View Full Version : Weight management service is extended

24-Apr-13, 16:01
Highland wide after successful pilot in North Highland and Argyll and Bute

North NHS Highland’s specialist weight management service has been given the green light to become a permanent fixture after a successful pilot throughout both North Highland and Argyll and Bute.
From this month, the service will continue in North NHS Highland, to support people with severe and complex obesity through a series of nine appointments over a six month period.
Patients will be given specialist dietary advice from NHS Highland experts, focusing on health gain rather than weight loss.
NHS Highland’s senior health promotion specialist, Fiona Clarke, said: “Being overweight doesn’t mean you are unhealthy.
People’s experience is that they have lost weight many times, only to put it all back on again. They believe that they have failed a diet but we think, and evidence shows, that the diets have failed them.”
While a dietetic led specialist service is already established in Argyll and Bute, people in North Highland with concerns are triaged by the local department of nutrition and dietetics and if they meet the criteria, for example a history of yo-yo dieting, they will be offered an appointment of up to 2 hours long.
This is where they can find out more about what these appointments can do for them, and decide whether or not to join the weight management programme.
NHS Highland senior dietician, Mairi Wotherspoon, said: “If they do come into the programme, then I see them every two weeks for an appointment.
“They get in-depth support and hopefully, by the end of the nine weeks, their confidence will have improved and they’ve made a change to the quality of their diet. They also may have reduced their sedentary behaviour, but have within their toolbox the skills to help them manage their weight.”
Being overweight not only has physical health impacts, but can also affect a patient’s emotional well being.
The constant pressure from the media to look a certain way can drive people into a deep depression, which spirals a vicious cycle of comfort eating.
One service user said: “I feel totally different about myself and life in general."
Ms Wotherspoon continued: “I have a different outlook and accept myself as who I am. I have confidence - it has completely changed my life and how I feel about myself. Before starting on the programme, I was upset. Now, I feel fabulous, I smile and stand taller. This is through a combination of eating well, exercise and being good to myself if I have had a bad day.”
Miari added: “The relationship between your mood and food is something we explore; from one side, what happens if you let yourself get too hungry?
The flip side of course is that you rely on food to sooth your mood – you eat because you’re unhappy and you’re unhappy because you eat.”
Fiona said: “The first step is getting people to recognise they do eat because they are unhappy and if that’s what they choose to do then, then fine – it’s only food. There are plenty worse things they could be taking or using to solve their emotional stress. What is unique about this programme is it’s a compassionate service; it doesn’t judge and allows people the space to come up with their own solutions. In the past, people have found interactions with health professionals to be rather judgemental and as a result, they don’t engage with the service. The aim is for them to self manage their weight, and my experience from the pilot is that many patients say ‘I feel so free, I don’t need surgery, I can do this for myself’.”
Although the programme is still in its infancy, Miari believes the difference is already beginning to be seen.
She added: “I can see the changes; I can see the progression of change throughout the programme. At the beginning, I know nothing about each individual patient; however by the end I know them very well. I feel as though we have been on a journey together, sharing the emotional highs and lows".