A rant by Mark Holland MD
June 28, 2013
I've been doing this too long. I've lost touch with how many obesity bigots still roam the Earth. After 23 years of practice in bariatric medicine (medical weight loss), the concept of obesity as a disease is so deeply ingrained in my thoughts that I seldom ever stop to question it. That is until lately. Ever since the American Medical Association bravely decided to officially recognize obesity as a disease, the bigots have been coming out in force.
And the bigots are loud mouths. “It’s laziness” they bellow. “Just reduce your calorie intake and stop whining” they scream on discussion boards. “Nothing wrong with a fat person that a plane crash in the Andes can't fix” gloats some other jerk. “It’s called ‘personal responsibility’” taunts another.
I have said this so many times in so many ways that I could scream but I need to say it again: willpower doesn't have any role whatsoever in weight loss…NONE…ZERO. Willpower is for football games or investing, not for weight loss. Why? BECAUSE IT DOESN’T WORK! Never has, never will. Couldn’t cannot and won’t.
Because hunger is a SURVIVAL URGE. That means it’s just like breathing or thirst. That means that it runs over “willpower” like a steamroller on a worm. Try to tackle hunger head on and it will pound you into dust. Sure people can resist it for a little while. With enough incentive that’s easy. But can you stay hungry the rest of your life? Not unless you’re locked in a cage with no choice. It’s NOT about “willpower”.
Obesity is a disease. It’s a thousand, actually perhaps hundreds of thousands of insidious biochemical and neurochemical changes in the body and the brain that increase hunger, decrease metabolism and turn a human life into a slow-moving train wreck. It’s horrible, sad, frightening and deadly and it’s a DISEASE as surely as cancer is a disease.
And so I say quite sincerely to all the loudmouthed obesity bigots out there: shame on you! SHAME! How dare you presume to blame sick people for their condition! How dare you presume to compare your body to theirs! How dare you even open your big FAT mouths!
If you can’t grow-up at least have the common sense to SHUT-UP!