Maleen Avery, MD
“Oh. My. God. You are totally starting to show! I’m so excited for you! Congratulations on your pregnancy!”
Except I wasn’t pregnant.
No joke, this is exactly what a patient gushed to me a few years ago after thanking me for treating his knee pain. I was mortified. I could feel the blood rush to my face as I fumbled for words. What was I going to say? “No I’m not pregnant, I’m just fat”? I kinda wished I could have said that, but instead, I ashamedly thanked him and hurried off to see my next patient. The sad thing was that this wasn’t the first time this happened to me.
By now my frustration was bordering on desperation. I’d already spent thousands of dollars on a weight-loss program with supplements that made me gag. I was running on my despised treadmill for an hour every day before work. I tried to stop eating 4 hours before bed. Nothing was working!
I was always hungry and stressed, bloated in my belly, constantly tired and walking around in a fog, and a few months earlier, my left hip started bothering me and the discomfort wouldn’t go away despite stretching and strengthening exercises. Looking back, there aren’t a lot of pictures of me during those years because I was too distraught to have photographic evidence of me in a body I couldn’t seem to escape. Props to my dad who managed to sneak a few very unflattering pics here and there, much to my dismay.
Here I was, an overweight sports medicine doctor supposed to be helping people get better so they could resume healthy active lifestyles, but I couldn’t get it together in my own life.
I felt like a complete fraud.
“You suck” I would tell myself “you, of all people, should know better”. But then the hunger would set in and I would have to wait until the following Monday to start over again.
I had been lurking in a Facebook group of Canadian doctor moms who were talking about all things low carb. They had started a weight loss thread tallying up all the pounds they all had lost and the number was well into the 2000’s. I was intrigued. The scientist in me couldn’t find fault with the evidence, so I gave it a go.
I committed to focusing on eating good quality protein and added some natural fat. I’d prep my meals the night before so I didn’t have to worry about food the next morning. Surprisingly it wasn’t all that bad, and I actually found I was enjoying what I was eating.
6 lbs gone in a week?!
Unbelievable! My scale that had been eternally stubborn, finally budged! 6 lbs was a significant number for me.
Over the course of the following year, I went on to lose 45 lbs. My hip pain disappeared. I didn’t have to run on my hated treadmill anymore. I had energy to do things after a full day of work. My hunger and cravings no longer ruled me.
I started prescribing a low carb way of eating to some of my sports medicine patients; the ones for whom medications, physical therapy, and steroid injections just wouldn’t work. The results were incredible! People with chronic low back pain for over 20 years started feeling well enough to hit the gym, and fat loss was an additional pleasant side effect. My patients thought I was the best doctor ever! My colleagues were amazed. I later found out through one of them that our mutual patient had lost 100 lbs with low carb and had normalized his cholesterol and high blood pressure.
The results spoke for themselves.
Inspired to learn more about treating chronic illness and weight issues with nutrition instead of medicine, I embarked on more reading and more training. I eventually wrote my American Board of Obesity Medicine examination (Canada doesn’t have an equivalent) and became a certified obesity medicine physician.
I gave up my sports medicine practice to focus on helping people achieve stunning health transformations, lose belly fat, reverse type 2 diabetes and other health conditions, and live their healthiest lives.
Together with Anna, the other half of Total Metabolic Solutions, we have helped over 1000 people achieve solid results with our proven approach to fat loss. If you’re ready to start your transformation, click here.
* All “before” photographs are courtesy of my dad, who has an incredible talent for taking the most unflattering shots.