I’m A Cardiologist—Here’s How I Lost Weight The Healthy Way

Matthew Phillips

After an accident forced him into retirement, cardiologist Dr. Matthew Phillips went on a “starvation diet” all by himself. While he managed to reach his ideal weight, he found out he’d lost all his healthy muscle mass, too. It took years for him to slowly rebuild that muscle, and during that time, he put about 20 pounds back on. This time, he wasn’t going to risk it. Learn how Muscle Wise helped Dr. Phillips reach his healthiest weight through small but mindful food choices.

Sadly many doctors and nurses are actually overweight. Before I retired, I was a cardiologist and never had time to sleep or eat properly. When you’re working long, stressful hours, you usually only have time for a quick snack down at the nurses’ station—there’s donuts, candy, coffee… It’s basically just junk food because no one brings a vegetable tray to the nurses’ station.

So for most of my adult life, I was always about 20 pounds heavier than I needed to be. But seeing my colleagues in the same situation, I never had to face the reality of what the extra weight was doing to my health. All of that changed, however, when I got into a car accident.

I suffered major injuries to my lower back and had herniated discs, bone on bone, blood clots in my lungs, and more. I couldn’t work anymore after that accident, and the forced retirement took a mental toll on me as I lost my identity. I ate my emotions and gained 60 more pounds after I stopped working.

A picture of Dr. Matthew Phillips before starting any weight loss programs.
Me, before starting any weight loss programs.

That’s when it became clear that I needed to get healthier. Losing weight was especially important for my healing because any extra weight would put pressure on my nerves and cause more pain to my injured back.

I convinced myself that this was something I could do with the right amount of self-discipline, and I did—I managed to lose a lot of weight without any help, but it just wasn’t the right kind. The routine I had put myself on was more like a starvation method. I had lost the weight, but I looked gaunt, because I had lost all my muscle, too.

A picture of Dr. Matthew Phillips after losing all his muscles through an unhealthy weight loss.
I lost all my muscle after an unhealthy weight loss.

Over the next two to three years, I slowly managed to rebuild some of the muscle, but it wasn’t easy. At my age, losing muscle like that is just devastating. As you reach middle-age, lower levels of testosterone and growth hormones just make it that much harder to build any muscle.

Unfortunately, after all of that, I still regained 25 pounds. This time, I knew I couldn’t do it alone and risk losing weight the wrong way again, and Muscle Wise was one of the few programs that paid attention to that.

As soon as I got my body composition scale from them, I knew this would be a different experience. For starters, I no longer had to judge my progress based on a single digit on the scale. Instead, I’m paying attention to my lean mass because it’s not just about losing weight, it’s about losing pounds of fat.

This was something my Muscle Wise coach, Jenny, was really able to help me with.

It wasn’t just the accountability of “facing the music” that kept me focused, my weekly calls with Jenny helped me realize that a successful lifestyle change doesn’t have to be a strict, straight line. Yes, my goal was to reach a certain weight, but Jenny’s coaching style made me feel like I didn’t have to look forward to a “finish line,” because I could still enjoy the food I loved, I could just be smarter about it.

Portrait photo of Dr. Matthew Philips after rebuilding muscles.
After rebuilding muscle, I gained weight again.

When I go to a BBQ now, I know it’s okay now to have a hot dog—I just won’t go for the fries or the ketchup, because pure sugar does nothing for my health. It’s great to have a coach whose ultimate goal is to help you discover what’s doable for you in the long-run. 

It’s like she’s always asking: “How is this gonna work out once you get off the diet? Are you just going to rebound?” Her focus on helping me make a rational lifestyle change made all the difference. For instance, she knows that if I’m going to a wedding, I’m gonna be limited by my healthy food choices, but it’s not the end of the world. I’ll still get to my goal, but I can do that while living my life too, because you never know if you’ll get a tomorrow.

What’s also been really helpful for me is the level of independence Muscle Wise offers. You have a coach to guide you along, but there aren’t any required in-person weigh-ins or anything that’ll take up a chunk of your time. They’re making great use of readily available technologies like their smart scale, the HIPAA-compliant Muscle Wise app, and food that gets delivered to your door. It’s essentially a diet that can be done from anywhere. You just weigh-in at home and can virtually meet your coach anytime, anywhere, without making a trip to a clinic or doctor’s office.

All in all, I’m spending no more than what I used to spend on food before the program, except now I also get coaching, vitamins, and the body scale, too. And, it’s super easy to just pick up my phone and get the food without even leaving my house.

To me, this low-carb, low-fat diet with adequate protein seems very rational, and I like that there’s some vitamin replacement, too. I’ve had my bloodwork done during all this, and it’s phenomenal. My cholesterol is down to 129—the lowest it’s ever been in my life.

Me, today. Still lean, but healthier than ever.

I just feel better overall. I mean, it’s always nice to fit into clothes better and not have a noticeable belly. My heartburn also went away and I even stopped needing to take my blood pressure pills. This doesn’t always happen for everyone, but a lot of other Muscle Wise alumni have been able to get off certain medications by changing their habits through this program, especially if the medications were for weight-related issues.

What I love most about Muscle Wise is how simple it is. There are a lot of other choices when it comes to weight loss methods, but I like it simple. Today, I’m at roughly the same weight as I was when I was on that “starvation” diet, except I’m far, far healthier now. As a cardiologist, I’d want all my patients to do it. The program just works.

Weight loss is more than a single number on the scale—it’s about developing a healthy lifestyle that helps you live longer and happier. Finding the right partner for your journey can make all the difference in helping you make smarter choices. Talk to us today about your healthiest weight loss, ever.

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