Sunday, April 19, 2009


When I graduated medical school, I made a deal with God.  I told Him, “You deal with all of the big stuff, and I will deal with all of the little stuff ”.  So, contrary to popular belief, I do not save lives for a living.  I don’t think that I have that power.  What I can do is enhance quality of the life of the people seeking my help.  I have to be honest; they are not always “seeking” my help.  Sometimes I just volunteer it because they aren’t able to run away fast enough!  Those are the times my wife tries to reassure them, “He really is quite good at this, you know.  He is able to cut to the core of things, able to focus like a laser beam!”

 I am frequently asked by patients, “Why are you so focused on weight, when I have so many other medical issues I need to deal with?” The answer is quite simple.  Imagine the plumbing in the house needs reworking because the old iron pipes are corroded and prevent good water pressure.  Simultaneously, the home inspector tells you that your home is horribly termite-infested, and if repairs are not undertaken at once the integrity of the house may be jeopardized.  (In California, the main destroyers of our homes are termites.  They will rot a house from the foundation up without ever being noticed.)  What would you address first?  The termite issue, of course.  Even though the low water pressure is the most noticeable problem every time you get into the shower, the termites are the more threatening issue.

 People are like houses.  Some are in move-in condition, some need a little clean up, and some need a lot of work.  Then again, some need so much work that tearing them down and starting over is a wiser approach!  The art of medicine is choosing when to use a broom, a hammer, or a bulldozer.

 In my patients’ cases, as in the majority of the American population, the overriding problem is obesity.  For many patients, it’s morbid obesity.  Morbid obesity, defined by a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 30, means that the weight is so high that the weight itself contributes to disease processes.

 To be clear, termites are not always obesity; they can take the form of depression, substance abuse, self-deprecation and sabotage of one’s happiness, and the inability to regulate the stressors in one’s life, to mention but a few.  In future postings, I will address The Brentwood Diet came to be.  I will walk you through the diet and show you how my patients are able to regain control of their lives. 

 Hilary Smith, one of my patients, has created a blog, Surviving The Brentwood Diet,  I found it very accurate and insightful.  I enthusiastically refer you to her blog and encourage you to use it as a forum to exchange ideas and recipes that you have found helpful.

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