What do you do if your doctor tells you that you need to lose weight? Come see mine!
I’m not sure, which.
See, I had my annual physical last week, which I have every five years, and all of my vitals and test results were normal and/or negative. (Why does a negative HIV test still fill me with an incredible sense of relief?)
So I asked my doctor, "Doctor, if my blood pressure, cholesterol levels, thyroid, etc. are normal, what negative effects are my 40 extra pounds having on my health?"
He smiled and said, "Eh, none." I said, "Great! Then can I start smoking, too?"
He replied, "Well, you can, but I'm certain I've read something about it not being great for you."
I'll get back to his assessment of my weight in a moment, but I'd like to make a pitch here for doctors who have a good sense of humor. The only thing I appreciate more than my doctor's breezy attitude is his tolerance for my smart-assed one. For example, when we got to that part of the physical that all guys hate, I did my Fletch "Mooooon River!!" routine -- "You using the whole fist, doc?" -- which he fake-laughed at appropriately. And yeah, I get it, he sees that stuff all the time, and I'm not as funny as I think I am. I know this. The point is that my doctor is cool.
And yet, he tells me that I don't need to lose weight. That's not exactly motivating. I'll be honest, I didn't dig any deeper or ask any follow-up questions. One rarely does when getting an answer one wants. But I've thought about it, and I guess the answer I really wanted was "None yet." You don't need me telling you, and I don't need a doctor, to know that carrying extra weight brings with it long-term risk for a variety of bad things like diabetes, heart disease, and not getting in the good graces of women.
So, I'll continue my 33-year weight-loss program by following, as closely as I can, the food plan my nutritionist has laid out for me and by exercising regularly at my current gym. (Or at the new gym I'll join after I inevitably quit this one.) But most important, I'm going to shift my mindset from making this less of a quest for abs than a quest for good health. Because I know my doctor wants me to get down to a healthy weight for the long-term benefits. I'm sure that’s what he really meant. He was just being funny.