When it comes to being able to make better and more informed decisions regarding food, this is something that many healthcare providers can assist patients with whenever it needs to be done. It’s also something that has been proven to have a rather significant impact on both health and weight as opposed to exercise and genetics. In terms of the conversation itself, however, it’s one that can oftentimes be difficult to approach, as providers often find themselves walking a rather fine line between trying to educate their patients about these topics and trying to keep the patients themselves from feeling pressured or judged in any way, shape, or form.
Here are four great ways to discuss diet and nutrition with your patients that will have a more positive impact.
Place more emphasis on all of the benefits of diet and nutrition. Oftentimes, people don’t want to acknowledge that their current diet is an unhealthy one, which can lead to them getting defensive if it’s mentioned. Rather than chastising them, concentrate on emphasizing all of the positives about the foods that you know will be good for them as part of a more healthy diet. Furthermore, let them know that a healthy diet will help to lower the risk of heart disease by as much as 30% or more, as well as reduce the chance of developing issues such as stroke, dementia, and diabetes.
Another useful tip to consider is to utilize the power of motivation as a way to help your patients make healthy lifestyle changes. For instance, consider asking your patients what they want their health for the most. This will likely cause them to start thinking about what they want the most, such as being a better role model for their children. Regardless of whatever their answer to you may be, use that to help motivate them to make better lifestyle choices in terms of diet and nutrition.
No matter what, always be as sensitive as possible when speaking to your patients about diet and nutrition. This is because the subject of weight is always a very sensitive one with most people, especially those who may be experiencing issues with trying to lose weight. For instance, instead of using the phrase “your weight,” consider instead using the phrase “the weight,” as this may be much less judgmental. Additionally, you can also recommend tracking certain foods that they eat, as well as searching for ways to either minimize or cut empty calories. Furthermore, you can also explain that weight loss can also lead to minimizing or getting rid of certain medications as well.
One other great tip to consider is to actually suggest to your patients that they eat more instead of restricting their diet. In other words, ask them if they would be more willing to eat a vegetable, fruit, or both with every meal and snack, no matter what else they may choose to eat. Let them know that they will end up feeling surprised at how much more satisfied they will end up feeling throughout the day, as well as how much easier it will be to pass up on eating junk food, simply by filling up on more healthy foods first.
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