This Weighs Heavily on My Mind, and Elsewhere

July 28, 2010
David Lubin, MD

When it comes to obesity, patients want a quick fix. But there's no easy way to lose weight; it takes willpower, sensible food choices, and exercise.

Obesity. It’s even harder to treat now than it was 30 years ago, even though we know more about its detrimental effects on the body. But patients want a quick fix. They’re going on vacation in a few weeks and they want to drop 20 pounds, which makes sense because when they’ve come back from a cruise, they’ve gained 15. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to lose weight. It takes willpower, along with a good diet, sensible food choices, and of course… ughhhhh… exercise.

But if we could do away with those damn cruises and family reunions and birthdays, weddings, and anniversaries, we might have a chance. No wait, we also have to include the feasting on holidays, so that means knocking out Thanksgiving, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hannukah… mmmm, latkas… New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. And let’s not forget the whole football season, college and pro, plus Bowl Games, the Super Bowl, and all the tailgating and parties involved). We’d also have to get rid of Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Passover, taking the staff out for Administrative Professionals Day, Cinco De Mayo, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day barbecues, Father’s Day, Labor Day barbecues, Rosh Hashanah, Halloween, and now we’re back to Thanksgiving Day. You get the picture? We have all kinds of reasons to eat, and a real paucity of reasons not to feast when the opportunity arises.

Oh, we say, “We’ll start our diet tomorrow” and “I promise I’ll hit the gym, or start a daily routine on the treadmill.” I know, I say the same things. I could drop 20 pounds and be very happy. Gain 5 more and go over 200. ARRGGGH!

I just don’t know why people who weigh over 250 pounds or so can’t just cut out a few calories a day and lose slowly. I guess it is a disease. I guess that’s why people throw $$$ at weight-loss centers in hopes of losing weight quickly, not realizing they’re likely to gain it back. I like to send patients to Weight Watcher’s. If they go and stick to it, I can guarantee they’ll lose weight. You HAVE to go to meetings, not just participate through the online program.

Sometimes my patients come in and have LOST weight. They’ve cut down portions and are just eating better, and even…ughhhhh…exercising.

But I still hear stories. There’s the young guy who travels a lot and wants to know how he can eat healthy when he leaves Tampa. Uh, unless you’re going to a third-world country, they have basically the same food available everywhere in the USA as they do in Tampa.

A 230-pound female patient told me that she hadn’t lost weight because she wasn’t eating ENOUGH; she was eating only one meal a day, and that when things settled in her life, she would eat MORE and somehow LOSE weight. That logic was just a bit difficult to argue with, so I let it go.

And finally, I found a new way to gain a few calories the other day. The lovely Elke and I went for lunch and had a $25 gift certificate. When we paid the bill we had about $4 to spare. We couldn’t let that go to waste, so we indulged in dessert… a piece of hot lava chocolate cake with a scoop of ice cream on top. We split it. So technically it was only half the total calories. Gimme a break; like I said, it ain’t easy.