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My Doctors’ Opinions of my Diet and Exercise Efforts Last Year

My Doctors’ Opinions of my Diet and Exercise Efforts Last Year
Not everyone is thrilled about going to the doctor.
Not everyone is thrilled about going to the doctor.

While I am proud of myself for having maintained diet and exercise efforts for almost one year now and feel the physical and psychological benefits daily, it certainly doesn’t hurt to get an “official” endorsement of this new change. When I went for my annual physicals this past December, I brought with me a chart of my weight and the blood test results from the 40th day of my low-carb, super healthy (although low calorie) diet.

My poor doctors, one male, one female, had to help me make sense of all this information. Below are some of the interesting things they had to say.

*Note: I am not a medical doctor and none of the information below is intended to be medical advice. It is only a report of my own experience. Always consult your doctor for advice specific to your own situation.

On My Initial 40-day Dramatic Weight Loss

Neither doctor thought that this pattern of weight loss was healthy. They both felt that this was trying to lose too much too soon.

You were destined to gain all the weight back with that pattern.

How my doctors viewed my initial dramatic 40-day weight loss.
How my doctors viewed my initial dramatic 40-day weight loss.

On My 5-2 Fasting Weight Loss Pattern

Both doctors far preferred the 5-2 fasting weight loss pattern. The ideal pattern they said is to see a person’s weight gradually step down a few pounds at a time and then eventually plateau and stabilize at a new lower weight.

This step-down weight loss pattern was far preferred by my doctors.
This step-down weight loss pattern was far preferred by my doctors.

On My Bloodwork After 40 Days on a Low-Carb Diet

Both doctors had a different take on these results. The male doctor looked at the results and said, “Your cholesterol is phenomenal.” There were a few flagged “out of the normal range” tests on the paper and he said about those, “Don’t worry about all that. You have to look at it all in context. A few points up and down does not make that much of a difference.”

When I pressed him to compare the bloodwork I had done at my physical last year with those results, he said that when looking at the cholesterol, it was better in the sense that my LDL (bad) cholesterol had gone down. “But your HDL (good) cholesterol also went down too so it’s kind of a wash.”

That was pretty disappointing.

“But,” he continued, “when I compare the low-carb result with your bloodwork I just pulled today, your results today are the best of all because your LDL has gone down even more and your HDL has gone up. So, when comparing where you are today with where you were last year, you have definitely improved.”

Comparison of my blood tests from 2012 with the two dieting patterns I tried last year: low-carb and 5-2 fasting.
Comparison of my blood tests from 2012 with the two dieting patterns I tried last year: low-carb and 5-2 fasting.

Wow! This was some great support for the benefits of fast dieting and a totally unexpected result. You can eat key lime pie one day, fast the next and still help your cholesterol levels!

My female doctor also complimented me on my cholesterol.

With cholesterol levels like that, you will never have a cholesterol problem.

I certainly hope she is right!

With regard to the low-carb diet bloodwork, however, she was blunt:

This is the bloodwork of someone who is starving.

As my mouth fell on the floor, she pointed out several of those “out of normal range” numbers and said.

Your body was so calorie deprived it stopped making protein.

She said that in her opinion the low-carb bloodwork was not healthier than my normal bloodwork. It was not something that I should aim for.

Interestingly, neither doctor was praising me for working hard on my diet and exercise. I think they were more concerned that I was becoming anorexic. Their fears were only calmed by my weight chart showing that I kept continuing to gain all my weight back and hopefully by my interest showing that I was truly focused on my health and that I had a defined weight goal that was healthy, not some vague obsession with being as skinny as possible.

Other Health Indicators

I got a little bit of unsolicited support for my efforts from one of my doctors. My male doctor commented:

Your blood pressure has gone down by about 10 points.  That's all exercise.

I was not expecting this. What a great boost to know that my heart is now functioning better.

While I didn’t really need the medical stamp of approval to keep going on my diet and exercise plans, it is nice to have. It helps keep me motivated and it helps me to know that I am not doing anything harmful to my body.

It is always a good idea to stay in touch with your doctor on your diet and exercise efforts. As you can see, there were issues my doctors knew about that I was completely unaware of. I found that it helps if you can quantify some of your diet and exercise into a chart, graph or spreadsheet. Doctors are very good at analyzing numbers but a little less adept at evaluating vague statements about how much you are (or are not) exercising. If you are starting a diet and exercise plan, making a log of your weight, your exercise time or your dieting strategies with your doctor in mind might be something to start doing.

How important is your doctor’s opinion in your diet and exercise program? Please share in the comments.

In my next post, testing out the GOOP winter detox.