Have you ever stared at your body in the mirror and wondered if you are just a bit fat or if you might actually qualify as being clinically obese? There is a very simple way to find out: ask your doctor. A medical professional is not allowed to lie to you. My doctor certainly didn’t! Her response to my excited exclamation of, “I lost 25 lbs!” was: “Great, but you really need to keep going.” Your friends are too nice to say anything and your family love you too much to risk hurting your feelings. Doctors do not care if they hurt your feelings. They can assess your weight in relation to your height to determine if you are underweight, just right, overweight, obese, or morbidly obese. This may not be entirely accurate so in addition to this system, they have a wealth of medical equipment with which they can run actual tests on your body and your blood. Next time you are at the doctor, take a deep breath, put your fears aside and just ask. I am so glad that I did.
My doctor suggested I have a full physical when she discovered how overweight I was. She tested my heart rate, blood pressure, and did a full blood test. She found that I was anaemic, had a vitamin D deficiency, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Reality check. She then suggested that I start taking cholesterol medication. My stomach turned. Did she mean the same medication that my fifty-something year old father was taking? Yes. I was only nineteen years old. I begged her not to make me take it and we came to a compromise; I start taking fish oil twice a day and change my diet, and I wouldn’t have to take this scary cholesterol-lowering medication. My doctor gave me a list of Low GI, Medium GI and High GI foods and I stuck this next to my calendar so I looked at it every day. I panicked after my physical examination and bought Special K cereal, Activia yoghurt and any food I could find that was advertised as being ‘cholesterol-lowering’. In hindsight, this was not the right approach because these foods are neither clean nor natural and they are actually pretty high in sugars. However, I was young and had very minimal knowledge of nutrition. I was simply following my doctor’s orders and trying my best to undo all the damage I had done to my system.
The scales don’t lie. Stop making excuses. I have used every excuse under the sun, “I’m just bloated”, “it’s genetic, my grandmother was big-boned”, “I’m just curvy”, “It’s my body type”, and so many more. Everyone has a different shape; we aren’t all perfectly proportionate supermodels (I have a Kardashian-esque ass and I am damn proud of it). But being overweight or obese is most certainly something that you can control. Ask for advice from someone who has knowledge and experience. Enlist the help of a doctor who is educated in nutrition, a professional nutritionist, a dietician or even a personal trainer (many of them are educated in nutrition). Stop taking advice from your friends who tell you to just skip breakfast, try only eating weight watchers ready-meals or do a juice cleanse (I have tried all of the above and they don’t work). Don’t starve yourself. Don’t skip meals. Don’t do that stupid 5:2 diet where you becoming a complete asshole for two days of the week because you are so hungry. Just eat healthy, balanced meals in appropriate portion sizes and stay physically active. Take the stairs. Walk the long way home. Don’t go grocery shopping when you are hungry. Oh, and if you’re in doubt about whether you are fat or not, ask your doctor’s opinion; remember, they can’t lie.