Sunday, June 19, 2016

First a Princess, now Goldilocks

Observant readers of this blog will have noticed that I am not posting as frequently as I once did. That is a direct result of my getting rid of my home Internet connection (and saving myself $70 a month in the process - that $840 a year!). Now, instead of frittering away my time doing trivial things online, I'm actually taking advantage of the lighter nights (summer solstice this week) and doing more. More of everything: more reading, more preparation for writing the next great novel, or poems, or song lyrics (I can dream, can't I!?), more painting, more photography, more new social activities, spending more time with the people who are important to me, and more preparing for the next phase of my journey back to better health.

One thing that's not going so well: sleeping with two mattresses! Why did I ever think that was a good idea? As Goldilocks would have said, "This bed is too soft!", and she is correct. So, I can see myself fixing up a solution that involves putting my 10" foam mattress on the bedroom floor at night, then leaning it against the wall during the day. The difference between when I first got the mattress and now is that I used to be a 405 lb guy trying to get up from the floor, and it was comically painful to watch (even worse to be the one having to DO it!). Now, I'm a 295 lb guy, and it's much easier.

Which brings me to the next thing: my State of the Union, or State of the Chris, to be more precise. It has been exactly a year since I launched my effort to get healthier (it was Father's Day weekend, June 20th, 2015). A lot has happened since then. A lot has changed, almost all of it for the better.

Birdie (my daughter) and I were talking about this earlier this morning, after she'd treated me to some tasty Eggs Benedict at a local cafe. The obvious visible difference is the loss of 110 pounds (50 kg). I can see it in my face now, and my waistline. There's still a lot there, I'm under no illusions about that, but it's a lot less than it used to be. I can't imagine, now, where all that fat once was.

I am able to walk a lot further than I used to be able to. I still struggle with going up hills and stairs sometimes, but that didn't stop me from reaching the summits of Mount Ascension and Mount Helena locally.

I can more comfortably bend over to tie my shoelaces or pick things up from the ground. I can fit into clothes that I haven't been able to wear for three or four years. It'll soon be time to save up for a new clothes shopping spree, where I will reward myself for reaching my halfway point with a $$$ trip to the "normal" men's store instead of the "big and tall" store.

I feel so much happier. I was telling The Bird, who has also done REALLY well with her own journey back to good health, that there have been days when I wake up feeling euphoric. She has experienced the same thing. It's a bizarre (as in, unexplained) state of supreme happiness and contentment. I'm sure it's hormonal. I remember, several times, talking to my supervisor at work about how I was feeling almost unnaturally happy - yet none of it was induced by artificial chemicals. It was all natural. Of course, my friends noticed it too.

It's not all sunshine and roses though. There are still some psychological struggles. I'm still prone to overeating, or eating things that I know are not good for me. Not often, but sometimes I feel almost powerless to stop myself. Last week, one day, I had doughnuts and a bagel; things I don't normally eat any more. From time to time, I know I should do more exercise, pushing myself further and harder than I am used to. I don't always do it.

Some things have changed for the better. I can hardly remember the last time I had any sickly sweet milk chocolate. If I ever have chocolate these days, it's > 70% cacao, and (usually) only in small quantities. I rarely eat bread or anything with much flour, almost no rice or pasta. I bought my first small bag of sugar last week, but only because I'm making my own kombucha (drink) at home, and the bacteria and yeast need something to feed on. Most of the sugar gets converted, so only a little is left.

I'm eating a lot more vegetables than before, and a lot less meat. As that trend continues, I'm going to switch to better sources for my food. It'll be more expensive, for sure, but it will also have fewer hormones and antibiotics and pesticides in it or on it. Some day (like, in a few years, probably) I'll be in a position again to grow my own vegetables. That is something I'm looking forward to.

My stomach fills more quickly now - I don't need to eat as much to feel full, normally. My blood sugar levels are generally lower and more stable. At some point I'm hoping I'll be able to taper off my heartburn (acid reflux) medication.

In the future, I'm looking forward to some new activities: boxing, Tai Chi, cycling, and (a new addition to my list) dancing. I'm not sure yet what kind of dancing, but it ought to be fun. There'll be lots of opportunities to burn excess calories. There'll be lots of opportunities to make new friends and share common interests.

So, overall, life is grand. The past year has been good, and the future looks bright too.

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