Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Eating Healthy Isn't Worth it! BMI = 32

Eating healthy isn't worth it! What's the point? What's the point of living 5 more years if those years are going to suck because I can't enjoy food? Food is the only thing that makes this drab, miserable world bearable.

I've been watching a couple documentaries where health nuts interview regular people about eating right. The regular people, grabbing some fast food or maybe just eating a huge plate of taters and meatloaf at a diner respond and give me flashbacks. I remember feeling exactly like they do. I remember saying the exact same thing.

In point of fact, if eating right meant suffering another 5 years through this life then I would just order a pizza right now. Why would anyone want to give up the pleasures of their life for the purpose of extending their life without those pleasures? I get it, I've been there, and I hope you'll hear what I have to say.

When my BMI was 43 (class III obesity) my life sucked. My feet hurt after work. I never seemed to get enough sleep. I felt groggy in the morning, fatigued all day, and I could swear I was developing a tumour in my right foot because it was always either aching or numb. I didn't go to the doctor because I knew what that jerkoff would say: eat more veggies, stop eating pizza, quit smoking, give up the booze.

Seriously, sometimes I would just binge eat so that I could experience that 'turkey dinner' doziness and take a nap to escape a life that was sucking more every year. Why would I want to give up the opportunity to eat a whole pizza and then take a nap? Why would I ever give up the pleasure that I got from dipping fried chicken in blue cheese dressing and then hoovering it up like corn on the cob?

So many pleasures could lift me out of my glum and make me feel like a child again: Spicy snack-mix drenched in hot sauce; Italian subs with Caesar salad laced with spicy olives; triple-decker chicken nugget sandwiches with red onion and Sriracha mayo!

Ok, so I was afraid of being diagnosed with diabetes. I thought the docs would eventually have to take my right foot off if it became numb for too long. Don't even talk to me about blood pressure or cholesterol or I swear I'll just order a deep-fried calzone stuffed with poutine!

I live in a place that has over 500 varieties of distinct local cheese. Every week I would try a new one and could have done so until I died without ever repeating a single experience. Lady Laurier cheese, perfumed with vanilla was one that I did repeat occasionally because it paired so well with warm figs on Triscuits. Yes, I enjoyed some rather fine foods in between my diner-style comfort foods.

If those sorts of food experiences are the only pleasures in your life then it makes no sense to give them up and suffer through eating hospital food only so that you can suffer through eating crappy food for five more years. Maybe it would be worth it if I had grandchildren and wanted to see them graduate but I don't have kids, don't have a lover, and I don't even have houseplants because none of those deadbeats ever contribute to the bills.

That all makes sense when you are 25% depressed - half way to starting to exhibit symptoms of clinical depression. If you can't enjoy physical activity, doing your job causes you physical pain, and you can't even get a good night's sleep, then you need an out. Why would you deny yourself pleasure only to suffer through an extra 5 years?

I did it because I hit rock bottom, learned to suffer, and my fight-or-flight response drove me to survival. Even so, if I had to struggle through the rest of my life denying myself pleasure I think I would still choose death. Thing is, I found out that I don't have to suffer to be healthy and, in point of fact, I was suffering when I was unhealthy. I've discovered that I can have a healthy diet AND enjoy life.

I don't know if anyone can do what I did without facing the same dire circumstances but I am hoping that my story can help some people find the courage to try what I've done and report back on whether or not they experienced the same thing. You see, I put myself in a personal diet rehab to break my addiction to snacking, binge eating, and overall unhealthy cravings.

I didn't know if there would be an end to the torture but I had to try. The good news, in my case, is that after a couple of months of painful struggling, the struggling stopped. I'm no longer tortured, I'm no longer feeling the pains of withdrawal, and I no longer need rich, spicy, salty, sugary food to help me swim to the surface from my state of being perpetually 25% depressed.

My baseline mood is now above the surface - positive, healthy, alert, and I enjoy the fact that my home just seems to stay clean and tidy (most the time). I don't need comfort food to comfort me but I still have one meal a week just to experience the joy that I associate with such foods - just to get an even bigger kick in the moods.

I don't need to binge-eat to give myself a 'turkey dinner nap' just to escape the suffering. I don't want to take a nap because I feel good and want to stay awake. To this end, I not only don't feel an urge to binge, I feel averted from it because I like being awake.

I no longer nap on the bus on the way to work, nor even drag myself out of bed. As when I was in my 20's, I jump out of bed, eager to get there, even before I've decided where I am going. I do look forward to my weekly 'indulgence meal' because I do still enjoy those flavours - but lately that meal has been very simple because I no longer need lots of seasoning and spice to get the same kick.

Most importantly, I'm not choking down icky health-food in an effort to suffer through 5 more years. I enjoy most of what I eat and don't care if I live 5 more years because this year alone is better than the ten before I started eating right. I really feel that good.

Ok, so I'm trying to add more veggies to my diet and to that end I made myself eat raw broccoli with dinner for the past few days. I didn't have to choke it down but I will say that it wasn't very exciting. I did order the counter top steam-cooker, though, and hope that will make the broccoli more pleasant.

In all honesty, it is not worth forcing yourself to eat bland food for the rest of your life just to suffer through an extra 5 years of suffering. It is, however, more than worth it to suffer through a couple months of diet rehab to regain control of your diet because life is, and I mean this sincerely, much better when you get your diet under control. The food that I used to boost myself up was the very food that made my life so miserable that I needed some kind of boost.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Rules of Thumb: BMI = 32

As my diet has been evolving, I've been developing some rules of thumb to help me make quick choices on the foods I'll eat. Although avoiding added sugars will help you meet most of the following criteria, I've decided that perhaps some simple rules of thumb might help me identify 'problem foods'.

Let's start with calories. You need to at least be informed as to how many calories you should be eating in a day. If you are done growing and aren't a competitive athlete then your calories shouldn't exceed 3000 per day. For a small, sedentary woman around 50, you likely need at least 1500 calories per day. I'm quite tall and my job is physically demanding, but I'm old and my athletic days are behind me - so I've decided to shoot for 2000 calories per day.

Now I don't snack. I work in a restaurant so, yeah, from time to time I steal a stray fry or lamb trimming. To that end, I feel my meals can top out at 600 calories and I'll be fine as long as my diet is balanced. A Cajun chicken Caesar salad might sound healthy because it is a salad but if the website for the restaurant tells me that salad has 1200 calories then I need to accept either skipping a meal or giving that salad a miss. I don't skip meals.

Now let's check sodium. Health Canada says my sodium should be between 1500 mg and 2300 mg per day. If I distribute that across my three meals, then I can have no more than 750 mg of sodium per meal. So, if I find a prepared meal that is actually under 650 calories then I need it to have less than 750 mg of sodium. That eliminates almost every item on almost every menu at almost every restaurant. That also eliminates almost every prepared meal I can find at most grocery stores. Is the picture becoming clear?

When I pick up a can of stew or ravioli, whatever, and I see that the recommended portion is half a can then I have to ask myself if half of that can is going to get me through to my next meal. If that portion only has 300 calories then it is unlikely to sustain me to my next meal. Often that portion has over 700 mg of sodium. I can't eat that. If I eat the whole can I'll get enough calories for one meal but my next meal will have to be almost sodium free. That's doesn't sound very balanced to me.

I do let myself have one indulgence meal per week. That meal might be 50% more calories than I normally allow, and maybe twice the salt that I find acceptable; even so, most restaurant and prepared meals don't even meet those guidelines. I have to cook most of my food from scratch, even my indulgence meals, to get acceptable nutrition.

Breakfast is easy because I eat hot cereal, fresh fruit, 1% milk, and a little orange juice. The other meals can be problematic because I'm trying to eat more whole grains and veggies without added sugars or too much salt. I don't add up my daily totals but opt, instead, to ballpark each meal as I go. Checking that a meal doesn't go over 30% of my recommended max for sodium is a quick reference that keeps me eating right.

When it comes to added sugars, bread can be a problem. You can't make bread without sugar because bread is not bread unless it is puffed up by gasses produced by yeast that is nourished by sugar. How much sugar? Well, no more sugar than yeast, for most types of bread. To that end, being that ingredients are listed in descending order, find a bread with no more than one type of added sugar where that sugar is listed after the yeast. I found a loaf of bread today that had no added sugars before the yeast and only one sugar listed after the yeast. That means the loaf had less sugar than yeast, so I bought it. It's salt content was a little high for my liking but I figure if I put plenty of veggies like tomato and cucumber in my sandwich then it will balance out - I hope.

I am trying to eliminate processed meat so I buy roast beef and/or pork. I don't want it to feel rubbery like cold-cut sandwich meats, I want it to retain the texture of roasted meat. I've already admitted that I should just roast it myself, but I only eat about a kilo of meat per week now and want variety so it seems pretty ridiculous to buy a half kilo of beef, half kilo of pork, and then roast them and buy a meat-slicer to help me portion them out. I'm not happy that the seasoning on these meats includes some maltodextrin (added sugar) but it's listed at the tail end of the seasonings and not with other forms of added sugars, so I let myself pay for the convenience of home-style roasted meats, sliced into 1 to 1.5 ounce slices that I can quickly add as 'lean protein' to any meal.

If you follow me through the grocery store, you'll see that I frequently pull out my reading glasses. I picked up some capers today and opted to pay a bit more for the brand that had white wine vinegar rather than the brand that had added sugars. I check that my dijon has no added sugars, and grimace that it has so much salt but then reckon that it's only a component of my mayo, to which I will be adding a bit more salt anyway, so I buy it knowing I can still control my added salts.

More and more my diet gravitates towards a healthy vegan diet with about 150 grams of lean protein per day. I fully intend to keep the lean proteins in for nutrients that are harder to find in plant material. I make a vegan mayo with aquafaba not because I want my mayo to be vegan, but because I want sugar-free mayo and replacing raw-egg yolks with aquafaba gives my homemade mayo a longer shelf life. To that end, I have now added low-sodium chick peas to my diet. Today I also added raw broccoli to my diet.

I've ordered a Hamilton Beach digital steamer from The Bay. I do a lot of cooking in a steam oven at work and can make veggies that have a lot more flavour than old-fashioned hospital food by tossing them in oil with salt and pepper and then letting them stand a bit before steaming. I'm hoping I can replicate this at home.

I've come to realize that my story of dropping my BMI from 43 to under 25 will never be a best seller; I can't give you a couple recipes that will change your life. The 'secret' to my diet was gaining control of my eating and then evolving it to meet the Canada Food Guides. The lynch pin was putting myself in a personal diet rehab for 2 months, struggling to eliminate snacking, day by day, so that I could start choosing healthy foods.

I'm eager to offer advice to anyone who is interested but I won't be telling you anything that can't be found in the Canada Food Guides: other than to take them very seriously. You need to eat a healthy, balanced, breakfast. The Catch-22 is that it is hard to wake up early and eat a healthy breakfast when you don't have a healthy diet in the first place. If you are skipping meals, replenishing with snacks, eating a lot of added sugars and too much salt, then no recipe is going to save you from yourself.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Moving Forward: BMI = 32

Up to this point I have been writing about things that happened months ago and how they changed my perspective. From this point forward, I'll be posting my BMI in the title of each post. I will be posting integers only, no decimals. So far I've gone from 43 to 32. Over the duration of that descent I've gone from a horrifyingly bland diet to one that I am able to enjoy and I have almost no cravings for fatty or sugary food. I'm currently in full control of what I eat.

This week I had a corn-dog because one was offered to me and so I decided that would be my 'indulgence' meal. It tasted sweet, a little salty, and I enjoyed it with a roasted garlic/lime/sriracha aioli.

That corn-dog probably constituted 75% of the added-sugars I consumed this week. It also constituted 100% of the processed meats I ate this week. Most days I have almost zero added-sugars or processed meats. Obviously I don't eat the sort of prepared foods you can toss in the microwave or toaster oven.

So what am I eating? Breakfast has been the same for a long time - hot cereal with half cup of fruit and some 1% milk. Coffee with 1% milk. A 3 ounce glass of orange juice. One to one and a half ounces of lean protein; that could be roast beef, roast pork, or roast chicken. Once in a while I have a soft boiled egg as my protein.

For lunch I try for some rice, steamed veggies, and 2 or 3 ounces lean protein. I've not been getting enough veggies and so that is one area where I need some work.

My evening meals have been quite savoury this week. I've been eating the same thing every night because I don't feel like cooking after I get home from cooking for 8 hours so I prepared this week's evening meal in bulk on my last day off. I've been having coleslaw, potato salad, and, you guessed it, 3 ounces of lean protein.

I will admit that the coleslaw could benefit from a little sugar or honey. None the less, I've added none. I used a mandoline to shred green cabbage, red cabbage, carrot, and red onion. Salt and pepper, safflower oil and apple cider vinegar - probably 3 parts oil to 2 parts vinegar. I didn't want to cover the slaw in oil and vinegar because I wanted the veggies to give up some juice as they softened up in the marinade. As the marinade took hold, I found I wanted some other flavour in there so I added some processed horseradish; and, yes, I checked to get a brand with no added sugar.

I made the mayo for the potato salad in order to have non-sugared mayo. Because I planned to keep this salad on hand for the full work week, I opted for an egg-free mayo. I took 50 grams of the juice from a can of chick peas, 25 grams lemon juice (half a lemon), 25 grams dijon mustard, and blended that while drizzling in 160 grams of safflower oil. It needed some salt and pepper. I grated a few olives into the mix, and added a bit of the brine from the olives (one ounce, if I were to take a guess) to give it a savoury flavour. The mayo got a little liquidy, so I mashed some of the cubed, boiled potatoes into it to make a thick, creamy, tater salad dressing.

In my potato salad I use an equal mass of potato to other veggies. Those other veggies were minced or finely julienned (on a mandoline) carrot, celery, radish, and red onion. I decided to add the chick peas, fully drained, from whence I had lifted 50 g of "chick pea" juice. If you want to sound like a gastronaut, call your chick pea juice "Aquafaba."

My diet is getting close to matching the Canada Food Guides, but I'm still too low on veggies and really took in too much oil with those salads. I'm thinking about getting a countertop steam oven. The main reason I eat rice at work is because I can toss a small portion into the steam oven and just set a timer. With a little salt and pepper, a slice of lemon, and some sriracha, it's very flavourful. Do add the seasonings before cooking the rice.

I'm thinking that if I steam my veggies, I can afford a little butter on them and still come out eating less fat than I did in those salads this week. With the right little steam-cooker appliance I can start the rice, add in the veggies at the right time, and both will be ready together. As far as protein goes, I do intend to stick with lean roasted meats. At this point they mostly represent histidine and vitamin b12 to me.

In the future I might start roasting my lean proteins myself because all to often they are seasoned with sugars. I've only found one place where I can get roast pork and beef that doesn't have a lot of added sugars. The amounts of those sugars are so low, though, that my main reason for roasting the meat myself would be to save a few dollars. Considering that I eat only about a kilogram of meat a week at this point, that saving wouldn't be very much.

Perhaps in my next blog I should talk about a trip to the grocery store and how I evaluate the foods I buy.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Does Avoiding Added-Sugars Suck?

A lot of things in my life have changed since I slipped on the ice. My BMI has gone from 43 to 32 so I'm carrying a LOT less weight around. My diet has greatly improved so I'm getting a lot more nutrients that I need and a lot less of the unhealthy stuff that is detrimental to my health. To that end, my changes in mood, energy levels, alertness, and reduction in pain cannot be arbitrarily attributed to just the reduction of added sugars.

I want to express how different my life is now compared to before. Before the accident, I felt about 25% depressed. That is to say, if we think of 50% depressed as the point where you start to experience dysfunction and 100% depressed as full-on clinical depression, then I existed halfway between 'meh' and the onset of depressive symptoms. That was my baseline and I often turned to food to give me a bit of a boost.

At this time, BMI of 32, reduced pain in my feet after work, getting plenty of good nutrition and very little added sugar, my baseline is about 20% manic - where let's say at 50% manic you start exhibiting unhealthy behavior and at 100% manic you are so overwhelmed that you believe you are moving the clouds with your mind. I feel really good and I feel good about life. I have so much more energy and I get a lot more done everyday. I sometimes feel like I'm flying around the kitchen because I'm so much lighter. I feel more alert than I have in over 10 years as well.

If I could send a letter back in time to me before the accident, I don't think I would send it. If I used the information to avoid the accident, I might still be living at minus 25%. If all I said was that I started eating really healthy and now I feel so good that I regret not doing this years ago, I'm pretty sure the old me would toss the letter out. If I said a medical crisis forced me to start eating healthy, I'm afraid the old me might have become suicidal.

Avoiding added sugars means I can't just have a granola bar for breakfast. Even the plainest granola bars have quite a bit of sugar in them but step back and take a good look at the granola bar section in the grocery store; it's nothing more than a celebration of rectangular oatmeal cookies. There are some plain bars but most are 'drizzled in caramel' or full of 'chunks of chocolate'. Ok, some of them have nuts or dried fruit in them - but so do a lot of oatmeal cookies.

Don't even get me started on the breakfast cereal aisle. Most boxes are nothing more than candy and it should be classified as child abuse to let a kid eat that crap for breakfast. Ok, some of the ready-to-eat cereals aren't too bad if you eat the suggested portion - but that portion is so tiny that I don't know anyone who eats that portion and then doesn't snack before lunch.

I have to make sure I get up early so I have time to prepare my breakfast. I alternate between Red River cereal and regular, old-fashioned oatmeal. I have about 300 calories worth, and that's a lot - so much that I can't even think about eating anything for several hours. I top my cereal with a half cup of fruit and a few ounces of 1% milk. I have a 3 ounce glass of orange juice and that is the only juice I have in the day. I also have one to one and a half ounces of lean meat.

I have more than enough energy to get up and do that though, because my energy levels are higher and I am sleeping better. Before the accident I always had to get up to pee at least once, often twice, in the middle of the night. After 8 hours of sleep I still felt groggy and often slept on the bus on my way to work. I now sleep for 7 hours straight, don't have to get up to pee in the middle of the night, and hop out of bed like I'm 25 years old again.

Meat can be a hassle because processed meat is often very laden with added sugars. I've found a grocery store where I can buy regular roast beef or pork, sliced thin, so it is easy to have a one to two ounce serving. Sometimes I buy rotisserie chicken and debone it so I have roast chicken meat ready to grab for the work week.

I can hear it now: "But quality meat like that is really expensive!" Well, yes it is. I should just cook it for myself and maybe I'll start. My grocery bill has gone up about 800%! Oh, except, I didn't really have a 'grocery bill' before the accident because I barely kept any food in the house because I had no self control. I ate a lot of crap at work and bought ready made food on my days off. Don't even get me started on the late night munchie runs to the corner store across the street. My over all food bill has gone down by about 30% since I gained control of my eating. I pay twice as much per calorie but eat about 1/3rd the calories.

If I need mayo for some reason, I make my own because all brands now contain sugar. I can make some damn fine mayo, though. My main reason for making it is for potato salad. To make that salad I need a lot of finely chopped carrot, onion, celery, and radish - so I use a professional grade mandoline because I just happen to own one. Yes, it is a lot more work - but again, I have the energy to do it. The end result is spectacular and one of my favourite recipes at this point. It has twice the flavour and half the caloric density of ready-made potato salad.

I don't eat ketchup anymore but I really only ever wanted it on fries or breakfast potatoes. I now prefer my potato salad to fries or breakfast potatoes and I'm glad to have them out of my diet.

Outside of the produce section, the grocery store is now very sparse for me. I get oil, eggs, mustard, different types of vinegar, and my hot cereals. I never liked canned food because of all the salt so nothing lost there.

My diet has fewer flavours and textures now, but my sense of taste and smell is heightened by no longer being over-stimulated. My professional cooking has improved because I can more readily taste and smell subtle ingredients; partially because I don't smoke until bedtime now.

I should mention that my home is far cleaner than it has been in years. These days, if I notice a spot that could use some cleaning, or something that is out of place, I just snap to it and I'm done in a minute or two. This is just automatic because I've got the energy and want to keep my home clean. Before the accident I also wanted to keep my place clean but I often procrastinated because I just felt lousy. Back then, cleaning was a monumental chore that only happened on my days off; or maybe I could wait until my next days off to deal with it.

On the down-side, I can now smell people a lot more intensely. Usually that isn't so bad but occasionally it is. When someone gets all eager to add 3 different types of sauces and several different spices to a dish, it is overwhelming to me. Some of the food-porn that I used to enjoy now turns my stomach.

My diet is simpler but takes more work. I enjoy the food I eat now more than I enjoyed grazing all-day before. My life overall, however, is just so much better that I hope at least one person reading this finds the courage to try taking control of their diet...and their life.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

A Diet I Can Live With

I'm on a seafood diet; I see food, I eat it. If you have 10 pounds to lose then you can 'go on a diet'. What that really means is you are going to temporarily change your diet to achieve a goal. You are already on a diet, everyone is on a diet, whatever one regularly eats is one's diet.

I was obese (class III, to be exact). I didn't need to 'go on a diet', I needed to change my diet for the rest of my life. I needed to get off the 'see-food' diet and find a diet with which I could live for the rest of my life. I needed to destroy old habits and build new ones. I needed to reset my palate so I could learn to enjoy foods that weren't killing me.

I abused food. I'm surprised Hellmann's didn't take out a restraining order against me. I lost a lot of weight in the first two months after my slip - but that wasn't the goal. The goal was to retake control over what I ate so that I could design a diet that I could follow for the rest of my life.

I've cooked in cafeterias and care-homes in the past. For insurance reasons, they need to be able to account for all the choices made in designing the menu. All too often the budget has more influence than good nutrition but good nutrition has to at least be imitated to some degree. To that end, they do not turn to daytime television, super-market checkout magazines, or trendy diet books. I've never seen an institutional kitchen that strives to achieve a gluten-free menu, or lactose-free menu, or even vegan menu.

When it comes to satisfying the insurance companies and the stake-holders, institutional kitchens follow an archaic system known as the Canada Food Guides (well, Canadian institutional kitchens do this). Why do they follow that archaic, bureaucratic system? I'll tell you why. It wasn't written to make the best seller's list; it was written by a bunch of eggheads who have pocket protectors, clipboards, microscopes, access to national health data, and, uhm, the ability to correlate food trends with public health.

Those eggheads have been telling us for generations that we shouldn't be eating too much refined sugar, processed meat, or deep-fried foods. They've been telling us to take it easy on the salt, go hard on the veggies and fruit, and opt for the low-fat version on dairy. I'm not sure when it became acceptable to have a bowl of candy for breakfast but I bet if you went to a local high school and looked at an archive of their yearbooks you could pinpoint the decade when that happened.

In my grandparents' generation, obesity wasn't a problem. They grew up thin but died of heart attacks because they ate too much sausage, baloney, and bacon. The food guides updated to these facts but grocery store shelves just got worse. Let me criticize the Canada Food Guides a little bit more: I don' t think they are emphatic enough about avoiding added sugars and processed meats.

The diet that I am evolving is based on the Canada Food Guides with a couple exceptions. I'm trying to eliminate added sugars and processed meats rather than just limit them. Secondly, for the purpose of getting my BMI under 25, I am gravitating more towards vegetables than fruits.

The diet that I outlined in my last blog didn't have enough veggies and relied too heavily on starches. That was more about making my meals incredibly bland than eating a balanced diet. I lost a lot of weight, but that was mostly because I eliminated snacks between meals to gain control of my diet.

The primary objective in my diet is to control the snacks because I do plan to add them back in. I've already started having a small portion of fruit between breakfast and lunch. Today that snack was 10 cherries. Between lunch and dinner I plan to start having some raw veggies. When my BMI is under 25, I'll add an ounce of low fat dip to those veggies.

My second objective is to keep added sugars to an absolute minimum. I've recently done a little experiment with eliminating added sugars for a week. Oddly, sugar is supposed to contain a lot of energy, but since I eliminated added sugars (sucrose, glucose, dextrose, liquid invert sugar, corn syrup, maltodextrin, etc, etc, etc) I feel like I have a lot more energy.

If I can control how I snack and avoid most added sugars, then I think my third objective will be rather easy; follow the Canada Food Guides. I still need to get more veggies so I'm looking at ways to do so. I've also started looking at how I can get more whole grains without added sugars; even whole grain bread often has a lot of extra sugar in it beyond what is needed to activate the yeast.

My diet is evolving and I'm developing some recipes as I go and I do intend to share them. What I should emphasize, however, is that having a "no added sugar" meal isn't likely to help you much if you can't avoid added sugars between meals. In point of fact, if you are still drinking a lot of sugary sodas then a "no added sugar" meal might just taste so 'off' to you that you won't want another.

The real question, one that I shall try to answer in my next post, is, "How awful is it to live a life without added-sugars?"

Friday, August 18, 2017

A Hard Roe to Hoe

The two months following my slip on the ice constitute the most difficult period in my life to date; I don't expect to experience worse without dying. I knew that if I just let myself become house-bound, as I did after my previous accident, I wouldn't survive. I think fearing for my life actually pushed me through it.

I eventually got back to work, although I had to modify my station so I didn't have to bend down to grab anything; bending was near impossible with the Jewett brace. I had to relearn my knife skills with my right hand. I really should have taken a dose of marijuana tea before work but I've always hated working with people on drugs. Working without it, though, left me in agony.

I frequently had early morning appointments at the hospital. I had a terrible phobia about ice so I often shook as I trundled over ice with my cane. I didn't go out for smoke breaks at work anymore because I was afraid of the icy sidewalks. My commute was much longer because I was too afraid to walk down the hill to get directly on the metrobus. Even showering took longer because I had to keep my cast dry.

Everything was harder to do and took much longer than before. By the end of the day my muscles ached as I adapted to missing 40%, then 42%, and finally 44% of my crushed vertebrae. Clamping myself into the Jewett brace made me wince. I hated the cast.

Everyday seemed to last 30 hours and at the end of it I needed my marijuana tea. Every night, as it sank in, I could finally relax and sink into my bed for the night.

I counted minutes all day long as I learned to go an hour at a time without so much as a sip of water. Eventually I was going 2 hours, and then I started having just water every 2 hours and maybe a hard candy or a cigarette after 4 hours. I added spaghetti with 3 tablespoons of low-salt tomato sauce to the menu, and often had a low-sodium V8 and half an apple with lunch. I also began adding fruit to my morning oatmeal.

One day I noticed the bag of hard candies on my printer and realized I couldn't remember putting it there. That's when I realized I had put it there days ago and not even thought about the candies since. I was finally having 3 meals a day and zero snacks. I also realized I no longer smoked until the end of the day when I had my marijuana tea. That's when I realized I hadn't had any of that tea in a few days.

At some point after about 2 months of struggling to go longer and longer without snacking and just stick to my diet, the struggling stopped. It had just become routine. My BMI had dropped from 43 to 37 during that two month period. That's when I went out and bought a digital bathroom scale. I hadn't had one for over ten years.

People keep asking me for recipes and what I ate to lose so much weight. I believe it's more about the how than the what but I'll tell you what I was eating by the end of that first two months.

For breakfast I had plain oatmeal (about 275 calories) with a cup of fruit (maybe 100 calories) and three ounces of 1% milk (maybe 40 calories), 3 ounces of orange juice ( 40 calories ), and one to one and a half ounces of lean roasted meat or chicken ( 70 calories ).

For lunch I would cook 85 grams of spaghetti (315 calories), top it with 3 ounces of low salt tomato sauce (25 calories), and a third of a can of tuna (110 calories). I usually had a can of low-sodium V8 (70 calories) and half an apple (maybe 30 calories).

For dinner I ate about 300 grams of boiled potato (300 calories) with a cup of frozen veggies tossed in (120 calories), topped with 3 ounces of low salt tomato sauce (25 calories). I usually added about 2 ounces of lean roasted meat or chicken (100 calories).

Did I enjoy that food? No, I did not. That's not even what I ate for the whole two months anyway. I already stated that I had to struggle to stop snacking. To that end my goal was to get down to having three meals that were between 500 and 600 calories of old fashioned hospital food. I wanted to hit a reset button on my palate so that, when I started adding variety, things like carrot sticks would taste good again.

In the early days, I kept my snacks limited to things like a half cup of plain popcorn, or one hard candy, or ten nibs. I worked hard to increase the time between a meal and a snack and then I started replacing those snacks with a cup of tea, or maybe a glass of low-sodium V8. I no longer let taste dictate what I ate; I decided what I needed to be eating and then pushed myself to eat just that.

As I said, by the end of the two months, fighting pain and fear of another fall, having long hard days of physical recovery, I had made a very bland, sparse diet part of my normal routine. I let myself have one 'indulgence meal' per week. Often it was a nice omelette with one slice of toast because I would only indulge flavour and not the desire to fill my belly to bursting. Fortunately I could just prepare that meal at work so I didn't need to fill my cupboards with savoury ingredients.

By the end of that first two months, I didn't experience any hunger. I usually didn't want to eat my next meal because it sucked. I told myself when to eat and what to eat, for the first time in my life.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Learning to Suffer

Crushing a vertebrae is not the most painful experience I have had. When I was young I had terrible migraines that could last 2 days. At the end of my athletic life I totally screwed up my ankles learning that I couldn't run 80 km/hr - don't ask. That was likely the most pain I ever felt within a 24 hour window. Recovering from my ankle injury beat me; left me broken. Coupled with subsequent problems, I got fatter and fatter.

Recovering from a crushed vertebrae, and my obesity, has been the most difficult recovery of my life though. At least while my ankles were healing I could pull myself in and out of bed, lift my own weight with my arms, take care of myself. I don't even remember getting home from the hospital after my back injury. I do remember that I could barely sleep all night and was never more aware of how fat I had become.

It took monumental effort to roll 90 degrees in bed, and I kept trying one side, then my back, other side, then on my belly, to find a position where I could be comfortable enough to sleep. I found I could get a few minutes sleep on my side if I pulled my top leg up and put a pillow under my knee. With every shift, however, I realized I had to fight against my weight and that twisted my back and made me moan sorrowfully. I started to become really angry at myself for getting so damn fat.

I still didn't know how much I weighed. I wasn't able to stand when I got to the hospital so they couldn't get me on the scale. It made me sick to have to pull my belly fat out from under me as I shifted to my side. I had to pull it out though because laying over it twisted my spine.

My bed is low and that made getting up very difficult. I tried to pull myself up my cane with my right hand in order to stand and could only pull on the doorway a little with my left hand because of my broken wrist. By the time I had gotten upright to head down the hall to pee, I didn't need to pee anymore because I had already pissed myself. Try cleaning that up while wearing a back brace and having a cast on one wrist. I'm so glad I don't have carpet.

I learned that if I had to get up to pee, I had to crawl like a commando down the hall, dragging my belly along the linoleum, because I couldn't get up on my hands and knees due to the broken wrist. I just slithered along like a snake, trying not to twist too much and cause pain in my back. Once in the bathroom I would crawl half way into the tub, head first, then push myself back onto the toilet. If I forgot to drag my cane along with me then I had to crawl back the same way. Some nights I just slept on a towel in the hallway.

I didn't have any damn food in the house other than porridge because I was too much of a piggy to keep from eating everything in the cupboards. I had no idea how I would get to the grocery store. I had a corner store across the street but it mainly sold junk food and beer. I had to try though.

The hospital called and wanted me to come in for a follow-up on Friday. I also had to go get my back brace adjusted the same day. I figured if I had to go out anyway it would be a good chance to lay my hands on some food. I decided it was time to dip into the taxi fund.

I still wasn't sleeping well at all and so I started getting ready at 4 am. I was terrified of falling in the shower but I hadn't showered since the morning of the accident so I had to try; I opted to shower on my knees. It took me hours to get clean, dry, and dressed. I was beginning to really hate my wrist cast and I was embarrassed to go out in the Jewett brace but I just had to step up and deal with it.

The real terror came when I opened the door. I live in a basement suite with my own stairs up to the parking area, and the stairs were covered in ice. I shuddered and closed the door. No way. Now way. Damn it. I did NOT want to become a shut-in like after my last accident. Somehow I had to deal with it. Then I remembered that I had a bag of salt just for ice on the stairs. I covered the ice with salt until I could hear it crackling.

I put an old beer cooler bag over my shoulder and poured the rest of the salt in there. I trembled up the stairs, left hand holding as tight as it could to the railing and right hand holding my cane firm for dear life. I had to get across the street and pick up more salt and I was terrified they might not have any left, given how much ice remained on all the sidewalks and streets. I tossed salt ahead of me all the way across the street and was relieved to find out they still had more in stock.

I looked over their small grocery section and saw a few things I thought I could use but decided to come back after my appointments since the bag of street salt was about as much weight as I could carry. I decided to take the salt with me to my appointments to help me get across the icy sidewalks. I called the taxi to pick me up at the store.

That was the day I saw my weight on a scale for the first time in probably ten years. It was higher than I had imagined, even higher than I had feared possible. The doctor worked out a BMI of 45 and tried to be kind as she told me that was something I might want to address. As I said, my BMI was actually 43 because she didn't have an accurate accounting of my height - but I had eaten nothing but porridge for the past 4 days so maybe it had been as high as 45.

By the time my appointments were done I was so tired and my abs hurt so bad from taking over for my back muscles that I just wanted to go home and sleep. I noticed that it felt like some of my ribs were pressing together - a feeling I learned indicated that I no longer had the strength to keep myself upright.

As tired as I was I still couldn't sleep properly. It wasn't just my body aching and not being able to find a good position; I began to believe that the morphine was messing with my brain so that I couldn't dream. I decided to try medical marijuana and started looking up how to go about it. It was still a grey area at the time but it seemed like I was going to have to apply for a card and then find a dispensary. I decided to take a short cut so I stopped taking the morphine. It took until morning for it to get out of my system and I finally fell asleep although I was in agony.

I awoke in the afternoon and then in the evening I trembled up the stairs with my satchel of salt, and made my way across the street to the corner store. I took a cloth shopping bag with me to collect my groceries. I started out in the snack food section, browsing through very spicy corn chips; not that I ever wanted to eat anything like that again in my life, but it was where I needed to be and I hoped my plan would work.

Within fifteen minutes a couple young neds entered the store, nodding their heads to an inaudible soundtrack, and made their way to the snack food aisle. I got their attention and asked them if they could help me out, explaining that the morphine wasn't working. They looked me up and down, at my Jewett brace, my cane, and my cast and said, "Oui oui, bien sûr!" I handed them some cash and they ran out of the store. "Damn it!" I thought, "Ripped off!"

I didn't feel I had any choice but to try the next couple of neds to come in. After about ten minutes, however, I saw the first two neds running back to the store. They actually ran to get me some pain relief fast. I was so happy and as it turns out they got me some really high grade stuff. I know this because the next batch I got from a work mate wasn't nearly as effective.

So, weed in pocket, I picked up some potatoes, two cans of tomato sauce, a bag of frozen veggies, 2 cans of tuna, some 1% milk, a bag of hard candies, and a pound of butter. The butter wasn't for eating, it was for making weed tea. I'll let you google the details for yourself if you want to give it a try.

Day five after the accident and I still felt like I had been run over by a truck. The mental fatigue of not sleeping was almost as bad as the pain. Eating nothing but plain porridge without even milk had me at my wits end.

So, the first meal plan was simple. Porridge with 1% milk in the morning. Try to go as long as I can without a smoke, cup of tea, sip of water - nothing at all and then try just having a sip of water and wait 15 minutes more. I knew I wouldn't make it two hours, but I had to see how long I could go, just to break the compulsive oral stimulation behavior. If I could make it two hours with nothing, then I could have a cigarette and either a hard candy or a cup of tea. Repeat until really hungry and then have boiled potatoes with two spoonfuls of tomato sauce, boiled veggies, and a third of a can of tuna.

I boiled my potatoes as I prepared my weed tea. I got my veggies in with the potatoes and portioned out a third of a can of tuna on a plate. My meal and my tea were ready at about the same time so I retired to bed. I added no salt or pepper to my food but I gobbled that bland meal down like a plate of Chinese food. I was so hungry for something other than porridge. With a good meal in me, and my tea now cooled, I decided to see how it tasted; not that good. It wasn't terrible either, could have used a bit of sugar, but I was not going to have sugar in my home.

It took about half an hour for the tea to sink in but when it did it was like magic. I felt like I had been dipped in warm, comforting wax but my head stayed clear. I did laugh a bit easier at some videos but I wasn't sure if it was because I was high or just so relieved to be without pain. I don't remember falling asleep.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Hitting Rock Bottom

I think most people know the basic outline of a healthy diet. I say that because most people are capable of describing such a diet when they relate how healthy they eat after lamenting that they can't lose any weight. It's so easy to forget about snacks and ignore grazing behavior that I sometimes think our evolutionary psychology has concocted a conspiracy against us.

The real question, though, is how does one find the motivation (or perhaps courage) to commit to eating for their health and ignoring all the unhealthy urges? Committing to a healthy diet can be as hard as giving up cigarettes or alcohol; perhaps even harder since you can't simply stop eating. How hard would it be for an alcoholic to overcome the addiction if some small amount of alcohol was a daily requirement for life itself?

I wish I could tell you that I just mustered the courage to make the decision and through sheer force of will I found my way. I know a woman who did that and I think she is really amazing. She told me that it took her six months of psyching up to finally pull the trigger. My story, sadly, is not so courageous: it is, on the other hand, humiliating.

On December 5th, 2016 I watched a Youtube video of buses, tow-trucks, and even police cars, all sliding down an icy hill and crashing into each other. I was still laughing about it as I left my home and began my walk to the bus stop. Less than half-way there I slipped on some ice. My legs shot out straight in front of me and I landed hard. I had had some hard landings when I was a skydiver and knew all to well what it was like to get the wind knocked out of me.

I rolled onto my side and just braced for the pain and a few minutes of being unable to breathe. Something wasn't right, though. People started to gather around me. Some lived in the adjacent houses and a few had stopped and gotten out of their vehicles. I could hear them talking but it was hard to understand what they were saying because there was this grotesque noise, like the death rattle of a bear, masking their words. I realized that sound was coming out of me.

I tried to stop making that noise, I tried to laugh a little and tell them I was embarrassed that so many people had seen me fall, and I tried to ignore a growing feeling that something really bad had just happened to me. I wanted to stand up but one woman kept saying I should stay down and wait for the ambulance. Two young men helped me to my feet and I found that I had to really flex my abdominals to get myself upright.

I could still feel my legs and move them so I knew my spine wasn't damaged. I was wrong. My spinal cord wasn't severed but, as I would later learn, my spinal column was damaged. I had been crushed under my own weight. I was so damn fat that a mere slip on the ice was enough for my own weight to crush one of my vertebrae.

I wanted to push through the pain and get to work. I kept saying that I needed to get to my bus. One of the ambulance drivers got under one of my arms to hold me up and said, "Ma'am, your bus has arrived. Let us take you where you need to go." I wanted to say no but I was coming to the realization that I was in dire need of medical aid. As I agreed to go with them I choked up and started crying. I was still crying hours later.

Everyone thought I was crying because I was in pain. In truth, pain makes me yowl like a momma bear looking for her cubs and, as it was, my back was becoming numb; I think I was going into shock. I was crying because I couldn't believe what had become of me. I kept reliving some of the best times in my life, paddling against the current, herringboning my way up a steep hill, or bouldering at the rock climbing gym. That's still who I was in my head, even after nearly doubling my BMI. I kept thinking about those things as I realized I was now a fat old lady who needed an ambulance because of a little slip on the ice.

The ambulance guys, doctors, nurses, x-ray and CAT scan techs were all so compassionate but that made me feel even worse. They didn't see who I remembered being, they saw who I was and that made me feel more naked than when they peeled off my clothes. I was fitted with something called a Jewett brace and given an appointment to have it better fitted a few days later. I kept thinking that I needed to get back to work.

Oddly, the fact that I would be facing some time off of work didn't really sink in until they started putting the cast on my left wrist. Yeah, I broke that too. The tech who put the cast on seemed to find it rather novel that I didn't have a clue how to hold my arm steady for her. She asked me if this was the first time I had ever had a cast and seemed surprised when I said yes.

That reminded me of how terrible my landings were when I was a skydiver. I was very competitive and always wanted to land in the yard at the drop zone rather than having to make the walk of shame from some distant field with my rig all bundled in my arms. To that end, I often made last minute corrections that all too frequently cause me to stall and fall or dive face first into the dirt. In one of my worst landings I bounced, face first, three times across the yard as one jerk yelled, "Heather, either learn how to land or get a contract with a dairy company to do ads for milk." Even with the wind knocked out of me, still laying face down on the lawn, I managed to get one hand up to flip him the middle finger.

That was the me I remembered. I was invincible. I could hit the planet and just bounce without breaking a bone. As the warm plaster hardened on my wrist, however, I realized that my knife hand was out of commission and I was officially not going back to work anytime soon.

Eventually I was ushered into a room with the bone doctor. He was a pleasant fellow but his words were daunting. I should mention that all these conversations were in French, and I had never dealt with doctors in French before so a lot of the words were new to me. I did understand that I had lost 40% of one of my vertebrae and it would have to be monitored to make sure it didn't keep disintegrating. The cast would be on my wrist for about 8 weeks and I might be wearing the Jewett brace for more than 12 weeks.

By the time I was discharged, my head was swirling. Being diagnosed with diabetes seemed like a far better plight than what I was facing. As I got out of the wheel chair, I realized I really had to use my abs to press into the brace to keep myself upright. It should come as no surprise that it had been years since I had done any sit-ups. I stumbled over to the pharmacy, terrified by every patch of ice, to pick up my prescriptions and buy myself a cane.

I didn't know what was going to become of me. I just wanted to get home and gobble some of the morphine and figure out the next few days one at a time. I had known people who said they didn't get healthy until their first heart attack, or until the doctor told them their blood pressure was so high they were going to blow a tube the next time they ate a burger. I had expected my medical crisis to be diabetes. I had no idea what a crushed vertebrae entailed but I hoped I could endure it. Oddly, for the first time in over a decade, I felt the rather estranged feeling of wanting to prevail.

How did I get so darn fat!?

In order to understand how I've reduced my BMI by 10 points and why I believe I can reduce it another 10 points, I feel it is important to understand how my BMI went up 20 points in the first place. So just how did I get so darn fat!?

I was always an over-eater. I was 'chubby' as a child but by my teens I became very athletic. I swam and ran several kilometers a day. Then I got into riding my mountain bike to the next town: usually for a milkshake. In my twenties I took up cross-country skiing and back-country hiking. In my thirties I got into rock climbing, canoeing, and skydiving.

Sometimes my weight would creep up a bit but I just added a few kilometers to my excursions and it would melt right off. My core diet was healthy but I ate twice as much as I should have - and that would have been fine but then I would also grab a fast food burger for a snack or eat a whole pizza on the weekend. I was so active that I maintained a healthy BMI even though I ate about 4,500 calories a day.

At some point in my mid-thirties I had a series of setbacks. I won't bore you with the details because I'm saving them to write a country song. I damaged my ankles quite badly in a 'stunt' that was incredibly stupid. That brought my activity level to a dead stop. My weight started going up and I got a bit depressed. I think I might have seasonal affective disorder because by the middle of the next winter I hardly left the house. There was a short period where I think I experienced real clinical depression; that experience gives me great empathy for those who live with chronically recurring depression.

My healthy diet disappeared and I lived primarily on delivery: pizza, Chinese, whatever I could get delivered to my door. All that delivery food and not leaving the house caused financial and relationship problems. I'm trying to just paint the broad strokes here but this is already sounding like a country song.

I survived the depression, got back into the swing of things, recovered financially and emotionally, but my diet remained very unhealthy. I ended up exhibiting what I call compulsive oral stimulation. As soon as I woke up I wanted juice. I mostly had porridge for breakfast but rarely had fruit with it. Then morning coffee and cigarette. I would have a mint or two on my way to work and then things got worse because I'm a cook. Oh, look, Caesar croutons! Next an olive, a cup of tea, and then I would grab a slice of watermelon as I walked by the prepared fruits in the fridge. Ice water, out for a smoke, piece of cheese - it just never stopped.

When my BMI crept up to 35, I threw out my bathroom scale. As big as I was getting, I would still spot people even bigger and say to myself, "Well, at least I'm not THAT big." At some point I began to notice other fat people looking at me and could tell they were thinking the same thing.

The thing that I'm most ashamed about is that I let this happen even though I'm a professional cook. I know how to cook a healthy, balanced menu. I've worked in care homes and cafeterias where my principal responsibility was putting together healthy meal plans each week. I also had plenty of motivation to put myself on a healthy diet - my ankles and knees ached terribly every night after work and sometimes I didn't even want to get out of bed on my first day off just to give my ankles a chance to fully recover. I was afraid that I was going to get diabetes because I put most my fat on in the middle and that's one of the risk criteria.

The problem was I no longer had the excitement of all the activities I had enjoyed so much when I was healthy. I couldn't even enjoy a walk around the block without my ankles giving me grief. And so, I felt like food was all I had left. I lived in pain and in fear of being diagnosed with diabetes, and I alleviated that pain and fear by stuffing calories into my pie hole. I know: stupid. That's the spiral, though, and I believe a third of the adult population is living with it these days.

I tried to manage my eating from time to time. At least I usually had porridge for breakfast. I struggled to buy little packages of snack foods rather than giant, party-sized bags. My cupboards were usually bare because the only way I could avoid snacking at night was to not have anything available. Knowing that my cupboards were bare, however, led to me picking up unhealthy meals on the way home.

It took me about 10 years to go from being quite athletic to surpassing the class III obesity benchmark. When I felt really bad about it I would just eat enough to make me sleepy so I could take a nap.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Cutting My BMI in Half

I'm on my way to cutting my body mass index (BMI) in half. I've chosen to blog about my weight loss experience in BMI rather than pounds or kilograms to allow readers to more easily compare my weight, and subsequent weight loss, to their own. To that end, I've created a table of weights (in pounds) for BMIs from 19 to 49 matching heights from 4' 8" to 6' 9". In the following table, most people can find their height in the first column, move to the right to find the column with their weight, and then look up to the first row to find their BMI. Give it a try, if you dare.

Body Mass Index:
4' 8"85899498103107112116120125129134138143147152156161165169174178183187192196201205210214219
4' 9"889297102106111116120125129134139143148152157162166171176180185189194199203208213217222226
4' 10"9196100105110115120124129134139144148153158163167172177182187191196201206211215220225230234
4' 11"9499104109114119124129134139144149153158163168173178183188193198203208213218223228233238243
5' 0"97102108113118123128133138143148154159164169174179184189195200205210215220225230236241246251
5' 1"101106111116122127132138143148153159164169175180185191196201206212217222228233238243249254259
5' 2"104109115120126131137142148153159164169175180186191197202208213219224230235241246252257262268
5' 3"107113119124130135141147152158164169175181186192198203209215220226231237243248254260265271277
5' 4"111117122128134140146151157163169175181186192198204210216221227233239245251256262268274280285
5' 5"114120126132138144150156162168174180186192198204210216222228234240246252258264270276282288294
5' 6"118124130136143149155161167173180186192198204211217223229235242248254260266273279285291297304
5' 7"121128134140147153160166172179185192198204211217223230236243249255262268275281287294300306313
5' 8"125132138145151158164171178184191197204210217224230237243250256263270276283289296303309316322
5' 9"129135142149156163169176183190196203210217223230237244251257264271278284291298305311318325332
5' 10"132139146153160167174181188195202209216223230237244251258265272279286293300307314321328335342
5' 11"136143151158165172179186194201208215222229237244251258265272280287294301308315323330337344351
6' 0"140147155162170177184192199206214221229236243251258265273280288295302310317324332339347354361
6' 1"144152159167174182189197205212220227235243250258265273280288296303311318326334341349356364371
6' 2"148156164171179187195203210218226234241249257265273280288296304312319327335343350358366374382
6' 3"152160168176184192200208216224232240248256264272280288296304312320328336344352360368376384392
6' 4"156164173181189197205214222230238246255263271279288296304312320329337345353361370378386394403
6' 5"160169177186194202211219228236245253261270278287295304312320329337346354363371379388396405413
6' 6"164173182190199208216225234242251260268277286294303312320329337346355363372381389398407415424
6' 7"169178186195204213222231240249257266275284293302311320328337346355364373382391399408417426435
6' 8"173182191200209218228237246255264273282291300309319328337346355364373382391401410419428437446
6' 9"177187196205215224233243252261271280289299308317327336345355364373383392401411420429439448457
6' 10"182191201210220230239249258268277287296306316325335344354363373383392402411421430440449459469
6' 11"186196206216225235245255265274284294304314323333343353363372382392402412421431441451461470480

Now, to understand my level of obesity, find the weight (in pounds) that corresponds to your height and a BMI of 43. Yes, my BMI was, at the time of my medical crisis, almost 43. On December 5, 2016 I arrived in the emergency ward of my local hospital thinking my BMI was probably 36 or 37 (given what I thought I weighed). Sadly, I found out that my BMI was nearly 43. The doctor thought my BMI was 45 because the height listed on my driver's license isn't very accurate.

BMI categories:

18.5 to 25 - Normal

25 to 30 - Overweight

30 to 35 - Obese Class I

35 to 40 - Obese Class II

over 40 - Obese Class III

At the time of this writing, my BMI is under 33 - a reduction of about 10 points of BMI in 9 months. I am now in control of my eating, continuing to slowly slim down even more, and expect that within a year my BMI will be under 25. I'm not sure if I'll actually get down to 21.5 or not but I will get under 25 come hell or high water. My current goal is to be overweight by Christmas: BMI between 25 and 30. I'll be very happy to just be overweight and no longer obese.

And so I shall be blogging about my weight loss journey from BMI of almost 43 to BMI of under 25: perhaps cutting my BMI in half.

If you are in a hurry to know my diet then I'll describe it to you in this paragraph. I don't eat anything containing refined sugars, anything deep fried, any processed meats, any snack foods, or anything battered or breaded. I stick very close to the Canada Food Guide although I gravitate more towards veggies than fruits. I'm not a fundamentalist so I do sometimes break the rules but for the most part I do conform to the diet I have described.

If you want to know how I manage to stick with this diet, well then you'll just have to read through the coming posts to understand my journey.