110!

  17. This is absolutely awesome! I pretty good at self-advocating but I always find it hard to start the conversation and get the basics out of the way. This makes it easier. Nicely done! Thank you for making it available.

    I am especially pleased you included research citations and links to them. That kind of thing resonates with care providers and shows HAES is not just about “giving up and letting yourself go” but truly about promoting health. They respond better when they realize that.

  18. You know what’s really sad, though? Some people actively fight against the idea that taking control of your health is a good idea. I got into an online ‘argument’ with some people yesterday after a girl posted that her pregnant friend had been given diabetes tablets to take… despite not having diabetes. I had the temerity to suggest she research the medication she’d been given and/or ask for a second opinion: I was shot down, though, by people saying that you should never, ever second guess a Doctor as they always have our best interests at heart. They didn’t like it when I said my experience was that Docs would often give out meds ‘on spec’, especially when one is fat. I was quite appalled actually that people would think it was not a good thing to think for themselves!

    1. Oh good grief! Doctors do NOT always have our best interests at heart. I know there are good doctors out there but in my experience, many seem to be guessing! I went a decade being misdiagnosed because my docs all kept looking at the statistics which I didn’t fit. Some docs prescribe meds, not because it is the best thing, but because of the perks they get from the pharm rep. I have countless stories about that. And OBs are notorious for doing what is easy and quick rather than what is best for mom and baby. Doctors do not always do or even know what is best.

      Absolutely people should ask questions, get second opinions and most importantly, be their own health care advocate. I will never blindly follow anything a doctor says.

    2. This is not the first time I have heard of diabetic meds being prescribed for non-diabetics to aid in weight loss. I know from personal experience that metformin has a side effect of weight loss, probably due to the diarhea that is causes. Insanity, I say! Insanity!

  19. Again just excellent Ragen, very rad of you to offer everybody these tools for living HAES with everyday situations that quite frankly people often lack the confidence to speak with conviction. A true champion of freedom and justice you are xx

  20. These are excellent, I’ll be ordering a set to take with me to my next appointment.
    I did manage to get my doctor to make arrangements for me to be seated while they do my mammogram next month. I told him my back issues are bad enough that I can’t stand for the length of time it takes them to take 4 pics of each breast (mine are big enough that they can’t get everything they need in one horizontal and one vertical pic of each breast – they have to do 2 vertical and 2 horizontal pics). He even said that he could arrange for pain meds for me to handle the fibro pain (squeezing any part of my body is painful).
    The ability to be seated while undergoing a mammogram is a major thing for me, but the fact that the doctor didn’t know if it was possible makes me wonder what they do for women who can’t walk/stand at all? Do they just not do mammograms for them at all?

  21. Hi Ragen,

    Thank you so much for this. It feels like you must be my guardian angel today as before finding this just now I spent a few hours on google for “standing up to fatphobic doctors” trying to find something like this (whilst avoiding all the real-life horror stories and troll bullshit that is out there) and I check your blog on the off chance and here it is. I am literally in tears of relief having found this. I can’t begin to tell you how much better I feel now.

    IWQ ❤

    PS have you seen this before? http://www.rmichelson.com/Artist_Pages/Nimoy/pages/MaxBeaut.htm Spock is one of us!

  22. I once too my daughter to the emergency doctor, and he told me I needed to lose weight, as if that would suddenly cure my daughter’s ear ache!

  23. I’m trying to figure out the point of your link. You sent us to a website which details a doc handling “the problem” of obesity and who is concerned with “weight management.” Help me understand why you felt this was appropriate for a blog that promotes Health at Every Size?

    1. Hi Helena,

      Thanks for your comment. As I said in the blog, the video is not entirely fat friendly, but it does outline the research around the benefits of movement in great detail, the piece about obesity only happens for a few seconds..

      As to appropriateness, since it’s my blog something is appropriate if I decide it is, and in this case I thought that the majority of the video outweighed the few seconds that were not HAES friendly. I apologize if I didn’t give you enough information to make a decision as to whether you would find the video appropriate for you, I’ve added a strong trigger warning to try to solve that problem. Thanks for letting me know if was an issue for you.



      1. Ragen, I think something went amiss here. Maybe my comment wound up in the wrong place. I was questioning lifeseednutrition about the link s/he posted to the med school grad who (judging by her blog’s header) demonizes certain foods and who kept talking about needing to learn how to “manage and counsel on obesity” and assist patients with “weight management.” She sounded very much NOT HAES-friendly.

        1. I see what happened, I was checking comments on my phone and it didn’t show that this was in response to another comment. I was so worried that I had caused you to be triggered that I just did the correction and reply from my phone. Dr. Freedhoff (whose blog is linked above) is an interesting guy – he is against stigmatization of fat people (yay!) but for seeing body size as a disease to be treated (boo!) I’m going delete the link because I don’t think I can contextualize it enough in a comment. Thanks for looking out, sorry for the confusion.


    2. Apologies for not explaining the purpose of my link. I was moving quickly. I linked it in support of Regan’s brilliant work to highlight how unenlightened/misinformed the medical training system (and medical community) is in regard to weight matters. Yoni Freidman’s intention was good to highlight this issue. I hope you saw this disclaimer that he wrote in his intro to the article…And to be clear – I asked her to focus on what she’d learned regarding obesity yet long term readers here know that healthful living is of concern to anyone at any weight and that the principles that might be involved in weight management and obesity specifically no doubt apply to everyone, and that scales measure neither health nor lack thereof.
      I also quickly sent him a link to Regan’s brilliant card carrying response to this problem. I hope this helps you to understand.

      1. OK. I did not take any of that away from it. What it looked like to me when I came across it was spam from someone who was digging up weight- and fat-related blogs to post weight loss management comments or something. Thank you for the clarification!

  24. Oh, this would be great for the pulmonologist who read my x-rays (after an ER admission for chest pain, shortness of breath and extreme fatigue) and diagnosed me with asthma, “…which is of course very common in overweight women such as yourself.” Of course, he wasn’t willing to address the SCAR TISSUE that was cutting off 2 out of the three branches of the pulmonary artery in my right lung due to fibrosing mediastinitis after a case of histoplasmosis many years ago. Nope. That wasn’t what was causing it at all…it was my FATsthma.

    My god did I ever send him packing out of the room. I am apparently not only fat but completely unreasonable. Fortunately the second pulmonologist I saw, the one with a brain, was willing to work with the actual problem and I ain’t dead yet! 😀

  25. I think the way my doctor (woman) think is ”A good fat person is a dead fat person”…She scare me sooooooo much…My last doctor let me go cause she reorient in administration health. So, as doctors are so rares here, that I can change the one she referred me too.

    Even I’m 41, she NEVER give me the manual breast exam…Neither the Pap Test…And I’m with her for almost 5 years…

    The only suggestion she gave me was to have a gastric operation…I’m only going to see her when she refuse to give me new ordonnances for my thyroïd…When I go she make me go to a series of blood tests (Diabete; cholesterol…), and she always lose her big attitude when my test results came OK…Cause even with a weight problem, my vegetarian lifestyle help a lot…

    But insted of being glad for me…I think she HATE ME MORE…So I cross my fingers not to catch anything…Cause it’s not her who will help me…

    And same if your cards seem great…My MONSTER DOC might just took me off her patients…I forgot to tell you that she dont care for animals too… That she told her ”secretary” (three years ago) to forbit my sister to even ”talk” about her pets in front of her! (even if the reason she was in this big sadnest of having lost her beloved dog aged of 14years old…Having been with an animal that long and cannot that about this to her doctor…You bet my sister never talk about ANYTHING THAT INVOLVE HER FEELINGS with her anymore…).

    Thank you anyway for this…Just to know that i’m not alone helps…

    1. I am so sorry for what you have to deal with. *hugs* Your doctor does not sound like a good doctor. I am sorry you are in a place where you cannot find a better doctor. I hope very much that it will all work out well for you!!

  26. I’ve been dealing with doctors a lot in the last few months, I have a nonfunctioning gallbladder, gallstones, and I’m 25 weeks pregnant. After being in and out of the hospital for 2 weeks I finally got an appointment with gastroenterology and a surgeon. During my frequent visits to the ER (severe pain, vomiting, nausea, inability to eat, fever) I was told a “low fat diet” would cure all my problems, every time I was told this I’d have to inform them part of the reason I was there is because I couldn’t eat anything, let alone anything low fat. They pretty much acted like they didn’t even hear me. The last time I went in the doctor started giving me the same BS and I stopped her and told her I’d been on a low fat diet, in fact the only thing I’d been able to keep down in 3 days was 2 pieces of fruit leather and I’d lost 13 pounds in the last month, which might be awesome to them, but as a pregnant woman it wasn’t awesome. That’s when I got my GI consult and surgical consult.

  27. I, like many of you, have had doctors bring up my weight no matter what condition I came in for. Once, I went in with an ear infection. When the doctor began discussing weight, I asked if he could point me to the medical literature linking ear infections to weight. This stopped him in his tracks. I said that until he could refer me to medical journals with that information, he needed to treat me for the ear infection as he would anyone else. He never brought up weight again. If a doctor brings up your weight inappropriately, call them on it and ask to see the medical literature that supports their claim.

  28. I decided to be proactive with a doctor several years ago, and asked pointed questions similar to those on your cards. A week later, I got a letter telling me I was no longer his patient, because he was no longer treating Medicare patients.

    I had Blue Cross, but I took the hint.

  29. The best idea is often the simplest. Many people have been socialised to believe that members of the medical profession are somehow superior to mere mortals who are not medically qualified. This irrational belief immediately creates an imbalance in the doctor / patient relationship. If using the cards empowers the patient and they then believe they have an equal relationship regarding discussions about their own body, it can only be positive. A side effect may also be a confidence boost in all aspects of their lives!

  30. This is a great post and thank you.

    Something I often do is to interview new health care professionals to find out their attitudes before I decide to work with them. Their response to the idea that they work for me and I am entitled to ask them questions to find out if I want to help pay their salary tells me quite a lot. Since I have done this the quality of my health care has improved a great deal.

    Of course if you need a quick clinic appointment for some antibiotics from someone you’ll probably never see again this is not as helpful. But if you’re looking for an ongoing relationship I’ve found it to be invaluable as both a way of gathering information and of setting expectations.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.