Friday, June 14, 2013

Ten Months Later

I certainly didn't mean for ten months to go by without posting something, but well...life got in the way, I guess.

So--- health, good and bad: I got great cholesterol test results last fall, after losing some weight with WW, as well as eating more strictly vegan (making sure I ate much less cheese and other dairy, mainly). I still had an elevated "bad" cholesterol level, but not enough that my doc wanted to put me on meds. Unfortunately, I found out through a bone scan (ordered by doc because I'd been without ovaries for a while, perhaps?) that I have osteoporosis. I was so shocked when they called that I burst into tears and felt a weird sense of disbelief? Me? I've exercised regularly for years, and spent ten years living in the sun, as well as doing weight training. I refused to start any medication for it, having read VERY BAD THINGS about most of them, and started doing some research. I started taking a multivitamin with calcium, magnesium, boron, and some other stuff I can't recall right now, as well as taking strontium citrate. I had started taking kettlebell classes and doing some weight training at a local gym, and though I felt a bit nervous (when you read about having osteo, good Lord -- some articles make it sound like your spine will snap in half if you bend over incorrectly!), I knew that weight training is the only non-drug/supplement thing one can do to actually strengthen bone. I will have another scan a year from this fall to see if I have improved or not. I realize that for people with severe osteoporosis, bones can break when they are simply standing and doing nothing, but my numbers were just over the edge of osteopenia into osteoporosis, so after months of normal activities with no problems, I felt more confident that I'd be okay exercising with weights. My daughter and I took a 10-week yoga class, which I really found helpful in stretching out my muscles and gaining improved balance.

I also found out that a vegan diet is best for helping osteoporosis, so it's probably great that I've stopped eating meat and (most) dairy. I can't really call myself a vegan because I still eat ice cream sometimes and baked goods that coworkers bring to work that have eggs..and probably other things I don't want to know about.

I took a class last fall on the book Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole. I'd read the book years ago -- I own a copy and I'm sure I've talked about the book in past blog posts. However, this class was sort of a study of the book and its principles. It was really helpful for me to talk about it within a group with a facilitator who struggles with dieting/rebound dieting/overexercise. I dropped out of WW, and I was able to develop some more "normal" feelings about food. I'd struggled a bit with restricting and bingeing and such. This class really helped me re-focus and get my head back on straight. I haven't weighed myself since the first week of class, nine or so months ago. I'm fairly sure I weigh about the same now as I did then.

I really feel as though I had two MAJOR victories this past year, as we went on vacation twice and (judging by the fit of my clothing) I lost weight on both vacations. DH and I went with four other couples to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico last November. It was all-you-can-eat-and-drink, but I didn't struggle a lot with overeating. It helped that the desserts were mediocre at best, though the ice cream was yummy. I don't often drink anything but water, so that may have also helped. I used the gym twice, but was otherwise a great success at lying around doing nothing but talking. I even worked up the courage to wear a bikini. In public. In front of four of our couple friends.

Our second vacation was a Disney cruise -- 9 days in Florida and the Caribbean. The food was fantastic, but there was a vegan option at each meal, and the servings were very normal. Even the desserts were quite small, by normal American restaurant standards. That was perfect for me, as was the option each night to order the dessert sampler -- three of the night's choices on a plate, each about three bites big. We were so busy with activities onboard that we didn't snack at all. Three meals a day with no snacks was perfect. I was hungry for my meals, but didn't think about eating in between them.

This spring and summer I have still been taking kettlebells and visiting the gym, but sadly I've only been doing it about twice a week. My dad broke four ribs last winter and I've spent a lot of time caring for him and doing errands and chores for him. He recovered well, and was able to walk without even a cane when he started having a lot of hip pain. He's been to three different doctors, and no one can say what it is. Meanwhile, he's crabby and doesn't want to go anywhere or do anything because simply standing or walking hurts. He's living in a retirement apartment, but I am still buying his groceries, doing his laundry, and doing a bunch of chores for him. It's like having a third child who lives twenty minutes from me! So I have much less time to tend to my own health than I did last summer. I went through some mild depression over the spring, and still feel a bit now. I was on a very low dose of Welbutrin over the winter for my Seasonal Affective Disorder, but I weaned myself from it in May, which probably only added to the depression. There were many mornings this past spring when I could barely drag myself from bed at the last possible minute, let alone get up early to exercise. After work I was exhausted, and many times had to go to my dad's. I know I probably sound somewhat whiney, but I hate not having the energy and ambition to exercise regularly, when I've been so faithful about it for so many, many years. I have felt a bit better now that there is more sun and the days are longer, but still not really like my old self.

I have been toying with the idea of trying to cut back on the amount of sugar I eat, but every time I think of attempting it, I immediately want to eat a bunch of junk. My SIL has been really successful with eating healthier and she's lost about 100 pounds. She completely cut out sugar, bread, pasta (most starchy carbs really, even starchy veg), dairy (she is gluten and dairy intolerant anyway), etc. She really only eats free range, grassfed beef, free range eggs and chicken, nonstarchy veg, and coconut oil. She used to adore coffees with loads of sugar, so I don't know how she gave it up. I don't need to lose more than 20 pounds at most, but I know if I could give up sugar.... Sigh. I've had that same thought 100 times, and never been successful. I suppose maybe going totally vegan would be a start?

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Feeling Judged for Everything

We went out to dinner last night for our monthly "sib dinner" with Tim's siblings and spouses. Afterward, I suggested going out to get frozen yogurt at TCBY. After everyone ordered, I noticed that one SIL didn't get anything. When someone commented, she replied, "I'm just trying to stay away from sugar." My other SIL said, "You've dropped some more weight, haven't you? I thought so." The first SIL replied, "Yes I have. Thank you for noticing." Then she repeated that she was trying to not eat sugar. I immediately felt judged, and vaguely threatened. I think that's why I dislike when people comment on my weight loss. I feel like they are judging the fatter me and finding me wanting.

It seems a common thing that people feel judged when someone is eating salad instead of the burger they ordered. My coworkers make constant comments about my healthy foods, and seem embarrassed that they are eating a cookie while I'm eating spinach. I NEVER make any sort of judgmental comment about food someone is eating, though (to be honest) I have been known to read ingredients on the packages of snacks on our back counter and announce "PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED OIL!"

It's not just food either. We haven't had TV reception for 16 years, but it came about sort of by accident, rather than by choice. We have chosen to continue to live without it, but would never have had just given it up if circumstances hadn't led to it. When people hear that we don't have TV (I don't usually announce it, but it comes up in conversation eventually with most people), they immediately announce, "Oh, we hardly watch any TV" or "I only watch the news and such-and-such show". I always stress to them that when we did have TV, it was on from dawn til dusk and we didn't give it up out of any disapproval of it or anything. Nonetheless, they really want me to know that they don't really watch it. Much.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Hunger and Satiety

Sheesh, I had no idea it had been so long since I'd posted! I've been in a holding pattern as far as Weight Watchers is concerned. I've lost about 15 pounds, but keep going up one or two and down one or two. I go over my weekly points almost every week. I just don't understand how members and leaders say they stay within their allotted points while eating out in restaurants and eating desserts, unless they go around hungry most of the time. One dinner with one piece of veggie pizza, one smallish piece of birthday cake, and one 1/2c serving of ice cream is enough to knock out most of your extra weekly points.

I met with a nutritionist recently as part of a community wellness program. It was free so I figured "what the heck". I think she was a bit puzzled about why I was there, since I already knew everything she shared, but I did discuss my hunger issue. I told her that I was simply ravenous sometimes by late afternoon and then had difficulty not overeating at dinner and after -- even when I eat an afternoon snack of greek yogurt and fruit or something else equally nutritious and protein/carb filled. She suggested that I eat smaller meals and more snacks in between. I'm a little torn about that because I don't want to be constantly focused on food, but I must admit that I sometimes feel somewhat stuffed after lunch. Even if I'm stuffed with vegetables and beans, eating to the point of being overfull isn't really a good habit to get into. Lately I've tried to stop sooner at lunch and have a bigger snack, or have two afternoon snacks. I'm not sure it really makes a difference, but I'm going to experiment further with it. This morning for breakfast I had oat bran (1 serving -- 1/3c uncooked) cooked with: 1/2c of unsweetened almond milk, a medium banana, a tablespoon of flax seed, and about a tablespoon of peanut butter. I got up at 4:45am, walked the dog a mile, did 20 minutes on the elliptical, and about 20 minutes of weight training. I ate breakfast at 7:15am. It is 11:06am right now and my stomach is asking for lunch. I know I exercised and all, but I still feel like my breakfast should have lasted a bit longer.

I found a study that talked about satiety. It mentioned that some of the most satisfying foods were baked or boiled potatoes, apples. oranges, fish, whole wheat pasta, baked beans (!), and oatmeal. I wonder why baked beans rather than simply beans in general? I try not to eat baked beans because of the sugar. Yesterday I had a homemade soup that had potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, mixed vegetables, and black beans in it. It didn't keep me satisfied for more than 3 hours. That was disappointing, especially since it was 8 points! I have some again today for lunch, to eat over a couple of handfuls of spinach and kale -- along with an apple, orange, and a mini Kind bar for snacks.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

February Podcast: Running After Baby, Getting Started, Raising Eaters, Cals vs. Points, Habit Eating | Roni's Weigh

February Podcast: Running After Baby, Getting Started, Raising Eaters, Cals vs. Points, Habit Eating | Roni's Weigh:

'via Blog this'

I just finished watching this podcast of Roni Noone's, and I thought she had some sensible things to say. What really got me, though, was her comments at the end about habit eating. I have had that same "the kids are in bed -- it's time to eat!" sorts of associations -- in all kinds of various situations, and have tried hard to break them. The car trip comment she made though was so spot on for me. She said that when she and her dh travel, he will get a soda and some combos at the gas station, and then if she doesn't get a snack, she will end up feeling deprived. So, even though she may not be hungry, she takes along a bag of popcorn popped at home to munch on. It's funny -- I have the same husband! He'll buy Combos, the kids will beg for snacks, and everyone will be munching away in the car except me. Though I may not be the slightest bit hungry, I end up feeling kind of resentful and angry about the situation. I always try to tell myself not to eat if I'm not hungry, or to take some healthy snacks for the family, but as soon as dh buys some unhealthy snack and my kids clamor for one also, no one ends up eating the healthy snacks but me. Sometimes I end up eating more calories than I would have had I just given in to my desire for some potato chips! So maybe it's okay to give up the whole intuitive eating thing once in a while. Rather than forcing myself into a situation when I'll feel put upon for listening to my stomach, I should just listen to my desires instead. Not every day, or even every week, but at least some of the time.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Doughnut is Just a Doughnut

I had a slight gain at home last week, but a slight loss at WW. I think I'd believe the loss more, since I overate a lot last Saturday at my daughter's party, but ended the week at -2 points. I wore three pair of pants last week that I hadn't been able to wear for at least 18 months, and I felt quite good about that.

My daughter's school had "Family Donut Day" last week. I looked up a glazed doughnut and saw that it was 7 points, so I ate just some egg whites and veggies for breakfast that day, planning to eat and enjoy a doughnut. They were getting the treats from a local bakery that is famous for its fabulous doughnuts, so I wanted to have one. When I got it and took a bite, I thought "Hmm. It tastes like any other glazed doughnut I've ever eaten". I had two more bites and chewed them slowly, just to make sure, but yep, it was nothing exciting or special. It sat next to me for an hour while I handed out tickets to families coming in the door, and then I threw it away. I didn't feel any regret about it, either. It was just a doughnut with no magical powers or forbidden appeal.

Yesterday I baked chocolate chip cookies, always a huge temptation for me. I wondered if perhaps I was making a mistake because I'd been having those "I want to sit around and eat junk" urges all morning. To help out somewhat, I made a pan cookie instead of a zillion scooped cookies. I ate one small bit of dough, and enough small tastes of the finished bar to equal about two cookies. I counted the points and felt okay about the whole thing. I sort of wished I'd just eaten two cookies though, rather than just a bunch of little tastes while I was cutting them and putting them away. I could have had one nicely sized cookie with a cup of decaf and thoroughly enjoyed it. Next time. I'm taking most of them to a school fundraiser the elementary school is having today, but I left about eight of them for us. I don't know that I'll eat any more, but they are there if I want one.

I'm going to a baby shower today. I don't know if there will be food there, since it's at 2pm. Maybe cake. If it's a supermarket cake, I don't know that I'll even be tempted to eat it. Can you say "partially hydrogenated oil"? Ew.

My hip has been bothering me lately, and I'm wondering if I need to cut back on the exercise a bit. I usually walk at least 10,000 steps a day, in addition to doing 50 min of elliptical or stationary bike, and only take one rest day a week. That doesn't seem excessive to me, but a couple of years ago, my hip was bothering me for a while, and when I really cut back on exercising for a while, the soreness went away. My knee has been hurting too. I thought when I got below 150 (I think I'm 153 right now), it wouldn't really hurt much anymore. So today is a rest day. I walked the dog 2 miles this morning, but will probably not do much the rest of the day. The shower is over an hour's drive, and then I'll be sitting on my behind there for a while before driving back home another hour plus.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Binge and Recovery

I took my healthy-ish snacks to the Super Bowl party we attended. Unfortunately, I sampled quite a bit of them before I went, and wasn't really hungry when I got there. I say unfortunately because I still struggle a bit with not eating when everyone around me IS eating, even when I'm not hungry in the least. Eating when I'm not hungry invariably leads to overeating because I don't have an "end" point. There's no "I feel much better now that my stomach isn't empty, so I will stop now" cue. Needless to say, I DID eat at the party, and ended up feeling a bit too full. In the danger zone, I headed home to put my girls to bed. When I got home, I started by eating two of the doughnuts that were in our refrigerator, and went on from there. It wasn't the worst binge I ever had, but I went to bed feeling terrible - emotionally and physically stuffed. Not only did I feel miserable -- bloated and hot (I always get too hot after bingeing -- maybe my metabolism going crazy?), but about half an hour after I went to bed, my heart started pounding. I was seriously afraid that I was going to have a heart attack or something. It was the first time that I really thought about what bingeing must do to my body, rather than thinking only of the calories I ate, why I ate them, and how much damage I'd see on the scale.

I hesitate to say this (having had to admit to setbacks many times in the past...), but I'm not sure I will ever binge like that again. I've never been that afraid -- not even when I shattered my leg or had my mastectomy. If I'd had a heart attack, I would have done it to myself. There would be no one else to blame. Unlike previous binge aftermath feelings of hopelessness, the next day I felt stronger and more determined to eat normally. I simply wasn't very hungry for the next day or two, so I listened to my body and ate only 23 points Monday and 26 on Tuesday. I stuck to vegetables, beans, and fruit, and nothing processed. Since then, I've had two WW weeks when I haven't gone over my points. I've not gone hungry, but I've not overeaten at very many meals. I think I ended up not gaining weight over my binge, but whether I did or not, I've had a nice loss for two weeks in a row now. I haven't seen this new low weight in quite a few years.

On Valentine's Day, we went out to dinner. I had 20+ points left for the week, so I tried not to worry about how much oil was in my (vegan) dinner or my salad dressing. It was so yummy that I ate all of my portion, and ended up a little too full. I declined dessert, and when we got home, I thought, "Oh, I could probably still eat a Hershey's Kiss or two for a bit of dessert", but honestly, it didn't really appeal to me. I was full -- a bit overfull -- and chocolate just didn't sound very good. Crazy, huh? I made a cheesecake in the slow cooker last weekend, and after the first piece, it sat in the fridge because it just wasn't good enough to waste my points on. Of course, I did eat the entire 8-point, not-great piece the first night when I really could have stopped after a few bites -- when I realized it wasn't all that exciting. Progress though.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

The Glacial Pace of Healthy Weight Loss

At last week's WW weigh in, I'd lost the weight I gained plus an additional .2 lbs. I was pretty happy, though one always wishes for more. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly weight goes on and how incredibly slowly it seems to go away. Truly though, I think SEEMS is the watchword here. When I look at my WW stats, I've lost an average of .9 lbs since I joined on November 30. I've eaten an average of 45 points a day, so I definitely haven't been starving myself. Truth be told, I could have eaten less many days if I had truly been eating intuitively. Last night, I ate a bit past full because my roasted veggie pizza was so yummy. Anyway, even at .9 lbs a week, I could lose the 12 lbs I need to lose to have a "normal" BMI in just over 13 weeks. That's a blink in a lifetime. I keep reminding myself that I am eating the way I need to eat for my health. I will need to eat like this every day for the rest of my life if I want to stay healthy. So, if I'm not willing to do it now, I won't keep off any weight I lose. I'm living without the comforting fullness of a belly full of cookies, but also without the knee pain that was sometimes keeping me awake at night a couple of months ago.

Our WW meeting last week was a bit better. We discussed the difference between snacks and treats. Our leader talked about things that are "treats" (different for everyone, but for me might be things like graham crackers or snack bars) versus "snacks" (anything that you like, tastes good, but doesn't tempt you to eat multiple servings of). I had never thought about it in that way, but she made the point that something that is okay for a snack isn't necessarily okay to eat 2-3 times a day for a snack. If you are depriving yourself of healthy foods because you are using your points for things like graham crackers or Kind bars, you are fooling yourself if you think it doesn't make a difference. Oddly, this is at odds with her "one point hot dog" speech last month, when she said that WW doesn't tell you what to eat, but rather how to maximize your points (with things like 1 point hot dogs). She actually said, "the kind of food you use your points on makes a difference."

I made three healthy-ish snacks for the Super Bowl party we're attending tonight. I adapted a Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe and made it into a Buffalo Bean Dip, and made a recipe from the Weight Watchers handout they gave us last week, substituting vegetarian chili for turkey chili. I was given the choice to bring cookies and veggies or hearty appetizers, but I really didn't want to deal with the temptation of making cookies. I know I won't go the rest of my life without baking or eating cookies, but it is a food I have difficulty eating just one of. I suppose I could have just bought some, but there's something about the idea of buying those bakery cookies with partially hydrogenated oil in them that just makes me queasy. There was cake served at my daughter's play on Friday night and I wasn't very tempted by it Thinking of that greasy tasting frosting and all those trans fats just turned me off. Imagine that.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Soup, Glorious Soup

Mmmmm...I love soup. There's nothing better than hot soup on a cold winter day. I especially love the taste of Campbell's Tomato Soup. I've been making all kinds of tomato soup recipes, trying to duplicate that velvety taste without all of the salt and HFCS, but so far, no luck.

I did, however, make this yummy soup. It may not look all that tasty, but it was. The whole family ate it with no complaints -- a red letter day. I think I got it from the cookbook The 30-Minute Vegan. I did change it slightly -- I added an entire jalapeno instead of a tablespoon, and I used chopped cabbage instead of sliced.
Quinoa Vegetable Soup
serves 6

7c water or vegetable stock
3T soy sauce
3/4c uncooked quinoa, rinsed if needed
1 1/2c chopped purple potatoes (or whatever potato you want to use)
1 large carrot, sliced
3/4c diced yellow onion
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1c chopped cabbage
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1/4c minced fresh cilantro
1/4c minced fresh Italian parsley
1 tsp sea salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp black pepper, or to taste
Add quinoa to water and soy sauce in a large pot over med-high heat.
Begin cutting the veggies and add them to the pot as you go in this order: potatoes, carrot, onion, garlic, cabbage, jalapeno, and tomatoes
Cook until potatoes are tender and quinoa is cooked, about 20 min from the time the quinoa was added.
Add the cilantro, parsley, salt, and pepper.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Stuffed Butternut Squash

My dh and kids liked this recipe, which makes it an automatic keeper. The only thing I'd change would be to add in some beans or something. It didn't keep me full for long. It also made way too much stuffing for one squash. It probably would have stuffed 3 -- at least 2, anyway. It was quite tasty, anyway.

Stuffed Butternut Squash
serves 4
1 med onion, minced
2 med carrots, shredded
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 1/2c cooked brown rice
1 T minced fresh parsley
1 tsp dried sage
salt & pepper to taste
1 large winter squash, halved and seeded
1c hot water
Water sautee the onion, carrot, and bell pepper til softened, about 5 min. Stir in the garlic & turmeric. Then stir in the rice, parsley, and sage. Season w/salt & pepper to taste. Mix well and spoon mixture into the squash cavities.

Pour the water into a 6-qt oval slow cooker and add the squash halves, stuffing side up. Cover and cook on low 4-6 hours, til squash is tender. I don't have an oval slow cooker, so I cut the squash's "neck" off so the halves would fit -- I had to overlap one with the other, but I'd washed off the outside of the squash, so it was okay. I tucked the "necks" in on the sides. It worked okay, though it wasn't as pretty as it would have been if I'd had an oval cooker.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Kale = Blech! or Maybe Not?

You can't turn around these days without reading about how fabulous greens are, especially kale and spinach. I like spinach and make my salads at home almost exclusively with spinach, but kale is another matter. I just don't much like it. I don't care for any cooked greens. The texture is unappealing to me, and though I choke them down, I really wouldn't eat them if they weren't so healthy. I've bought kale a few times and thrown it away two weeks later after it has turned to slime. I made the ubiquitous (in the healthy blogging world, anyway) kale chips, but eh. They weren't very good, IMO.

So, I brought home yet another bunch of organic kale a couple of weeks ago, determined to make a salad recipe I'd found in a cookbook. When the time came, I just didn't want to go to the trouble, and let the kale wilt for a week before I decided that I needed to cook it, at the very least. Maybe if I mixed it in with a bunch of other vegtables, I wouldn't notice it? I started a pot going, and threw in the kale, several ounces of spinach that were also getting old in the fridge, and a box of mushrooms that I'd bought with some vague intention of sauteeing. I rooted in the cupboard and found a jar of garlic salsa and poured that in. Hmmm. It was starting to look like stew. I added a jar of roasted red peppers packed in water that I'd had for months, and found most of a packet of sun dried tomatoes in the fridge that needed using up, and tossed those in as well. It looked quite unappetizing and I was wondering if I'd be able to make myself eat it when I had a brainstorm.

I've been kind of addicted to eating vegetables with spaghetti sauce lately. I really like spaghetti squash with it, but have taken to eating it on broccoli, green beans, cauliflower, mushrooms...whatever. What if I used my hand blender to blend the concoction into a "sauce" to use over my veggies. It would be so much healthier than jarred spaghetti squash, and heartier too! Here is the end result:
My photography may be less than stellar, but the sauce was absolutely fantastic! It made about six cups, and have been enjoying it on veggies all week. Toss a half cup of beans in and lunch kept me full for hours with no need for an afternoon snack. I put the ingredients into the Weight Watchers Recipe Builder, and it came out to 2 points for a cup. Low points and satisfying -- bonus! I may be eating a lot more kale now.

Weight Watchers was a definite disappointment this week. I really like my leader's manner and personality, but her content leaves something to be desired, especially for an aspiring vegan. This week's "theme" was maximizing your points. I assumed that she'd be discussing how to bulk up your meals by adding in vegetables -- extra veggies in casseroles, pureed veggies in sauces or smoothies...that kind of thing. But, no. She spent the entire time talking about milk, and how you should make sure to get in your milk servings because of all of the good protein, vitamins, and minerals milk has. Milk is so satisfying, etc. She spent quite a chunk of time going over all of the different smoothies you could make with the Weight Watchers brand smoothie mix. I haven't looked at the smoothie mix label, but if it has half of the artificial ingredients that are in the bars...well, no thanks. If I'm going to eat artificial crap, I'd rather eat a Pop Tart.

My weigh-in this week was less than stellar. I was up 2.4 lbs (1.2 on my home scale), but I wasn't really surprised. I went on a scrapbooking retreat last weekend and ate WW-unfriendly food all weekend. I went thinking that there'd be something reasonably healthy at each meal, but it didn't work out that way. Breakfast was home fries and a white flour bagel and peanut butter if I wanted to stay away from eggs and meat. Lunch on Saturday was pizza and caesar salad already pre-mixed, along with cookies. I didn't eat the cookies, but had to eat pizza and caesar or starve. Dinner on Friday was only meat for main dishes, so I had a big salad and had some cottage cheese and hard-boiled egg for some protein. Would it have killed them to have garbanzo beans on the salad bar? Dinner on Saturday was salmon, rice, vegetables, and potatoes. Everything was drenched in butter. I also had a piece of cheesecake -- just kind of giving up.

Sunday was a disaster for me. I got up at 4:45am, but brunch wasn't til 10am. I started out eating a banana and apple, but by the time we had brunch, I'd eaten a granola bar, pretzels, cookies, and who can remember what else? I got home, and the snacking continued, unabated. I ate some sugary cereal, Pop Tarts, chocolate....well, you don't really need to know the details. I did log everything in my WW online food diary. I'm trying to do that even when I overeat, so that I can clearly see the connection between what and how much I eat and losing/gaining weight or staying the same. I've never before been this faithful about keeping track of every bite and it's kind of interesting. I've found that it's very easy to think "Oh, I didn't overeat much", only to see that, well, yes I did!

After my Sunday eating fest, I got right back on task on Monday, and ended up eating only 23 points that day, and 26 the next (26 is the absolute minimum I'm supposed to eat). I tried to eat intuitively, and just wasn't very hungry. I'm hoping my weight gain will disappear at my weigh in next Wednesday.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Six Weeks In

After six weeks on Weight Watchers, I've lost 5.8 pounds (8+ at home, but 5.8 on the WW meeting scale). I think I've still had only one week when I really didn't go over my allotted number of points, though this week is shaping up to be the second. Over the two weeks of Christmas and New Year's, I had a 1.2 gain, but lost it again by the following week. I was pretty pleased with that. I definitely overate for a couple of days when my brother and family were here the week before Christmas, on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and on New Year's Eve. I ate beyond satiety, and even felt kind of miserable due to the crappy carb/sugar overdose on a couple of those days. I didn't count points for three of the days -- just entered 99 points and sort of "gave up" -- though I didn't go on to eat everything in sight that day or the days after. Unlike my usual modus operandi, I started counting again the day after Christmas, and have counted every day since. Somehow, counting points doesn't make me as obsessive as counting calories. Maybe they don't seem quite as concrete. Or maybe it's because it isn't an exact system. When I've counted calories in the past, sooner or later I ended up thinking, "Ohhh, I have 50 calories left for the day...what can I eat?" whether I was hungry or not. For the past several weeks, I've had some desserts, crackers, pretzels, and the like here and there, but I enter the points and that's that. Perhaps it helps that I don't have any points left over at the end of the day? I don't know. Whatever the reason, it's working okay. I'm not focused on food 24/7, and I'm not feeling terribly deprived about staying away from the treats at work. We went to a potluck last night and I ate the beans and pita I brought (in case there were no vegan main dishes -- which was the case), a big helping of the yummy cole slaw I brought, and a hershey kiss. I didn't even feel like having a bit of anything else on the table, except a spoonful of hummus that I added to my pita. Now, there wasn't any fabulous looking homemade cheesecake or anything sitting there, so that definitely played a part. I'd like to think that trying to lose weight isn't playing havoc with my "normal(ish) eater" status.

Making really delicious vegan dinners that my family AND I will eat is helpful. Rather than trying to cook something for them and something separate for me, I've been looking for recipes that seem pretty lowfat, but likely candidates to escape the "ewww, what IS that?!?" comment. I also don't sit there with my boring beans and greens, watching them eat pizza or something. One of my successes from this past week was Red and Green Lentil Enchiladas from Peas and Thank You. I left the cheese out of half of it, and spinkled cheese over the top of the other half during the last 5 minutes of cooking time. My 9-year-old actually had seconds! I can't ever make enchiladas stay together, so I just tore the corn tortillas into small pieces and then layered it all like a casserole. It really was quite yummy. A couple of them also liked the stuffed butternut squash I made, but tasty as it was, it really didn't keep me full for very long. It was something like 9 points a serving too.

That's a complaint I still have about the Weight Watchers points system. I've entered some really healthy, lowfat recipes into the recipe builder and had them come out to 16 points a serving. That's a big chunk if your daily maximum is 26 (without using extra or exercise points). It seems kind of silly that an extremely healthy vegan dish could have more points than pizza! In my WW meeting last week, we were discussing planning. I raised my hand and said that I spent 20 min or so every Sunday planning my week's dinners, making a shopping list, and entering the recipes into the recipe builder so I knew how many points were in a serving. I commented that sometimes vegan recipes I thought were really healthy turned out to be pretty high in points. The point I was trying to make is that I then planned the rest of my day's food to be lower, but the leader went off on a tangent about how beans are full of fiber, but also high in calories. Really? 110 calories in half a cup of beans -- with lots of fiber and virtually no fat isn't what I'd call high in calories! It's far healthier for you than a chicken breast! Argh.

They also handed out free samples of a snack bar you can buy at your meeting. Whoa. It was "only 2 points!" but had a list of ingredients as long as my arm. Scary ingredients. WW is really missing the boat here. They have a real opportunity to teach people about eating for health, and they're hawking foods that are full of artificial crap. If they are going to sell snack bars, why not make a bar like the Kind bar or the Larabar? In the 1970s, WW made people eat liver, for pete's sake! You can't tell me they couldn't convince people to move toward a less processed diet. Oh, sigh. If I were in charge of the world...

I watched this video, and found it really interesting, though it really only makes the point that I'd already kind of figured out -- that I mentioned in my last post, actually. If you are pre-disposed genetically to being overweight, the only way to lose weight and keep it off without going hungry is to eat only healthy food. The more pre-disposed to overweight you are, the less processed food you can eat, even healthy things like whole wheat pasta or bread. The think I liked about the video is that the doctor is very non-judgmental. He just states it the way it is.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Bit Disenchanted

With a daily average of 33 "points" on WW (not counting any earned for activity), I find that I am sometimes hungry. Each point is worth about 50 calories, so that's 1650 calories a day for me. It's not exactly 50 per point, but that's a fair approximation. Anyway, I find that I AM hungry with that many points, but not terribly hungry. I want to be hungry for meals anyway -- food tastes so much better if I am. The real restriction for me is that I can't really eat anything "extra" without being hungry. If I "spend" points on a cookie, that's less nutritious, filling food I can eat. So even though they SAY "you can eat anything you want", you really can't if you don't want to spend part of the day hungry. At my points level, anyway. I imagine that if I used 33 points a day on healthy, nutritious food only, I might not really be all that hungry. There haven't been too many days like that, though. Unfortunately, a few of my days have been 60 or 100 points, while others have been 21. Not very smart or healthy of me.
Honestly, I've averaged something like 40 points a day since I started and I've still lost 5 pounds. I think I've gotten away with such a high average because I'm usually quite active. Aside from purposeful daily exercise, I usually get 10,000-12,000 steps a day on my pedometer.

I was a bit disappointed in our last WW meeting because the leader actually brought up the stupid 1 point hot dog! Here I was thinking that WW had changed over the past 6 years since I first joined, but apparently, it hasn't changed all THAT much. The discussion was on how to provide variety to prevent boredom with your meals, and we were talking about sandwich outsides, fillings, and sauces. Someone had mentioned a hot dog bun, which she said you could really fill with anything, but if you wanted a hot dog, what was the best kind to buy? I wanted to yell out "one with no nitrates", but didn't have the nerve. Someone suggested a turkey dog, and the leader said you'd think that, but no! There was a FAT FREE 1 POINT HOT DOG out there! I was glad that a member challenged the leader by asking about all of the crap you'd put in your body by eating a fat free hot dog, but the leader took the easy way out. She said WW isn't here to tell you what to eat because that is up to you. They are simply here to help you know what you can eat and stay within your points. I thought that was a rather specious answer. As a leader, I would assume she is there partly to provide a healthy example of the way to maintain your weight loss. Apparently not.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Weight Watching

I have a confession to make. I joined Weight Watchers. I know, I know -- I am now kicked out of the "intuitive eaters" club. My coworker was joining and I went along. I was prepared to hate it, but I have to say that I am very impressed with the changes they've made in the 6 or so years since I previously joined (for a whopping few weeks). The amount of "points" I have to spend on food is enough to keep me from going hungry, provided I don't eat a bunch of fat or sugar filled foods. I suppose that could be said of any "diet", couldn't it? Fruits and vegetables are now "free", except for peas, corn, and potatoes. It does seem a bit out of whack that a baked potato and a big mall pretzel both have five points, but the point system has been overhauled mostly to the good, as far as I can tell. No more encouraging people to eat 1 point hot dogs.

I was really happy with the leader the first week. She talked about how she doesn't cook so she eats in restaurants twice a day every day (whoa...) and eats whatever she wants, not just dry chicken breasts and salad. She went down a bit in my estimation this week when she discussed getting rid of things in your environment so you won't eat them. I know it makes sense -- Brian Wansink showed in his book about mindless eating that people ate more m&ms when they were visible -- so, out of sight, out of mind. Or out of kitchen, out of mouth. BUT, again you have the problem of not being able to throw out all of the m&ms in the world. Sooner or later, you'll be faced with a buffet and you may stuff yourself with multiple desserts, dips, chips, and other foods you haven't seen in weeks or months -- if you haven't made peace with food.

I was going along well til we went to a part on Saturday night. I took some vegan chili so I'd have something to eat, but ended up overeating because I took a few spoonfuls of other things and got overfull. Can you say TRIGGER? I had a few small spoonfuls of desserts and was even more full. Then more people -- with more desserts -- arrived and I had some MORE desserts. I estimated my point intake that day to be about 100 (when I'm allotted 26 per day plus 49 "extra" per week, plus points for activity). However, because I felt accountable to my coworker and WW, I was able to put it behind me and not continue with that behavior for the rest of the week. Rather than throwing in the towel, I ate intuitvely on Sunday. That meant that I actually ate only 21 points. You really aren't supposed to eat fewer than 26, but I honestly wasn't very hungry (perhaps because I overate on Saturday night?). We went out to IHOP for breakfast and I ordered one of the "healthy" omelets. There wasn't anything vegan on the menu that was healthy, and I figured it wouldn't kill me to eat some egg substitute. That was around 9:30am and I wasn't hungry for lunch until 4pm!

On Monday I still wasn't very hungry and ate under 26 points. I ended up with a four pound weight loss for my first week, which surprised me. I ate normally on Tuesday and Wednesday, and so far today. I've been doing fairly well with the McDougall diet, though I can't give up my one Lindt truffle a day or my coffee. I've discovered that I love broccoli and other cooked vegetables with spaghetti sauce (meatless, of course) and hot sauce over them. Mmmmmm.........

Friday, November 25, 2011

Change is Slow

I'm not sure how I went from writing a blog that hardly anyone ever looked at to being the target of spammers, but what the h*ll? I'm suddenly getting half a dozen comments on every blog post -- all of which belong to spammers who have shady weight loss sites. I've deleted at least 100 comments over the past couple of months. Oy. Moving on...

Since my last post, I've been attempting to move toward the McDougall way of eating, with mixed results. I haven't been overly hungry, so it fits in well with eating intuitively and not starving. I've not had any meat that I can recall, and I can't say I've really missed it. I haven't had much cheese, had no eggs or yogurt, and no cows' milk. Heh. Let me rephrase that. I've had no eggs or milk plain. I have, however, eaten some baked goods that I'm sure contained those ingredients. I baked a vegan cake for my daughter's birthday (she is on a kick to give up dairy), but then proceeded to eat ice cream at her party...and for several days afterward. I've stayed away from most of the goodies at work, but have had days of just plain giving in and snarfing down a doughnut or a few mini candy bars or a few cookies. It's also hard to feed my family things like pizza and not have any.

For thanksgiving yesterday, I did well at eating sensibly -- skipping the turkey and white store-bought rolls, and eating cranberries, the vegan quinoa stuffing I baked, the vegan sweet potato casserole I baked, the vegan mashed potatoes I made....then I ate a piece of banana bread my SIL brought and the downhill slide started. I ate several pieces of pie -- there were five to choose from, and though I started with small pieces of three, I went back and ended up overstuffed after at least five pieces. I felt like crap. I continued to feel like crap today after eating leftovers. After weeks of not stuffing myself, I stepped right back into the role of out-of-control binger.

I feel as though I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. When I deny myself for health reasons, I act like a kid left alone in a candy store when I am around things like peanut butter pie and chocolate pudding pie (yesterday) and I overeat them. Yet, I can't eat that stuff on a regular basis and "legalize it" unless I want to take cholesterol medication for the rest of my life.

I've made some recipes from the McDougall cookbooks, and they are bland with a capital B. I know that they probably are that way on purpose since he advocates as little salt intake as possible. I made a squash/sweet potato/carrot soup and added about half a tablespoon of adobo chili powder to each serving. I made a potato corn chowder and added a ton of chipotle chili powder to that. Hmmm...maybe I have ruined my tastebuds by adding Sriracha to everything and anything? I have discovered that potatoes are really quite satisfying. I had a grapefruit and a small potato with catsup for breakfast one day and wasn't super hungry til noon. Since I wake up at 4:45am, that's quite a feat. Of course, I didn't EAT the potato and fruit until 7am, but my oatmeal/banana/flaxseed/almond butter breakfasts never stay with me til noon.

For many lunches, I've just been throwing a bunch of frozen veggies in a bowl and layering 1/2c of a grain (brown rice, millet, wheatberries, barley, quinoa...) on top of them, 1/2 cup of beans (black, pinto, etc) on top of that, and then drizzling some vegan "cheesy" sauce (fat free) and Sriracha on top of that. It's quite filling and satisfies me for hours, most days.

I had lost a few pounds, but after the last couple of days of pie gluttony, I have probably put them right back on. However, the only way to fail is to stop trying, right?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Time for a Change?

It's been a while since I've gotten excited about a new way of eating -- dare I say "diet"? So, I guess it's time. I'm being facetious, but I do feel kind of "stuck" lately. I saw the movie "Forks Over Knives", and wow, it provided a lot of food for thought (ha ha -- no pun intended!). After watching it I wanted to run out and buy a bunch of vegetables and throw all of the chips and sugar in my kitchen straight into the trash can. Reality intruded when I realized the revolt my family would stage if I announced I was never again going to cook their beloved (nitrate free, locally raised) bacon, or buy sugary cereal. Over the past 18 months or so, I've evolved into a more vegetarian cooking style, and I've introduced my childen to the love of hummus and lentil sloppy joes. I only cook meat a couple of times a week (and I don't usually eat any), but whenever we go to a restaurant, they celebrate with steaks the size of a dinner plate, BLTs, fried chicken strips, and french fries. I always thought I couldn't totally be vegan because I like yogurt so much, but the movie kind of turned me off dairy products.

I have lost and gained the same 8 lbs or so over and over again for that same time period. Stuck. After Dr. John McDougall was mentioned in the movie, I did an online search to find out about him, and interloaned his books from the library. They're pretty dated, but intriguing. His book on reversing heart disease is enough to scare the fat right off you, though he offers a lot of hope in the form of patients who went on his diet and reversed their disease. I don't have heart disease (maybe I do, but I don't know it if so...), so I checked out his other books, and liked what I read for the most part. He advocates a vegan diet with whole grains, starchy vegetables & legumes, fruit, and non-starchy vegetables, fruit, no caffeine, very little salt and sugar, and no fat. None. That part...well, I wonder if he still pushes that since studies were published 8 years ago (or so) showing how fat helps the body absorb all of the good stuff from the veggies.

His ideas appeal to me more than Dr. Joel Fuhrman because of the grains & starchy veggies. I was trying to force down gigantic salads and huge bowls of vegetables and avoid bread, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, butternut squash, potatoes, and other things I adore. Dr. F advises only 1 cup of whole grains OR starchy vegetables a day, and that was used up with my morning oatmeal. Dr. M is a bit vague on specific serving sizes, but from what I gather, he would recommend that your mealtime plate be 1/3 starchy vegetable or legume, 1/3 whole grain, and 1/3 green/yellow vegetable. If you want to lose weight more quickly, change it to 1/2 green/yellow veg, avoid bread & pasta, and limit fruit to 2 per day.

I still have the dessert problem to contend with, but he writes in the book that if you eat your starchy vegetables and grains, you won't crave something sweet after your meal. I thought that was ridiculous -- he has obviously never met me -- but I admit that it's kind of true. I've been eating "Dr M" type lunches this week, and haven't had that immediate "now I need chocolate" urge after lunch. I also didn't get that hollow, OMG I'm STARVING feeling at 4pm that I usually have at work. I don't think I've lost any weight -- maybe a little -- but I made a pact not to weigh myself until at least January 1. It was making me slightly crazy, and I don't need that.

I want to try out this way of eating more seriously, but I think I'll add in a few nuts with my vegetables, especially if I eat greens. It's a little easier right now because my husband is working nights and doesn't want to eat dinner with us (since it's breakfast time for him), so I can whip up something really simple for the girls and a different dinner for me. I haven't been baking much because my teenage daughter is trying to stay away from dairy in hopes it will help with her complexion, so I don't have a lot of tempting baked goods around. It will be a whole different ballgame when Tim goes back to days in a couple of months. There are, however, some really tasty sounding recipes in the McDougall cookbook and in this books, so maybe it will all work out if I stick with it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Acceptance

You have heard (read?) me whingeing about work many times on this blog. I came back this past summer from my vacation feeling dread, rather than returning with the usual enthusiasm I regain while on a break. I was absolutely miserable. I felt crabby and didn't want to be there. I felt dismay that I'd have to work at least 15 more years, mostly unhappy about it. THEN, I had...well, I guess an epiphany, for lack of a better word. An online friend of mine posted on FB that she'd counseled a client of hers (she's a life coach) that she didn't have to fret so much about her situation, she simply had to accept it. Huh. Accept it. Yes, I could do that. I can't change the circumstances at work that have made me dislike it so often, and I can't change my lazy coworkers. However, I can accept the fact that I can't change those things, and simply try to enjoy the time I'm there for the reasons I DO like it. I love helping people, I love the kids, I love doing storytime, I love seeing new books, I love setting up a nice display, and I really do enjoy most of my coworkers. I accept the fact that there are things I loathe, and that's that.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Breaking Out of My Comfort Zone

Um, yea...that bloodwork? Still haven't gone. I'm seeing my doctor on Monday for my yearly checkup and I'm not excited about the lecture I'll get. It's totally out of character for me to avoid knowing my cholesterol level. I'm the first one to run to the doctor with a suspicious bump on my skin, convinced it's skin cancer. I never miss a yearly checkup, and I jumped at the chance to have genetic testing eleven years ago. I almost always do everything I'm told to do to recover from an injury or surgery. I just feel like my risks for heart attack or stroke are low. Yes, my cholesterol is probably high, but my blood pressure is normal, I eat lots of veggies, fruits, beans (and not much meat), and I exercise every day. I don't drink, smoke, or do recreational drugs. I'm going to bring these facts up to my doctor and see what she says. She'll probably point out that I'm overweight.

I am doing a decent job of trying to push the boundaries of my comfort lately. I signed up for golf lessons in the spring, and actually made it through all six. I've gone through these particular lessons twice previously and skipped at least two of them each session. I got all panicky that I wasn't good enough, was going to be stared at or thought of as a bad golfer, or chastized by the teacher for not practicing, or I was just too tired to go....or whatever. This time I talked an acqaintance into signing up with me so that I HAD to go (we rode together), and I signed up on Saturday morning, so I didn't have the "too tired" excuse. I took vacation time on the two Saturdays that I would have had to work, so it all worked out. I was pretty proud of myself for making it through the lessons, and when the instructor mentioned the Wednesday night beginners golf league he runs, I was tempted to join. I dismissed the idea, since I'm not a good golfer. After all, if you aren't good at something, why bother? (has truly always been my secret thought in the past about...well, about pretty much everything) However, my friend Julie asked if I wanted to be her partner in the league and "yes" popped out of my mouth. Oh. My. Word. The first week of play I was sooooo incredibly nervous and scared and panicked. But, it was fine. Totally fine. Yes, I'm bad. So is my partner (she's actually worse than I am, most weeks). Big deal. It's a beginners' league, so we're expected to be bad. Everyone we've played so far has been very gracious and patient. I feel so confident now that when my dh asked me if I was planning to play in his dad's family's 86th annual golf tournament, I said yes without any hesitation.

We joined the neighborhood weight loss challenge again this summer, and they added a new component. We get points for showing up to a weekly exercise activity on Sunday afternoons. The first week's activity was beach volleyball. Let me tell you, the last time I had played volleyball was at least 20 years ago. I went to a game with my then-boyfriend, who pressured me into playing in spite of my protestations that I was awful and didn't want to play. Sure enough, I didn't hit the ball once. Not one single solitary time. At first there was laughter -- nervous laughter on my part and "isn't this fun?" laughter on the part of the other players. As the game went on, there were fewer laughs and more sympathetic looks from others, as I got hotter and hotter with mortification. There was grim silence when the game finally, mercifully ended. So, you can understand my reticence about playing with my neighbors. Not to mention the whole "not allowed to jump, run, hop after shattering leg" thing. They told me I could just show up and get points without playing (they all know about my leg), so even my dh was quite surprised when I said I'd try playing. I figured that since it was on sand, my knee might be okay. And it was. My knee was pretty sore the next day, but playing was fine. I wasn't great, but I wasn't horrible. I hit the ball quite a few times and wasn't a total disgrace to my team. It was even kind of fun. Kind of. My dh was very proud of me for playing and I was too.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Spring!

Ah spring! I have hyacinth, Grecian wildflowers, and crocus coming up in my yard, which is always very cheering. However, rabbits or deer or squirrels seem to have dug up most of my crocuses. Annoying. I'm so sick of the stationary bike and elliptical and I can't wait for it to be just a bit warmer, so I can bike outside.

My March commitment to eating for health wavered a bit. On the one hand, I've been eating more vegan meals than ever -- even when eating out, I have looked for a vegan or at least vegetarian option. I've walked 10,000+ steps a day on most days, as well as doing cardio on the stat bike or elliptical 5-6 days a week. On the other hand...I had a few episodes of overeating. I won't call them binges because I didn't end up eating so much that I made myself sick. It was more like consciously choosing to overeat because I was anxious/bored/feeling powerless. I had days when I chose not to use food and I felt so strong and capable of dealing with any and all emotions that I wondered why on earth I ever chose the opposite. Then there were the days when I ate another piece of toast, another piece of dessert, another whatever until I was way overfull and feeling hopeless that I'll ever be a normal eater. Our neighborhood contest ended (whew) and we came in last place this time. I lost 7 lbs and dh lost 20 or so, but everyone else was far more into it this time. That's okay -- if we'd won a second time, I would have felt guilty. I ended March weighing pretty much the same as I did at the beginning, which is okay, but not very exciting.

I've been reading the revised version of Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. I'm not sure what is revised about it. It's been a while since I read the original, so I don't remember it all that well. Anyway, you certainly can't argue with the results. People with cholesterol levels below 100 (that's TOTAL cholesterol!)? Yes, please! However, I just can't imagine being able to eat only two grain servings a day and no bread, no pancakes, no ice cream. Well, he does say you can eat those things occasionally, but that you should stick to a vegan, super low fat diet 90% of the time. I have gotten to the point that I eat 2 servings of fruit, 6+ servings of vegetables, and 1/2-1 cup of beans on most days. I've cut way back on cheese, having only a sprinkle of feta on my pizza or salad occasionally. I eat meat only about once every few weeks, if that. I can't really remember the last time I did eat it. I've been using unsweetened almond milk in my morning oatmeal. I am still enjoying greek yogurt though; I just don't care for soy yogurts. I probably eat too much nut butter, and have still been eating too much sugar. Dessert -- my eternal temptation. I have only 1/2tsp of sugar in my morning cup of coffee, and none in my oatmeal as long as I have half a banana to cook into it, but still long to eat ice cream, cookies, and graham crackers. I had chocolate in my cupboard for so long that it went past the "good by" date, but if cookies are around, I have difficulty sticking to just one and difficulty not eating one or more every day. I'm still hoping that I can move even closer to the "Eat to Live" way of eating. My doctor is sending me for bloodwork and, since I haven't been taking my cholesterol medication on any sort of regular basis, I'm a bit nervous to see what the results will be.

I decided last week that I'd treat my carnivorous family to a week of meat-filled meals. They had been uncomplainingly eating meatless meals for weeks, so I wanted to treat them. I made steak, roast, pork chops, ribs, and bacon all in the space of ten days. That didn't work out too well for anyone except my husband. My 13-year-old announced that she wanted to become a vegetarian after watching a movie in school about slaughterhouses, and my 8-year-old ate only a bite of two of each meat. Today she told me that she is a vegetarian. Huh. At least that daughter likes beans. So, I am back to meatless meals most of the time. Poor dh will have to get his meat fixes when we eat out. I will cook meat for them sometimes -- they both still love bacon -- but mostly will skip it. Here is one recipe that was a fair success with all. They ate it with flour tortillas:

Ethiopian Vegetable Stew -- makes 6 cups
1T of olive oil
4 c coarsely chopped cabbage
3 c chopped onions
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp turmeric
2 c water
2T tomato paste (did you know you can buy tomato paste in a tube? genius!)
3 c carrot chunks (1 1/2-2-inch pieces)
3 c green beans (about 1/2lb)
1 1/2c potato chunks
1/2 tsp salt (I left it out and let people salt at the table)
1/4 tsp black pepper
Heat the oil over medium-high and add cabbage, onions, and garlic, Cook about 4 min, til cabbage is wilted. Stir in turmeric.

Add water and tomato paste; stir until combined. Add the carrots and green beans. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 1 1/4 hours. Add the potatoes, salt, and pepper; simmer, covered 25-30 minutes longer. Add 1/4c additional water, if necessary.

I think this would have been good with eggplant, summer squash, or zucchini added too, though I wouldn't put it in until you add the potatoes. Otherwise, mush. This picture doesn't make it look all that appealing, but it was tasty. The lighting in our house is TERRIBLE. Everything looks yellow.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

More Ups and Downs

I really wanted to give up something for lent, but giving up sweets last year didn't work out so well. I was successful, but ate way too many sweets on Sundays (which aren't technically part of lent -- doesn't that seem like a cop out?). I debated trying to eat a healthy vegan diet for lent, but in the end, didn't want to do anything that might trigger restriction panic. I decided to try and eat vegan four days a week. I started Ash Wednesday, and wow, is it far more difficult than I had envisioned! I wanted a few chocolate chips on a graham cracker, but the chips had "milk solids" in the ingredients, so that was out. I bought some bread at Great Harvest, but it had egg yolks in the ingredients, so that was out. I swear I never wanted Greek yogurt so badly as I did on Thursday, though I usually go days without having any. Thankfully, my family has eaten three vegan dinners in a row without complaint. None were incredibly successful, though they seemed to like the "shepherd's pie" pretty well. I can say with certainty that sticking to a vegan diet for life would be extremely hard for me.

Lately, I've been up and down more than a roller coaster. In my weekly weigh-ins for the neighborhood contest (which is, thankfully, almost over), I've been up one pound, down 1.5 lbs, up 2 pounds, down 1 lb, etc, etc. Overall, I've lost 7.4 lbs since January 1, which isn't thrilling, but isn't anything to weep over. Unfortunately, I can't say that my eating has been stellar. I usually eat very healthfully Mon-Thurs, but fall apart after the Friday weigh-in. That's why I'm glad the contest is almost over. I want to get back to not feeling pressured to lose weight. It is fun to do this with my neighbors because it makes me feel like part of a group, but I sort of hope dh doesn't want to do it this summer if they start it up again. At least he isn't as determined to win this time. He doesn't really care how we do - he just wants to lose a bit of weight. He isn't really overweight - maybe 5-10 lbs?

I have gotten really good at pinpointing exactly why I want to eat when I'm not hungry, though I don't always let that awareness keep me from doing it. Unfortunately, too many times it's because I don't want to do something. I need to just do it - whatever it may be. Or not do it, and not feel guilty about it. Sometimes you just need to lie around on the couch and read a book.

I just finished a book called Hungry, by Allen Zadoff. It was a very interesting read, though it seems that he decided that his problem was a lack of willpower, and only abstinence could save him. He never names them, but it seemed like he joined OA. He is not a believer of "everything in moderation", but rather thinks that compulsive eaters need to abstain from sugar -- or whatever foods trigger them. Anyway, one thing he said that I identified with was that he always rationalized that he stayed home because he was too fat. I'm paraphrasing from memory here, but he thought he didn't socialize or date because he was too fat - but the real reason was that he was out of control with his eating. When I feel like I'm spiraling out of control, or have had some "bad" days of mindless munching and/or overeating and/or bingeing, I just want to put on my pjs after work and not go anywhere. I don't even want to run the errands that I really NEED to run. I just want to hibernate. I think I don't want to go to so-and-so's tupperware party because I feel fat, but it's really because I feel out of control. I am scared that I will inhale the entire snack table and sit there feeling bloated and miserable, because the truth is that I already feel miserable before I go. Here's to fewer of those days, and more....normal....days.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

A Month of (Mostly) Healthy Eating

Wow -- it's February 2, and I've eaten to nourish my body instead of eating to abuse it for an entire month. It didn't really seem very difficult. Making the effort to make sure I am eating at least five servings of vegetables every day definitely makes a difference. As does making an effort to cut way back on eating sugar and snack-type carbohydrates. I've been sauteeing a big batch of vegetables every few days and putting them in the fridge. Then I can just put a bunch into a large bowl, add in half a cup or so of a whole grain, squirt on some sriracha, and plop on half a cup of beans for some protein. I also finally found some nutritional yeast, though I had to buy it online. I don't really think it adds a "cheesy" flavor though -- maybe I'm not using enough.

Anyway, my resolution to eat dessert only once a week has had only spotty success, but eating one square of dark chocolate in a day isn't really going to hurt me too much. I've been exercising, but not too much, and cooking my family more vegetarian meals than they'd like to eat. They're very good about it though. I had only one small setback during the month. We have to weigh in on Fridays for our neighborhood contest, and I got on the scale last Friday to see a .4 lb gain. It was temporary - we'd gone to eat at a French Bistro the night before, where I'd overindulged in French cheese and flatbread pizza with carmelized onions and goat cheese. However, I allowed the stupid number to get me down, and I went into a bit of a tailspin. I overate snacks, chocolate, and cookies at a scrapbooking crop I hosted that evening, and continued overeating the next day. That evening, I had a stern "talking to" with my inner critic, and successfully shut her up. I went back to healthier eating the next day and have been okay since then.

I feel really good. I think keeping my blood sugar on an even keel and eating food that is good for me has helped me be less crabby, and my knees haven't been hurting as much. I've also been my old, energetic self. On to month two!

Friday, January 14, 2011

New Start Update

I still feel great! I've been focusing on eating sugar only sparingly and I must admit that I'm falling asleep more quickly (I was having some wicked insomnia in December), and no longer feeling sleepy in the afternoons. I've stuck to my decision to eat 5+ servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit every day, and I've not been going hungry. I seriously think that the secret to being satisfied with less food is to eat lots of greens and beans. In my quest to eat a mostly plant based diet, I've been eating beans almost every day, and when I have a nice vegetable stir fry with a bit of olive oil and a half cup of beans thrown in, it is tasty and filling. There have been many days when I haven't eaten the afternoon snack I've brought to work because I've not been hungry enough until almost dinnertime. Of course, that could also be because not eating sweets is keeping my blood sugar on an even keel. Whatever. I worry a bit that I am just feeling that "high" you get when you decide to eat better or lose weight...you know, that feeling that wears off by the 100th celery stick?

Have I felt deprived? Hmmmm. It's been fairly easy not to feel that way because the river of goodies at work has slowed to a trickle, and we don't have a dozen different kinds of cookies at home. I have my Christmas stocking chocolates at work, but haven't even opened them. I just don't feel like eating them. I made a dessert last week to use up some cream cheese I had, and yes, I definitely wanted to eat more than the few bites I had. I decided to stop after one small piece though, and it was okay. I'm sure that no matter what happens in my life, I will ALWAYS want more dessert. Right now, it's a matter of which I want more -- lots of dessert or knees that don't hurt. Choosing the knees at the moment. As far as the rest of my food, I've made some delicious things like homemade pizza with ww crust, mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes and blue cheese, hoisin braised tempeh (still don't LOVE tempeh -- I think I need to find a less earthy flavored brand), beer chaser chili, and veggie burger stew. Eating healthy food that tastes delicious is much less punishing that eating diet bread with low cal lunchmeat and raw vegetables for lunch (as I did every freaking day of my starvation days).

Our neighborhood contest is chugging along. Tim and I haven't won either week, but we haven't been in last place either. I've lost almost 5 pounds since the first of the year, but you know -- most of it is probably the bloat I gained over the holidays.

I'm leaving in 15 minutes for a scrapbooking retreat. I was getting into a terrible tizzy about it last night, thinking about the not-so-stellar food usually served, the endless buffet of unhealthy snacks that is always out, and the late nights that lead to unwise food choices. This morning I woke up and realized that I was all jacked up for nothing. I can either choose wisely and eat mindfully or I can come home on Sunday filled with regret, remorse, and cholesterol coursing through me. I packed up some healthy snacks: clementines, apples, almonds, energy bars, and almond butter. Mindful, here I come.

Friday, January 07, 2011

New Year, New Beginnings

I always love the start of a new year. I'm one of THOSE people who believes that it is a fresh start, and THIS year I'll get it right. It is a rare year that I actually achieved any of the resolutions I made with such hope, but I think the day I stop trying is the day...well, I hope I never see that day.

This year, I resolved to take at least one photo each week. That may sound pitiful, but last year's idea to take one each day lasted about three days, so hopefully this is more realistic. I also have a couple of scrapbooking projects in mind, and I want to pay for things in cash whenever possible. We pay off our credit card bills every month, but paying cash definitely makes me more mindful (see previous post! :-)) and makes me question whether or not I really need that cute ________________. It's better for my girls to see that money runs out too, rather than just seeing me slap a credit card on the counter to pay for everything.

Then, there's the question of making resolutions to lose weight or be healthier. I'm pretty sure I've made one or the other every year. Sometimes I've been pretty successful, sometimes not so much. I definitely want to lose weight. My knees are protesting every time I walk up the stairs, I've started grunting when I stand up from the couch, and I really don't want to buy a whole new wardrobe. I have no interest in starving, however. My initial action is going to be to eat at least 5 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit every day, and to avoid eating dessert more than once a week. I'm rather sick of sugar anyway, after the weeks of eating half a dozen cookies every day. A group of friends asked us to join in a "couples biggest l*ser" contest. My husband wanted to do it, and I did too. We are mainly doing it for the fun, so I don't think I'll get all weird about it. One of the husbands set up a website, complete with "smack talk" board, and they have organized Sunday family walks at a local orchard.

So far, I've felt good about eating more healthily. I already feel more energized - it's amazing what eating broccoli instead of cookies does for your body and your psyche.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Staying Present

I am REALLY REALLY bad at staying present/staying in the moment/staying mindful. However you want to put it, I suck at it. I recently realized that I rarely live in the moment. I spend all of my time looking forward to the next thing, the next weekend, the next holiday, the next vacation, the next.... whatever. I count down the months, weeks, and days until my vacations, and then spend them feeling out of sorts, cranky, and unsettled. I think I put so much expectation into what they will be like that I can never be satisfied with what they actually are. Looking back, I can't remember the last time a vacation was truly relaxing and happy. Oh, there were happy and relaxing parts, but much of the time was filled with crabbiness, snapping at my family, and eating out of control. Holidays too. I seriously can't recall the last holiday that I didn't overeat desserts until I felt sick. I guess I'm trying to get the sweetness that I think should be through sweet food? Maybe that's too obvious.

I seem to spend a lot of time feeling "fat" on holidays and on vacations. Fat isn't a feeling, so how do I really feel? Sad that the time isn't what I had expected and/or wanted? I think I am in mourning for holidays and vacations past. You know, those days when everything was warm, fuzzy, loving, and "just right". I am a person who doesn't want things to change. Truthfully, I am someone who fights change. But, life does change. Tim's siblings are now married and have children and stepchildren. Not everyone can make it to the celebration due to work or a significant other's family obligations, and things aren't quite as effortless as they were before, even when everyone is present. There are strangers there. My mom isn't there to be the mom and Tim's mom is too physically disabled to be the mom. My SIL and I have to be the moms. I don't want to be the mom. I want someone to make me fudge and cook a wonderful dinner and just show up with a dish to pass. I don't want to be the one who has to make the wonderful dinner. I think I need to work on accepting the new normal. I either spend hours cooking the perfect food, or accept store bought rolls and some convenience food. I need to just let it be and enjoy what is, rather than feeling sad and regretful for what has been.

I'm going to work on that.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Starting Over. Really? How Many Times Do I Have to Do This Before it Sticks???

I have now eaten myself back to my weight of three summers ago. Oy. I have run out of excuses for it, and I need to once again start the work. Not the work of losing weight -- though, yes, that would be lovely -- but the emotional work of straightening myself out.

I had surgery about two weeks ago, and told myself that once it was done, I'd be okay. I'd start eating more sensibly. I haven't really been bingeing exactly -- simply overeating and snacking when not hungry, especially on sweets. Ugh. I had the surgery, had a few days of normal eating, and went back to munching mindlessly. Then I told myself that it was stress over waiting for the results from the lab. Yesterday I got those results and everything is fine. I still wanted to eat today when not hungry. So....back to the starting line. Back to the basics that I learned in therapy.

I've actually been doing quite well with eating more slowly. I'm not usually the first one done at dinner these days, and I am realizing I'm full before my plate is empty, even when I take small portions. Sometimes I eat the rest anyway. So, back to trying to pause. Pause before eating when not hungry, and pause before eating more from my plate. Pause. Pause. Pause. And feel. Feeling. Yep, that's the hard part.

In pausing sometimes over the past few days, I've realized that I have a lot of anxiety over my surgery -- or rather the aftermath of it. I had my ovaries and fallopian tubes removed because I have one of the "bre*st c*ncer genes", which confers a 44% chance of ov*rian c*ncer by age 70, 20% at age 50. At 46, I was beginning to fear that every abdominal twinge I had was the big C, so I told my doctor I was ready. However, I wasn't really ready. I am scared that menop*use will mean that I will gain 30 lbs, grow a mustache, and lose all my sex drive, get wrinkly, and lose all appeal I have for my husband. Yes, part of me knows that is really catastrophic thinking, but even after six years (since our separation) I still feel somewhat raw when it comes to my dh's feelings toward me. The man acts as though he really loves me, but does he REALLY...(so goes my thinking)...as soon as our children are grown, will he suddenly announce that he no longer loves me and wants a divorce? Then I'll be a lonely 56-year-old fat woman with a mustache. I would feel comfortable sharing my concerns with him, but I don't want to hurt his feelings (that I am STILL insecure several years after we repaired our marriage), so I hesitate. I did tell him about my menop*sal fears, and it didn't really help matters any when he said, "Just don't grow a mustache". Thanks, honey. I can probably stop being afraid for a while anyway, since my doctor put me on HRT drugs to help me over the rough spots, but eventually I'll have to face it.

So, I'm working on just feeling my anxiety, and not eating over it. What will be will be, and eating everything in sight certainly won't help with that fear of weight gain. I'll let you know how it's going....

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Judge Not

If only I'd remember that...judge not. I am a pretty judgmental person, which is something I really dislike about myself. At least I usually keep my opinions to myself. However, I have raved several times to my husband and SIL and other people about my MIL's eating habits. Perhaps I have even done so on this blog. I probably have. Anyway, she is diabetic, morbidly obese, and has congestive heart failure going on. Even so, she orders things like french toast when we go out to eat, and doesn't even try to stick to eating the way a diabetic should. I have always felt angry about it, because she is my kids' only grandmother and I'm afraid that she isn't going to live to see them grow up. I have groused about what I judge to be her irresponsibility in caring for her health. I have realized lately that I should have kept my big mouth shut. I now must open it to eat my words.

I set out this summer determined to control my cholesterol with my diet. I already exercised, but was convinced that if I ate a low fat, low sugar, vegan diet, I'd lose some weight and my cholesterol would magically drop to normal levels. I did okay on this eating regimen for a while, but since our vacation, I have completely thrown it out the window. I am still not eating much meat, but I have more than made up for it in sugary stuff like ice cream, chocolate, Pop Tarts, and cookies. I have even been eating things lately that I haven't eaten in years. I bought and ate 2 oz of ham spread last week. HAM SPREAD! I haven't eaten  ham spread since...well, since I was a kid maybe? I also ate a piece of bologna! Granted, it was bologna from our local butcher and made by them, but still. It was BOLOGNA! Disgusting. I confess it was delicious. But I digress. I have to go have my blood drawn for a cholesterol test next week and I am petrified that the results will be absolutely terrible. I'll have to go back on my medication, and feel like an utter and complete failure.

I realize that diets don't work. I was on a diet and hey, it didn't work. It was too restrictive. I loved the food I was eating, but I missed the things I wasn't. I thought I'd be able to put my health ahead of my love for ice cream, but apparently -- for me -- moose tracks beats all.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Old Dogs and Old Tricks

Above is my sister-in-law's (and brother's too, I suppose) pantry. As I perused it, I was thinking that I could learn a lot from this pantry. It is a normal eater's pantry. In it are at least 8 boxes of cereal, several types of cookies, store bought and homemade, open packages of graham crackers and chocolate, many types of snack crackers and chips, at least four types of bread and bagels, granola bars....and so on. They don't worry that the chips or cookies may get stale before they're eaten. They don't hear the siren song of the graham crackers whispering, "Eat me...I'm open, so you might as well finish me..." They don't stress out that no one is eating the seedy crackers bought at Wh0le Foods - so they'd better be the ones to down them or they'll go to waste. They don't look at the cookies and plan not to buy them again. No. They walk past this cornucopia of food dozens of times a day and barely give it a thought unless they're hungry. Even then, they don't eat a cookie, decide that all is lost, and finish off the bag. They fix a snack or meal -- that might include a cookie -- and move on with life. Amazing.

We just returned from two weeks away from home. My eating was a very odd mix of mindful days spent eating small portions and/or healthy foods, and days that seemed like one long foodfest. I mindfully OVERate on several days, feeling that old "uncontrollable" urge to stuff it all in, while at the same time, realizing that I was stuffing it in and could stop at any time. Didn't stop. I think I put too much pressure on myself to try and NOT gain weight on this vacation. I set off all determined to stick to a vegan diet, eat lots of vegetables, stay away from sugar....only to end up staying with people whose idea of a balanced dinner was: your choice of hot dog or hamburger, Doritos, and soda. Not kidding. Here and there I was able to stop at a store, so for a few meals I had greek yogurt as my main dish, and tried to fill in with fruit and veggies (if they were available), but I ate more meat over the two weeks than I had for the previous two months. Even at the restaurants we went to, most of thet time I had to get fish or starve. None of that is really an excuse for my behavior though. I purposely overate things that no one was force feeding me. I need to pull myself out of this cycle and get back on the road to health.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

All is Well, Sort Of...

I'm almost hesitant to post that all is well. It seems to me that every time I state on my blog that everything is great, I find myself eating inhaling my third bowl of granola over the sink late the next evening! Is it some sort of weird self sabotage? Am I afraid that if, someday, I proclaim myself healed and "normal", I'll have nothing to put my energies into? Do I like being unhappy? I don't think I do. Maybe it's more that my eating issues help take the focus off the fact that I'm not happy now. I'm not exactly unhappy. I love my husband and our relationship is fine, I love my children, I have a nice home....but I'm having some sort of midlife crisis (albeit a bit past "mid-life", since I'll be 46 next week!). I am BORED. Every day is a repetition of the day before. Get up, walk the dog, exercise, eat, go to work, come home, cook, eat, read the paper, check email, go to bed. Repeat. On the weekends -- run errands, shop for groceries, clean the house, go to some family function.... I can't summon much enthusiasm to do anything fun, either. I took my girls to the lake on Friday, and I sat in a chair and read for 4+ hours. I never even put my feet in the water. We haven't gone to the zoo or the water park or anything fun this summer. When I'm home, I just feel like staying home.

Am I depressed? I don't really *feel* depressed. Perhaps I just need to start forcing myself to do more. I'm almost afraid to say this, but I also wonder if I'd be ten times happier if I could quit my job. I don't hate my job, but I don't enjoy working. That doesn't make sense, but it's true. I like doing storytime and helping kids. I like working at the desk, helping people find things. However, I just dread going in to work every day and rejoice when I have a doctor's appointment or something that takes me away for an hour or two. By 3:30pm, I'm so bored and restless that I want to run screaming from the building. Part of it is a few coworkers who drive me CRAZY due to a lack of work ethic and assorted personality quirks that really aren't their fault. It is mostly the work ethic, though. I've actually gone so far as to confess my misery to my boss, who has said he will change things, but change never happens. It's hard to summon enthusiasm when sitting next to someone who spends several hours surfing the Internet, looking at religious websites. I feel pretty trapped, though. I have been with the library for 18 years, and am looking at quite a nice pension if I stay a dozen more. Tim paid off our combined student loans only 5 or 6 years ago, and I can't face the idea of going back to school AND working. Not that I have any idea what else I would do. Ay yi yi. My only hope is that the youth librarian who works at the library a few miles from my house retires soon. I would definitely apply for her job. She is about 60, so there is hope. There would be a LOT of competition for her job, but if I don't try, I have no chance, right?

Enough whining. Otherwise, life is good...mostly. I'm doing well with my plan to eat healthfully enough to ditch my cholesterol medication, though I still struggle when I make a fabulous dessert for a family function. I sometimes can eat only a few bites, savor it, and feel fine. Other times, I've eaten way too much and then felt awful (physcially and mentally). I weighed 155.4 this morning, which is the lowest number I've seen for a while. I went for a long time last year without weighing myself at all, but I think I'm about where I was last summer before we went on vacation and I OD'd on ice cream and came home with tight clothes. I've been eating about 1200 calories net (subtracting a modest amount from my total calories for exercise), and haven't been at all hungry. Yes, I am counting calories. I feel like a big traitor to the intuitive eating movement in some ways, but so far it hasn't proven to send me over the edge into bingeing/starving territory. There have been a few weeks when I realized that I was suddenly overexercising to be able to eat more, but the awareness nipped it in the bud.

I'm having physical therapy for an issue with my hip that started a couple of months ago. Today was the first day I felt like it didn't hurt as much, so maybe I've turned the corner (fingers crossed). We leave for vacation in 10 days or so (going to Alaska and Washington), and I imagine the lack of exercise while gone may help my joint heal.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Peace

I've been feeling very peaceful lately, in spite of my hectic life. I've been remembering to practice the things I learned from Barb (in therapy), and trying to take time for myself. School is almost over, which will be a big relief. Ballet, Hip Hop, track...being gone four nights a week is a bit much. The big hurrah is Friday, when my girls are having their annual end of the year sleepover. We chose a luau theme this year, and have lots of fun decorations. I have to work on Saturday, but asked to take vacation time after 1:15pm. Just taking care of myself.

I've been following Dr. Joel Fuhrman's Eat for Life plan pretty faithfully. I've been writing about it in my other blog, but wanted to mention it here too. My "toxic hunger" has definitely diminished. Today I had some homemade vegetable soup and a nice vegetable salad with beans for lunch, and I wasn't famished by 4pm. I was kind of hungry, but not that desperate hunger you feel sometimes -- you know -- the kind that makes you want to dig the pizza out of the breakroom trash can? I tallied up my calories for the day and found that I was just under 1200. Huh. I walked the dog this morning and did 45 minutes on the elliptical, so it's not like my activity level was low. I never in a zillion, billion year thought I wouldn't be positively starving all day if I stuck to 1200 calories. Maybe there is something to this good nourishment thing.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Throwing a Tantrum

I am very dismayed at the way I've been eating for the past two weeks. I have been overeating just about every evening, either at dinner or after - to the point of being uncomfortable! I haven't eaten in this irresponsible way regularly for ages. I think I've been doing some "last supper" type eating because I'm considering changing my diet to fit Dr. Joel Fuhrman's ideas. I read his books Eat to Live and Eat for Health, and reading all of the testimonials gave me hope that maybe I could lower my cholesterol if I started eating by his guidelines. I was trying to ease into it by incorporating even more fruits and vegetables into my days, as well as eating less meat, dairy, and bread. However, I managed to sabotage my good efforts every evening with copious cookies, bowls of ice cream, and cereal & milk -- which I ate in spite of not being the slightest bit hungry. When I was truly hungry (because I took a long bike ride after dinner or ate a small dinner or something), I ate a snack and then kept on eating.

I really started feeling sorry for myself, thinking that I am just a binger, will always be a binger, will always be fat, will always have achy knees and be crabby...wahhhhhhhh me. Today, however, after dealing with a  because I overate at a graduation open house, fully aware that I was doing it, I got angry with myself. I KNOW BETTER! I KNOW that I am NOT driven to overeat by some mysterious force that I can't control. I KNOW that I am MAKING THE CHOICE to eat. I can and have chosen to resist the urge many, many, many times since I started therapy a few years ago. I went on for  months resisting the urge. Now, I have let my guard down  a few several times and I'm slipping, slipping, sliding back down into hell. I've been like a toddler throwing a tantrum because I won't be able to have ice cream every day if I try Dr. F's plan. Boo. Hoo.


It's time to put my big girl panties (soon to be bigger if I don't cut it out!) on, start pulling myself back up into the sunshine, and eat in a much more healthy way. When I feel the urge to overeat, I need to do something else instead or just live with the urge. Good grief. I am an adult and surely I can tell myself "no" to a freaking cookie.
So, these are my goals for the next week:
1) eat only until 80% full at EVERY meal
2) eat at least 3 servings of fruit and 6 of vegetables every day
3) take responsibility for my health and stop acting like a child. Tantrums are unhealthy.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Food is Important to Me...Too Important?

food for thought

I read the above article and a little light bulb went off over my head. It gave me a different perspective on things. Yes, I freely admit that I have a major emotional connection to food and eating. I can remember being three years old and waiting until the housekeeper/nanny went upstairs to help my mother (who was dying of cancer), so that I could sneak lumps of brown sugar out of the container. Growing up, I always tried to choose the biggest cookie, and kept an eye on the food to see if there might be enough for seconds. At monthly neighborhood potlucks, I ate so many desserts that I felt stuffed. To me, holiday gatherings meant yummy food - seeing family was an afterthought. As an adult, I have collected hundreds of recipes, avidly read two dozen food blogs, peruse every new cookbook that comes into the library, and eagerly try a new dish every time I visit a restaurant. It never really occurred to me before that this particular attachment might be holding me back from losing the 20 lbs that I've wanted to ditch for the past 30 years. I always thought that my problem was that I used food to handle my emotions and problems, but have continued to struggle even after therapy and sometimes just overeating because the food is yummy and I don't want to stop. There are times that I just eat - I'm not bored, not angry, not lonely, just me. I still eat, and don't know why. I never considered the idea that I might simply be emotionally attached to food.

I don't really cook unhealthy foods very often (except that I do have a "thing" for rich desserts, I confess), but I don't often make the same things over and over. I subject my poor family to new recipes just about every week. I say "poor" because they would much rather eat BLTs and steak than Vegetarian Lentil Chili or Bulgar and Bean Stew.

If I am perfectly honest with myself, I know that perhaps I should stop reading all of the blogs (even though the bloggers are healthy eaters), toss most of my recipes (especially the rich desserts), and make a rotating menu to stick to. I am not really ready for that though -- maybe that means I am not really ready to lose the weight I claim I want to lose. There's a fine line between eating a varied diet and being obsessed with food...I think I cross the line more often than not, which is not something I like to admit.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Don't Scratch the Itch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So......here I am, still fighting. Argh. I just want to be done, be at peace, be normal. I know, I know.......Barb told me it could take 2-3 years after therapy to be healed, but every time I think, "Okay, this is it! I've been feeling great for weeks!", I backslide right into the giant pit of despair. Well, maybe not all the way back in, but at least several feet, or even yards, down toward the bottom of the pit.

I was cruising along, not overeating, exercising just about every day but not forcing myself, and making very healthy choices. I was eating lots of beans, veggies, fruit, whole grains....not so much meat, cheese, or dessert. I did completely pig out on desserts on Sundays during Lent, but didn't feel deprived (most of the time) because I didn't eat them during the week. THEN....my coworker mentioned that she had started a new diet the day before. DANGER! DANGER! This is the coworker who discussed food and exercise in minute detail with me when I was completely disordered in thought and deed, five and six years ago. She was doing South Beach, and I was doing "go around hungry all the time, limit myself to 1500 calories, and exercise two+ hours a day while obsessing about food", and we shared tips and happily talked about how bad we'd been for eating one Hershey's kiss the day before.

When this coworker mentioned her new diet, I said nothing and escaped ASAP. Of course, I should have known it wouldn't be that easy. The next day I was in the lunchroom with her, and she told me all about her new diet, which doesn't allow her to eat much sugar, etc. etc. I didn't feel particularly riled up at the time, but over the next few days, my thoughts began to turn more and more to restricting, to thinking I really HAVE to lose some weight, to imagining that my life would be so much better if I only lost 5 pounds. Naturally, that led to some calorie counting, some "should" and "shouldn't" thinking, and some bingeing. I think I probably gained 5 pounds instead of losing anything. Ay yi yi. I think that now, after about 3 weeks of this behavior -- that I KNOW is unproductive, unhealthy, and doesn't ever lead to anything resembling happiness -- I am finally getting back on track. I'm still struggling in the evenings, wanting to eat a bunch of crap like ice cream, cookies, or bread after dinner, even though I'm not the slightest bit hungry. When the weather is nice, I've been going outside to garden or have a quick bike ride to break my thought pattern, which has worked some of the time.

I was listening to a CD by someone -- a Buddhist nun maybe? -- and she talks about bad habits (like bingeing/overeating in my case) being like an itch. Say you have a rash that itches. If you scratch the itch, you are relieving the symptom of the rash, BUT you are making the actual problem worse, since the rash then spreads. The trick is to suffer through the itch, knowing that the rash will eventually clear up. Today, I was bored at work and just wanted to go eat some of the treats in our backroom. I kept telling myself, "Don't scratch the itch. Don't scratch the itch". I want the &($#&*# rash to go away!!!