Funny that my sixty-ninth entry should have to do with being sexy. Well, maybe not inasmuch, but fitness nonetheless. I guess in all fairness, this should be the sixty-eight, but the one marks as such got scrapped. It was a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Or, it was more or less me ranting every which way, but not getting anywhere with; unloading the bile of my gallbladder onto the internet, and realizing that the expression of my frustration does little unless I plan to do something to better the situation.
Speaking of gallbladder (and getting on point), mine’s damaged. Well, that’s according to the docs. This was a big to-do about three years back now. I had been taking some meds for it as needed, and all’s been well. So, after doing much planning, I began about a month ago to stop the meds and just modify my diet. Then I stopped taking Prilosec for the acid-reflux. Also, stopped taking glucosamine chondroitin for the aching knees.
History before vindication. When I was a wee whippersnapper of fourteen, the docs put their collective heads (and bendy butt cameras) together, and discovered a series of ulcers in my small intestines. Wonder what I could have been stressed about… Anyway, I then began fifteen years of using Prilosec. Hell, I had been on it so long, I remember when a prescription was needed for it. About three years back, I was working in the mall, and several times a week would get this debilitating pain in my side. Prognosis? – Gallbladder was going (the symptoms matched, all of them, and they are a little too gross for this bit, but trust me: they didn’t pull this notion out of a hat). Two years ago, started getting an ache in my knees (standing on your feet for nine hours a day, with at least half of those standing still – wonder where THAT came from…). Recommendation? – Glucosamine chondroitin. (Small (and possibly shocking) disclaimer and moment of complete transparency: I do not/did not take any other meds daily. I am naturally this well composed and sociable, and have never taken any meds for anything like that. I will occasionally take a fish oil pill, but only when my eyes are feeling dry)
Not one of these medical professionals ever asked me the most important question: what are you putting into yourself? I’m not talking about ink or foreign objects (only on bingo nights), but food – what in the hell was I eating? Did it cause heartburn? Foul gallbladder-y symptoms? Was I getting enough vitamins A, C, and D?
Let’s see: Coffee, fast food, more coffee, some candy, coffee, and more fast food: The retail employee’s diet.
I was providing absolute crap for my body and expecting it to perform like a champ. About two weeks before Thanksgiving, I got serious. I researched diet transitioning and things like how to go off Prilosec. Surprising thing a lot of people don’t realize: you should wean yourself off that shit. It’s actually recommended when you’ve been on it for more than six months straight.
And after going cold on it, I could tell you why.
Within a day, anything I ate would cause my stomach to flare into my spine, and every end of me would want to run to the store for Pepto or SOMEthing to kill the stomach burn. In all my years of using it, my body adapted by producing more acid on a daily basis then it would actually need, and then flushing that through my system. Thanks to the meds, that kept it all relatively harmless. Convincing my body to turn the gas down has been a slow process, and even now, I don’t think it’s there yet. Hint: sugar-free chewing gum with xylitol helped a lot those first few weeks. Both the chemical in the sweetener and the saliva work together to take the edge off the burning.
This has also meant a farewell to my two or three cups of coffee a day. And I don’t mean “coffee” in the plebian sense: these were works of art. Three or four shots of espresso, lightly steamed milk, maybe a bit of cocoa powder, and that was breakfast. Repeat at 1 PM and 5 PM as needed.
Now I’ve got tea. I was really, really unimpressed by this development. I’m around neutral with it now.
I’m getting away from myself again. The diet: I cleaned it up, took out a lot of greasy/fatty meats, heartburn causing stuffs (alcohol included), and then I kept going. The knees are adapting thanks to lots of stretching and low-impact running (elliptical; not trying to crack out the recently-healed stress fracture just yet).
Oh, if you’re wondering why I skipped out on the chondroitin, there’s a lot of contention over how it can negatively impact pancreatic function. I come from a family of diabetics, for god’s sake: I am not interested in messing with that.
Within weeks of leaving GameStop, I was feeling pretty fit. Lost a few pounds, doing more running (then broke my leg), and Rae was on one hell of a fitness bend. She kept at it nonstop – something that helped keep me focused on my goals, of late. I was very much the “work it out just to chow it up” kind of guy. I would exercise for the sake of keeping my heart healthy, but not caring about anything else.
What changed my mind? Sitting on my ass for eight weeks and seeing how quickly I put on what I’d dropped, for starts. Not saying I’m doing all of this because I’m trying to lose weight. I mean, sure – I’m over 200 pounds (208, to be exact), but I am six and a half feet tall. If you believe in the mythical divining powers of the Body Mass Index, I am within the upper threshold of ‘acceptable’. But these bones were made to do so much more. Hell, they want to do more. Having broken one of them just reinforces it. No, I am doing this for myself. I am doing this to be healthier, because there are so many things that I don’t need to be putting into my body; so many more things that my body is capable of doing. I’ve tasted that breeze once, and I want the fucking wind now.
There is a small other reason. I mean, 1/10th of a reason, really. See, I know I’m married and the common mantra is to stop striving for aesthetic beauty after that, and it seems 30 is the right time to just scream ‘to fuck with it all’ and let it all go. But I don’t want to be another bag of rocks on the farm. My wife’s hard work has been a seed to my desire to be a better person inside and out. I’ve already gone the route of honing my exterior aesthetics a few years back when taking the Army’s ROTC LTC course. I had been maintaining more of my internal-self for the earlier half of this year.
Fun story. I met with a friend in New York City in July of this year. This person hadn’t seen me in the flesh for nearly a decade. They thought I looked a lot ‘bigger through the middle’ than remembered.
It is no small coincidence I had a stress fracture through my left leg three weeks later.
Am I looking to get cut? No. Would I mind handling 25 miles a week running without breaking a leg? Yes. Would my body better handle the stress of that if I lost some of this surprisingly shock-absorbent and buoyant girth my weight has granted me? Yes. To achieve that, I am isolating the things that are inhibiting my ability to make better choices about what goes into my body, so that I can better regulate its output.
Rae has adapted a quote that I think best sums it up: “Discipline is knowing the difference between what you want now and what you want most.” What I want most is to not be a sad sack of lumps, watching commercials all day, while my chemically altered intestines process mechanically manufactured foodstuffs. What do you want most?