What works once doesn’t always work again (Part 2)

by 100poundsofchange

Energy, what a meaningful and versatile word. Unfortunately it’s the single thing in my life I struggle with almost every second of every day. I live in my own personal hell when it comes to mustering up energy to do anything. I am not speaking of willpower, or overcoming pure laziness. I force myself every week to hit the gym and weight train, and I would do the same with cardio workouts if it weren’t for the fact that my eating tends to go up when I regularly perform cardio. I don’t plan to cut it out forever, but when you’re of a certain weight it puts too much stress on joints and tendons, and recent studies show does very little to actually lose weight. I have had my thyroid tested on at least two occasions, had complete blood work done including liver tests, and spoken to doctors time and time again about conditions that may be sapping my energy. I even had a sleep study done to see if I still had sleep apnea (I had it when I was 16 but it seemed to almost completely go away in my late 20s). So far I’ve not been able to find any reason for my lack of energy. I can take 400mg of pure caffeine and barely feel anything. I can drink as many sugar free energy drinks as I want and still fall asleep in the middle of the afternoon. And whenever I eat any food that has a higher concentration of sugar or carbohydrates it doesn’t just slow me down like it does normal people, but it almost stops me in my tracks to the point where I come close to falling asleep at my desk.

There is only a single solution, actually more of a bandage, that I have found to actually sustain semi-normal energy levels (with a little assistance from caffeine), fasting. When I spend a large chunk of the day abstaining from food consumption an odd thing happens, I don’t get tired. If I go too long of course I’ll get sleepy, but it feels different, more like a gradual exhaustion rather than hitting a wall. I spoke before that caffeine doesn’t help at all, however after almost going 17 hours without a meal (6PM to 12PM the next day) caffeine during that time seems to be more effective (I assume due to the higher ratio of caffeine to anything else in my stomach). I tend to feel normal during this time, and when lunch comes around, as long as my food is mostly fat and protein based, but also limited in calories, I get an energy bump that lasts me through until about 5PM. This is a functional energy bump, I can think, I can walk, I sometimes even find myself becoming a bit antsy. My past experience with such a variety of diets leads me to believe that this is likely a ketogenic state where  my body is utilizing fat stores for energy, which provide a more steady supply of energy than a carbohydrate fueled source does.

What does this all mean? It means that my life when it comes to food consumption is quite simple. If I want to maintain a life where I have any energy to exercise, go on walks, have sex, play video games, work a job, or even go out to a bar, I have to stick to a very simple lifestyle of fasting and food choice. The irony is that for as simple as it IS, it’s extremely hard to follow. Discipline sounds easy when it’s just a concept of limiting yourself in some way, such as going out for coffee less, or saving a few extra bucks a month, or walking an extra few minutes a day. However in the life of someone who would like to be able to live their lives like so many other people seem to live it (not having to make such drastic dietary lifestyle restrictions), it’s one of the hardest things imaginable. My friend can see a day out at a burger joint where they consume a burger, fries, and a milkshake as a decadent outing that will require an extra 30 minutes on the treadmill. Unfortunately that same outing for me will result in a near catatonic state of low energy levels for the remainder of the day, but a massive weight gain the next day (I regularly fluctuate 7-10 pounds in a single day), and a change in some sort of brain chemistry that triggers an overwhelming desire for foods normally restricted from a day to day menu.

I know there are so many people out there that deal with weight problems, and so many other people who tend to view the former as slothful or lacking in willpower, but for the overweight if my experience mirrors that of some who are overweight it’s an inescapable hell that consumes your entire life. I think that so much of the wonder in my life when I’ve been skinny has stemmed from the simple fact that my entire being wasn’t occupied with thinking about and making choices dependent on reducing body fat. I would gladly love to have another issue at the forefront of my mind for a while, perhaps financial security, or even a shaky love life. But for now I continue to struggle towards that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. A location I’ve been to before and teases me since I know it’s everything I desire and more. There’s an old saying that it’s worse to have had it and lost it and know what you’re missing, than to want the unknown. I miss my pot of gold.

Current Weight: 274 Pounds