I met Dr Harpe in June of 2014 when he became my new primary care doctor. At this point in my life my health was going into a real downward spiral. I could only walk short distances without being winded. I had back and joint pain so severe I had taken to walking with a cane. Also had arthritis, acid reflux, diverticulitis, heart arrhythmia, borderline high blood pressure, migraine headaches and an autoimmune disorder called Relapsing Polychondritis, which attacks cartilage and connective tissues. Also, I was extremely overweight for not just my height, but for just about any height!
The medication I have to take for the autoimmune disorder, namely Prednisone, did not help my weight issue any. I had gotten to the highest weight in my life and seemed powerless to really make a dent in it. In the past I had gained and lost the same 50 lbs through one diet or another, always to have it creep back on and then some. Doctors would always advise me to lose weight, but never gave much practical advice on how to do that beyond the standard eat low fat, high fiber, whole grain, count calories type of diet, which never really worked for me, especially long term. I cannot think of a worse drudgery than counting calories!
After reviewing my medical records, Dr Harpe looked at me on that first visit and asked me what I thought my most pressing medical issue was right now. I said the Relapsing Polychondritis, as I was still trying to get a handle on that fairly new diagnosis. But really, in my heart, I knew it was my weight. I just didn’t have it in me to go down that path again. But he did! He told me all these other issues, though serious, would not be the thing to likely take me out of this world first, but that my weight was setting me up for a stroke or heart attack. Even though I knew this logically, it finally was setting in. I had just lost my youngest sister to a massive heart attack in April of this same year, just a few, short months earlier.
So, after a few tears and acceptance of where I was in this, Dr Harpe offered a plan. Different than any other physician had offered me before, so I was intrigued. Get off the processed foods, the grains, and the sugar. I got his book, the Naturvore Power and read it immediately. I finally began to see the reason behind all the weight struggles. The way our food is engineered to create cravings and even addictions! It was resonating with what I believe I had already known, just didn’t have the science to back it up. Now I did. I lost 7 lbs the first week alone, it was incredible. As I purged all the junk out of the house and myself, I started to see a real difference in my health, and my weight. Less joint and body pain. More energy. I started hiking again, and riding my exercise bike, just being active to a degree that I hadn’t been in a very long time. I have five granddaughters, and a new grandson due this Summer, and I really want to be interactive with them all, and spend a lot of time making memories.
I researched a lot on my own and found recipes for my new nutritional guidelines. I had quite a few successes in the kitchen and a fair share of failures, but I was, and am still, learning. My husband got pulled along into this without much choice, since I am the cook in the house! He has done better with his type 2 diabetes and he is losing weight as well. I know it was a bit strange for my family at first, but my daughters and my husband have all been very supportive and encouraging as they have seen the physical changes, but also noticed the energy I have gained back and how much more happy I am in general.
I keep a food journal per Dr. Harpe’s request. It is very simple, just what I eat for the day, no calorie counting, but it does keep me accountable, knowing that I am going to show it to him on my next visit. Dr. Harpe has been so positive and supportive and so enthusiastic and excited about my progress, which really makes me feel I can accomplish better health with my efforts.
I feel very blessed and thankful, that the Lord has put special people in my life to guide me in the way I should go, with a cheerleading team to boot! I still have a ways to go, but I am confident that with eating natural, unprocessed foods, as God intended, and following after health, that I will get better and stronger, day by day.