Hi everyone! If you stumbled onto this site, it’s probably because I peer pressured you into checking out my blog (oops). Nevertheless, thank you for being here and for showing at least modest amounts of interest in my life. I actually spent weeks thinking about what I should write for my first entry, and inspiration has just hit me. But before we get to the main points, I think it’s important to see them in the context of my experiences.
I struggle with issues of inadequacy and lack of motivation, which make a pretty unfortunate pairing. Despite my best intentions, my body never seems to perform the movements that my brain relays to my muscles. This isn’t even because of the Tourette’s; it applies to my voluntary movements, too. Sprinkle in a dose of imposter syndrome, and you’ve got a veritable incessant monologue that tells you to never try because you’re just going to fail. However, I think part of my insecurities are founded. As a child, I was always praised for being “brilliant” and almost never for working hard. I gave my all into trying to suppress the tics in front of my father, who still believes that I have tics because I “don’t want to control them.” I’m also on medications that block the release of dopamine, a chemical in the brain that is responsible for reward but also the execution of movement. My former neurologist in Rhode Island classified my lack of motivation as “akinetic depression,” which is just fancy jargon for not wanting to move. These are all factors that probably contributed to my maelstrom of insecurities I face every day.
My current neurologist, Dr. Jorge Juncos, is an expert on Tourette Syndrome (TS), and he’s the only physician in the greater Atlanta area who sees adults with TS. He put me on a medication called olanzapine (Zyprexa). I’m tolerating it well, except for one huge drawback: it has made me gain so much weight. The real kicker is that olanzapine increases your weight physiologically, which means that it doesn’t make you fat by just increasing your appetite—it acts on bodily organs to tell them to store more fat. Dr. Juncos told me that during the clinical trials for olanzapine, it was impossible to blind the researchers to the study because the group of patients on olanzapine were noticeably gaining weight and flocking to the desserts table!
I could easily blame my weight gain on olanzapine. I could easily say that I’m 185 pounds and my BMI is closer to “obese” than “overweight” because the drug is making me overweight. But I was thinking about this for most of the day today, and I remembered a concept from Mark Manson’s book “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.” Manson argues that things might not be your fault, but if they affect you, they are still your responsibility. I took this lesson to mean that I always have the choice of either putting myself on autopilot or grabbing life by the reins and being proactive. The point of this blog entry? I’ve decided to commit doing the latter, and I need your help.
Currently, I weigh 185 pounds, and most of it is pure fat. I don’t exercise, and my resting heart rate is 96 beats per minute because my heart is out of shape as well. Realistically, I don’t think I’m going to get rid of all the fat through exercise, nor do I expect to gain much muscle, but my goal is simply to try my best. I don’t have a target weight, but I do have concrete goals for the next four weeks. I’m trying to be a better person, to learn to work hard, to stay committed to all of my activities. I am asking you to keep me accountable.
For the first week, from Friday Apr 19 to Friday Apr 26, I will commit to eating out only twice this week. You can keep me accountable by messaging me, texting me, or commenting on this post! Thank you for being on this transformative journey with me as I strive to be better. From here, we go forward.