When I was doing Atkins the first time, I started writing a nonfiction book about being low-carb and loving it. The other day, I stumbled on these pages again. They read a lot like blog posts, so I thought, “Why not share them like they are?”
When I moved to Flagstaff in 1999, my poor eating habits followed me. I often found an excuse to call out for pizza or cruise through the nearest fast-food drive-thru. Usually, that excuse was as simple as “I don’t feel like cooking.”
If all those bad food choices weren’t packing on additional pounds, I was at least maintaining a weight that was way too high. I began to dread visits to the doctor, because I knew he’d tell me I needed to lose weight.
Like I needed to spend my hard-earned cash for him to tell me what I already knew. I was fat. Why give the doctor money to point it out yet again?
But Flagstaff is an outdoorsy kind of place. Everywhere you look, there are people biking, walking their dogs, hiking … doing all the healthy things I knew I should start doing.
Even that guilt wasn’t enough to prod me into a serious diet and exercise plan. I knew I was fat, but didn’t want to give up the foods that made me that way. It was much easier to keep eating what I wanted while paying lip service to weight loss than to actually do something that would lead to weight loss.
The kick in the butt I needed to make the jump from talk to action came in the summer of 2003.
That was the year I lost both parents — and my grandma — within two months.
My Mom went into the hospital Memorial Day weekend, after complaining for days that she couldn’t breathe. Finally, she visited her doctor (she hated visiting the doctor more than I did) and he told her she had congestive heart failure. He gave her a choice between going to the hospital for tests and taking pills. Hating the hospital even more than the doctor, she chose the pills, which her doc said would help her breathe better within a week.
When the week was up and she still was no better, her friend Ruth made her go to the hospital — where she was told she’d had a heart attack … and that she had diabetes. The diabetes had gone undiagnosed for who knows how long (though my brother and I have our suspicions).
Long story short(er), she ended up having bypass surgery. While she was still in the cardiac ICU making slow progress in her recovery, Dad collapsed in the front yard. Neighbors called the ambulance, and he was admitted to the hospital with a fever of 105 degrees and an “unknown infection.” Turned out to be lymphoma. He was dead a week later.
After we told Mom the news, she seemed to give up. She died a couple of weeks later, necessitating my third flight back to Indiana in two months. We made her funeral arrangements in Churubusco and then my brother and his wife went back to Chicago to work the next day. Grandma died that night, so we ended up having her viewing one evening and funeral the next morning, then driving back to Busco for Mom’s viewing that night and funeral the next day.
It was after Mom died that I got serious about losing weight. She was only 59, for God’s sake, and it was basically her fat that killed her.
OK, technically, it was the kidney failure. But that was the fault of her undiagnosed diabetes, which probably weakened both her heart and kidneys.
Not wanting to end up dead before 60, I decided it was time to lose weight. But how? Having tried every diet under the sun (yes, even the Cabbage Soup Diet), I didn’t hold out much hope for success.
To be continued …