Gaining Weight

This post is part of the 31 Days Writing Challenge, in which a group of writers post a piece every day for the month of October. Want to read all of my posts in this series? Click here

On Fridays this month, I’ll be telling the story of Husband-Mans journey through illness this year. This post is about his struggle with food.

If you’ve ever cared for someone who was quite sick and didn’t feel like eating, you know  how painful it is to know that they’re having to force themselves to eat. If that sick person is 6’1”, normally skinny Husband-Man, it’s down right scary.

When he got sick, he completely lost his appetite. At his lowest point, I used a “weight loss” app to track his caloric intake to make sure he was getting at least 1,500 calories a day. Usually, he eats about 3,000 a day.

I did everything that I could to get him to eat. We went to the store in another town to get tempting foods that he might feel like eating, and on each trip, he had to go sit in the front of the store and wait for me to finish shopping because he got too tired. I bought snickerdoodle muffin bites and protein powder and big tubs of ice cream. I bought vitamin-D milk and frozen pot-pies. I didn’t care what was in it, as long as it had calories.

At his lowest point, he weighed 15 pounds under his healthy weight, which is 10% of his original body weight. Before he got sick, he was told that he had 3% body fat. So that other 7% was coming from vital muscle and other organs.

I came home at lunch to make food for him and to make sure that he was okay. And I agonized. We waited for a diagnosis, but we waited for something more tangible. We waited for his appetite to increase.

It’s like waiting for water to boil. It’s not a fast process, especially when someone doesn’t feel like eating. We waited for him to gain weight. And life kept going. I still had to go to work every day. I still had to live life.

Just last month, he finally got back to his “normal” weight. I tried to celebrate by making him eat. He thinks I’m weird. It was a long process, but that tiny wait is over. And it’s wonderful.

God was good when Husband-Man didn’t eat. God is good now that he’s eating again. (He’s eating a lot, in fact.)

Day 17

Today, are you waiting for a painful kettle of water to boil? Or are you celebrating that fresh-brewed cup of tea?

 

Get Fit

This post is part of the 31 Days Writing Challenge, in which a group of writers post a piece every day for the month of October. If you’re interested in catching up on the entire series, click here.

Day 15

To look at me, you wouldn’t think that I LOVE going to the gym. But, I do. I really do. It’s nice to not have to talk to people. It makes me feel really good when I feel strong. I do just fine with motivation (most of the time).

But, like most big things in my life, I have a (not so secret) desire to get swatted on the head by a fairy godmother who magically turns things into how I want them to be. I want to expend no effort and I want results now. So, I think, “I’ll get fit one day”.

And I know that’s not how it works. I go to the gym every day that I can. I work really, really hard at the gym.

But I have to remind to remind myself that “getting fit” is a day-to-day thing. It doesn’t happen all at once. It doesn’t happen because I think about it. It happens because while I “wait”, I’m being active. I’m making small choices every day that either take me closer to or farther from my goal.

So, “waiting to get fit” doesn’t mean waiting on my heels. It means getting off my backside every day. It’s active.

How are you actively waiting?

Sleep Apnea Man

This post is part of the 31 Days Writing Challenge, in which a group of writers post a piece every day for the month of October. Want to read all of my posts in this series? Click here

On Fridays this month, I’ll be telling the story of Husband-Mans journey through illness this year. This post is about one of the hardest tests he went through on his journey to diagnosis.

I could not, for the life of me, focus on anything. The TV screen didn’t have his number on it yet, so I didn’t know what they were doing. Had they started the procedure yet? Was he in pain yet? Was he just waiting by himself in the tiny room created by a sheet on casters? Or were doctors that we didn’t know trying to take out a piece of his liver?

I had to keep working on my blanket. The large, pink, crocheted blanket that had occupied my hands through waiting for appointment after appointment and while watching hours of TV because he was just too tired to do anything else. I couldn’t even crochet. I knew they weren’t putting him to sleep. I knew that it was going to hurt.

The sounds of a dying hippo invaded my thoughts. I cannot accurately capture the sound with letters, but it was something similar to “SSSNNNOOOCCHHHTTT”.

I looked around the waiting room. There was an old man with his Bible out. A younger man nervously bouncing his leg. And a middle aged man who looked like he just woke up.

I went back to worrying. I tried to watch at TV show (legally) posted to YouTube. My mind would not calm down. “God, be with him. Don’t let him hurt too much.”

“SSSNNNaaaagggOOOCCHHHTTT”

I knew it was the middle aged man this time. I knew I’d heard that sound before. That is what sleep apnea sounded like. He was awake again, but I could see his head starting to loll to the side again.

“That man needs a CPAP.”

I imagined Darth Vader sitting in the waiting room with me. Worrying about Padmé. Waiting for her to have a test done. I imagined him catching the eye of a nurse hurrying through the room, rasping “*ooooHA* Is she done yet?” “What’s the last name, sir?” “Amidala *ooooHA*”. “Have you checked the screen for her number? We post updates there.” “Her number hasn’t *oooHA* shown up yet”. “I’m sorry, sir. I don’t know.” In his head: “The ways of the force are NOT strong with this one.”

*For those of you who didn’t grow up with brothers who would ONLY watched Star Wars, *ooooHA* is the sound that Darth Vader’s respirator that’s attached to him mask sounds. Curious to know what it actually sounds like? Here you go:

I giggled.

“SsSSSSSSSSSSSSSSsssNNNNNNnnagggOOOOOCHT”.

“That man really does need a CPAP.”

And then it was my turn. Husband-Man’s test was done. More waiting, except this time, next to his bed. He had to lay on his side to help seal the two holes they’d punctured in his liver for hours. He then proceeded to toss his graham crackers and peanut butter because he was so dehydrated. And I drove us home, through ice and snow covered rows. But at least he didn’t throw up again.

Darth Vader’s loved one wasn’t in recovery in the same part of the hospital as Husband-Man. I hope he has a CPAP. I hope his loved one’s test yielded results like Husband-Man’s did.

I’m still amazed that he could sleep in the waiting room.
What do you do when you’re in a waiting room? Do you sleep, or do you make up random stories about strangers?

True Fitness Motivation

I don’t spent a lot of my time browsing Pintrest, but I like it. Using it feels like I’m building my own magazine, and catching a small glimpse of what my friends and strangers with good taste are interested in. For my readers that don’t spend their time on Pintrest, there are blocks of images that are complied from your friends that you “Follow”. So, when I sign into Pintrest, I see an endless wall of pictures with captions associated (“pins” that you can “pin” to boards, just like a cork board). Some are shared by my friends, and some are what are the most popular on the site. When you select an image, if you scroll down, you can find similar pins.

And one very popular caption is “fitness motivation”. I like to be motivated to be fit. I want to be fit. And I work really hard to take care of myself. But the images that I see on Pintrest are just that. Images of other people that I scroll through on the internet. (While I’m sitting on my computer, not being active.) And sometimes these images have inspirational quotes attached to them about working hard, hurting today, and how much better I’ll feel tomorrow.

I don’t feel motivated to work out after I see some of those images. They’re usually of women that are in top shape, who look like it’s their job to be in shape. They’re tanned and oiled, and they’re small. And the majority of the associated inspirational quotes have to do with making someone feel bad that they broke up with you because you’re so physically fit now. They’re about working out so that you can feel great in a skin tight dress. It’s about not having a muffin top and how much better you’ll feel after you hit some magical moment with your physical fitness.

And I struggle with my weight. I gain weight easily, especially when I’m stressed out. (And I get stressed out pretty easily.) I also seem to have a tendency to injure myself in strange ways that keep me from exercising as effectively as I’d like.

And I get really, really discouraged about my body. My clothes aren’t fitting the right way, and it makes me feel bad about myself. I get on Pintrest, and see images of women who are far more physically advanced than I’ll ever be physically, and that makes me feel worse. And I watch TV and look at magazines and see the same images. The same messages. They tell me that I’ll feel good about myself when I finally am “fit enough”. That if I buy this work out or weight loss system that my self worth will skyrocket and I’ll be beautiful to strangers and old acquaintances alike. And I start to believe that. I believe that I’m not good enough right now, and that I won’t be happy until I hit some unknown mark in the future.

Now, I want to be clear. The women featured in this media are in great shape, and I hope that they’re healthy and happy and have a strong sense of self-worth rooted in who they were made to be by Christ. I start to have issues when I compare myself to someone else, and when I start to believe that my happiness and worth lies in how I measure up.

Being fit is truly a worthy pursuit, if done so to take care of the bodies that God’s given us and not to validate our existence. And if done with the knowledge that you are are enough even before you take your first step.

So, self-loathing is not real fitness motivation? Indeed, it is not.

Fitness motivation

What should motivate me to be fit then?

  1. You are the Lord’s creation and temple.
    1. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (ESV)- Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
    2. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 (ESV) Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
    3. Romans 14:7-8 (ESV)- For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.
  2. You were made with worth. You are worth the time and effort.
    1. Psalm 139:13-14 (ESV)- For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
    2. Psalm 139:14-16 (ESV)- I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
  3. It makes you feel good, and can even help with symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  4. It has cardiovascular and other health benefits.
  5. Have you ever had the opportunity to feel strong? Speaking from personal experience, when you’re able to compare how strong you feel this month to how you felt last month, it’s wonderful. Do you struggle with the big water bottles for the cooler at work? Start working out, and next month, try to pick up the bottle again. It feels so good.

These are just a few of the things that motivate me to be fit and healthy. What motivates you? I’d love it if you’d share.