I’m fat. I even blogged about it a couple of years ago. I’m fat. I claim that word; I own it. I’m not particularly proud of it, but, heck, it’s true. I’m a big guy. A chubbo. A slob.
There’s another term that applies, not a cultural term, but a medical one. I’m also morbidly obese, with several co-morbidities. That’s what my doctor said recently. And my weight is a problem, medically speaking. And so it’s time to lose it.
This summer, I learned that the clinic where I go for most of my health care problems offered a weight loss program. I signed up. I was assigned a nutritionist–the estimable Megan–and have a rotating group of three doctors who co-supervise. And I’ve lost just under 80 pounds since this summer.
In my first meeting with my nutritionist, I told her about my theory of weight loss. I call it “Fat Spock.” Spock, on Star Trek, was all about logic. ‘That is not logical’ was his favorite put-down, in his many disputes with Dr. McCoy. I figure, it’s illogical to eat more food than you need to sustain yourself. Getting fat is not logical. It’s all tied to habits and emotions and feelings and self-worth and body image and our society’s obsession with appearance and presentation. I have to ignore all that. I have to be Spock about this. Do I need that candy bar, that ice cream, that brownie? I do not. It is therefore illogical to eat it.
Megan likes that: ‘Fat Spock.’ Says it’s going to be the title of her book, when she gets around to writing one. I told her she was welcome to it.
I told Megan from the beginning that what I wanted was a program that was medically supervised and scientifically valid. That’s what they’ve got me on. I bought a bathroom scale, and weigh myself on it every morning, pretty much at the same time every day. I also got the Fitness Pal app on my phone, log every single morsel I eat. Fitness Pal then tells me how much protein I’m eating, how much fat, how many carbs. Just points out where I could do better. I also bought a Fitbit, which nags at me if I don’t make my exercise goals.
Do I feel better, healthier, skinner? Sometimes. I can’t fit into my clothes anymore, and that’s a good thing. Baggy clothes fit nicely with my homeless hobo aesthetic. I needed (and got for Christmas) a new belt. Down three pants sizes. I’m not about to pat myself on the back, though. Self-congratulations is an emotional response, and emotion is the enemy here.
I also have a long way to go. I also feel pretty crappy most of the time. Dizzy, disoriented, nauseous. That’s because most of the weight I have lost has been water weight, and I’m pretty much constantly dehydrated. I take water pills, but I hope to reach a point where they are no longer needed.
As I said, though, emotions are the enemy. I can’t get down on myself if I have a bad day. I’m like a good quarterback who throws an interception. If he beats himself up over it, if he gets down on himself, it may prevent him from making a better play next time. It gets in the way. It’s not helpful.
And see, that’s the problem with weight loss. Getting fat is illogical. We tend to view fatness as having a moral dimension which, frankly, it doesn’t. We say ‘I don’t have the self-discipline to stick to a diet.’ We think, ‘I’m a big fat slob, and I can’t do this.’ I’m fat, I’m ugly, I’m lacking self-control, I’m not strong enough. I deserve this.’
None of those thoughts, none of those feelings are helpful. Megan won’t even let me say I’m on a diet, because of the emotional baggage that word carries. Feelings get in the way. And they are, absolutely, Not True. I’m not a fat, sloppy, inconsistent slob. I’m a successful person in lots of ways. I just need to do this thing, this weight loss thing. And if I have a bad day, cheat, eat something I shouldn’t or not walk when I should, well, okay. That happened. Yesterday. Has nothing to do with today.
Right now, the estimable Megan has me on something called optifast. It consists of soup, energy bars, and shakes. I can eat five a day, in any combination. The shakes are kinda chalky; the protein bars taste like cardboard, the soup’s too thin. Doesn’t matter. They’re nutritious and therefore helpful. I also get one meal of, you know, actual real food. I’m allowed one small piece of meat, a multi-grain pasta or rice, and lots of veggies and fruits. That’s dinner. I eat around 1200 calories daily, but those calories are packed, meet all my nutritional needs.
It also probably isn’t going to be enough. By the time I’m done with this, I will have lost around 240 lbs. I’ve lost 76. A good start, but I have a long way to go. Very likely, bariatric surgery will be needed; I’m prepared for that, though the estimable Megan wants to see how optifast works for me first.
I’m fat. But I’m being Spock about it. It really is illogical to be fat. Time to let logic take over.