Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It's Deja Vu All Over Again

199.2 lbs. For the fourth day in a row. Annoyed sigh.
Look, I know plateaus come with the territory, but 4 days? Granted, I started at 224.6 lbs. on January 31 of this year and it’s a pretty solid accomplishment to have lost 10 % of my body weight.

I’ve done the diet and weight loss thing before. And in an equally surprising revelation, the sky is blue. The first attempt I undertook on my own, I used Dietac. It was diet pills made by the Contac people (cold pills) and the ads starred Bill Bixby. He went on to make “The Incredible HULK” so maybe that should have been my first clue. I restricted my caloric intake. Another helper: Figurines. Never heard of them? The were the pre-cursor for Zone bars, Atkins bars, 100 calorie packs and Slim Fast bars. Understand, this particular effort was undertaken before anyone had ever heard of Oprah. I did 200 sit-ups per day. The diet pills were, of course, speed by any other name. I got a little cranky. Er. I snapped at my younger sister over something (she was a master of pushing buttons just for the sake of me getting into trouble. Sibling rivalry by Sun Tzu) and my father made a big scene by dramatically crashing into my room and demanding  “Give me those pills.” (Had I had a death wish, I would have asked if he planned to use them himself. Neither of my parents would have gone unmolested by Richard Simmons at that point) One day, I stepped on the scale (present height) and it read 123 lbs. I was extremely excited and told my mother. Her response, “Five more pounds and you’ll be perfect.” (To my smart ass cousins who were asking me this week  what perfect was, it’s 118 lbs. on a 5’7” frame, according to a formerly reliable source).  The concept of support groups wasn’t really that much in vogue at that point, either.

Two days later, I was gobbling down my grandmother’s date cookies.  And I never did get to that 118 lbs.

In case you were wondering, the familial nagging never did let up. I made it clear that I was not interested in hearing about it from any of them, especially those with the same issues who had not successfully resolved them (My father lost weight after he had a triple bypass. My mother, after she was diagnosed diabetic. There is no greater zealot than the convert. Neither had made a serious attempt at a healthy lifestyle before these events, but they felt free to instruct me on what I should be doing.
I made several informal attempts at losing weight: eating less fat and sugar, walking a lot, Denise Austin videos. Some loss, then some more gain. The last time I can say for certain that I was not overweight was 1991. I can date this because of a picture from my sister’s college graduation with the four kids.  Not a lot of photo evidence – I prefer to be on the other side of the lens, mostly because of the way I look on camera.
The most recent, “work at it” attempt was in 2005. I don’t remember what my starting weight was, but it wasn’t far off the 224 mark. I joined a gym and signed up for working with a personal trainer. Actually, that was a lot of fun – he and I had a lot of laughs. I worked HARD: I was weight training twice per week and aerobic training 5-6 times per week, including The Rotating Staircase of Death (those big ass Stair Steppers that are actually rotating staircases. I’ll tell you about how I encountered The Rock on this later on).  I ate six meals per day, carefully measured. Had I drunk any more water, I would sprouted gills. My pants got loose, my face got thinner, I developed muscle definition (!), but the number on the damned scale went down very little.  Sorry. That’s the point of the game: that number goes LOWER. A potential personal trainer at another gym in the same chain measured me (arms, neck, waist, chest) and the BMI hadn’t dropped much.  Young kid; he made some crack about how clearly my plan wasn’t working and I needed to work with someone again. I almost dropped the little turd where he stood. I settled for, “Well, it ain’t gonna be done by you, Junior” and headed over to the nearest elliptical machine.
In the meantime, for the most part, I haven’t been eating like a maniac, although there are times. My monthly PMS treatment was a trip to a steakhouse (usually Claim Jumper or Outback) for a steak, some sort of chocolate and a Maker’s Mark Manhattan.  Meanwhile, I would be getting links to recipes from Hungry Girl (whatever the hell that is) with these reduced-calorie recipes. My brother would see fit to lecture me about my weight, including touching my abdomen in a most inappropriate manner and assuring me that at my size, I was surely unattractive to all men. This from a guy who ate TWO complete dinners and half a pitcher of beer at a Santa Monica restaurant. What? Yes, he’s diabetic and was diagnosed as such prior to this memorable meal. Why do you ask?
Let’s jump forward to 2011. I’m working in St. Louis, Missouri. Home of the Arch, the Cardinals, gooey butter cake, toasted ravioli and excellent beef.  I’m at a job that is extremely stressful, not so much for the nature of it but for the pressure to succeed and keep it. I was self-medicating with Snickers bars and double-dosing on Cheetohs. I was having issues with chronic sinus congestion, eczema, sleep apnea and feeling fuzzy-headed all the time. Prior to this, I had been working as an independent contractor and couldn’t procure health insurance on my own, based on a 2005 physical (the last one I had had. I had left Countrywide shortly after starting the gym program. My health insurance went bye-bye). Now I had health insurance and was using the mental health benefit to deal with my work-related stress. The therapist referred me to a chiropractor/acupuncturist for alternative healing on the sleep/weight issues.  I have tried CPAP and have a scar across the bridge of my nose from it. I refuse to take Lipitor because I suspect it is linked to Type II diabetes.  I tried Phen-Phen when it was legal (for about 3 weeks. It didn’t do anything).
Long story short (too late, perhaps), this tiny little Jewish acupuncturist (there has to be a joke in there somewhere) told me about the HCG diet.
But, that’s for next time.

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