Seeking joy and meaning in a joyless mind and meaningless existence

Monday, July 9, 2012

How I Got Fat

As an adult, I have never been particularly physically fit.  After I came back from my summer in London in 1990, I was in the best shape of my life (so far) because I ate regular meals and was doing physical activities almost all the time I wasn't sleeping.  But for most of my life, even though I wasn't particular slim or buff, I still couldn't imagine myself over 200 pounds.  I usually hovered somewhere between 185 and 195 pounds.

Then about five years ago, give or take a year or two, I was going through what my psychiatrist called a double depression, a depressive episode on top of my disthymia.  I could barely drag myself through my day.  I was still working, and not working was simply not an option for me.  My doctor finally prescribed me Seroquel, an atypical antipsychotic.  The relief was almost immediate, and for that I was certainly grateful.  The problem is that a common side effect of Seroquel, and most of the other atypical antipsychotics, is a risk of weight gain, hyperglycemia and diabetes.  Around that time, I ramped up my alcoholism and was drinking an incredibly excessive amount of beer, twelve or more per night.  And then on top of that, I began a ritual of binge eating high fat, high calorie foods after I got drunk.  All of that led to a dramatic increase in my weight.

I don't know if this is unusual or common, but I never really noticed the gradual progression to obesity.  (I think I was simply too drunk or too hungover all the time to see it.)  All of the sudden, I realized just HOW FAT I had gotten.  I could hardly believe that was me in the mirror.  I looked—and still look—like I'm ten months pregnant.  I've tried many times since then to lose the weight, but to no avail.  While I am no longer taking any atypical antipsychotics, one of the medicine I take at night stimulates my appetite, so I can go the whole day sticking to my diet and then blow it all at the 11th hour.  Plus, I've come to enjoy the "comfort" and pleasure of eating certain foods, whereas I didn't have that relationship with food when I was younger.  Only time will tell if this time is the charm.

Personal Roundup

I'm using my old numbers because I'm too scared to weigh myself (or to tot up my debt, for that matter).  I've gone to the gym for three days in a row, and on both Saturday and Sunday, I walked the three miles roundtrip there.  So I'm terrified that I'll step on a scale and find I haven't lost any weight or, God forbid, have actually gained.  I'm just going to have to wait until I'm sure my clothes are fitting better before I weigh myself again.

Speaking of the gym, I sometimes worry that I look strange because I often silently sing along to the music in my headphones and sway my head to the beat.  (I won't even go into my unfashionable half-calf white socks.)  Then I saw this hispanic queen with bleached bangs at the gym the other day.  Oh Mary, she wasn't just singing along, she was putting on a show and working those hands on the treadmill!  Personally I have to respect the guy's cajones and joie de vivre.

Days sober: 3
Weight: 261 pounds
Debt: $10,000