Sunday, July 26, 2009

How about we nip it in the bud?

Great article in the NY Times by an overweight doctor struggling to advise an overweight patient.

It's frank and up front about the awkward juxtaposition of a person reciting the same old "eat less, move more" rhetoric when that person clearly is either not following his own advice or - surprise, surprise - that advice is complete crap.

Charles Washington from Zeroing in on Health did a better job than I ever could of stating what is obvious to any of us low-carbers: stop the dogma and advise the slashing of sugars/starches/carbs.  Instead, these doctors not only follow the same old useless advice, but continue to espouse it knowing, from their own experience, that it doesn't work (obviously). Charles Washington says:

"This advice should not be based solely on the doctor’s experience. It should be based on an understanding of the science of metabolic syndrome and the advice of Dr. Spock and those who came before just 50 years ago. Carbohydrates are the key to fattening and if one wants to avoid weight gain, then they must decrease carbohydrate consumption. They used to know and teach this until Ancel Keys came along with his total cholesterol nonsense. Now, doctors must stand confused in front of their patients with only their experience to rely on. Is it any wonder that the patients glaze over? I think it’s only right. If an obese person came up to me trying to tell me about the unhealthiness of my diet, I would have to laugh. I mean, really."

Indeed.  My husband's own cardiologist* is an enormous bloke, at least 30lbs overweight.  While I don't in any way think that this affects his abilities as a doctor - I think he's a fine doctor and I love him as a person - but it does skew any diet advice he gives.  The nutritionist or dietitian or whatever she was at the hospital (the HEART hospital) was as round as a bagel and sipping an iced something crappy from Starbucks when she v. seriously advised me to get Bodog on a low fat diet "right away" and cut out all those nasty saturated fats that were damaging his heart.

I'm pretty sure his welcome home supper was two 1/4lb ground beef patties, fried in bacon grease and topped with cheese and chili. 

Eight months later Bodog's blood pressure and cholesterol is perfect and he's lost 30lbs. The sheaf of low-fat diet propaganda lined the budgie's cage (crap on crap, perfect!) and he has learned to live on less than 80g of carbs a day. Erm ... my husband, not the budgie, lol!

But overweight doctors aside, the patient in the article was a child, an 8 year old, and so of course that got me into Mommy Mode.  My thing is this: how can we avoid having the doctor even have to discuss diets with our children?  Answer: don't let our kids get overweight in the first place.

Can it be done?  One of the doctors in the article invoked a "omg been there, done that" response in me:

"But Dr. (Julie C.) Lumeng has struggled with her own weight — she says she lost 50 pounds in the past year after a gestational diabetes scare — and she understands how hard it is to translate her own beliefs into daily practice. When she gets home from a long day at work, she told me, she knows she really ought to tell her three children to turn off the television and ride their bikes, while she is cooking broccoli and salmon for dinner.

“I know it all, I do research in this,” she went on. “But in the moment I’m exhausted, it’s been a long day at work, everyone’s sort of irritable. You can know what you need to do, but when the moment comes ... .”"

As a mom I can SO identify with this!  Many many times I am tired, irritated, and have a dozen things unfinished to do in the house or online for my business and it's supper time. Throw in the fact that I've personally cooked a hot healthy breakfast, dinner, and tea for these kids and the urge to blow off supper (I dunno, popsicles as a meal? Popsicles have vitamins and stuffs, right?) grows strong like the force.

But this is where we moms must show our mettle. This is our Normandy Beach of our children's diet.  This is where we need to pull up our big girl underpants and say: "No. No I will not feed my child a microwave kids meal, or a fast food kids meal, filled with chemicals, sugar, soy, and carbohydrates!  Even two slices of whole wheat bread with plain turkey and cheese is preferable."  We also need to teach our kids to eat good foods.  If you wail that your toddler won't eat wheat bread or turkey or cheese and will only eat Frankenchicken nuggets and mac and orangefakesauce so that's why that's all you serve him, well, mommy epic FAIL.

They won't starve themselves. No really, they won't.  It's our responsibility to put good food on the table in front of our children.  It might take them 20 times of taking one bite per meal to learn to like something but we must do it.

The basic gist is this: an overweight 8 year old didn't take her own money down to the Micky Ds and gorge on Big Macs. She didn't do this. Her momma did.

There's nothing in the world wrong with fast food every now and again, or even sweet treats (popsicles!), on occasion, but the fact is that WE control what our young kids eat.  The opening lines of the article struck me as terribly, terribly sad:

"The mother came out of the exam room to intercept me: she knew I would probably have to talk to her daughter about how she was gaining weight, she said, but please don’t use the word “fat,” or even “overweight.” Don’t make her feel bad about herself. "

She allowed her daughter to get fat!  And only now is she concerned about her self image?  A bit late for that.  I never, NEVER want to be in the situation where my baby girl's self confidence is weakened by something I DID TO HER.

Nuff said.

*For anyone who hasn't been following my blog, my husband, Bodog, a type 1 diabetic, had a heart attack last November (at the age of 34) and had to get 2 stents in his heart.

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 8:11 am   3 comments


At 6:54 pm, Anonymous moonduster said...

First off, I completely agree that the weight of an 8 year old girl is up to her mommy. We choose what our kids eat, and we're the ones who have to push them to play ACTIVELY.

Second, my dad is, like Bodog, a Type 2 diabetic, and last month he had a heart attack and had to have two stents put in. I've sent him some of my diet plan's info. If he sticks to it, he'll lose weight and improve. If he finds he can't stick with it, I'll see if I can get him to try yours.

I just need him to do SOMETHING good for him!

At 6:43 am, Anonymous Judith said...

hi there
I saw your comment on Son of Grok's blog and I thought I would pop over to thank you for the term "lacto-paleo". That's me! I have tried giving up dairy and I just can't do it. Lacto-Paleo works for me!

At 11:26 am, Anonymous teeg701 said...

It is ultimately up to the parents as to whether their children will grow- up living healthily or not.

My only argument is that the fast food industry is making it increasingly harder on parents and children to make the right dietary- decisions.
If you're interested in learning more about the movement to hold the fast food industry accountable for their child- targeted marketing check out


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