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Focus on Weight History

A weight-history discussion is intended to complement a full clinical and physical assessment to identify metabolic, genetic, and hormonal factors as well as medications that may be the reasons for weight gain.

Focus on Weight History

A weight-history discussion is intended to complement a full clinical and physical assessment to identify metabolic, genetic, and hormonal factors as well as medications that may be the reasons for weight gain.

These suggested topics and discussion points may help when talking about weight history

  • Assessment of root causes that influence eating and activity behaviors
  • Understanding of past efforts, challenges, and previous weight-loss success
  • A basis for setting weight-loss goals for each patient

Each patient will have gained weight differently. Understanding how and why his or her weight has changed can provide insight into weight-gain triggers. Some talking points and questions:

  • When do you think you first began to gain weight?
  • Do you feel as if your weight has been an issue in the past? For how long?
  • Have you always carried excess weight?

This discussion involved eliciting your patient’s perceptions of causes as well as connecting any past medical causes to changes in weight. Some talking points and questions:

  • Why do you think weight is a problem for you?
  • Can you think of any times in your life when you found that you put on a lot of weight?
  • What do you think was the reason for putting on weight at that time?
  • How do you handle stressful situations? Boredom? Sadness? Tiredness?

Discuss and understand your patient’s past efforts with weight management, including specific programs or plans, duration, and results. Some talking points and questions:

  • Tell me about your efforts with trying to lose weight in the past
  • Can you describe the program or type of plan that you followed?
  • How long did you stay engaged?
  • What aspects of those programs or plans were successful for you?
  • What didn’t work for you? What roadblocks did you encounter?
  • What has triggered your past weight-management efforts?

A discussion about your patient’s current eating and activity habits and how he or she might feel about changing his or her current habits. Some talking points and questions:

  • In general, how often do you feel hungry on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “hardly ever hungry” and 10 being “you are always thinking about food”?
  • Tell me about your current eating habits
  • What kinds of things have you done to change your eating habits?
  • How do your current habits compare to your past efforts with weight management?
  • Tell me about your current physical activity routines. On a scale of 1 to 10, how ready are you to make changes in your current activity patterns?

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