Saturday, September 18, 2010

I did it! 249.8!!

(Sorry about the picture quality.)  That is a real number.

While I was on vacay in Wisconsin, I fell off the "don't weigh yourself on someone elses' scale" promise wagon, and stepped on my mom's.  It read 245!  I knew that that was not real.  Couldn't be.  But at the same time, I felt an encouragement.  I weighed less than my first goal weight on someone's scale.  For whatever reason.  Maybe it was the latitude.  Gravity may be pulling harder on me in Portland?  Who cares?  I felt energized.

I was so good while in Wisconsin.  At my mom's party, there were buns, mac and potato salad and all the carby rest of it.  There also was cake, and a ginormous birthday cookie.  I had none of it.  Didn't even really feel tempted.  My eldest sister went out of her way to make a pot of veggie something-or-other for me.  She haddn't gotten the memo about my dietary switch-back.  I was so touched, yet I couldn't eat it at all.  It was bean-potato something, so it was like a double poison.  I actually felt really badly about it.  I found out that she has done low-carb as well.  She was a nurse her whole life, and knows her medicine.  She was really encouraging, and it made me feel better about my decision, and about the food she'd made me that I couldn't enjoy.

My other sister (the middle one) had gotten the memo, and went out of her way for me in the other direction.  She'd already made a big pile of chicken with bar-b-que sauce, and when she saw a post of mine on low-carbing it, she went out, got yet more chicken, and made a slightly smaller pile of it for me specifically with no sauce.  Awesomeness.  I had three pieces of chicken, three brats, and a couple of dill pickles, some mustard, and a tiny bit of ketchup.  I felt totally satisfied.  I got to take the rest of the chicken with me, so I had some back-up food at the motel.

I stayed that night in a motel my eldest brother had rented.  They had a fridge in it.  I'd inadvertently left the no-sauce chicken with my mom, and my brother had a pile of the sauced kind in the motel-room fridge.  "Just peel the skin off" he said.  Nope.  I wasn't even inclined to open the fridge.  The following morning, after he hit the road to drive back to Arkansas, I was gathering my stuff in order to swap rooms away from the high-volume-TV-at-4am neighbor, opened the fridge and spotted--along with the sugar-coated-chicken--a huge 2lb bag of "White Mountain Trail Mix" that was full of white chocolate, dried fruit, and about ten different kinds of baked crunchy carbs.  As I was walking down to the front desk, I had to squeeze past a house-cleaning cart with a garbage bag hanging off it.  I tossed the trail mix in like a desperate junkie dumping his last bag of heroin into a toilet.  On one hand, it was kinda sad: Yes, it had come to that.  I was looking at carbohydrates like they were a drug, a poison.  But it was also very empowering, freeing and encouraging.  I was not only able to say "no" to the drug, but I was able to say "yes" to control.

In heroin recovery circles, we have a bit of a combined saying; "Third time's the charm" combined with "Never trust a junkie who's quit smack once."  This essentially speaks to the following: it's actually easier to quit a drug or addictive substance when you've bottomed out and are lying face-down in the gutter.  You're miserable, you're in pain, and you're desperate.  You'll try anything to get clean.  So you quit the junk to avoid pain.  The trouble happens when things start looking up.  You're back in control somewhat.  You feel a bit empowered as far as avoiding temptations.  Then, a little voice in your head says Ya know, we're better than we used to be at this.  Maybe we can do it again and stay in control?  Yeah, I bet we can.  So you fail.  You feel like hell.  You know you made a mistake, so you climb back on the wagon.  Then the watershed moment.  You're back in control, and then something in life goes really wrong, totally pear-shaped.  You use again out of the fear of pain and suffering, to feel that instant rush of familiar--yet false--comfort and relief.  Then you are faced with a choice: the faux relief of the anesthetized state, or the tough--yet real and honest--world of sobriety.  You choose sobriety for its own sake.  You choose it in the tough times, not merely in the good times.  You choose it for no other reason than its base honesty.  You have finally comprehended that the honesty, the truth, is what has been missing from your life this whole time.  It, and it alone, is what has been exacerbating your pain.  The avoidance of the experiencing of pain has caused you to suffer more, not less.  So you say "I want to be real.  I want to feel what's real".

I want to feel what's real.

249.8 is real.  And it feels good.

The rest of the trip was really great.  Great on so many levels.  But there was some sadness, and it was weight related.  My eldest brother, who's lost over a hundred pounds at least ten times according to him, is back up to nearly or over 300lbs again.  He has degenerative disc disease, and has virtually no discs in his entire spine that are whole anymore.  He has such a hard time moving.  He is in so much pain.  When he awoke and rolled over, he let out a groan/yelp that sounded like someone snuck into the room and was stabbing him in the face with dull forks.  It was heart-breaking.

Next, I went and had a very quality hang-out with one of my oldest and closest friends, KK.  K had always been rather thin and healthy when we were teens and young men.  But the middle-aged Wisconsin life and diet of beer and stuff-on-carbs with a side of carbs had taken its toll, and by about 2003 or so, he was up to my realm of weight.  When I saw him at my father's memorial, I barely recognized him.  This past week, we were at about the same place weight-wise.  I tried to gently encourage him to think about trying the ANA.  We made a very carb-friendly dinner: roasted chicken on the grill and mashed cauliflower with cream cheese.  It was fantastic.

The rest of the trip was full of people wanting to support me with this approach.  My old college philosophy professor, MCEP, made a great stir-fry of free-range chicken and "Chinese-uh-Vegetable" (inside joke), and did make it more challenging by making Basmati rice for he and his wife.  It was more challenging less about rice being present than because he actually knows how to properly prepare rice.  I just had extra chicken and veg, and was totally pleased.  He and his vastly-better-half had done ANA, and were beyond supportive.

My greatest weapon during the trip were my Atkins bars.  I always had them with me, so I was able to maintain energy even at kind of challenging times (most notably, the airports).  When I felt depleted, I'd have a bar, and that would sate me.  On my way home, waiting at MKE, I knew I hadn't had anything real to eat that day, so I ducked into a Chili's in my concourse just a few yards from my gate and had a Mesquite Chicken Breast salad with bacon, cheese and ranch dressing.  They serve it with BBQ sauce, which I simply didn't use, and had them skip the roasted corn relish.  I felt totally satisfied.

I got a good walk in yesterday, running to the store for a few things.  Last night, JB and I got to hang out and have dinner together with her son QB.  We had a tiny bit of a low-carb freak-out feast.  I made grilled chicken and pork loin cutlets over oak coals.  JB totally dazzled me with tuna-cakes (think "crab cakes") and this absolutely fantastic cheesecake pudding that we topped with this sugar-free chocolate fudge sauce I picked up while we were all out shopping.  We also took KK's mashed cauliflower to a new high by making it with cream- and fontina cheese and some garlic powder, whizzed up in the food processor until smooth.  It tasted all the world like mashed potatoes!!!!  We both commented to each-other how helpful, and just plain ol' nice it is to have a friend in our lives who is doing low-carb as well that you can cook with, hang out with, and both support and be supported by.

Last night, I weighed 250.6.  This morning, 249.8.

What a journey this has been...

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