August 28, 2021

August - The Good and The Bad

We spent a week at the start of the month at the in-laws. It was right when the Delta surge was making news in Los Angeles. Due to my father-in-law's age and general health, we were basically on lock down, despite being vaxxed. It was a medium stress event, and I gave myself permission to not stress about diet and exercise decisions that were out of my control. It wasn't great for my progress (+4 pounds - yikes!) but we came home and enacted "austerity measures".

Now, don't get the wrong idea. If I have learned anything this past year, it is that crash diets and radical changes don't work and don't last. What I did do was more of a tightening of the belt.

Over the past few months, I had become too comfortable eyeballing portion sizes and getting a little lax on recording food intake. I wanted to reset my "eyeball". With my new training schedule (alternating days strength training with running - thanks to a new compact treadmill), I also wanted to make sure I wasn't cannibalizing lean muscle mass. So, for the past two weeks, I have been on a high protein calorie deficit diet. My normal intake for my plan of  1 1/2 pounds per week right now is about 2000 calories. I have been keeping that to about 1550-1600. The high protein keeps me feeling full so it's been completely doable. Plus, Teresa found some low-sugar low-cal stroopwaffel cookies that soothe any sweet cravings.

This isn't a forever diet, but it has helped me lose that LA gain and then some, allowing me to hit my lowest point of the year - a 33.6 pound loss in total.

In other news, my 3 and a half year dental journey is over. After sinus grafts, orthodontics, gum removal, jaw surgery, and restorations, I've got my smile back. Well, I've got a smile. Never really had one before, so still working out the kinks. Cracking those two molars while recovering from surgery was one of the catalysts that sent my life spinning out of  control. Depression and pain from all the work led to some destructive self-soothing and dissociating behavior that eventually landed me in rehab. To have this phase of my life well and truly behind me is liberating.

But Discordia giveth in one hand and taketh with the other. My new bite and all the work has exposed some ear and jaw issues. After seeing an ENT, I have been diagnosed with some assymetrical hearing loss along with ear pain, dizziness, and a persistent ringing in my left ear. If I didn't know better, I'd blame those years DJing. I went for an MRI to see a) how bad my jaw was out of whack, but more importantly b) to see if there is a tumor causing the hearing loss. It is rare to lose hearing on only one side and that is a likely culprit. I don't want to think about brain surgery or radiation until I get the results back so let's just hope it's "only" TMJ.

I guess, though, the biggest thing that happened was getting news that a friend has Stage 3 colorectal cancer and has opted out of surgery and chemo. This is an old high-school friend. Same age as me. We were thick as thieves for a time although we grew apart in our 20s. His decision to opt out of treatment was based on quality of life concerns. This was a bolt of lightning to me. It forced me to evaluate how despite all the changes I have made in the past two years, that there were areas of my life that I was hiding or were controlled by fear. It prodded me into remembering/deciding that life is nothing without living it. Had a great heart to heart with my wife and we have decided to change some things about how we were reacting to the current pandemic and other areas of life. After so long, it feels good to look forward and plan.