By GENEVIEVE A. SUZUKI | La Mesa Courier
It should come as no surprise to any reader who has stayed with me for the past several years that I, as with many of my fellow Americans, have struggled mightily with my weight.
I’ve written about working out and trying to eat healthy. I’ve waxed poetic about how this year would be the year and how I had finally discovered the secret to success.
And then, as with many of those fellow Americans, I fell back into bad habits, whether it was coming up with random excuses on why I couldn’t work out, comforting myself after a bad day with Starbucks or rewarding myself for a good day with a trip to the donut shop.
When I found out I was still prediabetic, almost four years after I had gestational diabetes while pregnant with my son, I was crushed. My grandmother died with diabetes, suffering from complications associated with the disease. She lost a leg and was on regular dialysis. I also recently found out last summer that my father was also a Type-2 diabetic.
After reading an article in Women’s Health, which said weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise, I decided to make a serious dietary difference by calling Kaiser to sign up for its medically-supervised fasting program.
If you’ve ever wanted to know what makes you tick, go on a fast.
Plato and Aristotle were allegedly fast devotees; Benjamin Franklin believed fasting to be among the best medicines; and Mark Twain said, “A little starvation can really do more for the average sick man than can the best medicines and the best doctors.”
Siddhartha fasted before becoming the Buddha and Jesus Christ fasted for 40 days and nights before beating temptation by Satan and beginning his ministry.
A fast will clear your mind better than a year’s worth of meditation.
The Kaiser fast is pretty simple: You drink a shake five times a day and consume a lot of water in between. There are two soups you can throw into the mix, but you can only have two soups max. There are no breaks and there is almost nothing to chew.
The first week I did it I was running on adrenaline. “I’m on a fast!” I confided to anyone who would listen. Of the seemingly thousands I told, 99% were reluctant listeners, trapped by circumstance, whether it was because they were at work, standing in a line at the grocery store, or stranded in an elevator with me.
The second week of the fast I felt borderline homicidal when I smelled cooking meat. I had to step away from the dinner table with my non-fasting family to take myself to Grossmont Center to walk around and get my mind off dinner.
But, as they say, it takes 21 days to build or break a habit. I’ve broken through the hardest part and am now taking each lesson as they come. Figuring out food had become a crutch for dealing with life was likely the most valuable awareness.
Another discovery is how kind restaurant folk are when you’re the only one fasting at the table. A server at Banbu Sushi Bar & Grill on Fletcher Parkway brought me a bowl of hot water for my soup and a refreshing sparkling water on Father’s Day with the family. Another server, this time at Claim Jumper, reassured me, “I got you!” and gave me a fancy glass for another sparkling water toast.
The most ironic thing about this “fast” is how un-fast this process has been. Eight weeks into the 20-week fast, I am at least committed too much to turn back.
What I’d like to do is use this column to learn more about how we in La Mesa can be healthy. As the Chinese proverb says, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” so step up, kind reader, so we may journey together to a life free of insulin injections and regular A1C tests.
— Genevieve A. Suzuki is a local attorney who lives and works in La Mesa.