Monday, March 8, 2010

Weight: The Big Elephant in the Room...

Now, why will I go and put my foot in my mouth and talk about weight? Let me start off by clarifying that skinny does not equal beautiful by any means. Now that we have cleared that up, are we so scared of offending our friends and loved ones that we possibly cannot talk about weight issues though? I was in this situation recently and while not being mean or insensitive, consciously sticking to purely medical facts and steering away from words such as 'beauty' and 'pretty' and 'attractive' which are purely subjective, I managed to make my point. But should it be so hard?

There was a debate on the wall of one of my facebook friends sparked by a comment on Oscar night about how Gabourey Sidibe (from Precious) needed to shed a few pounds. And while it was probably not the time to talk about that since it was a day for her to be celebrated even though she did not win the Oscar, I had to stay true to myself and my belief and the MD in me on my stance about weight and health.

Unfortunately, it appeared that the media had really flogged that storyline recently, unbeknown to me since I have too busy to watch much TV lately! I in no way subscribe to the brutal way the media tears people apart...I just happen to be an MD. In the US, being an MD means you constantly have to deal with weight issues on a daily basis with patients, even if God blessed you with the metabolism of a child! (Wishful thinking.)

Patients come to me all day long and swear up and down that they have tried everything to lose weight and it hasn't worked. Yet upon further questioning, these same people drink sodas everyday, sugar-laden juice, eat out at fast food restaurants regularly, cannot get enough sweet tea to drink, etc. So who are you really fooling? While there truly are people who have tried everything with no result, they are not as many as the people who claim that to be the problem. And for such, there is the option of weight loss medicine to jump-start the weight loss and even possibly bariartric intervention. But ultimately, the only measure that is going to keep the weight off is a lifestyle change. There is no quick fix to losing weight. Sorry, no short cuts here!

Having recently lost a considerable amount of weight myself (approximately 35 pounds=a 50 point drop in total cholesterol) and able to maintain it by day to day discipline, I know it is possible. It is not easy but if you are motivated, and you do not have endocrine problems such as thyroid disorder or mental health issues such as depression which make you eat for comfort, it can be done. You just need to put your heart to it. And if you have those problems, please do get medical help as it just goes downhill from there otherwise.

If your motivation for weight loss is purely to look good or better and be acceptable to people, then we need to work on your self esteem. Hit me up on But if you are doing it to be healthy and to avoid hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, obtructive sleep apnea, obesity hypoventialtion syndrome, early arthritis, etc, then you are on the right track.

I do not subscribe to any fancy diet. I would rather take a few tips here and there from several diet programs if need be (you can walk into Borders and read parts of these books!). But if you pay attention to your body, you can figure out what makes you add weight or not. Eat your fruits and vegetables; drink water, smoothies and 100% juices from the refrigerator and not the isles; eat whole grain; cut back on dairy and definitely not whole milk and the likes and if you can, exercise. Eat small frequest meals 3 to 5 times a day is what I recommend or 3 meals and 2 snacks. Snacks should be a banana or an apple and not cookies and the likes preferably. Remember, the 300 calorioes you burn on a treadmill does not give you the license to stop by starbucks on your way back home to eat a muffin and some coffee with more calories in it than you just burned. And if you cannot exercise (most women!), you'd better work on what goes in you because as long as you take in more or equal to what you are able to burn daily, there will be no weight loss.

As a Christian, I am a firm believer that watching what goes into our bodies is part of treating our bodies like the temple of the Lord!

I have a chapter on Nutrition, Exercise, Weight and Health in my book The Only Way is Up. Pick up your copy today!

Please leave your comments and feel free to disagree with me.


  1. Facebook comment:

    T.A.: Yes o,i 4 one like a woman with curves in d right places,i like 2 to feel something in my hands when i hold my woman,believe.

  2. Facebook comment:

    O.A.O: We Africans tend to like the plump to the skinny; though not necessarily fat (obese). Na oyinbo tell us for fashion magazine sey tirin (slim) is beautiful. We are yet to see orobo (fat woman) being Miss Universe or a beauty queen. In Africa we actually send girls to get fat before marriage. Remember, the Ibo woman has to go to a fattening room before she gets married. Our culture and preferences are so contrary to the oyinbos sometimes one wonders if we are of the same specie. If you are talking to Africans FK, your foot is not in your mouth, its somewhere under you generous hips.

  3. Facebook comment:

    T.A.: Frankly 2 me beauty is nothin do with size,colour or any other reasons,its all down 2 what is inside d heart of d woman,good manners and proper home training is also a big plus.

  4. And you are so right. Reasons to lose weight should be more about health if need be not what society perceives you should look like. Even while advocating for people to be healthy and to watch what they put in their body and how they treat it, we need to be sure we are not developing self esteem issues from it.