I ‘ve almost hit my current target weight; glucose levels blood test coming up; doctor visit a week from Tuesday.
Dr: So what is going on?
I feel kind of weak, doc. I am not really hungry. Just nauseous, again. Not throwing up or anything. My body is so used to having all this ice cream sugar in it, and now that I no longer eat ice cream and exercise portion control of healthy unprocessed food, my body is reeling.
Dr: I see. You might also want to exercise some exercise. Anything else happening?
This morning the cardinals — Mr and Mrs both — came pecking at my kitchen window looking for birdseed. I had none to offer, doc, I swear, but I dragged myself outside and left them a bowl of fresh water and a bolw with some wheat germ in it. Apparently wheat germ is really good for birds, doc, you dig?
Dr: Take two aspirin and get plenty of rest [end of interview]
Here’s what’s really going on with my weight loss program.
My dog is laying around, looking at me like what’s up. What’s with the zombie gait, dude?
There is a mirror in the closet door of the guest bedroom that I am currently using in the new house. I was asleep earlier, or rather, dozing as I listened to an episode of Night Agent on my iPad. Suddenly I opened my eyes and saw in the mirror a face that actually resembled me. I’m starting to look like me again, albeit some horrible geezer version, as the layers of disfiguring fat are coming off.
I do not look anything like this anymore, of course (see below).
That guy is long gone. So is the cat. Now from my cat story.
My wife was on her way to get takeout dinner from a Mexican deli on 105th St and Broadway late one afternoon, and came across an abandoned kitten left in a phone booth. It was early in April, and very cold. The kitten was only hours old; her umbilical cord still attached. She was so small my wife thought it was a mouse. The kitten’s eyes hadn’t opened yet, so she couldn’t see the ice cream left in the box she was in. My wife eventually named the kitten
Harley, as in Harlem, which is technically where we lived for a while, when we were very young. My wife saved Harley from freezing to death; she turned out to be the most athletic cat I have ever seen, able to leap from a crouch on the floor to a tiny space atop a nine foot high bookcase.
Where do people leave their unwanted kittens nowadays, I wonder, since enclosed sidewalk phone booths in Manhattan are a relic of the distant past?
At any rate, sadly for moi, I will never look like that guy in the above pic ever again. That’s a difficult thing to accept when you’ve been used to looking — how to phrase this without sounding like a vain narcissist? — attractive, even handsome, for much of your life.
Oddly enough, my father once told me that looks do not last; that I had to get serious about things before the handsomeness of youth deserted me. He was concerned that I was throwing my life away hanging out in dive bars day and night and going from being lush to becoming one.
Now I am pushing 72: the power that comes with a not altogether unpleasant appearance a fading memory. The power to have an effect on women based on looks alone long gone.
(But I am still with the gorgeous woman you see above. At least she seems to still tolerate a wretch like me, despite all the earthquakes that inevitably happen in an enduring marriage: my proudest accomplishment, especially with someone so out of my league as her, a woman with the bluest social pedigree you can have in America, who nevertheless saw something in an impoverished immigrant who drank too much. I wish we had been able to have kids; they would have been movie star beautiful. No doubt.)
I have to work hard at becoming the weight of the guy you see in that pic, when I probably weighed around 190 or so. That is 60 lbs (27 kgs) lighter than I am now. 60 lbs. My God. How did I ever let this happen?
And no matter how much weight I lose, I will never look like that again.
Then again, you know anyone who aged well? Take a look at those celeb before and after pics. It must be particuarly tough for movie stars, whose looks were once so outstanding, to watch age take everything away from them, including for many, their means of livelyhood, their passport to the elite life, and be reduced to look just like everybody else.
As the pounds come off, I am being forced to confront who I became.
This is what losing a lot of weight does to me; I get super depressed. Maybe it does that for other people too.
I start to feel morose and sorry for myself, like some wimpy asshole.
Here is what me whining like a little bitch sounds like:
Others have families, kids, grandkids… they can look back on sucessful careers, and breathe a sigh of satisfaction.
I do not have those things.
I was wrenched away from my country at 15 and lost it my language my friends and my family my religion overnight. And I didn’t even realize it. I was blase about coming to America, because I went from being a handsome, thin, rich and entitled kid in the upper echelons of Cairene society to a social zero who had no idea was happening to him, a stranger in a strange land that absolutely despised Arabs and in particular Muslims.
You were a failure because you didn’t have what it takes to really succeed.
You liked booze more than success.
You were a boozer.
That is all there is to it.
So keep reading Men’s Health Magazine, dude. Think about getting ripped at 72. Can’t be done? Why not? You used to down or should I say quaff pints of Guiness and extra dry Stoli martinis like they were going out of style. Surely you can do a few crunches.
Besides lots of people have been on that refugee boat, just like you. Some made it; others ended up dead on the beach, their face in the sand, their lifeless bodies fodder to the ghost crabs and seagulls on a shore that never arrived. You know this. Stop feeling fucking sorry for yourself. You are old, but alive.
Each pound that comes off me is wrenching. Sometimes I feel delirious. My skin is dry; I feel fatigued. I have very little sugar in my body. I do not want to do anything except binge on Netflix. I am trying not listen to my hungry chaotic mind self label itself a failure. I am trying to say to myself: just get to 250, and exercise. It does not matter that that you will never be handsome again. You might live longer and healthier, that is all you can hope for now. That is all that matters. Avoiding the walker and the old folks home or doing the Hemingway checkout routine when all seems particularly dark and hopeless.
As the pounds comes off, I’m starting to swim in pants that were formerly too tight. I am on the last notch of my belt. I find myself having to work hard at suppressing my rage. Instead, I try to channel it by lifting weights. I don’t want my arms and chest to become flabby. I dont want the skin to start hanging loosely off my bones, but that may happen anyway after I lose another 25 lbs.
I am drinking a lot of seltzer, and that is flushing out all the poisons. I pee 10 or 20 times a day, from drinking so much seltzer. I stopped with the urine dipsticks when it looked like I don’t have ketosis. NIH says they dont really work, anyway. I do have keto breath, though. That sucks. I hope it goes away soon. Meanwhile I am constantly rinsing my mouth out with Scope.
Enough already. Can’t focus. I made some home made pea soup yesterday. Maybe I will have in a while, after I cook a cup of brown rice with onions and carrots.
For some reason, I keep thinking about going to Cyprus in September.
The Famagusta ghost beach fascinates me. Maybe I could
do a poor imitation of Lawrence Osbourne and write a novel that is set there. I would fly to Istanbul first, of course, stay a few days, take in the sights, then hop on Turkish Air to Ercan International Airport in Northern Cyprus. I have to check out Lawrence Durrell’s old house in Bellapais, of course; apparently it is open visitors in September. And Alex, my beloved Iskindiriya, would not be far away at all.
But I am hallucinating now.
I need to focus on the here and now.
Two and half more lbs to go.
Just a little over one measly little kilo.
That is all I have to lose, for now.
It does not seem like much to ask, comparatively speaking.