The Right Doctor Makes All the Difference

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In 2011, feeling desperate at 215 lbs. and having to be medicated for high blood pressure, I tried a new doctor. She was a wonderful breath of fresh air. In my 54 years of life (at that point in time), I had yet to meet a doctor I liked. This woman took the time to get to know me.

Something else was also happening. I was at a point in life where I allowed myself to be known. On my first visit, I explained openly that weight and weight loss were hugely triggering issues for me. And miracle of miracles, this doctor respected and heard what I had to say.

She knew not to push the weight loss agenda too hard. She’d introduce ideas and I’d go off and think about what she said. She asked me to consider a lifestyle plan where I would gradually cut the dosage of my BP meds. I agreed to try. I lost about 7 lbs. by changing my eating patterns and being slightly more active. I banned the salt shaker from the table. By the fall, I had managed to get the dosage of my meds cut in half. But no more weight came off. There I sat and there I stayed at 208 lbs.

In 2014, I mounted a serious attempt to lose weight. I was back up to 215 lbs. I had overcome some major barriers in my life and had managed to write and self-publish two novels. (By now, I’m up to 4 books in the series and going strong on the 5th.)

Crater Lake Series Banner

It felt like I had found a new outlet for my talents and that there would be life after the not-quite-completed PhD. I had two beautiful granddaughters and I wanted to be healthier for their sake. I wanted to be a fun and active grandma.

Aug 2014 Brit& Emma

I buckled down and lost to within sight of one-der-land – the promised weight loss land of the 100’s. But I got completely derailed at 202 lbs. I was stopped in my tracks. Life hit me full force in the teeth and eating to relieve the stress was survival 101. The time had no yet come for me to enter one-der-land.

Despite the set-back, over the next couple of years, I still managed to have the dosage of my blood pressure meds cut in half again and my wonderful doctor, sympathetic and caring, never judged me. She suggested a recumbent, stationary bicycle. I got one, set it outside on my covered deck and started riding. I self-published another two novels. My life was moving even if my weight was as stuck as that bike on the deck.

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The Bike                                                                           The View from the Bike

Heads up – next Wednesday will be my last weight-loss story post. You will be caught up to the present with my life. Yippee! What a journey this blog has taken us on.

Escape from the Ivory Tower

McLaurin Pyramid 

Where did I leave off? Hmm … right … me in the Ivory Tower – the university years. Between 2005 and 2009, I maintained a weight of 205 lbs. I never went up and I never went down but life went on!

Both my kids got married.

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Reception (294)

I became a grandma Smile  


I stopped being a vegetarian. I defended my thesis, finished my master’s degree and worked on my PhD methodology.


My husband and I did a lot of travelling – something we’d never had the time or money to do before.

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I taught upper level undergrad classes, I was employed on several major research projects as well as managing a busy research office. I worked as a trauma counsellor. It was a busy and exciting life, but it was also a continually fat and stress-filled life.

Fran at Linda's     Fran at Starbucks

In the summer of 2009, my dad informed us that his cancer had returned with a vengeance and he had only six months to live. His wish was that my brother and I would help him stay in his home and die there with his little dog, Sam, beside him. I left all that I was doing at the university to help my dad.

Dad & Sam on deck

I must add that life in the Ivory Tower had, by this time, lost its lustre. I had spent a lot of time on so many diverse and exciting pursuits that I hadn’t got my own dissertation work done. I couldn’t seem to choose a topic that my supervisor and I could agree upon. I was being hassled over having to get extensions. And while I had thought the PhD was going to broaden my horizons, it turned out that I was moving further and further down a path where I would have to bust my butt and compete for a faculty position at some far away university. There was the distinct possibility that I would never go home. That bothered my husband and it bothered me, too. I loved my home.

Life had become one big stress on stress sandwich. I don’t want to say my dad’s illness came at a good time, but I did need to back up and reassess my educational path. The months staying with him allowed me to do that.

After my dad’s death, I never returned to the academic life. I went home and the stress of seeing a parent through the end of life continued as I worked to settle my father’s estate. Some families do well with death, but I suspect most struggle. Below, a pic of me and my grandmother. We do have this family resemblance.


When all was said and done, I weighed 215 lbs. and felt mighty desperate. I had been diagnosed with high blood pressure and was on medication, which I hated. Even so, I didn’t have the nerve to mount another foray into weight loss.