Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What Does YOUR Doctor Know About Weighty Issues?

In my ongoing quest to find out what is causing the edema in my left ankle, I have been seeing my doctor about once a week for the past several weeks because he has been sending me for different kinds of tests and I have to go back to him for the results.

So far, thankfully, we have ruled out blood clots!  And after learning just a bit about what Sara has been going through this past couple of weeks, I am so very thankful for that news. 

Yesterday I saw him for these ultrasound results as well as to discuss some recent blood tests with regard to liver and kidney function, and once again, my weight came up.

A little background here... This doctor is a bit younger than me and I have been seeing him for the 10 years we have had our boat in this area.  In the past he has told me he thinks I am too thin and has gone so far as to call me kind of 'scrawny' which I think is very exagerated.  I am thin around my neck and shoulders but I wouldn't call myself 'scrawny'.  And he is not athletic at all so he doesn't get the running or the strength training or the bike riding...  he was, in fact, quite sure I would give up running once I got this 'half marathon business' out of my system and was surprised that I have not.

Anyway, we were discussing the results of these blood tests and he asked if I had been losing weight and I assured him I have not... as a matter of fact I have been quite annnoyed that I gained a few pounds during my half training that I have not managed to lose yet. 

This is the gist of the conversation that ensued:

DOC:  Annoyed?  Why?  Are you obsessed?

ME: No I am not obesessed.  But if you had ever been overweight you would understand how I feel about this. I never want to go back there.

DOC:  Well let's talk about wife has been struggling with weight gain since she had our two kids and just cannot seem to lose more than a few pounds.. and then gains them back and more.  She used to work out like a fiend before I met her but stopped when we got married and wanted to have a family.  How DO you keep your weight off?

ME:  I belong to Weight Watchers... have for 25 years... and I keep a food diary and I watch what I eat.  I also get lots of exercise and you know I run and work out.

DOC:  So you ARE obsessed!  You don't eat normally.

ME:  I think I eat very well. I eat mostly healthy food.  I do what I have to do to keep my weight in check so I can be active and do the things I love to do.  I have treats but overall I do watch it.

DOC:  She has tried a food diary... software called FitDay. I thought it would help, but...

ME:  I use FitDay too.  I like it because it tracks my nutrition and my exercise.  It is a great program.

DOC:  So that really works... I guess I will have to hold you up as an example to my other patients who cannot lose weight and keep it off.  And I will tell my wife too.  Food diary...hmmm.

ME:  If you have ever read anything about people who lose weight and keep it off long term, they don't quit doing the things that helped them lose the weight in the first place.  These changes can't be temporary.  You have to commit for life.

I think we started talking about my next visit at that point. 

I came away sorta shaking my head... here is my DOCTOR asking ME about weight loss and maintenance... why doesn't he know this stuff? 

Don't they learn anything about nutrition and health care or fitness on the way to getting their MD? 


  1. Scary isn't it, additionally I have heard many are afraid to even bring it up because they don't want to offend their patients, but then they come to surgery and talk about how healthcare should be charged for by the pound because obese people do cost the healthcare system more and are harder to do surgery on. well then I think they need to learn more about it to help their patients!

  2. I really think docs are trained to prescribe meds. THey know little about nutrition. Very little. And they were probably too sleep deprived in med school days to have retained any of it.

    1. I agree. Being a nutritionist is a completely different game that being the standard doctor we go to. They specialize in diseases, etc. and even though we all know that is so closely tied to nutrition, it isn't their specialty. It is a pity though....

  3. I am often surprised that doctors don't know much about weight loss/maintenance. My friend who is a pediatrician said it wasn't until she decided to lose weight that she really studied it at all!

  4. I have to tread lightly here on this discussion because I could probably write a book—but I’ll cut it short by saying I strongly agree with Marcia!! MD's are NOT taught nutrition and most if not all MD’s live very UNhealthy lives.

    It's disheartening because our society has been brainwashed to depend on their "say all" and hold MD's on the highest pedestal -- that's a lot of power to have, particularly when all MD’s really do is prescribe prescription DRUGS and surgery.

  5. Most medical schools require very few hours of nutrition training. I think it's typically a 20 hour seminar. My freshman level Nutrition class was more hours than most doctors get during their 'entire' training... Yet people go to doctors first for weight loss advice.

    Major soap box issue for me.

    Great post!!!

  6. wow, sorry you weren't given ANY answers and I too, believe that some doctors are completely there to prescribe meds and thats IT. Sad but true. We should be able to go to them for weight loss, health-related advice but seems as though they are only concerned with their specialty. Being a health ed and exercise phys degree holder, I tried working alongside doctors in cardiac rehab and you wouldn't believe what
    I had to TEACH them about wellness/health/workouts...sad, very VERY sad.

    hope you get some answers soon...

  7. Most medical school programs require a very small amount of nutrition education. I learned in my Intro to Nutrition class that most programs require a 20 hour seminar type program. By the time I finished that Intro class, I had more Nutrition training than almost every MD. Yet, these are the people we usually go to first for weight loss advice. And these are the people who have to help people manage the repercussions of their weight issues.

    This is one of those soap box issues for me. And why I get so excited about becoming an RD.

    Excellent post.

  8. I might be cynical, but doctors make more money if their patients aren't healthy. They don't emphasize preventative medicine, health and wellness. That's why I go to a naturopath because I know she wants to keep me healthy not just fix me if I do get sick. Not a fan of the "scrawny comment". Sounds like the doc has an issue with his wife's weight:0 I'm sure she would love knowing he was talking about her weight gain with you:) Hope you are able to get some answers.

  9. Ha! You having to tell him what to do is hilarious, in a "that's just wrong" sort of way. Why are we paying these doctors!? I hope that you can figure out what is going on with you, but maybe you should see someone else? Is that possible?

  10. Wow. Elle, I can't believe this conversation took place WITH YOUR DOCTOR!!!!!!!!!! It reminds me of a very similar situation I had with my old doctor - it was when I was training for the Pittsburgh Marathon. I had gained some weight (some muscle I am sure) and at that point, stopped seeing progress in losing consistently. My doctor said, "I am going to lay it out for you once and for all, you NEED to lose this weight." I said, "I know. I'm in the middle of training for a marathon and right now, that is more important than losing the weight. I have to eat to run. I eat healthy, but I can't always constrict my calories like I was." She said, "You HAVE to Back to 1,000 calories a day, not a single one more." I said, "I can't until after this race. I have two 18 + mile runs coming up, not going to happen." She said, "Well, then I guess you are choosing running over your health."

    Yeah, um, WHAT?! I know exactly where you are coming from and I am so happy you were able to give your doctor some maintenance advice to help his other patients. I don't even get it and frankly, it makes me a little upset. What if you didn't know what to do from learning things through WW? Would he have been able to help you? Probably NOT!

    Thank you for the shout-out too. After what I have been through, I am more than happy to say I am glad for you that you do not have to experience a blood clot! I am interested in what is going on with your leg and I am sorry to hear you are experiencing discomfort. I hope someone can help!


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