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How to Talk to Your Doctor About Your Diet

Six tips for a fruitful conversation

continued...

4. Don't be intimidated by numbers, or get caught up in labels. Pounds, BMI, and waist circumference, and words like "overweight" and "obesity," will come up in any discussion about weight.

5. Talk about diet and exercise. Long-term success usually requires a combination of lifestyle changes. Think about what you can do to increase your activity level, and share your ideas during your office visit. If you have a pedometer, keep a record of your steps in a typical day as a reference point to improve upon. Have your doctor write out a "prescription" for exercise. This plan will be added to your medical chart and monitored during follow-up visits.

6. Bring in a food diary. This might cover two or three days, and should include everything you consumed during those days -- which foods and drinks, and how much of each. Keeping a diary may give you some immediate ideas on where to "cut the fat," and the information will be useful for your doctor as well. A written diary is more specific and accurate than any discussion of eating habits will be. Have your physician write down dietary suggestions or give you a handout on what you should be eating. He or she may also refer you to a nutritionist or dietitian.

No time to prepare for your talk with your doctor? Then at least be mentally ready for some honest talk.

Remember that managing your weight will help to improve your overall health. Give yourself time to accomplish your goals, and enlist the support of others -- be they family, friends, or a support group such as the Weight Loss Clinic's message board community.

Losing excess pounds in a healthful way can help you lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, and better manage your blood sugar if you have diabetes. It can relieve the pressure of excess weight on your joints if you have arthritis. And the effect is usually cyclical: the better you feel, the more motivated you become to live healthier.

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Reviewed on January 06, 2007

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