Ready to Reduce

My grandmother never asked someone if they were dieting. She would always say "Are you trying to reduce, dear?" Somehow that seems more genteel than asking someone if they are on a diet or are "trying to lose weight." Reduce. I've decided to try to reduce.

When your ass and belly don't fit in the same photo, it's
time for a diet and some exercise!

Actually, what spurred me on was a photo I saw that Michael took at Odyssey Storytelling when I was there to talk about my transplant in the spring. He took it from his seat while I was talking to some people during the intermission. My ass and stomach are so huge they fill the entire frame! I look like one huge ass that someone stuck a little head on! OK, I can be a huge ass sometimes but I still maintain it is only in defense of principles.

On top of the photo my health issues have continued to get worse. My back continues to disintegrate slowly and the pain from it and my hips has become nearly unbearable at times. I can no longer take pain medications because they seem to affect my liver function. If I don't drop some weight and get more flexible I'm going to eventually end up one of those 500 pound people on those little scooters. I refuse to let that happen.

With all that in mind, I decided two weeks ago to begin a diet (OK, "reduce"). According to the calculations I should keep my calorie intake below 1900 per day. I've been shooting for 1800 and have come in well under that most days without too much difficulty. I've cut out my constant snacking which often included eating an entire bag potato chips or entire box of cookies in a sitting! Honestly, I haven't been that hungry. I have a breakfast that includes an Ensure shake to make sure I'm getting decent nutrition along with a serving of Fiber One cereal which has only 80 calories and 40% of the recommended daily fiber. Then for a snack I'll have one of the Fiber One chocolate and peanut butter brownies which is only 90 calories and 20% of the fiber. For lunch I'll have another Ensure shake and either a 100 calorie snack or something very light under 200 calories. For my afternoon snack I'll have another of the Fiber One bars which puts my daily fiber in the 80% range. For dinner I will have whatever my remaining calories allow within reason.

Honestly, I did not realize how little fiber I was getting in my diet naturally. When I started following my calories and nutrients I was shocked to see I was getting less than 20% (sometimes as little as 5%) of the recommended fiber. No wonder by stomach was constantly giving me fits!

The Lady Snow and her collection of toys.
I've also started moving again. I'd begun walking Snow after we got her in January (oh yeah, we adopted a 5-year-old Cockapoo who is now the love of my life.) Unfortunately, she blew out her ACL playing at the dog park so she's been on restricted activity since late April. She's just now beginning to be allowed to take walks again. So, with her out of commission it gave me a good reason to stop even that minimal activity and sit on my large ass even more! To remedy this we joined the YMCA downtown. My Medicare health plan has free memberships at a number of gyms and the Y was one of them. They were also nice enough to allow us to upgrade my free membership to a family membership for only $24 a month so that Michael has full access too. That's less than he was paying at a little gym that only had weights and treadmills (not to mention loud music and obnoxious attendants).

For the past two weeks we've been working out. It was tough at first but I'm now actually enjoying it and looking forward to the gym somewhat. I like the Y because it has a variety of people and isn't chock full of gym bunnies and people who want to use the gym as their personal dating service. I loathed that behavior when I went to the little gym when we first moved here. If you want to pick up guys or girls, go to a bar! I haven't really felt uncomfortable or out of place at the Y which is one reason I look forward to my workouts.

I've been doing a number of activities including, shooting hoops with Michael. He was quite surprised that while I don't run or jump too well at 300+ pounds, I'm pretty accurate and have good form. I've also been walking on the treadmill, lifting some weights, and swimming.

The Y has a jacuzzi, steam room and sauna. I'd love to try out the jacuzzi since I think it would help my back quite a bit. Unfortunately, though the rules require the use of swimming attire in all three, many of the people seem to think that is merely a suggestion. As a transplant survivor who takes immunosuppressant drugs, I have to be careful about exposure to bugs. Those three areas are breeding grounds for things like HPV, MRSA, fungi, and bacteria. It's why the health folks say put on the swim trunks and don't let your junk lay around on places other people will be sitting or placing their hands. But, those people who still live in the past when the "Y" meant hanging out with other guys naked and maybe making some "friends" for the afternoon seem determined to fight change. So, I don't get to use those things thanks to all the old men (mostly) who want to share whatever they have with everyone else.

But, I'm enjoying it otherwise. I've lost 3 pounds last week and about 15 from the last time I weighed at my doctor's office. Of course, his scales are notoriously heavy - I weigh 5 pounds less at my other doctor's office across town when I visit him!

I'll keep you posted on the exercise and weight loss.