The Pursuit of Healthiness

The Pursuit of Healthiness
Your Guide to Getting Healthy

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Liquid Diet (and I'm Not Talking Cleanses!)

Thursday I had the misfortune of having all four of my wisdom teeth extracted. 10:00 a.m. I went in and at noon I walked out, feeling and talking like Kramer. For the next few hours I felt fine, numbness aside. Then, little by little, the numbness wore off and an awful pain started in.

The doc gave me a list of things I had to follow from Thursday to Monday: rinse with saltwater, don't drink anything carbonated, take the painkillers (which, evidently, are also sleeping pills, considering the fact that I've been sleeping at least fourteen hours every day). But the number one thing on the list was to eat foods that require minimal chewing. I stocked my fridge with sugar free chocolate pudding cups, Special K chocolate shakes, pina coloda protein shakes, cottage cheese, mac and cheese (one of my personal favorite foods) and Yoplait light yogurt. These are the six foods that I've been living off of. Doesn't sound all that healthy, right? Then why have I noticed that my jeans are fitting better, my stomach is smaller, and I've lost two pounds in the last two days (without exercising at all because doing so is off limits according to my doctor)?

Well this is why! For one thing, repetitious eating has been shown to limit the amount of food you eat. The reason for that is become your palette isn't being subjected to something new constantly. When you eat something tantalizing and new for dinner every night, your brain savors it and wants more, so you eat more. If you eat, say, mac and cheese like I've eaten for the last three nights, the first night your brain thinks, "Yay! This is good!" Second night it's like, "Oh ok, not exactly exciting but whatever it's still pretty good." By the third night it's saying, "This again? So boring!" When you subject your brain to food you like more often, you stop thinking of it as taboo. You stop craving it and you stop piling it on your plate.

Now take a look at the list again. The pudding is sugar free. The shakes are both less than 200 calories and are high in protein. The cottage cheese and mac and cheese are high in calcium and the cottage cheese is low in fat and calories. The yogurt is low in fat and calories and high in protein. While they all taste great, they are also all healthy takes on their original, high-calorie counterparts.

I'm also in a little pain and because of that I'm eating a lot slower, helping me get filled up faster and making my mind remind me to stop eating as soon as I'm full. I'm not saying that you should go take out your teeth to lose weight, but I am saying to eat repetitiously, sticking to healthier variety of foods and a healthier amount of each. It's way easier than you think!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Something that Should be Said

This isn't a tip or a workout. This is something I have to get off my chest.

Yesterday I watched my best friend die in front of me. She was my workout buddy, my therapist, my baby girl. I watched her lay on a surgical table, cleverly disguised to look kind by a flannel, midnight blue blanklt. My mother and father stood around her and I stood by her head. I held it between my hands and she looked up at me with sleepy, doe-like brown eyes. My mother stroked her ears and I smooshed her floppy face as my father held her steady and stroked her back. The doctor moved around us inconspicuously. She became too tired to lift her head and I didn't want to be looking into those eyes when they became unseeing. She laid her head against a towel covered pillow and grunted continuously and softly. Her eyes shut and her pink tongue folded out of her mouth like an unfolding accordian. She kept sniffing something and her tongue kept twitching.

I knelt down and rested my head on hers, something I'd become accustomed to doing, and whispered, "Do you have any idea how much I love you?" something I'd always asked. She grunted softly again and again. And then it stopped and my father said the obvious confirmation. But I stayed knelt down and asked her the same question again and again.

That same morning my mother woke me to tell me I had to take Jewel to the vet. Although it was only seven, I was up as soon as the words left her mouth. My mother was scared because Jewel wouldn't eat anything. If you'd ever met this dog (which would have made you a very lucky person) you'd know that she ate anything at anytime. More than once in the last week I'd told her to stop eating the grass and to stop eating random things she'd found in the carpeting.

But yesterday morning she wouldn't eat breakfast, wouldn't go outside to go to the bathroom, and wouldn't even get up from her corner where she slept the night. Yet when I came downstairs she greeted me at the bottom of the steps, lying down with her ears up and panting in contentment. My dad tried to give her a treat, just to see her eat something but she wouldn't take it. He left to look up her symptoms online and she climbed, slipping slightly, to her feet. I asked her to eat something, gesturing to her full bowl. She gave me what I can only call a quizzically look and looked at the food. It took no more prying to get her to eat half the bowl. Then she drank a ton a water and went back to the meal. Then she ate the treat, went outside, and came back inside, panting and wagging her tail. I looked at my dad and we were both thinking the same thing: Mom overreacted.

Nonetheless, we got in the car to go to the vet. Jewel got into the backseat without a problem and laid down with me sitting next to her, stroking her side. She kept giving me confused looks, as if to say, "Guys, I'm fine. Why are we going to the vet?"

When we arrived, she jumped up and looked out the window and then followed me, jumping out of the car. On the ramp up to the entrance, she went to the bathroom, much to mine and my father's embarrassment. But we cleaned it up and some nice people pet her, with her relishing the attention. "She's 13!" they said in disbelief. "But she looks like a puppy!" She always got that. Good genes, I guess. Always looked ten years younger than she really was.

Our vet, an old family friend, was quick to take us in. Jewel greeted her happily, until she saw that they had a thermometer and she looked to me for help as the vet...well you get it. I didn't reach in to pet her, afraid I'd bother the vet, but I whispered to her, "It's okay, baby. Everything's okay," like we were sharing our own little secret.

It wasn't four hours later that I was saying the same thing to her, but this time I knew it wouldn't be. It wasn't four hours later that I told her to rest her eyes and I'd see her when she woke up.

I've suffered from depression since sixth grade. I've lost count of the days when I'd come home and just cry, barely making it into the door. But she'd greet me everytime. I'd kneel down on the carpet and wrap my arms around her, making her beautiful gold fur wet and messy. I'd put my head on her shoulder and she'd rest hers on mine and we'd just sit like that. Other times she'd roll on to her back and let me rub her belly while I cried, until the tears ran dry. Did you know that petting an animal can alleviate feelings of sadness? She did.

I'd take her for walks, yes, but my favorite workout was lying on the floor, attempting to do sit ups or bicycles and failing miserably because she'd climb all over my head. Sometimes she'd just lie down by my head and I'd attempt to continue to situps, with my hands over my head reaching to pet her.

I couldn't even spend the night at home yesterday. I had to stay at a friend's house. But it's not as if I could hide away forever. Tomorrow morning, I'll get up. I'll come downstairs saying, "Where's my puppy?" like I always did. But I won't get an answer. And there will be no one to help dry my tears.