So, I’m losing weight.

Photo by Renee Fisher on Unsplash

So, I’m losing weight.

You can see it in my face now, even under the giant Viking beard. My belly is no longer rotund, just pleasantly jolly. My waist is much smaller. When my belt wasn’t holding up my shorts a couple months ago, I put an extra hole in it to cinch it up tighter. A couple weeks later I put in another one. Then I bought a belt three sizes smaller. That new belt was so small that I could only buckle it in the very first hole.

Today, three weeks later, I’m now buckling the second hole.

Losing weight is very affirming. Everyone approves. It’s one of the crowning gems of Adult Success, along with Money and Beautiful Smart Children. It’s something you know is hard, but you also know you can do it. But, hey, what’s the hurry? I can’t speak for your relationship with your body, but I just never got around to being healthy. I never had time to do the planning, never felt the rush to clean up my eating habits.

Then Diabetes clarified my timetable for me.

So much is different now. I’m feeling different, better, every day. I feel good, now that I’ve survived the nasty, months-long brain-clouding diabetes symptoms, while simultaneously fighting through, cold turkey, an almost 50 year sugar addiction. And I’m not exaggerating “addiction” for effect. It was very much full-on withdrawal, along with the night sweats, blurred vision, ongoing confusion, no mental focus, no energy, intestinal distress… dark days, my friends.

I don’t want to get too dramatic, so I’ll just say, as cliche as it sounds, I would not wish my last three months on my worst enemy. Talk to your children about sugar. It’s basically crack cocaine but with a better PR team.

But here I am! Looking better, feeling better, moving better, with my head screwed on straight (mostly).

Most obvious is that I now eat differently. My relationship with food has changed unalterably, and there’s no going back. I eat so little sugar now that fresh fruit literally tastes like candy. Any amount of simple carbs (white rice, pasta, potatoes, etc.) makes me feel bloated and groggy. Speaking of sleep, I’m sleeping much better, thank you very much

With some exceptions, I’m eating 3-4 small meals a day. And by small, I mean about half of what I used to eat. It’s not an exact science, but I’m ingesting roughly 50% as much food.

The funny thing is, a small sandwich, a pickle, and a handful of pork rinds and I am STUFFED. I get a little uncomfortable and I couldn’t eat another bite, not even a wafer thin mint.

All my life I’ve been totally accustomed to eating really large meals. Because… I dunno… I’m a big guy, that’s how I learned to eat, because food is delicious, just a bad habit, the sin of gluttony, maybe low moral fiber…

Does it really matter why?

Well, yeah, it probably does.

I think my biggest personal fault is my sense of dread at missing out on something, and food plays very much into that. I want to know what other people are eating, how it’s prepared, how much it cost, how the different flavors and textures meld together to create something new and different. I love buffets precisely because I want to taste it all. I pour a lot of mental energy into worrying about something out there even more delicious and fun that I just haven’t tried yet. I’m terrified, irrationally, to miss out on any of it.

Lately I have been living in the moment, day-to-day with my struggles, but I still have a fear that I’ll backslide into pigging out again. It’s been my pattern for my whole life. And it’s not hard to predict that some tragedy or problem will push me into eating my feelings again someday. Which is bad enough when overeating just means overeating, but now it very literally means going blind or losing a foot to diabetes.

And let me clarify—when I mention I had “blurred vision,” that is not a metaphor. The diabetes caused me, for almost two months, to have blurred vision so bad I couldn’t read anything on my phone, and I had to turn my work monitor up to giant text. I won’t sugar coat it… Diabetes is not fucking around.

“I won’t sugar coat it.” LOL. See what I did there?

But, by the grace of Odin, I’m doing well now, and I’m trying to enjoy it, day to day. Weight loss truly is its own reward.

Most importantly, it’s pretty clear I was, in fact, missing out on something all those years. I’ve been missing out on myself, buried under 50-100 lbs of mediocre food, sugar highs, and bad choices.

So, here I am. Finally me. Mostly. OK, I’ll probably keep changing. But this is all me, right now.

So be nice… I’m new here.

— VVV

Missing Mom

Today would have been my Mom’s 74th birthday. Man, she loved her birthdays. I think maybe I should drive her grand kids over to Terre Haute and eat at some crappy chain restaurant in her honor.
 
Maybe not.
 
I can’t decide if losing your mom gets easier with time or not.
 
One benefit of time passing is that I don’t forget it as often. I can’t tell you how many times those first few months I would hear something and think, “I should call Mom and tell her… oh, right. She’s dead. I’ll never call and talk to her again. Gosh, I sure do love spontaneously crying in the canned vegetable aisle at the supermarket.”
 
Brains are cruel little bastards. The scientist in me knows those blips are just part of me processing the loss. She’s on my mind, I miss her, but I’m also trying to wall off the pain. So part of my brain would remember what the rest of my brain was trying to forget.
 
At least I’m not torturing myself like that. Well, not as often.
 
I know people like to say Time Heals All Wounds, but, well… not so much. Sure, the heat and fire of the emotions have tapered off. But now the pain is just deeper, more calm. It’s not an enemy now as much as a grouchy friend that’s here to stay, so no use fighting about it.
 
The worst of all of this is, the more I accept that she’s gone forever, the clearer I see my own grave.
 
Mortality is a bitch, my friends. No one gets out of this alive.
 
I’ve said a few times over my life that it would be better to not think so much, to not harness myself with the weight of the world as much as I do. Ignorance is bliss, right? These days I think I’d really enjoy a moment or two to feel that naive immortality I felt when I was 18 and invincible.
 
I read in a book this morning (The Moon is a Harsh Mistress) that the definition of an adult is someone who has accepted their own mortality. I don’t know about that as a definition. I just know that these days it feels like I know as many dead people as living people, and the ratio keeps getting worse.
 
Sigh.
 
My friends, please tell your people you love them, often and with feeling. Always believe in yourself, especially when you have no idea what you’re doing. Go out there and attack life like you mean it. Be kind to each other.
 
Do me a favor today, would ya? Call your mom. Because you can. Or, better yet, give her a hug, then give her another one for me.
 
Thanks.
 
Troy
 
Sep 10, 2018