Friday, February 15, 2008

I'm Ba-a-a-ack!

Okay, so I spent all of January curled up in a fetal position on the floor, remote control at the ready, angled so that I could keep up with The Biggest Loser, Project Runway and other important world developments on the TV. The area around my body was littered with chocolate wrappers, empty Coca-Cola bottles, bitter remorse and huge, hulking piles of self pity.

What got me over it? Well, two things. A comment from one of my favorite readers, Gucci Muse, who told me to stop focusing on the negative (Thank you, Muse!) and ugh, yes, another health crisis. The health crisis shouldn't have surprised me as much as it did. For three months, I walked six days a week on my treadmill, didn't drink a drop of soda, and really watched my diet.

Then came January. I realized that my Christmas holiday was bad and sad and that made me mad, and then I realized that my beloved (and only) son hates my guts and isn't likely to change his opinion anytime soon, and then I realized that even though I had faithfully stuck to a reasonable, rational fitness and weight loss program, I hadn't lost any weight. All reasons to just go straight off the end of the pier and try to kill myself with bad food and slothfulness, right? Chocolate and Coca-Cola Nirvana, here I come.

Well, I almost managed to do it. My body reacted to the absence of regular exercise and addition of much bad food to my diet as if it had been hit with an atom bomb. It basically shut down and I came very close to having to go to the hospital for the exact same thing that sent me there last March.

If life really is a circle, then I'm back at the beginning, and yes, I know that circles don't actually have a beginning, but work with me here. I am back to weighing more than I did when I first started in October (those four pounds I lost over the 90 days of walking flew back on and then some once I started drinking soda again.) But the worst thing is that my blood pressure spiked, went sailing through the roof even with my daily medications, and that made me sick. But what makes me feel even sicker is that this is something I did to myself, knowingly, willingly, consciously. With my lower lip poked out further than the Grand Canyon, Ms. Pity Party (that would be me...) decided that I DESERVE copious amounts of chocolate and soda...advice to the contrary from that stuffy old doctor who's just trying to keep me alive and healthy be damned.

Today I have to report that I am still sick. My blood pressure is still elevated, my kidneys are still barely working and I am walking around puffed up with excess water like one of those animated balloons in those dumb incontinence ads on TV. But I am back on the treadmill. The same woman who just six short weeks ago could rip off an hour on the treadmill at three miles an hour on a 2 percent incline without breaking a sweat can barely make 5 minutes at two miles per hour. It is absolutely stunning how quickly the human body loses its conditioning. For 90 days, I slowly built myself up to a modicum of fitness. My blood pressure normalized and my resting heart rate fell to the highs 50s. A mere six weeks of slothfulness and my blood pressure is back through the roof and my resting heart rate is in the high 70s.

I wish I could say that I will never slip again, but I know myself and I know that eventually, something will come along that will knock me off my pins. What I can say and promise myself is that the in-between times, the times when I am rolling around in my sorrows like it was actually fun (which it's not), will grow shorter and shorter. I know now that it's unwise for me to focus on trying to lose weight (a negative focus); from now on, I am focusing on something positive...staying healthy. Exercise and healthy eating are a vital part of that today...Round Two starts.

Oh, and I did get that exercise thingie I ordered...the Urban Rebounder. I have only used it a couple of times but can report that it's a lot of fun and reminds me of when I was a kid bouncing on the trampoline in my neighbor's back yard. I just need to get an industrial strength sports bra before I use it again or I might have to report that I have become the first woman in history to break her nose with her own boob.

Finally back in orbit,

Planet Fat Cat

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I Bow To My Betters

Sad that I should post twice in a week and each time open on my knees, begging for forgiveness. Yet, here I am imploring all and sundry to grant me another pass and accept an apology for my transgressions. What have I done this time? I am posting a poem I did not write to emphasize a point I tried to make yesterday but didn’t do with any real eloquence.

The masters of the past and pen, as I will refer to them at least once, have ways of making a point that I simply cannot. I am humble enough to realize my own limitations and, more importantly, to enjoy words and thoughts that are not my own. Perhaps it is my destiny in life to merely connect the great writers of history with shallow contemporary concerns such as weight loss.

I can think of many a worse fate.


by: William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878)

To him who in the love of Nature holds
Communion with her visible forms, she speaks
A various language; for his gayer hours
She has a voice of gladness, and a smile
And eloquence of beauty, and she glides
Into his darker musings, with a mild
And healing sympathy, that steals away
Their sharpness, ere he is aware. When thoughts
Of the last bitter hour come like a blight
Over thy spirit, and sad images
Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall,
And breathless darkness, and the narrow house,
Make thee to shudder and grow sick at heart;--
Go forth, under the open sky, and list
To Nature's teachings, while from all around--
Earth and her waters, and the depths of air--
Comes a still voice--Yet a few days, and thee
The all-beholding sun shall see no more
In all his course; nor yet in the cold ground,
Where thy pale form was laid with many tears,
Nor in the embrace of ocean, shall exist
Thy image. Earth, that nourish'd thee, shall claim
Thy growth, to be resolved to earth again,
And, lost each human trace, surrendering up
Thine individual being, shalt thou go
To mix for ever with the elements,
To be a brother to the insensible rock,
And to the sluggish clod, which the rude swain
Turns with his share, and treads upon. The oak
Shall send his roots abroad, and pierce thy mould.

Yet not to thine eternal resting-place
Shalt thou retire alone, nor couldst thou wish
Couch more magnificent. Thou shalt lie down
With patriarchs of the infant world--with kings,
The powerful of the earth--the wise, the good,
Fair forms, and hoary seers of ages past,
All in one mighty sepulchre. The hills
Rock-ribb'd and ancient as the sun,--the vales
Stretching in pensive quietness between;
The venerable woods; rivers that move
In majesty, and the complaining brooks
That make the meadows green; and, pour'd round all,
Old Ocean's grey and melancholy waste,--
Are but the solemn decorations all
Of the great tomb of man. The golden sun,
The planets, all the infinite host of heaven,
Are shining on the sad abodes of death,
Through the still lapse of ages. All that tread
The globe are but a handful to the tribes
That slumber in its bosom.--Take the wings
Of morning, pierce the Barcan wilderness,
Or lose thyself in the continuous woods
Where rolls the Oregon and hears no sound
Save his own dashings--yet the dead are there:
And millions in those solitudes, since first
The flight of years began, have laid them down
In their last sleep--the dead reign there alone.
So shalt thou rest: and what if thou withdraw
In silence from the living, and no friend
Take note of thy departure? All that breathe
Will share thy destiny. The gay will laugh
When thou art gone, the solemn brood of care
Plod on, and each one as before will chase
His favourite phantom; yet all these shall leave
Their mirth and their employments, and shall come
And make their bed with thee. As the long train
Of ages glides away, the sons of men,
The youth in life's green spring, and he who goes
In the full strength of years, matron and maid,
The speechless babe, and the gray-headed man--
Shall one by one be gathered to thy side
By those who in their turn shall follow them.

So live, that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan which moves
To that mysterious realm where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
Scourged by his dungeon; but, sustain'd and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave,
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.

Thanks for the read; I hope you found as much comfort and inspiration in the words as did I.


Monday, February 11, 2008

Real Answers to Burning Health Questions

Apologies to all for the long absence from posting! I would roll out an assembly line of excuses, but aren’t we all adults here? Will the injuries I suffered while saving kittens from a burning tree, including ten broken fingers, really make all of you more likely to forgive?

Actually, if that works, let me know. I am a “writer” and quite ready to concoct any number of fantastic, though still somehow plausible, stories to cover for my laziness and mental paralysis.

And speaking of which… This week in addition to announcing that I am down to 216 pounds (thank HEAVENS!) I thought I would post something I got in my e-mail in-box. I think it captures the essence of what I feel about life and health.


Q: I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life; is this true?

A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that's it... don't waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that's like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.

Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?

A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable products.

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?

A: No, not at all. Wine is made from fruit. Brandy is distilled wine, that means they take the water out of the fruity bit so you get even more of the goodness that way.

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?

A: Well, if you have a body and you have fat, your ratio is one to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?

A: Can't think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No Pain...Good !

Q: Aren't fried foods bad for you?

A: YOU'RE NOT LISTENING! Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil. In fact, they're permeated in it. How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?

Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?

A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?

A: Are you crazy? HELLO! Cocoa beans! Another vegetable! It's the best feel-good food around!

Q: Is swimming good for your figure?

A: If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me.

Q: Is getting in shape important for my lifestyle?

A: Hey! 'Round' is a shape!

Well, I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets.

And remember: “Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways - Chardonnay in one hand - chocolate in the other - body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO, What a Ride!"”

As I asked a friend last night, “Are you really going to be jealous of a thin, muscular, athletic, good-looking corpse that smells of natural herbs and organic grains?”

She’s something of a smart-ass so she claimed she would, but I think we all get the picture. Enjoy life! Start with a Snicker’s bar and don’t stop until they have to grease your thighs to get through the ice-cream isle at Wal Mart.

Exercise if you feel better doing it, otherwise just have another pork rind and call it a day.

Remember, an asteroid could strike the Earth tomorrow and will your last though really be, “I am so glad I did those sit-ups for now I am READY oh Lord!”

I didn’t think so,