Day 353

I am well into the second month of this plateau, and I am frustrated. I suppose that had I not eaten two challah rolls yesterday evening (instead of a meal replacement bar), I would have greater moral authority to be indignant with myself and my (lack of) progress. Yesterday I had a meal replacement for breakfast, my usual lunch, and the challah rolls in the evening. There is no way if that is all that I ate in the day that my weight should be up again this morning… and yet it was. It is time to shake things up a bit. I have to spend some time thinking about what that will be, but I am leaning toward cutting the size of my daily meal in half and seeing what that does… both to my appetite but also to my progress. I said a few months ago that I would have to make this adjustment at some point. I just did not think it would be now. I am also thinking that I might spend a week doing the full program… which is five meal replacements per day, and nothing else. Sure, I will still drink my coffee… but if I can do the full program for a week and kick my body off this plateau, then maybe it is worth the sacrifice. I just checked, and there are six pieces of chicken in the fridge, and I know I cannot put them back into the freezer. If I do not cut my meal size down, that is three days worth of food, which means that (depending on something I will discuss later in this journal entry) I have food until either Monday or Tuesday. After that, I will put myself onto the full program for a few days and see what comes of it.

In my last ‘great weight-loss journey’ which spanned 2019-2020, I remember hitting a frustrating plateau for the weeks leading up to my birthday. It was in the same place as well – right around the 300-pounds mark. Before today, it had been a long time since I referenced that file, and it is interesting to read back and see where I was at what point. I started the program in August 2019 weighing one pound less than when I started this attempt in January 2022. By Day 308 I reached the plateau of which I spoke (it took only a little poking around to find it), and I see how frustrated I was. I also see that, despite the plateau and frustrations, I was celebrating non-scale victories, including being able to wear my suits again. One of the things I discussed was the possible inaccuracy of my bathroom scale; I did not remember the details, but this all makes sense, now that I did some simple checking. In August 2019 I ordered a bathroom scale from Amazon. It moved with me from Hollywood to Glendale and then to Westlake Village, California. In the time around this plateau, I started to mistrust it, and decided to buy a new one – which I did on June 19 (a simple check of my Amazon account). While that new scale did not move to Canada with me, I did buy the same model when I got settled here. I wondered a few times these last few days if the scale might not be the issue… but then I realized another difference between then and now: I am seeing my doctor every two weeks, and I am being weighed on the scale in his office. No matter if my bathroom scale is accurate or not, or whether the unstable floor in my apartment is a contributing factor, it is the bi-monthly weigh-ins that really matter, and by which I should really be gauging my success.

Wow, looking back on that journal – even a brief perusal – reminds me so much of the book Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. I was doing so well… I made such amazing progress. I dropped from 394 lbs. in August 2019 to nearly 260 lbs. in September 2020. My last official journal entry in that file was on Day 566, which looks like it was March 4, 2021… about a month before that terrible night when I got the call telling me that my father passed away. It reads:

I imploded yesterday. Okay, maybe not quite that bad… but I did not have a good diet day. Before my evening event, I went to the store and had them make me a large roast beef sandwich. I added a bag of chips and a sushi roll to my dinner. That is not a good way to do things. Today needs to be better.

If you are a regular reader of this journal, then you know that I do not have a lot of entries that short. Even on my worst days, I usually write something about my mood, my plans, what I have eaten, how I failed, how I plan to do better. A few days before I wrote that (on March 1) I registered my official weigh-in at 308.4 lbs.… and the commentary was: ‘Up from best: 47.6 Total Weight loss: 65.6 lbs.‘ Just a month earlier, on February 2 I weighed 291.2 lbs. (As I was not being monitored by a doctor, I picked a day of the week that would be my ‘official’ weigh-in, and while I would still weigh myself daily, I would only write down that day in my journal). I am sure that if I had continued to write in the journal, I would have continued to make excuses for myself, and how I have to do better tomorrow. We’ll never know though… by December of that year I had regained every single pound that I had lost. In the book, Charlie Gordon is a mentally challenged man – what science used to refer to as an idiot. Doctors perform surgery on his brain, and he becomes a genius. The improvement is not permanent, and through the last part of the book we see the regression from genius to idiocy. Do you see the direct comparison?

I am not Daniel Keyes, and my life is not science fiction; nor is my destiny pre-ordained by science. Yes, my body is not blessed with a metabolism that will allow me to revert to eating as I used to. I do not know how much better I will do with my weight loss, but unlike Charlie Gordon, I can fight to maintain my progress… and if I fall down one day then I can get up the next day and do better. That is what I have to do if I want all of the work that I have put into getting here to mean something. If I want to stay healthy, stay relatively attractive, wear stylish clothes, and not be a punchline or even the subject of pity, then I have to stay on track. Even during plateaus like this – weeks or even months of not making progress – I cannot give up. Do you know how many times I have wanted to eat unhealthy foods? I’ll give you a hint… it is always. I want to eat all of the crap that contributed to my obesity every single day. I have to resist so that I can be healthy… for myself, for my family.

This week I am teaching during the day, as well as in the evenings Tuesday and Thursday. The upside of this is that I will have less opportunity to cheat; through Monday, I will have the food that I have in the house available to me, and nothing more. Tuesday through Friday, I will have meal replacements. The downside of this is that I will not have as much opportunity to go to the gym, but I will still make an effort to go a couple of times. I know that if I want to make it a habit then I have to try to fit it in, even when I am slammed with work.

Don’t get me wrong… I am thrilled to be slammed with work. As a contractor, I am either slammed with work (and earning a living), or relaxed (and not earning a living). If I were independently wealthy, I might prefer the latter… but as I do not have that luxury, I like to live well. To do so requires money, and earning money requires working. I am fortunate in that I have skills that are in demand; I am even more fortunate in that I truly enjoy what I do. Teaching is a passion, and I thank G-d on a regular basis that I do not hate my work… as so many people seem to. There is a mentality these last decades that if you do not love your work, quit and find something you love. If the entire world followed that principle, there would be no garbage collection, our sewers would fall into disrepair, food and other supplies would never get delivered. Do you see where I am going with this? Yes, I could be in a much worse position than I am… and as the expression goes, you make hay when the sun is shining. Right now, there are teaching contracts coming in, and I will not complain about a single one of them!

I mentioned earlier that I will have enough food until either Monday or Tuesday, depending on something that will happen today. I am taking my son (the younger) for lunch and depending on whether I eat at the restaurant or not, I will either come home and prepare my meal… or not. He wants to go to Lone Star Grill, which has some salad options… but they are not particularly healthy ones. I might just sit and watch him eat, and then come home.

On that subject, I just got a text from my ex-wife that he is getting restless, so I had better head over there. Have a great day folks!

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