Day 21 – half way to 40

My bathroom scale and I are friends again. In 20 days of the Daniel diet, I have lost at least 21 lbs. It’s actually probably more, because around 10 days before I started this my scale went on strike, causing me such despondency that I crawled into a hole and binged until I scared myself enough to go public with Phase 1 of a practical plan to change.

Maybe going public is what made the difference. I didn’t want to go on here – even with my pathetically few (albeit hugely valued!!!) followers – and admit that I’d failed. Again. Plus, your words of encouragement really helped – thank you! More than that, something inside my head has clicked. I just, quite simply, don’t want to live here any more.

I don't look like this. And actually, that's okay.
I don’t look like this. And actually, that’s okay.

The good news is that my head continues to be clear. No more brain fog! This morning, just for the heck of it, I did a Mensa quiz – just a fun thing I found online – and I was able to do most of it in my head, while lying in bed, using my not-smart-enough-for-Mensa phone. Then I had to get up to work something out using algebra, and my phone took the opportunity to check out, so I have no idea how I did on the test … but the point is, I was thinking clearly enough to enjoy the challenge.

Also, various body parts – in particular, ankles – don’t hurt any more. The relief of being able to move without pain is huge! (Despite not being young and beautiful or having a handsome prince handy (sorry, Honey), I acquired a whole new insight into the suffering of The Little Mermaid, who felt as though she was walking on knives.)

Liam Neeson
Oooh-errr … gotta love me a prince with some stubble! (Yes, of course I believe what They say about men with big noses.) (No, this is not a picture of Himself.)

And I’m no longer hungry. When I started this, no matter how full I stuffed myself with veggies and fruit my body screamed relentlessly for MORE. Now I’m satisfied by a large bowl of oatmeal or fruit and almonds for breakfast, a generous serving of veggies with rice, couscous, sweet potato or potato for lunch, and fruit and almonds for supper. I try to remember to eat in between – just a few pieces of dried fruit or a few nuts – because my blood sugar tends to crash with little warning, but I’m seldom actually hungry.

The lack of variety – due mainly to my unwillingness to spend hours in preparation time – is boring, but the only real craving I’m experiencing is for latte. This is odd because I don’t really care for coffee, but I miss meeting friends in coffee shops – and my emerging body would like to celebrate these times with just a plain latte, not one of the cream-and-caramel-infested concoctions I used to choose, and no need for a cookie.

This is what I really crave...
This is what I really crave…

The big challenge continues to be low energy levels. I am eager to be up and doing and it doesn’t hurt like it used to, but I run out of steam in no time at all. This is partly because I’m taking in few calories (although I eat as much and as often as I want to), but I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s also because I have absolutely no muscle tone.

Tell people you’re involved in dog rescue, and the picture that comes to their minds is of someone who spends a lot of time going walkies and throwing balls. This can be true for dog foster parents, but not if you’re running the rescue. For five years, my life narrowed down to my computer (lots and lots and LOTS of emails, plus endless paperwork), my phone (calls started at 6.00AM and were still coming in as late as 2.00AM – “I just picked up a dog and I think it’s hurt and I don’t know what to do!” “My dog is having puppies and one seems to be stuck and I don’t know what to do!” “My neighbor’s dog is chained up and it can’t get out of the rain and I don’t think they’re feeding it and I don’t know what to do!” “I’m moving to another state tomorrow and I can’t take my dog and I don’t know what to do!”), my car (picking up dogs, transporting dogs, taking dogs to the vet), and the vet’s office. Sitting and stressing and stressing and sitting.

How does one say no?
How does one say no?

By the time I burned out at the end of last year, I was no longer capable of doing much beyond reading, eating, sleeping and sobbing into my pillow, so that’s how I spent the first half of this year. Result: muscle tone as close to zero as it can be without my arms and legs falling off.

So today I pulled a battered little book out of my bookshelf. It’s called Physical Fitness, and my cousin passed it on to The Aged Crone when I was a teenager (this was before she was really a crone, of course) and I can remember chugging through those exercises with no trouble at all. They’re based on something developed by the Canadian Air Force and take only 12 minutes to do, so not an insurmountable challenge – or so I thought.

Hah!

Going to take a while to get to this level...
Going to take a while to get to this level…

This morning I started at the very simplest level and two of the exercises just aren’t possible. Stand on one leg while lifting the other knee to my chest? You have got to be kidding me! Run? I managed a fast march, and after the required count of 50 (that’s 100 paces) I was a wobbling wreck. Jump 10 times? I have no shadow of doubt I would break something if I were ambitious (silly!) enough to try.

But I worked through the exercises anyway. And I will do so again tomorrow. And the next day. And every day. Because this person who has to rest after every. Single. Chore … this person who couldn’t keep up with a terminally ill friend when they went shopping together (happened yesterday) … is not the person I want to be.

The Big O

The really horrible thing about having an unhealthy involvement with food (there are lots of horrible things, but I’m talking about the really most horrible thing here) is the way it takes over. Every. Single. Aspect. Of my life.

Image

There’s the house I am too tired to keep clean, and the garden I struggle to grow. The puppy I am too weak and slow and awkward to train, and the horse I can’t ride. The glaciers and mountain peaks and secret valleys I can’t reach. The shame of catching a glimpse of myself in a mirror or plate glass window or a stranger’s eyes. The uncrossable gulf between Himself and me. The constant pain in every joint and muscle and fiber, and most especially the ache in my heart.

It’s like having a portal to another universe populated by starveling goblins, in my gut. Every time I eat, or don’t eat, or think about eating (which, by the way, is all the time) the portal opens and another goblin pops through, takes up residence, and adds its muttered/wailed/shrieked “FEED ME!” to the cacophony. Sometimes I can be full to the point of nausea and still feel a grumble of hunger – for protein, if I’ve just eaten sugar; for sugar, if I’ve just eaten protein; for a cheese-and-tomato sandwich or cake or ice cream, pretty much any time.

Yesterday I took myself off to my doctor. Now here’s the thing, I don’t have medical insurance. I’m not allowed to get sick. I don’t go to the doctor unless I really, really need to. But a few months ago I decided that, at 50-something (I honestly never remember without doing a sum in my head and really, who cares? “They” say 50 is the new 40, but I feel 70) it was time I had a full physical. So I hied me to my doctor and she was thorough – she listened to my insides, poked here and prodded there, checked out the rude bits, and tested various bodily fluids. And at the end of it all, she officially declared me to be pretty dang healthy. Not diabetic – in fact she took me off the blood sugar meds I had been taking. Heart chugging along happily. BP more-or-less in the normal range. It was amazing! I had been so sure of bad news I just about floated out of her surgery – praising God and making all sorts of promises regarding lifestyle changes that would enable me to enjoy and fully use this unexpected blessing of good health.

Unfortunately I had completely forgotten to mention to her that I’d been experiencing an annoying pain in my leg that I was pretty sure was sciatica. And even more (that is to say, very-to-the-point-of-kicking-my-own-ass) unfortunately, instead of following through on the great lifestyle changes I’d promised myself, Himself, and God, I did what most of us fatties do when we’re happy: I ate. I celebrated with chocolate and ice cream and sandwiches, and chocolate ice cream sandwiches. I opened my mouth in a loud SHOUT of happiness … and a whole shitload (and I use the word intentionally) of food flew down my gullet … and the portal opened … and a great howling arose from my gut as new goblins arrived for the party.

Sciatica is caused by an inflamed sciatic nerve. In my case, the pain starts in my left butt cheek, continues down the back of my thigh, becomes crippling behind my knee, then takes a short leap to do achey-icey-burney-tingly to the tops of my toes and my instep. It is not a lot of fun. It comes and goes – and was in gone mode during my health exam, which is why I forgot to mention it. It’s caused by pressure on the lower spine, which gets worse if you add more weight. Which, of course, is what I’ve spent the past six celebratory weeks doing.

And this is why, yesterday, I hobbled back to my doctor. I got onto the scale and … Oh holy shit! What happened?

Yes, it was bad. She prescribed a few weeks of anti-inflammatories and ice … and really serious action on weight loss.

But who am I trying to kid? I knew it was bad. I waddle. I lumber. Its a big deal for me to sit on the floor, and an even bigger one to get back up. My huge jeans pinch and squeeze. All my buttoned blouses gape. Walking hurts – and not just the sciatica, either. Exercise? Don’t be ridiculous! Just sweeping my house demands at least one sit-down-and-rest, and usually two.

I’ve never bought into fad diets, but I’ve tried pretty much everything else. The Daniel fast (which is a fast, a spiritual exercise, not a diet – but you do lose weight),  eating only when hungry while giving myself permission to eat what I wanted (oh boy, did that SO not help!), Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, hCG, counting calories, substituting various expensive concoctions for actual food. And they all work. So really, the only thing I haven’t tried is … sticking to it. Which is to say, I’ve tried, and failed, and tried again, and failed, and despaired, and tried again, and failed.

And here I am. The only Big O in my life is in in the word Obese. I was curious to  know the difference between fat, obese, and morbidly obese, so I looked it up in Wikipedia. It turns out there’s a fourth classification – super-obese. With a BMI of 48, that’s where I belong. For now.

Writing this down, putting it out there, is a new effort. I don’t know how public it’ll ever get, since not many people even know about my blog and I don’t plan to tell anyone about this posting. But it’s here, and I’ll follow up with updates as often as I can – maybe even daily. If God, or serendipity, brings you here, I’d be glad to hear from you if you want to share your own Fat-to-Fit story.

And now to action!

  • The diet plan is hCG. It works, and I still have two vials left. I started today and am furiously carboloading. Funny how uncomfortable it is to be too full when you have to cram in a lot of calories!
  • Exercise … Well, I have five potatoes still waiting to be planted. That’s a good opportunity for some bending and stretching. And the house is a bit of a tip … I can tackle just one chore at a time at intervals between working on the current editing deadline, but I’ll try to do each chore by moving as fast as I can.
  • Water … as much as I can hold now, and then a glass every time I pee. That’s not hard to remember!

I’m ready. Set. Go.