October 21, 2010 in Features

Dr. Gott: Low-weight woman in an obese society

Peter H. Gott United Media
 

DEAR DR. GOTT: I am a 50-ish African-American woman with a problem most think I am lucky to have. I can’t stop losing weight. My cholesterol is on the high side, so I can’t eat most high-calorie foods because they also contain a lot of fat. I am also a vegetarian, don’t like sweets very much, and work out at a gym daily. I don’t want to put on much weight. My normal weight is around 100 pounds, and I’m mentally comfortable with that.

My doctors have looked at the obvious: They have checked my thyroid and for any digestive disorders. I love food and eat a lot of pasta with veggies sauteed in olive oil. I also love cheese but don’t want to raise my cholesterol levels higher. Other than the weight loss, I’m in excellent shape.

Can you give me any suggestions?

DEAR READER: There are a number of common causes for weight loss, but you don’t appear to fit the norm. They include malnutrition, depression, chronic diarrhea, drug use, cancer, excessive alcohol consumption, eating disorders and loss of appetite. One thing that might be an issue is a dental problem or mouth ulcers. Should you have ill-fitting dentures or canker sores, this might be addressed. If you faint or feel lightheaded, sweat excessively, have increased thirst, palpitations, have hair loss are on laxatives or diuretics, these issues, too, might be considered. They may lead to an underlying cause that your physician has not addressed.

You might consider speaking with your doctor regarding a nutritional assessment and making sure that you have had complete laboratory analysis. A vegetarian diet is commonly a healthful one and far better than consuming fast foods on a regular basis. You might choose to speak with a dietitian at your local hospital for some fine-tuning that will allow your weight to stabilize.

You apparently are burning more calories than you are consuming. A way around this is to supplement your meals with snacks throughout the day. Granola bars, fruit and raw vegetables would be good choices. I don’t know what your breakfast consists of, but you might consider making your own cereal with a variety of nuts, cranberries, honey and raisins. Top it with skim milk, and have a glass of orange juice and tea or black coffee.

There are countless ways of incorporating good foods into your diet without packing on the pounds, but it may take a little preparation on your part to make this happen.

DEAR DR. GOTT: You mentioned ichthammol in a past column as a drawing salve but failed to mention Peruvian balsam, aka Balsam of Peru. My dad introduced me to this product 50 years ago, and it works wonderfully on slivers, stingers, etc. You might want to check this out for yourself.

I do enjoy your column and have learned a great deal from it. Keep up the good work.

DEAR READER: Frankly, I had never heard of Peruvian balsam prior to your letter but am passing the information on so others might benefit from it. Thank you for sharing this information.

To provide related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report “Compelling Home Remedies.” Other readers who would like a copy should send a self-addressed stamped No. 10 envelope and a $2 check or money order payable to Newsletter and mailed to Newsletter, P.O. Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092-0167. Be sure to mention the title or print an order form off my website at www.AskDrGottMD.com.

Dr. Peter H. Gott is a retired physician.His website is www.AskDrGottMD.com.

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