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Does one size fit all?

Watch Denise discuss the complexities of establishing a single diet model that's suitable for everybody, in terms of weight loss.
DENISE THOMAS: Does one size fit all? Can we have one diet model that will suit everybody in terms of weight loss? In essence, I suppose we can. The national food model is a good one, and has a lot of science behind it. However, we do have to adapt it depending on what particular condition the patient might have, and their sort of lifestyle, et cetera. So a good example of that would be a young lady with polycystic ovarian syndrome. That we might want to tweak that national food model. So it’s better suited to her and her requirements. You could also say that if you looked across the world. And we know that the Mediterranean diet is very healthy.
We also know that Japanese diets are very healthy. Which one is healthier? Neither. They both have benefits. And it’s about overall macronutrient consumption, and how that comes out to play in every individual lifestyle pattern. So at the end of it all, it’s that consultation between the health care professional and the patient. It’s for that professional to listen to what the patient is presenting to them– what the issues are for them. So for some patients, their lifestyle will mean that they need different sorts of dietary advice. And that dietary advice to be delivered in a supportive way to them. So you might be looking at, what sort of support can I give my patient?
Should I be giving them individual support myself? Should that be done through my practise nurse? Should it be in health care at all? Should we be looking at commercial weight loss, or maybe some form of virtual support in terms of social media, or through the internet? All of these can be very useful, and no one size will fit all. For some patients accessing group support may be absolutely vital. Having somebody on a weekly basis checking what they’re doing, and giving them new advice and tips, is very encouraging. For other patients it might be horrendous. And something that they would never, ever entertain, is to sit in a room with 20, 30 other people, and talk about their food intake.
So it’s about listening to your patient. Also waiting for that time where the patient is offering some degree of change talk– they’re beginning to say, well maybe I could. Do you think I could access this? How might that look for me? All those types of statements that for you, as a health professional, you would want to seize on, and be able to give a variety of options. For patients to then begin to think maybe I can do this. Don’t be afraid of offering something. It may not work at that time, but leave the door open. Patients will then come back when they’re good and ready.

Watch Denise discuss the complexities of establishing a single diet model that’s suitable for everybody, in terms of weight loss, and how the model would need to be adapted to meet the needs of the patient.

In the video, Denise talks about food guidelines and models specifically from an Australian perspective. When working with your patients you’d need to adopt the food guidelines and models specified by your country.

Talking point

Within the Comments, consider sharing with other learners an example of how you would respond to your patient if they asked for advice on diet models.

What would you need to consider before answering the question?

Also, consider sharing our thoughts on the following question:

  • Does a ‘power gradient’ exist between a health professional and their patient? If so, how could it affect their practice?

Don’t forget to contribute to the discussion by reviewing comments made by other learners, making sure you provide constructive feedback and commentary.

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Food as Medicine: Talking about Weight

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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