Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Red Alert -- HealthCare Post --- Scarcer than Hen's Teeth

Nothing, but nothing, is more boring than talking about weight loss. Unless you want to lose weight. Sometimes, not even then. So if you don't want to read about it, pass right on by. But do call again as this is a one-off.

Obesity is an epidemic of the past few decades that no one has been able to cure. No, there is no safe magic pill that will wipe out this disease. Now that statement makes the old pharmacist unhappy but it's true. Doctors, with some exceptions, are pretty nigh useless in this area. My dear primary care physician says, Weight Watchers usually works! I've been there, done that, got the Lifetime Membership card to prove it. Most people lose weight only to put it all back on plus even more and I was no different.

Not only that, I think I know more about dieting and weight loss than any of the women I met leading those groups. Certainly in theory. I was often consulted about weight loss in my days in community pharmacy. Actually I am rather embarrassed to remember it, since I was always considered slightly underweight and thin until I turned 50. So how could I understand what these women were going through as I blithely rattled off the platitudes and gave advice about something I truly knew nothing about. Not in practical terms.

But now I know a considerable amount about it and from personal experience as well as the theory of it. I just went to count my books on dieting. I'm not talking recipe books, I'm talking books about dieting per se. I have 34 on my shelves. I have read every one of them plus I've read almost every other book on dieting in my public library. So how come I'm too short for my weight, or too heavy for my height or just plain overweight? Because I don't put all that knowledge into practice. I'm no better off than the person who knows nothing at all about it.

But I'm going to do something about it. Again! There are eleven weeks approximately until Christmas. Dr Val Jones, MD, senior medical director at, sent me an invitation to join her in losing 10 lbs before Christmas. Val has set up a group here, a site for bloggers to join and take the challenge with her. Ten pounds in just over ten weeks. That is a doable goal. One pound per week. 3500 calories less per week. Just cut 500 calories per day from your food intake. Or walk for half an hour and cut out 300 calories per day. Or just follow your diet of choice. So get off your butt, get moving and join Val and me in our quest.

You know those eleven weeks are going to pass by anyway, so why not spend them with us in the push to lose ten pounds. also has a very good section on weight management if you need some ideas, plus a wonderful toolkit to keep track of things.

I can't envisage healthcare posts here very often, since this is only the second one, with the first here. Although one day I might tell you about the day our pharmacy department blew the door off the incinerator at the university.

No, not my feet on the scales, obviously male, but there are some males signed up for the ten pounds before Christmas weight loss group. A true co-ed endeavour.


Dr. Val said...

Thanks for the link, JMB! This group is kind of cool in that people can lose weight any way they like (you know there are many ways to do it) and get encouragement along the way. I think that most of us are veteran dieters - so we don't need the "how to" we just need the motivation and accountability that good blogging friends can give. Let's hope this is a great success - and that we also help each other keep off the weight in the future. :)

Crushed by Ingsoc said...

I'm 11.5 stone, but am trying to get back down to ten.

I was Nine and a half in my early twenties, but I think that might be slightly impossible now.

Rositta said...

I wish you and anyone who takes up the challenge well. I don't need to loose weight but need to exercise more. I'm going to take up power walking (with poles I think) when I get back home. I understand that it also helps take off some weight and keeps the old ticker in shape. Good luck, I'll pay attention to progress...ciao:)

Sarabeth said...

Yeah, I'll do it. I have about 9 pounds that need to go, but more than that I need to exercise more.

Voyager said...

I'm coming with you! Like you, I was always slim with no effort until my forties. Now I've just turned fifty and I weigh 15 pounds more than I did the day I turned 40. Where did it come from?

Carver said...


I like this post. I'm sort of like you although my weight issues began earlier. I was always bone thin until my late 30s. Not by intent I just tended to be thin. I made up for it though by thinking I couldn't get heavy, wrong! After getting heavy, I got in the best shape of my life by running. The past few years I've put on weight and have used the excuse that I can't run or do the type of exercise I like. It's just an excuse because I could lose weight. I just can't do it the same way I did before.

If you burn more calories than you consume, you lose weight. The point being I can't consume the same as I did when I burned a lot but that doesn't mean I can't be a healthy weight. I need to consume less. I'll check out the link. Who knows, maybe I'll get inspired. I could definitely stand to lose more than a few pounds at this point. Take care, Carver

ipanema said...

I admire everyone who takes effort to ship-shape. I was underweight until I had my second child. With the kind of lifestyle and my slow metabolism, I have extra pounds that need to go. However, I can't promise not to eat nowadays. The locals are celebrating their New Year and I have invitations to attend to. Perhaps not a good reason to gorge but like my dancercise programme, I skipped several sessions now. I don't have that determination yet.

Depression didn't help at all. In due good time perhaps.

Goodluck! :)

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I don't know what happened but I woke up one day and I was obese. I have photos to prove that I wasn't always so but my friends just shake their heads and say "Photoshop". All the best in your endeavour. I am aiming for 30 pounds off by Christmas.

Anonymous said...

I am trying to gain 10 lbs by Christmas!!

MedStudentWife said...

I'll have to check out the link.

Ok .. you just have to tell the story about the incinerator door - you know I won't be able to sleep, JMB, until you do


Ellee said...

As I read this, I am eating a cottage cheese salad with couscous. For dinner I am cooking a fat free casserole. I so want/need to lose half a stone to fit in to my clothes. It just gets harder as you get older.

Ian Lidster said...

May the 11 weeks go well and not too stressfully. Wendy always swears by Weightwatchers because she has always found she was most successful with them. About 4 years ago I knocked off 30 pounds following a modified Atkins. I know there are those who decry the Atkins Diet, but it worked well for me. When I'd lost the weight I went back to a regular diet, but watched my calory intake. The Atkins is excruciatingly boring, I might add. Anyway, since that time I have gained back about 10 pounds, but I still am 20 to the good and plan to stay at least at this level.

Janice Thomson said...

"Although one day I might tell you about the day our pharmacy department blew the door off the incinerator at the university." - I can't wait to hear this one!
I think you're right Jmb - we just have to watch our calorie intake and do more exercising like walking instead of driving to the corner store etc. We have to use a little willpower - easy to say but hard to do at times.

jmb said...

Hi Dr Val,
You're welcome. Let's do it and help each other in this endeavour.

Hi Crushed,
It's probably all that beer and munchies down at the pub with your friends. In the early twenties the male is still growing so could be unrealistic. Anyway don't let it get away from you, nip it in the bud now.

Hi Rositta,
I'm sure we need all the good wishes we can get. Excercise is not only for weight loss but to keep us moving as well.

Hi Sarabeth,
Good for you. I saw you had joined so let's all make this effort to lose and move our butts.

Hi Voyager,
Please join us too. Fifty was my waterloo time. Let's do it, I know you are active so you have to find some other way to do it.

Hi Carver,
Well you do have your health issues but I am sure that if you are determined you can do it too. Why not make your goal 5 instead, just join us any way that you can.

Hi ipanema,
I think we often waffle about losing weight. We say we should be we don't really follow through and make the effort. So much of our social life revolves around food.

Well 30 lbs by Christmas sound a bit extreme to me, although male squirrels lose more easily and larger amounts than females. Join us anyway in making a commitment to lose some weight before Christmas

Hi Mutley,
Of course you are, always walking to a different drummer.

Do follow the links, you'll find another blog friend you know there.

Hi Ellee,
Good for you. You started on your own. It's horrible when you have all these nice clothes which are just too tight. It does indeed get harder to lose as you get older and I don't know why that is. I know we have to adjust our intake down as we get older and become more sedentary, but it seems like more than that.

Hi Ian,
WW worked for me for a while for I lost it but once I stopped following it strictly disaster! I do have some problems with Atkins diet.

I am a firm believer in low carb but don't like the high fat component part of his diet. I find South Beach to be much healthier because it is low carb and low fat.

Atkins is boring and that is one of its problems. Plus counting the carbs so obsessively is a pain. Anyway keep up your vigilance.

Hi Janice,
I think we all know why we are overweight. It's getting the motivation to do something about it that is difficult. Especially if you like to eat well. A combination of eating healthily and exercise is surely the best way. Now all we have to do is follow this good advice.

Thanks to all who visited and commented on this post.
If you are joining us in this endeavour, not necessarily in the group but on your own, I wish you well. Let's be ten pounds lighter by Christmas.

Sir Philip Johnston-Higham said...

Now let me see - 7, 8, 9 ... 10, yes, 100 toes. Well, that's all right then.

JMB, all that exercise here, there and everywhere - it's a wonder you don't waste away! Weight loss? You might need to put some back on.

jmb said...

James-Philip, if only. Me and mutley both. Bucking the trend.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
jmb said...

The above comment was a particularly nasty spam from the Final Phophet, a good 10 pages of rant in my email! Lovely!

S said...

As you rightly said, obesity is an epidemic and will be one of the foremost cause of suffering & death (Morbidity & mortality) mostly indirectly in the future. I advise so many people to reduce weight. But you know who should reduce weight first, it should be doctors. A doctor cannot advice a patient to quit smoking, while the patient knows the doctor smokes. The same way if the doctor is obese (as most doctors are – and they have 101 reasons why they are not able to diet & exercise), unless he is dieting and exercising, his advises may not make a strong impression on the patient. Also i see many patients taking drugs (Sibutramine, Rimonabant…) even when they are not indicated. i feel that is taking unnecessary risks. i feel there is nothing better than good exercise and healthy diet. Nature has given so many varieties of fruits and vegetables, which can be cooked into more varieties of healthy dishes, but we still go for the unhealthy diet and life styles - sad -

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

My great aunt used to say , "Only one way to lose weight - push back the stuff on the table". I have come to the conclusion that it is more important to eat healthily than thinly, jmb.

Davew75 said...

I read all this and laugh...just eat less, work out more......if it were that easy there wouldnt be such an epidemic.....I work out with weights 4 times a week, I do cario 5 days for 30 plus i eat 90% of the time very good and watch my calories closely but since I turned 33 to 35 I cant lose anything unless I cut down to 1800 perfect calories(im 6'2" athelete and weigh now for the past 10 years 270 lbs) 4 years ago I went on the diet I described I lost 35 lbs looked great and felt great except for being hungry 24/7 as soon as I stopped watching every calorie and went to about 2500 calories the weight went directely back to where is was I believe there has to be other answers...My workouts would criple most people but I just cant lose........I know there has to be other like me, not the garbage of just cut your calories or push that food away, whoever is saying that is either obese in the sense we all know or is not fat but needs to drop 2 or 3 pounds.....Its like the get rich ideas save money and youll get rich if was that easy millions upon millions would be doing