Weight is a matter of life and death

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 3.31.20 PMBy Kevin Woo for Ann Silverthorn.com

I have to admit it. I’m overweight. According to those who know me, I could “stand to lose a few pounds.” They’re just being nice. According to the Body Mass Index used by the CDC I’m obese. My target weight should be between 132 and 167 pounds. I weigh a lot more than 167 pounds.

The admission of my situation, to myself, was painful and took some time. I could admit my situation to my close friends, but it was embarrassing to admit it others.

A few weeks ago I had, what the doctor diagnosed as, a mini stroke. There are no lingering effects, assuming that you’re willing to ignore that I blacked out once and fell face first on a perfectly flat sidewalk. I still run into walls at times, and my short-term memory is hit-and-miss. Other than that, I’m doing pretty well.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve accepted that I need to change my diet and lifestyle. I’m no longer married, so all meals are my responsibility. Used to eat pure crap—frozen foods, white bread, ice cream, and cream-based soups. Anything that was quick, easy, and tasted good was ok with me.

I was slowly killing myself with a weight far in excess of the CDC guidelines, and foods that were high in carbs, fat, and sugar. I was big on comfort food, which rarely included raw carrots and cauliflower.

Three weeks ago I decided it was time to see a dietitian to learn what is and what isn’t ok to eat. Last week was my first voyage into the grocery store with my new “ok to eat” list. My analysis of the maiden voyage: the grocery store is a war zone. “Fat free” this and “Zero fat” that means nothing. Read the labels and you’ll see plenty of carbs and sugar, which will wreak havoc on those of us who are overweight and diabetic.

I used to live off of peanut butter sandwiches slathered on white break. They weren’t particularly tasty, but they were quick. For me they were the lowest common denominator of food. I can no longer eat them. Now I take the time to make a proper sandwich, which consists of one slice of lunchmeat, tomato slices and spinach on double fiber bread. And to drink? No more diet coke. I drink bubbly water with a wedge of lime.

My snacks used to consist of a few cookies and some chips. Now I have to eat carrot sticks with hummus. Not bad if you’re a rabbit.

My friends say, “How boring. You can cheat a little here and a little there, and it will be ok.”

I’m a food addict. I can’t cheat here and there because I’ll kill myself. I have eat well and get healthy again.

I spend a lot of time thinking of food these days. What I really want is a big steak with a baked potato loaded with sour cream and some sourdough bread. I dream of pizza. But I can’t eat that way anymore.

Ask my dietitian. She’ll tell you.