How to lose forty pounds without hardly trying

About a year ago I decided to lose weight again. I weighed nearly as much as I ever had. They say one of the sure signs of insanity is to do the same thing again and expect a different result. So likely if I went on another diet I would just end up putting it back on again as had happened many times before.

A year later though without hardly trying I have lost 16 percent of my body mass. I’m approaching a normal weight, for the first time in at least thirty years. It’s been ten years since I weighed less than I do now, and then only briefly. My weight loss has been reasonably steady for a year now. I can’t say for sure, of course, but I have a feeling that I’ll never be fat again.

There are a couple of reasons you won’t suspect for my optimism, unless you read this blog regularly. It’s true I went on a “diet” mainly by meeting once a week online with a bunch of other dieters. I wasn’t trying to lose forty pounds this time; I just wanted to get rid of a lot of it. So I didn’t obsessively try to hit certain targets like a pound a week. That was certainly part of it. By not obsessing over it, it became slowly more doable. Just once a week I weighed myself and entered it into a spreadsheet. Some weeks I lost no weight. Some weeks I added a pound or two. Some weeks I dropped five pounds or more.

There were two real reasons for the weight loss. One was a surprise. But if you can consistently change your eating habits by taking in fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight. That’s just science. So I combined that with even more exercise, and I was already walking about four miles a day. Just for giggles though this time I said I wouldn’t try to avoid all temptations. I like a midday snack, like a handful of cookies. It’s a lot easier to give in to limited temptations by allowing certain rewards that work with your body than to prohibit food you know you are going to crave. If you can give in to a natural craving without going overboard, you will work with your body instead of against it.

So yes, I basically lost weight by eating stuff I wanted to eat, just less of it. The cravings went away and I found self-control through selective indulgence.

The second thing that worked though I can’t recommend and really you can’t model. I got a brain tumor. In November of last year I had surgery and it was removed. I subsequently had five weeks of radiation and chemotherapy. Brain tumors are bad, particularly the glioblastoma I acquired. All the therapy has been very helpful and so far things look to be in remission. I’m likely to get a couple of years of life from all of it I wouldn’t have, but these tumors tend to come back. There’s a decent chance within a few years it will kill me. Most of you probably don’t want to be dead in five years for the benefit that you can fit into some skinny jeans. I sure don’t, but then I started my weight loss before all that happened.

I’m taking a chemo drug called Temodar. I have to get through at least six chemo sessions. I’m starting the third one tomorrow night. Temodar agrees with me pretty well considering it makes a lot of people nauseous. In my case, Temodar in a sufficiently high dosage basically kills my appetite. It’s been a few weeks since I finished the last round and my appetite has not made a full recovery.

It’s not hard to lose weight this way. I don’t feel hungry in the least. I don’t want to eat. I can hardly eat a few mouthfuls before I stop. Eating, even foods like cookies, brings no pleasure. Things just don’t taste good. You stop eating quickly and naturally. You see or smell food and you want to run away. Eating is not pleasant and becomes a chore.

But wow! You can sure lose a lot of weight quickly. One week a couple of weeks after chemo I lost 6.9 pounds in one week. It kind of freaked me out. It alarmed my wife. So soon I will be working with a nutritionist. I need to find ways to eat more somehow. I could still lose more weight as I’d need to lose about a dozen more pounds to have a normal weight. And I could lose more than that and still be at a normal weight.

So there’s not much of a consolation prize to be at a healthy weight if you don’t get to live an extra decade or more too. It probably doesn’t hurt, as a good body mass index if a good thing to have if you want to live a long life. But suppressing a recurrence of the tumor is the primary thing that will keep me alive. And it’s likely to come back and kill me.

But it’s possible I’ll be one of the few lucky one that radiation and chemotherapy actually works for. But my oncologist says that there is no cure for a glioblastoma. In some rare cases though it mysteriously goes away and doesn’t come back. I need to hope for that. But it’s a slim hope.

But hey, when they slip me into my coffin, I should look great in a pair of size 34 jeans.

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