13 Weeks: On Despair

Week 5 of my second 13 week season; low carb diet and more exercise, tracking my weight, blood glucose, and body fat. You can follow me at my 13 Weeks Facebook page for daily updates, and you can join Fitocracy and follow my daily exercise.


It was hard this week. On Friday morning, I got up and found my 13-year-old Abyssinian cat Radar, apparently peacefully asleep in his favorite spot — except he didn’t look up when I came down the stairs. He had died during the night.

Now, i’m one of those people for whom my cats are like my kids, and Radar hadn’t shown a sign of distress the night before — he met me at the door as usual, fought me for bits of chicken before I was ready as before. So it was a shock. I took care of him, but I was useless the rest of the day, and in fact all weekend. The other two cats — Ali’i and Kaleo — were clearly missing him too, and they’ve been very clingy all week. Still, I think we’re all recovering, finally.

Radar — not a great picture, but he didn’t like cameras.

But the week continued to be ridiculously stressful, with work issues and all, and then — the depression I always have to watch started creeping up on me, probably as a result of stress and poor sleep (and like the old Catskills joke, not only was the sleep bad, there wasn’t enough of it!)

And here I am, on week five of the second season.

Sticking to the diet and exercise plan when I feel like this is really tough. I took to putting my workouts in Fitocracy before I did them, because then I’d be too ashamed not to actually do them. Even so, I only worked out four times this week. The stress also apparently affects blood sugar — the morning Radar died I had the highest blood sugar I’ve had in weeks at 127 and it’s stayed high.


All in all, if I could take a week off from the column I would.

The thing here being that I didn’t, and I haven’t slipped on the diet anyway — and really haven’t slipped far on the exercise, as I still got in 1093 points, or just 61 fewer than the week before, thanks to having raised the weight I did on my heavy lift days. So my blood sugar is up a little, my weight is actually down a pound from last week (but still basically flat) and my body fat hasn’t changed much in a week either.

So I went and looked back at my previous columns. Around week five in the first season was when I started to feel it was a slog — I’d started the program, I’d gotten some exciting gains, and then things evened out. I had the big drop in my A1c still to come, I still had weight to lose, and of course my measurements weren’t changing — that didn’t really happen until this second 13 week season.

Now, I think back to previous diets and exercise programs, and I realize there have been moments like this in all of them: moments when life was hard and so was the diet (I’d sure love a quart of ice cream right now) and when I just basically lost hope that I was making any progress. I despaired.

I certainly feel like that this week, but I didn’t buy ice cream anyway; I didn’t even buy a bag of M&Ms. Why? I guess there are a couple of reasons.

First of all, I made this a 13 week thing for a reason: I can see the end of my 13 weeks in the foreseeable future. I can stand it, and frankly the diet is still pretty tolerable — I’ve had fajitas (no tortillas) twice this week.


Second, I can look back and see how far I’ve actually come — I’m clearly skinnier, I feel better, and lots of measures, from waistline to cholesterol, say I’m healthier and better off than I’ve been in years.

Third, of course, is your people — everyone who has said I was inspiring you, or that you were following me with interest, or said encouraging words through this whole thing — including the preparatory weeks, now, it’s getting close to half a year.

So, if you’re trying this or something similar, I’ll just say (and say to myself) not to give up hope, not to despair.

It can be done.

Date 7 day Weight 7 day Glucose 7 day Bodyfat Sum Fitocracy Points Weekly Fitocracy Points
2013-02-01 272.50 116.43 33.1 447 447
2013-02-07 272.63 114.57 30.79% 1881 1881
2013-02-14 271.91 110.43 30.36% 2606 725
2013-02-21 273.79 115.29 29.16% 3775 1169
2013-02-28 274.44 104.00 30.00% 4929 1154
2013-03-07 273.11 115.86 30.24% 6022 1093
Δ since 2-1 0.61 -0.57 -2.86% N/A N/A


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