Some people prefer a straw in the vodka bottle as the way to deal with stress. I am one of those people who prefer my hand in the bottomless bag of potato chips. As you might expect, I am considerably overweight. “How did I get this way?” I ask myself. “What was I thinking?” goes through my mind when the denial thins enough that I actually see what I look like in the mirror.
I’ve tried every diet plan known to humankind over the last twenty years or so. I can say this…they all work, and work well, if you follow them. I don’t seem to have a problem losing the weight, but I certainly have a problem keeping it off. Every once in a while I manage to remain at a reasonable weight for several months, or even a couple of years. Then, well, then that pretty yellow bag of Lays will whisper to me as I walk by in the supermarket “just a few, Chris, just a few…remember how delicious we are,” and I’m off.
Don’t tell me to keep a food journal, or try this or that cleanse, or find a diet partner, or to just eat healthier food, or go to the gym and workout with a personal trainer, please. I’m not stupid. I have a dear friend who IS a personal trainer. That’s how I met her.
When I got divorced I was in sad shape. I desperately needed physical help. I signed up to work out at a local gym and asked for a trainer. Thank God I was assigned to a wonderful and knowledgeable woman, who now is very dear to me. She had her hands full. Today we can laugh about my bad attitude at the time.
“Ok now, Chris, let’s increase the speed on the treadmill a bit,” she would say.
“No.” I would say.
“Let’s take the incline up a couple of degrees…”
“No.” I would say.
I’ve lost and instantly regained forty pounds in the last couple of years. I am, after all, a New Yorker by attitude and birth. That attitude didn’t disappear just because I moved to the sticks…errr, Colorado. “No” is probably the first word I ever learned.
I am ever so grateful Pam didn’t give up on me. We DO work out a couple of times a week. She’s not officially my personal trainer anymore. She’s my friend. She keeps me going to the gym because I like to see and talk to her. I keep her on track with her personal workouts by showing up. I just eat more to make up for going to the gym. Seriously. I’m in excellent physical shape for being a fat person.
Earlier this year I found a wonderful new holistic doctor. He’s put me on a bunch of supplements and some prescription meds, like stuff for my thyroid and hormones. “I have more estrogen than you do,” he said with a smile as he pointed to the results of about three gallons of blood work he had done for me. “I can help you with that. It’s important because it protects your heart.” I have elevated cholesterol, among other things. I really don’t want to have a heart attack. I would prefer that my brain continue to function as well as possible despite my advancing age.
I went to see him again last week, after another three gallons of blood was taken. We tweaked this and that among all the things he has given me to take. “You need to work on your weight,” he informed me. I swallowed the word “no” and instead argued about why I don’t like the diet program he offers. I refuse to starve and give myself shots of a hormone to help me burn the extra calories I need to get rid of.
“That’s how I got so fat in the first place,” I explained. “All I need is another diet quick fix.” I could tell he’s heard this before.
“Well, I can give you this prescription for something that might help you through the holidays,” he said. “Then in January you can work on your weight.” He wrote a script for something and handed it to me. “It might take several days for you to get used to it,” he said, “so don’t give up on it right away.”
He gave me Phentermine. It kills your appetite, among other things. He gave me a very low dose because I am very sensitive to anything that cranks your metabolism. I suffered from an anxiety disorder for several years. “If it bothers you, just take an extra Travacor,” he said. Travacor is something on my list of daily supplements that boosts my serotonin and helps me sleep at night. That stuff makes me have as much energy as a slug.
“Riigghht…” I thought.
So I’m on day six of taking Phentermine. Phentermine, at least in my experience, is like sitting on a rocket when the after-burners come on. Your mood also shoots to the moon. “Shit, I’m glad I didn’t know about this stuff when I was 20,” I think. “I would have died a methamphetamine addict long ago.”
The age of 20 was long before the anxiety disorder. There is nothing worse than being high AND anxious, let me tell you. I’ve become a true flat-liner. I don’t like anything that alters my biology up OR down, thank you.
“Hmmm, maybe I should just throw this stuff in the garbage,” I’ve been thinking.
Today I met my friend Pam at the gym. I normally eat breakfast before and after I go to the gym. I told you I have to eat more to make up for going there. This morning I swallowed my handful of supplements, including the Phentermine, with a small protein drink before I headed out to meet Pam. It’s a little after noon now and I didn’t have my second breakfast. I don’t really even feel much like having lunch. Working out takes the edge off, seems to shut down the afterburners a bit. If I had a bag of potato chips in front of me I’m not even sure I would eat it.
Maybe the doc knows what he’s talking about. Maybe I’ll go to the gym in the future if I feel crazy. Maybe I’m just getting used to the stuff. I think I’ll put off throwing the Phentermine in the can for another few days. I simply will have to stay out of that chips and crackers aisle at the grocery store. It seems I’ve found some psychic earplugs.
I’ll let you know how it goes.