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Doctor's Question Saves My Friend

Posted by chisue (My Page) on
Fri, Oct 26, 12 at 11:53

I decided to post this after reading about some exploited child called "Honey" and comments about labeling her. Sometimes it helps to be blunt. (I appreciate that the child IS a child, and my story is about a young woman.)

My childhood friend had been overweight all her life. She'd tried 'diets'. She'd seen this doctor and that one -- no help until...

A new MD had performed a physical and asked her to come into his office. Without preamble he said, "My dear, WHY are you so FAT?"

Her first reaction was shock, then anger, then sadness. I'm sure he read all of these emotions on her face, but before she could say anything, he told her that together they were going to fing her 'why'.

I won't go into her psychological reason for over-eating, but she did discover it, understand it, and was able to rescue the 'hungry' child within. She's been a normal weight ever since.

If you are fat, you know it. Other people know it. Using 'cute' words instead of "fat" doesn't change anything and may do harm. Being fat is almost never due to anything other than over-eating and under-exercising. So, (my dears), you might consider why YOU would prefer to be fat instead of confronting your personal WHY.

(End of preaching.)


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Doctor's Question Saves My Friend

No comment except I have a relative and friend who I think, because of emotional issues are overweight. In fact my relative kept going to Doctors until she found one telling her it was ok. Yes she has been tested to make sure it was nothing else at that time. I do have compassion for those struggling with this problem.


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RE: Doctor's Question Saves My Friend

You know, I really think that the dr could have gotten to the same underlying problem without his having used the word FAT. He went *with* her on the journey to get to the bottom of her problem. He cared & persevered... that, in & of itself, is enough. He didn't need to "shock" her.

So very often it is ONE negative word in amongst hundreds of positive words that people focus & latch onto. I'm thinking of when employees/students get an evaluation -or- even here @ the KT where there is a thread where seemingly one negative post among hundreds of positives is possibly the reason for one to exit.

So, just because this dr. used the word FAT & he/his patient had a good outcome, it could have just as easily gone awry where the pt. left his office thinking he was unkind & insensitive.

Calling someone FAT is unkind. JMHO


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RE: Doctor's Question Saves My Friend

Chisue.. I'm assuming you are thin or at a "average weight" or you'd have never started this post. Yes, most overweight people probably overeat and under-exercise.. but there are a lot of other reasons people gain weight including lack of sleep, stress, cortisol or insulin issues, thyroid disease, medications, etc.

Back 10 or 12 years ago when I was new to this forum I was at a good average weight (on the lower end of the chart according to my height)... today after gaining over 70 lbs. I am considered obese. Within the past 7 years I've been diagnosed with hypothyroidism and cortisol/adrenal issues, I've been on a few different medications that caused weight gain (as much as 15 lbs in 3 weeks). I'm not going to say I always eat healthy or that I get enough exercise.. but these other things have also contributed to my weight gain.

I was in your shoes back then... hope you're not in my shoes in a few years.

Here is a link that might be useful: Some other reasons for weight gain


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RE: Doctor's Question Saves My Friend

My first inclination was to let this fall off the first page, but since others have responded, I will too.

I've been fat for a few years now. I don't mind the word fat. It's just a description like short, red-haired, or self-righteous.

I guess I "chose" to be fat because I was tired, hungry and cranky after nearly fifty years of trying to be thin.

The bonus? I now stay the same size from year to year. Before, If I wasn't losing weight, I was gaining weight and I never knew what size I would be month to month.

I was also happy to learn that no one cares if a gray haired old lady is fat. The gray hair, and the old trump anything else!


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I'd rather be fat and sensitive than thin and insensitive. JMHO.
Lets not forget those with a genetic predisposition to obesity when we are judging others about their body shape. I wish my height matched my weight but I didn't have any control over that either.


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RE: Doctor's Question Saves My Friend

Bee -- I only posted after reading a lot of silly euphemisms for F-A-T in the "Honey Whatsis" thread. I don't comment on a person's weight. However, I think it is not only ridiculous to use cutsie terms, but that to do so can be harmful.

When my friend told me her story she said that her family --and even the doctors she'd seen -- had danced around her weight. She was thrilled to find an MD who actually helped her! She needed to hear just plain 'fat' -- and that it probably had an emotional cause she could discover and face.

It's not my story, but I've had my own left-over-from-childhood issues to face. I posted in good faith, hoping to help, not to criticize anyone. IMO any adult can benefit from a little therapy -- to inventory ideas and attitudes learned in childhood that are no longer useful and that may be detrimental.


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RE: Doctor's Question Saves My Friend

My mom has always told me and my kids that I (as in me her DD) am not fat I am 'Fluffy' and I need to just get used to it~~~I think that may be the reason for many of my problems:( Words do hurt!


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RE: Doctor's Question Saves My Friend

Words do hurt.

I'm glad your friend has had success, but I don't think the doctor did a wise thing, especially with a person he'd just met;
I'd guess 99 people out of 100 would have burst into tears or stormed out in rage, or crept out in humiliation, maybe have gone home & eaten a carton of ice cream, maybe gone home & swallowed a handful of pills.


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RE: Doctor's Question Saves My Friend

Chisue, I agree with you. Sometimes we just need a dose of reality to kickstart healing.


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RE: Doctor's Question Saves My Friend

My dear sister in law Patricia was a chubby kid. They called her "Fatty Patty". Years later she is still extremely shy, bears the emotional scars. She never married, never had a boyfriend, never been kissed. Yes names do hurt.


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RE: Doctor's Question Saves My Friend

I totally agree with Chisue.

So what difference would it have made if the doctor said fat or obese...stop sugar coating a serious health issue! There's more to being fat than just not looking like a movie star! It is a very serious health issue. If a person is over weight because of other issues besides over eating, it probably means they are eating the wrong unhealthy foods or has a hormonal imbalance and needs to be taken care of! Not only is being obese bad for your heart and causes diabetes, it's also horrible on your legs and hips and back etc! Imagine carrying around a 100 lb bag of horse feed all the time! It would get pretty d*mn heavy and tear up your legs, hips and back etc!


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Such a sensitive topic. What I do know is that there are not many people who are actually happy with what they weigh. No matter how thin they appear to other people.
So, I have to agree about all the psycological issues that we all seem to face. Yes, there are many who have medical issues, but for the most part most of us are not aware of caloric intake or proper choices.
I"m a life time member of Weight Watchers. If you follow the program, it works! When I start to cheat, or fool myself, when I get on the scale, it doesn't lie.
I get how painful words can be. Who hasn't been made fun of for some physical feature while growing up? But, at the same time we need to take responsibility for ourselves. It is not your fault that someone else is mean spirited!
I have a niece that says she is curvy. Because she is smart and talented I think she thinks she can pull this off. She is not curvy at this point but over weight.
My daughter was over weight until high school. I thought she was beautiful but she had difficulty finding clothing for her age group. At one point my husband did have the nerve to talk to her about it, particularly since diabetes runs in our family. Things struck a cord and she is has maintained an average weight for 6 years now.
So, it is possible, but extremely hard. As a good friend said to me, "One of the hardest things to do, is NOT eat."
Each person needs to be realistic about their lifestyle and choose a plan that can work for them.


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Eating healthy is not about "NOT EATING"...it's about eating healthy food choices. Everyone should know that sugar and starch is not a healthy diet choice, why is it so difficult to comprehend this? No one ever got fat off eating broccoli, you could eat a pot of broccoli and not ever gain weight!

If a person has cancer, the doctor doesn't pussyfoot around the subject and let them slowly die of cancer but yet when the slow killer is obesity it's a big taboo subject. I say bravo for the doctor to be straight and tell the girl what she needed to hear! Maybe if more doctors would tell people how to lose weight the healthy way there wouldn't be so many people sick with weight related health issues! Instead they are afraid to say anything or the person will stop going to them. SMH!


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RE: Doctor's Question Saves My Friend

Arkansas- looks like you took my quote the wrong way. Of course it's about eating healthy, as I mentioned with my WW plan that I follow.
What my friend meant was the over eating issue. There are people who only eat healthy foods but are still over weight. It is not only what we are eating, but how much. So what my friend was saying was how difficult it is to not eat that piece of pie, or go for seconds etc. To stay with portions and NOT over eat.


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RE: Doctor's Question Saves My Friend

Cancer...

"My dear, WHY do you have CANCER?"

Nope, sorry, not a good comparison.


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RE: Doctor's Question Saves My Friend

I think the way of Silver Dove. Talking and saying my body is fat, or talking with my friends about fat doesn't bother me. On the other hand I think almost all of us here understand that calling someone fatty Patty isn't nice either. Using the word fat isn't a negative word any more than hairy or wart is. It is what it is. Spoken with concern from a doctor would be a welcome relief. I'd say,"let's get down to business!"
If Boo boo was reading here, it might be more friendly to let her weight issues go by but since she isn't reading here, why not talk about this newest celeb, the way we really see her. We all know fluffy means fat, so why not say it around each other? I shouldn't assume but I'm guessing most of us are just trying to understand what is happening with such a unique young girl.


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RE: Doctor's Question Saves My Friend

I have been put on prednezone and the weight
just piles on regardless how careful you are
about watching the food you eat. I had lost 30 lbs
before taking prednezone then when I started these
pills I gained all the weight back plus some more.
My Dr. told it is next to impossible to lose when
on this medication.

Dolly


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RE: Doctor's Question Saves My Friend

No cancer and obesity are not the same thing but they are both health issues that need to be treated. GAH! whatever? It is what it is...fat is fat and quit pussyfooting the issue. Being a hundred pounds overweight is a serious issue and CAN kill you whether you call it fat or fluff.


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RE: Doctor's Question Saves My Friend

The "fatty Patty" comment caught my attention, because that's what I was called as a kid. And I wasn't "fat" but overweight even through HS. After my 4th pregnancy, realizing that I'm hypoglycemic, I went on a high protein, low carb diet. 30 years later, I've maintained my weight at about 15# lower than I was in HS (I'm about 120 and 5'7".) I am blessed that through a newborn dying, I learned about my own metabolism and how to eat right for my body. The hardest part was giving up ice cream cones (I can eat about a tablespoon of ice cream, and have learned to relish that.)I really think that junking up on the addictive snacky carbs is the primary cause of obesity in people who don't have health issues that cause it.


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RE: Doctor's Question Saves My Friend

Hearing my friend's story has made me wonder just how much obesity IS due to some psychological problem.

When we see TV coverage of troops returning home en masse, I'm struck by the image of these lean, fit soldiers (men and women) and the many seriously fat wives welcoming them home.

I can think of many psychological reasons why the wives are overweight: Fat women are 'the norm' where they live; It is emotionally 'safer' to be unappealingly fat when your DH is away; There are so many stresses (lonely, frightened for their servicemen, sexually repressed, single-parenting etc.).


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RE: Doctor's Question Saves My Friend

Also I believe genetics has something to do with it too. I am fat and believe me I KNOW I am fat. I exercise as much as I can and try to eat healthy. I don't drink alcohol or smoke but I am fat. I have been overweight all my life, I really don't remember being skinny. And to top that off I am 4'10 inches tall! 5 lbs on me looks like 10 on others. I have sat and thought about it and I have nothing in my past to cause any psychological problems and I am not depressed.

Deb


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RE: Doctor's Question Saves My Friend

Deb - I am also only 4'10 and overweight, once topping out at 165lbs, and that wasn't during a pregnancy either. Although short, I am not small boned so my best weight is about 115.

Several years ago I can remember having something on my mind, just thinking it over, then suddenly realized I was looking at my arm. It was my grandmothers arm hanging off my shoulder! LOL

She was my same height, my same build so I knew what the future would bring. I think I could battle and get done to a good weight but I enjoy food and do my share of partaking!
I gave up cigarettes but please, let me have a few vices! :)

BTW, I have seen Dr.'s that believe if you are overweight that is caused by nothing more than psychological reasons. That's only half true IMO. I just like my carbs a great deal, please don't go looking for emotional mess.

I have no health problems, take no meds, am very active and have a very physical job.

Okay, I'm going on a diet. Maybe after the storm passes so I can go to the grocery store for more conscious choices. Or maybe I'll wait until the weekend so I have time to prepare for lunch at work. Or maybe I'll wait until after Thanksgiving. Maybe Christmas.

Oh well, might as well make it my New Years resolution. :)


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RE: Doctor's Question Saves My Friend

My friend is and was a very intelligent, funny, outgoing person. She just learned an unhealthy 'compensation' early in life. (It was an 'inherited' -- familial -- coping mechanism within an *emotionally constipated* family.)


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RE: Doctor's Question Saves My Friend

Chisue - Can I ask where you got your PHD from since you seem to feel that you are an expert by running around and Psychoanalyzing an entire group of people? Do you not think that people know they are fat? Do you really think that having a psychological issue is the only reason people get fat? Your ideas ( sexually repressed, emotionally safer to be unappealingly fat) are absurd and you are irresponsibly making assumptions. May I ask what business is it of yours to "preach" to an entire group of people? Before you say the cost of healthcare - the four major contributors to the cost of healthcare now are: heart disease and stroke, diabetes, lung disease and Alzheimer's. Being obese increases your chances of getting Diabetes, but there are many, many thin people with diabetes. Babies are born everyday with Diabetes. Heart attack and stroke increase with being obese, but stress also increases your odds. lung disease - nope. cigarettes and pollutants. Alzheimers - nope. So if you say the cost of healthcare, then you need to also include the smokers, the people with stressful jobs and lives, and the elderly. My husband and I have excellent insurance and we pay for it. I don't whine about every old person who's also using it. Every smoker. Every person with cancer. Have you ever even been fat? Do you have any idea what it's like to try to lose hundreds of extra pounds? How about 20 extra pounds? I'm not saying everybody fat has an excuse - but the people that I'm friends with that are fat are not gluttonous and lazy. I have a friend who at 250 pounds participates in 5k runs. She swims 3 times a week, walks 2 miles a day - everyday, and eats relatively healthy. She just can't lose weight. She's tried diet after diet to no avail. What would you tell her? That she's unappealingly (willingly) fat? She's married to a very successful surgeon and has been for 20 years. He worships her and accepts her how she is. He met her at the weight she is now and doesn't find her unattractive. Not every man out there is attracted to tiny models. I also have another friend who's been in 3 major car accidents. The first one messed up her knees, the next one required physical therapy for 6 months and the last was another round of PT for a year. She can't sit in the same spot for more than 15 minutes without her legs going numb because of her back issues. She can't walk long distances because of her knees. She lives in pain and can't physically do a lot of exercise. Sure she could go swimming - but she fears being laughed at or reprimanded by closed minded people like you. She also doesn't eat much - she is in fact vegetarian. What would you tell her? That it's an emotional disorder? There are other reasons that people are fat and they don't require your unskilled evaluation or childlike reprimanding.


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RE: Doctor's Question Saves My Friend

good post, Chrysalis.

Using words to hurt someone isn't nice.
It's mean & ugly.

& to then say you're just being refreshingly honest & the person should grow a thicker skin is not only mean-spirited & sadistic; it's blaming your victim for being hurt.

(I once dated a guy who turned out to be a sadist; before I realized that, we had an argument one evening about something devastatingly cruel that he had said, which he defended by claiming that it was just his honest observation & that there must be something wrong with me if I objected to someone telling the truth. I finally backed him into a verbal corner & insisted that he apologize. He rolled his eyes & said, "I apologize. I'm sorry you got your feelings hurt." Same kind of thing.)


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RE: Doctor's Question Saves My Friend

Sorry about your experience Sylvia. That sounds horrible. I just felt that the OP didn't post this with an honest intention to enlighten anybody. I felt that as her posts continued, she became more reckless in her disregard for another human being. I've seen her post on other forums about her many medical and dental issues but I wouldn't stoop so low as to say her bad teeth, colon problems, appendix and the medications she takes are because she's sexually repressed. I just found it almost repulsive and I feel sad for her that her view of people is so slanted.


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RE: Doctor's Question Saves My Friend

STC, you chastise Chisue for being cruel, and you are indeed cruel and angry. And you are also uninformed. Asthma and breathing problems are indeed associated with obesity, as is heart disease, type 11 diabetes, stroke, arthritis, addiction, rising costs of healthcare and on and on and on. And I can't tell you the number of people (both men and women) who have been sexually abused who are morbidly obese and use that obesity to protect themselves from whatever they are trying to protect themselves from. Alzheimers? Who knows, but obesity certainly doesn't contribute to brain function and protection.

Trust me, and I won't go into the gory details, but I know what I am talking about from both a personal and a medical perspective. And I can guarantee you that if your overweight friends HONESTLY wrote down every little bite, taste, or lick that entered their mouths they would find the answer to their problem.

I also have a friend who was hit by a car as a teenager and who has multiple orthopedic issues, including one leg shorter than the other, who is now in her late 50s. She is overweight and she knows it, but she tries really hard to keep the weight manageable for her health. She wishes she could exercise, but just can't. I thank the Lord everyday for my mobility, and my willingness to use it.

Oh, I was picked on and bullied mercilessly in grade school. I weighed 225# at 10 years old. I suppose you would call me thin now, but I work at it everyday of my life.


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Not every overweight person sits on their arse all day eating cheese doodles and whipped cream out of the can.

And for those who think it is alright to go up to somebody and say they are fat, that this is just not sugarcoating, does that mean I can walk up to you and say "You have ugly crooked teeth and your hair is stringy"?

It could be the truth, right?

Dances - call me fat to my face and I will punch you in the throat.


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RE: Doctor's Question Saves My Friend

STC, I just re-read your post and you never called Chi cruel. I have to apologize for that. But I still felt that your response was as stated. It's interesting, but even the term "morbid obesity" is waning. We now call those with a BMI>40 "Obese Class III". Doesn't really matter if you call it fluffy, fat, obese, chunky, or my favorite as a kid-husky. I used to hate shopping in the husky section.


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RE: Doctor's Question Saves My Friend

"these lean, fit soldiers"

I remember daddy coming home from Viet Nam and I would use the word gaunt to describe him. It was stress and mental fatigue, with too much weight lost.

I agree with others; there are more issues than psychological, some people are predisposed to weight (why not, you wouldn't tell a short person to suck it up and get tall would you?), and it's not necessary to say fat to someone who is overweight to break through. The doctor should've been much kinder in his choice of word. The same results could've come about while softening the blow.


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RE: Doctor's Question Saves My Friend

I hope no other readers felt I was 'judging' them, or anyone. I don't mention anyone's weight to them (nor do I gossip about it). Should someone tell me she is 'fluffy', 'curvy', etc. I would be silent.

I DO wonder if encouraging avoidance of the word 'fat' is helping anyone. Sometimes we talk about things like this around the KT. I'm not attempting to enlighten anyone; just asking if my 'take' resonates with anyone else.

Chrysalis -- I haven't said a word about health costs due to obesity. We do have epidemic obesity. I wonder about the causes, and possible 'cures'.

I told the story because I thought it might help someone to *consider* if there are psychological reasons contributing to a weight problem.

I have questioned, not made judgements. I feel sympathy for the stressed military spouses we see on TV. I wonder if they could get some support and help! I am *asking* if anyone else had wondered the same things.

No person in our culture wishes and hopes to be fat. (Well, we've heard of a few, unique individuals!) I know there are non-psychological reasons for some people to be fat. Is there something wrong with asking people to consider if therapy could help them if they are struggling?

As for me, personally, I am now a scrawny little old lady, but I was an unhappy adolescent of 150 lbs. and unhappy again as a middle-aged housewife at 140 lbs. I suspect my current ills are genetic inheritance, but also just part of wearing out -- and living in a society where I am tested to discover the ills!


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RE: Doctor's Question Saves My Friend

I am fat. I KNOW I am fat, no one needs to tell me. Lots of people think fat=stupid, lazy, unhappy and many other things. People are very judgmental and many are just cruel. What possible reason could someone have to point out other people's physical flaws? And my doctor knows I'm over-weight (sorry, neither of us uses the word fat) and I know how to change it. But knowing and doing are two different things.


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RE: Doctor's Question Saves My Friend

I think we've wandered off the thrust of the initial post. It seemed to me that the message was all about:
-- Sometimes it helps to be blunt.
-- Without preamble, a NEW doctor, described to his NEW patient, that she was FAT
-- Her first reaction was shock, then anger, then sadness.

I doubt this was the first time she'd ever HEARD the word FAT thrown @ her. But most likely it was the first time she'd ever heard a DOCTOR use the word FAT in describing her.

That a dr would do so, strikes me as unprofessional, as well as unkind, & totally unnecessary. It does nothing to build rapport, in fact it would most often do just the opposite. To use Dances examples ... a dentist would not make a comment on your "ugly, crooked teeth" or a hairdresser tell you your hair is "stringy"... , or I thought of an example... a dermatologist would not comment that you have a pock-marked, pimply face.

So why do some people think it is ok & has some "shock value" to call a person fat?

Chisue, do you *really* feel the dr's calling your friend FAT was THE key to unlocking the door to her problem? I'm more inclined to think that he was able to help her because he otherwise had a caring manner, & took the TIME & INTEREST to delve into her issues & also to educate her on how to turn things around.


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RE: Doctor's Question Saves My Friend

It's not wrong to suggest therapy, chisue. It's not. I just think that that might only address a low percentage of overweight people. There are just too many reasons to simplify it into one statement. I think that's what we're all trying to get at.

I was thin, really thin, like a size 0 without trying until I hit 27, had a molar pregnancy which seems to have affected my metabolism (and it does in some cases for certain, but they think, don't know (because it's too rare a condition), that the thyroid problems cease after the mole is removed), and now nothing gets/keeps the weight off. Nothing. I'm not huge, but it didn't feel good to hear how I needed to lose weight. I just know that hearing I was fat would've really broken my heart. I know that I cannot hide my weight, but hearing fat puts it on display too much for me.

I don't think you're being judgmental, just that you may not have a full understanding. I come from a family of people who cannot gain weight. No matter how much we try. We have "chicken legs" and my brother couldn't even enlist in the Air Force until he put on pounds. I know what a heartache it is for them to have trouble at the other end. But you have to admit society is much more forgiving when it's too little rather than too much weight. I've been both, and seen them both up close. Just sharing my unique view.


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RE: Doctor's Question Saves My Friend!

Excellent post, Bee.

Rob, I have a friend just like you only her extreme thinness and inability to gain weight were caused by a thyroid tumor. She had a near-death experience with the removal of that tumor, and now is on prednisone for the rest of her life. Now she is about 50# overweight, but she is much happier. She relies on a high protein diet to keep herself from continuing to increase her weight. She said protein is the only thing that keeps her from eating all the time (from the prednisone).


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RE: Doctor's Question Saves My Friend

Speaking as a person who types medical reports everyday if I came across one that asked a patient that question I would think immediately.. gee what a jerk. Obviously, this person knew she was overweight before she went to see him and didn't need him to ask her why she was "FAT". I think it was very unprofessional of him to ask her that when he just as easily could have said, I see you are slightly overweight, let's see what we can do about that. I think in her mind she would have known she was more than just slightly overweight but it probably would have saved her hurt feeling. Just the thought of knowing how this had to hurt her feelings really saddens me.


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RE: Doctor's Question Saves My Friend

"I remember daddy coming home from Viet Nam and I would use the word gaunt to describe him. It was stress and mental fatigue, with too much weight lost."

Just when you think you're all cool, something "makes your eyes water".

My Daddy was in World War II, & I always thought he had no idea about what war really was, because his only war stories were about layig telephone line & playing jokes on his buddies.

It was long after he was gone that I got his records & learned that he was in North Africa, at Anzio, & at Cassino.
He had 5 bronze stars.

& he was always "gaunt" & tense & tightly-wound.

My cousins, who knew him before I was born, said that he was a different person from the fun-loving Uncle Buddy they had known before the war.

We don't (can't) know what has happened to another person, what inner scars or wounds they bear.

& if those wives are anything like me, they gained weight while their husbands were in harm's way because stress made them eat & eat & eat.


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RE: Doctor's Question Saves My Friend

Now you made me cry Sylvia. Nope, never the same since. I'm with you, right there next to you. I often wonder what life would've been like had he been stationed elsewhere.


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