Since David W. Boles recently debunked the obesogen theory for us, I would like to caution you when considering your choice of doctors. It turns out that not all doctors are, so to speak, created equal when it comes to the subject of weight management. Specifically, if your doctor is overweight you will more than likely not be told that you are overweight.

Thinking about it, it makes a lot of sense. Imagine if you were sitting in your doctor’s office and he was sitting at his desk smoking a cigar and drinking a glass of brandy. He tells you that you need to avoid smoking and drinking alcohol if you want to be in good health. I know if my doctor were to tell me this, I would immediately seek another doctor because it would be clear that this doctor was incapable of following his own advice.

So, too, it would be if your doctor were overweight and he looked at you and said that it was important that you lost some weight. It seems that doctors are well aware of this problem and so if they find that they are heavier than their patients, they don’t even bother to discuss the issue of weight with them. I suppose there are exceptions to every rule — the famous Doctor Phil is more than happy to tell you how to lose your own weight while he still would be considered by most standards to be overweight.

I believe that this does not have to be the dynamic present between doctors and patients, even if the doctors happen to be overweight. Instead, the doctors can take the opportunity to explore with the patient just how they have struggled with their own weight over their life and the steps that they have taken to combat it. That way the doctor makes a genuine connection with the patient and the patient gets the feeling that he or she is not just sitting and listening to an advice dispensing machine but rather having a meaningful relationship with someone who cares about his well-being.

If you suspect that you are overweight and find yourself in a situation where your doctor is overweight as well, it may be appropriate to be the one to bring it up — your health care provider will not be able to dodge the question if asked directly, I imagine. That too could take your patient-doctor relationship to a more meaningful level.

4 Comments

  1. One of my previous managers was a little bit overweight. He went to the doctor for a checkup. They were good friends. His MD told him he was overweight and needed to lose some pounds. My manager shot back, “I’m thinner than you and my blood pressure is lower than yours.” The doctor didn’t say another word and never brought up the topic again. Ouch!

    I’ve been fortunate that the two major MDs I’ve seen in NYC were incredibly healthy and fit and I admit it brought them great credibility and authority when they gave me advice on eating, exercise and medication!

      1. I think currently overweight doctors need to get in shape — but they also must always do the right thing and give their patients the information for living a healthier lifestyle. Then, like the MD, the patient can decide to choose life or death in their diet and exercise regimes.

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