This will sound shocking, but it’s possible I have have partaken in a little bit of stress eating over the past few months.
I know what you’re thinking. “My god, man! What are you saying? Whatever for?!?”
I know, I know. It’s hard to believe anyone would want to stuff their face with pasta, chocolate and other comfort food just because a scary disease runs rampant, the family has been in quarantine for months, the kids can barely leave the house, there is civil unrest, the economy is crumbling AND Jay Cutler and Kristin Cavallari broke up. Wow. This year has been full of surprises, but I sure didn’t see that one coming.
While the normal response to stress is probably a healthy diet and clean living, here I go, eating a bunch of pizza and drinking beer. Madness.
OK, all of that was all a little sarcastic. Carbs make me sarcastic. Though to be fair, not having carbs makes me even more sarcastic.
I’ve heard plenty of jokes about the “quarantine 15” so I will guess I’m not alone in having gone a little lax on diet and fitness for parts of the quarantine era. Several weeks ago I noticed my real life clothes, from back in the days when I used to wear lots of shirts with buttons, were getting a little snug. At that point, I figured I should probably at least pay a little attention to my overall health.
Following Erin’s excellent advice, I scheduled an appointment with her functional medicine doctor. This was less about weight loss as it was for general wellbeing, as well as feeling less anxious and rotten on a day to day basis.
For those not familiar, functional medicine doctors are basically medical doctors who also look much more holistically at one’s health. So before my appointment, I literally spent a couple of hours filling out a health history questionnaire. It covered everything back to the time I stubbed my toe when I was 12.
That took a while, but it must have given the doctor a good snapshot of things, because even via telehealth, we had an excellent conversation about my health, challenges and goals. She gave me dietary suggestions that were a little tough but doable, and suggested some supplements to help with my energy level, anxiety and feeling-good-ed-ness.
I jumped in and crushed it. For two weeks or so, I was on it. Intermittent fasting, check. Nutrient packed smoothies every morning, check. Carb intake down to almost zero, check. Lots of veggies, healthy fats and protien, check. I was taking the supplements and getting back to exercising every day.
I was feeling GOOD. I noticed a big difference in my energy level, I wasn’t feeling crappy and downtrodden every day…at 46 years of age, I will take it. I was feeling like a youthful lad of 44 again!
And all of this were my main goals. My hope and exepectation, in all honesty, was that I’d also lose a few of those stubborn pounds. After a couple of weeks of eating much less, exercising, and nearly eliminating carbs, my hard work did in fact pay off in a change in weight. I gained two pounds.
The body is a mystery. Perhaps an even bigger mystery than Jay Cutler and Kristin Cavallari ever having been together in the first place. Sometimes two plus two doesn’t equal four, especially where weight and middle age metabolisms are concerned.
Then I had a week of extra stress with work and various home shenanigans (see previous posts about AC and furnace failure), and it was back to lovely, lovely carbs and stress eating. Oh pasta, how I love thee. In the end, I wound up feeling a little crummier and the weight basically hovered in the same spot. But I did have some damn fine bolognese.
It’s tempting in those moments to say heck with it, I might as well eat like garbage if it doesn’t make a difference anyway. But I did feel much better in general when I was eating cleaner, so last week I started back on that track and once again felt pretty good all week.
I spoke to my doctor again about the weight thing and a few detox supplements that might help, so I’ll be giving those a try as soon as they arrive. She also was very reassuring that it isn’t the end of the world to have some cheat days here and there. Her belief is that an 80/20 approach (80 percent good, 20 percent less so) is a good thing.
So next week I’ll be back to it, and thankful for the improvements I have seen. I did shed at least pound or so last week, so at least the scale is moving back in the right direction. Maybe by July I’ll be able to button all those buttons again!
And seriously, I do recommend functional medicine doctors to anyone out there who is interested in getting to root issues of health and just feeling better. Erin and I have both seen real improvement and it’s also nice to talk to a doctor who will listen and converse with you for more than 10 minutes and isn’t just shoving pills at you before pushing you out the door. The ever patient Erin took at least a year to convince me to finally take the step and I’m very glad I did.
So onward I go, and we’ll see if I can drop those few extra pounds in the next couple of weeks. Maybe I’ll try one of these “sit-ups” I’ve been hearing so much about.