Christopher Pratt (cpratt) wrote,
Christopher Pratt
cpratt

A possible, but not plausible, explanation for my crankiness as of late.

Earlier this year, I had an appointment with a doctor over at the Stanford med school clinics to have a look at my general health. All in all, things looked very good, with the possible exception of my blood pressure getting a bit high - not terrifically so, but enough to make me think that there could be a problem waiting for me at some point down the road. Now, with high blood pressure, I guess there are probably two ways to go about lowering it: either lose weight, exercise more, and generally work at living a healthier lifestyle, or take lots of expensive medication and hope they have some effect.

Being a) a cheapskate and b) the son of two folks what worked in the health biz, I opted for the former. I mean, medication is great, but why not go with the free option that might also lead to a longer, healthier, happier life? [As a complete digression, I often wonder whether all the folks who use CPAPs could simply opt to lose weight instead... does that work? I had thought that being overweight led to the condition, or does sleep apnea actually occur in people who are have a BMI of less than 25?] So, I suggested to the doctor that I would work on losing some weight this year. She said that sounded like a great idea, and then went on to talk about some other things - I don't remember exactly what - and then surprised me with a question that I thought I'd never be asked. She asked me if I'd ever considered drinking less.

Now, on the patient interview form, I'd admitted that I don't drink often, but that when I do I'm likely to drink a fair amount. Typically, I'll drink half a bottle of wine or more one or two nights a week; this is because, well, it's a lot of fun. Thing is, though, alcohol has a lot of calories, and when I'm drunk (or getting there), I get really hungry and eat even more than I usually would. So, I answered her question by saying, well, yes, but only because it has so many calories. That seemed like a good answer: it showed that I was aware of one kind of damage drinking can cause, and it didn't make me sound like an alcoholic who couldn't even think about giving up drinking.

But did I give it up entirely? Nah. I still bought wine by the case in Sydney, had a bottle with dinner almost every meal, and that's fine. However, I also started to notice that I wasn't losing any weight during weeks in which I drank a bottle of wine or two. And there was this one night in a trailer park in Alice Springs during which Dan and I drank two bottles of wine and wound up eating a whole pack of Dutch pumpernickel bread and Hungarian salami (don't ask - it was a German university student habit that I'd forgotten I'd had until this year).

The next day, groggy but thankfully not completely hung over, I surveyed the greasy mess of butter and salami stains on the paper towels I hadn't quite managed to get into the bin, and decided that maybe it was time to think about stopping drinking for a while, at least until I got my weight down to a BMI of <25.

Now, I didn't think that seriously about it at the time. It was just an idle thought that came to me driving down the road to Tennant Creek. But it started to seem like it was a pretty good time to do it. After all, there was only one bottle of wine left in the car, and it was clear that there were going to be some expensive things coming up on the trip (helicopter flights, tours to obscure Aboriginal art sites, and so on). So... why not give it a go? I'd lose more weight and save money, right?

In late July, in Darwin, Dan and I had our last alcohol for a while in the form of one beer with a pizza. From that point on, we haven't had anything to drink. So: how's it going? Just fine. My weight's headed back down (I can wear Dan's clothing with no problems at this point, which is bizarre, and I now weigh less than I ever have in my adult life, which is freaky), and we're saving good money by not buying any wine or beer. (Not enough to offset the extra costs of tourism in such a remote area, unfortunately, but still, it does help.)

I do of course plan to start up again just as soon as my weight gets down to 197, or my 33rd birthday next month. But in the meantime, the closest I've come is wandering the aisles at ABC in Liquorland, being very tempted by the Leeuwin Art Series riesling. :)
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