No Fat Doctors

While we were in Texas with Kathy’s relatives, we were careful to observe all the Traditions. We spent time each day at the pool, and covered dozens of miles in golf cart rides. We ate large quantities of Mexican food, or at least American food made up to look Mexican. We played games and read books and even made a pilgrimage to Alamo Village.

Uncle Dan and kids
Kathy’s brother and his children were often to be found behind the wheel of a golf cart.

And then there was Pico’s. An otherwise unremarkable gas station chain, Pico’s has the rare distinction to offer the world’s largest (at least in my experience) ‘Single Scoop Ice Cream’ for $1.19.

Our favorite gas station chain
Pico’s. Now the secret is out.

You wouldn’t believe me if I told you, so I’ll have to provide a picture; each ‘Single Scoop’ is really a compacted mass of ice cream requiring more than a dozen individual scoops on the part of the server.

Mint Chocolate Chip
Sarah already ate quite a bit off the top.

Kathy’s Dad and I are not very alike (he’s well-educated, urbane and handy, while I am, er, not) but we share at least one passion: neither of us can pass up a bargain. For this reason, as the last dishes were washed after dinner each evening, a quiet refrain would begin to buzz on the lips of the children:

“Pico’s. Pico’s. Pico’s.”

the menfolk
Clearly, I was standing in a low spot in the parking lot, which allowed Kathy’s brother, her Dad, and my own son to tower over me.

Grand-Dad would look up from his book with a twinkle in his eye. “Did someone say ‘Pico’s’?”

I would wander in from the porch, licking my lips. “Did someone say, ‘Pico’s’?”

And so we would drive the mile or so into ‘town’ and pile out of our minivans to stand in front of the ice cream case.

“What are your flavors today,” we’d ask. “We’ll need eleven, no, twelve ‘Single Scoops’,” we would confide to the server.

“Rosalita,” the girl at the cash register would yell, “you come serve these customers while I check the stock-room.” Rosalita had a strong arm from all that scooping.

Mint Chocolate Chip and Banana Split were two of the favorites, although Butter Pecan and Rocky Road were well-favored as well. One night (gasp!) they had nothing but Vanilla, and we all suffered with home-made brownies.

More Mint Chocolate Chip
Everybody got Mint Chocolate Chip that day … everyone, except me, that is.

We had a great time with Kathy’s brother, his children, and Kathy’s parents; but when the stories are told about this vacation, I’ll bet Pico’s will have a prominent place.

the ladies
These girls were later arrested for loitering, which really livened up the worship service.

Yesterday I attended a follow-up visit with my physician, to discuss the results of my recent physical and lab testing. Now that I’m firmly in my 40’s, I have begun to hesitantly grapple with the idea that I might not be immortal and invulnerable, no matter how many times I watched Stallone or Schwarzenegger movies as a young man.

I told my doctor about Pico’s, my eyes sparkling as a reminiscent smile wreathed my face. “I figure I gained a few pounds,” I chortled unrepentantly. (People with a double chin have an advantage when it comes to chortling, and I made the best of that competitive edge.)

“Yep. Looks like you’re up six pounds since I saw you last, less than two months ago.” My doctor didn’t seem to think it was quite so funny.

I mentally reviewed my options:

  1. Find a fat doctor
  2. Never get another physical for the rest of my (probably short) life
  3. Break into my doctor’s office (each time I have an appointment) and inflate the previous visit’s weight, so it always looks like I’m losing.
  4. Investigate my doctor for some vice and ruthlessly blackmail him into silence
  5. Attempt to intimidate my physician so that he’s afraid to bring up the subject of weight
  6. Change my lifestyle and lose some weight

Doctor’s don’t tend to be fat. Oh, you’ll find a plump one from time to time, but I’ve been cursed with skinny ones the last 10 years or so. They have to learn to live without food or sleep during their time as an intern and resident, and the habits tend to stick, from what I can tell.

Not my actual doctor
Not my actual doctor.

My doctor doesn’t seem to be the kind I could easily intimidate, and I’m not sure he has any easily exploitable vices. Kathy won’t let me avoid annual physicals, and I think it is too late to build my marriage on a pattern of lies, having been pretty forthright up to this point.

The possibilities having narrowed, my course is clear: I must find a way to falsify my weight records each time I visit. On the way out, I carefully cased the office for windows wide enough to allow ingress. It would be poetically embarrassing if I became wedged in a window while engaged in this enterprise.

In the unlikely event that this crafty scheme fails me, and just to give our readers something on which to comment, I’ll throw out this question:

What is the single best lifestyle change you have made to lose weight?

Maybe I’ll do some sit-ups while I wait for your answers.


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17 thoughts on “No Fat Doctors”

  1. One thing that worked for me is not total denial of the cookies/chips/ice cream category, but cutting down on serving size and frequency of those things – scheduling them even – ice cream only on Sundays, for instance, and then in reduced portion. (One could always enlist the help of a friendly control freak to dole out portions on one’s behalf, ensuring no cheating.) Total denial seems only to fuel more cravings and a mental fixation on the forbidden yummy. But I know this doesn’t work for many folks, who prefer to totally cut themselves off from the poisons – is it like what Jesus said to do if our hand causes us to sin?

  2. I find that No Loitering after church hours sign hilarious! So much for building fellowship and a sense of community, huh? :)

    Hmmm, best lifestyle change to lose weight? Teaming up with Kathy and her manaical eating plan?

    How about moving to a country that does not seem to carry any clothes in your size? or anything that may possibly fit is labeled 2x or 3x? We could find you a great house for a good price if you are interested? :)

    Or you could adopt our Friday rule, which Liz, is a relative of your idea. Candy, ice cream and such sugary snacks are generally only allowed on Fridays. Sure cuts down on the petulant requests all week. I mean the kids, hehehe.

  3. Hey Tim,

    My husband lost about 100 lbs over two years using Weight Watchers. (Well…he did twenty pounds by himself…and then 80 more with WW’s.) What I learned as his wife were simple principles that helped me support his healthy eating needs.

    1. Portion control. Spaghetti is 1/2 cup of sauce with one cup of noodles. Serve with a salad or veggie. It’s shocking when you first do it. But honestly, it does fill you up!

    2. Don’t cut out all the goodies…but decrease the frequency and portion sizes. But also look for treats with fewer calories…there are lots of options out there that taste so good! (Fiber One Oats and Chocolate granola bars for instance. Mmmm.)

    3. Get active and stay active. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Instead of a video game, take a family walk, etc… Purpose yourself to do 30 minutes of “something,” everyday where you’re a bit winded and then a couple times a week get “really,” winded and sweaty. Choose an activity that you like to do. If you dread it, you won’t do it.

    4. Look at food labels. WW’s has this handy dandy slide chart that helps me figure out how many points a treat or meal will cost…and that helps me plan meals that satisfy…yet are reasonable in caloric intake. (We eat fried chicken! Yes, fried chicken…but it’s baked in the oven and it is NOT full of calories…and the best part is that it tastes REALLY good. It’s our favorite meal.) WW’s has a lot of great cookbooks…with awesome/practical recipes.

    5. My husband says accountability was key. For him, attending the meetings and weighing in each week helped him stay the course. WW’s is expensive…but for us, it was an investment and I looked at it as a “health class,” in which our whole family participated. There is also an online option which is helpful if folks don’t feel like they need the direct accountability of “real people.” If you don’t want to do WW’s…then just find a friend who will be brave enough to truly hold you accountable.

    Hope something here helps!


  4. Walking almost every day, and eating “smarter” – you don’t have to eat until your stuffed, eating more veggies w/ meals and fruits and veggies as snacks in between meals. Oh, and smarter (smaller) portions at meals. And cut back the sweets – not to “NONE”, but just be more reasonable.

  5. Ish, I don’t even like the QUESTION much less the answer.

    One thing Uncle Jerry and I have done is to ONLY buy DQ reduced fat ice cream. We are also having it in very small bowls.

    I LOVE Pico’s!!

    Love you kids, Aunt Kate

  6. No junk food in the house. (or any other such food that you love to binge one) And……..LOTS OF WATER.

    I must admit that the idea of no junk food in the house is a bit hard when you have kids. But hey, they’ll be learning a new healthier lifestyle that way. (HAAAAA…….as if that works in my house.)

  7. Walking, walking walking, and less Pico’s ;) If you write down every bite of food you eat you’ll be less likely to mindlessly snack while cooking or just being bored and needing something to do. Also, if you go for the veggie drawer instead of the cabinet you will find less junkie food. HOWEVER< on the flip side. DO NOT completely deprive yourself of your favorite junk food, ice cream or whatever because that will just lead to a binge which will lead to feeling like a failure which will lead to an entire 5 gallon bucket of ice cream…

  8. Hmmm, well not being great at the whole weight loss thing myself, here is my advice, for what it is worth.
    I have found running works wonders. When I was running consistently, I didn’t have to worry so much about what I ate. Now, running does not come easy for me, but it was worth it.
    Portion control. I find I can still eat what I like if I limit how much I eat of it. I also try and up the good stuff…veggies and fruits and it makes me feel fuller and I don’t crave the other stuff so much.
    I think it is wonderful that you want to (or at least are willing to) improve your health. This is a special gift you can give Kathy and the kids. I’m sure they would enjoy having you around for a while.

  9. I think this blog made me laugh more than any other you have written.
    Tim, the key to losing a lot of weight is finding out you are allergic to everything. In particular, gluton, milk and soy.
    You will never suffer from weight gain again. That has been my key. I’ve never been overweight but I lost about 10 pounds when I found out.

  10. I’m going to assume that you know the best thing for keeping your weight down: cutting down on sugary drinks, juice, candy, ice cream, etc. Cookie Monster is right. They are all sometimes foods.

    Others have already mentioned other basics such as exercise and portion control. But this is all stuff you know.

    Here’s the one that really helps everyone in my family. Don’t consume anything except water after 8PM or at least 2 hours before going to bed. It seems an odd piece of advice but really. You don’t need fuel and calories while you’re sleeping at night. If you eat right before going to bed your body will be more likely to store it in case it needs it later.

    When I first heard about this I looked at my family and noticed that in most cases the heavier people would eat dinner late or snack right before bedtime. The thinner ones, myself included, were typically not found picking on the Christmas dinner leftovers too late in the evening.

    And now my husband and I find that if we eat late it can actually keep us up, almost as if our body says “Hey, you can’t go to sleep because you’re too busy digesting this food and need to burn off the energy you fed me!”

    If you try it after a month or two you have got to let me know if you have seen any results.

  11. On the advice of Bridget from the SHS list, I recently got the book % the Fat Loss Code” by Wendy Chant. At first glance it looks like a “low-carb” diet, but it only starts out that way. After the first 7 days you begin to add in carbs, in a certain pattern that trains your body to burn fat instead of storing it. It sounds complicated but it’s pretty easy to learn it when you read the book. I’m on day 17 and have lost 7.2 pounds. The best part is that I truly FEEL better. I’m also drinking lots of water. And like T with Honey wrote, no eating after 8:00 p.m. is part of this plan. Best wishes to you! This is the best weight loss plan with the quickest results I’ve ever tried!

  12. Sorry, please delete all my comments after the first one! My computer filter may be taking out the word Crack. I turned off the filter and hopefully this will send correctly. The book title is Crack the Fat Loss Code.

  13. Jeff always recommends to his patients that exercising will not help you lose weight if the diet remains the same. In fact, many people use exercise as an excuse to eat more. It takes 1 minutes to eat a Snickers but over an hour to burn it off. Which do you have time for? Find the meal that you tend to overdo it (for most people, dinner). Serve yourself what you normally would. Then put half back. Eat what remains, wait 30 minutes, and do something else. If you are still hungry after that half hour, eat a little more. If you do this with one, or better, all meals, that could easily help you cut down.

    Also, don’t eat any more lemon bars. :) Just kidding.

  14. Well…..we had to make some giant changes around here…some due to a dx for son and some due to my skinny doc having a fit about family history, pregnancy history and cholesterol numbers.

    It would be hard to pick the ONE thing…but I did read recently that a huge percentage of what we eat is refined flour and that changing to whole grain is a giant step towards a healthy lifestyle….so that would probably be my first…coupled with getting up close and personal with the ::gasp:: local gym.

  15. Walking has helped me. Walk a mile or so each day….as many days as you can. Avoiding soda has helped. I can’t say that I’m winning this battle myself, but I keep going.

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