Monday, October 24, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
At my annual exam this year, my doctor discovered that I am pre-diabetic. That means that the level of glucose in my blood is higher than what the body can process in a healthy way, but not yet high enough to diagnose me with Type 2 Diabetes. It's the precursor though.
When we eat carbohydrates, glucose is released from our intestines into our blood stream. Insulin is then released to help cells take up the glucose as energy. Without insulin, our cells cannot take glucose out of the bloodstream. We need insulin to process glucose. Now, when you eat a high-carbohydrate diet, your body can become resistant to insulin. In other words, your body releases insulin to process the glucose, but the insulin is less and less effective. More and more glucose is left in the bloodstream as the effectiveness of the insulin drops. Glucose in the blood is toxic in high concentrations. You body tries to compensate by dumping even more insulin into the system, but it doesn't matter because your body is becoming more and more resistant to insulin. This is diabetes. Your body can no longer make enough insulin to deal with the large amounts of glucose, thus slowly poisoning your blood.
There is only one cure for this malfunction: eat a low-carbohydrate diet. The paleolithic diet has been shown to fix insulin resistance. I've tried it in a half-assed way and gotten some proof that it would work for me, if I could really do the work. But I have been unsuccessful at sticking to it. There are too many roadblocks for me personally: too open-ended, too many choices, not enough time to prepare the food, no desire to cook, and, most of all, zero desire to think about food. With the paleo diet, you really have to think, plan, and cook, cook, cook.
But I don't have time to figure out my psychological problems anymore. My body is in trouble. After a lot of reading and thought, I have decided to try Medifast. Someone whose opinion I trust, a doctor, suggested it to me. Here are some of her own words:
"Not the most real food way to lose the weight, but my relationship with food was so fucked up, the only thing I could do was remove most of my choices and retrain my brain...not the tastiest way to go about losing weight, but it gave me time to just stop thinking so goddamned much about food. [After reaching my goal] I switched to a more Paleo diet and still limit my carbs at this point. The thing it did for me was stop the cycle of stuffing sugar/carbs and crashing. Getting the weight off then served as a motivation to stay healthier too."
So I did some research. Medifast was originally a prescription-only diet (now available commercially) used by medical professionals to help patients with diabetes or other metabolic syndrome symptoms. It puts the body into a ketonic state, which is specifically talked about in the paleolithic literature. Look at this cool graph. By keeping your daily intake of carbohydrates under 100g a day, your body will start burning stored fat as it's primary fuel source, as well as regulate insulin production. The science makes sense to me.
Now, I know this is not real food. It's all dehydrated protein shakes and MREs. You eat 5 supplements and then one meal of real food everyday. I don't think this is going to be fun. I also don't think this is a shortcut. I'm very scared to do this. But I do know that I need to do something different, something where I don't have to think, decide, or agitate about food. I eat what they give me, and my body starts to repair itself.
In the meantime, I can focus on preparing a healthy dinner for myself, cooking with my children, and just basically trying to find the joy that is hiding in the kitchen. I know it's in there somewhere, I just can't ever find it.
The shipment of supplements should arrive later this week. I'll be posting my process from there.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Thursday, September 29, 2011
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve wandered away from the path of health. Here I am looking for it again. It’s a treacherous path, but I’m trying to stay on the straight and narrow in spite of all the things calling me back to the dark side. I think my metaphor got lost a bit there. Here’s where I’m at: rock bottom. My health has deteriorated to the point that I can no longer ignore.
First, my blood sugar level indicates that I am pre-diabetic. The only way to avoid becoming full-blown diabetic is to get my insulin production under control. I’m going to write a whole post on that later. Next, I have been diagnosed with chondromalacia patella, which is a fancy way of saying that my kneecap is rubbing against my fibula. According to my orthopedist, the only cure is to lose 100 pounds and get all the extra pressure off my knee joint so that it can heal itself. I’m going to write a whole post on that later. Finally, I want to have another baby before my eggs are completely useless, but Robert refuses until I get to a “healthy” state. However, he would not tell me what would indicate a healthy state. I guess he’ll know it when he sees it. I’m going to write a whole post on that later.
Bottom line is that I need to radically change the way I eat and lose a LOT of weight. I’m so depressed. I started crying in Fred Meyer today just because I could. I feel like I’m being punished for something, but I’m not sure what. Bad choices? I think so. I could have fixed my health a long time ago, and I didn’t. I don’t want to do what it takes to get healthy. I’m willing to do the physical exercise. Nobody does CrossFit without a crazy work ethic. But I am pissed about the food restrictions.
I don’t want to cook whole foods. I want to eat cereal and milk for breakfast. I don’t want to spend a fortune on organic vegetables and grass-fed meat. I want to shop at Costco and put the money into our Buy-A-House savings. I don’t want to skip birthday cake while everyone else gets to eat it. I want to fit in with social and familial expectations. But I’m backed into a corner now. The only way out is through food.
Food and I have such a colorful history. The highlights include getting beatings from dad for not cleaning my plate, getting guilt trips from Martha-Stewart-esque mom when I don’t praise (eat) her cooking, a sister who is bulimic, and, of course, pad-locks on the food pantry when I was in high school. I don’t like to cook. I don’t like to be in the kitchen. I don’t even like to eat really. I just shove something quick into my face when I have too. And the more easily obtained and less flavorful, the better.
So here I go again. I’m starting at 236 this time and have to get to 135. Jesus, I’m screwed.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Monday, January 17, 2011
I heard something on the Biggest Loser last week that has been stuck in my mind. (Yes, I love the Biggest Loser. Shut up.) Jillian was yelling at some fatty as usual to, “Reach for it! Reach for it!” The fat girl was barely extending her arms all the way. Jillian stopped her and said something to the effect of, “Don’t you know how to reach for something?” The girl started crying and had a major breakthrough. That’s why I call Jillian the “Fat Whisperer.” She knows just what to say to get fatties moving.
Anyway, I have been stuck on that idea of reaching for what you want. There are people in this world that let fear, or pain, or history, or whatever stop them from reaching for things that they want. I am not like that at all. If there is something that I want, I go get it. When I wanted to be a Montessori teacher, I picked the whole family up and moved to Wisconsin for a year. That’s who I am. I reach for things. And more often than not, I get them.
[Side note: this is why the food behavior has been a weird struggle for me. I want to be healthy, right? But if I really wanted to stop eating junk, do the work, and get thin, I would. I obviously don’t want it deep down. So the question is “why?”]
Recently I learned that the private school where I started my teaching career is looking for a head of school. Moving into a leadership position has always been my ultimate goal in the Montessori world. It would mean a huge bump in salary and getting back on track with my career.
There are a lot of reasons why I should NOT apply. First, I’d have to leave Eugene. Second, I’d be living in the same town as my ex and that means more shared parenting. Third, I’d have to run my own household again instead of letting my parents take care of me and the kids. Fourth, it’s actually a pretty demanding job that requires a lot of different skills. Finally, and possibly the worst part, I’d have to start wearing suits and make-up. All of these things terrify me.
But here’s the thing, I would be good at it, maybe even great at it. I have no idea how I will stack up compared to other candidates, but if given the chance, I would be fantastic. I’m very scared about the interview process. I have no idea what kind of reputation I left behind at that school. I’m extremely scared to be disappointed and feel worthless. But the opportunity is right there. I have to try.
I don’t understand people who are so afraid of change that they don’t even try for happiness. You might epically fail and have to pick yourself back up. You might be monumentally successful and discover a life you never dreamed possible. You might end up in the exact same place that you started from. There is NO way of knowing. Why wouldn’t you roll the dice?
Life is too short not to reach for it.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
This was a shitty week. I don’t need to go into all the reasons why. I’m just trying to accept a lot of things that I don’t have control over right now. Breaking up with Texas feels like some kind of spiritual test. I didn’t want to do it; I’m still full of doubt about it, but it was the right thing to do. I can’t continue to make excuses for his behavior and keep my self-respect. So now I have my self-respect, but I don’t have him. What a lousy choice to have to make! And I am not turning to food to numb the pain. I just have to feel sad.
Yesterday I drove to the coast and had a big cry about it. Then I went to the casino and won $150. Life is strange.
Alright, on a positive note, since going sugar-free I have not puked at one workout. This may seem like a silly thing to be excited about, but I was throwing up almost every time I went to the gym. My body was so full of garbage that I just couldn’t handle strenuous work. For the past week, I’ve seen significant improvement to my cardio conditioning. My heart gets pounding and the sweat is pouring off of me, but I don’t feel like my insides are fighting to be outside.
I lost 4 lbs. the first week, and although the end of week 2 is not until tomorrow, I cheated and got on a scale mid-week. I had already lost 2 lbs. I know that weight fluctuates during the week, but I’m feeling very confident that tomorrow will show that the plan is working. My body feels like it’s working. Maybe that’s all that matters.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
My mother has access to patient records at Peace Health due to her job position. She broke into her lab tests and read that the growths in her remaining breast are benign. When she informed me of this, I responded with a neutral, “That’s good. I’m glad to hear it.” Mom was pretty upset that my reaction was not more joyous and energetic; since it turns out that she’s ok. I pointed out that she has made it clear that she does not want to talk about her health with me, even going so far as to tell me to shut up recently. She said, “Well I think not having cancer is a little different than you wanting me to lose weight.”
Something snapped in me. I started yelling, “I don’t give a shit if you lose weight. I give a shit that you have heart disease, and diabetes, and joint immobility, and you are in denial. You don’t want to do anything about it.” She silently got up and starting down the hall to her bedroom. I yelled after her, “See what I mean? You just walk away from the truth. I give a shit that you are going to die!” She locked herself in her room and spent the rest of the day in bed, only getting up to take the dog to the vet. Then it was right back to bed.
I tried going in and talking to her in the evening. She said that she is “done being abused” by me, and until I apologize for my behavior, she had nothing to say to me. I said that I was done being polite about her health problems. She responded, “Then we have nothing to say to each other.” It’s been the silent treatment ever since.
This is ridiculous. Why doesn’t anybody else in the family want to hold her accountable? Should I just put on a good face and pretend this is not happening? She has completely given up, even going so far as to start using a motorized wheelchair when she has to walk long distances.