(Files by Dione Wearmouth-MyPGNow)

New guidelines suggest physicians advise patients’ focus on goals, rather than simply weight loss.

They were published by Obesity Canada and the Canadian Association of Bariatric Surgeons and Physicians in the Canadian Medical Association Journal on Tuesday.

Northern Health’s Chief Population Health Dietitian with regional leadership for the Weight-inclusive approaches to the health portfolio, Flo Sheppard notes, “They make an attempt to acknowledge the impact that weight bias and stigma have on the health of Canadians that are living in larger bodies by turning the focus on health, not just weight.”

She also notes the guidelines are utilizing a “Weight inclusive approach”, which Sheppard defines as, “an approach to health that appreciates bodies’ come in different shapes, sizes and weights.”

The new instructions recommend shifting away from the “Diet and Exercise” weight loss model to instead address the root causes of someone’s excessive weight.

It is also noted in the journal that just cutting calories and increasing exercise is not a sustainable way to lose weight and keep it off, and within 2-5 years of intentional weight loss plans that include diets, the weight is gained back 95% of the time.

Specifically, Obesity Canada suggests physicians refer to a model titled, “The 5 A’s”, which is a step-by-step framework recommending physicians do the following: Ask permission, Assess their story, Advise on management, Agree on Goals and Assist with Barriers.