Shedding weight a complex task, one many doctors are not equipped to help their patients with

I was just reading an AP story that says “doctors are being told to get serious about their patients’ obesity.” I couldn’t help but have a visceral reaction: anger, frustration, fear. I hate going to see my doctor as it is because I feel she just doesn’t “get” how difficult it can be to shed weight, that there is a huge, complex, emotional component. (Yes, I do need to find someone new but I haven’t gotten that done yet.)

I never posted this picture after a special event this summer because I was so embarrassed about how  I looked.
I never posted this picture after a special event this summer because I was so embarrassed about how I looked.

I am right now back up to pretty much my heaviest, and I hate it. It makes me depressed, frustrated with myself, and embarrassed. I feel like I should have better “self-control.” But I don’t right now. I just eat whatever and am having a tough time saying no to anything, even when I’m full. The stress levels in my life are uber-high right now, and I am ridiculously busy and definitely overburdened and overscheduled. So I’m right back to my food addiction. And it makes me feel horrible about myself.

So hearing that doctors need to do “better” about talking to patients about obesity fills me with horror and dread. The only bright spot in the article was that they are supposedly trying to do better about providing real help and support and resources to those who need to lose weight. Because shaming and pointing out the obvious sure as heck aren’t gonna do it. One woman quoted in the article was told by her doctor that she just needed to eat less. Her reaction was the same as mine and everyone else’s out there who eats because of stress and emotions, rather than just to satiate hunger: “It just devastated me,” LeBlanc recalled. “He was saying, ‘It’s all in your mind.’ I was thinking, ‘If I could do that, don’t you think I would have done it by now?'” Uh, yeah. So she switched doctors and has been in a program that includes counseling and has lost 40 pounds.

In my current state of mind (stressed, crazy-busy, and depressed about my weight), I will just smack any doctor or other person who tells me some simplistic and completely insensitive answer that indicates they have no idea what it’s like to walk in my shoes.

I want to know that a doctor will be understanding and sensitive and provide some useful ideas and resources. For me right now, I’m kind of feeling that it will be impossible to lose weight until my life quiets down a bit (senior daughter graduates and is done with band and everything else, for one). It takes serious work, focus, and time to overcome something like this, so it’s not something I can do casually.

Even so, I still exercise because I enjoy it and feel better when I do. It’s a longtime habit and at least I can tell myself that it’s something. I’m not eating like crazy AND being a couch potato. I’m also making myself an appointment with a hypnotherapist. Yes, that’s right. Hey, I figure it’s worth a try.

If you sympathize, please comment. If not, please do not post any “advice.” You don’t want me biting your head off.

Light life

Cathy Carmode Lim View All →

I’m a copy editor, writer, and book reviewer with three decades of experience. My book review website is I’m a mom of four and grandma of three.

8 Comments Leave a comment

  1. I totally get it Cathy. I was told by my doctor after having my first baby that exact quote. “If you want to lose weight, all you have to do is eat less.” I wanted to smack him. A new baby, full-time work, bringing baby to work to avoid child care, you can’t tell me stress and emotions didn’t play a role in that. I could have starved myself, and I probably would have eventually lost some weight, but who really (in their right mind) would starve themselves? I’m at my heaviest. Right where I was when I was full-term with my second (after not losing any weight after the first). It does take time, and dedication. I keep thinking when life slows down – when both kids go to school then I will be able to devote the necessary time to myself, to take care of myself. And being depressed about it perpetuates the emotional eating. I love chocolate. And although we have strict rules for the kids about sweets I am always snagging something.

    I love your whole family! That is a gorgeous picture. Maybe one day, we’ll both be where we were when we ran into each other at the Y in Anniston so, so many years ago. But, I pray that we may be lifted up, comforted, and accept who we are…right now. I’m grateful for my husband who loves me, who supports me, and who has never made a rude comment about how I look in the past five years. I am truly blessed, and remembering this helps me every day.

    • Thanks! It’s definitely helpful to have supportive family and friends. I am very grateful that my husband NEVER looks askance at me because of my weight. He thinks I’m gorgeous no matter what.

  2. Yes, I can relate! I am heavier than I was with any of my pregnancies. With my first, I gained almost 50 lbs. After 5 pregnancies (2 of which I had gestational diabetes), I was told that I’d better keep off the weight or I would have type 2 within 10 years. I believed this, but still could not control my eating. Having twins was very stressful. And having a big family is too. Unfortunately, life never seems to be stress-free (at least not for long).
    So, 10 yrs later and guess what? I have type 2 diabetes! Yes, doctors were right but never very helpful. Now I’m doing my best to lose enough weight so maybe I won’t need anymore pills or insulin. Wish me luck!

  3. cathy, all I can say is ditto; I have a long running “argument” with gary’s brother who will never give up his line” you gotta just eat less samm, and of course, exercise more…. it makes me so mad I can’t stand it! I have a herniated tummy up into my esophagus ,,,,,I call it my natural lap-band since I can’t eat much at a time…I’m not too interested in food anyway and really hate to cook,,,,(I will say you must love it and you make the yummiest stuff,,,,,if I cooked as you do, I would be another 100 lbs and growing)
    I really need to have the suggested 5 meals a day…..but…just don’t want to eat. I’ve given up soda and now and then have a little that is 1/3 soda, 1/3 water and 1/3 watered down juice,,,,,,,and I keep adding water to my “mix” that I make for the day to drink, my goal is drink more water and I forgive myself by saying I’m just flavoring it.
    I rode my bike here on dauphin island for weeks and on the last day I made it the seven miles across the island…..not one pound lost……
    I swam 5 days a week for one hour for 6 weeks,,,,not one pound lost…..
    I do take 6 meds . and deal with asthma (at the moment I’m so ill with it I had to go get a steriod shot and breathing treatment today…
    I walk our dogs and not too much else at the moment…
    I have decided to make blender juicing a major effort to my overall health since I am diabetic, asthmatic, and my one major weakness is I HATE ROUTINE,,,, can hardly manage to make myself take the scripts morning and night….
    my battle with routine affects everything I do.. It’s even more of a problem than eating cookies…..
    all the self hate does nothing for empowering my wants and wishes…..
    I can see all this as a problem for your stand about loving yourself and not worrying about the outer picture. I will never, ever, accept that I look alright. I will keep trying to overcome myself always, Obviously being fat isn’t my only problem and I will say that any and all of us that are overweight any amount must observe our other obstacles since stress isn’t the only reason we eat. it’s one of many.
    in your family it doesn’t look as though the girls have your metabolism and take after their dad who’s trim and fit,,,,
    at my age “they” keep saying I can’t lose, I’m stuck for lots of reasons. my dr. doesn’t even say eat less….I’m looking for a new dr. because I know my meds do hamper my efforts….nevertheless, I’m going to keep trying and when I get where I think I’m happy with my appearance I just might figure out how to get one of those lifetime lifts that get rid of a double chin,,,,,,!
    I’ve look terrific in my 40s (size 6 made me pretty happy) and I mean to again,,,,just as a word of experience here, 40 can GET thin,,,,,,do it now or share my frustration….you’ll work the rest of your life trying to be happy with your appearance,,,,,I know someone who decided to live and let live….died at 57…..glum ending,,,,,for a neverending discussion…sorry,,,,

  4. Kathy, I do sympathize! I go through the same thing in seasons, stress up, stress down, weight up, weight down….. Yes! Its a bummer! One thing I will say is, I don’t see anything wrong with your picture, you look nice ! Now don’t bite my head off ! 🙂 🙂

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