Latest on My Eyes

For the last several days, I was thinking about what I was going to write for this blog entry. My eyes weren’t going to be part of the post. One year ago today I started paying attention to what and how much I was eating. Through mid-summer, I lost about 80 pounds. I’ve been in maintenance mode since then, eating about 1800 calories a day. I will create a post dedicated to how I did it and a spreadsheet to track your daily caloric intake. For now, just know that this scale was instrumental in my weight loss. It’s $25 and you get free shipping.

The thoughts on my post changed once I went to see my retina specialist, Dr. Garg. I figured in the last couple of days, there might be a conflict on what to write about because of my appointment, but only if there was anything new with my left eye (the one that sees more than light.) Sure, I’ve noticed my vision getting worse over the past months. It’s been brutally frustrating, but when we left for my appointment I thought I’d get a, “Everything looks okay, I don’t know why you’re having these new troubles…” Today, Dr. Garg noticed three things that are most likely causing the decrease in my vison and only one of them has to do with my retina.

It seems that the only issue with my retina is from folds that developed from my pressure being low for a long period of time following a trabeculectomy (glaucoma surgery) back in 2003. Dr. Garg told me that even though my pressure has been in the “normal” range (for me) over the last five years, the folds will never go away (just like you can never get a piece of paper completely smooth again after it’s been folded.) This will slowly take my vision. Dr. Garg said if that were my only eye issue, it really wouldn’t be too big a deal. The other issues Dr. Garg saw today were both cornea related. One is corneal edema, or swelling of the cornea. The other issue has to do with the transplant I had two years ago. He said there was some cloudiness behind the new (to me, 69 years old to the original owner) endothelia. Dr. Garg stated he thought that happens in about 25% of transplants. I’ll know more when I visit my cornea specialist in about 10 days.

When we left the appointment, I said to Eliz that at least there was something there and I wasn’t imaging it. I was somewhat happy. It seems that the cornea issues can be handled with meds and a “procedure” (which makes me think of City Slickers – “You’ll have surgery, but call it a procedure…”) After we returned home and I thought about it, I realized that for the first time in my life, I can’t keep my vision from getting worse. From the time I was a young boy, I was always told ‘there’s no way to improve your vision, we’re just hoping to maintain it.’ Of course, I had hopes and dreams over the years that something would come along… Now, my vision can’t even be maintained. I hope it’s not a slippery slope.

This post is sponsored by the EatSmart Precision Pro Multifunction Digital Kitchen Scale. It has an extra large LCD readout (which means that I can see it when I’ve got my reading glasses on) and an 11 pound capacity. I’ve used this product since last December to lose weight. I weigh everything in grams, because, to me, it is easier using a whole number. If you want to drop some weight, this is a tool that will certainly help you.

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I’ve Lost Over 30 Pounds (without cutting any body parts off!)

Back on 9 Dec 2009, my doctor told me to join Weight Watchers or do some other diet program.  I told her that it would not happen.  We were in the process of boxing up the inventory at our business location in the Delcroft Shopping Center (you all know the one: lots of water, super high levels of hazardous mold, and mushrooms growing out of the carpet.)  My doctor and I went back and forth and she told me that I had to lose weight.  She told me I could try on my own by eating 1500 calories per day.  Okay, I’ll do it.  I don’t know if she believed me or not.

The next day, I started counting every calorie.  Before we go out for dinner, I look up the calories at the restaurant we’d like to go to eat.  If the restaurant doesn’t have the calories listed on their site, we usually pick a place that does instead (and go to the place that doesn’t list the calories only after doing some strenuous activity which would give me some extra calories to eat.)  I usually eat a salad for lunch, which consists of a bag of Fresh Express or a similar brand, some mushrooms, sometimes some peppers, sometimes some walnuts, and either balsamic vinegar or a low-fat dressing.  Breakfast is either two Dannon Fruit-on-the-Bottom yogurts (280-300 calories total,) McCann’s Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal (two servings = 300 calories,) or two eggs with low-fat cheese (about 240 calories.)

Dinners are are anywhere from 500 to 800 calories (unless I’ve been doing some physical labor…)  It was apparent early on that I couldn’t do this without knowing some foods serving size.  Sure, a Gardenburger on a Martin’s roll with the low-fat Cracker Barrel cheese was easy to figure out (100+140+80=320,) but what about a serving of walnuts?  So I bought a scale from Amazon.com.  So, back to the walnuts.  I serving is 180 calories.  Serving size is 30 grams.  30 grams is a better than average handful of walnuts!  Half a serving will do on my salad…

Snacks include blueberries, grapes, celery with salsa, raspberries, blackberries, an apple, a grapefruit, cassava chips (these — available from Whole Foods — are my fav,) pretzels (both gluten-free and regular,) pumpkin seeds and air-popped popcorn.  Grapes are my single most favorite food.  It is absolutely horrifying how many I used to eat as a snack at night.  Now I usually have 100g-200g, depending on how many calories I’ve got left to “spend.”  The other fruits I’ve mentioned also are things that I used to snack on before and have just lowered the amount I eat at a given time.

I have always drank plenty of water, between two and three litres per day, which I still do.  I also drink hot tea in the morning (a Teavana blend,) and evening (Stash Lemongrass and Ginger Tea, Eliz’s fav and sometimes hard to find.)  I don’t add anything to either of those “cups” of tea.  In the afternoon, I sometimes have either Red Rose black tea hot or cold.  I add lemon juice from half a lemon.  If I’ve got 50 calories to spare, I might add honey to the hot tea.

There are certainly things I haven’t had since I started the 1500 calories per day.  Some I miss, like the Apple Chai Infusion from Starbucks.  Maybe once I work some exercise into my daily routine, I can get that again…

My goal is to continue at the 1500 calories per day for as long as I can take it (and Eliz and the kids can take me…)  I’m not sure why I’m doing this.  I think it is more for the challenge than being fat.  I don’t think that I’ve felt any better or worse since I started losing the weight, but I have noticed that I have more energy.  I still get a little more than five hours of sleep per night, except on the weekends when I sometimes get eight or nine hours.  I’ve already gone from my clothes being snug to just right to I-might-need-smaller-size.  I guess I can still do somethings…

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