Friday, March 18, 2011

Well, Ain't That a Kick In The Head?

202.8 lbs.  WTF?

I have followed this plan faithfully, measured food before I put it in my mouth and hauled myself up Fryman Canyon (there are skinny bitches and bastards who run up the canyon, ride bikes or run with a bike strapped to their backs. I am not one of them. This is a tough day hike for me and my ass muscles have yet to forgive me. I must say, though, I saw a lot of dogs. In baby slings. We’re worried that the juvenile human population of the US doesn’t get enough exercise – we have yapsters who need Mommy to carry them. Ay yi yi). Perhaps the cobb salad at Jerry’s Deli (No eggs and only  olive oil and vinegar dressing, which I broke down over two meals, pickles, too. Jerry’s makes superb pickles) Or corned beef and cabbage yesterday (no potatoes, only 200 grams of corned beef, and over 2 cups of vegetables). Lot of sodium, more fat than I’ve had in months, maybe that’s what did it. However, I was displeased to go from 199.2 to 202 to 202.8 in the space of 2 days. HOWEVER, the HCG protocol has an answer to it called “Steak Day.” We’ll get to that.
There are 3 types of fat in your body: Structural (keeps your internal organs from sloshing around), protective (keeps your kidneys from freezing and if you are emotionally scarred, excessive fat will, so I have been told, protect you from unwanted advances) and abnormal or adipose, yellow fat. If we were chickens, and Jewish, this would be called “schmaltz.” The problem with the adipose tissue is that it tends to go deep and hang around with important internal organs and irritate (inflame) them. Like my younger sister who would not take a hint and go away, she would irritate (inflame me) until I did something stupid and then got into trouble. Inflamed organs, like the pancreas and the liver, don’t function as well as they should. This is where the high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc., come in. Sugar is inflammatory. Tastes great, more filling.
Around the time I started working with the trainer, back in ’05, I also consulted with a plastic surgeon about liposuction. He told me I was not a good candidate, not because of the anesthesia risk  (although that was a consideration), but because the fat I was carrying was not subcutaneous, it was visceral (naturally, I always do things the hardest way possible). He demonstrated this by poking me in the abdomen and showing me how firm my belly was. If the fat was subcutaneous, he could have made a pretty big indentation without much pressure. Think Poppin’ Fresh, the Pillsbury Doughboy.  No quick fix in that direction. So, I have visceral fat and all attempts to make it leave home have not succeeded, despite mounting pressure to “do something.”
HCG: Human chorionic gonadotropin. It’s a hormone secreted by pregnant women .A Dr. Simeon developed a diet plan where, for a set period of days, from 23 to 40, the dieter would take 30 drops (or get shots. I opted for drops) of HCG. According to his theory, while the HCG is coursing through your veins, your hypothalamus is instructing your body to burn adipose tissue, something on the order of 1500 to 4000 calories per day. For the record, I didn’t feel hungry, faint or light-headed until the end of the protocol when your body starts to realize it’s been duped and you do not have a bun in the oven. You could also produce a positive home pregnancy test while taking this drug. Guys, I double dog dare you to try it, especially for April Fool’s Day).

The first two days are “loading” days. The dieter starts taking the drops and chows down on all the protein, fat and fried food possible (Note: if you elect to do some of this at Fuddrucker’s, don’t bother with the fried mozzarella. They’re excellent with the burgers, fries and onion rings, really fall down with the fried mozz). Seriously, cram yourself sick. The more fat you shove in your pie hole over this period, the better the results when the real work starts. Important: when I started this protocol, I was working with a doctor.  Days 3 to Day 23 (or 40. My doctor looked at me and said, “You can go 40 days, no question.” Nice lady), you eat a 500 calorie per day diet consisting of 2 meals broken down as follows: 100 grams of protein (lean beef, chicken, turkey, veal, bison, cottage cheese, certain fish), 2 cups of a single kind of vegetable (tomatoes, cucumbers, spinach, chard, kale, green beans, and a few select others), fruit (medium apple or orange, half a grapefruit, 6 to 8 strawberries, e.g.) and limited starch: 1 to 2 grissini breadsticks, 2 or 3 Melba toasts (I did that once. Once) or 4-6 Nut Thins by Blue Diamond. Since the Nut Thins are gluten free, I went with those (cleared up the eczema on my hands pretty nicely). 
No sugar during this time. I made friends with stevia a plant-derived sugar substitute. Stevia, if you’re curious, is sweeter than a high school cheerleader out to steal your boyfriend.  I not only got the packets, I also got the flavored liquid variety for coffee purposes. The last time I made a habit of drinking black, unsweetened coffee, I actually did develop a chest hair.  You can use any seasonings that don’t include sugar or oil. I have become a big fan of apple cider vinegar and Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids (a soy sauce alternative. Soy sauce has sugar. And gluten. Bet you didn’t know that).  And you don’t need oil to make salad dressing.
You are also not allowed to use oil containing body products. No Oil of Olay, massage oil (there goes foreplay), non-crystal deodorant, make sure you rinse that conditioner out of your hair toute suite and make sure your toothpaste’s sweetner isn’t artificial (Jason works). This George Foreman grill and a postage scale (yep, postage scale) become your boon companions.
An essential component of tracking on this program is my old arch enemy, the bathroom scale. Daily weigh-ins first thing in the morning.  I will not lie about my age, my actual hair color or how I really feel about religion, politics or American Idol. I will, however, tell enough lies to get elected to Congress when it comes to how much I weigh. I have instructed nurses to take my weight and not tell me the number when it comes to a physical. The bitches do it anyway. I don’t care if I feel awake and alive, if my pants are falling off my ass, if I’ve kept discipline with diet and exercise, for me, it’s that number. It’s the Shiva of any diet plan, Creator and Destroyer in one. However, Dr. Fit told me, “Yes, you have to weigh yourself.” You know, I had really liked her up to that moment.
 I refrained from telling a lot of people what I was doing because I knew what the reaction would be: It’s a fad diet / that’s only instant gratification/ you have to change your lifestyle/ it won’t last/ you’re going to make yourself sick / nobody can sustain that, blah blah blah. In the back of my head, I could hear the Greek chorus tuning up to sing its disapproval in 4 part harmony worthy of the Robert Shaw Chorale. Excuse me a minute while I go grab my soapbox.
Here’s the great paradox that has ruled my adult life, influenced my self image and my estimation of self-worth.  In order to gain approval from the members of the Greek chorus (family, certain friends, doctors  and members of the opposite sex from whom approval is required in order to form  a relationship. As I am not gay, it is necessary to appear attractive to men.  So far, no dice) and to move out of the group that is the last safe target for bigotry and prejudice (there is not constitutionally recognized protection for overweight people. You can’t tell fag jokes, but have at it with the fat jokes. And  I only used that hateful f-g word to make a point. If offense was taken, I  do apologize).   I must lose weight. The approved method is eating fewer calories, spaced into smaller meals and exercising. IT DID NOT WORK. I would get “well, at some point, it’ll just take off and go” or “don’t expect it to come off all at once” or “Well, muscle weighs more than fat, you know” as if, while I slept, the Muscle Fairy would materialize in my room, jab my ass like with her magic wand/tazer and X cubic centimeters of fat would transform into X cubic centimeters of muscle.  It didn’t happen. Lose weight means fewer pounds. The reward for exorcising demon sugar from your system  and exercising your Gluteus Maximus  is to push your gravitational response to the minimus that is healthy (and if you work in Hollywood, even lower than that. It’s all about the camera, Darling).  You get rewards: if not actual voiced approval from the Greek chorus, then they at least SHUT THE HELL UP about your weight and appearance (it’s like pounding your head on a wall – feels so good when it stops). You can actually buy health insurance.  People don’t snicker behind your back unless you have a piece of toilet paper stuck to your shoe and even then, they are more likely to say, “Hey, you’ve got toilet paper on your shoe” than wait until they think you can’t hear (which you always can) and say, “Did you see that fat bitch with the toilet paper on her shoe? What kind of a lazy slob is she?” Ah yes, there is the freedom from that automatic judgment: at 224.6 lbs., the automatic assumptions are things like self-loathing, depression, lack of education, lack of intelligence, poor personal hygiene, probably on some kind of hand-out, lazy, Jerry Springer fan, the house is probably a mess, too. Before anyone protests, I have been subjected to these assumptions.  All of them.
Okay, I have a goal. I have a desire to reach that goal. I have tried the normal approved path and it didn’t work.  Let’s try a different path. The disapproval for going an alternative route is even stronger than the disapproval  for not trying. “You can’t do it that way!”  And you, me, the frustrated dieter, simply cannot fucking win. Even if you go through Hell, high water, a lot of money and/or pain in search of a solution, even if you ultimately succeed, there will always be a stigma attached to your success because you 1) had surgery or 2) checked yourself into an expensive spa (if you can afford such things) or 3) succeeded on something like Zone, Atkins, South Beach, Pineapples, Peas and Papayas because you did not follow the accepted path. To those presently warming up their pipes to criticize and demean what I have managed to do in 40 days, I say this:
 Kiss my lily-white ass.  
Dr. Fit told me this was not a permanent program. Going in, after I read praise and criticism online for HCG (and Google is groaning with web pages dedicated to this protocol), I knew that its best use for me was as a jump-start: once the 40 days were over, I would have to have a plan in place for afterwards when the food rules were not as rigid, when I would be experiencing hunger again and when I was going to have to choose what and how much I ate.  I knew that once I stopped with the drops, there would be 3 days of the Reduced Calorie Diet, then 18 days of normal calorie intake (1450 for me, if you’re curious) with NO sugar and NO starch. After that, if I wanted sugar and starch, I could have them, but it would be pretty stupid because I’d basically been in sugar detox since Jan 31 and it wouldn’t sit well.
Which is what brings me to the Steak Day. I was dismayed to get on the scale yesterday morning and see 202 instead of 199.2 (so much for complaining about plateaus. Careful what you wish for) and 202.8 this morning. Fortunately, there is a plan for a gain of 3 lbs. or more during the Phase 3 (Or Phase 2, depending on who you ask). You limit yourself to one meal that day and it is a 12 to 14 oz. steak (over a 1,000 calories, in case you’re wondering. My Net Diary nearly keeled over) and a side of tomato or apple. As a dedicated carnivore (Black Angus stampede at the sound of my name), my response is “Where do I sign up?”
We will see tomorrow AM whether or not this works. I will certainly not be throwing up my hands, declaring failure and proceeding accordingly. Hell no. I want that sub-200 lb. feeling again. I am sick and tired of being “obese” and 190 lbs. is the next milestone. Not one step backward.

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