Friday, September 18, 2020

Health: Weight Loss, Week 1

We’ll start with the good news: I have been on a really aggressive and restrictive diet for the past week. It’s been…an adjustment…to say the least, but I have lost 8 lbs and 5 inches in that week.

And before you say anything, let me stop you right here and say, “I know.” This is not my first rodeo. I know all about it. Your advice is, and I say this with no acrimony whatsoever, not welcome. You can’t help me. No one can help me. The only person that can help me is me. And I’m doing it this way because that’s the only way that I can move forward at this time. So, 8 lbs and 5 inches.

I learned a few things about myself that I thought I’d share with you. In chronological order, here it is:

1. The Body-Mass Index is bullshit.

You know about the BMI? The chart that looks at your height and your weight and tells you how fat you are, and what your ideal weight should be? I’m sure it was established in the 1950s when everyone ate the same things and food was all real and not chemically-laden, but even still…according to the BMI, I should ideally weight 202 lbs.

Look, I weighed 202 pounds in the sixth grade, okay? I’ve always looked at that number and thought, “there’s no WAY I can get down to that.”

Well, we did some calculations and some body scanning prior to the diet, and I found out that my lean muscle mass (the bones, muscles, organs—the stuff that is essentially me) is 225 lbs. That means that if I had zero body fat, I would weigh about 230 lbs. A much more realistic number for me to hit is now looking like somewhere between 235 and 250 lbs. That’s more doable (in my head) and far less daunting.

2. I stress eat WAY more than I thought

Sure, everyone says that, but no, you don’t understand. It’s gotten bad. This year, for some reason, has been really triggering for me. Probably the allergies. Yeah, that’s it. Anyway…I realized this when I was waiting in line at Walmart last Saturday to pay for some felt tip pens. The self-checkout is shut down because of The Covid, and so I was behind a couple who had a basket full of shit and had broken said basket into three separate transactions. They were being helped by a woman with nothing but time on her hands. Boop…Boop…Boop…Boop…

Every time she slowly and carefully swiped an item from the conveyer belt and into a plastic sack, a little piece of my soul died and flaked off and fell to the floor. In desperation, I cast my gaze about, looking for something to stick the pieces back together and came down with “I’m hungry, I need a candy bar.”

Then I stopped myself, because I wasn’t hungry. And I damn sure didn’t “need” a candy bar. This diet is not one that allows for snacks outside of the designated eating times, so I was forced to wait in line and stew in my own juices and realize that anytime I have a hole in my chest from anxiety or stress, I will stuff it with a burrito much in the same way a combat field medic shoves gauze into a bullet wound to staunch the bleeding. Only I’m not bleeding. I’m just an emotional wreck.

Food has always been a hug for me, going way back. When I didn’t get what I wanted, I pivoted to food. This was a bad thing, and I’m embarrassed that it went on as long as it did, and that it has done so much damage to me. That’s what all this is about; reversing the damage and living a healthier life.

Now I eat every three hours. I have special astronaut food designed to facilitate ketosis. I have supplements. I drink water. A lot of water. A gallon plus every day. If I’m not eating, or about to eat, I am peeing. It’s going to be like this for a while. I need to lose a lot of weight, as quickly as possible without causing myself any harm.

It just means that all of the emotions and feelings I’ve been papering over with tortillas are now on my sleeve and very easy to get to. This week has been a nightmare. But hey, at least I wasn’t hungry during all of the crying and wailing I did.

Meanwhile, Cathy continues to decline, bit by bit. This weekend is going to be a real problem for me. She is having a get-together in Hospice to say goodbye to some close friends and family, while she still can. On the one hand, she is moving towards acceptance of her situation and that’s a good thing for her, because it cuts down on her day-to-day anxiety. On the other hand, I have enough daggers in my chest without walking into the axe throwing arena, and that’s what this will be. I need to be there, and I will be, with Sonya, the wonder pooch. But hearing Cathy saying goodbye to people is exactly the kind of thing that will have me chewing off my own arm until I can get to a cheeseburger. And that cheeseburger will not materialize, so I’m going to be unhinged for the weekend.  

I appreciate everyone who continues to check in on me and ask about Cathy. I just don’t have anything good to say right now.




Traci said...

It's ok not to be ok. We've got your back and will be there when you need us to be. I'm cheering for you and your weight loss. I'm in the same boat and , like you, am taking action. Please remember I am a phone call away if you just need someone to scream at for a bit. Give Kathy my love!

Docmortand said...

*hugs* Bravo on taking action! And yes, the BMI is stupid. *hugs*

Deirdre said...

Mark, you are in a terrible situation--worse than anyone I know or have known--and here you are trying to improve your health and well being instead of flying off the edge into the abyss. Or at least you're not spending all your time doing that. Bless you and good luck and may you be losing 8 pounds and 5 inches every week! I got lost during COVID's first four months and cooked and ate my way to the highest weight I've ever been in my life (or and drank too--can't forget that) and since moving down to Pennsyvania to help cheer on my daughter who is chronically ill, I've been on my own weight loss trip. So far, 20 pounds and 2 sizes in 6 weeks, but it's been hellish. I've been hiking roughly 6 miles a day 4-5 days a week and like you, eating stuff that's essentially air. But like you,my blood pressure and blood sugar have been bad and I can't stay there.

So onward, Mark! Keep on keepin' on and my very best vibes go out to you, a fellow traveler.

Victorian Barbarian said...

No advice, just two observations. First, that stupid BMI chart only dates to the early 70's, and is complete bs when aoplied to individuals. Second, continually needing to pee is a good foreshadowing of what life will be like in your mid-60's, when all this other stuff is far behind you.

J. Juday said...

Hey Mark. Sending you a big hug, and big cheers on your work on your weight. 8 pounds and 5 inches is a huge win. Keep up the great work. I will be sending all best thoughts and wishes for strength as you face all this. It's a lot. I know I can't help, but I can wish you well.

jcrawfie said...

Hi from the centex storage facility,
I offer nothing except the sure and certain fact that I will be here when you need me. Do not forget this.

David Farnell said...

Mark, I’m really glad you’re able to tackle this and do what you need to do. I’ve been packing on the pounds myself at a worrying rate from stress eating, and I need to reverse that trend.

Jeff Fair said...

Huge props to you for fighting two gigantic emotional / physical battles at the same time. I’m sure Cathy is proud of you and happy to see you taking care of yourself.

Adventuresfantastic said...

No advice to offer on the weight loss, just congratulations and encouragement. That's good to hear.

Alana said...

Take Sweet Care.

Nahteboy said...

It's good to hear about the weight loss and how seriously you are taking the matter. As you said, the only one that can help you is you (and your nutritionist/doctor/dietician/sadistic cook).

It's good and sad to hear Cathy is saying her goodbyes. But, at least she and those close to her are getting an opportunity that many people never get, especially with COVID keeping people out of the hospitals. My girlfriend's dad is in the hospital with brain cancer they just discovered. He's very confused and afraid. She can't go see him. So, as hard as it is for you to watch the decline, at least you can be there to share your love.

Best wishes.

Tommy said...

/hugs brother, just /hugs

Barbara V. Evers said...

Mark, we all deal with tough issues in our own way, Kudos for choosing a healthy approach. I’ve never bought into the BMI, either. Last I checked, each of us are different and those guides put us all in the same box. Continuing to pray for you and Cathy. I’m half a country away, but there in heart.

DeAnne D. said...

I love you, I hear you, and I'm here if you need me.