A local weight loss mentor is calling for health professionals in Laois to be more confident about talking to patients about their weight after a high-profile study found that a short respectful conversation with their GP motivates patients to lose weight, while being pointed towards effective support makes them likely to lose substantially more weight, more successfully.
The call from Pam Nolan, a Slimming World Consultant with groups in Mountmellick & Portarlington, comes after research published in a leading medical journal, found that just a 30-second conversation with their GP motivates patients to lose weight. And, if those conversations are used to direct them to effective weight management services such as Slimming World, patients are five times more likely to be successful.
Pam, said: "This study shows just how important a 30-second conversation can be for someone who is overweight, I firmly believe that if more GPs and nurses talked sensitively to their patients about weight and referred them to somewhere that they would find effective support to make healthy changes it could change the lives of people throughout the county.
"People should never be criticised or judged about their weight. We live in a world where high calorie food is cheap, heavily marketed and readily available and there are fewer opportunities to be active now too. As a result, it’s so easy to gain weight! At Slimming World though, we give people all the tools they need to manage their weight in a healthy way, for life. Each week at my group, members share tips, ideas, recipes and a lot of fun and laughter. There is nothing like learning from the success and experience of others to help you make changes and commit to them. We’ve got members in group of all ages, men and women from every walk of life, with anything from 7lbs to 10 stone and more to lose. The one thing that we all have in common is that we all want to lose or manage our weight. Some members have problems with their health, some are worried about their weight affecting their health, and some just want to feel fitter and better about themselves.
Two Target members of Pam’s Mountmellick group are husband & wife, Eddie & Martina Burtenshaw. Both have significantly improved their health since joining.
Martina recalls how initially she wondered if she’d be accepted as a member: "I only wanted to lose 7lbs to help get my Cholesterol under control but didn’t know if I could join up. I had a lot of questions but after I spoke to Pam, I knew it was the place for me.".
Martina had reached target in a few weeks and her cholesterol dropped from 6.6 to 4.4, a great result for a lady who’s famous in Mountmellick for her delicious "Tina Maria Cakes" creations.
It took Eddie, who has had heart attacks in the past, just 10 weeks to lower his BMI from 28 to 24.2, losing 1st 7lbs. They are The Couple of the Year from Pam's 7:30 group.
"I’m still losing weight as a Slimming World member myself and it has made an enormous difference to my life. I became a Slimming World Consultant because I wanted to help others by showing that you can lose weight healthily and you don’t have to follow a faddy diet or ever go hungry.
“And I wanted to be able to share family meals and set a great example. Slimming World’s programme is about following a sensible, healthy eating plan, changing the way that you shop, cook and eat, starting to get more active and above all, working it out with the support of like-minded people," adds Pam.
"This research highlights just how important a conversation with a health professional can be for some people. It needs to be handled in a sensitive and non-judgemental way, and can be successfully done in just 30 seconds.
“As someone who has had my own struggles with weight myself, I know how important compassion and care is for people when it comes to losing weight, and it would be fantastic if more health professionals across the country - felt confident and prepared to discuss weight with patients, in a sensitive and supportive way. If they then follow this up by pointing them to proven effective weight loss support like Slimming World, they could have a big impact on the health of people in Laois."
To join the Mountmellick Slimming World group simply pop along our new venue in The ICA House, Davitt Road, Mountmellick, every Tuesday at 5:30 or 7:30 or call Pam on 087 3954303.
Log onto Slimmingworld.ie for details.