Sorta. I was at the clinic yesterday talking to what might be my favourite physician ever (and I’ve been blessed with some pretty awesome docs). I love working with this guy because he answers all my questions.

This month, I had the following questions:

  1. Is hunger mental?
  2. Is it possible to lose significant size without losing weight?

I know, those are kind of weird questions, aren’t they? Here’s where they come from:

  1. My dad doesn’t really get hungry. This irritates me, because I’m always hungry. In order for me not to be hungry for longer than an hour or so, I have to eat like 3000 calories in a single sitting. And yes, I can totally do that without even blinking. Since my dad isn’t hungry, and I know my mum is hungry a lot, I wondered if there was perhaps an element to hunger that is mental. I’m working on increasing the volume of my food but maybe there is some kind of mental training I can take to turn off the brain.
  2. I have this bulge above my belly button that perturbs me. If I can’t address the hunger issues (see above), I’m never going to sustainably lose more weight than I already have. But I have this bulge above my belly button and that’s belly fat people. You know fat in that area is toxic because it wraps around your organs and does bad bad things to them. I wondered if it would be possible for me to get smaller while still weighing about what I do right now.

There was an article in the Ottawa Citizen this week that stated that it’s possible to be fit and fat. I am definitely fit – I consistently work out 5-6 hours a week, at least four of which are at a relatively high intensity. I’m rocking a fair bit of muscle on this frame, and my legs definitely show that. But, I still have that bulge above my belly button.

Here’s what my fave physician had to say:

They don’t know what causes hunger. How frustrating is that? I guess for some people there’s a mental chemistry element, and for those people there’s a combination of drugs that can act as an appetite suppressant. I cannot take those drugs because I have a seizure disorder (though one that’s so mild I haven’t taken drugs since 1997). For others, it’s a physical issue of lack of food in the system. And then there are people whose hunger they just can’t figure out. So, we’re going to focus on volume to try and address that issue. This means I have to be super prepared with the food from now on.

And on the fit but fat issue – Dr F was adamant on this front. I am way healthier at this weight and size with my current level of physical activity than someone who weighs 150 pounds and is a couch potato. My risks for heart attack and stroke are significantly lower with this level of activity than someone who weighs 135 pounds and is a couch potato (those are the bounds of the BMI range I should be in, by the way). They’ll redo my blood tests to prove this to me, but apparently this is true. I feel like asking for another ultrasound to show me tha the fatty liver is gone. But, since I’m pretty sure I’ll be no less than 10 pounds lighter than I am now in a year, I need to get used to the idea that physical activity is my future key to health.

Here’s the weird part about this conversation: he called me a good student. I guess all patients don’t think about what they’re learning and going through and maybe they don’t follow fit people on twitter or read the blogs of friends who are struggling with weight loss. I guess all patients don’t come prepared with questions.

So here’s what I have to say to other people going through a weight loss journey: ask a lot of questions. Figure out what your motivation is, what will help you keep it, what information and facts you need in order to maximize your chances of long term success. Ask for help. Ask for tools. Ask for data and facts and figures and tips and tricks.

If you aren’t a good student, how can you ever learn how to do things differently than before?