You Have to Lose Weight

You go to the doctor’s office. The doctor says, “You have to lose weight.” It’s a 1 minute conversation, if that.  So what do you do?  Count calories?  Eat less?  Exercise more?  Skip dessert?  Eat low-fat?  Lose five pounds only to regain it all before the next doctor’s visit?

Research and medicine are stumbling on to the knowledge that how we’ve been telling you to eat is a set-up for disaster.  (You can almost hear me say it, “It’s not your fault.”)  Carbohydrates and dairy, in most of us, cannot be the foundation of a well-functioning body.  Foods full of preservatives and sugars are detrimental to the balance of beneficial gut bacteria so underappreciated in the 20th century, but slowly gaining respect in the 21st.  Chronically elevated insulin as a result of constant carbohydrate introduction (cereal, granola bar, milkshake, sandwich bread, pasta, pizza, crackers, soda pop, juice) is Inflammatory Monster 1.   High omega-6 intake from processed oils, touted as healthy, is Inflammatory Monster 2.  Inflammatory Monsters abound in today’s processed food.

My Mother-in-Law and Her Weight

Tomorrow I am going to share my mother-in-law’s nutritional intervention story, but today I will set up the background information.  Her story is an “everyday story.”  She didn’t drop 100 pounds.  She didn’t cure something like ulcerative colitis  in herself.  She isn’t a famous person.  She wasn’t falling on the floor sick, but she was overweight, like many.  Her stamina was deteriorating, like many.  She could be your mom.  Or you.  Or your wife.  And now she feels better…

My mother-in-law is a saint; she has immense treasure waiting for her up in heaven.  As one of the nicest, most patient people who ever walked the earth, she kindly puts up with her son and I, both strong-headed mules (you are allowed to take the analogy one step further and not be too far off from the truth).

She has always been a tiny, 62-inch woman (1.6 meters), until recent years, when she started blossoming OUT.  She usually respectfully heeds my medical advice when it is needed regarding her health.  Over the last several years, as she struggled with her weight slowly creeping up and up, I had no wise medical words to offer this diligent, conscientious-to-a-fault, woman.   So, you’re gaining weight?  Welcome to the real world.  Move more.  Eat less.  Calorie in.  Calorie out.  Next.

wpid-IMAG1004.jpgFinally, her cholesterol sadly followed her weight.  Never one to break rules, she studied the food pyramid and made every effort to do just what it said, posting lists of “healthy” foods and appropriate serving sizes on cupboard doors.  Ever trying, trying to shed creeping pounds and cholesterol numbers. When her cholesterol went up, her doctor told her to eat more oatmeal.    So EVERY morning it was oatmeal for breakfast.  Still her weight and cholesterol trended up.  Her doctor wanted to put her on a statin for cholesterol.  She has VERY few other risk factors, if any.

By now, I had stumbled across GAPS, SCD, Paleo, Primal, Terry Wahl’s (M.D.) and Whole30 type diets.  (They each have their own unique, important spins, but they preach a very similar message which I believe is crucial for a healthy functioning body.)  My whole family was feeling better.  We had even lost some weight.  My husband lost 30 pounds eating this new way. I lost 10. (The man always loses more. No biggie. HE had more to lose anyway.)

We focus(ed) on:

  • nutritional density (whole fruits, vegetables, and unprocessed meats)
  • removing foods and drinks known, or suspected, to treat the human body badly (like things with artificial colors, preservatives, and sugars)
  • eliminating foods that seemed to treat our own individual bodies badly (grains, dairy, eggs, nuts)

What started as a search for a cure for my severe, chronic constipation problem via the GAPS diet has turned into a wonderful journey of just feeling so much better overall:  fewer headaches, less asthma symptoms, less allergic rhinitis, better bowel movements, more energy, alleviation of common female problems, and identification of SIDE EFFECTS of food.

As we experienced astounding success, I watched my mother-in-law continue to struggle to get that weight down, internally fretting and bemoaning her poor results.  She was in NO way obese by somewhat distorted American standards, and most people in America would have called her normal size.  However, by medical standards, her assessment of herself was correct; she was overweight.

One morning when my in-laws and my family was vacationing together in Grand Cayman, we sat around the breakfast table conversing, and diet and weight control came up.  (Who knows?  Maybe my id brought it up.)  I couldn’t control my intensity as I looked at my mother-in-law:  “You really want to know how to lose this weight?  Get your cholesterol numbers better?”

Due to my intensity, she looked like a deer in headlights: “Of course I do!”

With much vehemence, I said, “Well, the oatmeal has to go.  So do ALL the grains:  wheat, rice, corn, soy, quinoa, you name it.  Wheat is a treat and only for birthdays and holidays.  No crackers.  No bread.  No bagels.  No added sugars.  No preservatives.  Nothing with added colors.  If you eat dairy, it can’t have anything added to it by the manufacturer.  None of this pink yogurt crap.”

Being so good–she wouldn’t argue with the devil–her gray, purple eyes met mine and I saw that jaw of hers clamp down with this challenge.  She thought I had read one too many diet book on this vacation:  “Okay.  I’ll try it.”

wpid-IMAG0939.jpgAgreeing to Share

Changing my diet a year and few months ago for some health reasons was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, and I really didn’t think a change in my diet would really do all that much–but I wanted to prove it to myself.  I was at my ideal weight (albeit the upper end), exercised daily, ate “healthy food” (along with my cinnamon rolls and cookies), and just looked to be the epitome of health.  Diet change really sucked at first; somewhere along the line, though, I started feeling good.  And I liked it.  I now know this dietary intervention has been the best thing I did for myself, my husband, and my children.  And if I can share that as an inspiration to others, great.

I have been slowly, painfully, letting it be known that I have a blog to people I know.  I figure I love them best, and if it’s that important to me, they ought to get a piece of the carrot.  I let my mother-in-law know about my blog a month ago, and I asked her hopefully if I could share her “nutritional rehabilitation” success story.  She is a profoundly private person, so I didn’t know what to expect.  Surprisingly, she said “yes.”  I think it’s because she senses my urgency and desperation in this matter.  It’s that important to me.

Doctors haven’t sold their souls to the devil. They’re not in a conspiracy. We don’t want you in misery so we can make more money. We aren’t in cahoots with drug companies. We want you to be healthy. We want you to feel good. We just, for so long, haven’t been properly trained on nutrition–the cornerstone of health.

For too long in medicine we’ve sided with moderation talks. We’ve dealt in “diet and exercise.” Calorie in. Calorie out. It’s not effective. It’s not working. It’s not working. It’s not working. QUIT BANGING YOUR HEAD INTO A WALL!

Goodness, no wonder I was having headaches.

Tomorrow I will share my mother-in-law’s words.  Thank you for reading this far, if you did!

Terri

10 thoughts on “You Have to Lose Weight

  1. myjourneythrume

    Can’t wait to read the next instalment! Diet intervention rules! It is the way forward. You be the warrior advocate for it in the US and I will be the same across the pond here in the UK. Together we can conquer the world!!!

    Reply
  2. Valerie

    “both strong-headed mules (you are allowed to take the analogy one step further and not be too far off from the truth).” – LOL!!
    It’s amazing the hold our diets have on us. When I changed my eating habits in ’06/’07 (went vegetarian gradually), it was challenging, but with it and the addition of exercise, I started feeling and looking so much better! Pain was gone. Fatigue was gone. Then I ENJOYED the way I was eating and working out. I don’t have an issue with grains or nuts or anything, but the removal of your typically “junk” did me wonders. Also, physical fitness is sadly under-done, and we need it so badly! That’s what I’m getting back to; I want to be at the 5-6 days a week of exercise that I used to be, so I am kick-starting things by committing to EVERY day for one month (as you know). What kind of exercise do you prefer?

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Thanks for commenting! My orthopedic husband likes to suggest walking and biking as good weight-bearing exercises that aren’t hard on the joints! Throw in some sort of resistance training to preserve muscle mass as we age. I consider moving the couch and rocks around the yard my resistance training and hefting around my 4 year old! And we skip Saturday night date night in favor of getting a babysitter for date walks and bike rides. Overall, the more we move throughout the day, particularly in the sunshine, the happier the body is. It’s not just a “workout” so we can sit on the couch the rest of the evening! (I know with your little ones, not an option for you anyway!)

      Reply
      1. Valerie

        Outside is best (but not in this heat and humidity!) I love power walking, biking, and roller blading. I actually injured my hip badly on an elliptical machine some years ago, though they are recommended for hip patients??? What’s up with that? :/
        Walks and bike rides as a family are lovely. 🙂

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