New York Theatre May Hold Answer to Obesity

The HealthGal Health Guide January 14, 2013
  • Do you recognize these names?   Bill Germanakos Jim Germankos Nicole Michalik Alfredo Dinten Suzanne Mendonca Erik Chopin Tara Costa   If you watch TV and weight loss shows, you should know all of these people.  They were contestants on The Biggest Loser, some of them win...

16 Comments
  • David Mendosa
    Health Guide
    Jan. 14, 2013

    Since I don't even have a TV set or even watch it on vacation (as presently), I don't recognize one of those names. However, one of them, Suzanne Mendonca, probably should be familiar to me. Mendonca is the original spelling in Portuguese of my family name, which got changed when my grandfather came through the port of embarkation. Can you tell me more about...

    RHMLucky777

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    Since I don't even have a TV set or even watch it on vacation (as presently), I don't recognize one of those names. However, one of them, Suzanne Mendonca, probably should be familiar to me. Mendonca is the original spelling in Portuguese of my family name, which got changed when my grandfather came through the port of embarkation. Can you tell me more about Suzanne?

    • The HealthGal
      Health Guide
      Jan. 14, 2013

      Funny - you would have to google her since i did not keep the PlayBill from the production.  Interesting "connection" though!!

    • Suzanne Mendonca
      Jan. 17, 2013

      Voce fala portuguese.

      Family originally from the Azores and u.

      Our names very similar lol.

    • David Mendosa
      Health Guide
      Jan. 18, 2013

      Dear Cousin Suzanne,

       

      Great to hear from you! My grandmother and grandfather came from the Azores too. My grandfather came from the very small island Flores. My chance did your family come from there?

       

      By the way, I am also a big loser. In 2005 I weighted 312 pounds, but by two or three years later I was down to 156 pounds and I kept it off. So...

      RHMLucky777

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      Dear Cousin Suzanne,

       

      Great to hear from you! My grandmother and grandfather came from the Azores too. My grandfather came from the very small island Flores. My chance did your family come from there?

       

      By the way, I am also a big loser. In 2005 I weighted 312 pounds, but by two or three years later I was down to 156 pounds and I kept it off. So I am now just half the man I used to be! I read that you had gained back some of the weight that you lost, but how are you doing now?

       

      David Mendosa

  • Lara Goldman
    Jan. 17, 2013

    After reading your article, it was clear, you didn't see the show.  Your only commenting on reading about the show in a News article.  I saw the show, you have it wrong.  The show's performers, many former Winners of The Biggest Loser, poke fun at DIETING, not Fat People.  They share their personal struggles and battles with weight loss....

    RHMLucky777

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    After reading your article, it was clear, you didn't see the show.  Your only commenting on reading about the show in a News article.  I saw the show, you have it wrong.  The show's performers, many former Winners of The Biggest Loser, poke fun at DIETING, not Fat People.  They share their personal struggles and battles with weight loss.  I was truly inspired with their true-to-life testimonies, and I related with them in every aspect.  Go see the show, then comment, you might learn something. 

     

    In all fairness, lets see you keep my post up.

     

    LG

    • The HealthGal
      Health Guide
      Jan. 17, 2013
      In response to your final statement, the only comments we edit are those using offensive language or those that threaten or present a menacing suggestion. None of your comments come even close to those descriptions. So your post will remain. I did not see the article you reference - I did however discuss the production with several health professionals and...
      RHMLucky777
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      In response to your final statement, the only comments we edit are those using offensive language or those that threaten or present a menacing suggestion. None of your comments come even close to those descriptions. So your post will remain. I did not see the article you reference - I did however discuss the production with several health professionals and friends and some of my comments reflect those musings and discussions. I did google the article and you are right- many of my comments are similar. To me that means that someone else shared my perspective on the show. Whether you "buy" that or not"- I have written prior articles suggesting the numerous problems I see on the TV show, and despite the uplifting message you got from these contestants in this theatrical presentation, I did not share your same in- theatre experience. I did hear self-deprecating jokes, along with the personal stories and very personal observations. Maybe the jokes were louder to my ears. I certainly admit that I am uncomfortable in the presence of "weighty humor." I continue to wonder why the disease called obesity is the only disease we seem to feel comfortable joking about. Maybe it's because some of us still don't consider it a disease. I have no doubt that many who see this production will share your views. I'm not one of them.
    • Lara Goldman
      Jan. 18, 2013

      I read your reply, but nowhere in your reply does it say you went to the show?  Your only judging the show by speaking to people out there? Healthcare professionals?  Perhaps when expressing an opinion your should see the show first.  Its misleading to your readers to value your opinion when you did not attend the production.  Rather than...

      RHMLucky777

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      I read your reply, but nowhere in your reply does it say you went to the show?  Your only judging the show by speaking to people out there? Healthcare professionals?  Perhaps when expressing an opinion your should see the show first.  Its misleading to your readers to value your opinion when you did not attend the production.  Rather than writing back your "smoke and mirror" answer, lets get to the heart of the matter.  Did the Healthcare professionals you spoke with go to the show too?

       

       DID YOU GO TO THE SHOW AND VIEW THE PERFORMANCE WHILE SITTING IN THE THEATRE TO EXPRESS YOUR OPINION?

    • The HealthGal
      Health Guide
      Jan. 18, 2013
      Appreciate your comments- if I was misleading then apologies. The blog comments were in response to listening to friiends and fellow professionals who saw the show,discussing it with them, and excerpts/quotes from the show that I heard. To me dieting jokes- which I don't differentiate from " jokes about weight, fat jokes " - make us view this condition less...
      RHMLucky777
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      Appreciate your comments- if I was misleading then apologies. The blog comments were in response to listening to friiends and fellow professionals who saw the show,discussing it with them, and excerpts/quotes from the show that I heard. To me dieting jokes- which I don't differentiate from " jokes about weight, fat jokes " - make us view this condition less as a disease, so you and I see that differently. I did write a response to Suzanne which you can read as well.
    • Lara Goldman
      Jan. 18, 2013

      I appreciate your reply again.  But, you should see the show before commenting.  I, myself am very overweight, I can not lose the pounds no matter how hard I try, but I do try.  When I saw the show I fell in love with the cast more than how much I loved them on the TV show. See they shared their true to life stories and struggles, the jokes were...

      RHMLucky777

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      I appreciate your reply again.  But, you should see the show before commenting.  I, myself am very overweight, I can not lose the pounds no matter how hard I try, but I do try.  When I saw the show I fell in love with the cast more than how much I loved them on the TV show. See they shared their true to life stories and struggles, the jokes were more of "being in the same boat" and not an attack on fat.  It felt good to me knowing I wasn't alone with my struggles and was able to laugh with people like me.  Their performances were heart warming and genuine.  They shared deep thoughts and told their life struggles.  I enjoyed the show, I was inspired.  As far as our discussions, were you ever overweight?  Are you or were you ever very heavy?  I am curious to know.. see in your writings, you come across fighting a battle against obesity as if this is a cancer, but you lack the compassion of being there.  Anyone can cheer for a foundation or cure, but if you live it or been thru it, you understand it.

       

      Looking forward to your reply.

    • The HealthGal
      Health Guide
      Jan. 18, 2013

      If you get my book The 4 Habits of Healthy Families (soft cover version of Fat Families Thin Families) you will know that I came from a generationally ovese family,  was obese by age 10 and lost the weight age 16-17, sabotaged daily by my mother, and have kept it off for 35 plus yrs.

      I was trained as a Physician Assistant and decided early on to specialize...

      RHMLucky777

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      If you get my book The 4 Habits of Healthy Families (soft cover version of Fat Families Thin Families) you will know that I came from a generationally ovese family,  was obese by age 10 and lost the weight age 16-17, sabotaged daily by my mother, and have kept it off for 35 plus yrs.

      I was trained as a Physician Assistant and decided early on to specialize in Internal medicine and Dependency medicine - seeing the correlation to obesity in the later specialty.  I was quite a maverick back in the 80's trying to inspire patients to embrace lifetyle change as a treatment or part of the trestment plan for obesity and obesity-related diseases.

      I managed to break the cycle in my family, raising two healthy kids who embrace fitness and healthy eating "without issues." 

      I watch as this disease continues to entrench itself in our American society and world wide.  I absolutely love stories that inspire but I am wearying of the Biggest Loser concept and the unwillingness of individuals to treat obesity like a disease which means ongoing efforts to manage the disease.  I see doctors everyday lose patients to the disease and I also hear from doctors who feel very challenged by patients who will leave a practice - rather than "deal with the conversation and treatment."  and doctors are getting "knocked" for not helping their patients - many don't want help.  Others just feel the journey is too hard.  I get it.

      I am especially challenged in the pediatric community -by parents who don't want anyone "messing with their parenting."  Again, the territorial attitude speaks volumes about the difficulty of dealing with this difficult disease.

      I better than anyone know there are different ways to "cope" with health issues - for some education is enough, for others education is just a small part of the puzzle - which is why I do understand that a production like this - though I haven't seen it - may inspire.  I confess I somehow want the boring, mundane, habitual day-to-day struggle which is not very entertaining - to be the flame tthat inspires.  That journey comes with an unrelenting devotion to habit - another boring and "tough -to-keep-in-place" concept.  I definitely use humor in my practice -but not in the form of jokes about dieting or fat- and you're right, until I see the show-despite the comments and conclusions I heard from those who saw the production - I can't directly comment in first person - if that's how you perceived my blog.

      Believe me when I say - I watched my grandmother and mother allow obesity to dominate their lives - and only a "teen" could decide that the best way to "stick it to my mom" was to defy the eating habits and other lifestyle traditions of the household and lose and keep off the weight.

      Empathy I have - but I am no longer able to chuckle a whole lot when dieting humor enters the equation.  I also realize that the "emotional component" of this journey is the hardest of all - and the one most people struggling with weight do not want to work on.

      Please do go through some of my blogs - when you have a moment - I do comment on my own journey, use clients as examples especially when discussing troubleshooting and re-mounting the effort to sustain weight loss. 

      Thanks for "weighing in" with some excellent points and your own perspective.

       

       

  • My Bariatric Life
    Health Guide
    Jan. 14, 2013
    I do not know those names because I do not watch TV. That said, I am aware of the television series, Biggest Loser, and I know the who the painfully annoying Gilbert Godfrey is. I would be interested in hearing these folks' stories of success and failure and struggles with weight. I can certainly identify with them! Setting these patient stories against a comedic...
    RHMLucky777
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    I do not know those names because I do not watch TV. That said, I am aware of the television series, Biggest Loser, and I know the who the painfully annoying Gilbert Godfrey is. I would be interested in hearing these folks' stories of success and failure and struggles with weight. I can certainly identify with them! Setting these patient stories against a comedic theme probably makes for an entertaining flow. That said, I would not travel into the city to see it. My husband and I saw the ballet at Christmas and it was very expensive when all was said and done, as well as a hassle... In the case of the New York City Ballet, however, it was worth every penny and inconvenience.I don't think I would say the same for this show.
    • The HealthGal
      Health Guide
      Jan. 14, 2013

      I guess I am personally conflicted.  On the one hand, stories do inspire people to change, or make them feel like the challenges they face are not uniquely painful - many share the same plight.  On the other hand, the unique style of The Biggest Loser which offers a very controlled dieting and exercise environment that most obese people will never...

      RHMLucky777

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      I guess I am personally conflicted.  On the one hand, stories do inspire people to change, or make them feel like the challenges they face are not uniquely painful - many share the same plight.  On the other hand, the unique style of The Biggest Loser which offers a very controlled dieting and exercise environment that most obese people will never access - means that the journey is really quite different and unattainable for most struggling with massive amounts of weight.  Framing that particular experience in the theatrical presentation may not be very helpful.  Showcasing that despite the help, you re-gained the weight, as in the case of one of the contestants, may let people know that there is no perfect journey.

       

      It's an odd but unique theatrical presentation - I'll give it that!

       

      When you come into NYC- you have to make "a day of it"- a trip to Central Park, Times Square, maybe a special cafe lunch (many healthy restaurants to choose from), Union Square Farmer's Market, afternoon stroll down Fifth Ave window shopping and gawking at tourists and the famous, the ballet and and after dinner drink or tea before heading home.  It can be a splurge - but it is a special experience if you really take advantage of the opportunities you can squeeze in - by foot!

    • Suzanne Mendonca
      Jan. 17, 2013

      Hi HealthGal,

      Luv the name lol.  Okay so I am extending you a personal invitation for you and a guest to receive two free tickets to "The Diet Show."  Would love to have you come and watch the show and tell us what you think.  Just let me know the date you are available and I will leave the tickets for you to pick up at the door. ...

      RHMLucky777

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      Hi HealthGal,

      Luv the name lol.  Okay so I am extending you a personal invitation for you and a guest to receive two free tickets to "The Diet Show."  Would love to have you come and watch the show and tell us what you think.  Just let me know the date you are available and I will leave the tickets for you to pick up at the door. 

       

      Let's get to the show now.  It's a heartwarming, inspiring, funny, and very personal as we describe how we battle the bulge on a daily basis.  Yes, we have fun but I can guarantee each story the cast shares you will relate to and even say OMG I have been there (only if you have been fat or ever on a diet).  Yes, we have all been blessed to have this amazing TV experience being on a TV show, however if you look at the picture of the cast of "The Diet Show" we have not been very successful in maintaining or keeping off our weight.  We struggle just like anybody else out there.  It's even more pressure for us former losers to succeed with our weight battles because people expect us to be these role models in extreme weight loss.  We are just everyday people that have to return to our normal lives, pay the mortgage, work full-time, raise children, and the normal day stress that you encounter and feel like you can cure it with going thru a drive thru window.  No matter what diet journey you have traveled on we all have in common the dreaded high statistic of regaining any substantial weight loss that has been lost over time. 

       

      The Diet show tix are $44 bucks how can u go wrong.  We make u laugh and burn calories!   

       

      Again would love you to come and give us your honest opinion/review.

      Thanks, Suzanne Mendonca cast member

      Lost 90 lbs and use to be a size 4/5

      My current weight: Don't ask a girl never tells at least the truth that is about her real weight!! 

    • The HealthGal
      Health Guide
      Jan. 18, 2013
      Hi Suzanne- Glad you like the name- and appreciate your perspective. Like other health professionals , I have been conflicted about the Biggest Loser journey and it's so- called "wonderful benefits." As soon as you take a disease and set an "unreasonable, unsustainable " end goal- you pitnpeople at risk. The Biggest Loser has always been about entertainment,...
      RHMLucky777
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      Hi Suzanne- Glad you like the name- and appreciate your perspective. Like other health professionals , I have been conflicted about the Biggest Loser journey and it's so- called "wonderful benefits." As soon as you take a disease and set an "unreasonable, unsustainable " end goal- you pitnpeople at risk. The Biggest Loser has always been about entertainment, ratings, and reaching the lowest number you can- knowing no contestant will sustain that number. In the health world there is no other disease we do this with. We don't tell cancer patients, or those with diabetes to approach their disease this way- that's probably why still, so many don't recognize obesity as a disease- because we position the end- goal stakes in our minds, and with the help of a show like this, differently. That being said, I absolutely know the stories and struggles inspire others. But at the same time, The National Weight Registry, should REALLY inspire those struggling with weight issues. And someone like me, who despite enormous challenges, has kept weight off for over 30 yrs. sort of becomes "the boring story" in light of entertaining projects like these. People die from complications associated with obesity- so I guess because I am and have been witness to that- I have become a bit less entertained by dieting jokes and weight jokes over the yrs. I appreciate the need for "lightness" when dealing with a dire, very personal and painful condition. I also appreciate that we all get inspired in different ways. I do hope this production inspires others. For me, I am in the trenches dealing with this very intractable disease- trying to intercept it in kids before it entrenches; trying to get parents to be a bit " less territorial" so that they are willing to do the hard work necessary to change family food and weight dynamics. Best of luck in your professional on stage experience and in your ongoing weight journey. I know better than anyone that it takes a healthy diet, exercise, vigilance, planning,often times therapy for the emotional eating and behavioral changes necessary,willpower, and even an ongoing support team- to take weight off and keep it off, long term. That's called a treatment plan- and until people struggling with obesity acknowledge the ongoing therapy plan necessary to treat this disease, it will continue to escalate.
    • My Bariatric Life
      Health Guide
      Jan. 19, 2013

      I applaud your work to end childhood obesity. When I write about weight issues on HealthCentral, I sometimes tackle the topic of childhod obesity. It is so personally discouraging to me to see such little interest in that particular topic versus the other weight topics that I write about. I truly do not understand resistance to addressing/resolving this critical...

      RHMLucky777

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      I applaud your work to end childhood obesity. When I write about weight issues on HealthCentral, I sometimes tackle the topic of childhod obesity. It is so personally discouraging to me to see such little interest in that particular topic versus the other weight topics that I write about. I truly do not understand resistance to addressing/resolving this critical health challenge.

       

      My obesity began early in life, certainly by the second grade. And although I had a wonderful childhood, it was emotionally hard being the fattest kid in the classroom and in the neighborhood. And in later years, there were health complications that arose because of my obesity. I do not wish that for any child.

       

      I also applaud your comments about a life long treatment plan. Even with weight-loss surgery there is a misconception that it is a magic bullet for getting and remaining thin. This is not true, as you well know. The surgery is wonderful for losing weight, but that in and of itself will not keep the weight off. Rather, it is a tool that when combined with a treatment plan of healthy eating, exercise, and other lifestyle changes, including therapy if needed for the emotional reasons why one over eats, can lead to a lifetime of obesity disease management.

       

      Living life well-fed,

      MBL

    • The HealthGal
      Health Guide
      Jan. 19, 2013

      Your personal and very introspective/informative contributions are immeasurable.  Despite the fact that you had more weight to lose and used surgery as one of the tools, you clearly "get" all the other work that has to be ongoing, in order to keep the weight off.

      And, I daresay from your comments, that you also know how important it is to try and prevent...

      RHMLucky777

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      Your personal and very introspective/informative contributions are immeasurable.  Despite the fact that you had more weight to lose and used surgery as one of the tools, you clearly "get" all the other work that has to be ongoing, in order to keep the weight off.

      And, I daresay from your comments, that you also know how important it is to try and prevent obesity in kids, because once it is an entrenched disease, it then requires lifelong "therapy/habit change/commitment/etc" to keep the hard-earned weight loss in place.

      I applaud your commitment and your willingness to share/inform!!