After literally years of struggling, I finally managed to shift the majority of the troublesome weight issues I've been struggling with. Since 2007 I'd seen a steady deterioration in my ability to lose weight and get fit, and the knock-on effect into my general feeling of well-being took hit after hit after hit. I felt like I was in an unstoppable downward spiral that no amount of diet or exercise could solve. I was exercising regularly, riding 150 miles a week or more, and my weight only seemed to increase, and my waistline only expanded. After seeing multiple doctors, nutritionists, and trainers in the past five years (all of whom basically gave up, saying "I just don't know what to tell you") I finally managed to break through the problem with the help of a fantastic naturopathic doctor. She did a fantastic job of analyzing the problem, and working out how all my…let's call them "issues" were interconnected. Together we picked apart my whole life and pieced it back together in a healthier way. The results have been unbelievable, and there have been numerous knock-on effects, which I'm going to attempt to list here, as a form of catharsis as much as anything.
- My mood has changed pretty dramatically. Mrs D told me frequently that I seemed "down" or "moody" before. I didn't think I was being a particularly miserable arsehole, but I was aware of having a short fuse and feeling very much off-balance. My work/life balance was all off, too. This was primarily due to the general stress level at work, but since the big health-shift (and changing jobs,) I'm increasingly convinced that it was all part of a general physical and mental well-being thing. The two are clearly intertwined, and I'm honestly not sure what came first. I definitely think that switching jobs and working on really building something again was a big catalyst for change. That helped clear my head and helped me start to be healthier…but now that I'm lighter and fitter, I think my mood is generally better as well.
- My energy levels are where I think they should be now, plus the swing from being awake to being asleep and back again seems much more acceptable. I don't spend ages and ages trying to fall asleep; I chill out, and I fall asleep, and then I stay asleep for at least seven hours. The way it should be.
- Cycling is a completely different experience. Riding my regular weekend route with 30 less pounds hanging off my belly and arse feels like driving a Porsche after a lifetime in a crappy old pickup truck. While I'd been very conservative with my calorie intake during the hardcore part of the diet, I'd avoided going on long rides because I'd be burning two days worth of calories, and was afraid of bonking. On my first ride after getting back into a more "normal" groove, I logged a personal best on the hardest, longest hill of the route and felt completely different. Whaddya know? Climbing is much easier when you're not hauling as much chub around.
- I got the words "bonking" and "chub" into one bullet point there, and neither had anything to do with the naughty interpretations of either word.
- People pointing out how much better I look certainly doesn't hurt. It's also funny when they stumble on what's coming out of their mouths because they're worried that it sounds like they're saying I used to be a fat ass. It's OK, I don't mind…I was.
- This is a weird one, but it's something my dental hygienist pointed out as well; my mouth is much healthier now, too. Until recently, the plaque build up on my teeth would hit fast. I'd go get a cleaning (or a deep-cleaning, as seemed to increasingly be the case) and within days afterwards, the build-up would return. I'd floss, scrape, use a Sonicare and a waterpick, but it didn't seem to slow the nasty stuff that would start to accumulate on my gum line. I wasn't eating lots of nasty sugary foods or anything, it just seemed to build up. Since the physical reboot, things have changed big time. My gums are healthier, and the plaque isn't appearing anywhere near as quickly.
- I have a bunch of clothes that I can fit into again. Thankfully, not all of them have gone out of fashion yet.
- Because of the reductive nature of the diet process I went through, I'm now even more acutely aware of how my body responds to just about everything I eat or drink. Consequently I can tell what will give me energy, what will make me feel lethargic, and even what will help out if I have a headache. My taste has changed dramatically too. Because I've not really had anything sweet or starchy for so long, my palate has a fairly extreme response to things at that end of the spectrum.
- Mrs D looks at me differently. Which is nice.