Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Very Bearable Lightness of Being

This morning was "weigh day," so I turned on the shower, and while it was warming up I stepped onto the scale. When the number that appeared showed a 5 pound loss, I stepped off, let the scale reset, then stepped back on. The same number appeared again. Just to make sure the scale wasn't messing with me, I stepped off one more time then stepped back on. The same number popped up. I figured three times in a row wasn't a fluke. The next thought that entered my mind was: did I have 5 pounds worth of flesh removed with my surgery? I'm pretty sure I did.

One of the most notable changes I'm experiencing since the surgery is how light I feel. Pre-surgery, I was constantly adjusting, re-adjusting, and uncomfortable. Sports bras were the worst comfort offenders, mostly because I had to wear two to really get any support out of them. Back when I was into the sprint triathlons, I had to wear either two sports bras or one really tight sports bra to keep the melons in check. The downside to minimizing their moving about was I could barely breathe, which is so not conducive to running a 5k. Now, I reach points in the day where I realize I've not had to adjust my clothing, and I'm not thinking about how uncomfortable my clothing is. I like that I "forget" about a part of my self that used to be very troublesome. Maybe when I'm completely healed up, I'll give running another try. Who knows, I might find my "lightness" translate to running a faster 5k.

To date, I'm 12 pounds down since my consult, when I learned how much I'd gained over the last year and a half. The moment I stepped onto the scale then and saw the number, I vowed I was going to make a change. I started logging everything that goes into my mouth, and I mean everything. I set my caloric intake at a reasonable 1500 calories a day, but I'm coming in under that most days. I reduced even further the amount of refined sugar I consume (but yeah, I allow myself a cupcake here and there), and I moved away from low-fat foods. It's whole milk for me these days (or raw milk when I make the time to drive out to the farm to get it), and as fat-filled yogurt and cottage cheese as I can get (which takes a lot of hunting--most grocery stores only carry the low-fat or nonfat varieties--so I'm on a quest to begin making my own yogurt). I also reduced the amount of carbs I eat that come from grains, rarely eating any kind of bread. In the six weeks between the consult and the surgery, I lost 7 pounds. With the 5 pounds since the surgery, I'm now only 3 pounds away from goal (I'm pretty sure I'll reset the goal, but for now, I'm just a mere 3 pounds away). While I'd like to be able to eat anything and everything, I simply can't. My 50-year-old body needs limits and responds best to those limits.

This afternoon I have my check-up with the doc. I'm hoping he's as happy with the healing as I am. The swelling is much less, the bruises are fading, and the pain is only here and there (weird little surges of pain that come out of nowhere and only last for a few seconds). I'm also hoping he clears me to get back on the bike. I'm pretty sure I'm ready, and I'm eager to see if my new-found "lightness" translates to climbing hills even faster than before.


Thryn said...


Randall Brison said...

JK, I really admire your courage and transparency. To me, that is the essential skill of a writer.

Your diet prompted me to comment because I've been on nearly the same track as you for the past 5 weeks. I've not eaten wheat or processed sugar products, even cutting back on fruit to the point I've had maybe three or four servings total in all that time. As part of staying away from grains, I've tried to avoid gluten in any form, as well as vegetable oils.

(I do eat out with family and friends, so no telling what is added in the kitchen. Usually I eat salads with no dressing.)

I began eating that way because of the book Grain Brain by Dr. Perlmutter. He cites studies to show a strong relationship between high blood sugar, insulin resistance, and cognitive / neurological problems. That got my attention since my mom's side of the family has both diabetes and Alzheimers, which Perlmutter says could be a third form of diabetes.

If you haven't seen his research or something similar, then brain protection may be an unexpected blessing for you.

From a my experience, two great things have happened since I began this diet.

1. It seems like everything non-essential in me is gone as far as weight, but I'm amazed at how well my stomach has been working. After years of struggling with digestive problems, when choosing to eat my fill led to acid reflux or some other problem, I am eating more than enough to be satisfied with very few problems.

2. The mouth sores (mouth ulcers, canker sores) which plagued me since just after we were in school together are gone. They have been so bad that I've gone to a doctor to burn them off my tongue, and they've even affected my inner ear and given me vertigo problems. Can't tell you how thankful I am for that healing.

And by the way, Perlmutter also says the best way to help our brains is intense physical exertion, at least 20 minutes a day. Can't say what the future will bring -- that's in God's hands -- but I've said for a long time that running or biking is the best drug I've ever had.

So there you go -- some more food for thought (pun intended:)

I pray you and yours are blessed, my friend. May God continue to heal you so that you can get back on the road.

Peace, Randy

JK said...

Such wonderful food for thought! I haven't read Perlmutter, but I'm now intrigued and will check him out. I'm so happy to hear you're seeing positive changes/healing by eliminating some foods. I'm totally convinced the refined sugar was the culprit for my sciatica pain. Since I stopped consuming it for the most part, the pain went away and I've not had days of constant discomfort. I'm pretty happy with my diet these days. I do eat fruits as I see them as "real food" with too many positives to ignore. Pretty much what I eat is real food, leaving the processed foods on the shelf.

I hope you continue to see your body healing. It's such a great feeling, isn't it!

Randall Brison said...

Yes, a great feeling. Thanks much for the encouragement. Be blessed this day :)