Thursday, September 26, 2013

The One Year Lifestyle Commitment

The day after I woke up from the surgery, the Neurosurgeons came to visit me. They asked if I was in any pain. I told them my head was fine, but my right hip was in agony. The lead doctor said, “You were laying on your right side for the nine hours of the surgery. It is normal to have some soreness. In your case, the pain will be worse than most people.” He paused, looked at the other doctor (as though they had considered saying something) and then back at me. “You’re a very large man, Dave. For your health, you really need to loose a fair amount of weight.” I agreed with them and was thrilled when a week of hospital food resulted in a 5 kilogram loss. I was on my way!

I told my GP this when I went to my next checkup and he said, “Yes you do. But you know that. We have talked about it before.” True... It’s their job, they tell you what you need to do to get healthy. I agreed that I would take care in my diet and get more exercise. At the next GP visit I had gained the five kilo’s back. He told me I would need to see a Dietician (he wrote me a note for the Dietician) and he sent me to get blood work done. The next GP visit (these are around 3 weeks apart) I hadn’t seen the dietician and the bloods were back. My GP was not happy. “You’re cholesterol has gone way up since last year. Can you think of anything you have done differently?” 

Uh... Brain surgery? lol 

But, excuses get you nowhere! So, I said, “I’ve been sitting around trying to get up more. I’m getting better every day.” He shook his head. “What did the dietician say?” Ummm... “You are going to the dietician!” He interpreted my lack of attendance at the dietician as a need for financial help and he solved the problem, doing some paperwork that gave me four free meetings, or some such thing. That was July 23.

I decided that all the doctors couldn’t be wrong. I need to loose weight. Time to get serious. Nobody can change me but me. 

Over the past few years, I have noticed a few very clear signs that my body was not healthy. I couldn’t go on long walks. Hills were tough and stairs were killers! Then there are the lifestyle things. Very few shops sell clothes that fit me and the sizes are clearly generated randomly - a 2X in one brand can be the same size as a 5X in another. Some small cars are made for small butts - finding out which cars is hit and squish. When on a flight, there is no ‘convenient time’ to ask a stewardess for a seatbelt extender (yes such things exist!) and you wont know you need one until you try to put the belt on, as they are different lengths in every seat. Household chairs need to be studied before sat on - some are too weak, others are too narrow (narrow chairs with armrests are made by evil skinny people!)... If you have never been large, you’re probably surprised by some of this. I’m actually glad I got to experience the world of the beautiful people I used to make judgmental comments about. “If I ever get that big, shoot me for meat.”  “Anyone who looks like that just doesn’t care about what they look like.”  “Fat people are lazy!”  

The next visit to my GP was August 13. As I walked in, he asked, “How are you today?” I answered “5 kilo’s lighter than last time.” He looked like he’d just won the lottery. “You went to see the Dietician!”

“No,” I said, “I just decided it was time to get serious about loosing weight.” Then I told him the truth. “I am a Seventh-day Adventist Pastor. I know everything a dietician is going to tell me because I have researched, read and presented most of it in health lectures." It’s been about 10 years since I have talked on health because I didn’t feel I represented the content! I explained to him that Adventists are passionate about health and health reform. But some of us are know-it-alls who don’t do-it-all... So, I’ve decided to put into practice what I know.

I don’t enjoy challenges or competitions. I am not a competitive person. Never have been. We all excel in areas that we enjoy. I enjoy stage performance (storytelling/preaching), creative writing, eclectic reading. riding my motorcycle, and learning new things. I am an explorer, not a politician. I am a creative, not a systems thinker. So... loosing weight — for me needs to be creative and effective. If it doesn’t work, I’ll get bored. If it isn’t creative, I’ll get bored. And for me, boredom is a death sentence.

So, here’s how I see it. The body is a machine. If you put diesel in a petrol engine it will die. Our bodies, amazingly, can take something as foreign as diesel to a petrol engine and run smoothly. Our bodies are extremely robust and efficient. You can eat offal processed in toxic chemicals, deep fried in oil and served in a white-cardboard bun and your body will pull it to bits, send the good bits out to be used for energy, store the sort-of good bits for later energy and plop out the bad bits it couldn’t use. Imagine if your car did that! We’d be filling our petrol-tanks with rubbish! Just like many of us do to our bodies.

I decided to figure out, through knowledge combined with trial over time, what my engine actually needs to run at optimum efficiency while burning fuel reserves that have been processed earlier and set aside for a rainy day. My rainy day is here. And, from looking at the number of Kilo’s I need to loose, we can expect a year of rain in these parts! 

This entry marks the end of Month 2. 

11 Kilograms gone!

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