Four score and seven large pans of lasagna ago, I set out upon a new nation called total gluttony. However, this sounds really, really bad ... so I moved to a new nation known as "time to get your rear-in-gear."
In the last column, I wrote about my struggles with additional weight gain. I am not proud of that, at all. Besides all the struggles that I had mentioned before (a death in the family, additional arthritic issues, declining health in the family, etc. ... blah, blah, blah). I went to see the nurse practitioner for an issue with my legs and shortness of breath. My legs were puffed up like marshmallows, as if they were on steroids. They were the color of fiery lobsters and they hurt (not the lobsters - except in scalding water).
In the exam room, the nurse practitioner proceeded to ask me the regular questions ... when was this brought on? Etc. ... Her reasoning for every single problem I had was due to my obesity. I'm surprised she didn't comment that my hangnail was due to that also. Although, her term that I was overweight is a valid statement - it was unnecessary to use the term - "overweight" in every sentence she used.
So, I shut down my system: my emotions, my frustration, my thoughts - basically everything she said. Yes, I know - I'm overweight. Personally, I think that obesity is the new discrimination. Well, not necessarily new but just more prevalent, crueler and not understood by many (including those in different professions). Prevalence: yes, it's true that obesity has skyrocketed over the past several years in this country. Cruel: the way people of all ages treat one another, which may lead to a variety of eating disorders, depression, bullying, etc. ... or even choosing a thin person over a heavier person in employment (even though the heavier person may have more qualifications). Not understood: the ramifications of why someone becomes overweight.
There are some remedies that many people use: surgical options, diet pills, exercise, healthy eating, support groups, support food systems, nutritionists/dietitians. I've tried some of these options already. Some excess (I mean success), some not. I've come to the realizations that I'm an emotional overeater. I eat when bored, and sometimes it just tastes too good to pass up. I thought about lap-band surgery for awhile. That puppy (the lap-band) would burst the first time because of my overeating. I know now that something is "stopping" me from figuring out how to stop this runaway train. I need to fix it. Maybe I'm sabotaging myself for some reason. Maybe apathy has set in. I also realize there is an "excuse" (can be valid or invalid) for everything.
So, I decided to see the dietitian again. I wanted structure ... absolute structure to say, "OK, this is for breakfast, lunch and dinner and snacks ... period." This will begin as a guide to control myself from gorging myself into oblivion. My thought that I decided upon is to shop weekly: this enables me to just have the right amount of food in my apartment. Another thing is to: use serving sizes to account for accurate caloric intake, protein, fat, etc. ... I'm going to get stock in baggies. For instance, I like those new wheat crackers with brown rice and tomato-basil flavor. The serving size is six crackers - whoop-there-it-is - in a baggy; ready for a snack later. That way, hopefully, I can retrain my brain to say, "hey you! This is all you are allowed in this baggy. So, that's it! Paws off!" For me, my sample meal plan is as follows: a 1,500-calorie diet/day will be two Greek yogurts and a banana (breakfast), lunch - two wheat flatbread crackers with two tablespoons peanut butter, some veggies and some fruit. Dinner: some baby spinach with feta cheese, low-fat balsamic vinaigrette, and some chopped hard-boiled egg. For snacks, yogurt, fruits, veggies, protein bar, those wheat crackers, etc. ... No, I'm not going to eat all these at once. Although, I have before ... once; I ate a whole block of cheese with those crackers. Big mistake.
My dad is going to lose weight, too. It is nice to have a support buddy. We thought about additional incentives to reach certain weight-loss goals. Obviously, we don't reward ourselves with a candy bar - nope. Instead we thought about a more tangible award. For instance, I like to sew - so (ha-ha, I made a funny; get it? Sew, so?). OK, I guess I'm not that funny, after all. Anyway, I could buy some fabric or a cross-stitch book. Something like that. Then, I can sew and keep myself occupied without getting the munchies. This is my plan and I'm sticking to it! Until next time ...
Casi Stewart can be reached at email@example.com. A Weighty Issue appears Mondays on the Life page.