Thursday, October 20, 2005

The DrM weight loss plan: An introduction to a holistic approach of tackling weight issues(not to mention preventing heart attacks and diabetes)

While I've been meaning to blog about this for the past year or so, something always dissuaded or distracted me, until now. I was checking out Sister Scorpian's blog the other day where she cites her personal health struggles. So what better time then Ramadan to put my soon-to-be-famous weight loss plan up? As hard as it is for some of you to believe, I actually am an MD fresh out of medical school and one of the reasons I am so confident about my approach to the battle of bulge is that I've tried it on myself and lost nearly 40 lbs. I've done research on Metabolic syndrome(formerly known as pre-diabetes syndrome) and currently work at a diabetes research center in California. Its rather personal, I've lost two family members to diabetes and heart disease, my father himself is a type 2 diabetic(and the best managed one alhamdulilah). So what exactly is Metabolic sysndrome ? Essentially this is a loose term given to high risk factors such as family history of diabetes and/or heart disease, lab tests of LDL, HDL, Triglycerides etc. This set of protocols was developed to catch an individual before they got hit, and make no mistake a lot of us will get this condition. Thats where my plan(I'm begining to sound like John Kerry) comes in.
Before I divulge the details, a number of sobering observations need to be made.

If you're an American, chances are you are overweight. Recently, a woman sued a doctor for calling her obese. This means that I myself will get sued at some point because I believe in telling it as it is. Many people die from lack of food, Americans die from an overabundance of it. No, it is not your metabolism, its that crunch bar in your back pocket. You should be more horrified at the prospect of dying relatively young instead of being upset of being told the truth. How about genetics? Uh NO. Look at people from 50 years back, were they as obese? Lets be real, the fate of your waist line is largely determined by what you stuff your face with. Am I done bashing you yet? Not really, the first thing to do is to take charge, which means no more silly excuses about metabolism, genes etc. Now granted, there are certain genetic traits which are expressed more in some people then others, excluding explicit genetic disorders, but you are responsible for your condition.

How about those fad diets? How about Atkins? Back when I was a medical student, the Atkins craze was all over the place. I was constantly at odds with many people over the long term effect of Atkins. In case you didnt know they went bankrupt this year.
Think about it for a minute, does it sound right to restrict an entire food group in your diet? Isnt there something fishy about being to told eat anything but carbohydrates? Well, I do know people who lost weight on Atkins, lots of weight....which they gained back in a few months. I will not be surprised to hear in the coming months and years of serious kidney problems amongst those people who still adhere to Atkins. This will happen because the kidneys cannot handle the high protein intake. Do you really want to eat so much meat? Acording to the the late Dr.Atkins' autopsy, his arteries were like sausages, even though his death was caused by a fall. Ever wonder why the Japanese, who have the highest life expectency can eat rice and stay in decent shape? They dont eat as much!
Bottom line? Fad diets simply dont work, and are not viable on a long term basis.

Looking for a good doctor? Go look in the mirror, theres your ultimate health care provider(excluding Allah(swt) ofcourse). You know how you feel, you know your weaknesses and strengths. Even if you have a great MD to give you excellent care, at the end of the day you're just another patient out of hundreds seen by your doctor. Dont expect help someone else to help if you dont want to help yourself. Why the heck am I blabbing on about this? I mean, isnt this common sense? Yes it is, and unfortunetly its not as common as you may think. Reality and confidence are not something which can be bought from a pharmacy. Keep it real.

So what made me serious about this issue? Yes I was a bit overweight, even though you couldnt really tell on my 6'1 frame. Yes, I have a family history of diabetes and heart disease, but that doesnt necessarily mean I'll get it, right? What really drove the point home for me was seeing patients at different stages of the disease process. Trust me folks, theres only so many amputations, so much gangrene and kidney failure you see before wondering if you're next. The worst part of it is that much of it is PREVENTABLE. Dont get me wrong, if you are on a regimen per doctors orders, stick to it, I am simply advocating a more global approach to a multi-faceted pathology. It may not work as well for you as it did for me, depending on age, BMI and a host of other factors, but I can guarentee you that you'll feel a hell of a lot better.

I've got other work to do, so I'll stop here. If any of this semi-rant made sense, let me know and I'll post some more information on the next step to better health.


JD said...

Well, I am definitely interested in hearing what you have to say, so continue on!!! And yes, I am a type 2 diabetic as well.

DrMaxtor said...

Jazakallah Khair,
Will do JD, weight loss decreases insulin resistance which makes managing DM2 much easier. I'll blog more about this,

altaf said...


i work as psych. social worker - and one of things we've seen is an increase in diabeties that is related to some of the new medications. Add to this the kind of food that is served in hospitals (where some end up staying for extened periods of time) and at board and care housing...

The result is that we now have a very high number of clients/patients who are overweight, and diabetic. And some of the clients, whose mental illness is more severe, are unable to do their finger stick testing independently- and they end up being even more dependent on the system (not a very good one to begin with) - and hospitals.

We've yet to really come to grips with this situation -


Leila M. said...

waiting for more, thanks

optics said...

as-salamu'alaikum DrM,

I must disagree with your assessment of the Atkins approach. Few people have actually read his book. Although his induction phase is highly ketogenic, his long term approach is one of whole foods, whole grains, etc.

The kidney thing is something that has been discused at length and it should probably be remembered that ketogenic diets have been actually prescribed as legitimate diets to help eplieptic patients. To add to the point, it has and is prescribed to children.

So, this is something that has been studied intensely for a long time. Although the Atkins crowd brought it 'back', into public conciousness, the mainstream medical profession has known about it and its benefits for a long time.

I just wrote a lot on a small part of your entry, but it is merely because of my familiarity with this subject. I have studied fitness and nutrition for over 3 years specifically, often discussing at length with my brother who is a 4th year med student.

I look forward to the rest of your plan!


DrMaxtor said...

Waliakum Asalam,
Thanks for your comment but I must differ with you on a number of issues. While ketogenic diets have helped some epiliepsy patients, we largely use medication to control their seizures. The issue regarding kidneys will ultimately decide the final verdict on Atkins, and I believe it will not be judged in favor of Atkins.
We are a society of instant gratification, we want quick results with minimal effort and sometimes we're willing to ignore facts to get what we want. You can have all these extreme diets but you're still not addressing the root problem and that is, AMERICANS EAT TOO MUCH, to the point that they are aging prematurely eg childhood obesity which is now an epidemic. Look at Japan, they eat everything, but in lesser quantity and look how long they live.
Eliminating carbs and substituting proteins etc is not a change in lifestyle. Atherosclerotic heart disease is also something which all that meat has in store for Atkins dieters. I dont know a single doctor who recommends Atkins, not anymore anyway. I really believe health promotion is acheived when people eat to live, not the other way round, or mess around with biochemical pathways looking for short cuts.

optics said...


Interesting :).

My point was not whether it is the primary treatment for epilepsy, but rather, I would consider the fact that the safety ketogenic diets have been studied for over a century in that regard, and the Atkins diet itself was introduced in 1972. The age of the concept itself is fairly convincing evidence that kidney concerns by detractors are somewhat over-hyped.

I want to reiterate that Atkins is not about eating fatty foods and remaining in a ketogenic state for the rest of ones life.

If you get an opportunity, read the book briefly, since what has become common knowledge (i.e. eliminating carbs forever) about the Atkins diet is fairly inaccurate about what is actually represented in the book.

Yes, I agree that Americans are eating too much. But why are they eating much more than the Japanese? Well first we need to define "more". When it comes down to it we are talking about the Americans eating more kcals than, say, the Japanese.

Next, when we begin discussing in terms of increasing obesity of our entire population and other such trends it is difficult to blame it on discipline towards food alone.

Therefore it is increasingly clear that as a society we are being exposed to many more calories, densely packed into simple foods than we ever have before. The satiation factor of these foods per calorie is close to nill, which ends up causing one to eat huge amounts of calories as well as repeat the process in a vicious cycle of eating for satiation.

The side effect of this is constantly elevated levels of insulin which is something our forefathers never had to bear.

All diets are responsible to create the illusion of eating more than one actually is. The goal with all of these diets is some level of appetite supression / increasing satiation to aid with lowering ones calories.

This is often done by replacing high-calorie foods with bulkier, low-calorie ones, or by looking at various other satiation factors as well.

Anyway, while I understand where ketogenic diets lay in the field of nutrition science, personally I am a firm believer in simple calorie counting, and employing discipline. Using a free site such as to track how much you eat versus how much you burn is easy enough for me.


Ruba said...

Hey, what ur saying is NICE and REASONABLE..i control my life to some extent right.
I am overwieght, and my family has a history of diabetes and recently two members one older and one in his 40's have parkinsons diesease, grandmother has told us that she remembers people with the symptoms back in the old country..before ppl had a name for the medical books..
i dont know if the two things are connected..
but out of curoisty I went to the doctor for my first ever medical check up..i am pre diabetic,the doc annocued..
changed my eating habits..i found it impossible to cut out sweet things.just cause of my lifestyle I am never home for a decent cooked meal and sometimes tis a cookie before a lecture..or my other choice fainting..I also stopped..having big meals and cut out coffee..but Iam addicted to diet coke..not good with all that sodium..anyway..I dont know..I was wondering if this is the way i lost 10 pounds since my pre-diabetic annoucemnt. I mean should I do more? I have my 6 month blood test again on november to see if I am diabetic..gosh..
PS dont bother checking out my blog tis dead....oh man are u going to check it out now that I told you not to.gosh..

DrMaxtor said...

That depends on your height and weight Ruba.

Aaminah said...

Asalaamu alaikum DrM. Well, I was one of the ones on Sister Scorpion's blog who was interested in your plan. I look forward to seeing more, inshaAllah.