From my uneducated standpoint, I’d say your doctor was full of it. It’s been rehashed in a lot of T-Nation articles that you build muscles to burn fat. You burn calories as you build muscles, and then you burn calories to maintain them. I’d say that body composition is pretty important.
Since I’m fairly skinny, it’s really not fair for me to say this.
Having said that, you should get in the pool for your cardio. Swimming strengthens the muscles that stabilize and protect your joints and it’s impact free, which means no damaged knees.
Maybe there’s some jackass who snickers when you approach the pool. Ignore him and get your laps done, as he is, in truth, just that. A jackass.
Forgot to add: for fat loss, cardio definitely is a good thing.
When you said “1 cup of 1% cottage cheese…” does that mean 1 cup of 1% fat cottage cheese? Or are you adding 99 parts water for every 1 part cheese?
I think you might be in danger of depriving yourself of fats. The idea being that if your body gets carbohydrates, but no (or not enough) fats, in preparation for any upcoming famines, your body will store the carbs as fat so that you won’t starve during said famine. Since you’re not doing anything radical like the AD or a ketogenic diet (one where you deprive yourself of carbs to force the body to use fats for energy) you probably want “25-35% of your energy intake [comes] from fat” as said by Berardi.
Hope you figure things out
If you haven’t already seen them, here are http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=459493
Berardi’s 7 Eating Guidelines
PPS I used to play hold’em, but I blew my bankroll and have since not reinvested. I hope you thrive on those fishies!