Friday, April 1, 2011

Let's Give it Up for Dopamine and Seratonin!

200.6 lbs. I have no freakin’ idea what changed it.

Alli, the “wonder drug” now available over the counter to help in the Battle of the Bulge.  Manufactured by Roche Pharmaceuticals originally as Xenical,, a prescription drug. The effect of the drug was to block the absorption of some fats by the human body and help with weight loss. Let’s look at the side effects:
·         Abdominal pain (stomach pain) -- in up to 20.1 percent of people
·         Fecal urgency (an urgent but controlled need to have a bowel movement) -- up to 18.8 percent
·         Gas -- up to 18.6 percent
·         Oily spotting (uncontrolled anal oil seepage) -- up to 17.7 percent
·         Gas with a small amount of oil or stool -- up to 17.2 percent
·         Fatty or oily stool -- up to 17.2 percent
·         Diarrhea -- up to 11.9 percent
·         Oily evacuation (bowel movements of just oil, without stool) -- up to 11.6 percent
·         Sinus infection -- up to 10.6 percent
·         Soft stool -- up to 10.1 percent.

Other common side effects of Alli (occurring in 3 to 10 percent of people) included:

·         Increased frequency of bowel movements
·         Uncontrolled, spontaneous bowel movements (known as fecal incontinence)
·         Back pain.

How many different ways can you say “explosive diarrhea”? The side effects are like something out of “South Park.”  And according to anecdotal evidence, the benefits aren’t all that spectacular. Look, if I’m going to risk poo pants, I’d better be dropping 5 lbs. per day without fail.  ALWAYS do the cost/benefits analysis.
The minimum weight-loss requirement for the Lap Band has been dropped from 100 lbs. to be lost down to 50 lbs. to be lost, thereby opening up the potential  market  and they take insurance (Totally unrelated note on Health Care Reform side effect: a guy with the Health Savings Account was bitching that he couldn’t use the money from that account to buy his Tylenol anymore. Hey, Asshole, go $3 out of pocket like the rest of us. Thank you. I had to say that). A diagram of the band in place (and slipping out of place and poking through your skin is one of the potential side effects. Like infection, excessive drooling, dehydration, diarrhea and Zellweger).
Yeah, no thanks. If I was into those activities, I wouldn’t get a flu shot.
Trim Spa seems to have disappeared since their spokeswoman, Anna Nicole Smith, died of a drug overdose. For her , pill popping was a way of life. So was popping Hostess chocolate doughnuts (I watched her reality show).
Nutrisystem: I was okay with Marie Osmond saying, “Hey, look at all the weight I lost” and I considered the program. Then they brought in “Robin” a “real person” who said the following, “I believe if you’re over 40 and overweight, there’s no hope for you.” No hope for you as what, Bitch? Prima ballerina with the Kirov? A Nobel Prize winner? Are you saying that I should off myself because, according to your standards, my life is just going to suck for however long it lasts after this point? By the way, compared to her “before” picture, this woman looks sickly and that has carried through the 2 or 3 ads she’s done. Her skin is saggy and lifeless looking, she has huge dark circles under her eyes like she was part of John Belushi’s last bender. Zombies look healthier than this broad.
Then there’s Jenny Craig. While the spokeswomen over the past few years have been cute and appealing, way back in 1999 (or 2000), the first celebrity spokeswoman they hired was Monica Lewinsky. I kid you not. I have no intention of forgiving them. Or buying their stuff.
What all these various approaches have in common  (as I see it) is an element of avoiding personal responsibility for resolving this issue (should you wish to resolve it. I know folks who are large and content with themselves. Not me). The meal plans may be balanced and healthy, but once you stop, then what? Lean Cuisine for life (and those meals aren’t much “lighter” or “leaner” than their Stouffer’s counterparts). Alli is not intended for long-term use, even if you do lay in a long-term supply of Depends.  And the surgery just increases the nastiness of the consequences if you screw up.
Look, this is a recovering compulsive/impulsive overeater  talking. Eat too much, too fast and not willing to make choices, eat more than one of ____. And I considered each and every one of those options I just listed (except the Jenny Craig). I wanted the quick fix. I wanted the minimal sacrifice, minimal effort solution.
Yesterday, with the bounce upward in weight and the fact that my usual method to break the plateau hadn’t worked, I was angry. I hear the old tapes in my head of people whom I (used to) trust chiding me over my weight, ridiculing me to get me to change my behavior and I heard them loud and clear yesterday. I’m a late bloomer in a lot of things and one of them is adolescent rebellion. Great, I’m on the AARP hit list and I’m doing the “you’re not the boss of me” routine. There was a thought to go buy Easter candy. I remember thinking: “I can if I want to. I’m an adult.”  I’ve been known to eat a big bag of candy at one or two sittings. I don’t order pizzas because I feel (or felt) compelled to finish a medium once the box was opened (and loathed myself for it, but kept repeating the behavior).  But, I didn’t. I didn’t even feel the urge to eat as strongly as I have in the past.  I think the “go and stuff yourself” thought came up because emotional toxicity has a longer half-life than uranium.

I believe the N-acetyl cysteine and L Tyrosine are working  and that’s why the overpowering urge wasn’t there. The triggers were there and firing, but I could put the brakes on the self-destructive behavior. It makes sense to me:  Look, we are humans, we’re marvelous beings, we’re made in God’s image, all of that, all of that. We’ve created great art and left the planet to explore (and invented spray on food. American’s great scientific legacy: Cheez Whiz and Reddi Whip). However, we are also a series of chemical reactions and very delicately balanced at that. Not enough Vitamin C and your gums bleed, you ache and your immune system falters. Contact with certain agents (pet dander, mold or a contact allergy) will cause a series of reactions (sneezing, rash, burning, watery eyes) that are essentially chemical responses because that agent throws off your bio-chemical balance.
(And, again, going back to the Brain Chemistry doctors) Cravings are the brain doing a McGyver impression: if the proper tools are not at hand to complete a task, it will find and use other substances (like those chocolate covered pretzels or that 24 oz. prime rib and baked potato) to complete that task. By providing the building blocks for the neuro-transmitters, I blocked the cravings (and I can tell you, it would have been for sugar, for salty and for fatty. So, a trip to In N Out that would be a Double Double Animal style with fries (well done) and a chocolate shake. (Don’t ever bother with the Animal Style fries. They’re expensive and gross). However, even if that satisfied the brain’s demand, the extra baggage being carried around in those foods (saturated fat, sodium, sugar) would have caused other chemical reactions that wouldn’t be so pleasant, including the sugar high then crash. Been there, done that. Not doing it again.
I chose not to give in to that weak call to break discipline. I took responsibility for that. If anybody was going to be shoving food in my mouth, it would be me. I recognized that. I still heard the voices calling me fat, screaming at me because I was a big eater, telling me that no man would ever want me. I didn’t let them dictate my actions; I didn’t try to bury them under a big meal. These same voices that nag and torment me will also say, “Well, it’s only once. You can eat that and just go back to eating the healthy stuff tomorrow. Go ahead. You’ve been good.”
I had a small epiphany: The voices lie. The voices want me to be weak and dependent on them. For 40 years, the voices have been telling me that they have my best interests at heart, that all they want is what’s best for me and they say awful, hurtful things because they love me. It’s a lie.
One of the voices came from an encounter in the parking lot of the Trader Joe’s on Coldwater Canyon in Studio City. I was driving down the aisle of the parking lot on the right side when a woman coming in the other direction nearly hit me head on because she was drifting over from the other half of the aisle. Having gone to driving finishing school in Boston (I am perfectly comfortable driving in Boston, Los Angeles and St. Louis. Do not fuck with me), I leaned on my horn. She swerved back to her side and I heard myself yelling, “Are you completely unfamiliar with standard American traffic patterns?” (My spur of the moment trash talk is articulate). As our cars passed, I thought I heard, “Fat” coming from her. Since there was background noise, I just dismissed it and found my spot. As I walked into the store, I got confirmation that I had heard her correctly. She yelled (and in a goofy, dumb sounding voice that is identical to one I use when I’m portraying a dumb bimbo), “You’re just angry because you’re fat and you always will be.” Yep. She went there. She continued in this vein until I yelled back, “Go ahead, keep projecting your issues onto others. At least I know how to drive.”  She shut up. Like I said, my improvised trash talk is articulate.
Dawn broke over Marblehead: the actual sources of the voices (most of them are family) are very unhappy people. They won’t admit it, but they don’t like themselves very much, if at all. If you look at pictures of me up until I was about 8 or 9 years old, 99% of the pictures show a happy kid. The smile is broad and genuine (I don’t care if I look goofy in a bathing suit, sunglasses, Expo 67 souvenir hat and holding a purse) and “Life is good” radiates from the picture. After that age, the smiles aren’t as frequent or they’re forced. The old saying is that misery loves company. Depressed, angry people will seek to pull a content, happy person down in order to seek equilibrium. They cannot stand the sight of someone with similar issues to theirs (be it financial, emotional, physical, etc.) but on a higher, more optimistic, more positive level: “ Yes, I don’t have a job, but I have the skills and experience to get a good one” instead of “I don’t have a job. Oh my God, Oh my God, oh my God! What am I going to do? This is terrible! This is a crisis!”
I realized that my voices were old tapes of people whose own body image issues affected the filter through which they saw the world and seeing someone who wasn’t in a continuous negative emotional spiral made them feel even worse. It’s my pet theory on vampires: they may have eternal life and all that, but they’re actually miserable and self-loathing and cannot stand to see humans still enjoying life. They bite us so they’ll have someone to bitch to for eternity.
I believe the supplements (readily available at Vitamin Shoppe and/or Whole Foods) allowed me to realize I had control over my actions, the old tapes did not. I believe they allowed me to make the right choice (not to binge) because my brain wasn’t demanding certain foods or vast amounts of food. And I think, because I have this reinforcement, I’m going to win this war.

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