Live And Let Diet

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 11:55 pm

Just a few random scrivenings from the front lines of The Diet Wars….

It has been five days since I began my sixteen-hundred-calorie-a-day diet. It’s been an interesting week. I am in no way used to walking around hungry all the time. Well, not all the time; immediately after I finish my bagel, my three turkey dogs (sans buns), my tuna fish on rice cakes, whatever—I feel quite satiated. thirty minutes later my gut starts sending me signals again, something akin to, “Yes, that’s all very well and good, but what now?” By shortly before my next meal the amplitude has risen considerably: “Hey, asshole, wake up! We’re hungry!”

It’s kind of wierd and vaguely rewarding to ignore my stomach’s pleas. It’s a constant exercise in prioritization: “I’m hungry” is followed by, “Yeah, you’re hungry all right, deal with it.” Repeat every half-hour or so until mealtime arrives. Distract your body by drinking lots of water and quasi-yummy diet beverages (I’ve become a total slave to Minute Maid Light Lemonade), which fills you up for a bit, after which your gut realizes the ruse and gets pissed off. Ha ha, fooled you again, gut! Never learn, do you?

The nice thing about losing weight by starving yourself is that the weight loss is so completely, so incontravertibly yours. I’ve lost three pounds already. It’s not water weight, it’s not some sort of metabolic trick. I simply did not eat enough calories in four days to sustain myself, and my body had to burn off some of its reserves to keep me going. In some ways, that is more effort than I have put into anything outside of work in years—um, anything but my marriage, of course. 😳

It’s certainly a lot more effort than it took to maintain myself on the Atkins Diet, where the main problem is the stultifying boredom of ingesting nothing but protein day after day. Lord knows you never go hungry on Atkins, though you may risk becoming nauseated by overconsumption of animal fats.

Other than a bad case of cranky tummy, I haven’t felt any noticeable ill effects from the diet; no fainting spells, no heart palpitations, no weakness. Fortunately, It’s kind of hard to feel low on energy when you don’t fucking do anything all day. This is, after all, why I chose this route to weight loss in the first place. If I wanted to start running five miles a day I probably wouldn’t have to starve myself. Sadly, not only am I uninterested in doing this, I am pretty much unable: the bulging disc(s) in my back make standing for long periods—let alone running—quite painful. The nerve damage from my last back operation makes me unsteady on my feet, as does the blood-pressure medication I take. (“And of course I have these shooting pains up and down the diodes on my left side. Well, pardon me for breathing, which I don’t do anyway so I don’t know why I say it oh, God, I’m so depressed.” [If you don’t recognize the quote, just let it go; it’s a joke, and I don’t feel like explaining it.])

About the only thing that has caught me off-guard is my diabetes, and how to deal with it. I actually have an appointment to talk to my doctor about this, because my blood sugar is on a bit of a roller-coaster right now. Now that I am eating (blessed, blessed) carbohydrates again instead of the all-day meatapalooza of Atkins, my blood sugar shoots up after a meal. However, because the meal is so low in calories, my blood sugar zips back down again in short order. I can’t practically take any fast-acting insulin at the time of the meal (which is what a diabetic would normally do under the circumstances) because the effect of the insulin lasts longer than the effect of the carbohydrates, and I would end up in a hypoglycemic crash, which means among other things stuffing my face until I feel normal again. Kind of defeats the purpose of the diet. I imagine that my doctor will tell me that the temporary upswing in my sugars is offset by the overall drop in calories, but I guess I’ll find out on Tuesday.

Traditionally, Margaret and I allow ourselves a single non-diet meal, including dessert, every week. We’ve been doing this for years, ever since I was diagnosed with diabetes. Today was our diet-breaking day, and we celebrated with—get this—Kentucky Fried Chicken and Cinnabons. Is that grody or what? I mean, they weren’t mixed together in a smoothie or anything, but still….

I am absolutely not exagerrating when I tell you that I got high off of our dinner tonight. I’m not specifically referring to the sugar rush from the cinnamon rolls (although that was spectacular); just the act of gorging myself on all the food I wanted was a euphoriant. Judging by the sensation, it must have been an endorphin rush; it had the kind of bleary hyperclarity that I associate with opiates. Later, when I added the Cinnabons into the mixture….goofballs! I am The Glucose King! I’m only now coming down.

I think I can do this long-term. I’m really, really determined to lose a boatload of weight, for any number of reasons. My doctor actually wanted to put me on a new drug called Amylin, a metabolic and appetite suppressant derived from—wait for it—gila monster spit. I admit it’s tempting, but I’ll be much happier with myself if I can do it on my own. Sure, taking the injection is easier than controlling my appetite on my own—and way less trouble than finding a gila monster to swap spit with—but losing the weight through sheer force of will is better for my self-esteem. (I don’t even want to think about what frenching a gila monster would do to my self-esteem. Not to mention my breath.)

Stay tuned for more self-indulgent and totally uninteresting dispatches from the Diet Wars.

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