Overweight and obese patients don’t see the risk

Tough love

If ever there was a reason to initiate the change I talked about in yesterday’s Reality Health Check, this is it.

According to a recent survey, many overweight and obese patients seen in hospital emergency departments don’t believe their weight poses a risk to their health.

How is that even possible? Do these people read? Or is it simply that, dare I say it, fat has become the new thin?

It’s certainly true that Americans have an uncanny misconception between their weight and size. Maybe because everything is so big these days it makes people believe that they’re smaller than they actually are. After all, this “supersizing” phenomenon is everywhere–from extra-wide hospital stretchers to the vats of cream and sugar that masquerade as many people’s morning coffee.

But what’s more disturbing about the survey I mentioned above is that many people say their doctor never told them they were overweight, unhealthy, and at risk for serious diseases like diabetes. If you ask me, this borders on malpractice.

How can you be treating an overweight patient and not mention it? It’s like not telling a patient to stop smoking. It is a physician’s responsibility to have frank discussions with patients about issues concerning their health. Obesity is one of them.

I’ve never been one of those doctors afraid to tell someone that they’re overweight. But it’s not a cosmetic issue for me, even if the person comes to see me strictly wanting to look better. I’m here to make people healthier. Looking better is simply a “side effect” to that goal.

But doctors aren’t the only ones who need to take responsibility for the health and well-being of the people they care for. We all need to speak up–to our friends, co-workers, and family members.

I know it’s not the most comfortable conversation to have with someone. No one wants to hurt someone else’s feelings by telling them they need to lose weight. But look at it this way: You would do it if they had a drug or alcohol problem. Heck, you wouldn’t consider letting them smoke in your house.

Obesity is just as serious–and just as deadly–as those other behaviors. It’s directly linked to diabetes, hypertension, cancer, osteoarthritis, heart disease, and many others. These are chronic diseases. And losing weight can dramatically reduce your risk of all of them.

That’s why I am so happy to be sharing my Hamptons Health Miracle with all of you.  It really is an easy way to lose weight and keep it off (which is why “diets” don’t work–they never take you beyond the weight-loss phase). I’ve lost 80 pounds following my own advice, and I’ll never go back. I can say that with complete confidence because my plan is so simple and so easy I don’t even think about it anymore. After a week or two, it just becomes second nature–because it doesn’t involve deprivation.

And the true beauty of my plan is that it works for EVERYONE. If you have weight to lose, it will help you do that. But even if you don’t, it will still help you–to avoid diabetes, to re-energize your body, and to feel better than you have in years.

So if you or someone you care about needs to lose weight, speak up!