This post is essentially a reply I gave to an article on obesity. The article was written by a doctor who suggested either 1) recommending weight-loss drugs to patients who want or need to lose weight, or 2) not giving any advice, since weight loss can be complex, and simple advice is often not helpful. Here's my reply, which is about weight loss, but also about the transformation that IS happening in medicine:
Hello, I am a health coach by training: I studied nutrition, lifestyle medicine and more at IIN. My view, and the view of many leaders in the field, is that medicine MUST make a radical transformation, to address a rising tide of *chronic illness*, not just obesity.
And this looks like doctors getting trained in Functional Medicine (FM), and working on a team with a Health Coach. This will rapidly bring them up to speed on the advances we have made in nutrition in the last 20 yrs. FM is very powerful. It changes lives. It addresses the deeper cause. It includes things like the therapeutic use of Probiotics (we know that alone can create weight loss, with no change of diet), testing for micronutrient deficiencies, and much more.
For some, weight loss will just be about releasing junk food, but for others, the causes are multiple systemic imbalances: hormone imbalances (due to a high sugar, low fat diet) toxicity, and deficiencies. And you can't fix any of that with a drug.
We also need to change *how* medicine is delivered: We're going to see docs working on a Team, with a Health Coach or several Health Coaches, and delivering group sessions for those with a common condition ("Your prescription: come to the Tues night group"). We're also seeing increasing use of technology to pre-educate patients. The causes of obesity can be *many*: for some, eating more fat at meals (yes fat), can help lose weight (it replaces the carbs that raise blood sugar), while for others, a protein shake a day will create almost effortless weight loss (say 5 lbs). But for others, weight loss will require letting go of a toxic job or relationship to be truly lasting. And that takes having support. Over time. Plus many people are confused about what they *should* be eating (Paleo? Or vegan? High fat? Or low fat? And should I take a multi or not?). Doctors can't learn counselling or nutrition in a two day course. We NEED Health Coaches.
Doctors are not Gods. We expect too much of them today. And while their training is great for acute conditions (car accident, serious illness...), it's woefully unsuited to chronic conditions...which is everything else, from pre-diabetes to migraines to fatigue and insomnia... a huge list. Holistic Medicine is best for those, which includes lifestyle medicine, mind body medicine, and energy medicine...and Coaching, which supports accountability through time. Combine todays medicine with holistic medicine, and you get Integrative Medicine (IM)😊, and that's the future: Integrative Medical Doctors working with a Health Coach or team of Health Coaches.
For a wonderfully clear expose of this perspective, see James Maskell's new book, The Evolution of Medicine, on Amazon.
Beyond this, we require a transformation of culture. It needs to get harder to poison yourself and easier to find love and kindness in the world. This is happening.