I was about to undergo a physical examination, part of a 1-day work-up at the Transplant Center. A nurse had just drawn gallons and gallons (well, it seemed that way!) of blood from my body for crossmatch testing, so maybe that accounts for my unusual candor about being overweight.
The doctor smiled and nodded civilly, then proceeded to poke and prod, asked me to inhale and exhale, peered into my eyes, ears, and at my tongue.
Then she checked my belly.
She looked at me sternly and said, very matter-of-factly: "Well, I've gotta be honest with you..." She held her perfectly slender index finger a fraction of a millimeter above her elegantly poised thumb. "...You're this close to not being allowed to donate a kidney. You can do it right now, but if you gain ANY weight, you won't be allowed. If you lost even a little weight, that would be GREAT."
My mind was about to go into self-pity mode: why did I allow my weight to pile on like this? Why didn't I do something about it when it wasn't an urgent situation?
I could see it now: they've cut me open, and the head surgeon says, "Where's her kidney? I can't find it! There's too much fat for us to even SEE the kidney... Upgrade the laser beam to UltraBright and pass me a longer knife!!!"
That train of thought was futile. I forced myself to go to solution mode: What Am I Going To Do About My Weight?
I didn't want to go on any crazy eating regimen. I decided that whatever I did would have to be something I could sustain for life, that would be holistic and healthy and realistic and portable (as in, I can eat that way wherever I find myself in the world). That meant: no all-grapefruit diets, no meal substitutes, no pills or potions. I had already begun a regimen of regular exercise - jogging, working out on my elliptical trainer, doing resistance training circuits - so what I needed was to change the way I eat.
The very next day, I embarked on what I'll call my Semi-Diet. I call it that because it's semi-vegan, semi-raw-foodist, semi-for-diabetes-patients. My Semi-Diet consists mainly of raw fruits and veggies, and a few nuts and seeds. I occasionally eat chicken, fish, or eggs but when I do I eat them with raw & steamed veggies only (eg spinach & tomato omelet - yummy!) If I feel for bread or any other starchy food, I have it with veggies only. Like yesterday, I had THE MOST DELICIOUS veggie wrap I've EVER had in LIFE. And on the rare occasion that I want to indulge in a typical Jamaican meal, I'll fill up HALF my plate with veggies, and split the rest between the meat and the complex carbs.
It's been a blast! It's been about 3 weeks since I've changed my diet, and already I'm feeling WAYYY more energetic, my persistent sinus issues have improved significantly, AND I'm beginning to lose a little weight. I feel stronger when doing my resistance training and I'm able to endure longer stretches of jogging. Yeah!!! Bellyfat be gone!!! The surgeon WILL be able to find my kidneys with the regular laser beam!
I think I'm liking this lifestyle. Now the only question is: once the surgery is done, how will I keep myself motivated to stay on my journey to health and fitness? I don't know, since the goal would have changed. But right now... I'm enjoying the ride.
Who knew the decision to donate a kidney would lead me to taking my health more seriously?
|At the beginning of my Semi-Diet|
|2 weeks into my Semi-Diet|