I have this weird thing about my weight: I don’t want to know the numbers.
You know the ubiquitous “they” – the collective yet unnamed entity that has been passing down human wisdom since time out of mind? When “they” say, “What you don’t know won’t hurt you,” they know what they’re talking about. Facing the raw numbers can be extremely demoralizing.
So I always say to the nurse, “Don’t tell me; I don’t want to know.” Nurse turnover in these parts seems to be fairly high, so the first couple of times I see a nurse, she (or he) will give me an odd look. Sometimes she even scribbles furtive notes, no doubt letting the doctor know there’s something seriously wrong with the broad about to mount the scales. After a while, though, they get used to this quirk.
One nurse was determined to give me the unwanted quote. Since she was a Cherokee County native, I interrupted her and said, “I haven’t used my free killin’ yet.” She got the picture. I then proceeded with my usual routine: I took off my shoes, closed my eyes, and stepped ever-so-lightly onto the scale, hoping to cheat it out of a pound or two with my delicate tread. I improve my odds in other ways, too; I always wear the most lightweight clothing I can if I know someone’s going to force me on a scale, and I never eat beforehand.
You might not admit it, but unless you’re a stick-person, you’ve done it, too. And if you and those nurses think my weigh-in routine is weird, you ought to try swimming laps with me. All my swimming companions know I won’t use a lane that forces me to swim over a drain. Not if I can help it. You just never know when you might get sucked down.
A set of scales can suck you down, too – right into the pit of depression. I have always told my doctors, that
I’ll eventually get to the point where they can reveal my weight. I’ll know when the time comes, I tell them – kind of like a woman just “knows” when her water breaks, even if it’s her first pregnancy. But the truth is, I’ve never braced for impact and said, “Go ahead and tell me.” I always say, “Another 20 pounds and you can tell me.” It never works out, because I never lose the 20 pounds.
Last December, my rheumatologist repeated his mantra of “You have to lose 35 pounds.” Prior to 2013, I had less to lose, but that year – well, let’s just say anyone who worked at the Daily Press had good reason to engage in binge eating – or alcoholism, or drug abuse, or anything else that might stave off the insanity. Fortunately, that situation
resolved itself. Unfortunately, my weight did not.
But the revelation in early January that I have Type 2 diabetes was enough to get me moving. Or perhaps I should say, eating right, since I was already moving. I’ve been a regular exerciser for a long time, with swimming, yoga and weight-lifting part of my regimen. None of that matters; without the proper diet, you won’t really lose weight.
The proper diet, as it turns out, is the low-carbohydrate kind. About a week ago, my primary-care physician assured me I had lost 32 pounds since she rendered the diagnosis. I don’t look any thinner to myself, but I can now wear my smallest pair of jeans. The muffin-top is disarming, but I’m told it will eventually go away. If it does go away, perhaps it will join what little rear-end I used to have, which relocated to another dimension around the 20- pound-loss mark.
Low-carb diets are effective and quick, but they’re not much fun. Low-carbers are told not to eat anything “white” – white rice, flour, sugar, potatoes, and so on. And I hate spurning pasta and bread. I can do without sweets (except Walker Shortbread, White-Fudge Dipped Oreos and my own homemade pies, cakes and cookies). My boss, also a diabetic, shares some of these same problem foods. When I was talking about the aforementioned cookies and jalapeño Cheetos earlier today, he pointed at the door to his office and said, in that demonic voice from the original “Amityville Horror,” “GET OUT!”
The biggest challenge for any dieter is the difficulty of dragging one’s spouse along for the ride. My husband grumbles about both the food and the exercise. I remind him that meat (he’s a committed carnivore) has few carbs, and I keep gallon cans of cashews and other nuts in the house to give him comfort.
One day, we discovered to our delight that pork rinds were low-carb, and we bought a huge plastic bin at Sam’s. When we burned through the entire batch in three days, we swore them off in shame.
So I’ve parted ways with some of the delights most folks take for granted: soda pop, fast-food breakfast biscuits, and the jalapeño Cheetos, which are truly of the devil. There’s a lot of salad in my life right now. I wish I could say there was a lot of sugar-free ice cream, but it defeats the purpose if you consume the entire halfgallon in one sitting.
Oh, and as for that ignorance about my weight? I got a report from my rheumatologist’s office the other day, and when I began to peruse it, I happened upon what I’d long tried to avoid. I’ll just say this: I’ve still got a long way to go.