The last time I posted, it was day five of my personal challenge to eat nothing but a whole, plant-based diet for 30 days. On the first day, I weighed 340. On day five, I weighed in at 336. Not a bad or surprising loss of weight at the top of a weight loss regime; things are easier right at the outset for most dieters.
Today, day twelve of my challenge, I got on the scale to find that I had dropped thirteen pounds since my last weigh in. Mostly because, and many of you know this already, I was struggling last week with a bowel obstruction that curtailed my eating and left me in bed for almost six days. I’m going to share with you how I ended up in the emergency room and in distress with an intestinal blockage. It’s not pretty, I’m not proud, it’s all part of my addiction to food.
I made pumpkin seeds last week. No fat, no sodium, roasted slow until they were golden brown and done to perfection. After I’d bundled them into serving size containers of about 1/2 cup each, I decided to treat myself to some. Well, really, I’d had an unhappy phone call with a friend and I wanted to medicate with food. After I’d eaten a serving, I needed some more. And then, what the hell, just a few more. Soon, I was lost in the kind of food-induced haze that normally happens when I fall down a crunchy chip rabbit hole. I didn’t come up for air until all the seeds were gone — perhaps 2-3 cups worth. But in this case, I convinced myself that it would be okay. It was whole food, unprocessed, made from scratch. What harm could there be?
Did you know that eating too many seeds (particularly pumpkin and sunflower) can cause what is known as a seed bezoar? The seeds collect in the intestine and will not pass out of the system. They are indigestible and don’t break down in the body, so when they do try to pass, it is akin to trying to pass a baseball made of broken glass. Don’t ask me how I know that. I won’t elaborate too much on the days that followed, except to tell you there were tears, and a trip to the emergency room and much humiliation and self-recrimination. I knew I was in trouble at about 4:30p on Thursday last week, and today is Tuesday. The worst of it passed yesterday — and yes, you have my permission to insert one-liners here. Five days of excruciating pain, basically bedridden, sweating and hoping for relief. And, why? Because I can’t stop eating.
Hi, my name is Chris and I’m an addict. Even eating healthy food landed me in trouble. Pumpkin seeds, by the way, are healthy for you; because of their indigestibility, they sweep your system. Unless you eat too many, and then they shut you down.
So I’ll add to my growing checklist related to my weight loss goals: eat mindfully and remember that I am an abuser of food. I use food to forget. I use it to quell my anger and disappointment. I use it to fill up lonely hours. I use it to tranquilize myself. And I can’t anymore — or it’s going to kill me. Frankly, I’d rather jump out of a plane.
I’m hopeful today. I’m eating nourishing food with a constant eye toward portion size. And I’d be lying if I wrote that I wasn’t just a little excited by the weight loss that I experienced during my troubles. It’s a silver lining on what will be a very dark passage on my road to healthy eating and living. I want to be triumphant. Stay tuned.