Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ve are moving, ve are moving!

After some thought, I've decided to move this to WordPress. Look for me here. This blog will be deleted once I get established over there.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Liver to LRA: "Payback, it's a bitch."

After Pooti's comments here and other places, I started looking into the whole liver problem thing. I used to make jokes about my liver shuddering, but now it seems the joke's on me.

For someone who's abused their body as shamefully as I have--it would be easier to list the drugs I haven't done, and let's not forget the thousands of gallons of spirits consumed by yours truly--I've enjoyed good health other than being fat. I catch a cold maybe once every couple of years; my last illness with fever was the bout of "Red Sox flu" I caught this time last year. But the calendar doesn't lie. I'm in my early forties and it seems like my body is saying "hey, I've had enough of this shit" and turning on me. And my liver is leading the way. It's not quite at crisis mode yet--my eyeballs are still nice and white and I don't have any pain--but looking at my swollen feet and swollen stomach and having to catch my breath after bending over to tie my sneakers scares the crap out of me.

So today is day five of no alcohol (I'd been restricting it to weekends mostly but as with everything else in life I went way overboard and now look what happened). I've been eating fish and chicken and some green veggies ... okay, and a bunless hot dog here and there. My feet are still blowing up but today was the first time in a while that I haven't felt so bloated it seemed like it was hard to breathe, and I've been sleeping a little (emphasis on little) better. I'm also going to start taking milk thistle capsules since per my research it's supposed to be good for improving liver function. I splurged for a good brand, so we'll see if that makes a difference.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

One Size Does Not Fit All, Part 4760

For a few months I've been following a "zero carb" board where it's advocated to eat nothing but unseasoned red meat (preferably really fatty ribeye steaks, hamburger and chuck roast) and water. I endeavored to do so and succeeded much of the time. But on the few occasions I weighed myself, I found myself gaining weight, not dropping like crazy like other people were. In addition to the cankles mentioned my stomach is bloated and to be honest I feel like garbage a lot of the time.

Back when I first read Protein Power the Drs. Eades mentioned arachidonic acid, which is found food-wise in ... fatty red meat. They said that it was inflammatory and if patients were having problems in losing on their diet they would recommend cutting out red meat and cutting down on egg yolks. Later on Mike Eades said that AA wasn't as horrible as once thought and they've toned down on the warning. But it always stayed with me regardless, and so I started Googling and researching. Sure, it might not be bad to have a steak once a week or some eggs, but a diet of NOTHING but fatty red meat? The cankles/swollen feet are a relatively recent phenomenon. I was looking through my personal journal and saw where I'd written an entry on "WTF is up with my feet, the tops are all swollen." The date? Roughly two weeks after I started the new dietary regime. AA plus liquor? The clicking you hear is the sound of the pieces falling into place. When I read in several places that AA is considered a good supplement for bodybuilders to help them get puffed up plus Pooti's response to my previous entry, it made perfect sense.

To clarify, I was NOT powering down two-pound ribeyes three times a day. Normally I'd eat once, maybe twice a day and the servings were pretty normal, but obviously it's taken its toll. When I delicately tried to bring this up in the ZC forum, I was of course immediately told that I hadn't given the plan enough time to work and I had admitted I didn't stick to it so it was probably the other stuff I was eating. All I know is what the dates tell me ... and I wasn't feeling this stuffed and bloated and headachy before I went to All Red Meat All The Time. Maybe like a lot of other plans it works for some, but this particular one doesn't work for me. I'd already discovered a problem with pork so I pretty much have given that up anyway. Fortunately there's a lot of chicken in my freezer. I've missed chicken. And salads. And broccoli. And cauliflower (no, I don't make pizza out of it). In the original PP book it said "when in doubt eat meat, fish, fowl and salad."

Can't hurt. Might help.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Attack of the Killer Cankles

I'll admit my eating (and drinking) patterns have sucked like a Dyson as of late. Things in the Real World are going well--I just got promoted, marriage is fine, cats are cute, baseball's starting soon, etc. so I guess my addictive personality is just having fun.

My feet and ankles, however, aren't.

I get up in the morning, I have distinct ankles. Within an hour I can feel the swelling, particularly in the tops of my feet. It does seem to ease with movement, to the point that I can, you know, get my feet into shoes and things like that. I've tried elevating my feet, taking diuretics, just moving around, but nope, there are the cankles. On some days (like today) my feet get so swollen I have trouble moving my toes and I hobble. And it hurts. I worry that the tops of my feet will explode.

But does this new devilry prevent me from eating way too much processed meat and downing the demon rum? No, of course not. That would be logical and make sense and we can't have that.

But as I sit, feeling my left foot (the one that gets the worst of it) ache with held water, I know something needs to be done. Pain is generally a good motivating tool for me.

Don't feel bad or offer sympathy. I did it to myself. Now I have to undo it.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Dying for a dream

A friend of mine who is morbidly obese (as in over 400 pounds) is considering weight loss surgery. She has an excellent job with good health insurance that would cover the procedure and she's been getting the rah-rah-you-go-girl speech from just about everyone.

Everyone, that is, except me. I sent her this link to the Weight Loss Surgery Memorial Page run by My e-mail:

Dude, seriously, it's not worth it. Google weight loss surgery and look at all the complications that can happen, not to mention it's no magic cure, people can gain all their weight back and then some. You're lucky that so far you don't have major health problems but there's just too many horror stories out there. Please reconsider--I don't want you cutting yourself up for no reason.

Her response:

Way to piss in my cheerios. A lot of those people didn't die from the surgery but from other things and the links are old. I have been researching and the surgery's a lot safer now and like you said I'm healthy except for being a fatass so it makes sense to do it now. I hope you're not going to give me a hard time if I do this and I know you said what you did because you're worried but if you're just going to give me shit about it then be quiet.

I'm not going to give you shit. Like everything else, your body, your choice. I just don't want to go to your funeral or see you suffer needlessly. Keep me informed.

I know two people who have had weight loss surgery. One wasn't all that fat but had it done anyway ... and what weight she lost came back and brought friends. The other one was more successful--she dropped over two hundred pounds--but she's actually too thin now. Her face is gaunt and drawn and her body looks like a skeleton draped in an ill-fitting fat suit (she's going to have skin removal surgery this summer). She is constantly cold, can't stomach any food other than baby rice cereal and protein shakes--once I saw her eat ONE piece of popcorn and then spend the next fifteen minutes puking in the sink--and has to take naps at her job because her energy is sapped. She was healthier and more active at 330 pounds than she is now at 110. But she's thin, and that's all she wanted. She proudly shows me her size two jeans, her collarbones, and says "you should talk to my doctor, he did a fantastic job." Of what, making you look like a corpse?

I may be fat, but I can say with confidence that I would NEVER do weight loss surgery. Even if it takes me ten years to lose all the weight, I would rather do it through diet and exercise--exercise is a factor in weight loss for me, always has been--than by getting myself cut open. I read the names on the memorial lists, read their stories if available, and sometimes I think of that old saying "digging your grave with a knife and fork." I have seen my 400-plus-pound friend go through two huge bags of chips and a two-liter bottle of soda during the course of a movie on TV, then eat a full meal afterwards, then retire to her room to munch on a bag of M&Ms while she's surfing the net. I try very hard not to say anything. She tried low-carb a couple of years back but got induction flu (which I did warn her about) and said fuck it after maybe three days. What's worse is I tend to fall off the wagon of good eating when I'm with her (like this weekend)--I don't eat in her quantities but I find myself mindlessly munching crap and then paying for it by feeling like shit. I'm home now, with pork ribs in the crock pot and tons of steak in the fridge and freezer. It's what works, it's what makes me feel better ... and it will keep my name off that page.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Fools, money, parted--you know the drill

One of the most overwhelming dangers of the Internet is the false sense of intimacy it provides. Even smart people can (and do) fall prey to this; back in the early days of "phishing" I thought I was updating some information for eBay and as a result got my bank account cleaned out. I got the money back but it didn't change the fact that I felt like a complete moron when I found out what had happened. A lot of times it takes situations like that to wake people up, but when something is glaringly obvious and still people fall for it, then whine about how they got ripped off? To paraphrase Seinfeld's Soup Nazi, no sympathy for you.

And so it is with me and Kimkins.

If you've been around the low-carb world for more than a couple of years you have undoubtedly encountered the sordid saga of one Heidi Diaz, who one day got it into her head that she wanted to be Grand Poobah of Something and came up with Kimkins, essentially a low-fat low-calorie low-carb plan. She created a website, charged people thirty bucks for the privilege of accessing her wisdom, and essentially had thousands of people falling all over themselves to sign up. The devotees raved about the ease of the diet and how wonderful "Kimmer" was and how beautiful she looked after losing all the weight and Heidi basked in all the attention. If someone dared to express even the slightest doubt about the Almighty Kimmer they were immediately banished from the cult website. At its peak Heidi was literally raking in millions of dollars--raising the admission price helped with that--and got Kimkins a cover story in Woman's World magazine.

As it's said, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Our Heidi got greedy and mean, and Kimkins wiped out in spectacular fashion complete with lawsuits galore. That didn't surprise me. What did surprise me were the enormous amounts of people who gladly handed over money to someone who, to her credit, never claimed to be a doctor or any sort of weight loss expert except for her personal experience. Hell, she even got people to work for her that had never met her in real life. And the merry chase she led Jimmy "Livin' La Vida Frankenfoods Low-Carb" Moore on when he was blustering all over the place that Kimmer was Teh Awesome was one of the best 'net trainwrecks I've ever seen. Now there are websites for "Kimkins survivors."

Back in the day for shits and giggles I checked out the Kimkins site. The first thing I saw was a picture of actress Jaclyn Smith. Below was a blurb along the lines of "Ask me, Kimmer, how I got to look this great!" When I pointed out on the forum I was visitng at the time that it was Jaclyn Smith, you would have thought I said "the Antichrist." "No, it's not, it's Kimmer!" cried the acolytes, even after I linked to a Jaclyn Smith fan site that had the identical picture. These same people were the ones crying loudest about how Heidi ripped them off when everything went down. Countless blogs kept track of the downfall, all outraged that they had been led astray by some fat housewife from California. And I just watched, and occasionally snickered.

A good rule of thumb to go through life with is don't give money to strangers. I have broken the rule occasionally, but never in large amounts. How often have we heard about someone supposedly down on their luck that everyone runs to give money to, only to learn that the whole story was bullshit? I've seen many instances on the 'net of this as well. If someone has their hand out asking for mandatory donations? Walk on by. I don't care if they're offering the secret to eternal life ... or a quick easy way to lose weight. If you're dumb enough to do it and get ripped off learn from the experience instead of whining about being a victim.

Monday, December 15, 2008

So yeah, Oprah.

By now everyone's heard that Oprah Winfrey, the Goddess of Daytime TV, is back up to 200 pounds (at least that's what she's admitting to). Like many things Oprah does this was reported as news of the utmost importance and has been a hot topic in the blogosphere as well. Of course the low-carb/zero-carb blogs are sniffing "well, she just needs to eat like US!" And therein lies the problem.

It is amazing to me how many people gush over how "real" Oprah is, and her latest trip up the scales has her fans billing and cooing about how BRAVE she is to come out and admit what anyone who's stood in a supermarket checkout line could have told you six months ago looking at her magazine--she's porking up again. "I have trouble with my weight toooo!" they say. "Oprah's just like MEEEEEEE!"

I personally have nothing against Oprah. Anyone who can go from abject poverty to three-times-over billionaire without whacking somebody gets props from me. But a little fact seems to slip under everyone's radar ... she's an actress. She got her start in TV news, where anchorpeople are required to constantly feign emotion. When she made the jump to films, she was nominated for an Oscar for her role in "The Color Purple" and that in a lot of ways spurred the talk show. She can ACT like she gives a shit about you when in fact she lost herself in her own PR a while ago. Come on, who else would buy a magazine just to put her own face on it every month? Who else would charge her minions $200 a pop to hear her mouth platitudes Dale Carnegie would find stale? She pays people to tell her what she wants to hear. In this case, it's that she has a bad thyroid, that her hormones are out of whack, that it's not her fault. No one's going to tell her "you're eating too much fucking sugar and Bob Greene is a crackpot and Dr. Phil has no right to have any opinion on diet considering he could stand to lose about fifty pounds and we all know you have a crush on that Oz guy which is why you have him on every other week."

Maybe someone has told her. But ... she's Oprah. One word from her can get your book on the best-seller list, have your movie gross another $10 million, get your own talk show. She will listen to only what she wants to hear ... and she doesn't want to hear that she can't eat mashed potatoes again, just like a crack addict can't get told "you can't smoke rocks anymore."