Happiness and Losing Weight
To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear. ~ Buddha
So as regular readers know I’ve settled in a new job, new place, new house and after two years of traveling and having not great health insurance I’ve also been setting about getting all of my routine health screenings done. I went to the eye doctor and in to get a physical. I expected that I was in ok condition, I was working out regularly, had lost a couple of pounds and was getting back to eating right after not paying much attention for some time. I was wrong. I had been taking a supplement that it turns out was impacting my high blood pressure medication and the day of my appointment was the middle of an incredibly stressful week at work. So I sat down and they took my blood pressure and it was 170/90, the highest it has been since before I began taking medication 15 years ago.
We did all of the standard blood tests and there would be more bad news, my blood sugar was once again about the line to qualify me as a Type II diabetic, my triglycerides were a little high and my thyroid numbers were low. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t quite depressing, however like I said, I had already started eating a bit better, I was working out regularly so it is a matter of making more changes. Part of that of course is losing weight. I once weighed 250 pounds and when I moved to California in 2002 I lost 40 pounds and got down to around 210. I have floated between 210 and 220 for the last 15 years, I came of the Appalachian Trail last year at around 207 but had gotten back to about 210 when I reached my new home.
So, it is time to lose weight again and honestly it feels like 2002 again, I’m committed to it and have been taking it very seriously. So far I’ve dropped from 210 to 194, what I weighed this morning. My first goal was to be under 200 by my birthday in August and I made it. My next goal is to make 193 by October 1st and it looks like I’ll make that as well. My final goal is to make 180 by the end of the year. I haven’t weighed 180 probably since I was in high school.
People naturally want to know how I’m doing it and I’d love to tell you all that I’ve discovered some magical way to do it. Heck, I’d be a billionaire if I’d figured out an easy way to lose weight, I haven’t. The thing with me is that I LOVE food, I love to eat, I love to cook and I typically eat for three. Throw in an absolute addictive love of Coca-cola and pizza and well, it’s quite easy for me to consume 2500 – 3000 calories in a day. So for me to lose weight it comes down to a few things, reducing portion size, cutting down to one coke and a slice of pizza a week, and really cutting back on carbs. It’s funny how things slip in, I thought I was actually eating ok, but once I started thinking about it, I had to change my mind.
When I get ice before the gym at a fast food place I’d do a little shot of coke prior to just filling the cup with ice. Then of course there would be a day or two where I would end up drinking a whole coke. I was eating a lot of chicken wings and of course they were breaded, there was a cookie or three here or there, the occasional chicken sandwich at the fast food place. Even the pot of soup I made each week had barley, rice, carrots so all of that had to change. So the fast food places are ice only and the occasionally taco salad without rice and I don’t eat the shell. My soups, beyond the carbs contained in vegetables are carb-free, no carrots, rice, or barley. My dinners are now meat and vegetables, a lot more salads. But it’s not boring food, I make a mean funky chicken salad, cucumber bean salads, no-pasta lasagna, chilli and lots of stir fries. Water and the occasional cup of tea are all that I drink and although I usually allow myself a cheat day each week, I really haven’t been using them. Although I did for my birthday weekend and after going super low-carb for two weeks after that, I took a cheat day this past Friday. However, I am proud to say I haven’t had a coke in over four weeks. I continue to workout five days a week. It’s working, it takes some willpower and discipline but all in all it hasn’t been terribly hard.
I handled the blood pressure issue by getting off the supplement and returning to my daily meditations in the morning and evening. I’ve adjusted my attitude at work a bit and in fact the other morning, pre-meds I was 127/72 so things are back on track there. I have an appointment this week to get put on thyroid medicine, this one might be big. There have been some things I’ve been dealing with over the last year that make a lot of sense in light of the thyroid issue. Some skin issues, sleep disruption, needing some extra sleep and I’ve been fighting off my mood dips a lot more than I should be given what’s going on my life and how happy I legitimately am. So after a few weeks hopefully my body and brain chemistries we’ll be back in line. One upside, higher thyroxin levels should also increase my metabolism a bit an maybe make it a little easier to make my goals.
So that’s all well and good my friends but what’s the lesson here related to happiness? The lesson comes from how I’ve been dealing with all of this. It always comes back to the basics, taking care of yourself and your attitude. I’ve been tired so I go to bed earlier, working out and eating better help all of this. For me, as I’ve written about before, I write away the darkness, so in my poetry I rage or explore the pain in my heart and my head, if I write it out I feel better. Also, I make the decision to try and stay positive, I write this blog, I express gratitude for what I have and I remember to both give myself a break, and some downtime every day. It’s a simple formula but it works and it can work for you my friends and help you have happier days. ~ Rev Kane
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