On days when I am going to the doctor’s office for my regular ‘official’ weigh-in, I do not wake up earlier or later than I would on any other day. If the appointment is for 9:00am I might set an alarm, but even then, I know that I rarely sleep in late enough to need it. This morning’s appointment is at 9:40am, and it was only because I have not been sleeping as well as I need to that I set an alarm for 7:00am. I wake up and follow my morning bathroom routine before taking Princess Sophie for her walk. When we come in, as I would almost any other day, I sit down at my computer and start writing my daily journal entry… or if I started writing the article the previous evening, I will continue writing it.
The only difference between any other day and the days when I go to the doctor is that on these days, I usually do not make my morning coffee, and I usually will not make my morning meal replacement until I am back from the doctor’s office. I know that I will be stepping onto the scale within an hour or so, and I do not want to add those extra ounces or grams to the result. And so, I will sit here at one of my desks, typing the beginning of my journal entry onto one of my computers, trying to ignore the hunger, and the malaise that comes with not having my regular first cup or two of coffee in the morning.
It is not unusual for my appointment to be at 9:40am (as it is today), which means that I will be back at my desk shortly before 11:00am. I will get home and immediately press brew on the coffee pot (I might not drink it in the morning, but I prepare the pot to brew as soon as I am home) and I prepare my morning meal replacement… even though the morning is mostly over.
Most of the time, I know what the doctor’s scale is going to say. I will not know exactly, but I will already have weighed myself at home, and although there are some factors that result in my home reading and the doctor’s office reading not being the same, I know that for every pound I dropped on my bathroom scale since the day of my previous visit, I will have dropped a pound on the doctor’s scale… once I have converted pounds into kilograms.
Because of all that, I know that when I get onto the scale later this morning, I know my weight should read about four kilograms down from two weeks ago, the metric equivalent of a nine-pound drop. That, my fair reader, is nothing to sneeze at. Losing that kind of weight in two weeks is amazing. Knowing privately that I have actually lost 90% of that weight in one week is even more amazing. Of course, there is the small fact that I stopped eating solid foods, and probably dropped my caloric input by 500 calories… not to mention that I have not cheated at all. I am not going to hide that fact from the doctor or the nurse; in fact, I am going to ask them if they can support me even more with that program. I will also tell them about my plans for the foreseeable future… including my plan to take a week off of the extreme program when I am in Dallas. I am in the middle of writing an article for my professional blog right now based on the premise that there are four people in life that you should not lie to: Your doctor, your lawyer, your bartender, and your banker. I want my doctor’s support on my journey. Lying to him would do nobody any good.
Last night I was quite tired during my class. I considered making a Royal Milk Tea, as I have during so many of my evening classes over these last few months. That would provide me with the caffeine boost I would need to stay awake. I then remembered that I know the calorie content of the RMT, but I do not know the other values – sugar, carbohydrates, and such. I decided to skip the tea, and I tried to remember to cover my mouth when I yawned. If I am going to practice mindfulness, I am going to have to consider the pros and cons of everything that I ingest. During the intensive phase of my program, I am already cheating by drinking coffee – with non-milk and sugar to boot! – and I also had a couple of lozenges to keep my throat going during class. I decided that I would rather be tired, and not add yet another cheat to the intensive program… especially not the night before my official weigh-in!
(This morning, I decided to look it up. Each cup of Royal Milk Tea has 7g of carbohydrates, and 6g of sugars. I am glad I opted to not drink it.)
I have an app on my phone that I should be using religiously when I start eating solid foods again… and that includes next week in Dallas, when I take my week-long break from the program. MyFitnessPal allows me to look up the nutritional value of just about any food you can think of, including many popular restaurants. If your product has a barcode, you can scan it and it will immediately tell you what is in it. It will also track your food throughout the day. It takes a day or two to get used to entering or scanning every food that you eat, but once you get started, it is pretty intuitive. For someone like myself, who often has the same (or similar) meal often, you can save meals and just copy it to the next day. Had I thought to use this app last night, I would have known immediately about the 6g of sugars in a serving of Royal Milk Tea. When I am not restricting my caloric intake to 950 very predictable calories per day (four meal replacements, three cups of coffee with a total of 1tsp of Sugar in the Raw and as much as 2oz of not-milk), I should be using this app religiously to scan, measure, and track everything that I eat. I will try to remember to do that… that will be a big help to my mindfulness!
According to the bathroom scale, I am down another .4 lb. this morning, but on days when I am seeing the doctor, I am much more interested in what his scale will tell me. Especially since this is my first weigh-in since starting the strict program, I am excited… but I know that if I leave now (8:45am) then I might get weighed earlier… but I am still going to be sitting in his waiting room for however long it will take. Better I sit her for a few more minutes, writing my journal entry, and compiling my thoughts.
I changed my mind ever so slightly about this morning’s routine. I am going to prepare my coffee right now and will take my first cup to go. I have a really good to-go cup that will keep it hot and fresh so that when I step off the scale (and the blood pressure monitor is complete) then I can start right away. It is not that I am excessively hungry right now; I do not have a lot of energy and feel like that first jolt of caffeine would really hit the spot.
Okay, it is now about 9:15, and I can safely head out. I’ll see you back here in an hour and a half. Trust me, for you the time will really fly!
I told you I wouldn’t be long, right? It is 10:50am and I am back at my desk with my cup of coffee and my morning meal replacement. The nurse took one look at me as I walked in and told me she was certain I had lost more weight. I did not say anything to her other than ‘I hope so!’ When the scale stabilized at a 4.4kg drop, she was indeed surprised… and I was kvelling. The doctor and I discussed my current strategy and progress, as long as a brief discussion of the emotional maelstrom I have been going through of late. He was surprised that through it all I have lost weight, as most people would have turned to food and drink. He is glad that I am optimistic about the steps we are taking to fix things, and that I am seeing a therapist. We also discussed the improvements that both Leslie and I have noticed since I started on the medications, and he gave me a new prescription so that I can refill it as necessary.
Before coming home, I dropped the prescription off at the pharmacy, and hoped that they would have oat milk. They did not, so I decided to make a quick run to the supermarket to get some. At the same time, I picked up coffee beans, and a bottle of windshield wiper fluid. It is not easy to get in and out of the supermarket without succumbing to temptation, but I managed to escape unscathed. I needed to search for the oat milk – it turns out that the things-other-than-cows-that-we-now-milk products are in the organic foods section at this supermarket, and not with the milk and cream as at the other one I was at last week. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was not fond of the almond milk, and that when I was finished with the container, I would either go back to cow-juice, or try a different varietal. Two friends told me that I should try oat milk next, as that was what they found the tastiest. The last of the almond milk is in my current cup of coffee (number 2), which means that the great oat milk experiment of 2023 will be starting within the hour. I will report tomorrow how I like it.
I had an interesting conversation with the nurse and the receptionist at the office today. She asked me how much I have lost so far, and I told her proudly that it was now slightly over one hundred pounds, but that I also have a long way to go. She said that ‘the first hundred pounds is the hardest!’ I told her that I do not believe that at all. Yes, starting to lose weight is hard… and sticking with it is even harder. That said, if when I weighed 375 lbs. I had cheated, it was possible that I would still lose weight. If we look back on my journey, there were days when I had what I thought was a reasonable serving of peanuts, and I lost weight the next morning. When my weight loss was stalled a few months ago I looked it up, and it turned out that the helping of peanuts I ate was really four servings, and I was regularly eating 700+ calories worth of peanuts. In the first months I would still lose weight, because my body was still used to burning close to 3,000 calories per day. After writing that sentence, I decided to see what it really was; according to my smart scale app, my Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) on January 23 last year was 2,884. That means that if I sat in a chair all day and did no exercise, my body would burn that many calories for the energy that I needed to get by. This week that number is 2,280. Absent any activity, the body burns more calories and therefore you lose more weight the fatter you are… which is why a larger person can eat more than a smaller person and still maintain their weight. On the other hand, the slimmer you are, the more active you are able to be. A year ago, there is no way that I could have gone to the gym and worked out the way I do now (although not yet as regularly as I should). Exercise not only burns calories, but it also boosts your metabolism so that your body will continue to burn more calories for hours after your workout is done.
What is the verdict? If we round up the amount of weight, I needed to lose at the beginning of this journey to two hundred pounds, which hundred would be easier, the first or the second? The answer is neither. There is no such thing as an easier-to-lose hundred pounds. Losing that much weight is extremely difficult, and the factors involved in continuing to lose weight do not only fluctuate by hundred, they actually change drastically for every five or ten pounds lost. Will the next ten pounds that I lose be easier or harder than the last ten pounds that I lost? Until you realize that every pound to lose is a struggle and that every pound lost is a victory, you cannot begin to fathom the difficulties involved in the first pound right to the last one.
I will add to this that people who go on a diet to lose ten pounds or twenty will look at someone like me in awe. In truth, I understand that their comparatively miniscule weight loss goals are dwarfed in comparison with the successes I have already achieved, as well as with my future goals. I suspect that for them, the 10-20 pounds might be as difficult to lose as my 180-200 pounds. Not only do we have to consider the percentage of body weight differences, but also the fact that I had to get into a mindset and commit myself to a multi-year journey. Most people do not realize that even on the most extreme programs, most diet professionals tell their patients to expect no more than a 1–2-pound drop per week. When I embarked on my journey, I knew that I would be working at it for at the most optimistic a year, and more realistically for 2-3 years. In fact, had my body trusted those professionals, that 200-pound drop would take nearly four years. Yes, the heavier you are, the quicker the weight will come off… but that tapers off. If someone who weighs 150lbs. wants to drop to 135lbs. they might think that it would take a week or two. In fact, it can be a 2–3-month journey. I mention all of this to say that huge weight loss and minor weight loss are absolutely different… but that does not mean that one is easier than the other.
I could continue to go on with this topic, but it is approaching noon, and I have another article (for my professional blog) that I have been meaning to write. I am sure I will have plenty of thoughts to bloviate about tomorrow.
Have a great day folks!