Day Nine: Fast Forward

I don’t only drink coffee at midnight, but it’s my favorite time to do so.  This morning it was a tall s’mores frappacino Bryan and our friend Ken brought home from Starbucks.  Bryan had to go to bed after he finished his coffee — wise man — but Ken and I sat up laughing until 5:00, at which point I was stupid tired.  He headed for home, and I went to sleep until I woke up at 9:00 feeling far better than I had for several days.  Memo to self:  add more coffee and laughter to my life.

Day Seven: Curse This Inevitable Betrayal!

I had awesome plans yesterday.  I had a list!  I even made the first exercise/cleaning sprint!

Then I took a shower.  By the time I got out of the shower, the shakiness from a few minutes of concentrated work-exercise was full-on clumsy tremors.  Folding up clothes was an iffy thing that ended up half done, but we need cooked food, so I put a pot of frozen chicken thighs on to cook with some lite salt, pepper and garlic powder. When the meat was fork-tender, I took the thighs out of the broth, stripped the meat and skin off the bones, then I put the bones and skin back in the pot with a carrot and some celery to cook down about a sixth or so, as it was already good but lacked seasoning depth.

My notion of guacamole is pretty simple.  Mash ripe avocados with some hot sauce or salsa, and I’m happy.  The lunchtime guac was that kind of happy, with the last of the Peruvian Haas avocados on the cusp of use-it-or-lose-it ripeness, and the last of the Pace salsa mushed up together.  It was rich, with a faint bacon whiff that suggested one of the avocados might have slipped over the cusp just a bit.  Bryan was down over the news of Chester Bennington’s death, but he was game to join me.  We ate well, and through the day I was under the goal intake, even with another guac and chicken sandwich for dinner, but not a lot more got done, as the fibro fog hit with a literal sense of concussion, then I felt as if I were slowly rolling forward, for the rest of the time I was awake, no matter how stable my seat.  Good times.

Day Six: Let’s Try This Again

I love popcorn, and it’s as easy as tossing a bag in a microwave and nuking it for two minutes.  That’s a mighty advantage first thing in the morning, when I  need food and water most, so I had popcorn for breakfast.  It’s also very comforting, as it’s mostly starch.  I needed that even more; it keeps the constant anxiety that otherwise wears me out to a low whine in the distance, rather than the keening of my muscles swearing they are going to die if they move.

And move I did.  Two bursts totaling 27 minutes of continuously moving boxes and bins, bagging up trash and gathering up laundry for a total of 177 extra calories added to my daily limit, which was enough to buy me a can of Mountain Dew without cutting into the rest of the day’s calories.  It’s the standard, high-fructose version, but I like it, and after working until it was too warm to work, that cold can of tart-sweet soda was very satisfying, and the caffeine kick was enough to keep me feeling good for several hours.  All in all, I am very pleased.

Necessary data:  Total intake:  1,711/1790.  Calories burned in exercise:  177.  Net deficit:  260 calories.

Day Five: Hundred Grit Sandpaper, No Varnish

I blew through the calorie limit today and landed about 800 calories beyond.  Part of it was the getting up at 2 AM hungry and dehydrated, having eaten that awesome toasted cheese and tomato sandwich yesterday, then running for 19 hours until I crashed.   Lack of sleep releases your natural cannabinoids, which in turn cause the munchies.  So, tactical error there.  I should have gone to back to bed and got a few more hours’ sleep once I had myself re-hydrated.

Well, so be it.  Tomorrow is another day.

Day Four: Math and Memories

A friend and I were kicking around goals yesterday.  My goal in broad strokes is 100 lbs in 100 weeks, or roughly two years from now, but we were both wondering how much more might be realistic, so I went a’googling and came up with these results for gastric bypass surgery from Obesity Coverage.  Since what I’m doing now is in lieu of that surgery, I figure it’s a good rule of thumb,  If you’re interested in making the calculations, you can find all the links to the calculations for yourself and how the company uses them on their website.  They offer a number of ranges to choose from, but on the site they work from the highest numbers from the results to give a conservative average expected result.

Given that I’m 5’1″ and I weighed 290 lbs at last weigh-in, I went with the top end of the healthy BMI recommendation, which is 132 lbs.  I think I hit the 132 point sometime in junior high; by my sophomore year I was carrying around 165 lbs and riding my bike three miles a day to and from school.  When the storms were too fierce to ride, I pushed the bike, so I could use the basket and rack to carry my stuff.  I learned to tack against the wind, and I imagined when I caught the wind in my coat like a sail that it sped me on my way.  Since then, when questions of losing weight come up, I’ve secretly hoped to get down to 165 lbs of round body and hard muscles again.

Obesity Coverage works with the highest score for calculating an average, which makes sense to me, then applies the known results from the surgery as follows.

Current weight 290 – ideal weight 132.3 = excess 157.7                                              Excess *.7  = expected weight loss 110.4
Current 290 – expected 110.4 = post surgery weight 179.6

So, maybe 165 is possible, but it’s more likely I can hold at 180.  My maternal grandmother weighed 180 most or all of the thirty years I knew her.  She was a formidable red-haired woman of many skills and talents, maybe three inches taller than I, who raised four kids to adulthood through the Dust Bowl and Great Depression.  She saved my family’s butts from being homeless or stuck out in the country without transportation more than once while I was growing up, too.  Grandma laughed easily, and she knew how to let a lot of stuff slide without ranting or preaching, but she had a tone that snapped like the crack of a riding crop when she’d borne enough crap from one of her kids.  I only heard it twice in my life, after I was grown.  Both times, it was unmistakable, deserved, and short, and matters were corrected as fast as possible.  Grandma Ray persevered for 88 years doing what she felt was right.  She and her children are long passed, and her scattered grandchildren are grown gray- and white-headed in turn, but I think of her often now as I grow older and have my own choices to make as to how I will live and what I might teach in the next twenty or thirty years of my life.


For the necessary record, July 17, 2017:  1330 calories consumed, mostly in a delightful grilled cheese sandwich.  No exercise.

Day 3: Stuff Happens

The last couple of posts have been about food and philosophy and really cool discoveries in software and the power of hidden cardio. I’d planned to write this one about fruit, from the midnight pleasures of a dried white fig, simultaneously chewy, sweet and subtly crunchy, to the cool smoothness of perfectly ripe, unbruised avocado slices on top of a colby/jack quesadilla in the still-too-hot early morning. Those are the kinds of things that make this lifestyle change fun. They keep me going with eagerness into something new and positive, something that will make my life better.

That was the plan. The reality is that stuff happens.  Here’s how that intended post  started out:

If yesterday was a celebration of roast pork, today’s theme will be fruit. I was up a lot later after I posted last night, and about 1 AM I found myself with the munchies and facing a deficit of better than 500 calories even after that bag of popcorn. Der Roomie had eliminated the temptation of the last pint of gelato earlier in the evening, so that wasn’t an issue. I did want sweets, though, and we had dried white figs and dates in the house. I do love dates, but in the sweaty semidark of a long, thirsty night here in Sacramento, even the thought of a big, gooey medjool made my mouth feel stickier than it already was. Figs, though, are a whole other matter. The combination of chewy sweet and the subtle crunch of a thousand tiny seeds was perfect with yet another glass of water, and at 50 calories each, I was satisfied well before I ran out of room in my food diary.

Except, since it was after midnight and I’d wrapped up the previous day’s diary, the entry ended up on today’s snack list. Still, I thought I had plenty of the daily allotment left. But I didn’t. Between the heat, hunger and my own angst, I’ve been snacking on more of those awesome, comforting figs and a pile of triscuits, so dinner looks like it will be a light soup laden with veggies and chunks of pork with a salad, because I’ll be darned if I’m going to do anything to make myself sweat and breathe hard more than I have to today. I drank more than a gallon of water yesterday keeping myself hydrated, and I’m on my way to doing the same today. With a little luck and determination, I’m good at least until midnight.

Then Bryan brought me a Philly cheese steak sandwich from Jersey Mike’s, which sent me scrambling for the MFP database because it’s cheesesteak.  That warm, drippy tangle of onions, mushrooms and thin sliced beef in molten white cheese had me within an inch of saying to hell with it and scarfing the whole thing.  Instead, I had a quarter then while it was fresh, which was good, though I’d eaten some roast about an hour before.  I had a half just now for dinner, and I have to say I like it better reheated.  It’s sloppier.  I also like sliding nine calories under the day’s limit like an evader in world chase tag, but midnight starts a new day, and that last quarter sandwich is doomed.

Unless stuff happens in the meantime.

Day One


Two eggs scrambled in a tablespoon of butter (because fuck margarine and ‘spreads’) with salsa and green onions, doused in shredded colby/jack and sitting on a slice of bread:  459 calories.  Not bad for the favorite meal of my day in an 1800-calorie plan to lose a pound a week for A Long Time, as my neurologist put it.

I like my neurologist.  He’s quick-working, has a desk nearly as messy as mine, and he talks to me like another intelligent human.  He’s also run EEGs and reviewed the scans of my surprisingly unscarred brain.  I don’t have epilepsy, which is a great weight off my mind, if not my torso, but the fat on my neck and torso — he was kind enough to say ‘weight’ — makes breathing hard, including when I sleep.  We discussed the unpleasant prospect of limited bariatric surgery and agreed on my having a serious go at permanent weight loss the old-fashioned way, one pound a week for a period best described as A Long Time.  I go to see him in a month, with a broad survey of results in six months.

For me, calories work best.  I can track calories. I can log them and point at patterns in the data as they develop.  They also open an obvious gateway to mindfulness, which is vital if I am going to do this over the long term.  I know from past experience that I’ll eat almost anything foodlike if there is a container of it at hand, but I also know the first bites are the best, and there is a point at which more is repugnant, even if I do continue to eat.  The challenge is to to pay food the attention it deserves, enjoy what I eat, and acknowledge and avoid what tastes nasty to me, even if it costs some money and perhaps embarrassment to do so. If I stick to that, the rest will be fairly easy.