Sunday, February 22, 2009

Boing, Boing, Boing!

You know, sometimes unhappiness can be a great motivator. The mood I was in when I wrote the last post was me hitting bottom, and all this week I've been bouncing back up off that bottom. It's quite pleasant and invigorating.

I think some of it is the new medication... though only a week and a half into it, now that the horrible-nightmare-side-effect is gone, I am seeing some results... but just being on a new medication feels like "doing something."

And since I love a theme, when I started the new meds, it seemed like a good idea to add more "doing something"s to the mix. So when I was at the Kaiser pharmacy getting my lithium prescription filled, I bought this cute little book they had at the counter, a ten-week food-and-exercise journal from Calorie King (a damned useful website, with a food info database that can't be beat), in which you record all the food you eat, counting calories and fat grams as well as carbohydrate grams and protein grams; you also record your exercise for the day, and take body measurements every week and summarize your food/exercise averages.

On Monday I sat down with the book, not long after finishing that last post, and read through some of its suggestions and figured out what I was going to do to lose some weight. Now, I knew from previous diets that if you cut four hundred calories off your daily intake, you should lose three pounds a week; and if I manage to lose three pounds a week for the ten weeks of this journal, that would be a satisfyingly substantial thirty pounds. A person of my size should take in around 2400 calories a day to maintain weight, so I'm trying to limit myself to 2000 calories.

Thus far it's been a smashing success. All this week I've been averaging 1600 calories (food minus exercise), and taking in perfectly healthy amounts of protein and vitamins while I'm at it. I'm eating a lot of vegetables (and I mean a lot, like four servings just for lunch), replacing dairy with lean meats (turkey is a great night-time snack), avoiding empty starches and getting my carbs from whole grain whenever possible (like multi-grain bread instead of white), and drinking absolute gallons of water every day. I've almost completely cut out sweets, only indulging if it's a special occasion (like a birthday) and even then having only the tiniest sliver of cake or pie. And I'm trying to get to the gym for at least twenty minutes of cardio every day, though so far I've only managed three out of seven days.

I haven't weighed and measured yet (I intend to do that in the morning), but even if I haven't lost weight or girth yet, I have to say that I feel a hell of a lot better. I'm standing up straighter, I'm sleeping better, I have fewer headaches, and my mood is dancing on the verge of actual happiness.

Hopefully, it will last and isn't just a temporary side-effect of the new meds... but even if it doesn't last, I think I'm developing some really good habits. I'm learning a lot about food, too... like, I never would have guessed that pork loin is lower in calories, equal in fat, and higher in protein than beef loin... DuBuque canned ham in particular is surprisingly low-cal. And I'm finding a great deal of satisfaction in eating a steam-bag of veggies with sliced turkey instead of a sandwich for lunch... more filling and I have more energy in the afternoon. And I discovered that the treadmills at the gym each have their own personal TV attached! No more ESPN and MSNBC with subtitles, I can watch whatever I want!

So anyway, that's what this week has been like. I'll check in again next week, or sooner if something interesting occurs to me.


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