Did anything you learn surprise you?
Cassie: One thing that really resonated with me is when I
learned about the “wheel.” The wheel is an endless cycle people go through to manage their
weight. You get motivated, you’re doing great and then you hit a
plateau, give up and crash. Then you start all over again. It also
shows us that just because someone looks a certain way now, doesn’t
mean they haven’t or aren’t still grappling with weight management
issues. And there are many reasons above just willpower which make
losing weight and keeping it off so challenging. This cycle is
something I could relate to and it made me realize how the challenge
of navigating general health issues is exponentially increased when
you are also managing a chronic disease.
Mirhan: I did have prior knowledge that genetics plays a
big role in weight management, but it was surprising to see just how
big a role it plays. The biology of it is sadly not common
knowledge. Dr. Lofton did a great job of simplifying the science
behind it all and educating us on exactly how metabolism works and
how it plays against the weight loss efforts, simply because of how
certain people’s bodies naturally work due to their genetics.
March 4th is World Obesity Day, and this
year’s theme is “Every Body Needs Everybody.” What does that
mean to you and what’s your message to young adults looking to
show their support on the day?
Cassie: We can
all be an advocate for others. Obesity is not a personal problem
that patients have to tackle on their own; it’s a global challenge.
Meaningful change will happen when we change our mindset from – it’s
a “you” problem to its an “us” challenge. I’m passionate about
fighting for the underdog, which in my mind, now includes people
tackling weight issues. It’s something that was instilled in me at a
very young age from my mother, a first-generation American Latina,
and something I’m committed to doing for the rest of my life. Having
professional advocates for patients is great; but, there’s no
replacement for feeling that support and motivation from your
friends and family, and that’s something we can all provide. So,
whether it’s for women, minorities, vulnerable patients – be an
advocate and help create an equal playing field.
Mirhan: Everyone has a part to play in fighting the
stigma surrounding weight. The first step is to get educated on the
facts and treat others with kindness. Students and young adults in
particular have always been at the forefront of driving social
change. As we’ve seen especially this past year, we have the power
to spark dialogue and start movements that gain traction. We just
have to take the initiative – and there’s no better time than World
Obesity Day to start. Speaking out and being part of this movement
is the right thing to do.
I truly believe that through collective action and a joint
commitment to social responsibility we can create a world with a
brighter, healthier future.