I spoke about patterns in my last post, before sharing some resolutions for the new year. I am the type of person who notices patterns. I have a mathematical mind. I analyze things. Today I would like to analyze the physical collapse I managed to survive in the past few years. I have rebounded enough to begin putting things into perspective.
Myotonic dystrophy is a slow progressing disease. I noticed my first symptom 26 years ago. But only in 2011 did I finally tell my doctor that I thought something was wrong with me. Each year for more than a quarter century I lost a percentage of my strength. But I had to reach the point of collapse before I cried for help. Looking back, I can see the role that nutrition and diet played in hastening my collapse, and magnifying the entire ordeal for me.
I aspire to eat healthy. So those periods where I did not eat healthy stand in stark contrast in my mind. Looking back, I have to wonder, what was I thinking? What the hell was I thinking when I began eating at McDonalds? (True. The first time, back in the 1960’s, it was a treat. Probably more for my mom, who didn’t need to cook that meal. She prepared all the others. I can’t blame her for allowing it to become something of a habit. I let that happen.)
When I was in my 30s, I abused fast food. I allowed it to become a routine part of my diet. I allowed it to become normal. (What the hell was I thinking?) Back then, it seemed at times I was too busy to bother with trying to eat healthy. Sometimes, just trying to eat and keep my pace up was all I could do. I had too much on my plate to leave room for healthy food. I was very driven. (Still am.)
Because I could burn through calories so easily in my youth, the first effects of this period of unhealthy eating did not show right away. And so, the habit unwittingly became ingrained in my repertoire of coping and survival behaviors. However. One cannot forever ignore the consequences of poor nutrition. They show up sooner or later.
A few years later, my weight ballooned. I am a shade under 5’10”. When I eat healthy, my weight stays around 140 now, less in my youth. As fast food crept into my diet, my weight began climbing. Imperceptibly at first. My low point came in my mid-30s when I reached 195. On some people of my height, 195 doesn’t look bad. On me, it went disproportionately to my gut. I resembled my junior high track coach. A man – pregnant with basketball. (I hope he rediscovered healthy food before I did.) Thus began my battle with weight.
My 40s was a decade of marriage. A am grateful to my ex for all her wonderful meals. She knew more about nutrition than I did. She prepared healthy food. But by this point, I was addicted to the flavors of fast and junk. My problem wasn’t her meals. My problem were the choices I made when eating meals on my own, and snacking.
We separated in 2010. On my own again, I knew I had to eat better. And this is where I will leave the tale for today. One year before telling my doctor I knew something was wrong with my health.