Weight Loss

Time to come clean

The past few years have been a bit of a challenge for me. I had a job that wasn’t what I expected. My daughter had a health scare (she’s fine). And I traveled 2 weeks out of the month to work as a physician in underserved locations from 2014-2016, leaving my family and routine behind.

Everyone has challenges, I’m no different. But what was different for me was the fact that I was supposed to be an expert on diet, lifestyle, and generally taking proper care of oneself. I confess – I was barely hanging on. I won’t even go into stress or mental health – that’s an entirely different blog post! But, I will go into my struggle to maintain my own weight through all of this – and how it continues to be quite challenging…..despite all the knowledge in my head.

Traveling isn’t easy on the body

I’ll start with the traveling. I actually did relatively well for a really long time. I hardly ever ate out, I traveled with meal replacements, and I stocked my hotel with real foods. I generally did well with my eating unless I was working nights – then all bets were off and I made horrible decisions.

But, working out wasn’t what I was used to. Hotel gyms aren’t usually motivating and I struggled to find outdoor fitness in areas I didn’t know. I had to take long breaks from crossfit, which made it just not worth going as I’d get so sore when I “started again” when I got home. Still – I made it work. I found a place I loved to trail run and that lasted until I was informed there were rattlesnakes up there. I then stopped running there unless it was really cold outside. It was also challenging because I’d be homesick and very tired after working all day. Coming home to a hotel every night isn’t fun, and many nights I went right to bed.

Still, I didn’t do too badly. The real challenge didn’t start until I stopped traveling….and started working nights.

Working overnight takes its toll

I’ve now been working exclusively nights for over 2 years. As the time has passed, I’ve noticed that it’s getting harder and harder to maintain my weight. It’s actually been very challenging.

But, it’s not supposed to be challenging for ME! I’m the weight loss doctor! If I can coach other people, I should surely be able to handle my own weight, right?

Wrong.

Working nights, for me, works for many reasons. And someday I hope to not have to do them, but for now – this is the way that works for me and my family. However, as time has gone one, I find I don’t recover from the shifts as easily and it’s easier than ever to make suboptimal decisions….particularly about food.

Don’t get me wrong – I still eat very well. Just not as well as I used to. The thing is, night shifts set a person up for weight gain just by staying up all night and disrupting the circadian rhythm. This causes cortisol (your stress hormone) to be all out of whack and leads to an inherently higher risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes.

You guys…. I had my wellness check a couple months ago and, to my horror, my fasting blood glucose was….101!! It’s never been above 70 before.

And cue the reality check!

A realistic assessment & solution

So, I was forced to take a good hard look at what the heck I was doing to myself. I recommitted to a low-carb food plan, but it was far from “clean.” I knew I needed some help with this.

So, I’ve hired a trainer that put me on a strict meal plan and training program. That’s right – I, the weight loss doc, needed help – professional help. I admitted to this woman who I was and what I did…and the fact that I just wasn’t being who I wanted to be from a health and fitness standpoint.

The exact day she handed me my plan, it was like a switch was flipped. I was all in. I drove to the store, bought what I needed. I ordered a few small additional pieces of gym equipment from amazon. And I started the next day.

My progress

I’m going to have to keep you posted on how this progresses. I’m already wearing my jeans more comfortably and I’ve lost a few pounds. But, even more than that – I’m having a feeling that I’ve not had in a long time…PRIDE.

That’s right – one of the things I missed most about myself was the feeling of pride I’d have when I had a good workout, or ran a good race. I’d always been able to self-regulate and make myself do all these things from intrinsic motivation alone. (I once ran 16 miles on the treadmill because the weather was just too bad to go outside and I had a marathon coming up!) But, stress, work, lack of sleep….it all affected my motivation. I kept telling myself that I’d get back on track “next week” or “tomorrow.” And, I did an okay job of attempting it. But, it was never to the degree that made me proud of myself.

Of all the benefits clean eating and a good training program can have, feeling a sense of accomplishment is a big one for me.

Feeling like a fraud

The other thing that has bothered me me throughout this struggle is my ability to identify problems and help others, but I wasn’t able to help myself.

I felt like a big, fat fraud.

I’m trying to think of this a bit differently because I know I’m being hard on myself when I say that. After all – there are plenty of athletic coaches who are geniuses, but never played the sport they coach. Some people just have the ability to motivate others or have an eye for technique. I’d like to think I’m one of those individuals.

But, the bottom line is…. I wasn’t doing what I knew I should be doing! And that’s the part that bothered me. It would be one thing if I was running 40 miles a week and eating strictly clean paleo 100% of the time, but I wasn’t.

Now, I am. (Well….not with running and paleo….but I am 100% on a strict plan.)

Why bother disclosing?

As I considered writing this post – I kept being reminded of how vulnerable people are with me on a daily basis. Thinking about that, I knew I wanted to be just as vulnerable to anyone who trusts me. I also know I can better serve others as a physician and coach if I’m at my own best.

We all have different bodies, chemical physiology, schedules, and mental hangups. And none of us are “on” all the time. I struggle…a lot. I know many of you do too. And, when it comes to needing help – none of us are immune to it. I resisted admitting this to myself for a long time. But, finally, common sense kicked back in and I knew taking better care of myself means I can take better care of others.

My promise

I’m not going to pledge or promise anything to you.

My promise is only to myself – that I will do what it takes to be the best possible version of me, that I will do things the make me proud of myself and give me a sense of accomplishment.

By extension – this makes me a better clinician for YOU.

Stay tuned for updates!

My ebook Weight Loss that Works: Secrets to Restoring Confidence and Reclaiming Your Body is now available here! Coming in 2019….an intensive, online program!

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Weight loss

Being overweight is a health problem that affects people of all ages from children to adults. Being overweight is having a body weight that is more than what is medically recommended for your height and body mass index. Your weight results from different factors some of which can be managed. They include; genes, environment, lifestyle, metabolism rate, habits, family history of being overweight or obese and feeding routines just to mention a few. You cannot change genes and family history, but you can adopt a lifestyle that curbs unhealthy weight development.

Health risks of being overweight

Coronary heart disease

As your body weight increases, so does your risk of developing coronary heart disease. Coronary heart disease is a health condition whereby a waxy substance known as plaque builds up in the coronary arteries that are responsible for carrying oxygen-rich blood into the heart. The plaque narrows the coronary arteries and gradually blocks them. Narrowing the arteries reduces the amount of oxygenated blood transported to the heart muscles. This, in turn, can cause chest discomfort or pain known as angina or worse still, a heart attack. If the problem is not addressed, it can lead to heart failure where the heart cannot pump enough blood as required by the body.

High blood pressure

High blood pressure also known as hypertension occurs when the blood flows through arteries at higher than normal pressure. Genetic and environmental changes in the body are responsible for causing high blood pressure. Environmental changes include factors like being overweight, unhealthy eating habits and taking certain medicines such as hormonal therapies. High blood pressure also runs in families. As such, there are gene mutations that put you at risk of developing high blood pressure if your parents had the same. If the blood pressure rises and stays high for a long period, it can damage other parts of the body and lead to serious health complications.

Stroke

As noted above, being overweight causes plague build up in the arteries. With time, the plaque ruptures and causes formation of a blood clot. If the clot gets close to the brain, it blocks oxygen and blood flow to the brain. Lack of oxygenated blood in the brain causes a stroke to occur. The brain cells will die gradually after a few minutes of lacking oxygen. Note that, the risk of developing stroke increases as the body mass index increases. Stroke is a serious medical condition that requires emergency care. It causes long term disability, lasting brain damage or death if not addressed immediately it occurs.

Abnormal blood fats

Being overweight means that you have excess and abnormal fats stored in the body. This includes high levels of bad cholesterol that in turn take up the storage space meant for good cholesterol. Cholesterol is a fat and waxy substance that is present in all body cells. The body relies on good cholesterol to make hormones, vitamin D and other substances that help during digestion. High blood cholesterol and fats signify that you have too much unwanted cholesterol in the blood. High levels of bad cholesterol increase your chances of developing heart complications.

 

This, as well as other essential information for weight loss, can be found in my new ebook!  This new ebook prepares you for your next weight loss program – to make it your LAST weight loss program!  Weight loss starts with your MIND….not with your BEHIND.  Get your mindset right and your chances of weight loss success SKYROCKET!

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Weight Loss

A year and a half ago, when I knew I was going to start my clinic, I set up Google Alerts to catch anything pertaining to diet, weight loss, different diets, etc.  Every day, I save those alerts in a folder in my Gmail account.  Today, I have 3,530 alerts sitting in that folder.  Each of those alerts has at least 3 articles, but *maybe one is a duplicate (published in more than one alert).  So, if 2 of the articles in each alert is unique – that means in the past year and a half, I’ve received nearly 7,000 pieces of information about dieting and weight loss.  SEVEN THOUSAND!!

A screenshot of my weight loss Google Alerts email folder…YIKES!

 

How is the average dieter supposed to siphon through seven thousand articles and decide what will help them and what won’t?  How many of these “tips” does an average dieter try?

According to 2012 data, at any given time there are 50% of Americans trying to lose weight.  And, they will attempt 4 different diets in a given year.  If you’ve ever needed to lose a few pounds, you already know how much time and energy the average dieter puts into this!  You’ll read anything you can get your hands on!  But – how do you know what to try?  How do you know what is worth your time and money (about $65B was spent trying to lose weight in 2012)?

Different Types of Weight Loss Plans

As you can see from my Google Alerts folder above, which only contains a few specific weight loss methods, you can choose from low-fat, low-carb, low-calorie.  You can “go Paleo”, read Atkins, try South Beach or Zone.  You can google “cabbage diet.”  There are countless OTC supplements sold at “nutrition” stores for you to try.  Again, how does one decide??  How do you know where to concentrate your efforts – AND your money?

Weight Loss Analogy – You and Your Car

Let’s say you set out for work one morning and your car won’t start.  So, you think – “hmmm – must be the battery.”  The next logical thing is to head out and get a new battery.  You’ve changed the battery and it still won’t start.  Again…”hmm – must be the starter.”  You run back to the auto store.  Within an hour, you’ve installed your new starter.  Still – no luck.  Dead as a doornail.  Here we go a 3rd time!  “Hmmm…. must be the fuel pump.”  I probably don’t need to tell you that after you’ve spent hours installing a new fuel pump – it’s not that either!  You’ve spent all day “fixing” your car, you’ve spent hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars trying to get your car started.

But here’s the thing….  YOU NEVER KNEW WHAT THE PROBLEM WAS IN THE FIRST PLACE!!

Losing Weight is About Solving a Problem

If you are gaining, or if you can’t lose, there is a problem somewhere.  I’ve said from the beginning that excess weight isn’t the problem – it’s the result OF a problem.  If you don’t know what that problem is, how in the world are you supposed to fix it?  When you are looking at the hundreds of weight loss supplements, or when you are reading countless articles, how do you know what will work?  Then answer is ….  you don’t!  Unless you figure out the underlying cause, you may spend thousands of dollars and never find a solution.   You will have replaced the battery, the starter, and the fuel pump** – only to realize you were simply out of gas!

The Best Diet for Weight Loss

The best solution for YOU will be one that addresses YOUR problem.  It’s not about what worked for a friend, or your sister.  It’s about what will work for YOU.  There are countless studies with results claiming low-calorie diets are better (or low-carb, or low-fat).  But the reality is, you are an individual.  You have a unique physiology that needs a unique solution.  Think about that.  Trying to fit one eating plan to every single person trying to lose weight is nuts.

Because we are all different – the way we react to food is different!  Consider this (yes another analogy, because I love them!), if I had 100 people standing in line.  And I gave each of those people the same exact pill.  As a physician, would I expect each of those people to respond the exact same way to the medication?  Of course not!  So – why in the world would we listen to anything that says one diet is best for everyone?  Why do we understand that a medication we consume can have different effects on us all – but we poo-poo that food can do the same thing? What we put into our bodies matters!

Find Your Weight “Problem”

Obesity is a result of many intertwined things:  genetics, food choices, emotions, income, environment, neurophysiology, lifestyle, etc.  Your weight issue can lie within any, or all, of these.  The problem MUST be identified before you can ever expect to be successful long-term.

Fortunately, there exists a group of professionals that have chosen to focus on obesity and weight loss.  To find a clinician near you, go to the ABOM (American Board of Obesity Medicine) website and find a specialist near you.

 

** Dr. Hodges knows nothing about fixing cars.

**Fixing your vehicle’s battery, starter, and fuel pump will not result in weight loss.

This, as well as other essential information for weight loss, can be found in my new ebook!  This new ebook prepares you for your next weight loss program – to make it your LAST weight loss program!  Weight loss starts with your MIND….not with your BEHIND.  Get your mindset right and your chances of weight loss success SKYROCKET!

 

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