Disclaimer: InBody devices should be used as an adjunct for clinical decision making and are not intended to diagnose or treat any diseases.
Her goal with the InBody was to give patients better goals to focus on than weight, monitor progression to body composition, and to use the Result Sheet as a teaching tool to inspire lifestyle changes.
Building a Therapeutic Bond
Weight loss is a challenge for both the practitioner and the patient. The American Medical Association defines obesity as a chronic disease. Physicians recognize that there are many factors behind obesity including underlying medical conditions, genetics, and environment. But there still exists a stigma that obesity results from laziness and apathy. The negative feelings connected to an obesity diagnosis, like guilt and remorse, can be a barrier to both compliance and commitment.
To help them achieve their goals, Dr. Youdim tries to form a therapeutic relationship with every patient.
She counsels all the patients and addresses every aspect of their care herself. During visits, Dr. Youdim tries to allay her patient’s concerns and fears about treatment while managing expectations. She will dedicate a portion of each session on education and uses the InBody Result Sheet as one of her teaching tools. Dr.Youdim wants her patients to understand that their struggle with weight is physiologic and with the right treatment plan it can be treated.
“Having numbers you can rely on helps validate that obesity is not a failure of character, but it is a medical condition we can treat.”
When It Comes to Treatment, Data is King
For Dr. Youdim, consistent monitoring helps the practitioner stay on top of key metrics and it helps the patient trust the process. It is why InBody and the comprehensive Result Sheet it produces, was a great fit from the beginning.
“Using the InBody helps us achieve that weight loss goal and ensuring, to the best of our ability, that they are not losing muscle in the process. The InBody is a helpful tool for me as a clinician and as an educational piece for my patients.”
InBody helps her achieve her two objectives:
- Shift the patient’s focus from weight loss to fat loss and muscle maintenance.
- Monitor her patient’s weight loss to make sure they’re not losing too much muscle.
Dr. Youdim tests her patients on the InBody during the initial consultation and then every subsequent visit. The initial consultation will include an extensive overview of the result sheet. She will then revisit parts of the Result Sheet or its entirety during future visits.
For her, InBody testing is helpful to stay on top of trends and make timely adjustments.
“Over time, when we get enough measurements, we can see that trajectory whether they’re gaining muscle mass, which is rare in a weight loss program, but, more importantly, if they are losing muscle mass.”
A feature that Dr. Youdim track on every visit is muscle mass and body fat. Her initial prescription for the patient will base their protein requirement off their lean body mass, which is often 2-3 times their lean mass. The purpose of the high protein requirement is to help maintain muscle.
During subsequent visits, she often finds that patients are not exercising enough or meeting those protein requirements. Tracking lean muscle mass is an objective way to show to patients why he or she needs to fulfill those requirements.
“You can provide the counseling to the patient as to how much activity they need or how much protein they need to consume, but that objective measurement of change in lean muscle mass, and therefore change in percent body fat, really helps to augment the message and the treatment plan.”
Teaching Patients to Be Kind to Themselves
A message that Dr. Youdim stresses to all her patients is that nobody is perfect all the time. Dietary compliance is a struggle for everybody, and emotions play a factor. When her patients are falling short of their goals, it can be stressful. There’s often already frustration from past failures, and setbacks can lead to a patient giving up.
Dr. Youdim uses this opportunity as a teaching moment. She will compare a patient’s daily caloric intake to Basal Metabolic Rate (using this number to calculate Total Daily Energy Expenditure).
Together, Dr. Youdim and the patient can see what changes need to be made to the dietary restriction and then monitor body fat and lean body mass as a gauge of progress. These numbers can help simplify a difficult process. Patients understand why they aren’t getting the results they want to see and they get a clear path forward.
Wrapping it up
It’s almost a cliche to say at this point but obesity is a significant medical problem in the United States and around the world. The evidence is clear that weight management is key to preventing many chronic medical conditions that are on the rise.
To help reverse this epidemic, it will take empathetic health professionals like Dr. Youdim who can use a variety of different strategies and tools to help motivate their patients.
“My goal is to help individuals create lifestyle changes that will prevent disease and improve the quality of their life. When you give people objective information and data, they’re more likely to make changes based on the information.”