Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Physical deceptions

I had a physical today, just before the move. At going on 63, that's no small deal. 

A year ago, Dr. K., my family doc, barked at me. Me! Reviewing my lab work, she said my blood sugar was edging up, that I must curb carbs. No blueberry pancakes, no Lindt Fleur de Sel chocolate bars.

Not recommended by Dr. K.
She asked me how much alcohol I drink; I said, "I'll have a glass of wine, maybe two if we have company." That's a white (wine) lie: I'll count a cat as company.

She made a veiled reference to my weight: "If you keep gaining at this rate, you will be obese."

In other words, my dear nerdy doc was a total drag.

Fast forward 12 months. I show up again. "Excellent blood pressure!" she crooned, squeezing away. Reading the lab results, she purred. Weight down five lbs., to me an unremarkable variance, but it earned a tender pat on the arm.

But the fact is, nothing has changed significantly except that I'm a year older and Dr. K. is in a good mood. Just a guess: new romantic interest?

The patient-doctor relationship
From here to eternity, my family doc and I will play a cat and mouse game, where, if she is grumpy, she'll prod me to give up anything I remotely enjoy, and I'll try to slip evidence of joie de vivre under her radar, thanks to a genetically hardy system.

Men dispense with this charade by not seeing a doctor till they are in extremis.
Dr K. keeps me on the straight, but not entirely narrow, path. Thus absolved, I went home and enjoyed a martini at cocktail time. (Just one, so more accurately, a Martinus, after the classic Wayne and Schuster bit.)

In fact, I have altered longstanding habits over the past year, forsaking croissants for multi-grain, eating more fish, avoiding prepared foods, doing that plate-in-quarters-thing

What changes have you made? And which are you reluctant to make?

I am not, not, not giving up homemade blueberry pancakes with maple syrup!





24 comments:

Susan said...

My doctor is a little wizened wisp of a woman--happy on high mountain ski slopes and in a heavy duty workout regime. She is about 5/2" tall and probably weighs 112 lbs, if that. She wrote on her report that I am "moderately obese." I wear a size 12-14. She had the temerity to suggest that I should weigh 135 lbs at 5'8" tall. It is not going to happen. I would have to live at the gym and eat nothing.

Even so, I think about every bite that goes into my mouth--even if I know that it is one that should not be going in. In other words, I feel deprived almost all the time.

Changes made? I no longer making wonderful spaghetti dinners and yummy casseroles. I feel guilty when I eat.

Jen said...

I remember wise advice from you, which I follow to this day: "never tell your doctor how much you really drink".

Duchesse said...

Jen: We must protect our overworked, underpaid family docs by not telling them too much ;)

dana said...

I can't stand to admit this, but I've given up two items that cause binging behavior for me: alcohol and sugar. My daughter plus twin boys plus work schedule won't allow it. The payoff? More energy, better mood, and a hint of a waistline for the first time since the boys were born 4.5 years ago. Well, the daily workout helps with that, too. I feel like a teetotaling health nut, which I hate copping to in public! Thanks for the place to share!

Duchesse said...

dana: I drank *more* after I had twin boys, but that only lasted 20 years. But seriously, it's essential to make the modifications that yield more energy.

Jane W. said...

My doctor gave me similar feedback to Susan's last year. "Your weight is up, Jane. No more white stuff."

Since then I've tried to minimize white stuff (and carbs in general). I refuse to give up my Saturday morning donut, though.

Anonymous said...

I'm 20 years your junior and still struggling to lose the baby weight, even though my kids are now 5 and 3. At 5'10" I was always happy with my weight since even when I was a size 12 or 14, I could still get a way with NOT being called overweight. Now, I'm a size 16 (and in some lines, even that is sometimes a tight fit) and struggling with how to lose 15-20 pounds that will bring me back to normal. Carbs are my weakness (i.e. bread, pasta). The struggle continues! I'd love some advice from some of you who have been successful at keeping your weight in check.

Duchesse said...

Anonymous: I lost over 35 lbs when your age on Weight Watchers and have often spoken of my appreciation. The support, system and results were worth every penny and I still- over 20 years later, use the general guidelines.

I have a bias toward eating whole foods you can prepare at home rather than packaged food.

For some, other approaches work, but I've seen several young-mother friends trying on their own and not being able to hang in. Even if you are not a "group-type person", the meetings really made a difference to my attitude and motivation. I'd say good luck but it's not luck, it's a mission.

Jill Ann said...

Susan: get a new doctor! I am slightly shorter than you, and if I weighed 135 I would be skin & bones. Life is too short to never enjoy food (and drink!)

That said, I have gotten quite overweight in the past ten years. (I blame having children late-ish in life, immediately followed by menopause.) SO tired of squeezing into a 16, and of being sad when I go shopping; even if anything fits, it still looks bad. Plus, I live in a hot climate, where one can't wear long sleeves and long pants for at least half the year.

Halfhearted attempts to lose some weight didn't work, so I finally broke down and rejoined Weight Watchers last week. I lost 35 lbs on it about 13 years ago, after my baby turned 3, and it was apparent the baby weight wasn't coming off by itself. Of course, you have to stick with it, otherwise you gain it all back, plus more!

WW is an excellent program, and is structured so you don't have to cut out anything entirely; you just learn to make tradeoffs, and you are guided toward more nutritious foods while still being able to have goodies now & then. It is also relatively inexpensive compared to many weight loss programs.

My first week went great, lost 5 pounds! Obviously that pace won't continue, but if (IF!) I stick with it, I will get back to size 8-10 and it will be fun to buy clothes again. Oh, and that pesky health stuff that ladies of our age need to be concerned about, like blood pressure (mine is a bit high, but I'm resisting meds...let's see if losing 50 lb will fix the problem!)

Good luck to all of us!

Rubiatonta said...

I've been very fortunate in having doctors who don't focus exclusively on weight as an indicator of health -- maybe because I prefer my docs to be osteopaths?

And even though I'm heavier than the "official" guidelines, I'm also genetially pre-disposed to longevity (paternal gran: died at 97.5; maternal gran: 98 and going strong). My blood work is always clean as a whistle, and the only time my blood pressure was a cause for concern was when I had a horrible, stressful job. My doctor said, "You know, I can put you on a diet, but what would work better would be if you quit that job." I did. And now my BP averages 90/70.

Duchesse said...

Jill Ann: Good for you! (And not b/c you echo my opinion of WW.) Someone I know went to WW and said she did not like "the public weighing in" (as you know it is behind a screen" so quit.

IMO that's an excuse for not being willing to accept accountability. Knowing I had a weekly weigh in was a form of support. Some weeks I was unchanged or gained (it happens even if you follow to a T); they were not blaming.

A good leader makes a difference, some I had were good, some were fantastic.

Duchesse said...

Rubi: Great story!

Duchesse said...

Susan: I thought the same as Jill Ann: that weight would not be attainable for many mature bodies. I wish doctors would consider build and genetics too.

Jill Ann said...

Duchesse: I agree that the weekly weigh-in is key. I should have gone back to WW when I started to gain weight again, but I told myself, "I don't need to join again and go to the meetings, I already know what to do." Well, I DID know what to do, but without the weekly accountability, it was just too easy to let things slide.

I also find the daily points-counting pretty tedious, but it also is critical to success, especially at first. My daily happy-hour of two (or three) glasses of wine, plus an ounce of mixed nuts, didn't seem like a lot; but it turned out to be nearly half of my whole days' point allowance! Aaack! Unwilling to give up happy hour entirely, I've switched to two smallish glasses of wine and a reduced-fat string cheese. Not as good, but not a huge sacrifice either.

tinyjunco said...

hmph. my most trusted doc freely admits to ignorance when applicable, and has apologized to me for mistakes in front of other people. i see a lot of dox, this is rare.

it seems every thing i've said i'd 'never' do, i've ended up doing. so i try to avoid the term ;) congrats on feeling better & cultivating worthwhile habits! steph

Anonymous said...

Your doctor's weight gain comment of last year made about as much sense as telling an 8 year old that if they keep growing at this rate they'll be 20 feet tall. Weight like height has a set point for people and is not exponential!

Duchesse said...

Jill Ann: Once I showed the leader my diary and she noticed a tally box for WPs. What's that? she asked. Those were my wine points, which I earned with extra exercise. Worked for me! There is a simplified WW method (or was) where you go by portions, not points, but I understand it's quite limited.

Steph: You have a remarkable doc. Admitting mistakes is hard for most of us, and when we wear the 'expert' coat for a living, doubly so.

Anonymous: I thought the same thing! But really she was warning me how easy it is to let 5 lbs slide up to 20, and eventually there is a problem like diabetes; this happened to my brother.

Tiffany said...

I was once told by my doctor that I was underweight (despite having beeen the same weight for 10 years, before and after having 2 kids). I started seeing another doctor, who was practical enough to look at my body type and family history and tell me I was perfectly fine, but shouldn't use that as an excuse not to exercise! Commonsense can be hard to find in the medical fraternity.

As for food and wine - life would be so much less fun without them. I love both, just perhaps with a little more moderation these days.

emma said...

6 years ago I had a doctor who nagged me because I drank three cups of coffee every day. This was EVERY time I saw her. It drove me crazy! I was 10 pounds lighter then, but I hardly ever exercised.( That wasn't a concern to her. )The idea of cutting back on one calorie free pleasure made me crazy!
I now have a doctor who deals with my more pressing health issues. He's never asked me how much coffee I drink. Oh yeah - and now that I exercise on my lunch hour, I don't need my afternoon coffee!

diverchic said...

Surely you don't really think of your doctor as a predator?

Duchesse said...

Tiffany: There is variation among what each will endorse. I'm lucky to have had wonderful doctors with the exception of one )male) GP who told me when I was 24 that it "was getting pretty late to have kids".

emma: So strange that coffee would be an issue rather than the fact that you weren't exercising much! Great testimony to activity that you need less caffeine.

diverchic: She is a tiny, kindly, woman so it's hard to think of her that way- but she can be strict, too.

Marguerite said...

I've been reading"Why We Get Fat, and what to do about it" by Gary Taubes. Has totally changed my way of thinking about protein vs. carbs. Have already noticed positive changes. Please Google his website to get the basics.

Duchesse said...

Marguerite: Know his work and he had a terrific article in the New York Tines Sunday Magazine awhile ago. Thanks for the reference. Blueberry pancakes stay, all the same :)

emma said...

I love it that you count the cat as company.