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Living FULL

Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors

Living FULL

A life without dieting.
Michael A.  Snyder M.D.
Michael A. Snyder M.D. More by this author
Dec 27, 2010 at 09:00 AM

I grew up in Miami and wanted nothing more than to be an archaeologist and world traveler. (I was really affected by the Indiana Jones movie series!) I later ended up at Harvard University, where I received a degree in anthropology with a focus on archaeology. I knew that I wanted to work the world over, and thought I could best do that as a doctor. I had this fantasy about digging in the dirt and taking care of the people. Never tell a 22-year-old that he cannot do everything. So I returned to Miami and got my medical degree from the University of Miami School of Medicine. Then I went on to Oregon Health Sciences University to become a general surgeon, thinking I’d focus on trauma.

But mastering laparoscopic surgery and getting a peek into the world of gastric bypass surgery during a TK-year tour of duty in Virginia shifted the course of my future. I was amazed by bariatric surgery, which helps people achieve healthy weights through surgery. It is reserved for a specific class of overweight people: those whose weight has reached a level where it negatively impacts their health.

I quickly left the world of appendectomies and the ER to answer my calling in bariatrics where I could participate in people’s journeys to conquering severe obesity. The enriching relationships I forged in bariatrics far outshined those I had experienced in other specialties that rarely saw such dramatic results and hard-won transformations.  Saving the life of a person in the emergency room is one thing, but being able to coach from the ringside as people face the weight that has beaten up their bodies and their lives is another. To this day, I feel like a long-term partner in the lives of my patients rather than just a doctor with a certain specialty who drops in to save the day in a singular moment.

I’ve been fortunate to have learned and mastered the latest bariatric techniques from the pioneers in the field who have truly catapulted this medical specialty from a somewhat primitive state decades ago to a highly advanced practice now.

Most of my patients also have some of the medical problems associated with obesity, such as depression, reflux, diabetes, high blood pressure, high lipids (cholesterol and/or triglycerides), menstrual irregularity, infertility, urinary stress incontinence, sleep apnea (disordered sleep), and joint pain. Bariatric surgery, ultimately, is not about weight. It’s about the weight’s effect on the person’s health. When someone is called “morbidly obese,” he has reached a point where his weight has adverse effects on his health. It is never a comment about a patient’s appearance or value as a person. It’s very important to understand that it is not a judgment about the person. It’s about the patient’s health.

After a few years at the clinic, I came to realize that there was a gap in what I could provide to people. Not everyone qualifies for surgery, yet everyone wants to feel satisfied at meals, happy with their weight, and healthy. I was working hard to help the morbidly obese, but nothing for everyone else. A close friend of mine said, “I get what you’re doing for your morbidly obese patients, but what do you have for my aunt who cannot lose 30 pounds and is suffering from many life and health issues because of it?” It was unacceptable that I had nothing for her. That had to change, which has led not only to my forays into developing an international food supplementation company, but also to my new book—Full.

We live in a world that’s hungry for a diet to end all diets. Two out of five women and one out of five men would trade three to five years of their life to achieve their weight goals. Young girls are more afraid of becoming fat than they are of nuclear war, cancer, or losing their parents. Two-thirds of dieters regain weight within a year and virtually all regain it within five years. The failure rates of our country’s most popular weight-loss programs exceed 95 percent.

My hope is that Full will lead you to reject the diet mentality that thrives on restrictions, deprivations, self-loathing and self-defeat, and instead teach you proven principles of fullness that honor your body’s innate biology to automatically lose weight without the inner war.

Have you lost at least 10 pounds over and over again?

Do you remember the first time you thought about, and became conscious of, your weight?

When you sit down to eat dinner at a restaurant, have you ever thought about avoiding the bread basket?

Have you ever joined a gym thinking you’d go three days a week?

Have you ever felt guilty about a meal you ate?

Have you ever sneaked a snack or fast food by yourself and hoped “no one would notice or know”?

Do you think about your weight on a daily basis?

Don’t bother counting how many of the above questions you checked.

Just a single checked box puts you in the majority. More than one checked box? Still, the majority. Millions of people would answer most of these questions with a resounding yes. So you’re not alone, and it’s time to put an end to all this madness that invades your daily life.

About Author
Michael A.  Snyder M.D.
Michael Snyder, M.D., F.A.C.S., is a board-certified general surgeon and a highly respected leader and mentor in the field of bariatric surgery. He has performed more than 3,500 primary bariatric surgical procedures, including post-surgical coaching Continue reading