Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Gerald O'Malley, DO: Diet

Like most ER docs, my diet is atrocious. Shiftwork, the scheduling demands of raising two elementary school-age kids with a working wife and the unpredictable nature of the job conspire to interfere with a normal three-well-balanced-meals-a-day nutritional game plan.

My friends and colleagues that I work with all have the same excuses. Fried cafeteria crap for breakfast, lunch and dinner and fast food delivered to the ER all night to feed the graveyard shift. There is even a Chinese restaurant down the block that delivers until 5:00 a.m.! (We boycotted the place a few years ago when they sent out a 12-year-old kid at 3:00 a.m. on a school night to deliver our egg foo young. The boycott lasted nine days until, starving, we broke down and sheepishly ordered our 4 a.m. fried rice fix.)

Over the years I’ve tried to eat healthy, but have you ever tried to find a salad in the ghetto at 3:00 a.m.? You usually break down and feebly hunt through the left-over tuna sandwiches in the out-of-date box lunches that the ER keeps for the homeless, or the last resort of the starving – the vending machine.
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Before leaving for work I make sure to stuff my pockets with quarters for the gee-dunks (old Navy term) in the hopes that I might snag the last packet of trail mix but I usually have to settle for the pop-tarts or peanut M&Ms or little chocolate donuts.

Once I entered my 40s and the inexorable rise in my total body mass became hopeless to halt or even slow down, I tried a series of desperate and crazy diets – all miserable failures. But I started a new one on March 1st of this year and I think this one might actually work.

I stumbled across this diet while reading another blog. An advertisement on the side of the page showed a series of pictures of the diet developer beginning on the left with an old photo when he weighed 300+ lbs. and ending with a photo on the right in his new, svelte 165 lbs. chassis.

His story is amazing and inspirational and his reasoning and philosophy seemed to make a lot of sense – we eat too much processed food which is absent of omega-3 fatty acids and assimilable proteins, so incorporate foods and supplements with these elements in them and the weight will fall off you (I’m oversimplifying here – the name of the diet developer is Jon Gabriel and you can look him up yourself).

I thought – well, maybe this is worth a try. Mr. Gabriel extensively references his book with genuine scientific articles from biochemistry and hard-core physiology journals. So I bought a bunch of fish oil capsules and probiotics and digestive enzymes and flaxseeds and I incorporated them into a diet consisting of lots of raw greens, fruits, and vegetables, and I’ve been pretty compliant with the program (much to my own surprise).

St. Patrick’s day was brutal and I cheated with beer, soda bread, Irish beef stew, and my wife’s amazing whiskey tea brak, and I broke down a couple of weeks ago and savored every bite of one of famous Ray’s mushroom cheesesteaks, but I discovered that when you eat a ton of lettuce everyday, you really don’t have cravings for sweets or desserts.

My wife helped me by filling up the fridge with fresh vegetables and fruit and packing delicious salads for me while I napped before a night shift. I haven’t eaten this well in a long time and I actually feel great – I feel light and I’m sure I lost some weight, so I’m going to get up from this essay and weigh myself right now….

Six pounds? That’s it? In 5 weeks of dieting? I went from 234 lbs. to 228 lbs. (actually 228.5 lbs. so it’s not even 6 pounds!). Huh. What a disappointment.

Oh well, I feel like I’m doing something good for my body, so maybe I’ll continue with this diet for awhile more. Then I told my lovely Japanese wife that I lost 6 lbs., she said, “I can’t believe you weigh 230 lbs. – that’s as much as a sumo wrestler!”

I think famous Ray’s is open until 10:00 tonight.

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