Ikigai

FAQ

A journal of my journey on low-carb.  Starting at 405 pounds.  My main goal is getting healthy as I prepare for a post-divorce move to North Carolina.  This FAQ will expand as needed.  I can be reached at: telastra@gmail.com

1) What was your highest weight?
Embarassing to admit, but I don’t know.  I decided to start losing weight when the scale read 550 pounds.  Note that the scale didn’t go any higher.  Most of the largest plus-sized clothing was starting to not fit.

2) How the heck do you get to be that heavy?
A good question, and not one that most people want to answer.  It’s simple: by eating too much.  With rare exception, that’s honestly the only way people get to be morbidly obese.  I do have a thyroid that doesn’t work, but that doesn’t make you gain so much weight in so short a time.  Eating upwards of six thousand calories a day does.  How can you let yourself gain so much?  Well, that’s another good question.  I think that most people substitute eating for other things, whether it’s something to do (boredom), an emotional replacement/coping mechanism, or they simply have nothing wrong with them and just like eating.  Every obese person likely has different reasons for why they are obese.  In my case, (I can only speak for myself), I used eating to cope with negative self-thoughts, anxiety, and depression.  It became my solace for many years – an addiction of sorts to mask the pain.  I’ve worked on this, and continue to, with a therapist and stuff.  I’m aware too some people just can’t seem to lose weight after a point.  There are always exceptions and everyone’s body is different.  By and large, though, most people gain weight because of their decisions and life choices.

Being morbidly obese, I think that those of you who share this state of being…we all need to remember that by and large it’s a choice.  Not necessarily always conscious, especially if we are eating emotionally and unaware, but a choice nonetheless.   Crazy diets aren’t the answer for sure, but neither is continuing to make ourselves ill.

3) What do you think about Fat Acceptance movements?
I think that everyone, regardless of how big or small they are, should accept their body, live life to the fullest and also not wait to do things until they are their “perfect weight”.  I don’t think that people should be discriminated for jobs they can do despite physical appearance.  I don’t think overweight people should be made fun of.  All those things are good stuff to fight for.  However, I do think that being morbidly obese, and in many cases overweight, is unhealthy.  You don’t need to be a perfect size zero, or perfectly skinny to be healthy – but 200 pounds overweight is in no way healthy.  You may have healthy numbers, but the weight on your frame itself is dangerous.  Fat in abundance affects your body not just from a structural point of view, but from a hormonal one as well.  There are people happy being fat, and that is their decision.  However, I consider it unhealthy, as I consider smoking to be so.  If people are happy with their choices, that’s their bag.  This one’s mine.

4) You say no ‘crazy diets’…so why are you on a low-carb diet?
I’m not on a diet.  I am permanently changing my eating habits so I may lose fat and work towards being healthy enough to better do activities I enjoy.  These include martial arts, hiking, running, and various sports.  I also have several metabolic problems.  Given what I know about my own family’s medical history (several kinds of cancer, fifteen people with diabetes, ovarian issues, etc) coupled with my own, there is no sane reason for me to eat a diet high in processed carbohydrates.  None at all.  In fact, it would be sort of insane to do so, in the face of several medical sources.

My other reason was, having investigated fat loss quite a bit, I’ve looked extensively into weight loss surgery to research it.  There’s no way I’d ever get it.  Most of the more invasive procedures that actually re-sculpt the digestive tract had a curious result that intrigued me.  I wonder how much of the initial weight loss comes from the fact that patients are both effectively on a high protein/low carbohydrate diet, and also don’t eat solid food at all for a while after surgery.

5) What’s up with the name of your blog?
Ikigai is a japanese word that, loosely translated, means “the reason you get up every day”.  People who know why they get up every morning, who have that sense of purpose, love longer and healthier lives.  I lost it somewhere along the way.  I mean, how else do you get to weigh over 500 pounds?  I’m seeking to regain it now.  For more info, check out: http://www.toad.net/~uuca/sermons/ikigai.htm

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