Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Advice from Overweight Doctors

Today's post is inspired by Amanda over at RunToTheFinish.  Recently, she was advised to limit her running based on her physician's claims that it messes with hormones and causes a litany of health issues.  The limit proposed was less than 25 miles per week.  For someone training for a marathon, this limit seems very low.   Part two of this advice came in today's post, where Amanda told us that the doctor that gave this advice is quite overweight, has trouble standing and difficulty breathing.

Here's the discussion question that came from this:

"Would you have trouble taking advice from an overweight doctor/nurse?"

For me, it sort of depends on what kind of advice.  If they are advising me to take a course of antibiotics for an ear infection - okay.  They have been trained in the application of prescription drugs and know which ones are best for a specific ailment.  Their weight has no bearing on their intelligence.

But what about nutrition advice?  Advice about over training or recovery from injury?

Ever seen somebody in scrubs smoking a cigarette?  Want to run right up to them and shake them?  I do.  I used to smoke (for 15 years) and I used to be 80lbs overweight.  Had I received advice to loose weight from an over weight doctor at that time, I would have laughed.  I'm certainly not being judgmental, here. I'm just putting this idea out there to think about.

It comes down to experience.  You wouldn't take parenting advice from someone who had no children.  Would you?  Even if they had a Masters Degree in Childhood Development? Even if they had years of experience in "the field" and had written 12 best selling books?

Our doctor is a triathlete and has 3 children.  I feel fairly confident that when it comes to exercise, nutrition and child rearing, he's at the very least "been there, done that."  Does it mean that I will always agree with him?  Probably not.  Does it mean that I'm more likely to take his advice than a physician that is a non-exerciser with no kids.  Absolutely.

What do you think?  Does this reek of overweight discrimination?  Could this be applied to any other profession?


  1. Oh gosh I agree with you 110 percent!! I never take advice about nutrition or exercise from someone who's overweight! It even happened tonight...I was telling the BF's family how I loved these sweet potato fries I found at HyVee and BF's mom makes a face and says "that's not healthy." (She is on doctor's orders to lose 30-40lbs)

    It may be judgmental, but what does that word mean? That I am looking at her body and her lifestyle and deciding I am not going to take advice from her. Not making fun of her, but simply smiling and saying, "well they may be unhealthy but I enjoy eating them every once in awhile."

    And I saw a very overweight dietician once and couldn't stop staring...seriously how hard would it be to get advice from her??

    This goes with everything and I even consider it when I am blogging, since I wouldn't want to be giving advice on something when I don't know what I'm talking about.

    Good question! :-)

  2. Just because someone is fat doesn't mean they don't exercise and eat healthily. A lot of fat people don't, but some do and you don't know just by looking at them.

    You could very well have a naturally slim doctor who also doesnt exercise and lives on burgers.

  3. I agree as well... I like having a sports med doctor who is a runner, and a pediatrician who is a parent, etc... although my midwife was not a mother, and I loved her. I guess it partly depends on your relationship with that person, and how well respected they are in their field.