Saturday, June 18, 2011

I'm Going Au Naturel...

No, don't run screaming. It's not THAT. Let me explain.

My back has been going out for a little over a year now. My doctor thinks I have sciatica, brought on by an inflamed disc in my back. I need to get physical therapy for it, but I have to wait until the flareup peters out before I can do that. I had a disastrous consultation with an orthopedist, who proceeded to tell me three times over the course of five minutes that I need to lose weight - that will take care of my back.

I was not in the friendliest of moods to begin with, having waited for almost two hours for my consultation. When the doctor finally came into the examining room, he was distant, arrogant (he spent about 10 minutes filling me in on his illustrious resume before he asked me anything about my pain) and plain rude. I tried to explain that I'd lost about 20 pounds but was sidelined for almost four week at the time by the back injury, and he cut me off, saying, "calorie reduction is how you lose weight." Well, Dr. Personality, while calorie reduction is definitely an important part of weight loss, I don't have the metabolism is did in my 20s. Calorie reduction will give me weight loss, sure - about a quarter pound a week, without exercise. While that's great, it's frustrating. He didn't want to hear it.

I left the office in tears. He made me feel like I was this obese woman, a step away from having to be airlifted out of my bed through a window. Do I need to lose some weight? I sure do. But the doctor's attitude toward me was anything but motivational. Luckily, I turned to my friends, posted about my experience on Facebook, and received a lot of support. One friend, who's suffered back injuries over the past few years told me that "a halfway decent ortho would not make more than a passing reference to losing weight as a tactic for treatment. A good doctor would treat you with respect. A good doctor would have enough sense and experience to know that people with back issues tend to have a harder time with consistent exercise, as well as things like depression and other issues." Other friends weighed in with their experiences about rude doctors.

Recently, a good friend told me that her pediatrician told her - wither her 6-year old daughter in the room - that her daughter was overweight. Remember the good old days when doctors would consult with you (or your parent, if you were a child) in their office after an exam? How is saying something like that in front of a child anything but harmful? We have reports of children developing eating disorders in primary grades today - do we really want to encourage a trend of eating disorders this young?

And then, Prevention magazine ran an article in their July 2011 issue that was really perfect timing. "When Your Doctor Makes You Feel Fat" really spoke to my experience and let me know that I wasn't alone.

What's amazing is that years ago, doctors were coming under fire for not saying anything to morbidly obese patients about their lifestyle; now, they've taken it in the other direction and feel like they can say whatever they want to patients, under the guise of encouraging health. I call bullshit, plain and simple.

Having said all that, my back and knee are killing me. I'm not able to work out, so something's got to give. I'm going natural. I'm taking some extra vitamin supplements, sure, but I'm also making the attempt to make most of what I eat. If it's artificial, I'd like to skip it; ditto for refined sugars. If I can follow a strict regimen, even for a week or two, just to get the first few pounds off and get some relief, I can start working out again. But I've got to clean up the diet.

So while I wouldn't say that I'm starting a food blog, I'm definitely going to be reporting in with some of the healthier habits I'm cultivating. Wish me luck.

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