My photo
Auckland, New Zealand
Smurf sized geeky person with a penchant for IT, gaming, music and books. Half of industrial duo 'the craze jones'. Loves data, learning new things, teaching new things and being enthusiastic.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life

This isn't a geeky post I'm afraid, apart from a brief bit of science content courtesy of Wikipedia. I try to avoid blogging on personal items however, this is a pretty major change that will be taking place in my life and I'm fairly sure that people are going to notice.

On the 15th March I'm having a gastric sleeve operation. This removes the portion of the stomach that releases ghrelin, the hormone that makes you feel hungry; More info here:

I do feel that this needs some justification. My family and close friends are very supportive, however, a few people seem to think this is cheating to lose weight. It isn't. I've spent 2 years thinking about this and sold my house to pay for it. I am terrified and I really need everyone to be supportive as it's going to be very hard for the next 4+ months. For those of you who think I'm cheating, here's some background.

In most people the hormone ghrelin is only at high levels during the night, however, in some other people the levels are constantly high causing weight gain if they can't exert control over their body - I used to exert control by getting up every morning and doing 45 mins on a stepper keeping time with some thrash metal, followed by 400 situps, 100 press ups and 400 leg lifts, 2 evenings a week I went to Tae Kwon Do, another evening was aerobics, another evening I coached trampolining, and for a while I also cycled 10 miles each way to work, each night before bed I repeated the press-ups, situps and leg lifts; On top of this I only ate once a day and would sometimes go a week without eating followed by a massive binge. I avoided buying food as I knew that I would eat it all in one go. When I was 19 I lost a considerable amout of weight, at my worst I weighed around 35-40kg. I was constantly hungry and constantly battling the scales.

After badly injuring my back in 1999 I was in a lot of pain and eventually had several surgeries in 2002. During this time things went from one extreme to the other. I started eating daily and gained 30kg over 2-3 months followed by a slower addition of another 20kg. I reached a point at 50kg over weight and have been stuck ever since. I've tried doing triathlons, I've tried working out like a crazy person, I've tried living on protein bars, I've tried drugs, I've tried SureSlim and I've tried Weight Watchers; nothing works if your body is telling you it's starving. I have continued to exercise but due to the weight I keep breaking, spraining and straining things. The last injury was a multiple fractured ankle caused when tripping whilst out jogging.

Removing the part of my stomach that produces ghrelin has a two-fold effect. In the short term losing 90% of the stomach is, quite obviously, going to cause a pretty drastic weight loss, plus it will reset my system chemistry and stop the body from thinking it's starving. My surgeon commented that if he could find a way to have the same effect on the body without resorting to surgery he'd win a nobel prize. It's a drastic surgery and the changes to the body go much further than just making the stomach smaller.

A life without constant hunger is not going to be easy, a rough timetable goes like this:

* Tomorrow - start 2 weeks of starvation. I need to lose 3kg in two weeks or the surgery won't happen.

* 15th March - surgery.

* 1 month - clear liquids only.

* 2-3 months - thicker liquids.

* After 3-4 months I should be able to start incorporating solid food back into my diet.

As you can see, I'm going to need some support here to prevent going (any more) bonkers.

I'm really looking forward to exercise being fun again and am already imagining doing press-ups, jogging, cycling and numerous other activities. Plus I'll be able to wear nice clothes again instead of the hide the lumps and bumps clothes.

My biggest fear at the moment is that this will be like all the other things I've tried and it won't work and I will have wasted $17,000. This is irrational but the surgeon says it's a very common fear. Whilst there is a chance that I'm a 1 in a million freak that this won't work for, it is highly unlikely.

And to the guys who hurled some pretty hurtful abuse at me from their car whilst I was out cycling - I'm going to lose the weight whereas you'll always just be losers. :P

Peace out hombres.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Wonder days

I've been thinking about IT and how it has changed, for most people I guess it's changed for the better, but for some of us it's just not fun anymore.

IT used to be about inventing, creating, figuring things out, getting excited about new things and going to work was a great adventure. For fun I'd pick up a new language and figure out writing a little app, like the little game I wrote using SCADA, a chess game in C and a bouncing ball app in Delphi, silly little things but they amused me at the time and I felt as though I was learning something. It was hard to imagine not loving your job and feeling so happy that you weren't in one of those 9-5 trapped in the office jobs that afflicted normal office workers. IT was fun and it stimulated the mind. Nowadays we appear to have ended up as drones, plodding in to 9-5 jobs where the software to create does all the work for us, thinking is optional. I have no desire whatsoever to invent little games anymore because it's all wizards and double clicks to add your code to the studio - where's the fun in that? Inventiveness and creativeness are frowned upon as everyone moves towards templates and applications that churn out standardised everything. Mass produced CMS and Web 2.0 sites that all look and feel the same mean that wherever you go you can rest assured that you will know how to navigate without thinking.

I want to be inspired and stimulated by the work thing that takes up > 8 hours of my day. I want to figure things out and create something new. I want to get back to being one of the people at the start of something new, inventing and making the World a better place. It feels as if the wonder of the Internet that my generation created in the 90's has been lost along the way to greed and banality. I used to be addicted to the Internet, I even wrote a book back in the 90's to help people who didn't understand the Internet. I used to sit up all night, getting maybe 1-2 hours sleep a night for years whilst surfing the web, creating websites, learning new fun things to add to websites and checking out what other people were creating. Nowadays I'm bored within 10 minutes because it's all so dull. People posting about eating a pie, or blogging about having a bath, videos of a dog yawning, a twitter to say you're stuck in traffic - where's the originality? Where has all the creativity gone? So much potential down the pan.

I had dreams of people getting ever more creative in a World of art and music and wonder, all triggered by the new connectivity enabled by the Internet. Guess my generation got the best of it and I am so glad to have been there at the beginning, but am also very saddened and feel somewhat bereaved by the loss of those wonder days of IT.

I've gone from addiction to apathy and it doesn't feel great. Though if someone could make Food 2.0 and make me apathetic and disillusioned about eating, my waistline would be forever grateful.