Project 135, week 8: derailed by a move and my dad’s death

Picture of Dr. Jen Kerns

Dr. Jen Kerns

2020 is proving to be a real doozy. First, a lot of stress and sadness about my mother’s Alzheimer’s progression. Then, COVID-19 and working in the hospital on the front lines caring for afflicted veterans. Then, we moved into our newly constructed house on June 23 (though it is as yet unfinished, leaving us not only with tons of unpacking to do, but also tons of work to do on the house to finish it)… and about 10 hours after the move was done I had to return to work on the inpatient wards again, including the two following weekend days (leaving me no time to unpack or settle in to our new home; I barely found my sheets and toothbrush). And then, just when I through my stress level couldn’t be worse, my father passed away in Orlando about a week after his 70th birthday, on Saturday morning, June 27 — a week ago today.

My dad, Lou Kerns, in July 2016. ❤️

I was at work when he passed, and after sobbing in my office for 10 or 15 minutes, I went on to see and examine my COVID-19 patients (the first of whom was a quadriplegic man who of all things asked me to pick his nose for him.)

So if you noticed I’ve been silent for the last few weeks, now you know why.

During this tumultuous time, I’ve somehow managed to maintain my weight. Our kind new neighbors left a package of home baked salted peanut butter cookies and oatmeal raisin cookies on our stoop on our moving day. I ate 4 of them in a sudden split second urge-based decision at the end of that long and trying day. It was my first sugar consumption since April 30. They didn’t taste that great, interestingly – good, yes, but not amazing. Luckily I found that I wasn’t derailed. The next morning I was right back to no sugar and it was easy for me, so I believe my brain had enough time to adjust and reset my dopamine receptors. I do admit, though, to eating lots of things that I hadn’t planned for, such as extra pieces of fruit, nuts, and nut butter. I also failed to pay much attention to eating only when physically hungry. I’m doing my best to eat healthful foods and avoid unplanned sugar, but I am giving myself a break and refuse to beat myself up for eating extra apples or almonds during this ridiculously stressful time.

I had a dream about my dad last night, the first since his death. It’s vague and all I member is that he was giving me various monster-sized cake balls to choose from: I remember the big 6-inch diameter white candy-coated cake ball with rainbow sprinkles that caught my eye. I awoke before tasting it. Obviously my subconscious is remembering how my dad always used food and sugar to please me, to bond with me, and to relieve my suffering. I’d visit him in a Orlando and gain 5 pounds from partaking constantly of the candy dishes lying within arms’ reach all over the house. He claimed that the jellied orange slices were there in case his blood sugar dropped (he had type 2 diabetes and was on insulin), but we both knew that those dishes got filled up right before my visits for more than just his blood sugar. My dad died young, just barely 70, after a few decades of health struggles (mostly related to morbid obesity). His life was cut short by 20 or 30 years: his mother passed her 80s and his father passed just shy of 100 years old (neither struggled with obesity). I am now witness to the ravages that obesity brings as one ages, and while I would love nothing more than sit down with a massive vanilla cake ball with rainbow sprinkles right now, I am making every effort to choose short term suffering in order to achieve long term peace for my own life.

I love you, Dad, and miss you more than you could’ve known.

Project 135 stats:
Starting weight: 159.6
Week 1: 157.2
Week 2: 155.6
Week 3: 155.4
Week 4: 153.8
Week 5: 151.0
Week 6: 152.8
Week 7: ? (Dad’s death)
Week 8: 150.8

Total weight loss: 8.8 pounds (5.5%)





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