Tuesday, December 27, 2011
I had a little scare today.
The university is mostly shut down this week, so I am working from home with no immediate deadlines, no grant applications due, no family-visit pressure. It's the most laid-back holiday season I've had in several years. So naturally I lounged around in my jammies until around 4pm, when I decided it might be nice to have a hot shower. But when I got out and dried off, I felt shaky. Really shaky, like if I didn't eat something I might be in trouble. Low-blood-sugar shaky, or at least what I imagine it must feel like.
I went to the freezer and pulled out the quickest insta-food I could find, but it was a little bit of a challenge just to dump it on a plate, cover it with plastic wrap, and get it into the microwave for 2 minutes. While it was in there, I decided to give myself a sugar jolt with a couple sips of eggnog, right from the carton. It wasn't until several minutes after I finished off the insta-food that I started to feel like myself again.
As the shakiness passed and my head cleared, I sat and pondered my situation. I have gained a stunning amount of weight over the past 20 months, and I am now the heaviest I've ever been. My father is diabetic and both my parents have high blood pressure. If I'm not pre-diabetic yet, I surely will be, before too long. My options are now limited.
When I lost weight before, I said that one of my reasons was that I wanted to be healthy. That was certainly true; although I have never had any serious health problems, I was certainly a lot healthier after losing 70 pounds. But my real health concerns were way off in the future. I knew my family history, but figured I had a nice long time to take care of myself before I developed anything serious.
I don't think that any more.
Now my health is my main worry - much more so than looks, self-confidence, or even feeling "normal" rather than obese. I am *gulp* middle-aged. I am seriously overweight. I am toying with health problems that could, very quickly, change my life forever. I could wake up tomorrow, or next week, with full-blown diabetes. Or I could have a heart attack at 43. No doctor on earth would be surprised to see it happen.
So I opened up my computer and began tracking all my food for the day. (It turns out that because I ate my leisurely - and nutrient-poor - breakfast late in the morning, I had skipped lunch, and it hadn't occurred to me that I had taken in far fewer calories by 4pm than my body was used to having.) I changed my dinner plans from a high-fat Paula Deen wild rice bake (butter and heavy cream, anyone?) to a much healthier wild rice pilaf with chicken sausage. And I went back to the beginning, setting very simple exercise and nutrition goals for myself.
Here I go again. It isn't easy, but this time the alternatives seem much scarier.