My doctor’s office thinks I’m fat

Huffygirl: the obesity epidemic starts right here

I visited a consultant at a new health care group recently, and it turns out, that they think I’m fat. And, they’re determined to do something about it. Every single stinkin’ time I go there. Yes, obesity is a huge problem in this country, and my doctor’s office is determined to nip it in the bud, starting with the biggest offender – me.

My first time there, as I left the office, the receptionist  handed me a packet of papers and said somewhat sheepishly, “Here’s some information on healthy eating.” My first thought was, “wow, how wonderful that they care about my health as a whole person,” until I got home and looked it over. Turned out these papers were all about obesity and weight loss, and what I must do to start taking care of my obesity problem, today. Really. To say I was insulted was putting it mildly. But I thought I’d be the bigger person. After all, they think I am. So I put it aside. I refused to let my self be annoyed.

Until the next time I went there. Nothing was different about my weight, so turns out, I’m still fat. When I went to leave, there they were again with the fat handout. Now granted, even if I was fat, and, spurned on by their wonderful diet information, had decided to do something about it, chances are, I’d still be fat when I came back four weeks later. And the next time. And the time after that.

So the next time I complained to the doctor, who I must say, had a good 30 pounds on me. “Your people think I’m fat,” I said, “and I’m getting a little offended by it.” Well, she looked at me, looked at my chart, tut-tutted and said “well yes, your numbers don’t quite meet our guidelines, blah, blah” and then she went on to blame the government. Yes, according to her, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act requires health care providers to provide, among other things, weight loss information to patients who, according to whatever mystery standards they are using, are fat. Then she went on to a well-rehearsed speech about how they are only doing this because of the government, and if I didn’t want to get a fat handout every time I came there, I needed to contact my congressperson, instead of complaining to her. So there. Instead of the lecture, it might have been nice to hear which obesity guidelines they were using that labeled me as fat, as according to BMI (body mass index) I’m still under the wire. But no. Just you’re fat, the government makes us say so, so there.

And so it’s continued. Every time I go there, or to any other office within that health care group, I get the fat handout. The last time I was there, I balked. “Don’t give me those fat papers again, I already have them,” I said to the receptionist on my way out. She started in with the usual diatribe about the government makes us, we have to give them to you, blah, blah, and handed me the fat papers again. In anger, I ripped them off of the stack of papers she gave me, and flung them down on the check-out desk, it turns out, on top of a huge stack of the same fat handout, left by other angry patients.

I have to confess that I am unfamiliar with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and even after reading about it, still do not see where it says in there that I’m fat. I’d be interested to hear from others if any of you have  had similar experiences. In the meantime, I’ve either got to look for a whole new bunch of doctors, or resign myself to being called fat every time I darken their door.

Huffygirl aka Fatgirl

More from Huffygirl on exercise and weight:


39 thoughts on “My doctor’s office thinks I’m fat

  1. That’s ridiculous! You’re healthy & fit, and I’ve seen the size of the sandwiches you eat. 🙂 Maybe you can find a new doctor?

  2. Have you seen our congressmen and women? Where do they get off calling anyone fat? Oh I nearly forgot…this is the “Do as I say not as I have to Do” American government…oh I think I just got on a soap box.

    Yes I got the borderline obesity speech but no handout…

    • Thanks Winsome. At least someone thinks I’m not fat. No one there noticed if I was fit or not. They were too busy asking me what my ethnic group was, if I had a mammogram, and if I got a pneumonia shot, but didn’t ask about exercise. They claim this is all government mandated to ask.

  3. BMI is the dumbest way to determine if someone is fat. It takes no account for muscle mass built up by athletes as was invented as a pure mathematical Formuka with no flexibility for the individual. The fact that doctors still go by that today is a joke. You need to go somewhere else.

    • Thanks Rob. I think you’re right, although at least BMI gives a range for weight. I think they must be going by the old chart of 100 # for the first 5 feet, then 5 # for every inch over. That would mean I’m not fat, just too short!

  4. Is this one of your “Freaky Friday” posts or is this serious? If the latter, then I’m absolutely shocked. You are not fat. But if their criteria is coming from some government report, I’m not surprised. Just look where eating according to the food pyramid has gotten us as a society.

    • No Margaret, this is not a freaky Friday one – this is the real deal. I’m still at a loss to see how/where this government act is requiring medical offices to do what they say it does. I’ll have to delve into this further.

  5. Ok, if they say you’re fat, that would make me obese then. From the pictures and your exercise habits, you look fit to me. Their standard is out of this world. Yes, a new way to get the BMI should be taken into consideration. You actually inspired me with your exercising. I’m now back to the gym. Stay blessed. Have a great weekend.

    • Oh Island Travler, I’m flattered that you found me inspiring. I guess I’ll be looking forward to some posts from you about your journey back to the gym. In the meantime, stay away from any doctor’s offices like mine who think it’s their duty to call everyone fat – it’s just discouraging.

  6. Never heard of anything so stupid! you’re just right and I’m sure you’re perfectly fit and healthy, they should think more carefully about where they direct their healthy eating info because there are plenty of people who could do with it and I’m certain that will NEVER EVER include you!

  7. We should all be so fat.

    I’ve worked in diabetes, obesity and metabolism research for a good chunk of the last decade and BMI is a pretty pointless measure — especially when it is applied to > 300,000,000 people. It makes no adjustments for body type, muscle-to-fat ratio, or family history.

    Eating healthily and exercising regularly should be what our physicians emphasize and not adherence to numbers. But numbers are easy — and treating patients like individuals takes effort.

    • Thanks for your input Steve. It’s nice to know that your research supports my belief that I am not fat. I have many patients who are truly obese, and I would never, ever, just give them the same handout on weight loss every time they come into the office, and consider that a viable way to address obesity and healthy lifestyles. As you point out, there is so much more to health than just objective measurements of weight. I also have many patients who are quite slender – their numbers look great, if one does not consider that their slender body type comes from all the smoking they do.

    • Yes, what was I even thinking, putting a picture of myself out there when I’m looking so fat and all. I should go hide instead and not come out until I meet their mystery standards 😉

  8. All the above are correct. BMI does not account for muscle mass – my son is “height challenged”, according to all the government charts and almost always comes out as overweight, despite the fact that he has thigh muscles a gymnast would die for! His pediatrician finally admitted to us that the BMI does not take fitness into consideration. You’d think your Doctors would take a hint!

    • You’d think so. Oddly enough, according to BMI I am in the normal range, so they are using some other mystery standard to decide that I am fat. If I had not been so flabbergasted I would have asked them what standards they were using. Thanks for your input.

    • As gee Susan! I do admit, I could be a little slimmer, but not enough to warrant the beating I’m getting every time I go to that doctor group. And so far, I haven’t run across anyone else who is getting the same treatment at their doctor, in the name of “the government makes us…”

  9. I would not trust a doctor whose eyesight is so poor as to be unable to distinguish sexily fit from fat! Good god, all they have to do is look at you. You look fit and trim and healthy to me. They should look so good. This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.

    Can’t you ask your family doctor to refer you to another specialist instead of this time-wasting, paper-wasting misinformed idiot?

    • Why Sandra, I appreciate your outrage. It almost makes up for being called fat repeatedly by that medical group. For now I’m stuck with going there, but I plan to write a scathing letter to management expressing my dismay. Little good it will do though, as they just blame the government for labeling me as fat!

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  11. How ridiculous. I would LOVE to be fat like you! But I have to lose at least a good 50lbs to get there. In my humble opinion, you need a new doctor! There are docs out there who use their brain, and don’t fall back on “the government made me do it” as their excuse to act dumb. Good luck.

    • Thanks Cecelia, it is unanimous – not even one other person has mentioned this nonsense of the government act requiring health care providers to do this. I would choose a different group if I could, but unfortunately I’m seeing a specialist there. I have absolutely no fondness for the group however – in every office the folks are brusque and more concerned about beating me up with “what the government makes us do” than in really listening and being compassionate.

  12. Well, my single-digit bodyfat% and rippling abs say I’m not, but my BMI says I’m morbidly obese. My last bone density checkup after breaking my hip (car wreck, but “Government protocols” called for it because every broken hip is an indication of low bone density) the operator said to take the chunk of concrete out of the machine and put my foot in there, plus I ride my bike and walk everywhere so I have leg muscles to die for… So I feel your pain. My doctor at least doesn’t bother to hand out the pamphlets.

    • The downside of having muscles I guess – they make you weigh more and translate into “too heavy” on BMI. Be glad you”re not getting the pamphlets – very depressing.

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