October 14, 2015

Just as you’d be unlikely to go to a hairdresser with ratty hair and split ends, most people would find it difficult to take weight loss advice from an obese doctor.

The Richest Man in Babylon is the world’s most read book on becoming wealthy. One of its great lessons is that if you want to become rich, do not seek advice from your poor neighbour or a poor merchant, but from a wealthy merchant who has achieved what you are looking to become. The same holds true for weight loss.

News reports this week highlight the problems with being advised to get weight loss advice from doctors who may not only be poor role models themselves, but who may be giving advice that is scientifically out-dated. They may also be influenced to recommend treatments that involve drugs rather than recommending lifestyle and behaviour change.

Even doctors with a good understanding of weight loss via healthy lifestyle can’t, if they are overweight themselves, be taken seriously.

If the doctor can’t get their own weight under control, knowing all they do about the potential health implications of carrying excess weight, then patients may be right to question the value of their advice. It seems obvious that most people would wonder “Why aren’t you following your own advice?”

The unfortunate aspect of this is that there are many factors that cause weight gain and with around 60% of the population overweight or obese, doctors are not exempt. You can’t tell by looking as to what these factors might be, so making a snap judgement on whether you’ll have confidence in the advice doctors dispense may not be wise.

Back to The Richest Man in Babylon: if your doctor is overweight and you don’t feel comfortable taking his/her advice, where do you turn?

You could ask someone who has lost weight themselves. The advice they give will be what worked for them, which may not work for you. Everyone’s body is different, after all.

You could find a thin doctor or dietitian, but of course they may be thin not through following their own advice: they may be one of the “lucky ones”. It may also be that their dietary and exercise preferences don’t match up with yours.

It’s essential that the advice you’re given allows you to have energy, avoid hunger, and function effectively. If you’re lethargic or hungry or you can’t think clearly, you won’t stick with the advice. This is where “eat less and exercise more” fails for most people.

You need advice that works for your body. Your friend’s body is different to yours, as is your sister’s, and even your doctor’s. What works for one won’t necessarily work for all.

This is why it’s so important to have a plan of action that allows you to make adjustments according to your eating preferences, health conditions, and the response of your body to the advice. Of course, Healthy Inspirations can help you to find the best strategy for your body.

Ultimately, it shouldn’t matter where or from whom weight loss advice comes. What is important is that the advice suits your body and gives you the results you want, both for your weight and your health.