I’m am on the 5th day of a diet, or perhaps a life change…we’ll have to wait and see. It has been revealing and I have thought about some things that I haven’t thought about very deeply before. Interesting that the initiation of all this began as I left Sedona, Arizona, a place some believe has unique energy and is able to heal areas of your life by getting your energy aligned with the earth’s energy. I have a skeptical mind, but an open heart – so I am not making any claims. I must admit I felt something unique a few times on that vacation- a sort of internal vibration-frequency. I went down there to see the beautiful country, not for some New Age journey. I spent hours in a swimming pool overlooking incredible mountains and hillsides and sunrises and sunsets.
On the plane ride back, sitting next to my oldest daughter – and after a bit of turbulence on take-off, I turned to her and said, “I am ready for a diet.” She said, “Let’s do it.” My son recently started eating differently, less carbs and more protein and fats, and has had some pretty amazing results. While on vacation, I also started reading a book about “Designing Your Life,” a course taught at Stanford University. It had a matrix of 4 areas that you are supposed to complete as a way of articulating where you are currently in your life: Work, Love, Play, Health. I bought the book because I am turning 64 in November and I am interested in developing an encore career, but I am lost at what that might be. I ranked high in Work and Love, as I have a great job and I am surrounded by the most loving people people possible. In the Play area, I was a zero and in the Health area, I probably am less than zero.
My health has been an issue for a long time as I have refused to do what I need to do to control Type 2 diabetes. Over and over again I failed at dieting and resolutions. Even with all the drugs I take, I have a terrible future in front of me – and I seem helpless to help myself. I figured this time, since my daughter wanted to lose a few pounds, maybe if I dieted with/for her I could find a reason to take better care of myself. Maybe I loved her more than I loved me.
In the 5 days so far, I found myself very depressed without a reason to point to. Since I have battled depression, severe at times, for 40 years, I am a little sensitive to being depressed. What I realized, with the help of my family, is that I was in mourning. I wasn’t depressed, I was sad. I have been using food to self-nurture myself. This relationship with food has now been disrupted, even lost.
When I was a little boy, I was a head banger in my bed…and I mean really banging my head up and down on my pillow, like I was trying to knock my brains out. Now many children do this, but most stop by the age of 3 years old and some all the way to 5 years old. I took it to around 12 years old. It was the only way I could sooth myself in order to go to sleep.
At the same time, I was very skinny. My family was always trying to get me to gain weight. Once my father bought a field lug of peaches and when he left for work, he told me to eat all the peaches in the container before he got back home. Obviously pops wasn’t a nutritionist, but he was desperately looking for solutions. By the way, I swear to you this is the truth, I ate 40 large peaches before he got home from work. ( I didn’t gain any weight, but I think I spent considerable time in the bathroom.)
Well, eventually I found a way to sooth myself and I found a way to gain weight too! Two years ago, I got up to 272 pounds and I am not nine feet tall. I slowly “whittled” it down to 250 pounds. When I got married, 44 years ago, I weighed 145 pounds. I clearly remember the pride I had when I reached 165 pounds about a year later. Then at 190 pounds, I went on a 100 mile bike ride and thought to myself, “Man, this is too hard.” Soon I went over 200 pounds and though I knew it was too heavy, there was something manly about weighing 200 pounds-especially for a kid who was always so skinny. I remember very clearly reaching 225 pounds thinking, “Hey, if I lifted weights I could turn this all into muscle! That would be manly.” At 272 pounds, I thought “Holy shit, I might end up weighing 300 pounds-what a pig I am.” Obviously the 40 peaches had a delayed reaction. Also, the funny thing-in a not so funny sort of a way- my father became embarrassed of my physique. Not to say, he didn’t love me- no, he loves me dearly- just that he had to deal with own stuff too. As my weight increased, my blood sugar levels went crazy – up to the 300 per whatever the unit is… and beyond. I CRAVED carbohydrates. I CRAVED them to the point of being addicted to them. I replaced my head banging with food addiction.
Now, you might read all of this and say, “What a loser,” but people who know me would probably say that is not accurate. I have been successful in many areas of life. My opinions on certain issues are sought after and I have been asked to speak publicly as an expert many times through the years. Many find me to be very motivating and inspiring, an example of good leadership. I remind myself though of a highly respected natural foods nutritionist that our family admired and cared about very much. He was so kind and gentle and never was negative about anyone’s dietary habits. He was a very peaceful soul. He was a walking encyclopedia when it came to nutrition and supplements. He personally only had one poor habit. He couldn’t quit smoking. It eventually quit him as he died way too young because of it.
So here I am on Day 5 of “eating differently” in the middle of a new self-awareness and not sure how this all turns out, except to say for certain I have a food addiction and I don’t totally understand all the dynamics and reasons for it. However, as I have often told my students, “Don’t let your reasons, become your excuses!” By the way, for the first time in a very long time, my fasting blood sugar reading was 126, almost below that magic 120 number. I dropped over 60 points in a short amount of time.
Wish me well as I wish you well on your personal journey.
Love to you and to me,