Did you see the hashtag #FatSideStories on Twitter last week? A very sad story about being treated cruelly by health care providers was quite common. This really broke my heart. As a health care provider, it can be tough to talk to patients about weight because it is a sensitive subject for so many people. It doesn’t have to be. Let me tell you- this is one reason I love being a Nurse Practitioner. I feel that we really approach healthcare from a team perspective and without judgement. While we have the “expert” opinion to share with patients, we still want to be on the same personal level with them in terms of mutual respect. So, if someone comes to me to with a desire to discuss weight loss, I want to sort out what their story is. What is their day to day lifestyle that is keeping them from losing weight? If they come in with diabetes or blood pressure that is out of control, and weight is a factor, we will be discussing weight and the positive effect of even mild weight loss on those disease states. But if someone comes in for a cough, or STD/STI testing, or anything else unrelated to weight, there will be no discussion of a patient’s weight. When it is appropriate to have a discussion about weight, there is no judgement. If someone needs to lose weight because it is contributing to a chronic condition, we will talk about it. But it is not from a place of lecturing or scorn. It is an opportunity to gather some information from both the patient and the provider, and together come up with some options for treatment that the patient feels will work with their lifestyle, their family, and their personal beliefs and culture. There is no room for judgement in an honest and open relationship between patient and provider. It serves no purpose- whether the touchy subject is weight, sex, drugs, self harm, or anything else that is sensitive to someone. Our goal is to help people achieve their best possible health. So please don’t put off healthcare because you don’t want to deal with the lectures. Come see us instead. No lectures, no judgement, just health.