A 45-year-old fat man trying to find his inner skinny dude.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


A long time ago, say ten years ago, I had this idea that sleep was a wasteful activity if you wanted to drop weight, because it's not an active thing.  You're lying down, not moving much, not breathing much, etc.  I figured you'd be better off to stay up late, especially if you were doing something active (I was never, however, one to go out dancing into the wee hours).

Of course, they (who are they?  I don't know) tell me that I was wrong.  Sleep is an integral part of life, and lack of sleep does more than give you a bad mood.  It fights your weight loss activity (both by making you hungry and by jacking with your metabolism).  In fact, a doctor once told me not to exercise if it meant missing sleep.  I sort of think I remember reading that lack of sleep is associated with higher levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.  Cortisol also fights your efforts to trim down.

For the last five or six weeks, I have been waking up anywhere from 2am to 4am and then been unable to go back to sleep.  (It's possible that I'm dreaming I'm awake or am in some strange light sleep, but it's not flat out unconsciousness.)  It's troubling because I know I'm not functioning at my peak.  I also tend to fall asleep about 8pm, which can't help.  Ambien has only helped sporadically.  I have actually taken an Ambien and only been able to sleep for five hours. 

Sure the possibility of a psychotic break worries me.  But I need all the help I can get to drop the next 20 and then another 20 a few more times.  Sleep is a pleasant way to help with the loss.  I like working out fine, but wow, sleep rocks.

So that's what's going on here.  Trying to sleep, trying to take care of myself appropriately.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Checking In

I haven't tracked in at least a month.  It was one more chore, and I couldn't make myself do it when the wheels came off.  In fact, I couldn't make myself do much of anything.

I have worked out twice since Saturday.  That's a win.  I understand that regular exercise is comparable to or better than meds for overcoming depression.  The standards for "improvement," however, are pretty low.  You can be improved and still miserable.

I've been reading Undoing Depression by Richard O'Connor.  He's a therapist who is also a depressive (his word).  His theory is that depression can become a habit, and the best way to overcome it is therapy and a change in that downward spiral of thinking that is symptomatic of the disease.  (He calls it a disease, and I'm ok with that.  Hell, I embrace it.)  Meditation is likely to help.  He also encourages (repeatedly) regular exercise.  Who am I to argue?  So now that I am functioning and sleeping (more or less), I'm back on the wagon.

I have not gained any weight.  I haven't lost, but if anything, I'm a little smaller.  I have been eating for hunger only (well mostly only), and I've been lucky.  I assume this means that nearly a year of not eating my feelings has become a habit.  This I like.

I'm traveling for work right now, and last night I was able to forego the fries.  This morning at the hotel, I had cereal and fruit instead of the waffle.  Tonight for dinner I avoided the chips and guacamole I like so much.  I guess my point is that I'm taking care of myself in ways that do not include eating for comfort.  This is a huge change in my life.  In fact, I wonder a bit if not eating for comfort helped spur my bad period a month ago.  Emotion has to go somewhere.  Happily, it's not on my ass.  Unhappily, I have to learn to deal with it in other ways.  I guess I'm growing up.  Ha.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Darkness Visible

I stole the title from William Saroyan.

I have found, over the years, that I am prone to depression.  I have had, I think, three seriously depressive periods.  I'm just coming out of one (knock wood).  If you have ever suffered from this, you know how debilitating and freaking scary it is.  Forget about decent sleep.  One is hopeless and joyless.  Suicide seems like one of the few good resolutions.  It's not rational, and even if you recognize that, you don't care.  I could go on, but I won't.  I don't really want to think about the last month or so.

If  you have read my past entries, you know I've had a lot going on.  I reached my limit, and I was spun.  I'm doing much better now.  Meds and therapy help.  My wife is unbelievably kind and supportive. 

I didn't eat.  I couldn't.  (This is a first.  I'm ok with not wanting to eat, too.)  But I have not been tracking, and I have not limited what I've been eating.  Willingness to eat has been enough.  My appetite is back, and I don't feel much need to eat a lot.  It makes me thing that whatever my issues, I might have--for the moment--changed my relationship with food over the last year.  I hope so.

If you suffer, my heart goes out to you.  I have found a book called Undoing Depression pretty useful.  You can read about it here www.undoingdepression.com.

I'll be writing more here later.  But that's all for now.