Sick of being sick and tired


As I write this, I am home sick from work for the second day in a row with bronchitis, an infection that has become a nearly annual houseguest in my lungs, and I’m finally pissed off and scared enough to do something about it. I asked my doctor if there was something wrong with me other than my immune system being suppressed because I’m fat, and she looked me square in the face and said “Nope.” So all I need to do is to lose weight and everything will be better? Pretty much, was the answer. 

Now I understand that it’s not that simple. Losing weight won’t make my beard turn grey and more slowly. It won’t do nearly as much for my retirement fund as winning the PowerBall last weekend would ave done, but it may very well help my writing. 

Yep, I went there. I admit and understand that my health issues are directly related to the fact that as I sit here, less than 90 days from my 40th birthday, I’m nearly 100 pounds overweight, even taking into account that I’m too big naturally to weigh the 180-190 lbs, that some platforms say I should. I’m pretty good around 215-225. But 312 isn’t good for anybody. I’d have to be seven feet tall to carry this much weight properly. And because I’m fat, I’ve shown up with sleep apnea, which means that I snore like a freight train and neither Suzy nor I get enough restful sleep at night. So I’m tired all the time. So I struggle through a day at work, come home, eat dinner, and fall asleep in the recliner like some hippie version of Archie Bunker. Which means I’m making zero progress on my writing. As a matter of fact, some weeks the only writing I do is here on MW. And that ain’t right. 

So I’m taking back my health. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not doing anything crazy like giving up meat or beer. Although I’ll still be on antibiotics at ConCarolinas, which may tame down the Literate Liquors panel substantially. But as soon as I can move without coughing, I’m on the treadmill. 

Yes, like most fat people, I own plenty of exercise equipment. There’s a weight bench in my office and a treadmill in the dining room. 

I’ll be on the treadmill every day for one month. Every day, because it takes that level of repetition to actually get into a habit and stick with it. And you, kind friends, are my accountability. Each week, in addition to whatever I’m spewing about writing, you’ll get an exercise and diet update. My approach to diet is a little odd, but it worked for me before, when I went from 265 to 212 in six months. Then I went from 212 to 312 in four years. 

My goal weight is 220 lbs. I look good at 220. I mean, I’m a sexy beast at 312, just imagine the hotness at 220. 🙂 The other hope is that once I get past the first week of ‘ERMAGERD WHAT AM I DOOOOING?” I’ll be able to get more energy and get back in the saddle with some writing again. 

But now the hydrocodone-laced cough syrup is kicking in, so I’d better save this before I veer off into the truly chartreuse. I hope to see many of you at ConCarolinas, at the MW lunch, at panels, in the bar, at parties, and at the book launch party on Friday night! 

Wow, look at the pretty colors on that hippo. Yep, time to lay down for a while. 


22 comments to Sick of being sick and tired

  • Feel better soon, John.

    Weight loss is a touchy subject, no matter what. Especially if one has people in one’s life who aren’t supportive. The biggest thing I’ve learned from all of my attempts is that I can’t be motivated by what other people think. I have to want to do this for myself. Not to gloat or to prove anything to anyone, but because I want to feel healthier.

    Since May 1st I’ve been using the golf course perimeter path next door to the college where I work for walk/runs. 1.6 miles/2.7K. I even used to plot a similar course around home for the days when I’m not at work. It’s been going well so far. Haven’t dropped much, but I’ve definitely lost inches. It’s a good feeling.

    I’m also looking into getting a standing surface for at home so that I’m not just sitting all the time. Canadian children’s author Arthur Slade found a lot of success using a treadmill desk, where he set it up so he could walk as he wrote.

    Sorry for the long post. This can be a difficult subject, but thank you for opening up dialogue on this. Best of luck with your efforts. We can do it. 🙂

  • I should join the club. Not overweight, per se, but seriously out of shape, easily winded, achy all the time. And it looks like I’m going to have to try to rejoin the workforce…ugh…that’ll be fun *sarcasm dripping*. Especially since the only time I’ll have available for work will be evenings.

    Been wishing lately that I had a walk behind mower instead of the broken down tractor/mower so I could exercise and get my lawn done faster. Yeah, walking is faster than the broke-a** tractor at this point. Also think I need to see an ortho for my joints, but that’s another matter.

    Guess it’s time to dust off the stationary.

  • Okay, the hotness at 220 may be hard to resist, but I’m game to see you get there just the same! 😉

    My whole family recently rejoined the Y, and we’re lifting weights and walking on the elliptical. It’s only been a couple of weeks but I already feel better. I can’t wait to hear you say the same thing! *hugs*

  • mudepoz

    *Adds to shopping list*
    1. Lysol.
    2. Bleach
    3. Plastic tarp to wrap bed.

    I don’t have to worry about you joining the MW party in Laura and my room. You have a panel at the same time!
    Get better. Much better.
    Over there. —————————>

    Away from my PT stuff, too. Mine.

  • Hope you feel better soon, and good luck with the weight loss. I’ve also just started exercising and eating better in order to lose weight and have more energy. And this time I’m determined to keep the weight off (once I lose it).

  • quillet

    Wishing you luck and strength and especially good health! You sexy beast, you. 😉

  • If the Universe were ruled by a compassionate Organizing Principle, it would be as easy to lose weight as it is to gain it.

  • Ken

    Good Luck John!!!

    See you at ConCarolinas. Hope you’re feeling better soon.

  • Good luck making these changes! Writing can be hazardous to one’s health — the inclination is to spend *way* too much time sitting (and then there’s the temptation to eat and drink the wrong things, as well…)

    Wishing you strength as you move forward!

  • Darlin, you already have all us Con Chicks all over you. At 220 we will have to take a number.

    Wait. That sounded all wrong.

    But seriously, thank you for this! I’ll join in the once a week bandwagon for healthy writers. No matter our jobs or avocations, our health suffers from abuse and neglect. Stress and sitting get to me the most, and my joints ache and my energy plummets when my diet gets off and I eat too few fruits and veggies and accidentally get corn products. It’s hard to be good and eat well and exercise and take our supplements. But I want to live to 99, and be a walking, talking, miracle old lady.

    So. I too have changed a few important things and am making progress this year. *Finally!*

    Cholesterol was 240. Is now 180.
    No ice-cream. No bad fats. No fried foods (except the once a week small FF from MickieDees.) No corn products. Little red meat. More fish.
    Lost 20 pounds from the worst I was (which no one saw because I hid) with at least 10 more to go.
    Mainly? LESS STRESS! That is what counts most for my body.
    Let’s all get healthy. Then we can party big together at Cons for decades to come!

    Looking forward to seeing *everyone* at CC!!!

  • Nathan Elberg

    You’re not fat. You’re horizontally gifted.

  • Hepseba ALHH

    Good luck getting your lungs back soon! My daughter had an awful cold last weekend and my chest hurt just listening to her try to breath (and laugh and play at the same time – kids are cool).

    And good luck with your exercising. I hope you find something that works well for you and that you can (learn to) enjoy. For myself, I *loathe* running, but I love having time for a walk in the morning. Find something you can look forward to. 😀

    Anybody have any tips on cutting down on unhealthy snacking? I remember my father said he used toothpicks to quick smoking. I wonder if that would work for snacking…

  • I’m not going to weigh in on the issue of what is or is not a healthy weight specifically because it is a, shall we say, “vexed” subject. Doctors who attribute everything to fat can miss significant other health issues – when I was in grad school a woman I knew died of bone cancer because her doctor refused to believe her pain was caused by anything other than her weight until she was terminal.

    But, I can attest that getting regular exercise, much as I loathe getting off the couch, is good for my depression, my sleep, and my ability to resist cravings that result in binges, all of which makes it easier for me to get things done, including writing.

    However, as I type this I’m in a good bit of pain from a sprained neck. (And that’s with a neck brace and gobs of Naprosyn in me.) I sprained my neck Tuesday taking a zumba class. (Yes, it’s funny. Go ahead and chuckle. I did.) My point is that exercise is great, but the warnings about “stop when it hurts” and “don’t over do it to the point where you can’t exercise the next day” are completely valid. I was determined not to wimp out and so I ignored the pain. Now I can’t do anything much until Monday at least. So push yourself, but listen to your body’s “we’ve had enough” signals so you can keep going over the long run.

  • @Hepseba – Try taking some time – when you’re not hungry – to pre-prepare a bunch of ‘snacks’. that you can either store or refrigerate and nosh on as desired … decide how many/much snacking is healthy for you, then track how much you eat – ie write everything down. Be honest, no-one else gets to see the list.
    I’m a notorious late night snacker, (and writer) and observing myself this closely was/is the only way I got a handle on what I was obliviously putting in my mouth while I wrote.

    @John – I’m carrying well over 100 pounds too much too, and am slowly whittling it away … keep up the good fight!

  • @Hep – having put on over 25 menopause lbs because I didn’t modify my eating habits when my body decided to go and get old on me, I’ve had to take some serious gouges into my munching. I now keep a large can of raisins and a can of fancy nuts (no peanuts) on my desk. They do help in keeping me out of the Fritos! Celery, baby carrots, walnuts – they’re all good and healthy nibblies, too.

    Another drawback with this whole gettin’ old bit is that I have two bulging disks in my back which has caused neuropathy down both legs thanks to my sciatic nerve being somewhat squashed. I also have vascular TOS, which has severely weakened my arms. So – walking is out. Running is out. Instead, I do a 20 minute yoga routine (there’s an app for that) every evening. I’m sleeping better, I’m more limber, and I’m losing inches. It also invigorates me, which seems to be helping the writing.

  • Vyton

    Best of luck with the weight loss. Some recently surfaced photos of the skinny geek I was in the ninth grade have provided some motivation. I couldn’t get back to that weight even with surgery (short of a cephalectomy, of course), but I can get closer than I am now. Your post is further encouragement. Thanks.

  • Razziecat

    Bronchitis sucks. Please take care of yourself. I know about the weight thing, too. Currently working on that myself. Just be sure your lungs are up to it before you hit the treadmill (did I mention that bronchitis sucks?)

  • @Hep – Lyn’s ideas work for me too. You may need to recognize that you are a grazer instead of a 3 meal a day person and that’s okay. I realized that I was always going to need a little bed time nibble to help me sleep. So now I try to make it something healthy – some grapes, some salted almonds, or I save up my dessert and eat it last thing. Either way, I stay within my calorie count and get my snack. My doctor recommended keeping my carbs to 1/3 of my total calories and getting protein in the morning – that has cut down on late evening binges for me a lot.

  • Looking in as someone from the other side of the scale (no 16-year-old should be 90 pounds), I’ll second your title sentiment, John: sick and tired of being sick and tired. *evil cackle, rubs hands* My doctor actually told me to eat more sugar. Go figure! I think life handed me the right end of the stick this time. 😛

  • kwlee

    I’m sorry about the bronchitis. As someone with regular respiratory issues, I feel for ya.

    As far as weight loss goes, good for you for beginning that trek towards good-health! All I’ve got to say is, take care of it before your joints go. Because once your mobility goes, then you’re in a chair. For good. Or atleast a better part of the day. With a cane. And a creepy old parrot as a pet that mimics my mother.

    Yeah. Scary.

  • Hope you’re feeling better soon, my friend. I also wish you every success with your new regimen. When my first kid was born I became pretty obsessive about exercise, because I knew that I wanted to see her graduate from college, I wanted to see her get married and have kids. And I wanted to see those kids graduate from college, too. Then the second kid came along and bumped back my timeline a few more years. There are days when I really, really, REALLY do not want to go to the gym, days when I want to sleep in and laze around. But I make myself get up and do it anyway, sometimes complaining loudly about how much I don’t want to exercise. And sometimes my kids say, “Well, then why not take the day off?” I just look at them and smile. And I put in my time.

    I’m 50 years old, and now that I exercise regularly, I don’t get sick nearly as often as I used to. I feel better, both physically and emotionally. And I look pretty good. Not as good as you will, but I’ll take what I can get….

    I also do not allow myself any snacking before lunch, and only one snack in the late afternoon. When I need something, I drink a glass of water. When the oral obsession kicks in, I chew gum. I’m a serious sugar addict, and I fight that addiction every day. I’m not as good about it as I should be, but I’m trying.

    All of this is a constant struggle, even though the exercise and the eating rules are now part of my routine. None of it is easy; all of it is worth the work. Best of luck, amigo.

  • Amy Bauer

    Losing weight is so hard. I just wanted to say that since I turned vegetarian 3 years ago, I get sick far, far less than I used to. I lost some weight and then stalled because I’ve had some other issues that have made exercising difficult, but my immune system is noticeably better. I don’t usually make unsolicited comments about vegetarianism because I find there are a lot of people who delight in mocking vegetarians even if they talk casually about it. I’m just throwing it out there as a suggestion and maybe worthy of thought. I expect that minimizing the number of meat meals even if you don’t cut meat out completely will be helpful. I wish you all the best.