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BR’s Weight Loss Adventures in the Land of Disease-Care

11 Jun

Okay, so there I was, all motivated and pumped.  Heading into the grand finale of my 60th decade, I decided to reverse the steady annual weight gain I’d been accruing.  I mean, this was getting ridiculous.  I still saw myself as the skinny, wiry, limber person I’d been. So who was this puffy, out-of-breath dame with the disappearing waist and the achy joints, anyway?  

And it’s not like I’m clueless about what to eat and how to do healthful behavior.  But the timing and the psychology had to be right.  My work is sedentary and I do a lot of it. 

So at some point, I got to just the right degree of sick-and-tired, and worked up the motivation to get my whole self into a fairly rigid, die-hard, eating regimen of healthy but very limited foods. I stayed with it for several weeks.  This would not be for everyone, but for me, I knew I had to see palpable results quickly and in a pretty dramatic fashion for me to keep it up.  So this was pretty simple, boring, limited food choices and not a lot of it.  Very little fat and starch and zero dairy or booze.

I was steely.  I did not waver. (…which is how you get when you’re at the right degree of ‘sick-and-tired’… this is how I quit smoking 40-plus years ago) It worked.  I lost 20 pounds.  My clothes started swiveling around on me – I almost lost a pair of jeans while climbing up a ladder to my kids’ roof garden.  

But more interestingly, my joints felt great.  My energy level was high, even on minimal calories.  I felt limber, as in days of old.  My hands, feet, ankles and face de-puffed and my rings started sliding around on my fingers again.  My sleep was hugely improved.  My personality was pleasanter, too, according to my daughter, who’d be the first to say either way.

So I start thinking that now’s the time to get some blood work done on my cholesterol and glucose and all that stuff, just to see this translated into some hardcore metrics on my biochemistry.  I’m thinking, this would be really cool and seriously motivational, to see improvement in lab results.  

So I go to my very sharp new doc, who is knowledgeable, meticulous and responsible, and she orders a full panel of lab tests.  Yay.

Now here’s where it gets interesting.  The lab results get sent to my doc and enter the system.  But I don’t hear back.  From anyone.  I call the office.  I send emails.  I call the P.A.  Nothing.

So after 3 weeks, being in the neighborhood, I drop in the office to ask for my lab results, mano-a-mano.  I politely but firmly register my disappointment at not hearing back. I explain I’m looking for hard evidence that my lifestyle changes have been important to my health.

A gracious nurse at the desk agreed that was odd to get no follow up and immediately accessed the results, printed them out and looked over 4 pages of data.  Then she looked at me quizzically and said, “Oh, I see why they didn’t call you.  There’s nothing wrong here.”  She handed me the pages with a smile, as if to say “Mystery Solved”.  

So I guess I need to have a disease to get the time of day from my health care system.  “Honey, call back when you’re having your first cardiac event”, they might as well say.  No wonder our health system spends billions of dollars – many of them needless dollars – on disease, while little or no attention is being paid to staying healthy (or healthier).  

What, we have to keep asking, is wrong with this picture?  

Be well!!


Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award