Seasickness, obesity and weight loss

Good afternoon to you all from the bridge aboard Four Seasons. Let me bring you up to date with what is going on aboard our vessel.It is 17th. November, 1000 hours local time, about three o’clock in the afternoon if you are in Europe. The sea has calmed down and Four Seasons is wriggling her way towards Bermuda. The navigational computer suggests we will be there in 48 hours.

The crew is back to full strength, four functioning members, each able to carry out his duties. There is time to talk to each other again after a period during the last few days when we were all keeping our personal struggles to ourselves. Each of us felt compassion for the others in the team, but kept this to himself. No ‘how’s it going, mate?’ or ‘kiss it better?’. It’s a man’s world.


Looking at the others I see that we’ve all lost weight. All except the cook, who looks like he always does.


A bridge to my topic for today. Weight loss.

One of the great social-medical problems of our time.

A subject about which so much rubbish is produced.

Take, for example, the television programme Obese, from the Dutch channel RTL4.

Candidates put themselves through weeks and even months of personal hell to reach their devoutly wished for state of weightlessness.

All of this presented by Wendy van Dijk, a featherweight herself. Is she there to inspire or dishearten? I find myself wondering where she sniffed her own diet.


Back when I was starting out as surgeon I would often advise overweight patients to lose a few pounds before surgery. This would give them a better chance of recovery. Most would tell me, ‘I can’t do it doctor’.

My advice would be to take a couple of weeks off and visit Biafra, where people were starving to death. Most of these patients I never saw again, maybe they took my advice.

In time I changed my tactics, I was losing too many patients.


There were others though who showed themselves to be remarkably self-reliant.

I remember a psychiatric patient referred to me, who had her own special way of losing weight. On her ward the staff noticed that cutlery regularly disappeared. The search led to my patient, who did not eat her meals but swallowed the knives, forks and spoons, the idea behind this being that these were low in calories but filled her belly.

X-ray photos revealed a trove of scrap metal in her stomach. I operated and removed more than five kilograms of steel. She recovered swiftly and was able to return to her ward. How she got on there I am unable to tell. I hope that her psychiatrists and dieticians were able to change her eating habits. She had found a way to lose weight though.


I have reached the conclusion, supported by the insights gained during the last few days, that the best place to lose weight is at sea. I have a mind to organise weekly courses on our return:

Lose 5 kilos in 5 days on the North Sea!

Success guaranteed. Eat all you like, seasickness optional.


Everyone will lose weight because the constant effort involved in keeping your footing aboard a constantly moving boat burns calories like nothing else. Add the option of seasickness and no gastric bypass is required, no operation, no narcosis. Five days of anti-peristaltic activity and the stomach size is automatically reduced.

I hope that I can interest the Dutch medical insurance companies in my plan. Maybe this can also save the future of the fishing fleet,  with laid-up ships back at sea and jobless captains and their crew back to work.


Enough of these thoughts, though I have plenty more ideas on the subject. Should you want to discuss these further with me privately I can guarantee the strictest confidentiality.


But for now I wish you all a fine day, as we follow a course of 060 degrees, ever closer towards Hamilton, Bermuda.


As always with best regards from the whole crew aboard our never failing Four Seasons, Edzard

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