Sunday, October 18, 2009


So it seems that change is coming more gradually to the scale. Several reasons exist:

1. 12 days of 16 hour shifts, then two days off, then another 12 days of 16 hour shifts. (Those keeping track of my adherence to the mandatory maximum of 80 hours per week should probably jump to the next reason and avoid any mental math right now.)
2. See #1 above, cf. inability to exercise
3. See #1 above, cf. inability to obtain sufficient sleep
4. See #1 above, cf. inability to do anything other than the ICU.

Hard to stay motivated to lose weight when you have precisely enough extra time to eat dinner, then put the kids to bed, prior to collapsing. However, I am hoping that my next rotation will offer opportunity to refocus my currently dispersed (nay, hopelessly lost) aspirations.

I dug a little more into the BMI, and there is an interesting article from that fount of all human knowledge, Wikipedia. Suffice to say there is a large disparity between current use of the BMI and the appropriate use.

I am not trying to "diet" per se, as that is a temporary and ultimately self-defeating concept. I am trying to change my approach to food, and resist what I consider to be one of the worst and most pervasive aspects of American culture: the attempt to disconnect actions from consequences. I shouldn't be surprised that I can't lose weight as long as I keep dosing myself with the occasional handful of Peanut M&Ms (the so-called "extended release" version of M&Ms). Can't get skinny eating the same foods that made me fat.

Mentally, this is quite challenging. I am reminded of a talk by Dallin H. Oaks about repentance. He uses the analogy of a tree being blown in the wind. If the wind is strong enough, the tree bends down and gets mud on its leaves. The process of "repentance" for this tree is not designed to clean the leaves, for with the next strong wind it will bend just as easily. Repentance implies strengthening the tree itself, so that the next wind will not bend it.

So how does one become mentally strong? I already have lots of random, self-defeating thoughts banging about the back of the brain, telling me that I'm going too fast, that somehow this is bad for me, questioning whether this represents some oddball fad or eating disorder. Some days I wish my brain was susceptible to a good dose of "SHUT UP!"; however, it seems impervious to such potions, much like my 3 year old.

I certainly feel better. I have now moved to a separate section of my closet which contains pants from approximately 3 years ago. I am never really hungry, although this is by careful design, as if I allow hunger I will engage in a hugely disgusting binge. I haven't noticed any change in my running, but I haven't been running in 4 weeks, so it's hard to tell.

As far as I can tell, one of the keys was a desparation move I made about 8 weeks ago. I had decided I would actually comply with our church's recommendation to fast once per month. I haven't done that in, oh, years. I started out in the morning and (critical error) forgot to pray. Just a few hours later, I was literally on my knees trying to fight these insanely powerful hunger pangs that have sabotaged every previous attempt to eat properly. From past experience I know that these pangs are not satisfied regardless of the amount of food I eat; only if I eat large amounts of junk food will they go away. Katie asked me if I had tried praying; I did so in short order, begging almost randomly to let this fast provide me with "willpower". Said hunger pangs almost immediately went away, and from that day I have been much more able to fight back against these crazy binges that occasinally consume me.

Junk food is addictive, in the same fashion that cigarettes and cocaine are (See also here, and here). And it's nice to know that God has power, even over that.

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