A person who is severely overweight (obese) has often tried every diet possible with the result of being increasingly overweight. The ensuing frustration and sense of guilt lead to the famous yoyo syndrome, which is often accompanied by eating disorders. Many studies show that such diets are unsuitable for obesity. The patient’s lack of willpower is not an issue because obesity can have many causes: diet, lack of physical exercise, but also lifestyle, day-to-day living, stress, genetics, etc. influence weight gain.
Obesity has multiple causes, so the care for patients has to be holistic and individualized. At the Obesity Centre of MONDORF Domaine Thermal, the team of health professionals who are specialized in obesity have included Patient Therapeutic Education (PTE) in their way of working:
The therapists exchange ideas and compare notes on dealing with problems, resources and the patient’s doubts, throughout the educational trajectory of patients, so as to provide the most suitable treatment.
This holistic approach is not geared simply to weight loss but aims at a gradual modification of behaviour step by step in the long term through a structural process:
During an interview with the patient, the therapist pays close heed to the patient’s problems and gathers the data needed for thorough understanding. He does not impose solutions on the patients but finds, together with them, what suits them best depending on their needs, experience and values. Patients, after all, are experts in the way their life unfolds.
The therapists help patients during educational sessions to acquire the basic skills they need. They all use a common language, and identical information is broached through the perspective of each field. The messages received are more coherent, and patients can put their new knowledge and expertise easier into practice at home.
The therapist gauges the patient’s progress individually together with the patient during an interview. It is the right time to assess changes and redefine what is left to learn apace with the patient’s learning rhythm.
After a basic programme, the patient is put through a personalized programme to engrain his new habits better and remain motivated in the long term. The aim is also to deepen and consolidate the skills acquired in accordance with his needs and to become self-sufficient in managing his approach to health.
Dietician, head of the Nutrition Department
Graduate in Patient Therapeutic Education (University of Geneva)