Today is the two-year anniversary of the day I started my radical “pancreas rescue plan.” Has my pancreas been rescued? Evidence would seem to say yes—as long as I continue to stick to my plan, and of course, I will. I no longer need any kind of medication. I never want to see a “3” as the first number on my scale again—or even a “2!” I am so much healthier now, and able to do so many more things than I could before. I love being able to buy “normal” clothes sizes. I just realized the other day that if I ever get to fly again, I won’t have to ask for a seatbelt extender, which I always found so humiliating.
So I thought I’d take a moment here to go over my most important rules as I’ve progressed on this journey.
Rule #1: Do whatever it takes for as long as it takes. It has taken a level of commitment and sacrifice that I couldn’t foresee at the beginning of my journey—but it has been worth it. One day at a time, I’ve learned to do what must be done. Just a few months in, I realized that this wasn’t a quick fix. I estimated it would take me a full three years to reach the weight and level of health I hope to achieve. I still think that is a realistic estimate, so I’ve got another year before I might find out what “maintenance” will look like. Meanwhile, I’ve proven I can maintain my current weight, and that’s very reassuring. If you want numbers, I lost 65 pounds in the first year and 55 pounds in the second year. This year my goal is 20-30 pounds, at which point I will be a “normal” weight.
Rule #2: Don’t do anything you’re not willing to do for the rest of your life. This is why I’ve never committed to a time-consuming exercise regimen. I’ve proven conclusively that exercise does not help me lose weight, and I certainly don’t have time to spend a couple of hours a day working out. I exercise to maintain my mobility and quality of life, and for that purpose a brisk forty-minute walk with some light weight lifting has been just fine. Fasting is something I’ve incorporated into my lifestyle and I know I’ll be doing it regularly for the rest of my life. I don’t plan to ever eat sugar again. Everything I’ve done, I’ve done with the realization that I may well be doing it for the rest of my life, and that’s okay.
I do want to address one issue that has come up occasionally, and that is the implication that I am “starving” myself. This always makes me laugh, because after all, I am still overweight! So maybe we should define terms here. “Starvation” is when you need food but have no access to it. I have never starved in my entire life.
Fasting, on the other hand, is a millennia-old practice used for both spiritual and physical healing. Honestly, keto and fasting have been very therapeutic for me—and I have yet to even fast half as long as Jesus did (forty days).The drastic measures that I’ve had to take are not necessary for everyone. Probably not for most people. Believe me, I tried all the other things. All. Of. Them. (Except surgery. Never gonna go there.) So rather than complain that I am “starving,” I am ecstatic that after 35 years, I have finally found something that actually works. As counterintuitive as it may seem to those who have never been morbidly obese and addicted to food, fasting is much easier than restricting your eating when you’re a food addict. I find it much easier to not eat than to eat just a tiny portion of a food I like.
So yeah—fasting will continue to be a big part of my life, however much longer that might be. The food I do eat is good food. No sodas, no sugar, no junk food, no starches. I am almost unbelievably healthier now than I was two years ago. I’m not starved. I’m well-nourished. I like feeling this way.