Embarrassing question

I want to be a doctor. I know that. I’d need a post bacc and I’m ready to apply this coming year. But I’m overweight, by a lot. I think it will be used against me, even though academically I’m qualified for these programs. I think there is a natural bias, like how can she be a good doctor if she can’t take care of herself? (I’m trying, by the way, it’s a lifelong thing.)

Besides the obvious (lose weight), does anyone have a suggestion? Has anyone does this before packing on too many pounds?

This all sounds so stupid as I’m reading this, but I don’t want to wait any more and I don’t want my weight to derail this dream completely.

I see by this question that this is a significant concern for you that is causing a great deal of stress. Might I suggest an objective approach?

Find some schools that are not as biased as you mentioned. For example ask some friends, family, or medical/healthcare professionals that have experience with different schools adcoms and be frank. As whether these schools are prejudice towards people who are overweight.

Even though you may feel that this is a barrier I would thing that if you have the confidence and poise to “sell yourself” to a particular school then the adcoms at that school would not even think twice about it, I know I wouldn’t.

However, if you walk into an interview with that thought at the forefront of your thinking then I believe some adcoms may pick up on the vibe and not be as dismissive. Honestly when it comes down to it. If you have the credentials, the scores, the personality, and the drive (Note: all of these are not weight based…) then you should have little to know problem.

Of course if you do happen to interview with a school that considers weight as a pre-req for admission and competence towards the practice of medicine then run the other way. Such elitist schools don’t deserve your time or money.

My two cents…

Drumergirl -

I get where you are coming from, and had some of the same fears. Managed to not obsess about it too much applying to postbac but was worried about it for med school.

My school ( and 3 others) did not seem to mind me being close to 300 lbs. And I’m not the largest student in my class. We’re all working on it because I can’t see myself practicing as long as I’d like without being more fit. Was vegan a year …very low fat. Lost about 10 lbs and stabilized. My lipids are great, though! Then vegetarian with fat-free dairy. Yea, not getting there. Activity is key - I just lose ground when injuries keep me from exercising. Currently being successful with medicine - it’s stimulant but risks of my weight outweigh risks of medicine, I think. Lost 13 lbs in 5 weeks so far so having hopefullness. It’s still important to diet and exercise but the pills help me not be as hungry and have some energy to stay awake a normal number of hours.

Don’t focus on this in interviews. I did mention in a few that one of my goals was to remain physically active during medical school because I failed to do that during midwifery school (which is when I gained all this weight) …so prioritized that.

Who you are is a lot more important than how you look. I’d frankly be a lot more worried about a med school applicant who smoked regarding the whole “bad example” idea.


I’m going to come at this from the viewpoint of a business professional who interviewed countless people while managing a web dev company.

There are two types of overweight people - those who are able to hide their insecurities, and those who cannot (just like skinny people). The ones who cannot enter their interview with hesitation, speak too softly, fail to engage their interviewer and speak of themselves in a disparaging or flat out negative fashion. Those who can hide it are engaging, positive, show motivation and interest in the position and sell themselves like a product, perfect for the position in question and full of qualities and characteristics I’d want to have myself.

Yes, people will judge you based on your weight. They always will. But you set the tone for the interview - if you are the kind of person who will make a great doctor, your weight is less significant. Would it be a good idea to be prepared in case your interviewer is a jerk and wants to ask “How can an overweight person make a good doctor?” Sure. I was prepped for it, because during the 5 years of undergrad I went up to a chunky 180, which made me a 16/18 at my wee height!

As for losing weight, obviously go talk to a doctor. But know that you need to change your diet AND workout. Either alone doesn’t do enough, but all the working out in the world won’t help if you are eating more calories than you should each day.

You can use the Mayo Clinic website to enter height and weight and get a ROUGH idea of what your daily intake should be (a professional assessment of your fat vs muscle percentages would get you a better idea of intake). There’s a website called MyFitnessPal that lets you track every calorie you consume (even has convenient apps for smart phones) so you can know exactly what you’re eating and not go over or stray too far under. Then begin some form of exercise. 80% diet, 20% working out.

Good luck, and stay positive.

PS: I’ve been following my own advice since mid-June (about 45 days) and in that time I’ve lost 10 pounds and shed inches from waist and hips. While I workout every day, that was more because of my tendency to stick to a daily routine better than something less rigorous (ie: 3x a week). I really think quitting fast food and increasing the amount of lean chicken and salmon and healthy veggies (which are gross, but meh, gotta eat them) I eat caused these results. Why? Because I’ve done daily workouts before, but had no change due to an unchanged and untracked diet. Counting calories sucks, but it’s also the only way to know what you’re eating.

Thanks all. You’re all right, of course. I have never let my weight stop me, I’m a good interviewer if I do say so myself, I’m actually pretty active, I play club sports, etc. People will always have preconceptions and there’s nothing I can do about it but be myself and show why I’ll be a good doctor.

It’s just such a different position than I’ve ever been in. Of course being overweight affects some areas of life, but work has never been one of them. As a non-trad, I already feel a little bit at a disadvantage (just a little), so every additional thing is worrisome.

Onward! (and to the gym - I’m using My Fitness Pal )

It is nothing to stress over. Thanks to our politically correct culture as well as a need to be all inclusive your weight will not pose a problem during interviews. I’ve never met the at person who is insecure during a job interview. Nervous? Sure but never insecure. Only after do the signs become apparent with some.

So as not to be offensive I’ll detail what bothers me about being overweight/overfat. See the issue will not be about the interview but when I’m sitting in the room with a patient and have to explain to them that their obesity has led to metabolic syndrome with all those complications. Now they have diabetes, hypertension…and most if not all could have been prevented if they had eaten properly. I outline a plan for them or make recommendations and all they can do is stare at my double chin, sugar-belly (think beer belly)… They hear the words but they are meaningless because if I believed them I would be following them and wouldn’t also be responsible for my own metabolic syndrome.

I’ve been at this weight thing a long time. Every year getting fatter and yet I could quote to you the latest fitness meme and even teaching myself biochem so that I could really understand. This year I had enough and decided to make a change. The thing I realized is that it is really just as simple as calories in versus calories out. It’s not magical and it doesn’t sell magazines but it’s true. You can literally eat whatever you want as long as your input (calories) is less than your output (movement) you will lose weight. We focus way to much on the movement and not enough on the food going in.

As far as diet I believe in eating as natural as possible. I ditched all grains, starches, and sugar. I found out later it’s called Paleo or Primal so I went and bought both books to read what Mark Sisson and Robb Wolf had to say. I noticed with this that I was also able to go longer without eating. Now being assimilated into the “breakfast is the most important meal of the day…must eat every 3-4 hours…” dogma I began to gain weight. I stumbled upon Eat Stop Eat by Brad Pilon. He has the references to prove that we can fast without going into the bogus notion of starvation mode. That led me to think that if my body became efficient at burning fat for energy then perhaps the approach should be to do a reverse taper kind of diet. Where I start at what would make a nutritionist gasp but a very low calorie diet. This would force my body to dip into it’s own fat stores for energy. The more fat I lose the more I increase calories until I am eating at a “normal” calorie level.

I’ve lost 5 inches off my waist and am down 25 pounds. I’m still not at the point where I need to increase my calories. In case you’re wondering I’m at 7000 calories/week. Usually Tuesday and Thursday I don’t eat. I also don’t eat 5-6 times a day, heck I don’t even eat 3 times a day. I eat maybe twice. Usually it’s just a hefty dinner with strawberries, blueberries, and almond milk for dessert.

I have 15 inches and 80 pounds to go. I have a goal of a 30" waist and 49" shoulder with the hopes of maintaining a 15" neck.

So all that to say that I understand where you’re coming from. If I can lose weight with my addiction to all things Coca-cola and chocolate you can to. I slip up a day here and there but ultimately my calories are lower than my output.

Some sites to consider:




PS: Now that people are beginning to notice my wife figures she might as well jump on board. All these years of talking nutrition did nothing. It was only after months of action is she jumping onboard because “I believe this’ll work because you’ve been doing it and sticking to it.” As I think Emerson said, “What you do speaks so loudly that what you say I can’t hear.”

If I can help in anyway feel free to send me a PM.

Brad Pilon is amazing–such smart wisdom there. I love the way he teaches…I’ve been on his email lists for a few years, and I love intermittant fasting. (No, it’s totally not as extreme as it sounds.)

Congrats, Croooz! That’s quite an accomplishment!