DiscoverDecoding Obesity
Decoding Obesity

Decoding Obesity

Author: Avishkar Sabharwal, M.D., Dipl. ABOM

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The biology of obesity is complex. The traditional practice of cutting calories and increasing expenditure, in all its simplicity, gives the illusion of being the obvious approach. It surely may work in the short term, but usually falters in the long run. As we gain new insights and develop new empirics, we move a step closer to cracking this code.The Decoding Obesity podcast will help you develop a deeper understanding of this disease, develop a healthy relationship with nutrition, promote self-care, and emote a new confidence of "Yes, I can do it!"Disclaimer: Information provided on this podcast is for educational purposes only and does not constitute/substitute medical advice. Consult your health care professional prior to trying any of the modalities mentioned here.
27 Episodes
Dr. Erin Saltzman discusses sexual health in men as it relates to obesity. Dr. Saltzman is a board-certified Endocrinologist. She is currently in the process of getting her certification in Obesity Medicine as well.
Dr. Melissa Choi is a board-certified family medicine and obesity medicine physician. She and her husband reside in Minnesota with their 3 young daughters. She recently started The Mom Plate to help other busy moms with getting kids to eat healthily. While her website is still under construction, you can subscribe to get notified once it is active. 
I welcome back Dr. Erin Saltzman to discuss the issue of PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) and female fertility as it relates to obesity. Dr. Saltzman is a board certified Endocrinologist who is passionate about treating patients suffering from obesity and PCOS. 
Dr. Angela Fitch is board certified in obesity medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics. She is currently the Associate Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Weight Center and a faculty at the Harvard Medical School. She currently is serving as Vice President of the Obesity Medicine Association and previously served as Secretary/Treasurer and a trustee. She was the 2015-2016 chair of the clinical management section of The Obesity Society. Dr. Fitch is the winner of the 2017 Clinician of the Year Award from the Obesity Medicine Association.She was recently on my podcast discussing meal replacements but today she is here to share with us her weight loss journey.
I discuss the concept of mindfulness in eating with Dr. Michelle Thompson to explore how it can help with weight loss. Dr. Thompson is board certified in Lifestyle Medicine, Integrative Medicine, and Family Medicine. She is a Faculty for the University of Pittsburgh Medical School, is the Chair of Medicine UPMC Horizon, and also a physician advisor for Nemacolin Woodlands Resort Holistic Healing Center in Farmington, Pennsylvania. Dr. Thompson has developed a Free Healthy Living Series, where she lectures and provides experiential opportunities to anyone in the community seeking knowledge in integrative modalities. She has been active in teaching the whole food plant-based diet to people in her community, creating cooking programs with a local chef and dietician, for eating to reverse disease. She runs many programs and workshops to help people lead healthy lives. You can find out more about her programs at or on Facebook
Dr. Maneesha Ahluwalia is a Certified Life Coach and Board Certified Infectious Disease and Internal Medicine physician. After miscarriages and more miscarriages, she was given the simultaneous diagnoses of infertility, overweight, pre-diabetic, insulin resistance, PCOS, hypothyroidism, Vitamin D, and Iron deficiency by her reproductive endocrinologist, and she was determined to get into better health. She achieved and maintains her weight loss through food and lifestyle changes. Her why and her mindset continue to fuel her actions and results: no yo-yo dieting since she started her weight loss journey in 2017. She shares her story for others to know that they are not alone.She offers coaching around urges, desires, cravings, and weight loss and can be reached via email:, Instagram, or on Facebook
What are meal replacement products? Do they work for weight loss, or are they a scam? When can they be helpful? Which ones should you buy?All these and many more questions answered in today's episode with Dr. Angela Fitch.Dr. Angela Fitch is board certified in obesity medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics. She is currently the Associate Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Weight Center and a faculty at the Harvard Medical School. She began the practice of obesity medicine at the University of Minnesota, treating children with obesity.In 2012, Dr. Fitch became the medical director for the Metabolic Health and Weight Management Clinic at Park Nicollet and began practicing obesity medicine full time. Dr. Fitch moved back to Cincinnati to create a multidisciplinary medical surgical weight center. There she was also appointed medical director of the Executive Health Program and Vice President of Primary Care before moving to Boston.She currently is serving as Vice President of the Obesity Medicine Association and previously served as Secretary/Treasurer and a trustee. She was the 2015-2016 chair of the clinical management section of The Obesity Society. Dr. Fitch is the winner of the 2017 Clinician of the Year Award from the Obesity Medicine Association.Dr. Fitch enjoys seeing patients of all ages to help them reach their weight and wellness goals. She enjoys cooking, traveling, and outdoor activities with her husband and son and looks forward to exploring New England.
Dr. Hang Tran is board certified in obesity medicine and family medicine.  She also minored in Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology in college after her "freshman fifteen" experience.  She is a marathon enthusiast and a firm believer in nutrition and fitness to attain wellness and to prevent chronic medical conditions.  She is currently based in Orange County, CA.  She had worked as a primary care physician in San Diego, Orange County, and Los Angeles.  Dr. Tran plans to focus her time providing individual and group-based weight management consultations.  She takes pride in helping patients reach their new weights and fitness goals.  She is active on LinkedIn and Instagram and you can follow her there.
Meditation has long been purported to have several health benefits. Science is now revealing that it may have a role in the management of obesity as well. I am joined by Dr. Yashoda Bhaskar who is a certified Vipassana meditation teacher to discuss this further. We discuss common questions and doubts people often have about meditation and while we are at it, she does a live meditation session to help you get started and get over the initial inhibition. 
Marc Summa is a math coach at Mango Elementary School in Seffner, Florida. He is also a founding member of UNICO of Greater Tampa Bay – an Italian-American organization – with a focus on “Service Above Self”.   UNICO fundraises throughout the year to provide scholarship opportunities for graduating High School Seniors of Italian-American heritage. He joins me to share his weight loss journey. 
Lung diseases are sometimes not only more severe but also more difficult to manage in patients suffering from obesity. We discuss this with Dr. Jaskaran Sethi.Dr. Sethi is fellowship-trained in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and is currently pursuing further training in Interventional Pulmonology at the University of Utah.
In any journey, support and motivation are critical to not lose sight of the goal. Personal stories from people who have taken the journey certainly helps. Dr. Erin Saltzman, who is an Endocrinologist by profession, mom of 2 shares her story.
Our lives are busier than ever. Does it make sense to still cook in this day and age with so many quick and easy options available all around? Let's find out.
Creating a food diary is often tedious and doesn't seem to be the best use of time. But is this the case? Is there more to it than just time spent writing a food journal? Let's explore. 
Weight loss is a difficult journey. Believe it or not, your body fights you every step of the way. Your weight plateau may have more to do with your biology than your will power. We look at this in greater detail. A deeper understanding of this might help you in your path to successful weight loss.
Food addiction: a myth or a fact? We discuss the science of hyper-palatable foods and how they modulate our neuro-biology to crave these foods. We explore how the food industry uses this science to its advantage.
Binge eating disorder is one of the most common eating disorders and is often a cause of overeating and obesity. People suffering from this disorder have an uncontrollable urge to eat leading to binging episodes. We discuss this in detail with Dr. Anuneet Sabharwal who is one of India's leading psychiatrists. He is also one of the most followed psychiatrists on social media in India.
Various cancers are to be closely linked to obesity. Obesity also has ramifications on the management of various cancers. We discuss this intricate relationship in detail with Dr. Sonam Puri.  Dr. Puri is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Oncology, Department of Medicine at the University of Utah. Her area of expertise is the treatment of thoracic malignancies.Her research interests include clinical research in thoracic malignancies, with emphasis on immunotherapy, targeted therapy, and other novel treatment strategies for non-small and small cell lung cancer.She is an active member of various national and international organizations including the Lung Cancer Disease Center of Excellence at the Huntsman cancer institute, the American Society of Medical Oncology, Southwest Oncology Group, Society of Immunotherapy of Cancer, and International Association of study of lung cancer.She also serves on the National Network Clinical guideline panel for small cell lung cancer.
Stress and Obesity are intricately related. In this episode, we discuss this inter-relationship and how to tackle this. Dr. Shirly Ramchandani (prefers to go by Shalu) is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Obesity Medicine.  During her twenty-year career in primary care, she managed many patients with obesity and related complications. She is also trained as a Health and Wellness and a Culinary Coach. Apart from her private practice doing weight management, she spends part of my clinical time at Benson Henry Institute for Mind-Body Medicine at MGH. She is a part-time instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. She is also on the faculty for the CHEF Coaching Program at the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine in Boston.Kindly check out her website: and her Facebook page:
This pandemic has put immense stress on all of us. There seems to be an association between obesity and COVID-19. We take a look at the interplay between the two and what we can do in this situation. Please refer to my article as well on this very topic.
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