Saturday, October 26, 2013

Let me tell you about how I lost half a person.

My ID from October 2011 says 260 lbs, 5'8". I have been overweight since I was eight years old. I guess I am still what is considered overweight, but the last time I stepped on a scale (two weeks ago), it read 170.

May 2012 I wore a 44-inch waist.

How the hell did I become a 32?
No, really, how? My father was a 32, and he was skeletal and creepy looking (If you knew him... don't try to deny it...).

I'm not, by the way. Skeletal and creepy looking. Attribute this to six inches less height. My 170 still has plenty of pudge on it, but I am, for the first time in a very, very long time, beginning to feel comfortable in my weight, and look at my body as though it might be my own (The testosterone is helping there...).

The pair of chesticles still don't help, but one of the benefits of the massive weightloss is that I now almost look flat when bound under a baggy shirt... That and I'm getting a killer set of cheekbones.

So how did this happen?

Start with the Warehouse Job. I got a job as a janitor in a warehouse that was just opening up. Two square miles of concrete divided among five people, sweeping, moping, buffing, sanitizing, scrubbing and polishing. The day I first went to work, the Maintenance manager joked that he had lost twenty pounds since starting work there.

I lost ten in the six weeks I was there. To start, we had no way to heat food for the first two weeks, and my job started at 7 am. I skipped breakfast the first day, found there was no way to heat my lunch, and when asked why I wasn't eating proclaimed that I was fasting. Off work at 3:30, home by 5, and then relaxing and tying to figure out what to make for dinner.

Ultimately, I never took a lunch to the warehouse. I would spend my breaks reading or drawing, and it was easy enough to say I was fasting during the day.

Which, well, yeah. I was. I sometimes grabbed a mocha or something at the Coffee shop on the way home (after that first week, once paychecks were a thing), but predominantly I wasn't eating anything substantial until well after dark for a good six weeks. Add to that that the job was a mile and a half off the beaten path (i.e. bus line), and I was fasting during the day, getting massive amounts of exercise (Job routinely left me actually sobbing because of the impact it was having on my feet), and I was not surprised when I found that I had shrunk out of my "skinny jeans" by the time the job went away.

The job went away because of the headaches (have I mentioned the headaches?), and the fact that the chemicals I was using to do by job were actively harming me. In the weeks that followed losing the job, I found a few new and interesting things:

I just wasn't hungry before about three in the afternoon. Not only that, but if I tried to force myself to eat before my body started telling me to, my stomach would quickly reject anything put into it. I am a normal person who does not enjoy vomiting, and I was not presenting any symptoms of starvation, so I have kept with this pattern since then.

I suppose here is where I should say that I have always sort of had to be coerced into eating breakfast. If you wake me up an make me food I will eat it because you made me food, but I like my breakfast foods to come at around three or four in the afternoon: Tea and pancakes with homemade syrup is bliss. But I have never felt the need to get up in the morning and shove heavy things into my body because "it needs it".

Oh. And it doesn't.

My uncle has been fasting every other 24 hours for many years now, and has never felt better. My family were skeptical of this idea for a long while, but it seemed to be doing what he needed it to do, so whatever.

As it turns out, Intermittent Fasting is totally a thing...

And for the first time in my life I actually have a metabolism.

I need to back up. I have to set the stage a little: In April 2010, while overseas for school, I ate a packaged sandwich from a corner shop because I was starving, and went into a diabetic episode.

Three and a half years later, I haven't touched wheat or corn since, mostly because I happened to have the right travel partner during that episode. I've also changed my diet in one more significant way: I was raised (rather lax) vegetarian. I was a little surprised at how readily and joyously my body took to red meat. I think feeling the immediate rush of energy and stamina after a few bites of steak was what did it. It is now not uncommon for whoever is making dinner to offer chunks of raw meat around, because raw meat.

The creepy pebbly painful volcano-skin that has clogged the hair follicles on my arms, legs, and cheeks for as long as my mother can remember are gone. I have needed an inhaler once in the interveining time, when I walked through a cloud of cigarette smoke (I was diagnosed as asthmatic in seventh grade?). Suddenly, for the first time in ever, I can run. I can run for the bus, I can run down the nature trail, I can run because I feel like running. My knees don't constantly ache when I walk long distances, I no longer have shin splints, and my feet are springier and more flexible than I can ever remember. My bones feel stronger. My teeth are treating me better. I am currently down sick, for the first time in six months, which is huge considering my immune system was hilariously crappy for a good portion of my life. "Walking distance" is now somewhere in the realm of four or five miles (out. Then there's the walk home.)... These are things I can attribute to diet change, and pretty much that.

I do not think I could have made the Intermittent Fasting thing work on wheat and corn and tofu. For one thing, I probably would have grabbed toast that first morning, taken a peanut butter sandwich for lunch, and never been maneuvered into this. Beyond that, the balance of proteins vs. carbohydrates that I currently consume is vastly different than that which I consumed throughout highschool and childhood. Because while a great big veggie sandwich on sourdough might be great (I was craving subway ALL of this last Convention, thank you SO much Camie... :P ), I'm not hungry, and dinner is Greek Lamb Sausage and balsamic pearl onions over rice.

Oh, and then my Roomie came home from India and introduced me to Yerba Mate, so that might have had an effect as well...

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