The New Yorker

Big news this week: my letter to the editor was published in the New Yorker. If you're like me, you get sucked into reading The Mail every week, so by the time the next issue arrives, you've barely made it to Talk of the Town. When I heard that my letter might be included, I was over the moon - especially because it's such an important topic.

My original letter was heavily edited, so I've included the first draft below.

In case you're wondering what prompted my response, here's the original article. The author is thisclose to hitting the nail on the head, especially when she's quoting Tom Wadden and William Dietz, but never quite gets to what I think is the crux of the matter; namely, that we have created a society where weight loss is nearly impossible - and more importantly, that we have the power to change that!

The problem starts at the highest echelons of government and trickles down through conventional medical education all the way to the obesity epidemic. All is not lost yet, but without change on every level, the article's hypothesis may very well come to pass.

I think we can do much, much better. And I'm committed to doing my part to see it through.



from: emily wade
date: Tue, Oct 4, 2016 at 9:30 PM
subject: Letter to the Editor re: "Bariatric Surgery: The Solution to Obesity?"

Before we all rush off to get bariatric surgery, it would be smart to examine exactly why diets and exercise don't work for obese patients.

First is a systemic problem with medical education. Many doctors are trained to treat symptoms instead of uncover the root cause of disease, and nutrition education in medical school is often minimal. 

Second, patients need more support in making these tough lifestyle changes. Doctors might advise their patients to eat right and exercise, but without any follow-up or a clear plan of action, success is unlikely. 

In addition, patients need more tests, and insurance needs to cover those. Obese patients are often battling dysbiosis, psychological issues, food sensitivities or addictions, or hormonal imbalances, all of which can contribute to the inability to lose weight. Without diagnosing and addressing these contributing factors, patients are more likely to struggle. 

Finally, the biggest hurdle: the food system in the US. People are eating foods that contribute to obesity because these foods are accessible, cheap, easy to prepare, tasty, addictive, and because people are largely misinformed about what's healthy (the low-fat movement discussed in the article is just one such example). 

Obese patients need a holistic, personalized program in conjunction with ongoing support so they can make lasting behavioral change without feeling overwhelmed or giving up. Diets & exercise do work, but there is not a one size fits all solution, and we need to provide patients with not only a strategy, but also the support to help them see it through.

-Emily Adams, Certified Nutrition Consultant

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