Weight Loss Step 2: Visit a Doctor

My very first blog post back in December was Weight Loss Step 1 – Look at Yourself. It’s been 10 months since then, and there’s been a lot of blogging done, but I think it’s finally time for what I would consider to be a really good second step.

Losing weight is tough. It’s a lifelong struggle for most people. Most people think they should take a visit to their family doctor for tips and advice on how to get started.

I completely agree with that idea. I think it’s incredibly important to visit your doctor before doing anything to lose weight, whether that’s exercise or diet related, just to see what they say.

I did this a number of times, and I have two stories from visiting my doctor in this process that I usually tell people. One of them is encouraging and one is discouraging. I know that many people are afraid of visiting the doctor, but I think you’ll find that even the bad experiences can work for good.

First, let’s start with the good.

I was describing to my doctor what I did for cardio at the gym, which at the time was a solid 45-60 minutes on the elliptical at an intensity which brought my heart rate up to 170+ beats per minute for the majority of the workout. It was brutal, but I was determined to outshine those around me.

He was listening intently and was incredibly excited by my progress, telling me how he used to compete for his national basketball team, and that my cardio was more than he ever used to do while competing. This filled my heart with joy and made me feel like a could conquer the world. I bragged about this constantly to people around me, finally feeling like I was doing a really good job at making myself a better person.

Now, for the bad story.

I had really started getting into my workout routine those first couple weeks, and I had been returning to the doctor each week for a weigh-in. The first week, I had lost a few pounds as I adjusted to this new life of exercise, and and the second week, I had lost 15.6 pounds. In one week!! I was thrilled. I stared down at the scale and was amazed that I had been able to achieve such a great loss.

The doctor told me “That’s good, but I expected more from you. You really should have lost a lot more than that.”

My heart sank. All my excitement was squashed like a bug on the sidewalk. I felt like an absolute failure. I thought my doctor was going to be proud of me, and instead all I got was shame.

Really buddy? You wanted me to lose more than 15 pounds in a single week?!? Now I realize that I was 425 pounds, and most of the weight loss was just water weight. At the time, I didn’t know anything about water weight. All I knew was that I was 15 pounds lighter than I was the week before and that was a damn good thing.

I stopped going to the doctor regularly after this and decided that I needed some time away from him as I continued working on my own. It was a good thing at the time, and eventually I did continue to go back for more checkups.

People ask me sometimes whether or not I lost weight with the help of a doctor. The answer is “not really”. I got basic advice at the beginning on starting cardio, and some initial support by way of having a place to weigh myself when I was too heavy for a regular scale.

Doctors are an amazing resource for medical information and advice on how you should treat your body, whether you are losing weight or not. But they are still human, and are prone to making mistakes and saying the wrong thing.

My doctor both helped me and hurt my feelings. But I think I needed that in some way, because it made me defiant, ready to prove that I could do it. Never be afraid to visit your doctor if you need help, encouragement, or just a bit of a push.


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