“… you just need diet and exercise.”
“… referring you to see a dietician.”
“… do you think you have an eating disorder?”
“… you need to diet harder.”
How many times have you heard lines like these from your family doctor?
In my case, I simply lost count sometime after trying to get my fourth doctor involved in my obesity health problems. As an obese kid, I heard these stock phrases from my pediatrician first, then a sports doctor when I went out for the high school wrestling team. A college physician on campus hit me with the same stock phrases, as did my fourth doctor… and the fifth… and the sixth!
In every instance, I consulted one of my doctors when I found myself stuck in a dieting “limbo” – losing weight slowly, or stuck simply maintaining my weight despite the fact that I was dieting like a madman. But not once did a doctor take a personal interest in my obesity beyond telling me to “diet harder”, or referring me to a psychologist for an eating disorder or a dietician to offer me a new “wellness plan.”
I’m guessing that I’m not the only chubby guy or gal out there who has heard the same thing when they consulted with their doctor, right?
And time and again I kept failing at diets, gaining back the weight, and then a bit more than I lost. I’d try a new diet, hit limbo again, talk to my doctor and get no answers – and inevitably fail at my diet. And this went on for years – more than 35 years to be exact – until I found a doctor who took my obesity health problems seriously.
That was Dr. Sam.
When I first went to see Dr. Sam in 2013, I had ridden the diet-fail-diet-again rollercoaster all the way up to 526 pounds! But my experiences with this new doctor were nothing like what I had dealt with when I visited all my previous physicians.
Dr. Sam asked me detailed questions about my obesity history – from my dieting habits and the types of diets I had tried, to how much weight I had lost at one time and how often I ended up in dieting limbo. We discussed how much I exercised, the types of foods I ate and how much I snacked in a typical day.
And then he did something not one of my previous physicians had done, no matter how many times I told them dieting just never worked: He ordered a small series of blood tests to check for obesity-causing syndromes!
Honestly, I was a little surprised when Dr. Sam told me they were testing for medical issues associated with obesity. Not one of my previous doctors had even hinted that there might be something wrong with my body – other than the obvious one of being obese – which might be causing me trouble losing weight.
So you can imagine my surprise when I learned I didn’t have just one medical issue related to obesity and weight gain – I had three!
Thankfully, all these obesity-related syndromes were easily treatable. And so when I started up a new low-carb, high-protein diet last year, while finally under treatment for those syndromes, I really started losing weight. A lot of weight – like 217 pounds in 13 months!
And I’m still losing!
So before you let your family doctor tell you that you only need to diet and exercise, or a new diet from a dietician, or to see about your “eating disorder”, make sure there isn’t something more to your weight control issues. Consulting a medical specialist in obesity/weight loss issues might well make the difference between another failed diet or a new healthy you!