SARASOTA – We’ve all heard the conflicting weight loss advice. Eat this, don’t eat that, you know the drill. Now a Suncoast psychotherapist is changing the game with a book she co–wrote giving weight loss tips to physicians.


Psychotherapist Karen Koenig has a new approach to weight loss, suggesting success lies with the physician as much as the patient, and that it starts with motivational interviewing. “Why has it been hard for you to keep weight off, what would motivate you, what are your values, how can I be of help, what support do you need,” says Koenig.


She says collaborative care may avoid the five reasons patients rebel against their doctor: “Fear and hopelessness they’ve been there done that, depression and anxiety, a lack of life skills if you’re not gonna use food for these things you need to have skills to manage life without food, mixed feelings, and the fifth is rebellion which sounds really strange,” lists Koenig.


It’s human nature, we often resent being told what to do. “They feel as if they’re being controlled, and so they rebel actually against the doctor and then against themselves,” explains Koenig.


She says the solution is compassion. “Helping patients have positive self–talk and acceptance of who they are, asking motivational questions rather than the lecturing of nutritional information,” explains Koenig.


Another suggestion is steering away from the term diet. “People don’t like to feel deprived, the body metabolism slows down, they’re thinking about food all the time,” says Koenig. “Switch patients from using diets to learning intuitive eating, which is connecting your body.”


The book is called Helping Patients Outsmart Overeating, Psychological Strategies for Doctors and Health Care Providers. It’s written by Karen Koenig and M.D. Paige O’Mahoney.


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