If you’ve never been overweight and gone to the doctor’s office, you’re truly missing out on a fun experience. Every problem is a direct result of your weight, regardless of what it is. Lower back spasms, carpal tunnel, ear ache, hang nail. Lose weight and you’re cured.
I decided I’d had enough with my current doctor and I proceeded to look for another physician. I asked friends who they favored and asked my Gynecologist (whom I love) who they would recommend and I was given a list of people who were “good.” I selected one of the doctors off the list based on their reviews online and I was told that I needed to make an appointment with the new doctor’s physician assistant before I had an actual appointment with the doctor.
The appointment with the PA made my previous doctor look like a cupcake. The PA was focused on blood work from 2010. Nine years ago. In 2010, I got my very own Jack LaLanne Juicer and I was SO excited. I wanted one for a long time and finally splurged on it for my birthday. So, in April of 2010 when I went in for blood work, my A1C was 6.7 due to all that fresh orange juice I was making every morning. Who would have thought that drinking eight oranges a day would up your A1C? (Sidenote: My doctor at the time said that regardless of how much sugar you consume, if you’re a “normal” non-diabetic person, your A1C would never go out of the normal range, henceforth making me a diabetic by default.) (Sidenote#2: Freshly squeezed OJ is phenomenal.)
My doctor at the time [who discovered my elevated A1C] wanted to put me on Metformin and wanted me to meet with a Dietitian. This would be the fourth time going to speak with someone about my diet/weight, but the first time having to take my blood sugars and monitor them. I told my doctor I would see the Dietitian but I would not take the Metformin. I told her to give me three months to get my A1C lowered. If I didn’t get it lowered within that three months, I would go on the medication. Through reducing my sugars (i.e. eliminating pop/soda), I got my A1C lowered–by myself. By June my A1C went from 6.7 to 6.3. By February of 2011, my A1C was 5.7. For the next eight years, my A1C would bounce from 5.3 to 5.7. Normal range. (FYI: Below 5.7 is normal range, 5.7 to 6.4 is considered prediabetic and anything over 6.5 is diabetic.)
This new PA was focusing on blood work from 2010. Telling me that I was diabetic, even though the past eight years my numbers have been in normal range. She also said their were issues with my cholesterol and I told her that that was news to me. No doctor has ever told me my cholesterol was high. (After looking up my results they all fall in the normal range. They were not even on the high end of “normal.”) I told her my last A1C reading was 5.3 and asked if she could take off the “diabetic” status on my profile. Her response was, “I’ll put you down as prediabetic until we get the next blood results back,” even though she can clearly see my past test results. She said she was going to order a full panel, including checking my T3 and T4. I told her my thyroid keeps getting picked on and that I just had those drawn by the Endocrinologist two months prior. (I saw an Endocrinologist for a growth on my pituitary gland.) My thyroid has been checked at least a dozen times in the last twenty years.; it’s not the problem. Then she asks, “Have you ever thought about going on a pill for weight loss?” I told her I hadn’t. Which is partially true. If there were a magic pill, I might have happily taken it, but I know pills don’t help you lose weight–at least not long term, or safely. Pills also don’t get to the root of the problem. They may help you lose weight temporarily, which is great while you’re taking said pill. But what happens when you stop? You still haven’t addressed the root of the problem.
Only because I was curious what she was trying to offer me, I asked her more questions about the medication. She got really excited about Phentermine (which is a stimulant you can only take up to three months) and Belviq, which you can take for a longer period of time. I was also given a “referral to medical weight management.” She recommended I start on the Phentermine for the three months, then take Belviq, while doing the obligatory watching of my diet and exercising, of course. She told me, “The Phentermine boosts your serotonin level to make you happier so you don’t feel sad and depressed and eat an entire gallon of ice cream.” Ok. That’s a lie. She told me all of that minus the eating a gallon of ice cream part. A quick Google search confirms that “Phentermine also appears to increase levels of norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin.” And “Experts aren’t exactly sure how phentermine works but it appears to have multiple actions including stimulating neurons to release the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine, which may account for its appetite-suppressing effects.” You can read more about Phentermine here. https://www.drugs.com/tips/phentermine-patient-tips
It makes you happy. And Belviq works in a similar fashion, affecting the serotonin as well. The ironic part is in the Fall of 2017 I started seeing a new therapist with my biggest goal to accomplish weight loss. I went in with the mentality wanting to know why I over ate. I wanted to fix what was bothering me and figure out why I didn’t deem myself worthy. My therapist recommended bariatric surgery no less than a dozen times over the several months that I saw her. I told her I didn’t want to surgically alter my body to lose weight; it wasn’t for me. I told her I know how to lose weight, but I don’t know why I keep sabotaging myself. (She actually rolled her eyes. She’s no longer my therapist, by the way.) What triggers me to binge eat. Why do I not feel worthy. Do I feel shame? I wanted to explore my emotions with her and her response was always surgery. I have read books from authors who went through a surgery to alter their bodies and they’re usually surprised by the fact that they feel the same. They aren’t happier because they lost weight. They don’t like themselves more because they lost weight. They’re exactly the same person, just weigh less pounds. And that terrifies me. What if I went through a surgery and I still don’t like myself. What if I go through the surgery and I’m still a failure. I know I need to be secure in who I am and happy with the person I currently am before I will allow myself to lose weight. Because it’s easy to be overweight, a failure and unliked. Being overweight gives people an excuse not to like you… an excuse not to like yourself. But what if you’re all of a sudden 300 pounds less and you’re exactly the same person? I want to note here that bariatric surgery can and does work for some people. I’m not saying it isn’t a valuable tool. I just know myself well enough to know that if I don’t deal with the shit consuming me, surgery would never work.
I’ve been going through a mental and emotional transformation to move past the trauma and accept myself as I am. I’m a work in progress and I will continue to be a work in progress, but I also know that I need to be happy with who I am today and accept myself for who I am right now. There’s no set destination; this will be a long trip. Every day I’m becoming more aware of who I am and who I want to be. I let other’s opinions of me control my thoughts for too long and I’m learning that it’s ok to love myself, as is. Being able to be comfortable and secure in my own skin leads to more conscious eating and less binge eating. We have to focus on our trauma and past experiences to learn why it is we do certain things. Any “diet” will work, you just need to decide you’re worth more than the binge eating and the emotional pain. You can be happy. You deserve to be happy. You are worth it.
And, for the record, all the blood work that this PA ordered for me all came back in the normal range. And she still wants me listed as pre-diabetic.