Amber Breitbach, Contributor
There comes a time in every American’s life when you look at your selfies and realize how much your chin area resembles a broken Jell-O mold. I actually had a pediatric patient ask me “Where’s your chin?” It was a valid question. When you have more wobble than Weeble People, it’s time for a change.
I’ve altered my lifestyle significantly since January 2017, when I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the kind you give to yourself. I got it because I quit smoking and started baking. I’d also like to credit genetics for the assist. I started a lower-carb diet and began working out three to four times per week. I take Metformin, a pill that helps your body control blood sugar. All these lifestyle modifications assisted my weight loss. I lost approximately thirty pounds in ten months. At my lowest weight, I went jeans shopping.
At the current time, I do not fit into these jeans of last October. It’s not even a joke to put them on. I literally cannot jam my FUP into these denim prisons. (You can look up FUP on Urban Dictionary ™ , it’s worth it.) My size 16s are so snug I have to use a hair-tie configured around the button as a waist expander.
What changed? In a word, carbs. In two words, carb intake. In three words, elevated carb intake. In four words, you get the picture. For ten months, I was strict as fuck on this low carb shit. I would still go out to the pizza buffet, but I’d leave a stack of crusts in my wake.
How’m’ever, as with any major restriction, something’s gotta break. After my checkup in October, I slid off the wagon into a pile of bread, so to speak. The spiral started with a couple cheats a week. Wellllllll, that’s not exactly how it works. One cheat leads to several, and after a while, I was cheating three to five times a week.
I just love pizza, Mexican food, and pizza too much. I also want to blame my mom. As a kid, it was such a fucking treat to go to a restaurant that when I go out to eat now, there are a shitload of emotions tied into it. By the way… I just fucking LOVE McDonald’s, but I’ve only eaten there once since January 2017. That’s a big win, in my book, which nobody wants to read since it’s mostly me writing “Mrs. Amber Breitbach-Esterby” in cursive over and over again.
Despite continuing my workout routine (jk – I am not organized enough to have a routine, but I do continue to go three to four times per week), I knew I needed to improve my diet. I had gained back almost all the weight I lost. As mentioned above, I could tell by the fit of my clothes, when I bothered to wear anything other than scrubs or a threadbare caftan. When I put on jeans, my shape is similar to a figure eight on top of an eleven: something like this, . I sure wish I knew how to make this fraction show up properly.
In short, I am a BFFF, a big fat fucking fatty. I decided reigning in my diet was key to making the numbers on the scale lower. I spoke with my amazing friend Joann, and she said she was doing “The Whole30” diet. If you Google ™ “The Whole30” you can find a specific list of foods which are friendly to this diet plan. How’m’ever, broken down, The Whole30 is basically a diet which focuses on unprocessed foods.
One day, feeling extra motivated after a swim session and a calming boil in the hot tub, I told Joann we would start The Whole30 together. I did try, I did! I went to the store, bought a serious shitload of veggies. I picked up raw meats for cooking purposes. I set a day to begin. I Googled ™ all the fantastic recipes and added them to Pinterest ™. I cultivated all the willpower I could muster. All that mustering worked up an appetite. I took a Klondike ™ break and a Kitkat ™ break. I also figured out how to make ™ on Google Docs ™.
I went to work with all my prepped food. I had told myself the only “processed” food I would allow were fiber- and protein-infused science shakes, which had become a regrettable and expensive part of my weight-loss regimen. These shakes are 200 calories with all the nutrition of a bunch of random whole foods all in one shitty pile of ice chips that tastes like someone whispered “chocolate” next to it 35 years ago. Armed with my arsenal of “whole” goodies, I worked my regular twelve-hour shift, from 0700 to 1930 with a half-hour break for lunch. I had a banana before rounds, a shake at lunchtime, and an apple around 1700.
On my way out of the building after my shift, I heard a noise. A noise that sounded like an orc with a serious form of sleep apnea. It appeared I was more than just hungry. My stomach was digesting itself. Shaking, I drove home as fast as I could. I took corners at 50 mph, the steering wheel slick with sweat. This was an emergency! When it’s an emergency, you get to drive as fast as an ambulance driver. I screeched to a halt in the driveway and used the last of my strength to launch myself through the door.
Crawling, I pulled my weak body into the kitchen. Veggies and fruits were no match for this hunger; I needed the sweet nutrients provided by the flesh of the beast. The fridge shone like a lighthouse on the rocky shore of starvation! I pulled out a plastic container full of deli turkey and tore into it, shoveling fistfuls of meat into my gullet like a starving buzzard on a rotten carcass… I should write for the Food Network ™.
Once my hunger had been satiated, my brain’s preoccupation with food quelled for the moment, an insidious horror dawned. The turkey… was smoked… smoking was… processing… ergo, the turkey was processed!
Aw fuck, well, there goes that bullshit. As anyone who has ever attempted a lifestyle change will tell you, one slip means all is lost and you have to immediately binge on whatever you formerly restricted. It’s one of the things that is fundamental to human behavior. It’s the one and only thing we have that animals don’t, besides pants. The Whole 30 taught me something. Sometimes the drive for a healthier body can trick a person into taking drastic measures, like eating foods that are good for you.
Amber Breitbach is a full time RN, part time asshole. She grew up in MT with a bunch of weirdos and now live in ND with a couple more weirdos. This is her blog: https://unsavoryamber.