Don't pass judgement

Posted by on 11 March, 2010

Judging Amy- dont go there!

The other morning you might have seen the segment we did on Sunrise on lap band surgery for teenagers. It amazes me that people have very firmly held opinions on the subject. They feel that to go for surgery is a cop out and that these teens should ‘just lose weight.’ I have to put my hand up and defend the kids and their adult sisters and brothers in crime who don’t ‘just lose weight.’

As we get to know more about obesity, the idea that anyone can just decide to shift a few kgs is becoming more absurd. There are so many factors that go into the process that ends in obesity. Your hormones, your mum’s habits during her pregnancy and even the bacteria you harbor in your gut can all influence your need to overeat, your inability to burn fat like everyone else and your propensity to stubbornly maintain your weight in spite of giving it a good shot. Not a perfect shot- NONE of us (except those with an unhealthy eating obsession) do that. But even sticking to the 80:20 rule doesn’t help.

Have enough set backs in the dieting and exercising game and any of us would give up. Once you have diabetes and you’re tired all the time, and once you’re so overweight your back hurts too much to walk let alone run, you are going to find it exceptionally difficult to lose weight the old fashioned way. Gastric banding helps the seriously obese? Well for goodness sake who needs to be a martyr? Get it done and give yourself the one shot we KNOW works. Sure it’s not the silver bullet but it is more often than not the best shot at getting your life back. It can reverse diabetes and high blood pressure, take pressure off your joints and put you before the posts so you can actually get somewhere with your diet and exercise program. I wish people wouldn’t judge those who have battled their weight all their lives without trying to walk a day in their shoes.

Ditto another patient I saw today. She had a childhood I can only describe as incredible. Let’s just say I’m used to hearing her story from the heroin addicts I used to see in Kings Cross every day. A day in the Cross treating people whose lives had become a train smash was always a smell the coffee moment. Their stories of abuse, neglect, emotional vandalism at the hands of those who were meant to nurture and love them leave you shaking your head. Of course they’re on heroin. What would any of us do given that introduction to the big wide world? My patient somehow defied her destiny, and unlike the people who walk the streets of the Cross at night and shoot the proceeds up their arms to numb the pain, she has a degree, a profession and almost unbelievable success. Thumbs up to her and thumbs down to anyone who judges drug addicts without understanding their experiences.