Podcasts have to be one of the best things invented in the past 10 years. I’ve always been somewhat obsessive about acquiring information. My office and bedroom are practically overflowing with books (because I’m also old-fashioned and love actual books made out of actual paper). However, before podcasts came about, it was difficult to acquire more information when you were in your car or while taking a walk. Sure, you could order a book on CD from the library (and wait for it to become available) but then you had to deal with picking it up and returning it before it was overdue – things that often became big barriers to this process for me. And then, some brilliant person invented podcasts.
Now you can learn almost anything you want to learn while driving to work or taking a walk. You can learn things while waiting for your kids to come out after practice. You explore new things or listen to your favorite experts talk about their new discoveries. And there is so much information available!
I’m sure there is plenty of misinformation out there as well (I don’t completely live under a rock!) but if you are smart about where you look for information, you can dramatically increase your knowledge base using high quality information – for free – whenever you want – with just the push of a button.
Even the really nerdy scientists of the world are out there being interviewed on podcasts. Thank heavens. Learning from the experts in science is amazing – and it’s way easier to understand the science when they talk about it than it is to understand it from reading academic papers. And, once you hear them talk about it, if you want to go down the rabbit hole, the papers are there on the internet, ready to support the information with facts.
You are probably asking yourself what this has to do with Obesity Medicine. No, I’m not going to start a podcast – I have no desire to talk into a microphone and interview other people. Not even on the third page of the bucket list!
However, I have a lot of patients ask me about how they can learn more about what we do at Heartland Weight Loss. A huge percent of our patient population is made up of healthcare professionals (which I love!) and, not surprisingly, they want to know the science behind what we do (which I also love!). I typically rattle off a list of authors that I believe do a good job of writing about the science – people like Robert Lustig and Richard Johnson and Gary Taubes and Jason Fung. However, not everyone likes books. And even those people that like books may not want to go way deep into the subjects and spend hours and hours trying to pull out the pieces of knowledge they are looking for.
Ta-da – the magic of podcasts! Most of these great scientists are interviewed on various podcasts. They often give very good cliff-notes versions of their studies and papers and books in a format that you can pay attention to while you are commuting. They aren’t always organized in a nice convenient place (although Peter Attia’s podcast, The Drive, does a great job of gathering a lot of really smart people – I would bet most of them have been on there at some point).
If you want to dive deeper into the things we talk about in our office, please do. The more you know and understand the science, the easier it is to apply it to your life. The more you know about the human body and the way it works, the less uncertain you feel when trying to navigate disruptions to that body. I don’t want you to have blind faith that everything I say is true. Our ability to question and doubt other people (and ourselves) helps us develop wisdom in life. Go search out some podcasts and see what you can learn when you would otherwise just be singing along to music or listening to talk radio.
As you are doing that, remember, if you need me, you know where to find me!
Courtney Younglove, M.D.