My Resolution is Offering Weight-neutral Diabetes Care!

Weight-neutral professionalIts that time of year when clients come to see you, energized to change. As a weight-neutral educator, how do you navigate the annual desire to lose weight? The following is a fictitious dialog using Motivational Interviewing to illustrate how to remain nonjudgmental when your clients want to lose weight.

Client: “It’s the New Year, and I really need to get back on track. I am hoping that you can give me a diet to help me lose this holiday weight.”

Professional: “Okay, you want to focus on your eating. What has worked for you in the past?”

Client: “Oh, I’ve been on every diet you can imagine. As you can see, I’m not a great student.”

Professional: “Your previous diets have failed you.”

Client: “Oh, that is nice of you to say, but I think I was the one cheating.”

Professional: “You haven’t considered how a rigid diet that required a lot of effort, planning, and energy, set you up to fail.”

Client: “No, not really. I have this habit of starting a diet and then quitting.”

Professional: [hear the desire not to fail] “This time you don’t want to quit.”

Client: “I never wanted to ‘quit’ but sometimes you have other priorities. [the client shares a personal story]

Professional: [Hear the conflict the client is expressing] “I hear that you are struggling with competing for priority.”

Client: “I am.”

Professional: silence

Client: “I’m stuck.”

Professional: “What do you want to try?”

Client: “Isn’t that what you are supposed to help me with?”

Professional: “Can I share a few thoughts?”

Client: “Sure – go ahead.”

Professional: “Well, you tipped your hand when you shared that you have been on a lot of diets. I am suspecting that the problem isn’t a knowledge deficit.”

Client: “Awww, shucks, you figured me out.”

Professional: “I’m also going to guess that, being a bright and able person, if the problem were simple you would have figured it out by now.”

Client: “Your probably right. I just wish it was easy or there was a magic pill.”

Professional: “It would be nice.”

Client: “Okay, I still don’t know what to eat.”

Professional: Silence

Client: “Okay, I know what to eat, but there is no way I can do that with my schedule.”

Professional: “So it is a time management issue.”

Client: slowly nodding his head, “yesssss? You could say that.”

Professional: “Focusing on easy and quick things to eat that would keep your [list the health concern] in check is want you want from this appointment.”

Client: “Yes, that would be very helpful.”

If you are thinking, wow, that was helpful, I would like to learn more about motivational interviewing; please consider attending the WN4DC Symposium. Kori Kostka is a motivational instructor in Canada and she has crafted the counseling track. To learn more about Kori and MI check out her course Motivational Interviewing with Mindful Eating course.

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