The Starting Point

I am having an affair.  Like most affairs, it’s an unhealthy one.  I have been fighting this relationship for a long time, but haven’t gotten anywhere.  I am 208 pounds and in love with food.  Some people have addictions to sugar, salty things, or caffeine, but I just love food in any form it comes to me.  I love to cook and bake, and I love to eat.  I can overindulge on healthy and the not so healthy.  It makes no difference.

When I decided to hike a part of the PCT, I knew that I couldn’t do it in the state that I am in, so I started on a quest to get healthy.  I went to my doctor to determine how unhealthy I had allowed myself to become and to get a starting point to becoming healthy.

I knew I had to do something, but I also had to find a doctor who saw me as a whole person instead of a bag of skin full of symptoms to fill with drugs. Luckily I found such a doctor on the first try. I had heard that this doctor was direct.  That sounded good to me.  I work well with people who tell it to me straight.  For the appointment, I prepared a list of problems I was aware of.  We talked about them and what I wanted from the appointment.  Then she showed me how she really works.  She ordered the blood tests, listened to my list of problems and concerns of what the previous doctors had or hadn’t done, and asked, “Okay, now why are you fat?  Why are you eating so much?”  Wow…It took me aback, but when I gave myself a moment to think, I realized that she w doing exactly what I was looking for.  She was addressing the big problem, the problem that most doctors seem to avoid or skim over.  In the past I had always had to address the problem myself and got answers like, “eat more salads” or “go for more walks.”  Good answers, but not that helpful.  We spent an hour talking about my eating and health.  I left that appointment with a plan I felt good about.

Why am I so fat? Why do I eat so much?  I love food.  Plain and simple.  I eat when I am stressed or emotional.  I eat when I am lonely.  I eat when I am happy.  In general, I eat for whatever reason I can develop.  Well that is not quite true.  I never felt I had to justify my eating.  I was at a point that I just did what I wanted and that, I thought, was eating.  I don’t really stick to any one kind of food.  I could overeat it all, but I do prefer to over indulge on the foods that are quick and easy to grab.  I like exercising but always seemed to find other things that had higher importance.

When I went to the doctor, I had to have a full blood panel to see where I was.  I also asked about things I was aware of.  Somethings have to take a back burner until I address others, but I will get there.  What I found was that my blood pressure was elevated, my cholesterol was high, and my blood sugar was creeping into the danger zone.  I had back and knee problems and major constipation plagued me.  I had recently torn my calf muscle, my allergies were taking over, and I had shortness of breath on exertion.  In general I was a mess and about 80 pounds overweight.   But, I learned through my discussion with my doctor that I may have intolerance to some foods causing some of my problems and making weight loss difficult.  Our plan was to eliminate dairy for two weeks and redo my blood tests.

I spent the next week balking at the idea.  I love dairy and ate it with every meal.  I didn’t know if I could even cook without dairy.  Then realizing that I could give anything up for a short time, I decided to give up dairy on June 1st for the entire month.  That way I could have time to work myself into this and also to work out any problems with my diet. I was only going to do this for a month, but by week two, I noticed so many differences that I have continued for almost a year.

Since giving up dairy, my blood pressure has gone down from 145/80 to 124/80; my blood sugar is below 100; I lost 6 pounds; I feel better; I sleep better; I have less gas; and I am just better.  I don’t feel like I need to snack all the time, and I don’t crave sugar like I used too.  I was even able to give up most chocolates.  It made me feel so well that I rarely cheat.  I don’t eat any lactose free items and goat cheese because they irritate me as well.  So the result is to refrain from all dairy.  I cannot be perfect in this, but I can make those conscious choices.  I have learned to go without casseroles and pizza and to bake things with alternatives.

This is just the beginning, but it is coming along.  And, I didn’t get to this point overnight, so I won’t become slim and fit overnight either. I am on a path to a healthy relationship with food.

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