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My Street Creds – The Real Medical Evidence Of Obesity

cropped fat Sara I am on an Obesity Mission. I’m going to single handedly (with lots of great help) change the way we treat obesity. And the way we treat obese people.  The following is an open letter to all the skinny doctors, trainers, dieticians and therapists in the world …


Listen up. (That’s me BEFORE circa 2003). A fat doctor. Imagine. (Scroll down to see the AFTER).

Obesity is NOT simple thermodynamic imbalance. It’s not  how many calories we eat and how little we exercise.  That may be true for people who are overweight and have 20 or 30 or 40 pounds to lose. Any diet and exercise program that is basically healthy nutrition and movement will work for them; it’s just a matter of matchmaking – the right program for the right person.

For the rest of us, the obese…Eat Less Move More fails 95% of the time. Worse yet, severe restrictive diet and exercise may worsen, not improve, the obese person’s health. Emotional Eating and Behavioral Control don’t fare any better, but at least they don’t ruin someone’s health!  cropped thin Sara

Here’s me with a recent 2010 AFTER (down 100 lbs). Winning an award because I figured out how to lose weight and how to apply that knowledge to every patient I see and how to teach to anyone who will listen. (Thanks Kaiser!)

Here’s what I know about Obesity. I’ll share it all with you in the hopes that you will go back to your exam rooms and order some labs for starters.

Obesity is a medical condition of serious inflammation, chronic pain, disordered endocrine function, changes in insulin metabolism, altered brain chemistry, food sensitivities, serious vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

Obesity is a psychosocial condition of depression and hopelessness and isolation and loneliness.

Obesity is a spiritual condition of broken hearts and broken souls and broken families. It’s not how we feel inside, but it’s how the outside sees and reacts to us. It hurts to be fat. Physically, psychologically, socially and spiritually.

Now…does that sound like gluttony to you?

Yet, if I go to any one of you, even the most esteemed physician or medical center, you will tell me Eat Less, Move More.  Or you’ll send me to your behavioral health department because clearly there’s something wrong with me. There I will receive medication for depression and six weeks of therapy about how I’m a good person and I should love myself and not eat chocolate. Or you’ll throw up your hands and say I can have surgery, but I’m not sick enough to qualify yet. Wait a few years.

You can treat obesity, it’s easy. You already know how. But it’s not Eat Less Move More. And it’s not emotional.

It’s replacing Vitamin D, detecting Vitamin B12, A, Zinc, Iodine deficiencies, finding food allergies even when the lab tests are not sufficiently sensitive, treating pain and weakness with gentle movement therapy, jumping on that sleep disorder, correcting inflammation and insulin resistance, helping that sluggish thyroid, changing obesigenic medications to those with a more neutral weight profile. And yes, sometimes it’s sending us to behavioral health, but not nearly as often as you think.

You can treat obesity by understanding the many pathways and reactions that have been altered in response to excess inflammatory adipose and its causes. And one by one, correcting them. Just like you learned in medical school. Imagine that.

And I’m here to tell you, if  you do that, your patients will lose weight. And feel better. And love you forever.

Announcing the opening of Stein Wellness Centers in May 2011, dedicated to comprehensive and integrative treatment of obesity. In person and distance.

Offering free consultation to any medical professional.

See one, do one, teach one.

Sara Stein, M.D.

Stein Wellness Centers (opening May 2011)

800 680-3451

http://SteinWellness.com (under construction)



9 Responses to “My Street Creds – The Real Medical Evidence Of Obesity”
  1. Margaret Furtado says:

    Fantastic! Thanks so much for writing this!
    As a registered dietitian of over 20 years in clinical practice who does not have skinny genes, it’s refreshing to read about this. I can’t underestimate the importance of a holistic approach to health, including, of course, the treatment and management of obesity.
    I’m always heartened when my patients tell me they so enjoyed our session…that I didn’t talk down to them but rather connected with them and didn’t make it seem like it was all their fault and/or didn’t give them the feeling they should feel awful about themselves. I’m also thrilled when they tell me they feel better about themselves after our visit, and feel it’s part of my mission to help them to feel empowered and strong.
    Your patients are so lucky to have you, and I applaud your mission and approach!

    Margaret Furtado, MS, RD, LDN

  2. Cats Whitcher says:

    I want to be the first through that door!

  3. Hi Sara-
    Congratulations on your wellness centers, am looking forward to hearing more about what you’re up to as you make a dent in the treatment of obesity from a place of great wisdom. Like you, I understand the path personally and professionally and am excited by all of the new research around Vitamin D (helps with cravings and weightloss) iodine and have always known that my clients binge on things they’re sensitive/allergic to (wheat, dairy to name a couple)… And that there are other incredibly important pieces to address… like perfectionism and the overnurturing I so often see that are part of the “spiritual” sickness you refer to. WIthout addressing these pieces any physical intervention doesn’t work and can’t sustain itself, in my experience. We all need to nourish ourselves with more pleasure and more life lived in our senses to offset to many years of deprivational thinking and experience. Lots to address but this goes way beyond the physical journey, as you know. You look great by the way.

    In love and service,

    Lisa Claudia Briggs, LICSW
    Simple Sacred Solutions To Living Beautifully In Your Body

  4. Sara says:

    Thanks Margaret & Lisa,
    I appreciate the support from others in “the biz”. There are so many compassionate wise providers out there for obesity, but we exist in a vacuum. The more we talk to each other publically, the more we can shift the prevailing paradigms!

    @cats – I’ll have virtual access to treatment too, via skype or just email – watch for the info – would love to have you!

    Best, Sara

  5. yohonna fields says:

    dear sara stein, thank you for keeping it real and bearing your soul to the world. You are a FIND!!! looking forward to seeing you soon!!!

  6. yohonna fields says:

    you look beautiful!!!

  7. Mike says:


    I am so SICK AND TIRED of being treated like a subpar citizen by medical professionals. Professionals that I feel like i should be able to ttrust and be sympathetic to my cause, not the first to judge or make me feel like less than a person.

    It’s time for America to stand up and fight for the way that obese people are treated in this country. I”‘m not asking for excuses or symptahy. Just good old fashioned respect.

    A huge step in the right direction is ABC’s Extreme Makeover Weight Loss on Monday nights. I’m obsessed with that show and it has inspired me to take an active role and to voice my opinions.

    The people on that show are fighters. People struggling with every day issues. And they way the show showcases their fight is amazing. If you’re not already – you MUST check it out Monday’s at 10. This episode was my personal favorite:


  8. jeanette marie tobie says:

    hi dr. sara stein i read your article in the first magazine it was really encouriing to know about vit D3 and alaso the omega 3 softgels. since iread your article i have taking more of the vitD3 I was told by my doctor to take 2000 iu of vit D3 ,but i would like to increase it would it be ok maybe such as 3 or 4 more per day? I am taking 2 softgels of omega 3s which are 1200mg, this was fun anything keep me posted jeanette portland, oregon.

  9. Hi Jeanette! You can take up to 4000 mg daily of 3 omega fish oil – make sure it’s mercury and PCB free – in divided dosing. Helps with inflammation remarkably! Vitamin D supplementation should be targeted to a midrange level of around 60 – that takes a blood test. Two people can have completely different needs. I take 10,000 IU Vit D3 daily and my blood level was 56 last month. Someone else will get there with only 2000 IU daily. Obesity requires higher amounts generally, but rapid weight loss can release some of the stored Vitamin D, so you don’t want to take it to the very maximum of the range. Good luck! Sara

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