Keith-Thomas Ayoob, EdD, RD, FADAHealth Blog - Nutrition

Michelle Obama's Shake Shack meal will take time to "shake-off"

Published on 2011-07-14 by Keith-Thomas Ayoob, EdD, RD, FADA

Michelle Obama recently hit up Shake Shack, a sort of high-end chain of restaurants that specializes in uber-good shakes, fries, burgers, and such.  They’re known for tasty food, big portions, and not sparing any expense on good ingredients. 


Visualization is courtesy of

Enter Michelle.  She orders a meal that rounds out at 1556 calories – almost a whole day’s supply for an average woman.  Fine, expect that she’s the First Lady and someone who also wants to be known as tackling child obesity.  Hmmm.  Kind of a disconnect, but let’s press on.

She’s always preached balance – as has virtually every qualified registered dietitian.  That means you overdo it sometimes.  But it also means you compensate but UNDERDOING it, and that’s where the arguments start.  

Michelle isn’t quite like everyone

Michelle seems to control her weight well.  She needs to.  She’s tackling child obesity, she has a high profile as First Lady, and even if she weren’t, all eyes are on her every move anyway.  She also has a personal trainer, a chef, and no less than two dozen personal assistants to keep her schedule clear enough to allow regular workouts.  

Most people don’t have any of that to help them control their body weight and as a result, they don’t do it very well.  Most people tend NOT to compensate very well when they have an indulgence.  Sure, they may resume their regular and perhaps healthy diet after such an indulgence, but without the compensatory deficit in calories to account for that indulgence, but that’s not balance.  The occasional Shake Shack indulgence turns out to be an occasional uptick on the scale.

Indulgence is OK, but…

Overdoing it is a part of life sometimes.  to keep weight in balance however, just remember to underdo it also.  I often tell patients to plan ahead.  If they know that a Shake Shack-type of meal is in the offing, make this the week you hit the gym, snack on fresh fruit and steam your veggies.  Keep it close to the vest and you’ll enjoy treat knowing it’s all been “paid for”. 

As for Michelle, she knows everyone is watching, and that alone can keep her motivated.  Weight management should always be about health, not appearance or cosmetics.  Michelle, like it or not, is a role model for many people.  Her Shake Shack thing tells us role models are also human.  Next time she goes to Shake Shack however, it might be a good idea to split that meal with the First Husband.  

Keith-Thomas Ayoob, EdD, RD, FADA


Follow us on Facebook!

The material on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Consult a licensed medical professional for the diagnosis and treatment of all medical conditions and before starting a new diet or exercise program. If you have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.