Archive for May, 2015

it continues

Yes, I am still eating my “new” way. I continue to be amazed at how much less my bad knee hurts. Yeah, it still hurts, but mostly at a level I can cope with. Have I been tempted to go off the diet? I will openly admit that I miss some things that were not good for me. Pizza, chocolate covered peanuts, big sandwiches (all that bread), hash browns with my breakfast, among other things. I know plenty of you do not think such things are necessarily harmful, but they were hurting me. I actually haven’t had a lot of trouble denying those cravings. Sure, sometimes it’s a pain in the ass to figure out what to eat instead of the things that were my mainstay meals, but I manage. The results I am getting are encouragement enough to stay on the straight and narrow.

There are plenty of recipes for low-carb food and I should take advantage of them. It’s just a little difficult to feel motivated to cook after you’ve come home from a day at work. You just want to eat and get it over with. Unfortunately, fast food does not lend itself easily to eating low-carb, unless you throw away much of what just paid for. I have figured out which fast food I can make work with a low-carb diet, but in the end it is usually easier to eat at home. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It sure can save you some money.

Anyways, I don’t intend for all future posts to be about my diet, but if sharing my experience helps anyone suffering from the same type of problems I was having, then it is worth it. Yes, I know the idea that anyone is reading this is laughable, but humor me.

bookmark: crow hollow

Crow Hollow – Michael Wallace

I enjoy fiction that contains a healthy dose of historical content, particularly history that I am not as familiar with as I wish I were. (Then again, that pretty much means all of history.) This book is something of a crime mystery book based in 1676 America, a Puritanical society. This is certainly not a place and time that I would like to inhabit.

The depictions of Native-American society as well as the Puritanical structure of Boston were compelling, as well as instructional, as were the details concerning King Phillip’s War, the clash between Native-Americans and the Puritans. While I always read historical fiction with a skeptical eye towards its veracity, it still provides a good sense of the time.

This book was well written with strong and interesting characters, and you didn’t really know what way things were going to go at any point in time, though, of course, the good guy has to win in the end.

(Finished 5/28/15)

one year

It’s been one year since my sweetie passed away. As I said in my last post, I miss and mourn her every day. I thought that the one year anniversary of her death would be a really tough day for me, but it hasn’t as bad as I expected. Mostly, it feels strange that it has been a year. On one hand it feels like it was yesterday, and at the same time it feels like it was many years ago.

So often in my life I wish I could hit rewind and go back years to “fix” things. I don’t believe that my sweetie’s death was anything I could have fixed, but maybe I could have made the time between when we first met to the time that she passed away better for her, for us. I honestly don’t know if there was much more I could have done. I certainly couldn’t go back and stop her from starting smoking at fourteen. I did try my best to make what we had work as well as it could, given it’s limitations. If we only had a little more time we could have . . .

Well, there’s the rub. We never know when things will be too late. That has been a painful lesson for me to learn in my adulthood. You can’t wait forever to do something, to say something, to act on something. Even if you are around for many more years to come, you never know when the people you care about are going to go out of your life.

I recently had a scare with my wife. While our relationship, for better or worse, will never be what it once was, she is the most important person in my life right now and the thought of losing her puts me in a state of despair. If a relationship lasts long enough, someone is going to die first. I’ve been there, done that, and do not want to do it again. On the other hand, knowing how I felt, I don’t want anyone else to feel what I felt when I die, so dying first is a rather poor solution to the pain of a relationship ending in death.

There is no happy answer to the problem of someone dying first, so rather than focus on death, you have to focus on life. Enjoy the time you have now. Get out of the rut(s) you have put yourself in and participate in life. Enjoy the other person’s company and do things together, specially different things, things that you have always said you wanted to do but have never done. Someday, no matter what you do, it will be too late. Whoever is the last man or woman standing, I don’t want him/her to have regrets, or at least not regrets over things that could have easily been different.

Death is hard, but it always teaches the same lesson anew – never put off to tomorrow what you want to do today. I am trying to put that lesson to good use.

And sweetie, wherever you are, I love you and miss you.

the giant awakens

The giant has, indeed, awakened, and he’s decided that he has been a giant for far too long. It’s time to shrink to some semblance of “normal.”

Never in my life could I have imagined that I would weigh more than 300 pounds. Inconceivable! But there I was after 63 years of life, embarrassed by the doctor’s scale when it said 330 pounds. That couldn’t be! And yet, one year older and the scale still read the same, all the way up to two weeks ago.

To tell the truth, my weight was only a symptom of deeper issues in my life. There have been too many years of emotional turmoil, too many years of eating to compensate for the desperate feelings inside. Truly, no one’s fault but my own, but I was unable to “fix” things.

I’ve long recognized the fact that no one is going to get me into a better place in my life. You can only do it yourself. Ten years ago I found a wonderful woman and we created a relationship that I thought would send the rest of my life in a positive direction. Alas, I didn’t foresee the difficulties to come, nor, most certainly, did I count on the rest of her life being so short.

It has been a year since she has passed. I miss and mourn her every day. The longing to have her alive and with me will never go away, but reality forces me to accept things as they are, and that means moving forward in life, rather than living in the regrets of the past (and there are plenty of those).

For some unknowable reason, I seem to have awakened from the stupor I was in. Though not a perfect life by any stretch of the imagination, I feel that it is an acceptable life, and not only that, but that I can improve on it. Rather than just lying back (or more accurately, just sitting on my ass) and stagnating in my own emotional swamp, I appear to have turned a corner.

Yes, I’ve said this before. It is difficult to truly believe that I am going to continue on the positive course I am on. I’m too skeptical of my self-motivational skills. In the back of my mind there is a little voice that keeps saying, “It’s ok, take a little walk on the ‘positive’ side of things. I know you’ll return to the dark side.” I fear that I may. I have always done so before. But there are reasons why I may not backslide as I have done in the past.

First, what have I done? Mostly, all I have done is quit eating sugar and drastically reduced eating grains and other carbohydrates, at least as much as possible. This isn’t really new to me. Many years ago I was on the Atkin’s diet, and I lost considerable weight and was feeling great. Life, however, took some unexpected twists and turns around that time. It was not enough to have lost weight, I wanted more. Eventually, one thing led to another and I obviously packed the weight back on, and then added even more.

Recently, my wife had been telling me about a book she was reading which pushed a ketogenic diet. I bought and started reading the book, too. It’s actually a further development of the Atkin’s style diet, utilizing less protein and more fat than in previous diets. I can’t tell you why (because I don’t know, not because it’s a secret), but the idea of changing my eating to the kind of diet I had used to successfully lose weight earlier in my life started to really resonate with me. What did I have to lose, except some weight? So, essentially two weeks ago (plus a couple of days) I decided to give it a go. The results, so far, have been really encouraging.

In these two weeks, there are two changes that have encouraged me enough to make me believe that this is the way to eat for the rest of my life, one of those things was unexpected, and, to me, pretty damn amazing.

And that amazing thing? I have bad knees. One has been replaced and the other is bone-on-bone and needs to be replaced. For years my natural knee has been getting worse and worse and it has made walking very painful. I had finally come to the point where I knew I had to have it replaced as soon as I could. Then I started this diet. Within a week or so, I suddenly realized that my knee wasn’t hurting so much. In fact, the pain was probably less than half of what it was before, and it is a pain that I can live with now. That’s not to say that the knee shouldn’t be replaced, but I really don’t want to go through that any sooner than I have to, because it was no fun when I had the other knee replaced.

So what happened? It was inflammation! Eating the sugar and carbohydrates was creating inflammation in my body, and in particular in my knee. Often when you make a change in your life there can be a placebo effect, depending on your expectations. But this caught me totally by surprise. I had no expectation or even a thought that my knee would feel better (except later, maybe, if I took some weight off of it). This has really opened my eyes. And there’s an additional benefit. If my knee is doing so much better because of reduced inflammation, I have to believe that the rest of my body is experiencing similar effects, whether I can “feel” them or not.

And the other thing, though not really amazing and actually expected, is the improvement in my mental state. It’s pretty easy to think that what you eat doesn’t affect your psychological state, but it does. I have been feeling more positive and am not experiencing the highs and lows (actually, lows and lowers) that I was before. No, I’m not dancing in the streets with joy, but I’m actually finding that waking up each day is a good thing, rather than something that I am just going to have to suffer through again.

These two things alone are enough to keep me going. Well, that and the fact that since I have started eating this way, I have lost about fourteen pounds. That’s not chicken feed. Yes, I know my weight loss cannot continue at that pace, though I really wish I could get below 300 pounds like yesterday, but it is going in the right direction. It was a scary thought that at 330 pounds, it was likely that I would be putting on even more weight the way I was going.

So, I recommend to you, cut out the sugar, cut way back (and I mean WAY back) on the carbohydrates, increase your fat intake, and moderate your protein intake. You may be surprised and pleased with the results. I know I was, and I can only imagine that even better things are to come. Assuming, of course, that I live that long. But my odds are better now than they were before.

the giant stirs in his sleep

Snore. Snort. Mumble, mumble. The giant rolls over. Something has disturbed his slumber.

Beware, that which worries his sleep, for upon awakening he may rise to action.