Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 56: Doctors Tell the Truth, Don't They?

"Did I really just hear a cardiologist, the butt of too many jokes on Serious Eats, tell me that I was skinny?"

20080306-scale.jpgIn the last couple of weeks, I've been spending too much time in the company of doctors. Last Wednesday, the day before I left for Miami, I saw my regular doctor, my referrer in HMO parlance, to see whether he could tell me what was causing the tightness on the right side of my chest (the side across from my heart). He couldn't find anything, and he didn't even notice I had lost weight. Doctors you see regularly are supposed to notice such things, aren't they?

I went down to Miami to see if eating a mess of burgers and barbecue would cure what ails me, but for some reason burgers from Bobby Flay, Rachael Ray, and Spike Mendelsohn didn't chase away the tightness in my chest.

So when I returned to New York, my doctor, the one who hadn't noticed there was less of me to examine, sent me to a get a stress test. I'd never had one before. A technician attached all these wires to my chest before putting me on a treadmill. After I had been running for a few minutes a cardiologist came into the room. He examined the lines on the graph that the electrodes were producing as he made small talk--small talk that turned out to loom very large.

"So what do you do?," he asked as he told the technician to make the treadmill go faster. "I'm a food writer and blogger," I said as I started to breath harder. As soon as I told him what I did, I felt sure I was going to get a lecture on what I should and shouldn't be eating. Was I going to level with him and mention that I had had bites of many, many bacon cheeseburgers just a few days before finding myself in his office getting a stress test?

Before I could confess he uttered a few words that I never thought I would hear: "You're pretty skinny for a food writer, aren't you?"

Holy shit. Did I really just hear a cardiologist, the butt of too many jokes on Serious Eats, tell me that I was skinny? I believe I did. I'm going to dine out on that remark for years, and I won't ever gain a pound.

After a few more minutes on the treadmill the cardiologist had me get off. He looked at all the data my heart had produced. "I don't know what's wrong with you, but I can tell you it has nothing to do with your heart."

I was happy when he said that, but as any person who struggles with his or her weight will tell you, I was even happier, I would say ecstatic, about his "skinny" remark.

No doctor had ever said anything like that to me before, and boy did it make me feel good.

The Weigh-in

Of course, nothing makes me feel better than getting on Thinner to see how he's going to treat me after a weekend eating burgers and barbecue in Miami. The cardiologist may have called me skinny, but Thinner never has. I have been pretty good all week since I got back on Sunday, but we'll see where we are at this moment.

228. Up a pound from last week, but last week was one of those really good weeks, Thinner-wise. Even gaining a pound, I think it's been a pretty good week, because I gained even more self-esteem. Thanks, Doc, wherever you are. You have a most excellent treadmill-side manner. And we will stop with the cardiologist jokes on Serious Eats.