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Old 07-21-2015, 10:35 AM   #1
zeta
 
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Unhappy Fat in med school

Lurking, lurking, lurking, not lurking, when something arises in my life that needs peer support.

So yes, I am going to med school this fall. I am old (near 40) and I am fat (5'5, 230lbs). Since I don't live in the US, the application process differs a bit from what you might be accustomed of, but it was tough nevertheless. I studied like never before for 2 years to earn my place and finally I did. Throughout that time I thought that before the school starts I can lose the weight, or at least some of it.

Well, that didn't happen and now I'll be a fat and old freshman in med school. I've known to be somebody who walks her own paths and I am proud of it, but now I am absolutely dreaded to death. I have always been insecure of my being and now I'll be walking to the lions den, where others are young, slim, pretty and athletic.

I do not mind being fat. I think I look good, I've learnt to appreciate my body. But I know I am un-fit. I know I do not exercise enough. I know I do not eat healthy enough. I know I do not live as your physician would suggest you to do, so how could I become a doctor?

I am so scared. My dream has come true, but so has my nightmare.

Any kind words would really help.
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Old 07-21-2015, 12:15 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zeta View Post
I know I do not live as your physician would suggest you to do, so how could I become a doctor?

I am so scared. My dream has come true, but so has my nightmare.

Any kind words would really help.
I understand your worries -but from an outsider's perspective I can only say you have a too idealized view of your future profession.

It is a well known statistical fact that medical professionals IRL have a bad track record of practicing what they (are supposed to) preach.

No other academic profession - apart from journalists over 60 - has such a high ratio of smokers. Alcoholism or pill addicition rates are also on the higher end of the scale. Many doctors are far from slim or eat healthily.

If you're studying medicine as asecond career you bring along experiences the freshies right out of college won't: Real life expertise, social competencies, a way of interacting at eye-level with colleagues, peers and patients.

Bring all that to play - the others need it! Good luck!
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Old 07-21-2015, 12:24 PM   #3
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If this is your dream, go for it. Yes you might be a bit over weight than most doctors but who cares? To be honest, my sister started a nursing job 2 years ago and she dropped weight. While she worked at clinics, she had time to sit and eat and chat. When she left the clinic to work as a floor nurse in a hospital, she didn't have time to sit. She was on her feet all day. I suspect the same thing will happen to you while you are an intern. You will barely have enough time to eat, sleep, socialize or much else. Just be happy with you. As long as you are physically able to do the work and keep up with everyone else, there is no need to worry about it.

If you feel you need to exercise more, then try to get in more exercise, eat healthier if that is what you want to do. Don't let the fact that you are overweight stop you from completing your dream.

JMO
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Old 07-21-2015, 01:28 PM   #4
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First off, hi there, I'm glad you had the courage to post about something that is scaring you so much and I know you must be really intelligent as well as determined and brave. And you have my respect for that. Congrats for getting into med school as well, that must have been hard.

I can understand you being nervous but I honestly don't think being near your 40s is old at all. My mother was older than that when she did her degree and there were people on my course that were mature students as well. And with a difficult degree like medicine, I am almost certain that you will not be the only mature student there. And even if you find yourself in a class with only younger people, just remember that they are people too and there is nothing to fear from their age.

As for your size, I would doubt you will big the biggest person on the course and there will definitely be other people who are not thin. I honestly don't expect that the reaction to your size would be any different there to how it is in every day life; I can't say nobody will mention it because some people are jerks but you seem to know how to deal with them in general. Medical professionals are valued for their intelligence and compassion, not for the way they look or how well they uphold the virtues of a 'healthy lifestyle'. Whether or not you exercise enough is irrelevant to your skills as a medical professional; you don't need to follow your own advice for it to be good advice. I know the feeling personally, as I'm a fat biologist who often ends up giving advice on healthy lifestyles and such. Your personal decisions regarding your life and your body don't invalidate your skills and your intelligence.

For what it is worth, one of the best nurses in my local practise is a lady who is around 450 lbs and is kind, compassionate and very skilled at her work. I have no doubt that you will do absolutely great.
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Old 07-21-2015, 03:13 PM   #5
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Congrats for pursuing your dream. I myself am a former nurse so I do have some experience dealing with going to school for a medical career and being fat at the same time. I won't lie, there will be people who want you to fail. You may have people expect twice as much out of you just to prove yourself. People will criticize and everything you do will be put under a microscope just so they can try to prove they were right to doubt you. On the other hand, you will have the honor of taking care of people who don't care how fat you are, they just want to get better. So just go and be the best you can be. Just think, maybe you can get a new batch of doctors to start looking at fat people as just PEOPLE.
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Old 07-23-2015, 12:07 PM   #6
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Thank you ladies! The world must be a wonderful place, since there are people like you who will share your kind words and encouragement with a stranger that seeks for them. I really appreciate it!

The medical school is one month away, but I have had chance to get acquainted with my class through a Facebook group, and although I am not the oldest, I probably will be the fattest, but so be it. I just have to put aside my insecurities for a moment and embrace the opportunity I've got. I know some people will have their concerns and I might have some other difficulties such as with the professional clothing (will there be any white coats I will fit into?), but I have earned my place, I know it. And being on my second career I definitely do have more experience in may aspects of life than the 19/20 year olds who are my fellow students.

That being said, I probably will be worried about my physical presence until the first day of the semester and most likely even after that, but I guess I just have to try and be myself and enjoy.
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Old 07-23-2015, 02:32 PM   #7
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Default The majority is with you!

Zeta,

What is it now; 67% overweight in the US, and perhaps 40% obese? You're not alone, you're part of the majority.

Stand proud, walk tall! If anyone challenges you or simply tries to make you feel bad, tell them that you can relate to most of your future patients and believe your understanding of them will lead to great compassion and help you to help them faster and better than those that can't relate to them.

Congratulations! Go gettem!

Chuck

P.S. I want a big doctor!
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Old 07-23-2015, 06:08 PM   #8
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I've been working in medicine for over a decade. You really don't have much to worry about. Most of the people in medicine have been trained to be non-judgmental, because shaming is counter-productive. If they have not taken it to heart they are assholes, and yes some are. The truth is though most who are or want to be doctors are pretty good folks who genuinely like people and want to help them, except surgeons. Surgeons are douchebags. So are many cardiologists. If you really are worried about it go into psychiatry, if it is just your weight that will make you the most normal person in the department. Those people frackin are nuts.

You will likely occasionally have to endure "the talk" from people who just want to tell you it's unhealthy and they worry about you... Nod and thank them. I've gotten this several times and most of the times I liked that the person cared enough to go through the discomfort of it.

You may have a harder time enduring some of the rough patches during residency emergency shifts and long periods of staying awake. Caffeinate make sure you get decent sleep, you will be ok. The only serious thing that would bar you from certain areas of medicine would be if you were too big to wear personal protective equipment, but at 220 you are nowhere near that being a concern. Good luck!
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Old 10-12-2015, 03:19 AM   #9
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Maggie de Block is a general practitioner, health Minister of Belgium, here is a little picture.
As you can see, everything is possible
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Old 01-10-2016, 01:48 PM   #10
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I am a plus sized nurse, and I was plus sized in nursing school. There was one other girl my size in our class. You will be fine.
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Old 01-11-2016, 10:45 AM   #11
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I'm a fat midwife, newly qualified. I was the fattest in my class and I am usually the fattest on shift, but not always. I was worried they wouldn't have uniform to fit me, but they did. The only thing they didn't have was scrubs to fit, so I bought my own. I could have insisted that the hospital acquired ones to fit me, but I thought it would be easier to get my own. There's a range of people working in healthcare as in any other job. Try not to worry, and congratulations!
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Old 11-28-2016, 04:44 AM   #12
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You posted in 2015. So one wonders - what happened? "Kind words" are potentially nice. A medical doctor and a nurse CAN BE worlds apart. ((A tech who loosens a bolt to drain oil and correctly put on an oil filter is no diseal mechanic ( and would quickly be fired in that position))
When I hear "you will be all right", I think of a child being put to bed or a child trying to balence a bicycle for a successful first ride.
You aimed higher. All peer pressure is not the same. Study is one thing; a medical practice is another. Again: one looking out for your best interest; wonders what happened.
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