Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I am Pavlov's Dog

Tuesday weigh-in: 168.6
Not too bad, considering the three birthday parties I went to this week. Though I confess, I thought I was doing really well not overeating at all. On C's birthday she requested pizza. Knowing I'd want cake & ice cream I ate one piece of pizza, 3/4 of a pear, and about 3/4 cup of butternut squash. I didn't feel the slightest bit guilty or stuffed after eating it either.

As to the title of my post? I have realized over the past couple of weeks as I journal my food and any "lessons learned" that day that I have become so completely entrenched in a diet mentality, it is practically impossible for me to either overeat or eat anything unhealthy without feeling guilt. Whenever I finish a meal (even a salad) and feel quite full, or eat a small dish of ice cream, or eat one Hershey's kiss that I hadn't really planned to have, I have such strong feelings of wanting to eat more and start over tomorrow (the so-called "last supper" syndrome known to many a dieter), it's unbelievable. Thoughts of "what else can I eat" or "what the heck -- I might as well eat ______ now" just pop into my head, totally unbidden. I noted such feelings in my journal this past week almost every single day.

This may be the first time that I was able to overcome them so often. I told myself over and over again that I am the only person who can put food -- or not put food -- into my mouth. I can eat any food I want whenever I am hungry. When I am not hungry, there is absolutely no reason to eat. Not that I haven't told myself that before (see multitude of previous postings), but this week I actually listened to myself. Perhaps eventually I will be able to short-circuit Pavlov's training.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Can One be Fit and Fat?

Tuesday weigh-in -- 168.8. Perhaps I should change it to a Thursday weigh-in since I never seem to get around to writing until Thursday!

There seems to be a lot of arguing about whether someone can be fit and fat at the same time. Personally, I don't think one can -- at least I can't. Two years ago at my lowest weight I was super energy woman. I rarely got out of breath climbing anything, couldn't sit still, and rarely felt tired. True that I am now not quite as aerobically fit as I was then. I now do the elliptical machine for about 45 minutes 2-3 times a week (at level 5 or higher, ramp 8 or higher), ride the stationary bike at a good clip (level 3 or 4) for 30-45 minutes 2-3 times a week, and sometimes ride my "real" bike. Back then I did 35-60 minutes of step aerobics 5-6 times a week, walked 10,000 steps or more every day (though not at a fast clip or anything), and rode my bike once a week.

Anyway, I now weigh 25 or so pounds more than I did then and there is a big difference in my fitness. I huff and puff if I walk up more than two flights of stairs, I'm tired by the end of the day, and sometimes getting out of my chair seems like more effort than it's worth. This last could be due to the pain in my knee more than my level of fitness, but I digress. The huffing and puffing is really what bothers me. I feel like a giant lumbering up the stairs when I used to feel like a sprite who practically ran up the stairs. I spite of the fact that I exercise at least twice as much as most people I know, I feel very out of shape and hardly fit.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Lesson learned?

Tuesday weigh-in: 168.8
I'd be upset except that it is TOM, so perhaps that's why the gain -- hoping, anyway. My eating has been on a pretty even keel for the past week -- I think I only overate one day and it wasn't horrible.

Sometimes I wonder how many times I have to learn a lesson before it sticks. I KNOW that I shouldn't try to "eat around" what I really want, yet I keep doing it.

Last night I finished a very small dinner (bit of chicken breast, one roll, and veggies) and was fine -- not hungry, not particularly full. I had bought ice cream earlier in the day and was thinking perhaps I'd have a small dish of it after putting together the dessert for tomorrow's potluck. Then I kept trying to talk myself out of it because I wasn't physically hungry.

I ended up eating some yogurt, a small brownie, and three "pretzel with Hershey kiss and m&m" thingies before I finally caved and had ice cream. I didn't eat much but felt uncomfortably full after I finished. The only upside is that I didn't give in to further eating and have a big ole binge.

Sigh...lesson learned...again.

I learned that my gym had been bought out and I could pay $99 and have the rest of my contract with Powerhouse plus 6 months. Okay...sounds awfully too good to be true, but I signed away merrily. Apparently they will re-open in a few weeks, but in the meantime I can use a gym about 10 minutes away. I went this morning and had time only for 50 minutes on the elliptical (manual level 5, ramp level 11). My knee hurt -- still does. Blech. Maybe the bike is better than the elliptical for it -- though it used to be the opposite.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


Well, soccer should be fun after the snow and freezing weather we've had this week. Ugh. T and I went out last night for the first date we've had in a while. We went to a newish restaurant that serves English food. It's rather a mix of Indian and British food, actually. Nice atmosphere and tons and tons of microbrews. T got a burger with Stilton cheese and fries and I got an Indian vegetable stew in a bread bowl. I also ordered fries but cancelled my order, realizing I'd really be too full. The stew was quite a small portion and I ate probably half the bread bowl. I was pleasantly full, but wanted cheesecake. I ordered it to go -- a first for me. I ate a few bites, but saved the rest for later. We went downtown to the symphony -- Bugs Bunny on Broadway. It was pretty good, but we were both yawning terribly. Friday night is NOT a good night for us to be up later than 10pm. I was rather hungry when we got home and polished off my cheesecake. I enjoyed it so much more than if I'd stuffed it in at dinnertime. Must remember -- can order dessert to go!! Though in all truth, I spent a bit too much time dreaming about my waiting cheesecake at the concert. If I'd eaten it, would I have spent that same time obessessing about how I shouldn't have eaten it?

My SIL called to say that the gym is reopening with new owners. I'm glad I hadn't paid a big chunk of money upfront. Apparently I can pay $150 and they'll honor the rest of my contract. Hmmm...I'll have to go check it out because I'm getting sick of my stationary bike.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Tuesday weigh-in

Okay, I know it's not Tuesday, but I haven't been here. Weigh in was 168.4. So far my plan is going well. I couldn't really leave the table Tuesday night because dad was there eating with us, but I limited myself to half a chocolate bar and a decaf coffee. Last night I worked, so no probs there. I was hungry when I got home, but had planned and eaten smallish amounts during the day so had a small bowl of cereal & milk and a banana with a smear of peanut butter. It was enough to take the edge off my hunger so I didn't have trouble sleeping. I had brief thoughts of "I'll lose weight faster if I don't eat" but told myself that dumb thoughts like that lead to bingeing and I know that perfectly well!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Square One

What doesn't work:
dieting/starving/putting off my hunger
counting calories in any way, shape, or form
focusing on weight loss

What does work:
who knows?

So, here I am at square one. I am determined to have a normal relationship with food and exercise. I think I will have to start small and see what works, rather than drafting a grand action plan (that one way back there in the archives that failed miserably).

So, here is where I'll start:
1) exercise 3-6 days a week (which I've been doing faithfully. It may be a bit more difficult now that the !#*$%^ gym went out of business while I was in Ireland!) I think I'm going to break down and join the YMCA. It's freaking expensive ($90 a month for a family membership) but they have daycare and the kids could come with me to use the pool.
2) log my food, but not obsessively. Just jot down at the end of the day what I can remember eating so that I might be able to see some patterns and feel some sense of control.
3) weigh myself every week, on Tuesday. I debate the wisdom of this, but if it starts freaking me out, I'll quit. I just feel as though it's easier for me to pretend I'm not growing out of my size 10/12 pants if I don't see that I weigh 170.4 (last week).
4) my one real "action" will be this -- every evening as soon as dinner is done, I will get up and leave the dining room. I will either go for a short walk, go downstairs to work on organizing or read teh paper, or go upstairs to get ready for bed. I will not sit in the dining room or at the kitchen bar until I can't resist the urge to eat, even without feeling one pang of hunger.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

back to reality

Vacation is over and boy, did it fly by! We arrived in Shannon on Wednesday morning, picked up our rental car, and headed north along the coast. I don't know if it was the flight time or the fact that I really tried hard to sleep a bit on the plane, but my jet lag wasn't nearly as awful as when we went to Europe in the spring. Anyway, our first stop was for lunch -- can't remember where. I had scrambled eggs and the most delish brown bread with strawberry jam. Our next stop was Milltown Malbay, where T's family came from. We found a bakery with the family name and stopped in to chat. T went to the Irish-looking woman to ask if the owner was around and she promptly pointed to the asian woman! LOL -- so much for stereotyping. She was married to the John Hanrahan who owned the bakery but they don't think it's any relation to T's family. We bought some stuff, which turned out to be dry and disappointing.

On down the road to the Cliffs of Moher, which were absolutely breathtaking. I was going to hang around in the gift shop because it was pouring and I was nervous about my footing, but it stopped raining and I hiked up there to meet T. I'm so glad I did -- it was a fabulous view. We drove on to Knock and stopped at the shrine there, more for T to have a chance to wake up a bit than anything else. We arrived in Sligo a bit after 7 and ran into the Morrissey clan in the parking lot of the B&B. We all drove downtown to dine at a terrific restaurant over a pub. T and I split a steak and it was tender, juicy, and delicious! I am not normally a steak fan, but this was great. We collapsed into bed and slept soundly til morning.

The B&B served a full Irish breakfast -- eggs, canadian bacon, sausage, grilled tomatoes, grilled mushrooms, brown bread, toast, coffee, muesli, yogurt....needless to say I was stuffed until mid afternoon. T headed out the the links with "the boys" and I went into northern Ireland with Ellen and family. We went to the Beleek factory to see how Beleek is made. It was very interesting, and I bought a Christmas tree ornament to bring home. We stopped somewhere for lunch at a local place recommended by a woman on the street. I had shepherd's pie, which was quite good. We got back into Sligo just in time to head to Ballymote for the rehearsal.

T and I found out what piece we were reading at the wedding and the rehearsal went swimmingly. The priest was a very funny guy. We all zipped over to the castle for the rehearsal dinner, which was a cookout. I was quite chilly and spent the evening huddled under the outdoor heater, so I'm sorry to say I didn't socialize much. I was also far from the food, but unfortunately directly next to the dessert. It was an Irish concoction of bananas, caramel, and graham cracker crumbs with real cream for the top. Whoa -- Kim and I each had two helpings.

The next morning we again ate a large brekkie and headed to the castle to check in. It was really wonderful and we kept pinching ourselves. We were fascinated with everything from the HUGE fireplace in the lobby to the 1-foot wide staircase leading to the roof (which were probably weren't supposed to actually use). Our room was at the top of a turret -- how cool is that? We drove into town for shopping. There wasn't really much shopping to be had, however, and all I bought was the most expensive hair dryer I've ever owned in my life (I had brought the one with me that DIDN'T have the right voltage for Europe). Oh well, we'll simply have to travel back to Europe often.

We skipped lunch, but when we got back to the castle, they were serving sandwiches and tea, so we chowed a bit and got ready for the wedding. A&P had rented two buses to take guests to the church, so we had it easy. The wedding was really, really nice. It was a mixture of American, English, and Irish tradition and was just lovely. A&P looked as though they were having a ball too. After the wedding we headed back to the castle, ate a bunch of cookies, posed for photos, and headed into dinner. The food was terrific, followed by some funny speeches, and then dancing. We spent quite a bit of time in the bar, away from the dancing, but when a band arrived to play traditional Irish music, we went in to watch. They had some great dancers and it was highly entertaining. T joined in a dance that was similar to the Virginia Reel. "Afters" were served at 11pm (sandwiches) and that was about when the second band arrived. We stayed for an hour or so more, but went up to bed shortly after midnight. The last person left at 4am!

The next morning we again ate a huge breakfast, checked out, and headed to Dublin. We didn't really stop anywhere along the way and arrived in late afternoon. After checking in, a bunch of family met in the bar for a snack before going to rest a bit. We decided to head out to the Abbey Tavern to hear some music and see some traditional dancing, so had dinner in the hotel bar first. We had a good time at the Abbey, though the dancers only did about five songs and we were in the back. The music was toe-tappingly fun though.

The next day we went into Dublin on the train and saw the Guiness storehouse, lunched at a pub, and went to Trinity College to see the Book of Kells. It was very impressive -- beautiful! When we got back to the hotel, P was waiting to take us to dinner in Malahide at a Thai restaurant. We got a bunch of different dishes and shared them -- all were great. We went 'round the corner to have a pint at a pub there, and then fell into bed.

On our last day, we just ate a huge breakfast (natch), and walked down to the beach. We grabbed a cab to the airport and jetted off, arriving home this morning at 2am. I should be tired enough to sleep early tonight!

We had a really lovely time, but I will confess that my experience was marred a bit by my eating. I feel sad to confess that. I'm beginning to feel a bit hopeless -- that my whole life my eating will be out of control. I started out well, eating just til full, not overeating, etc. I even threw away my entire eclair from the bakery in Milltown Malbay because it wasn't really very good. Somehow, though, as our vacation went on, my eating got worse and worse. Yesterday was the absolute nadir of horrid eating -- I felt stuffed after breakfast because I ate so much. I didn't eat again til we were on the plane (oh, well unless you include the orange chocolate chip cookie and two Bailey's Irish Creme chocolates I ate) and then I had a healthy meal of salmon, veggies, rice, a roll, cheese, and a cracker. We got off the plane and ate during our layover. I was hungry, though not terribly so, but managed to stuff down a GIGANTIC (1/2 lb?) burger and fries. The burger alone probably had 1200 calories, as it had bacon, bbq sauce, bleu cheese...need I say more? I was really, really full.