I realize that to many, my recent fixation upon my new, much larger self may seem misplaced. After all, having to shed a few pounds is nothing compared to having to shed a few hundred thousand white blood cells. One just requires determination, self-control and, possibly, some exercise; the other requires Fludarabine, Cytoxan, Rituxan and, possibly, some divination.
At the same time, however, and as anyone who has ever had to lose a significant amount of oneself can attest, going on a diet is an unpleasant experience full of all sorts of unexpected setbacks and general misery. Self-deprivation, while perhaps useful in developing one’s character, is in my view generally to be avoided. I am not a hedonist, but if given a choice between the two . . .
More to the point, I am already exhausted from my last intra-body hostilities. Launching another attack upon myself was not something I anticipated and definitely not an activity in which I wanted to become engaged. But I am at that point: Either the fat goes or the jeans, so I guess it makes sense to rid myself of the former (even if the latter could probably be updated anyway).
So I find myself now struggling to shed these unwanted pounds. I have tried various strategies over the last few weeks, including exercising more, not eating after dinner, a general prohibition on grazing and, in a fit of total desperation, going dry. Yet none of these self-denials have gotten me as much as one ounce closer to my pre-chemo self. In fact, I have somehow managed to actually continue to gain weight.
Thus, I am now reaching a point of desperation. That’s right: no carbs. I am not, as a careful reader will note, a medical doctor. Nor am I a dietitian – registered or otherwise. I am, however, a very experienced eater, with over 45 years of expertise in the field. Much of that experience has in fact been spent eating carbohydrates from across the spectrum: simple, complex, processed, unprocessed, high-fructose, no-fructose and lots of pizza and pasta (which I realize are comprised of the foregoing but they are so delicious I think they merit their own mentioning).
And although I am highly suspicious of fad diets, I feel as though I have come to the point of next-to-last resort (the last “resort” being a weight-loss camp, which actually is some type of a resort, I guess). I have considered Atkins, but that seems very 2000s. I also gave some thought to controlled fasting, but as a Jew I engage in that every Yom Kippur and all it does is make me sleepy, cranky and, then in a fit of overcompensation – particularly on high-sodium foods – heavier post-fast than pre.
But of all of these the one I am most disinclined to try is the Paleo diet. In addition to not being a medical doctor or dietitian of any sort, I am also not a paleontologist or an archaeologist (which, to be frank, I kind of thought were the same jobs). That being said, I feel fairly confident in asserting that modeling one’s health behavior on that of humans who lived on average into only their mid-twenties does not suggest a great deal to recommend it to me. In fact, I am already twice as old as the average paleo-era human. I am pretty sure my 45-year-old analogue in the paleo world would already be dead. And generally dead people don’t eat all that much. Even if I were to follow our prehistorical ancestors’ dietary habits, how would I go about doing so? Does Whole Foods carry fresh mastodon?