How can we stop blaming patients for being obese and start that path towards creating spaces to provide them with better care and medications that they really need?

Obesity was just recognized as a medical disease back in 2013, and so often, conversations around obesity medications contain bias, even among us physicians. People tend to overestimate the power of lifestyle modifications, thinking that everything in weight loss revolves around our minds.

But if as clinicians, we understand that we have the most powerful tools to help our patients live a healthier life, we’ll then be empowered to make evidence-based decisions, instead of those coming from judgments and bias.

Join us today as Dr. Sylvia awakens us in this conversation about weight loss and the power of medications.


Dr. Sylvia Gonsahn-Bollie is a dual board-certified Internal Medicine and Obesity Medicine physician who empowers women to stop obsessing over the scale, feel great and get to your happy healthy weight with self-love & a personalized, scientific sustainable weight loss strategy through Embrace You Weight & Wellness, medical practice, and coaching program.

In this episode, Dr. Sylvia discusses weight loss myths especially associated with medications as she and Dr. Berry stress the importance of having these tough conversations around obesity, especially in the Black community.


Why you need to check out this episode:

  • Learn why we need to address and understand the implicit bias there is in obesity and marry that with understanding the physiology in the science;
  • Discover why it’s important that we help free people from the space of blaming themselves alone for not being able to lose weight; and
  • Find out why it’s important that clinicians understand the power of medications to be greater advocates for the care each patient needs

“If we, as clinicians, could understand the power of these medications in addressing the underlying physiology, then we would be even greater advocates for our patients getting the care that they need.”

Dr. Sylvia Gonsahn-Bollie

Topics Covered:

00:33 – Welcoming today’s guest, Dr. Sylvia Gonsahn-Bollie, as they talk about the things that have changed from five years ago

04:37 – Who is Dr. Sylvia Gonsahn-Bollie? What is her book, “Embrace You”, all about?

07:14 – The Numbers: Discussion around the barriers that hinder Black people from getting the care that they need

10:28 – The Awakening: Weight bias as the most common form of discrimination, obesity being recognized as a medical disease only in 2013, and Dr. Sylvia’s wake-up call to focus on obesity medicine

14:25 – Understanding the Bias: How much factor does physicians’ training play in the biases that occur whenever they see someone who is obese

19:24 – Not in the System: Making the patient the scapegoat, and the correlation obesity has with burnout, feeling stressed and pressured as a clinician

24:10 – Start to End: “Lifestyle changes are always the foundation of anything we do, but the medications are just a tool to help people.”

32:02 – Another Visual: Dr. Sylvia shares the Obesity Treatment Pyramid proposed by Dr. Angela Fitch as she explains why things aren’t only about weight and weight loss

40:58 – A Reminder: Weight loss isn’t all mental. There are chemical reasons why you can’t lose the weight

52:35 – Connect with Dr. Sylvia Gonsahn-Bollie and take the quiz on her website; Dr. Sylvia talks about her brand-new course that will launch on the 1st of October

Notable Quotes:

“A lot of times, doctors and healthcare clinicians, we like to pretend that we’re immune from these biases.” – Dr. Sylvia Gonsahn-Bollie

“We have to talk about and call out those lies because if we don’t, then we will never be able to push past it and make sure that people get the tools that they want.” – Dr. Sylvia Gonsahn-Bollie

“Obesity itself is a medical condition and a disease that affects people, not that they’re choosing to have obesity per se.” – Dr. Sylvia Gonsahn-Bollie

“Understanding the implicit bias and also marrying that with understanding the physiology in the science is really important. Once you’re clear from both of those things as a clinician, that empowers you to make evidence-based decisions instead of judgment-based decisions or feeling-based decisions.” – Dr. Sylvia Gonsahn-Bollie

“When you’re not in a system that’s offering you tools to empower the patient on their weight journey, it’s much easier to just make them the scapegoat.” – Dr. Sylvia Gonsahn-Bollie

“Lifestyle changes are always the foundation of anything we do, but the medications are just a tool to help people.” – Dr. Sylvia Gonsahn-Bollie

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