Hello world!

Alright, you somehow made it through the billions of random places on the internet to my blog, so thank you!  Why am I doing this?  As you can note from the title of this blog and my pictures- I am both a doctor and obese. In this world those two things don’t align very well.  I strive to always provide the absolute best care for my patients- yet how can I do that when I am not able to do it for myself?  I wouldn’t tell my patients to quit smoking while blowing a plume of smoke in their face. So how can I effectively counsel them on healthy eating and weight loss when I continue to struggle with it every day myself? This is the reality I find myself in each day, and I have struggled with it for many years.

Ever since my last year of college I started gaining weight and gaining weight and have never been able to lose it.  Before then I always had time to exercise a minimum of one hour every day and played team sports all year round so it was never a problem for me to keep my weight reasonable, though I was always a curvy girl.  Well, when you are working 3 jobs and maintaining a med-school level GPA this starts to take up a lot of your time.  Once you are into medical school and then residency and onward as a doctor into your career-  jeez, forget about time for yourself.  In medical school I was so embarrassed and ashamed to have to team up with my fellow students and do physical exams together; my body was more like a middle aged woman and they all still had the bodies of high school students.  Those horrible group sessions were panic attack inducing and I still hate remembering them to this day; it really separated me from the people who were supposed to be my peers.  I now work as an attending physician at a large, busy hospital, and I am never treated poorly or ridiculed for my weight.  But when I walk into a patient’s room and hear them say to their family on the phone “I gotta go honey the housekeeper (or lab tech or social worker or nurse) is here,” I always wonder what’s keeping them from seeing me as the doctor? Is it just because I am a woman or because I am an obese woman? I know that I am an good doctor and respected in my field, but I will always have some self doubt that my appearance is ultimately undermining my credibility.

I have been a vegetarian since the age of 16, but I was the only one in my family to make this lifestyle change.  I never really liked meat and gradually ate less and less of it until one day I bit into a piece of chicken, got gristle, and just spit that poor bird out. I was pretty much left to fend for myself after that and ended up eating whatever was leftover at meals and lots of veggie nuggets, veggie dogs, etc.  The bulk of my diet was iceberg lettuce salads and vending machine food at lunch and take out and restaurant food or frozen food heated up the rest of the time.  This trend continued all through college and into my adulthood.  Most of the time when I cooked anything, a good deal of it was pre-made and pre-packaged and I just would combine it together. Quesadillas were doable, steaming veggies- but I was just a pretty terrible cook.

For the last 5-6 years I have been trying to get it together and change my ways.  I have gradually stopped getting take out and eating out many meals.  I am learning to cook slowly but surely.  There have been a lot of roadblocks, and it has not been a smooth ride!  I was doing well and losing weight consistently until I had a fall and blew out my knee and needed multiple surgeries to fix it.  Since then getting back into regular exercise and staying with it has been a challenge due to my “bum leg,” but I am continuing to work at it! And that brings us to this blog… I have really made a big change with what I am cooking and eating.  I have actual cookbooks and recipes galore and I use them!  I tweak a lot of things here and there to suit my tastes and that is what ends up on here in the final format.  I am still struggling right now with eating too much “junk” and processed food after I come home from work and am too tired to cook- so I want to make myself more accountable everyday.  Binging on junk for no reason is definitely a huge problem!  My husband Rob and I plan to adopt kids in the next few years, and I want to be able to set a good example for them- which I know we are not doing right now.

I’d like to say a final word about weight and body acceptance.  I am so very happy to see that recently there has been so much focus on body positivity and self-love.  When I was a teenager I was ridiculed for being a size 10-12 and it was really horrible. Nowadays there is so much more variety of shapes and sizes of women all over the media and I think that is a wonderful thing.  I can actually buy fashionable clothes so easily in my size (thank you @Macys @Loft @Nordstrom @Landsend and many others for making beautiful and affordable clothes of all sizes).  I take full advantage of this and dress my body up to show it off to its best advantage. However, the more obese people there are at younger ages, like myself now, the more we will have health problems when we are older.  I know many people who say “I am fat (or obese) but I am healthy, I have no medical problems”.  Yes, it is easy to be young and overweight or obese (overweight is BMI up to 30, obese is BMI over 30, morbid obesity BMI over 40 without other medical problems) and still be healthy.  What I worry about- in myself and all of the children, teens, and millennials out there whose weights are on the rise, is that we will be the ones with early onset heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, stroke, etc.  In fact, I already see many patients with just those problems who are in their early 30s or even younger- coming in to the hospital having heart attacks and strokes much earlier than they should be.  My point being: don’t hide your body or be ashamed- your weight is only one component of your overall being- but still continue to work to be healthier each day.  It is not healthy to be overweight and obese your whole life.  I wouldn’t counsel my patients to maintain an unhealthy weight, and this blog is about practicing what I preach.

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