The Fiancée™ and I had a meeting with our family doctor yesterday about the whole weight loss situation. Through the course of an hour-long discussion, we’ve basically come up with a plan.
Tonight, after dinner, I get to fast: nothing but water. Tomorrow morning (sans coffee) I show up at the doctor’s office for blood work, a urine sample, and a shitload of body measurements. Then I get to have breakfast… provided it contains no sugar, no flour, no starchy vegetables, and no fruit. I’m on what I can only describe as a massive purge and detox for the next two weeks. Think the Atkins induction on steroids (no drugs either) and that’s my next fourteen days. The Doc saw my pained expression and relented slightly on the no caffeine: I can have one small cup of unsweetened half-caf coffee in the morning. Artificial sweeteners are right out of the question: Aspartame and sucralose trigger the same kind of gastrointestinal distress I get from sulfates and certain artificial flavours, so I’m just going to have to suffer.
Essentially, we’re flushing carbs and sugar out of my system, because they’re nothing more than drugs. I’m going to be eating a lot of eggs, meat and dairy and nuts for the next little while, with leafy vegetables on the side. In fact, aside from the fact that everything I eat has to be low on the glycemic index I can eat what I want. If I want three eggs and half a pound of bacon for breakfast, spiffy! I just can’t have the toast or hash browns. Or orange juice. Or coffee. Or syrup. The whole point of this high-protein, high fat diet is to help level my system out and trigger something called ketosis, where basically the body stop burning carbs and starts burning off all that stored fat.
The Doc explained that I have a long weekend ahead of me which will involve all the classic withdrawal symptoms: shakes, headaches, sweats, and of course massive cravings for things I can’t have. Apparently I get to look forward to constipation, as well, although with my contrary innards I suspect the exact opposite will end up being the problem.
“Of course,” said the Doc cheerfully, “If the blood tests come back with hypothyroidism, we just put you on levothyroxine and you’ll watch the pounds just melt away.”
I’ve never wished I had a thyroid problem before.
Anyway, providing I survive the weekend, apparently you start feeling really good right around Day 5 of this whole routine. On Day 7 I go back in for more blood work and a urine test to determine whether or not the shock to my system is causing kidney failure, and then I keep going. The Doc recommends 14 to 21 days of this, depending on how it goes. After that I get to go to a low-carb low-sugar maintenance diet, although he assures me that it will be easy to stick with because everything will taste cloyingly over-sweet.
While this whole detox is happening I’m also required to maintain moderate physical activity; curling up in a corner and whimpering apparently doesn’t count. So lots of dog walkies, pell work and other wholesome exercise. The Fiancée™ keeps talking about getting me a stationary bicycle and making a rule that I can’t watch A Game of Thrones or Vikings unless I’m on it.
The Doc has also signed me up for another sleep clinic so that I can pick up a properly-calibrated CPAP machine (although judging from the number of friends who’ve offered me used ones for free I doubt I’m going to need to put one through on my company insurance) and with any luck that will happen very soon. Basically, by this time next month I’m hoping to be well on my way to losing a pile of weight and getting a good night’s sleep in the bargain.
One of my friends told me this morning that my determination to see this through is “inspiring.” Um, no, it really isn’t. Technically I’ve volunteered for this happy little crash-purge, but there’s nothing courageous or inspiring about it: I need to change my lifestyle or I’m going to die. It’s not “inspiring” to replace faulty wiring or get your brakes overhauled, it’s just common sense. I’m not doing this to be some chiselled, buff, health-care and fitness asshole, I’m doing it because I really, really don’t want to be dead of congestive heart failure before the end of the decade. To me this is a medical procedure, like fixing a hernia (which is something I’ve watched a friend do recently): it’s a shitty thing to have to go through but it has to be done and you hope you’re healthier when it’s all over.
Courage and inspiration don’t have anything to do with it; I don’t want to die and this is what it’s going to take to live. Res ipsa loquitur.