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My sister and the beginning of her weight loss journey

My sister is getting healthy and I am supporting her every step of the way

My sister, Leah, is 6 and a half years younger than me.  She is my best friend.  She is brilliant.  And hilarious.  And engaging.  She is an author and a teacher.  She is a guru of mindfulness.  And for the past many years she has been losing a battle with her weight.  This morning she announced that enough was enough. She did it publicly… https://medium.com/@leahweissauthor/getting-started-for-the-last-time-the-weight-loss-journey-begins-f231f6cb2cfb?fbclid=IwAR3pRrODmEHGnqBcLFI7ncsR9UtUBJNrAdtX_HdtJ9qARNS4ZsDHYP6q5no.

As a pediatric orthopedist, obesity is my enemy in many ways.  When children carry extra weight they are prone to leg deformity, slips in their hip growth plates, and worse outcomes with broken bones.  https://www.anationinmotion.org/ortho-pinion/a-stance-against-obesity-in-children/

Adults who are overweight have a myriad of extra challenges with their bones and joints.  It can be tempting to pursue medical treatment for these aches and pains in the form of pain medication, steroid injections, and even surgery.  Let’s face it.  Weight loss is so much harder than an external fix.  I need to choose every word carefully when I approach this dilemma with my patients.  It can just sound plain mean when they come to seek relief of knee pain from an orthopedist and learn that weight loss is often more effective than joint replacement.  When a vulnerable person wearing a hospital gown sits on a paper sheeted exam table, I can see so much in their sad or angry or discouraged eyes

Last week a young woman came to see me 9 months after I reconstructed her ACL for clearance to get back to full sports and activities  She lost 80 pounds.  Her mother said that she lost a small child.  I saw her pride on every inch of her face.  She listed so many social and physical benefits to her new body habitus.  I added one more, her knee is less likely to become arthritic.

Leah and I grew up with a father who was an orthopedist.  He made us accountable for our aches and pains.  We did not  get notes of excuse to skip the mile run in PE.  When I broke my arm at the age of 8, he actually took a week to believe me enough to take me in for an X-Ray.  So we are 2 sisters that are anything but passive.  When Leah complains about plantar fasciitis or pain in her feet, knee pain or breathlessness, she is quick to preface our conversation with the words, “I know it is because I need to lose weight.”  My sister is aware and determined.  She has played around with strategies to lose weight for a few years, but what I see now in her eyes and her written words is full on determination.  I will be there with her every step and pound of this journey.  

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