Day 363

Today is the ninth day in a row that my weight has dropped, and I am in a pretty good mood about that. I am also in a much more optimistic mood this morning with regard to several other issues that have been weighing on me these last few weeks. If you combine those two factors together, I have hopes that today might be a good day.

I booked a haircut and beard trim over the weekend for this morning. I have been going back and forth over what to do with my beard, and this morning I made a decision. I am not going to say what that decision is because I do not want my most loyal reader (and wife) to know in advance. Sorry Lesi-chan, you are just going to have to wait until Barney is done with me to see!

They say that for therapy to help to fix a problem, it will hurt. This is why every therapist office that I have seen (which includes a couple of military ones, a few civilian ones, and many more on television and in movies) has a box of tissues easily accessible to the patient (or patients). Yesterday’s drive to Scarborough was pretty uneventful until I received a message that led to a difficult conversation, and a lot of emotional pain. The next few hours were hard, and I am glad that when I got to my friend’s place in Cambridge (over an hour’s drive from Scarborough) there was something that we ended up talking about for most of the afternoon to distract me. More on that later. In the evening, my non-therapy session continued, and once we got past the hurt, and understood where all of the miscommunications were and how they led to so much pain, we were able to get past the hurt and begin to discuss how to make things better. That will be an ongoing conversation.

Scarborough went exactly as I thought it would. I got there, collected the meal replacements, paid, and left… although we did have a conversation for a few minutes, mostly about her family. It was a happy coincidence that the number of boxes that I wanted was exactly the size of a case from the manufacturer, so that box was sitting waiting for me. She (Nurse Laura) insisted that despite it being factory sealed, we open it to make sure that the product matched the description, that the expiration date was as promised, and she even opened two smaller boxes to count the number of packages within. When she asked if I wanted her to open them all to confirm the count I politely declined. The box fit easily into my car trunk, and I was good to go. I was mistaken in just how big this would be, and it does all fit into my cupboards (with plenty of room to spare). It will not be in my face as I said yesterday. That does not change the fact that I will be on the product exclusively, at least for the next eight days. With a trip to Dallas coming up, I will likely spend the week that I am in Dallas back on my modified program and will resume the regimented program upon my return to Canada.

I arrived at my buddy’s house around 12:30pm, and it was time for a meal replacement. I took my shaker bottle and one pouch into the garage (the smoking lounge) to prepare and enjoy it before lighting my cigar. My buddy noticed the name on it and said ‘Oh, I just got accepted into the medical weight loss program at the local hospital and will be starting on that product when we begin!’ While I refuse to give weight loss advice (every overweight person has already gotten far too much of that), I am also more than happy to share my experience and strategies – including my successes and failures – with friends… and with people on the Internet who ask me for it. We spent several hours talking about how the program works, what the emotional toll is, and so much more. I never realized that there was so much to say, but two cigars later I cut it short to head out. One of the most important factors to his success will be his family. I know them all and discussed briefly with both of his parents (who came into the garage at different points) what they will need to do to support him, and how important that will be for him when he starts. I also told him that during that first week of shakes only he should sleep on my couch, because he will want to kill someone or everyone all the time. Due to the backlog in the Ontario Bariatric Network – or maybe specifically at his local hospital – he did have his orientation call, but he will not be starting on the program for another year. I told him that I am happy to support him through his journey. He has one advantage over me – he is fifteen years younger than I am. Yes people, that does make a huge difference.

I was listening to CBC radio yesterday morning (as I always do when I take Her Floofness on her morning walk). When the news is over, I will continue to listen to the talk radio station (unless the show Q is on, at which point I immediately switch to Spotify) until we come back home, at which point I usually take my earbuds out. The topic yesterday was obesity, specifically the drug Ozempic. While I will not go into detail about the conversation, I was so happy to hear the guest (a medical doctor) discussing it because she referred to obesity as a chronic disease. I have been dealing with obesity for most of my post-military life, and aside from all of the other programs I have tried (Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and many more), I have been to a number of weight management clinics run by doctors since I started really trying in 2013. In all of that time, I have heard obesity referred to as a disease, but never as chronic. That is so important for us to realize, and it is why most of us, after losing weight and showing such success on whatever program we try, usually gain the weight back. While I have heard wonderful things about Ozempic, I did not realize that it was a drug that one would have to take for the rest of their life. I truly hope that I am able to lose the weight both non-surgically and without medication, but I am also really hoping that this time, once I achieve my long-term weight loss goals, I will be able to maintain it through constant awareness and vigilance. Yes, like any addict I know that I will never have the luxury of ‘just letting myself go for a few days.’ Yes, I will have cheat meals… but I will plan for them in advance, and I will keep them as infrequent as I can. As a diabetic must constantly monitor their blood sugar and insulin, eating and medicating accordingly, I, a sufferer of chronic obesity, will have to constantly monitor what I eat, and cut back and increase my exercise accordingly.

Okay, it is time to head out to the barber. I’ll continue writing when I am back!

I am back, and my face looks cleaner than it has in a very long time. I do not remember when I started growing my beard out again; I do know that my goatee is smaller than it has been since I started wearing it in 2015. I will not post a picture online (nor this article describing it) until Leslie has seen it, which she will do when she is finished with her call. I am excited to see her reaction. In the last four days I have gone from the long rabbi-beard to trimming the full beard short, and now to the clean and subtle goatee. The before and after pictures will show a real contrast!

It is almost 12:30pm, and I am enjoying my second meal replacement of the day. When I went into the freezer to grab an ice cube, I noticed a steak just sitting there. With the major milestones that I have achieved in the last few days, I definitely deserve to reward myself, but I am not going to. I booked my airfare to Dallas this morning for next Wednesday, and I will be there for a week. For that week, I am taking a break from the full program; while I will take care to not go crazy, I will eat with my wife – both at home and in restaurants – during the week. We not have seen each other nearly two months by the time I get there, and I want us to enjoy our short time together. As it is, I will be teaching two of the seven nights that I am there, which will leave us only five evening meals together. Yes, we will have breakfasts and lunches… and I will make a point of eating consciously while I am there. I would not be upset if I returned to Canada up a pound. I would be very disappointed in myself if after a week of splurging I was up five pounds or more. I have to remember to pay attention.

I suppose the lesson of the previous paragraph is the one that I will have to most integrate into everyday life from the moment I am finished on my program – or really, starting now – and for the rest of my life. Constant mindfulness is what I will need in order to achieve and then maintain my goal weight. I will have to remember that. When I am going out to a restaurant, the mindfulness should ideally start well in advance. Once I know what restaurant I will be going to – and by trying to choose only restaurants where it is easy to be good – I should try to look online to see what their food options are, and what the nutritional values of them are. As I discussed with my buddy yesterday, calories are the measurement that so many focus on, but in fact it is neither calories nor fat that are the real problems. It is carbohydrates and starches that cause most of our obesity. So yes, the menu in many restaurants will list the caloric values of each dish, but by looking them up in advance I can choose in advance the truly healthier meals. I use that word in the context of the restaurant, because as I have said many times, with few exceptions there is really no such thing as a truly healthy meal at a restaurant. By being informed and mindful of what I order, and then not letting myself get tempted by my eyes, I hope it is possible to get slim and healthy… and to stay that way.

To be clear, my breaking from the strict program is only for the week that I am away. As soon as I am back in Canada I am resuming from where I left off: four meal replacements per day, and nothing else. I have given it some thought, and realize that if I am vigilant with it, it would not be unrealistic to get to my next major milestone by the beginning of March. On September 27, 2020, I weighed 260.4 lbs. This morning I weigh thirty-four pounds more than that. If I can stick to the strict program for six weeks (minus my week in Dallas), then that is very possible. We’ll see.

Okay, my wife has seen my goatee and approves. Now I can not only publish this entry, but I can also post a picture on Facebook! I told her that I would love to post before and after pictures, which got me thinking… My weight loss before picture is from January 20, and I took an interim picture to post side-by-side on my blog on August 7 (Day 200), when I was seventy pounds down. Maybe it is time to take a new picture for that comparison. I will wait until next week when I am in Dallas; if for no other reason, there is nobody on earth who looks at me with such love and admiration as Leslie, so why not have her take the picture? Of course, it would be great if I can drop another 6-7 lbs. in the meantime… but that is not why I am waiting. Frankly, I do not feel comfortable asking friends to take that sort of picture. It was my son the elder who took the last one, and he is taking a bit of a time-out from me.

I just booked an appointment to have my blue sports jacket altered; I will head over there this afternoon, and I asked if I could pick it up by next Tuesday… before I fly to Dallas. I like dressing up for my wife, and with my best shirts and suits and stuff finally fitting properly, I can finally do it without looking like a schlub.

Have a great day folks!

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