Thursday, November 3, 2011

I'm Just A Stomach Flu Away from My Goal Weight

Back in August when we were doing all that basement work? And how I said in this post that it took me all day to recover from our DIY all-nighter? Well it actually took me almost two weeks to recover because I gave myself a hiatal hernia.

Or I'm 99% sure that's what it was. It was a weird pain right where my ribs meet in the middle, a dull ache, and it wouldn't go away. So at first, because this is how my brain works now, I assumed that my breast cancer had recurred and spread metastatically to my liver. 'Cause I have a vague idea of where my liver is and I think it is around there somewhere, and any pain or discomfort that I feel, I dread is cancer.

I didn't mention this to anyone, I just grew depressed for a couple of days. Somehow, though, that sad scenario didn't seem quite right. Then, through my web diagnostic skills, I landed on hiatal hernia, a condition in which part of the stomach protrudes through the esophageal opening in the diaphragm. This condition mimics many other problems--chest pain, shortness of breath--but in most people it isn't serious and it usually resolves on its own. I decided on an empirical course of therapy: treat it like esophageal reflux and see if it felt better.

Are you so bored right now? Medical Problems of People on The Internet!

So I took an antacid tablet every morning, chewed Tums at bedtime, and ate small non-fatty meals. Eating small meals was easy because the achy feeling took my appetite right away. And my course of treatment worked. I don't think the antacid really did all that much, maybe it did, but just not eating very much seemed to do the trick. And when I would go ahead and eat a bigger meal or have more than one alcoholic beverage, the pain came back. One night I went to a party down at the Fernbank Museum with Matt and Lincoln, and there was an open bar. Also, dinosaur skeletons at night! Cool! But the open bar. Socializing with so many video game developers necessitated that I drink three cosmos, and then my stomach hurt all the next day. Lesson learned.

I'm getting to the point soon.

So when you're not eating a lot, you get used to it. I decided to continue limiting my intake, and that it was a good time to lose the extra pounds I wanted gone. I've been exercising all year with Pretty Neighbor, but I find that it doesn't make the scale budge. So I fired up my little calorie-counting app and actually tracked everything that went into my mouth, and the weight has come off, slowly. It has felt great. I had a goal weight in mind when I started, just an arbitrary number. But then I went on that Dukan Diet website and let its calculator tell me another goal that was eight pounds below the one I'd had in mind. It seemed reasonable, so that's where I'm headed now. I've got about four or five pounds to go.

But I'm getting tired of it, the 1200 calories a day. It's not that it's so little, because it can be plenty of food, but it requires planning. To eat nutritiously on that, I have to think about it all day. The parts of my brain that aren't scheming about tennis are wondering if I can eat that piece of mozzarella and still have a 4 oz. glass of wine later. I told Matt, I'm just ready for it to take up less mental space.

Tonight was a low point. I was standing talking to Matt and I absentmindedly picked up a pizza crust and took a bite of it. I realized what I was doing and then fed the other half of the crust to the dog, who was sitting  watching me chew. Then I took the partially-chewed crust out of my mouth and fed THAT to the dog.

I think the dog thought it was a low point too.

Then I said to Matt, "This is where I am." He nodded, sympathetic.

Reader, this is where I am.

How are you?


AlGalMom said...

whoa, I feel kind of self conscious being the first commenter....I totally sympathize with the mental space thing. That is one big hurdle for me to even get started trying to lose 4 kids worth of baby weight....I feel like it will have to totally dominate my life--that it will double my food planning/preparing time (which I already don't particularly enjoy). And I don't actually want my weight and the food I eat to be that central in my life. Except that right now it is in a negative way....sort of a dark undercurrent right now. So maybe it would be worth spending a year evaluating everything that went into my mouth in order to lose that. Sigh.

However, I do love the image of your dog eyeing the abc bite of pizza crust being offered him. And I would like to know what app you use for calorie counting, and if you like it.

Allison said...

How am I? I am 5 pounds heavier than I was exactly one year ago. FIVE POUNDS! It happened overnight. How does this happen? It's very aggravating. I'm happy you're getting yours off.

Amy said...

I am right there with you...counting calories. NEVER thought I'd do that! But it's empowering, in a way, to see that you can actually do it, you know?

But you're right, it's a bummer sometimes to have to think, "Okay, I really want to have x after dinner tonight, how can I make that work?"

AlGalMom, Becky and I both use My Fitness Pal, it's a website with a free app. It has a huge database of foods already in it. Really helpful.

Okay, now I"m off to check out this Dakun Diet thing??

Elizabeth said...

I hate it all. I just hate it. I hate constantly thinking about food and how much weight I should lose and how many calories and all of it. I just hate it.

Did I say that I hate it?

Amy said...

Okay, what's this about the Dukan diet thingy? I went to the website but it wants me to create a login and get an analysis emailed to me...did you do all that?

carolyn said...

I can so relate to the pizza crust! That's me. It's the absent minded stick something in my mouth moments that get me. I've been using Spark People and it's true, you have to think about the food all day. I just want to eat like a normal person. But I also want to lose the weight … sigh.

Anonymous said...

I do love MyFitnessPal. I have quite a bit to lose, but I'm down 13 pounds since July and just recently completed the Couch to 5K program. It does take up a lot of brain space, but it's worth it to me. Also, I'm not making drastic enough changes to be irritating. I'm trying to slowly come around to better health. I figure it's more sustainable for me that way.

M said...

Now that you've done your due diligence Internet diagnosis, let me toss you another potential malady: gall bladder. I lost weight (48 pounds) in the same way after my slim and unsympathetic dr met my perimenopausal whines with these fateful words: "Calories in, calories out."

Cutting out fatty foods(and alcohol) and counting cals allowed me to stave off a gall bladder attack until I could have surgery. It also caused me to lose weight faster and more effectively than I ever had in my entire life of yo-yo dieting.

Congrats and I'm going to hope you assiduously avoid the stomach flu and reach your goal weight with little or no thought!

Melissa B. said...

I've fallen off the wagon a bit in the last week or so, but I'm determined to get going again. It is really hard with all of this stupid Halloween candy lying around!!

Suniverse said...


1. Of course you thought you had cancer. That's my go-to for every ache.

2. I hate having to think about what I eat because it DOES take all my brain power.

3. I've got nothing for this, but love the title.

Becky said...

AlGal, I hear you about the dark undercurrent. I know, it's hard to contemplate starting out, but you know how those first few pounds coming off makes you feel so awesome? For me, seeing little changes gives me the motivation to go on.

That's one great thing about finding the right tool to use, whether it's My Fitness Pal or something similar. You need a buddy doing it with you! One of my favorite parts of the day is getting on MFP and needling my sister about the amount of KFC she just ate. Also we cheer each other on and stuff.

Inhabit, good on you! That is great. I know several people doing well with that couch to 5k. I agree, it is worth it.

M, I did consider the gallbladder issue. I can't remember but in my internet self-differential-diagnosis, I ruled it out somehow. LOL.

Amy, with the Dukan website, I did have to create a login but I don't remember what happened after that. I think their deal is, they give you a goal weight and then they want you to sign up with them for a plan. BUT, I will say, it's no hassle to have created the login. I've never heard from them again.

Keely said...

I tracked calories for most of September and yes, felt better. But then I started practicing for derby in earnest and that took up the head space that the calorie-counting took previously. And then Hallowe'en happened.

I go in cycles, deciding I would rather feel strong than "thin", and then cycling back to counting calories. Meh. It's probably unhealthy.

Also, the hernia, interesting. I may have had one as well. I thought it was a cracked rib but that actually matches better. Whee, internet diagnosis! Thanks Doctor Becky!

Beth said...

ZOMG, I can't tell you how much I relate to the mental space thingy. I counted calories years back and lost a buttload of weight, but then it all comes back because I LOVE BREAD and I also love sugar. And I completely agree, it's not really the doing it that is the problem, it's the constant vigilance and preparing and calculating that makes it hard. And the milkshakes.

Amy said...

Well, I just measured out a tablespoon of hummus. Like, didn't just eyeball it, but used a measuring spoon and everything. Not going to the gym today, so I have to be extra careful. I guess I've become that person. ;)

Becky said...

I know, Ame. I bought and am using a kitchen scale. But I'm still spontaneous!