Monday, August 28, 2006

Farewell to Katrina, and her Unwanted Pounds

GOAL: 80 LBS. between Aug. 16, 2006, and March 28, 2007
STATUS: 17.8 lost; 62.2 to go

Tomorrow is the first anniversary of the hellish nightmare that Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent levee failures began in New Orleans, and I have a separate Life in Post-Apocalyptic New Orleans blog so I won't talk much about that here except in terms of diet. Anyone interested in that blog should go here and take a look.

Anyway, my Katrina experience in a nutshell was: a week in a hotel in Shreveport, La., with an 80-year-old mom and two freaked-out dogs watching my life fall apart on national TV; a traumatic drive during power outages and gas shortages to Alabama to seek refuge with a friend in Montgomery, Ala.; a two-month evacuation during which I did not know if my home survived and part of which was unsure about my job; coming home to find my beloved city in ruins beyond what even the TV coverage could convey. I had about $40,000 worth of wind damage to my house, thankfully mostly covered by insurance. My garage was flooded and everything in it ruined, not covered by insurance but who cares, really, in the big scheme of things. About 70% of my repairs have been completed and I have applied for federal grant money to fix the rotting garage. The "hurry up and wait" for life to return to normal continues and is likely to continue for a long, long time.

During the two-month evacuation, I learned a lot about myself and food. Before Katrina, I had leisurely been following the South Beach Diet off and on, and had lost about 40 pounds and gained back about 20 over the course of a year. The first week of Katrina, when I was literally in shock, I had no appetite. I was nauseous and couldn't even think about eating, as witnessed by my willingness to eat at Luby's Cafeteria multiple times without protest.

Once I got to my friend's house in comfortable and safe surroundings, with WAY too much time on my hands and all the financial and life uncertainties swirling around me, I began to eat. And eat. Hunger had nothing to do with it. Pre-K (local-speak for before the hurricane), I would have sworn I was not really a stress eater. I was wrong. I CRAVED chocolate. I am normally not a big chocolate fan--I like it with other things mixed in. But, suddenly, I was glued to the sofa watching CNN 24/7 eating Hershey's chocolate kisses--bags and bag of them--and Snicker's bars. And Publix Key Lime Pie. And on and on and on. If it had sugar, I wanted it.

The upshot of all this was a two-month evacuation and 22 pounds. And today, the day before the first anniversary of the time all of our lives here changed so drastically, I can finally announce that my Katrina weight is gone. It's time to move on.

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