This is, what, the fourth or fifth Sunday with measurable snow?! Last week, I missed church, and Father told me on Monday that there were four people in attendance, besides himself and his wife — and two of those were chanters. This weekend, he cancelled Liturgy altogether. A good thing he did, because the projected snowfall for today is 8 inches. Enough, already!!
That’s enough of that, too. For about 30 years now, I have been trying to lose weight. Like, who isn’t. Thirty years ago, I weighed 150 lbs. and wanted to lose 25 of that. Twenty years ago, I weighed 170 lbs, having put on another 20 after a mysterious foot ailment that kept me from walking, but for which doctors could find no reason (this was the beginning of my sterling opinion of the medical profession, BTW, not altered by more recent events). By “foot aiilment,” I mean that when I would get out of bed in the morning, I literally had to hold on to furniture and walls so I could get to the bathroom, and after I’d been up for about half an hour, the pain subsided to a level that allowed me to walk unaided, but not altogether without pain.
Then I became Orthodox, and discovered the wonderful world of fasting. Now, there’s a school of thought out there that says, “Calories in = calories 0ut” is the best way to maintain weight, and the best way to lose it is to take in fewer calories than you expend. You’d think, then, that eliminating all meat and dairy from one’s diet for half the year (add it up, you Orthodox folks — it really is half the year) would result not only in spiritual enlightenment, but also in a trimmer figure, wouldn’t you? So, would anyone care to guess how it was possible to gain another 100 lbs.?!?!
I think I have the answer. Last year, I joined a forum called SparkPeople which enables one to track nutrition as well as exercise and weight. Great. I tracked my nutrition for a couple of weeks, found that what I was eating was actually under the recommended calorie count, and figured I was all set. Not so — here I am, a year later, still vastly overweight.
During this past Christmas Fast, I decided to keep close track of just what was going on with my body when I eliminated the usual suspects (i.e., meat and dairy), and sure enough: Within two weeks, I had gained five pounds and ballooned in my shape. At that point, I told my priest I was going to need a different spiritual discipline because it was clear that fasting was hazardous to my health, and he, bless him, agreed. (The first priest I’ve had to do so, probably because his wife is a doctor.) So I stopped fasting, lost the five pounds, and whatever was causing my face and belly to swell up. Great.
Then, at the beginning of the new year, I got back onto SparkPeople. Figured, I had to try something, already. I saw that I was still under the recommended calorie count — for someone my size, the minimum calories to be consumed is 1,510 — and said, “Maybe I need to pay attention to that.” A couple of cups of yogurt and a slice or two of bread was enough to boost it into that 1500 range.
So far, I’ve lost three pounds. Not a lot, when the goal is 130, but I’ve proved to myself that — eep — fasting was the problem. Apparently, if you eat too little, your body thinks it’s starving and converts everything you do eat to fat so you will have enough of a reserve, or something else completely incomprehensible. So, if you are Orthodox and fat, I suggest you try SparkPeople and see if you are actually getting enough to eat. I am shocked by the results of my explorations. Maybe you will be, too.
(Of course, this could all be a fluke…) 😉