I recently had my annual physical, and when I say that doctor’s visit blessed me in a way I didn’t even see coming, I mean it.
We all know that I’ve been back in weight loss mode for months now, and the truth is in terms of numbers on the scale, I have nothing to show for it. I have food logs that show I have been well over 80% faithful to my numbers, and I have daily weight records that show that my fluctuations go up, and down, but always back up again.
When I stepped on the scale that day, I was faced with a number that was 5 pounds heavier than when I saw my doctor the previous year. 5 pounds is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, especially over a year, and especially since I had consumed water and coffee, so my actual weight was a pound or two less, but when you’ve been working to get that number to go down for so long, it’s a bummer to see.
Not to mention it’s at the doctor’s. How many times have we been to the doctor where our weight gain or lack of loss, or still being overweight is commented on, looked down on, or used as the only reason something could possibly be wrong with us? I have heard story after story about women who go to the doctor and have horrible experiences because of that doctor’s etiquette when it came to discussing their weight and their problems.
Well, at this visit I was ready to have a discussion with my doctor about my weight. When she asked if I had any concerns I wanted to bring up, I mentioned that I had been trying to lose weight since January and had seen zero success. I even told her I could pull up my entire coaching log with all of my tracking data in it to show her the numbers I had been hitting. I told her I started at 1800 calories for a deficit back in January, and do you know what she said?
“Have you tried 1900?”
When I say I wanted to jump out of my chair and hug this woman, I’m not exaggerating. Finally, a doctor who actually understands the value of eating more calories for weight loss and for health. I’ve only seen this woman once a year for the past 3 years, but every single time I feel like I won the PCP lottery.
I thanked her for saying that and then proceeded to tell her all about my 8-month reverse diet and living in maintenance mode at 2200ish calories before beginning my cut. She knows I’m a nutrition coach and trusts that I know what I’m doing.
Then she said the thing that actually blew my mind.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I say this to clients and those who reach out to me all the time. People message me looking for advice for how to lose the last 10 pounds and I will shoot back asking if they really need to lose that weight.
The reason this was mind-boggling to me is because my weight kicks me just over into the obese category on the BMI scale. Yes, I said that right: obese. Now, we all know that the BMI is actually crap and it should not be taken into consideration when it comes to weight goals, but the fact that I am on the high end of overweight shows that I could stand to lose a good 30-40 pounds and be just fine.
She followed that sentence with this:
“You look great, and you don’t look like you need to lose weight. You’re really healthy, you eat well, you have good muscle tone, and you exercise regularly. There’s really no reason that your weight needs to change.”
My doctor never once used my current weight against me, and she actually sees no need for my scale to go down, despite what it says.
I went on to explain that I learned my lesson the first time I got to my goal weight of 135, a weight that, despite it being smack in the middle of my BMI range, was actually way too light for my frame and I looked sickly. I told her I would be thrilled to lose even just 20 pounds so the clothes I own that are a bit tight and not flattering (which is quite a bit) fit me a bit better. I’d be happy to sit 20 or even 30 pounds heavier than my lowest weight.
She said she understood and just to be on the safe side, ordered me a few extra blood tests to check in with my cortisol and my thyroid just to see if anything is off. I didn’t ask for a med to help, but she most definitely didn’t offer me one either. “Let’s see the results and we will go from there.”
I left that office feeling like a giant weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. Again, this is nothing I haven’t heard from my coach, and it’s something I preach to many people regularly, but when my doctor could see my weight and still break me free of the chains of believing that I need to be a lower weight for my health because I’m overweight, it was like hearing it for the first time, even though it’s the 100th time.
I am someone who often feels the need for permission or validation for pretty much everything, and I felt like getting permission to not lose another pound and still be considered a totally healthy human being was the validation to continue my work at letting that number go.
Does it mean that I’m going to stop working towards that weight loss goal? No, it doesn’t. But what it does do is take the pressure that I put on myself off. If my doctor says that I’m still perfectly healthy and that I can truly be 100% okay at this current weight, then the work I have to focus on is a bit different.
While driving home I thought about weight training and how I can continue that physique work regardless of what the scale says. How I am thriving in my calorie deficit because I have broken free of many diet mindset rules around good food/bad food and allowing myself to have a treat every single day. I can continue this journey by working towards getting my clothes to fit a bit better, but I can really truly release my frustration with the scale because I was reminded yet again, that it’s just a number, and that number does not always dictate our health.
At the end of the day, health is the thing we need to put our value on and focus on. Health is what helps us live our lives as vibrantly as we can. Our weight is irrelevant.
Like my doctor did for me, I hope this lifts the weight of the scale off of your shoulders as well. The sooner we all start to focus on what really matters, the sooner our lives will be filled with the wellness we’re searching for by trying to lose weight.