Two weeks ago, I posted about how I gained four pounds over a weekend in Las Vegas. This sent my health into a rapid tailspin, and I knew it was time to take immediate steps to reverse the trend. This is me checking in.
The good news is, I was able to drop most of the weight over the first week. It was a huge relief to have a free day after four days of low-grade headaches. I haven’t had a headache since. (I don’t drink, although an epic hangover would at least have been a fun excuse). I was also having a lot of sleep problems, not a good sign for someone with a major parasomnia disorder. It’s been even more of a relief to be able to sleep through the night. I may be wrong about the correlation between my weight and my health problems, but if I am wrong, at least it was a suspiciously-timed coincidence.
I’m still having trouble with my temperature fluctuating all over the place. This is most noticeable right after I work out, which is strange, or right before I eat. I’ll be fine, and then suddenly a few seconds later I’m freezing. A few nights ago, I woke up huddled in a ball in the middle of the bed, shaking with cold, while under the bedspread, with the temperature in the high sixties. I attribute this to my trick thyroid. It’s a quick, easy way to remind myself that my system demands a high level of physical exercise to run correctly.
Since I’ve been spending so much time in the gym, I’ve decided that I might as well segue into fall training. The outside temperature is dropping, and soon it will be cool enough that I can go out and run again. While I’m waiting, I’ve been spending an hour a day on the elliptical, trying to rebuild my cardio. I have the goal of running a 50-mile ultramarathon for my fiftieth birthday, but I haven’t really run in nearly three years, and I only have eight years to train.
Having spelled all that out, I can now talk about this phenomenon that I call Diet Brain.
Well, actually, wait. I should also say that it’s affecting my husband, too. For some mysterious reason, in our culture, men are allowed to make the decision to lose weight and announce it publicly, and everyone seems to think it’s a fair and reasonable choice to make. A man can even use the word ‘diet.’ When a woman says she’s going on a diet, all hell breaks loose. Everyone knows the only possible reason a woman can decide to lose weight is that she’s gone insane and she loathes her appearance. There’s this cultural prejudice that men already have a healthy body image, and losing a little weight will just make them more awesome, but only if it’s something they want. If Diet Brain is affecting both of us in similar ways, it seems worth sharing.
Basically, cutting calories makes a person distracted, chilly, and mopey. Mostly distracted. Both of us have found ourselves losing track of objects, forgetting what we were doing, and having trouble concentrating. I feel distinctly less charismatic and my speeches haven’t been as good.
We’ve been through this before, both together and separately. We both like to Eat All the Things and we have to fight our tendency to pack on weight rapidly. And then keep it. This is why we’re willing to put ourselves through the occasional brief period of cutting calories and suffering the dreaded Diet Brain. It’s temporary. And a couple of weeks of distraction, spaciness, and moodiness are a small price to pay in order to avoid everything that goes along with constant, chronic weight gain. We’ve been there and back so many times that we know that. If only we could convince ourselves to quit splurging in the first place!
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I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.