Atkins Catechumen

I shall brave that undiscovered country – ketogenic dieting – and relay all my struggles and triumphs here.

An incoming plateau

I haven’t posted here in a while. Like most of the blogs (okay, all of the blogs) I’ve made, I wimped out after three posts and returned to a life of media consumption. Actually making content was just too much work.

But I want to try again. Perhaps I’ll hone my writing chops AND learn more about Atkins, weightloss and myself in the process. Might as well, I have way too much free time on my hands. 

Okay, so I’ve lost a whopping 51 pounds as of this date. Pretty good for 13 weeks of work. I’ve actually maintained what seems to be a ridiculous rate of weight loss, one that I’ve taken for granted. I should be losing 2, maybe even 1 pound a week, but I’ve fast become accustomed to 2-3 pounds. 

The thing is that I’ll definitely be hitting some sort of plateau sometime soon. I’m talk two, three weeks (maybe even a whole month) of staying at the same weight.  

Yikes. I’ve been very lucky to have been losing weight so consistently the past few months, but I don’t relish having to weather weeks of a static needle on my scale. I’ve become mildly addicted to the high I get every few mornings at seeing my weight incrementally move down. 

I guess I’ll have to just endure the storm and hope that I survive with a slimmer waist. Cheers to that!

Now lets talk about something substantive.

Food & Emotion.

It’s no secret that people eat for reasons beyond mere hunger. Embedded in our culture in the idea of “comfort food,” indulgent meals that the recently heartbroken drown themselves into to flee their emptiness, pain or other negative feelings. I once had a 3 week tryst with a pack of frozen burritos after the wounds inflicted by a paramour. 

I for one have a long and venerable history of eating out of pure boredom. Seriously, boredom. Sometimes I ate because I depressed, sometimes because I was sad, but most of the time I ate because it gave me something to look forward to.

Picture this: a lonely teenager without much of a social life, constrained by fundamentalist parents and inhibited by his own awkwardness. What does he do? Play video games. Consume videos and media compulsively. Does homework and other obligations half-heartily. 

Food to this pitiable creature is one of few guaranteed pleasures he is to experience that day. Never mind what it does to his figure; he lacks enough self-awareness to really think about what he looks like. Forget about how much damage he’s doing to his health; the threat of heart-attack, stroke, diabetes and the other things he’ll likely struggle with later in his adult like are clouded by delusion and teen myopia. 

One of the greatest things about taking on a project like weight loss is the process of self-reflection it initiates in a person. Unthinking acts become subjects for lengthy meditations. Emotions previously unexamined are scrutinized and forced under the lime-light. The result is smarter, more fulfilled living. 

Realizing the role food played in my struggle with boredom helped me realize that I wasn’t living for anything. Not for a significant other, not for a particular passion or cause, not for others, not even really for the future. Acknowledging this has forced me to make a real effort to populate my day with things, tasks, challenges and duties. Don’t get me wrong, I’m hardly a model of activity. This very blog post is actually my timid attempt to get something done tonight. But I’m eating in better proportions and with greater foresight and consideration than ever before.

 

Weight Training and Rehab

So I bought 5 pound dumbbells today. Impressive, I know.  This is the first time I’ve ever owned a pair of weights, which feels pretty neat.

I’m still having trouble properly breathing through. Exhale when you press (the tough part), inhale when you come down. I think. I may have mixed those ups.

It got tough at some points but it was actually pleasurable to feel my shoulders ache as I lifted the weights. I can see how someone could get addicted to this, despite the pain.

Now, to another point.

Lately I’ve been nagged by this seed of a fear. An embryonic feeling, really. A part of me is terrified that I’m going to up and quit on this diet.

What if my old habits return? What if one day my resolve just crumples, and I indulge? What if I run out of cash to sustain my diet?

I once heard Craig Ferguson say that the best rehab places in the world don’t give you magic cures and assurances that you’ll be clean forever. It’s a daily struggle. There’s a chance to fall off the wagon all the time. While losing weight is hardly as dire as drug addiction, I think the same principal sometimes obtains here.

I can screw up at any moment. But things do get easier. Cravings ease, habits are broken, and while I can, at anytime, succumb, the chances of my doing so erode everyday I stick to the low carb life.

Emotional lows and bingeing.

I just had a fight with my mom.

Trust me, that’s not a particularly unique thing to record.

What is worth talking about is how I felt afterwards.

I wanted to binge.

I wanted to buy a 3 buck case of Keebler rainbow cookies and erase all the anger and resentment and sweltering rage with tiny, explosive bites of sugar-fueled pleasure.

It’s amazing how much our emotions can fuel cravings. Even though eating fatty, awful food like that contributed to my general unhappiness, for a moment I thought I could banish my negative feelings with a quick but ultimately disastrous fix.

I guess situations like that are when reflective eating is the most useful. Actually sitting down and meditating on what we’re feeling when we’re about to eat forces us to confront the possibility that we’re eating for the wrong reasons. Indulging when we’re already physically sated. Gorging to drown out depression or fatigue or any other ill feeling.

Think before you eat.

Why I’m doing this.

Losing weight is only partially a physical endeavor. As my experiences increasingly demonstrate, anyone desiring to shed a few pounds must wage a significant psychological battle with oneself (and ones friends, society, etc).

So I’m creating this blog to air out my thoughts. I’m not sure if I intend to share it with the world or anything – it might as well be anonymous – but I do know I need to explore the novel and often bewildering emotions, concerns and highs I feel on the path to weight loss.

I started at around 274 pounds, at the height of 5 feet 8 inches. Neatly tucked in range of “severe obesity,” and dangerously close to “morbid” obesity. I’ve lost 20 pounds in the three weeks that followed.

I’ve been fat as long as I can remember. I mean, I have pictures of my 7 year old self that feature an impressively svelte, good looking kid, but in terms of my memory all I can recall is chronic pudginess.

I suppose I became fat around late elementary school. Figures. Just when I started getting interested in women. My weight, my religious upbringing (unwilling foisted upon me by conservative pentecostal parents) and my mild social awkwardness contributed to an astonishing history of romantic failure. Which feed into the depressive, lonely feelings that fed my overeating.

Life has gotten better since high school. College was an amazing time, despite being overweight. But I’m tired of seeing my 20s (I’m almost 23 at the writing of this entry) squandered away but the strictures imposed by being fat.

Obesity really does limit a person in countless ways. As a recent book I read (Fit2Fat2Fit) puts it, being fat prevents countless people from really thriving. As a fat person, I often didn’t have the energy to be as social, innovative, diligent as I could have been. I am a quarter of a man I want to be, and being fat is definitely partially responsible for that.

I’m going to go running now. Hopefully I’ll be updating this blog soon.