Day 359

Yesterday was exactly as long as I thought it was going to be, and by the end of it I was exactly as tired and worn down as I thought I would be. I achieved all of my goals… but some of them just barely. I once again only drank four of my five shakes, at 7:30am, 1:30pm, 4:00pm, and 7:30pm. By the time my class was done I was hungry, and I was exhausted, but I also knew that if I eat late at night there are consequences. Yesterday was my first day in Two-Town, and I want to stay there… permanently. That means that I cannot go off the program for a couple of days and splurge… not even with the crap that I am going through in my life. I read my list of goals for the day to my therapist, and she thought that it was an amazing list. She also told me that I did a wonderful job of focusing what we should be discussing and that it demonstrated that the new meds – and likely the increased dosage – are working wonders. She was concerned about the extreme weight loss plan and asked if I was being medically supervised. I am… by the same physician who referred her to me however many years ago.

The fact that I made it to the end of the day still amazes me, but it is not really true. At 8:30pm I assigned the class their labs for the last hour of class, which meant that while I was prepared to answer questions, the lecture was done for the day. Unfortunately, I realized when I was asked a Linux question that as I tried to focus on the screen, it was a fruitless endeavour. My eyes were done… as was my voice. The students understood and were happy that I excused them if they were done with their work. Two of them were there until the end, but that was fine.

Let’s go back to the subject of the meal replacements and other ingested items. While it was a conscious decision to refrain from enjoying the last meal replacement (which would have been at least 10:00pm), I did make a concerted effort to drink more water. No, I did not keep track of it. I was on three fitful hours of sleep, and I had to focus on other things. I do know that I drank at least three and possibly four of my Blender Bottles full, each of which holds about 750ml. three litres of water is a good amount. Contrary to what was expected (and even planned for), I did not make the second pot of coffee. I drank the same amount as I would on a normal day – tired or not, teaching or not, completely destroyed on the inside or not. Once again, my caloric input for the day did not exceed 650 calories. I really should work on that. What that says though is that – at least on busy days – I will not have any issues with the four meal replacements once I start on the Canadian program next week. Someone in one of the support groups on Facebook posted a link to a couple of clinics that are much closer to me than the one that I found. I am going to reach out to them tomorrow to see if I can purchase the meal replacements from them. It would cut the round-trip drive from over two hours to about 25 minutes. I am crossing my fingers.

The numbers on the bathroom scale were once again down significantly this morning. For the second day in a row, I lost two pounds. My fears of peaking above the three-hundred-pound mark were unfounded; rather, I am now only two pounds shy of my next major milestone. Having dropped two pounds two days in a row, it is not out of the realm of possibility that I might hit that milestone tomorrow morning… but it is unlikely. It is, however, quite likely that, if I stick to the program, I will succeed in achieving that goal before Wednesday, which will be Day 365. One hundred pounds lost in one year. How about that. I think back to my thoughts from October and early November, when I was on track to lose quite a bit more than one hundred pounds by New Year’s Eve… but that was when life was still good, when I was happy, and when I thought that I was on my way to living happily ever after. Life gets in the way, and sometimes you have to adjust your expectations… if not your ultimate goals. It was less than a week ago that I was thinking, ‘what if this is as good as I can do? What if this time I cannot crack the 300 lbs. mark, and I have to live the rest of my life struggling to tread water right here?’ I have lost seven pounds since thinking that and cannot think like that anymore. It is vital for me to keep my mind focused on achieving my goals. That way, if I stumble (as I have for the past two months), I will not give up. I will keep at it. I will find the strength within myself to get back on track. I will not, as I have twice in the past six years, get close, and then give up… and end up back where I was at my heaviest weight.

My therapist and I spoke yesterday, and as I mentioned earlier in this article, she was very happy with my progress. Her focus is not on my weight loss, rather my mental health and ultimate happiness. This last month I have taken plenty of hits to both of those, so the main focus of our session yesterday was about the causes and consequences of those, and how I can cope and get past them to eventually find happiness. We did, however, spend a few minutes talking about my weight management program, as so much of it requires mental fortitude. As I mentioned yesterday, I received terrible news on Wednesday, but that the news had been expected for about a week She was worried that my starting back on the strict program was a knee-jerk reaction to that news. I told her (truthfully) that I have been giving thought to ‘going full regimented program’ for a couple of weeks now, and that I have expressed these thoughts in this journal. I should mention that I have never, not even once, gone back to a previous day and altered an entry for content. What I wrote two weeks ago is and will always be what I was thinking and sharing on that day two weeks ago. The timing of my change in program is unfortunate, especially since, going through the emotional anguish that I have been and continue to suffer, it would not only be so easy for me to turn to food for comfort, but it is also what I always did. Frankly, I still feel that it would be quite satisfying for my emotional pain to do that… but I will not. I am trying to stay on track… and truthfully, it also feels good to be losing weight.

It is interesting to think that she (my therapist) thought that I might respond to stress and anxiety by going full-on with my weight loss. I reminded her that as long as she has known me (going on eight years) I have never starved myself in the hard times. Quite the opposite, I have always turned to food as a source of comfort, or to compensate for whatever was going on in my life. Food (especially bad foods) makes me happy, so when I have been unhappy with life, at least I could find some happiness in those foods. I have used foods to celebrate – ironically, I have had indulgent meals to celebrate weight loss milestones – and I have used it to commiserate. Often, I have simply used it to fill the time and to alleviate boredom. The fact that I am going through this terrible anguish, and I am redoubling my weight loss efforts without any cheating or indulgences… frankly, it is surprising even to me. She was shocked, knowing what I shared with her, that not only did I not indulge in food, but I have not even had a sip of alcohol through it. My original plan was to break that this evening so that I could say the Shabbat kiddush, but I have mostly decided against it. I will light my candles and say the prayers for that… but I will not be blessing (and drinking) the wine, and I will not be blessing (and eating) the challah. This is a time to focus on losing weight, and not because of my stresses and anguishes, rather because I need to succeed.

I lied a couple of paragraphs ago. There was a day a couple of weeks ago that someone read something that I wrote that day (or the previous day), and felt it made them look like a bitch (their words, not mine). While I did not agree that it was how it read, and it was certainly never my intent, I did go back and re-write the paragraph for the on-line version of my article. I did not make the change in my private journal, but it is never my intent to make anyone feel bad or offended, so when that person called out that they felt I showed them in a bad light, I made the change. Other than that, I never change what I wrote.

I decided this morning to shave my beard. It is not completely gone, but what yesterday might have made me look like an orthodox rabbi is now shorter and cleaner… and I expect will be easier to maintain. I am thinking that on my next visit to the barber I might go down to the goatee once more. We’ll have to see. As I have written several times this week, I am changing my look to be more professional, but also to make myself feel better. As with most people, I like looking better. I liked the rabbi-beard look, but it was very hard to maintain, and so often I would look at myself in the mirror and see that I was looking shaggy and scraggly. If that’s what I saw, then that is likely what others saw as well. The beard that extended two or more issues below my chin is now trimmed to a couple of millimetres and is a uniform length on my cheeks. This too should not be perceived as reactionary or knee-jerk; I have changed the look and length of my beard many times over the time that I have worn it, and with the exception of when I had to grow it for religious obligations (the deaths of my mother in 2018 and then my father in 2021), I have always done with it as I – or at times, my partner – has pleased.

It is almost time to start teaching, but when the class gets to the point where the students are running labs, I will write about my goals for the day. As you the reader will not notice the 30–60-minute lapse, I will just go right into it.

It is noon, and in a little while I will prepare my second shake of the day. I called the first clinic on my list, and they told me that at the very least, I would need a referral from my family physician to see their doctor to even discuss it. I do not know if, following that, they would sell me the meal replacements, or if I would need to be enrolled in their weight loss program specifically to be able to purchase them. I will ask my doctor if he can refer me, and I will mee with the doctor for the initial consultation, but I do not think that, if I have to be enrolled with them, that I would want to add an extra doctor’s appointment part of my routine. With that said, I am not making any decisions, and I will pursue the option. The second clinic has not answered their phone, but I will try again this afternoon.

While I had a lot of trouble falling asleep last night, when I eventually did, I slept. I was too tired not to. I do not remember if I woke up in the night to use the bathroom or not, but I do remember waking up an hour before my alarm, stretching, and doing something to my left calf muscle that I have done a few times when stretching in bed. I do not even know how to describe it, but for the minute or so before it relaxes, it is quite painful. Fortunately, there are no lasting effects of this… issue. After the requisite time, it abated, and I was asleep again in no time. I did press the snooze button a couple of times when my alarm went off. I knew that it snowed all night (and was still snowing), and that meant that if Princess Sophie was willing to go out at all, she would walk the five metres from the door to the near grass, pee, and then turn around and walk right back into the building. On a nice day, our walks will be thirty minutes long, and I have to plan for that on mornings that I have obligations. I knew that I would get that time back as soon as I looked out the window. I was right.

The next couple of days I have a few dates with friends that are going to test my resolve. This evening, I am going to Eduardo’s house for a cigar. It will be the last cigar that we share indoors at his apartment, as tomorrow his wife returns from Uruguay. A lifelong chain-smoker, she now suffers from emphysema, and the smoke would bother her. Tomorrow I am meeting a friend at a pub, ostensibly for lunch, but also to catch up, and discuss the possibility of preparing for a new certification together. I have no problem showing up and just ordering coffee and know that if she presses me that I can rebuff her. It matters not at all that I know the pub where we are meeting makes delicious wings; I have to be good, and I will picture the long-term satisfaction of weighing less the following morning (and the elation it brings for a few hours), which will outweigh the immediate satisfaction of the greasy and fattening foods. In the afternoon I am meeting with another friend, a former colleague when he and I taught Taekwondo together. He has been trying to connect with me for some time, and it has just never worked out. We should be able to meet tomorrow for coffee, and while I might have trouble resisting the temptations at the pub, I doubt the goods at a café will be quite so enticing. A very close friend (the only friend aside from Eduardo) who knows or at least suspects what is going on) has been asking to see me because he knows (or suspects) what I am going through and wants to support me like the true friend that he is. In addition to that, he asked me this morning about the weight loss program that I am on, as he is also morbidly obese; he has been losing weight of late, but he told me that he hit a plateau (his words, only an echo of my own) and wants to really kickstart a true weight loss plan. I will discuss it with him, and let him know my thoughts, feelings, and experiences with it.

It is nearly 12:30pm, and my students have five more minutes to work on their labs. I am hungry but decided to wait until the actual lunch break (at 1:00pm) to make and enjoy my shake. I have a few reasons for this, but one of them is that I am trying to teach myself that I do not have to start eating the minute I feel hunger. I can live with it for a little while and it will not kill me. This is just another piece of trying to change my unhealthy relationship with food.

Have a great day folks… and Shabbat Shalom.

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