Sunday, April 3, 2011

Ultrasounds are Modern Torture

Generally speaking, I avoid going to the doctor whenever I can.  I’m not afraid, I just find them unpleasant.  Updating your insurance, sitting in a waiting room full of random sick people, waiting to be called in so a complete stranger can start poking and prodding you.

I particularly dislike the gynecologist.  All of the above apply, but in addition, a complete stranger is going to stick a large metal device up your hoo-ha and poke around, which makes you swear to God that you will never have sex ever, ever again as long as that horrible thing gets taken out right fucking now.  Then, they want to poke your ta-tas as hard as possible, causing immense pain (which they mistakenly describe as “discomfort”) all the while scolding you for never doing a self breast exam.

I’m not poking myself like this, bitch!  I don’t like feeling pain!  

But the worst, the absolute worst of all medical examinations I have had to endure as a woman is the pelvic ultrasound. (I’m not saying it’s the worst medical procedure ever.  I’m just saying it’s the worst one I’ve had to put up with that didn’t involve actual surgery.)

I know.  The ultrasound is a wonderful device that helps you check on the health of your growing baby.  You can see its little heartbeat and its tiny little feet.

Well, la-de-freakin-da for you.  I’m not pregnant.  I just have a weird pelvic anatomy, so every so often I have to go to have things checked out.

First, they tell you to drink 5 million and 3 gallons of water before your appointment.  And not just right before your appointment.  You have to finish drinking unnatural amounts of water an hour before your appointment starts, and then you have to hold it.  Evidently you cannot possibly have a decent ultrasound unless your bladder is so full that you may explode at any moment.  Seriously, once I almost peed on the technician.  You can imagine how embarrassing that would have been.

After you start to float away on your bladder of unnatural size, you check in at the counter.  Oh, it will just be a short wait, they tell you.  A short wait turns into 15 minutes of absolute agony, with each passing second bringing  you closer and closer to the brink of insanity.  Tick, tick, tick.  Each second on the clock brings another drip of urine from your kidneys into your already overflowing bladder.  You pray for kidney failure, just to end the misery.  You contemplate going to the bathroom and squatting over the toilet, just to pretend that you can pee.  Maybe you can trick your body into feeling relief.  But no.  The ultrasound demands a full bladder.  Sweat forms on your brow as you force yourself to think about anything but the pulsing, swishing, sloshing, constant pain coming from your loins.

Then, they finally call your name to come back.  You sprint across the room, practically undressing right there in order to speed the process along as much as possible.  They walk you back, forcing you to walk right past a freakin bathroom.  No relief is in sight for you yet.  You still have to endure the ultrasound itself.

At this point, you are practically delirious.  You can’t remember why your doctor sent you there.  All you can remember is the water, oh god, the water.  They begin the exam.  Hurry up, hurry up, hurry up... JESUS MOTHERF*ING CHRIST WHY AREN’T YOU FINISHED YET?!?!?  You envision all the ways you could end the misery.  You could scream for help.  You could kick the ultrasound machine, rendering it useless.  You could pee on the technician.  But deep down inside, you know that none of these options will end your suffering, because a) somebody will get really mad at you and b) they’ll just make you do the god damn ultrasound all over again.

The longer the examination continues, the harder the wand seems to press on your bladder.  Yes, there is my bladder.  It is the GIANT WHITE THING on the screen.  Why in the name of all that is holy and good are you still looking at it?!  The images on the screen change.  It’s all a blur to you, but the technician seems to think he knows what he’s looking at.  (Personally, I think they’re making shit up.)  “Hmmmm,” the technician says.  Hmmm?!  That’s all you’ve got?!  I’m dying here!  “I’m having a hard time getting a good picture because your bladder is so full.  Why don’t you go and empty it and we’ll see if we can get something better?”

As you race to the bathroom, you realize what a sham it all is.  And you swear that if you ever stop peeing, you’re going to kill all of these bastards.  Because they knew all along that your bladder was going to be too full, and they just wanted you to suffer.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Week 3: Success

Life has been pretty crazy in the past couple of weeks- Scott and I have decided to move to Palo Alto, my current commute is horrendous, and work has been very busy.

But, I have been sticking with my diet, and on weigh-in day, I was pleased to see that I have lost 10 pounds.  I have noticed a difference in my pants as well- I'm back in my size 8 pants.  It's a fantastic feeling.

So, the official week 3 results:
Weight: 152.4
Weight Lost: 9.5
R Upper Arm: 10.875
L Upper Arm: 11.625
Waist: 32.0
Hips: 39.0
R Thigh: 22.625
L Thigh: 22.5
Total Inches: 138.625
Total Inches Lost: 5.125

Lots of things coming up soon.  Keeping up with this diet- it feels great to be doing so well!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

End of Week One

Today, I learned a very important lesson: salad does NOT make good leftovers.

I had ordered a large salad at Pluto’s last night, not knowing just how large that would be.  I figured I’d just have the rest for lunch today.  Well, when I put that first large bite of spinach in my mouth, I just about gagged from the squishy, slimy mess that I encountered.  It was horrible.

Note to self: only eat leftovers that can be reheated.

It is the end of the first week of the 4 Hour Body diet, so it’s time to see how I did:

Weight: 153.5
Weight Lost: 8.5
Right Upper Arm: 11.12
Left Upper Arm: 11.32
Waist: 33.5
Hips: 40
Right Thigh: 22.25
Left Thigh: 22.5
Total Inches: 140.69
Total Inches Lost: 3.06

All in all, I’d say I did pretty well.  This week I’m also including the breakfast, which will consist of organic, cage-free Omega-3 eggs, spinach, and black beans.  Breakfast of champions, and hopefully, people who continue to lose weight.

I noticed this morning when I put on a pair of pants that had previously been a bit too tight in the waist that they were no longer too tight in the waist.  I’m not saying they were loose or anything, but I’m saying it’s progress.  Success breeds motivation, so here we go with week 2!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Day Three

This morning when I weighed myself I was down 7 pounds from Monday and three pounds from yesterday.  That is- according to our crappy bathroom scale, which may not be super accurate and is one of those dial scales that’s really hard to read.  Three pounds in one day seems like a lot, but I have been following the diet carefully.  It could be water weight, but I’ve actually increased my water intake.  I think this weekend I will go buy a nice digital scale and see how we do.  Even if my weight ends up being higher with a digital scale, at least it will be easier to read and track my progress.

Yesterday when I got my lunch they had it all wrong- a ton of beans (way more than any person should ever have to eat), a ton of mushy veggies (I hate it when veggies are overcooked), and no chicken.  They totally screwed up my order, but since it had already taken 15 minutes and I was starving, I choked down as much as I could.  It was horrible.

So today I took a different approach- order one chicken taco, one veggie taco, a side of beans, and a side of guacamole.  Then, they can’t screw it up and I just won’t eat the tortillas.  It was so much better!  The food actually tasted delicious and I didn’t feel like I was forcing myself to eat.

Diets are hard when you have to eat food that you don’t like or doesn’t taste good.  I know the beginning is going to be the hardest, and after a while it becomes habit.  So far I’m just preparing myself to meet the challenge- which for me, is saying, “No, I don’t want to eat that delicious gooey chocolate chip cookie of amazingness right now.”  Knowing that I will have a “cheat” day on Saturday does make that better- now, I can say, “I will eat that delicious gooey chocolate chip cookie of amazingness on Saturday, probably along with 3 of its friends.”  MMM..... Saturday.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day One

Today I started an approximation of the Slow-Carb Diet recommended in The Four Hour Body.  I say it’s an approximation because my breakfast was the same as before because I don’t have the ingredients for the new breakfast in the house.  The book did recommend starting with changing breakfast to see awesome results, but given this week’s schedule, that probably won’t happen until Sunday.  But, I figure if I do the diet the rest of the day, it’s better than nothing at all.

For lunch, I stopped by the Mexican place on campus and got a steak burrito bowl without the rice.  I ordered extra beans but I don’t think I got any.  I also ordered veggies but didn’t get any of those (besides lettuce, which it came with).  I think the guy was very confused with my order.

At any rate, it was moderately delicious.  Not as good as Chipotle, but ya know.  When I first stopped eating, I didn’t feel completely full, but as I went for my lunchtime walk, I realized that I was full.  I am worried that since there weren’t enough beans in the meal that I’m going to get super hungry long before it’s time to eat another meal.

It’s hard to shift my expectations about dieting.  I know that starving doesn’t work for me because I will have a major blood sugar crash and get super cranky and ineffective.  Counting calories doesn’t really work because then I get obsessive about food.  I think I need to change the way I think about this.  I don’t have to count calories, and if I get hungry, I can eat again, as long as I eat from the list of “chosen foods.”  Then on Saturday, I can eat whatever the hell I want.  It seems simple enough. So far so good.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Four-Hour Body

Ok, it’s probably time to get real about my physical situation.  

I know I’ve talked a lot about losing a lot of weight, or a little weight, or being healthy, or whatever.  And it’s not like I haven’t done anything.  I’ve changed my diet pretty dramatically (following the “Eat Food” of Michael Pollan’s “Eat Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants” mandate), I work out with a personal trainer 3 days a week, and I’ve gained a considerable amount of strength and lost a considerable amount of body fat from when I started in September 2007.  In addition, my cholesterol levels are phenomenally good, my insulin levels are normal, and my BMI is within the “normal” range.  Compared to the average American, I’m doing pretty good.

But reality hits me today.  My body still embarrasses me.  I wear clothes that purposefully cover up my belly (and violate most rules from What Not to Wear).  I don’t particularly like looking in the mirror and despite the progress I’ve made, I don’t feel like I’ve met any meaningful goals.

I’ve started reading The 4 Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss.  When reading it, part of me wants to scream “This is bullshit!” and throw the whole thing in the garbage.  But the other part of me sees truth in what it says.  The reasons I haven’t met any of my goals are because a) I’m holding my own self back, and b) I didn’t set goals that I believed I could achieve.  Today, when I was out for my lunchtime walk and enjoying 65 degree weather, I decided it was time for me to stop hating myself and to start actually feeling good.

One of the most important suggestions from the book I’ve read so far is that I need to post a “before” picture somewhere that I will see it frequently.  So, time to swallow my pride and put them up:

If I wear strategic clothing, you can't tell from the front so much.

I won't suck it in for these pictures.


The book also recommends that you track your progress.  It’s not just weight, which I will track out of curiosity, but also percent body fat and circumference measurements.  I feel like tracking measurements besides weight on a daily basis is a bit much, so I’m going to track those on a weekly basis.

Weight in Pounds: 162
% Body Fat (approx): 25
R Upper Arm: 11.25
L Upper Arm: 11.75
Waist: 34.75
Hips: 40.5
R Thigh: 22.25
L Thigh: 23.25
Total Inches: 143.75

So, here we have my starting points.  I’m going to keep blogging about this because accountability is super important in being successful, and I don’t want to fail!

Friday, December 3, 2010

I Will Pwn the Zombie Apocalypse

I recently discovered that my friends voted me “most likely to survive the zombie apocalypse.”  I am quite proud of receiving this award.  I mean, that’s a pretty big deal, right?  Surviving the zombie apocalypse?

But, it’s true.  I’m pretty ruthless when it comes to zombies.  And I’m not just talking about random zombies.  I will pwn even zombies who used to be my friends.

(Are you reading this, friends?  If you become zombies, you’re dead to me.)

Also, I’ve got a whole zombie apocalypse action plan all ready to go.  The one flaw I’ve identified in my plan is that I don’t actually have any shotguns lying around.  Shotguns are imperative for survival during the zombie apocalypse.  It’s been scientifically proven that shotguns are the best method for zombie-head removal.

(Note, if you don’t already know that the only way to kill a zombie is to remove the head or destroy the brain, you should probably go watch Sean of the Dead before you continue reading.)

So, I do have nightmares that the zombie apocalypse will come and I’ll be stuck in an old mansion in Aspen with no access to shotguns.  (It’s true, you can ask Scott!)  I spend a good majority of my time plotting what I’ll do in case the zombie apocalypse should come at that moment.

The first order of business is to acquire weapons and snacks.  You can’t survive the zombie apocalypse without weapons, and you can’t survive period without snacks.  Given a lack of shotguns (or ammunition) any blunt object that’s long enough to keep the zombies out of flesh-biting range will do.  A good, heavy shovel can be used in a pinch.  But, you must remember to conserve your energy, because you’ll need it once the zombies reach critical mass.  That’s where the snacks come in.  Good snacks that are high in energy are imperative, not only for running away from zombies, but also for keeping your mind clear so you can loot the gun store and get away with the shotguns.

(Note: for further research on the rules to surviving the zombie apocalypse, please watch Zombie Land.)

The next order of business is to hook up with a few key, non-zombie friends.  At first, I thought Google Latitude would be a great way to do this.  Then, I realized that Google Latitude isn’t smart enough to differentiate between zombie and non-zombie friends.  It won’t do you any good to navigate through the zombie wasteland only to find that your strongest friend has already succumbed to the disease.

(Are you reading this, Google?  Please develop technology to differentiate between zombies and non-zombies.)

To get around this problem, I’ve planned a meeting point.  I figure anybody who knows about the meeting point as a human will forget about it if they become a zombie.  I’m pretty sure that zombies are incapable of thinking about anything but brains.  (Ironic, eh?)

Once you’ve met up with your non-zombie friends, the third order of business is to get the hell out of the population centers.  Obviously, population centers are where all the zombies are.  You can either try to hunker down in your shitty apartment, where you will eventually be surrounded by zombies and run out of food and guns, or you can escape to the middle of nowhere Idaho/Montana/Wyoming where there are probably only 20 zombies and you can kill them all.

Finally, it’s extremely necessary to find a bunker that is easily defended from zombies.  Sure, you’ve done the initial killing of the 20 zombies in the middle of nowhere.  But someday hungry zombies will wander towards your compound, driven by the smell of brains, and you’ll need to see them coming to destroy them.  Research on any successful battle knows that whomever has the high ground is at an advantage, so try to find a nice hill somewhere to build your house.  Bricks are the preferred building material.  Remember, you are in the zombie apocalypse and you are surviving.  Anything left behind by people who are now zombies belongs to you.  Go loot what’s left of the town (after killing all the zombies, of course) and get all the bricks you can.  Then, you can build yourself a house, or, in the lucky event that you find a house already standing in the perfect location, a nice wall with a watch tower.

Then, just wait out the zombie disease until order is restored.  Or, more likely, live as in a hippie commune for the rest of your life.  It’s not that bad.  At least you survived!