A Canadian friend recommended the show White Coat, Black Art from CBC Radio. I have enjoyed several of the shows. There’s one on burnout, which is supposedly worst in ob/gyn. She wanted me to listen to the show on obesity. (Link to mp3 of “Fat Doctors”.)
I was kind of napping while I listened, but I played it twice and I think I got most of it. I think they thought they were showing “both sides of the issues” by having advocates for bariatric surgery, and someone who lost weight through diet and exercise. But, it was a very judgmental show. No one argued that not all obese people need to be fixed, either with surgery (which they started the show with) or diet and exercise, which the other two segments suggested.
I was struck by some of the people in the support group. Like, the one who was talking about how you could never tell a heroin addict to just take it 3 times a day in small amounts, but we expect people with food issues to self regulate food consumption. I am happy the doctor at the bariatric center emphasized that no one chooses to be morbidly obese, and no one gets morbidly obese by making poor choices.
I also kind of related to the doctor at the end who talks about being overweight and struggling with weight loss and her self image, which I am sorry to say. I feel a lot of self hate and guilt (and I have gained even more weight. I am afraid to weigh myself.)
I loved it when she said she secretly thinks “I would hate to live like that” when people give her weight loss advice and discuss strict, boring diets. I admit, people tell me about getting their “butts kicked” by their spinning instructor, and it makes me wonder if sedentary life isn’t worth it. But, I felt better about myself when I was in better shape. I like many types of exercise. It doesn’t hurt to fit in my clothes, either.
I guess it made me feel a lot of self hate, but I didn’t realize it at the time, because I am surrounded by that attitude constantly. I was just reading a maternal mortality review (pdf) today, and they were analyzing trends of BMI and maternal complications. But, I know this is a multi faceted issue. Obese women get more unnecessary interventions, including more inductions and more cesarean sections. And, the maternal mortality rate is much higher for African American women, who are more likely to be obese when of childbearing age.
I am afraid I may get passed over for a residency spot because I am obese. Spots are competitive, and are based on interviews and personal interactions with people on the team at the site. I know some people don’t think obese people make good doctors, some people think a person who is forty and obese may not be a good investment for four years, since I may succumb to some sort of fat complication, die young, and be a waste of their training. And even more people have unconscious negative reactions to fat people. We do worse in interviews, period.
Anyway, thanks for the recommendation. It was definitely worth the listen and gave me a lot to think about.