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37 lbs, plus some thoughts on weight loss, process, and what to ignore

Hey hey! I know you all probably thought I’d completely abandoned this series on refined sugar, real food, and how everything’s been progressing here — but no, things actually do keep on keeping on behind the scenes. When last we checked in almost five months ago, I was down 27 lbs from where I started at the beginning of 2017, and…

… Wellllll. How’s 37 lbs strike you today? Yes, bulky fall sweater & jacket aside, I’m down another 10 lbs since June (and down another jeans size — now into a number I haven’t seen since before High School Guy first made his appearance in this world!). So, it seemed high time to revisit the topic and chat about what’s been going on, and what’s struck me about the process lately.

Let’s ramble for a minute! This one is less about sugar and more about weight, but they do go hand-in-hand. For instance, what do I mean with this whole “ignore automation” business?”

Trust the evidence

Yesterday I went in for an annual exam, where I weighed in at a full 23 pounds lighter than I did during last year’s visit. Later that afternoon I received a notice that there was a “visit summary” message from the doctor’s office in their online system, so I logged in to see what they had to share. What did I get?

  • Two full pages about healthy food choices, exercise, and weight reduction.

Thank you so much, automated system. These are things I never would have thought about on my own… (insert eyeroll emoji).

Here’s the thing: I get what triggered this message. If you throw my weight and height into a BMI calculator, I have a good 10+ lbs to go and do clearly show up as “overweight.” But without context, these kinds of suggestions are both demoralizing and frustrating.

  • Has this happened to any of you? How did you react?

A less-automated process would have looked at, say, my year-over-year progress and the rest of my physical health before generating this kind of generic response — and would have made me feel a lot less like throwing up my hands, then digging them straight into Middle School Guy’s giant bag of Halloween candy. Give me some credit and ask me what I’ve been doing before generating generic suggestions, maybe.

Keep on keeping on

Moderate exercise several times a week? Check — still doing and loving the yoga classes I told you about this summer. Did they ask me about that? Nope. Am I a muscular body builder? Nope, but hey — I actually have some now from all the yoga. While BMI is a useful quick screener tool, it doesn’t give the entire picture.

And then I talked to some friends…

I talked to a couple of other people about this experience, and it’s not just me it’s happened to. It’s also not just me that finds these messages demoralizing (or, as they put it: Infuriating! Frustrating! Maddening!). Whether triggered by insurance guidelines or by a true sense of physician responsibility, these types of messages are simply another cultural guilt trip about weight without context and without looking at the whole person — and, that’s not what anyone needs.

So, about that Halloween candy…

This year, I’ve been enjoying one tiny piece of Halloween candy a day when I’ve really been staring at all the junk we have in our house right now and wanting one. The difference here is: Almost two years into this experiment, now I can stop at just one little piece of candy — and last night, I realized I wasn’t even actually enjoying it, so will likely pass on it tonight.

For years I’ve heard people talk about how diets don’t work; you have to change the way you think about eating and your relationship with food. Now, I think that’s finally fully sunk in. (We’ll talk about this more in the next intermittent installment of this series, since I’m still clarifying my own thoughts on the subject!)

But for today, that’s just some random bits of my own journey lately. Let me know: Do you react the same way to these types of messages from your own doctor (or from others?).

Earlier installments in the Refined Sugar and Me series

refined sugar and me

Read the whole Refined Sugar and Me series in chronological order (or catch up on any posts you might have missed).

Bethany L. Tope

Tuesday 15th of January 2019

I've commented before on how much my families enjoy your meals. My husband actually gets excited when I start a Whole 30 because that means I'll be religiously using your recipes and meal plans. BMI is an indicator but not gospel. As a mom of what feels like a million kids (6 in reality) it is hard to keep weight off when life gets stressful. You are awesome (being a librarian makes you extra awesome)! You go girl! This mom is super blessed by all of your hard work!


Tuesday 25th of December 2018

If I go to my Dr's office and I am told, "You need to lose about 20 pounds," without regard for any recent weightloss, I would definitely be irked. I'd probably say something in my own defense, like, "You didn't notice that I lost 10 pounds since my last visit?... Yeah, I've been doing pretty good, just need to keep it up." That may prompt them to see the need to recognize and give appropriate praise for healthy changes they are supposed to be monitoring. Of course, it's discouraging for them to overlook good progress you've been making just because they are focused solely on a target weight.

Danielle Schultz

Sunday 11th of November 2018

Wow I’m proud of you and I understand about the demoralizing factor the whole picture is never seen. I have been following you for a year now and I enjoy your recipes and KUDOS to you 37lbs is a wonderful accomplishment.


Saturday 10th of November 2018

Wow, that is really great progress! In only about a year and a half? The doctor should be asking for your advice! On a different note, I got my flu shot early this year. My insurance sent me a $25 reward for getting the shot. Since then, they have sent me multiple paper and email reminders toooooo...(drum roll please)....get my flu shot! Automation! Sheesh.

Debby Lanier

Saturday 10th of November 2018

Congratulations on your weight loss, you look great! I confess to not using ALL of the meal plans but converting the ones I can to a ketogenic diet. You're still being very helpful. BTW, I've lost 34 lbs!

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