Dr. Tro Kalayjian has devoted his career to helping people lose weight and improve their health, not just for a few months, but for a lifetime. Kalayjian—who is board-certified in Internal Medicine & Obesity Medicine—received his medical degree from Touro College of Medicine and completed his Internal Medicine Residency in the Yale New Haven Health System at Greenwich Hospital, where he served as Chief Medical Resident.
Kalayjian was prominently featured in a video recently produced by TouroCOM that the college is using to highlight graduates who are making significant contributions in their respective specialties.
Unlike many medical doctors and health care professionals, Kalayjian has no difficulty relating to patients who have struggled with obesity for most of their lives. He has firsthand experience with obesity and the emotional and psychological trauma that often accompanies it.
“If you’ve been shamed your whole life for being obese, this carries a lot of emotions,” said Kalayjian. “I found myself at medical school at Touro College of Medicine at 350 pounds, and completely bewildered. I just didn’t know how to lose weight, and it was challenging because the standard advice was ‘Eat less and move more,’ and that advice never worked, I went back to the medical textbooks and I started to look into the literature.”
In fact, over the past four years, Kalayjian has read more than 1,000 nutrition studies and papers, and more than 100 books about nutrition, including three textbooks. He soon realized that most physicians practicing today do not have sufficient training in nutrition and are unable to help patients lose weight or reverse disease. Additionally, the food industry and special interests have made it difficult for people to understand what a healthy lifestyle really is.
“When you look at the data, usually the diets that are lowest in processed carbohydrates, and lowest in sugars (are the diets) that help people lose weight and fix their diabetes,” said Kalayjian, “so I started right there, and since then I’ve lost 150 pounds.”
In early 2019, Kalayjian realized his dream of opening a medical weight loss and direct primary care practice in his hometown of Tappan in Rockland County, NY. “Our goal is to help patients lose weight, let their bodies heal as they were meant to heal, which is consistent with the tenents of the lessons we learned at TouroCOM.”
Early in Kalayjian’s career, he looked at metabolic diseases through the same lens as most in the medical profession. Diseases like Type 2 diabetes were thought of as progressive, and the most one could typically hope for was to slow down that progression. Today, Kalayjian regularly takes patients off medications, and sees them have their health restored.
“A big part of what we do here is we give people hope that you can do it, and we give them a plan, which is not eat less and move more. We work with our patients to look at the whole body, to look at the whole situation. Is there a hormonal reason that they’re hungry or eating? Is there a stress reason that they’re hungry or eating? Is there a psychological reason that they’re hungry or eating?”
Kalayjian feels strongly that his own life experiences have benefitted his patients, in part because of the perspective it gives him as he provides care.
“I think it’s difficult for most physicians who are not overweight or have not been overweight to relate to the struggles of somebody who is obese, and I think that makes the divide between the patient and the physician even more difficult, and it can become a barrier to getting good care.
“One of the most important lessons I think I learned at TouroCOM was having empathy for the patient and understanding their struggles, and being able to meet them where they are. It’s something I think TouroCOM instilled in me.”
Dr. Tro’s Medical Weight Loss & Direct Primary Care strives to provide one-on-one, exceptional medical care, with a focus on preventative care through lifestyle and dietary changes. Our goal is to make medicine, health, and wellness easy for you. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit our Appointments page or call us at 845-397-CURE.