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Gluten Free? MOI? Sí. For the moment. February 8, 2013



fruit

I have never been one to want to restrict myself, food wise. I have loved considering myself an Omnivore (and still do). Yet recently, the arrival of my new awesome neighbor and her Gluten Free ways have caused me to reconsider. Reading her post on her GF life made me feel just a tad bit… curious.

She said that eating gluten-free made her feel better. And right AWAY. I thought, damn, I’d like to feel better right away. I’ve been having some aches and pains recently and I don’t know if it’s arthritis or what the heck, but I’d like to feel better. How soon right away I asked? Like a day? A week? She laughed.

So I thought, I’ll give it a try. See what happens.

I stopped with the gluten.

And guess what happened? On one hand, a bunch of nothing. And on the other hand, a LOT.

I have to say, I don’t feel appreciably different. There might be a 10% reduction (or am I imagining?) in my joint discomfort. I very much could be imagining this. So I don’t think I have any appreciable gluten sensitivity or allergy. I don’t think it harms my body. I mean, it doesn’t feel noticeably better or more awesome after 16 days. SIXTEEN DAYS straight!

But the very act of saying, This X thing is not for me, has had an unexpected effect on my mind and my behavior. And that’s always interesting.

A couple of weeks ago, Juniorette developed some very scary health issues which resulted in my taking an o-dark-hundred flight up to her college, and then spending countless hours in the hospital emergency room with her. I was as stressed and upset as I’d been at any time since the day she was born.

I’d say that if this had taken place before my GF pledge experiment, I would have probably eaten everything in sight at that hospital.  I would have ravaged the vending machines and prowled the fast food or basically anything I could get my hands on. All in order to tame the wild, hysterical terror that there was something seriously amiss with my child’s health.

But for some reason, this Decision I’d made to be gluten free was stronger than I had ever anticipated. I had promised myself. I had really not even told many people. But I didn’t want to break it for the sake of emotional eating.

After our sixth hour in the emergency room, they brought a tray in that was meant for her. She didn’t feel much like eating. You can have it, Mommy. There was an industrial hamburger on a puffy white bun. A week prior, I would have inhaled that thing faster than you could say JackSh*t. But that.. bun. I texted my friend. She answered: Just the burger no bun?

Well, duh.

I cut it in half. I gave half to Juniorette and I ate the other half. Without the bun. I think that little morsel of protein helped me not keel over wailing on that hospital floor. Through that and the many hours that followed.

When the crisis was over (and whewww her situation was not as serious as I’d feared, and her prognosis was good), I did not fall upon the neighborhood bakeries like a wild animal.

This was the first time in a very long time (ever?) that I did not face a very, very, very upsetting situation without the comfort of food.

I have learned a lot during this little Experiment. I learned:

  • I survived the Thing anyway, without the emotional eating. Maybe even stronger and better.
  • I don’t really need or miss Gluten. However, doing without it did not do miraculous and awesome things for how my body feels. (well, except for point #4 below)
  • Therefore, after my first month of GF is over, I will re-introduce it into my life for Very Special Occasions, like once a month. Pizza. The occasional beloved mac and cheese. That sort of thing.
  • Decreasing the gluten also helped me drop certain poundage I’ve been carrying around since – oh, how long? Since August of 2011. I’ve been unsuccessfully trying to coax this poundage off my body and the GF seems to have done the trick. So YAY.
  • I think it’s going to have a positive effect on my diabetes, just because of the sheer decrease in carbs consumed. And that can only be a good thing.

My Sixteen Days without Gluten have been very interesting. To say the least. It has been pretty effortless. I intend to continue. But I realize that gluten doesn’t really make me sick so I’m not gonna be all dogmatic about it. I don’t want to be rigid. I can pretty much avoid it most of the time. I have become a good friend of the brown rice and the sweet potato. Which I was anyway, but a little more so now.

dinner

 

Do You Splurge? August 18, 2010

photo by Jamieanne at Flickr

Yesterday, a really interesting conversation popped up on my food blog. I used the word “splurge” twice – one to jokingly say I’d eaten a whole bolani instead of my usual half. And then again when I had a Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich after lunch.

In reality, I don’t consider EITHER of these things “splurges” and if I’d been talking out loud I would have used air quotes. But it prompted Mish to ask:

What do you think of the idea of ‘splurge’? I find that it can be a good thing to do, but also dangerous for me..because for me I find it’s wrapped with guilt.

Just wondering what you think of that.

To which I replied:

What do I think of “splurge?” Hmm. That is such a good question. I think I don’t use that anymore. For example, I had ice cream and cake on my birthday. But I didn’t think of it as “splurging.” I just thought if it as “ice cream and cake, which I am enjoying” rather than “something I don’t normally do.” It has the same emotional weight as “juicy plum.” It’s just one thing I’ve photographed in my day.

Does that make sense? I’ve never really thought of it in that way. I definitely USED to think of “splurge days” (Ha, usually the night after my WW weigh-ins!) but I just realized that I do not think in those terms anymore. Although a lot of what I eat would probably be considering splurging to other people (I’m writing this word so many times now it looks crazy, what a funny word). Fried food. Sweets. Cheese. To me, it’s all food.

I like that. :-)

Then Mary chimed in and said:

Interesting. I don’t use the word splurge at all. In fact, it’s one of the words I hate. I really honestly don’t think of food in that kind of way. I read a food blog once where a girl ate a hamburger with some sides (beans? don’t remember) and she talked all about how it was a splurge but she enjoyed it so it was okay. I was thinking about how for me that was a normal meal – the idea of that being a splurge just made me feel like it’s a word I don’t want to be using for myself or in general.

Sorry, that might not be totally on topic, but I hate the word. And possibly the idea. ;)

I know that many people incorporate the word, and the concept of “splurging” in their weight loss habits. I I used to.  Back in my earlier WW days, I used to splurge (ie eat with abandon) the day or two after my weigh-ins.

But I realize I really do not think so much that way anymore (even though! I know! I used it twice in one blog post -it was sort of ironic). If I’m coming up to a big event — a birthday or wedding or something like that – I’ll plan for it. I’ll never go all-out and eat everything in sight as if it doesn’t matter. And like I said, if I eat cake, I’m just eating cake. Another time I’ll eat cherries. No one is more splurgey than the other.

I’ve really tried to stop thinking of foods as good or bad, as splurgey or everyday. Each day is different. Today I had “real” cheddar cheese on my English muffin instead of my more usual Laughing Cow Lite cheese. Did I splurge? (because I’d just done a 2 hour workout? :-)) Hmmm, I think of it as doing a little math in my head and deciding that I’d go for the real cheddar. Just because.  Because I wanted to.

I think this is a real shift (and a good one) from the way I used to think before. What do you think? Do you still think in terms of splurges? What about “treats?” (another very provocative word)

 

Choices Choices Choices February 12, 2010

The thing about this healthy living, is it’s all about choices. Every minute really.  It takes a bunch of thinking, and planning, and figuring out, what is the best choice in this moment?

Every time I lead a WW meeting I ask members if they have any challenges coming up this week. It’s funny, there’s ALWAYS a challenge of some sort, isn’t there? (heh)

My challenge this week is that Mr. McBody and I are going to celebrate his birthday dinner with family at a fancy French restaurant tomorrow. I looked it up. It looks… amazing.

It’s always good to look things up first, to get prepared to make those choices. What do I want? What am I willing to pass up, and what am I not? Well, there are always a bunch of things that one can do when facing a celebratory meal at a fancy place.

  1. Get lots of activity before and after. Check. I had a killer “last chance workout” with trainer today. And I’ve worked out every day this week. I plan to work out on Sunday for SURE but maybe tomorrow as well.
  2. Check out the menu! Make choices beforehand.  I am pretty sure I want mussels. I loooooooove mussels. Happily, they are kind of a lean protein and there’s not much of it anyway. I guess the issue is the broth they’re in. And the bread. And the fries. Hmmm…. do I want bread? or fries? I think I want bread, with which to sop up the yummy mussel juice.
  3. I think I am actually OK without wine or cocktails. I will go with sparkling water/ice/lime combo.
  4. I do want at least a couple bites of dessert, so I’ll share with someone.
  5. Light breakfast/lunch beforehand.
  6. Dip into those 35 “extra” points if necessary.

See? That wasn’t so bad. I think I can emerge from this dinner unscathed. Or at least only partially scathed. And maybe I can have a COUPLE fries… I’ll report back after.

The OTHER issue which I did not mention is that we are meeting other friends for BRUNCH on SUNDAY. Agh…… if there’s anything worse than a fancy restaurant meal, it’s TWO fancy restaurant meals in a row. I’m gonna have to be super duper mindful of that one, and be SURE to work out on Sunday. The good thing about brunch, too, is that it is two meals in one. :-)

So yeah, it’s a never ending choice-fest out there. I think one good thing about having these “major” events is that it causes me to be extra-extra mindful. I probably get in more trouble on ordinary days when I assume I am making good choices when I’m probably not.

 

Ignorance is Not Necessarily Bliss February 5, 2010

First of all, I want to thank EVERYone for the wonderful words of support in my time of distress earlier this week. I can’t tell you how supported I felt, and how very moved. Thank you. Newsflash from the offspring is that the fever has broken, and doctor has cleared her to return to classes. Which is a great relief. Yay!

I went to my awesome trainer this morning and was flooded with beautiful lifesaving endorphins. It felt so so good. I’m back, people!!!

I wanted to write a bit about food logs, tracking etc. I heard someone say this week that they do not keep food diaries because it would make them too “obsessive.” I hear that. I think that some people could get carried away. I am not one of those kind of people. I am the kind of person who is more likely to say, “Oh, it’s fine! It’s not that much! It’s healthy!” and think I am doing JUST FINE and then be all baffled because I am not losing weight. Or gaining, in fact. My natural state is to be the Queen of Denial.

A few eye opening things this week. One, I was teaching late. There happens to be a California Pizza Kitchen right next to the building where I teach. I got out of class around 9:45 and was hungry. I just wanted something “small.” I was wavering between a salad and a cup of soup. Well, guess what? This incredible CPK has their nutritional info in a little bound book, right next to their wine list! Which is kinda of shocking because really, if people KNEW, would they eat anything at all?!? Well, I took a browse though that and my eyes just about popped out of my head.

MOST of the salads were well over 1,000 calories. Each. Now I know, or I’ve heard, that these restaurant salads are often 10x worse than many entrees, but still: I was like, WHOA. Are you serious?? Grilled Vegetable Salad with Grilled Chicken Breast: 1044 calories. (doesn’t that sound HEALTHY?!?) BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad: 1257 calories. Cobb Salad: 1070 calories. Caesar Salad with chicken breast: 787. “Thai Crunch Salad” : 1155. (beware the crunch!)  Miso Salad: 1146.

I got a cup of “creamless” asparagus soup: 106 calories. Very very good!! And it was excellent. And very filling. I threw on a bunch of buttered croutons (what the hey!) for another couple hundred cals, probably. Living it up! It was the perfect late-night dinnersnack.

And to think I’d been believing that a salad or a soup would be sorta equivalent. Um. Not. I think that soup is almost always the better option. The largest-serving (bowl) of the highest calorie soup (Chicken Tortilla soup) is only 541 calories, which is miles less than any salad on the menu. And the pizza.

The thing is, most of the pizzas are between 1200-1500 calories. But I often don’t eat a whole pizza at CPK. I might eat a slice or two, which would be 300-400 cals. Which is not bad. In the past, though, I might choose the Caesar Chicken SANDWICH because in some universe, a “sandwich” is better than “pizza.” But that SANDWICH is 1051 calories! And you can bet I’d eat the whole thing.

Just sayin’. It is a good thing to be aware of what one is eating. Not to be obsessive, but to be aware.

In my WW meetings we have a little tradition called the Group Tracker. It is a 3-month food journal that is being passed around the meeting. Members volunteer to take it for a week, track their food and then report back and pass it to someone else. We’ve been doing it for a month now at two different meetings. Which is 8 people. And guess what? Every single person has lost between 2.5-3.5 lbs WITHOUT FAIL the week they have the tracker. Is that amazing? We call it the Magic Tracker. But that is what being Aware, and accountable, can do.

I’ll be honest. I do not write down every single morsel, every single day. But I do try my best to be honest (with myself) and aware of what I am putting in my mouth. And when I bother to really check it out, and get a reality check, I am often very, very surprised.

 

We’re All On Our Own Journeys December 10, 2009

I’m discovering that one of the pitfalls of being a WW leader is being too heavily (no pun intended) invested in our members’ progress. I now have four regular meetings a week.  At one of them, I am “only” a receptionist which I am realizing has become my “relaxing” meeting. I enjoy the members, I like them, but I don’t feel like they are MY RESPONSIBILITY. In the other meetings, I feel uber responsible. I fret if people don’t come. I fret if they don’t lose weight or if they are frustrated. This is all part of my own learning journey, I realize. It’s definitely a pitfall of being a borderline (?) codependent, caregiving, invested kind of person.

All I can say is, it’s a good thing my WW leaders over the past 15 years did not take ME personally, because if they had, they would’ve gone out back and shot themselves. I missed a lot of meetings. I had plateaus that went on for months. Then I quit. Then I rejoined. With a bad attitude. I came to the meetings but sat there with a sucking-lemon face. I did not really listen to what the leaders said. I played games on my cell phone. I rolled my eyes.

Holy toledo. Is this… karma coming back to bite me in the butt? Ha ha ha ha. Maybe it is.

So, in all my meetings, I’d say some members are doing spectacularly well. Others are doing so-so and some are really struggling. Which I guess is probably par for the course. But since *I* am so newly enamored of this program, and feel it works so well for me, I sometimes don’t know what to do when everyone is not on the same page. Or even reading the same book. Or even in the same universe.

I DO feel that I can empathize with their frustration, their disappointment and disgust (with themselves as well as with the program). I can honestly say, I’ve been there. But what would have made a difference to me, during all that time when I was in that place? Anything??

Truly, I had so much of my OWN crap that I was grappling with at the time, I don’t know if any leader could have made a difference. I will say that none of them tried. Nobody reached out to me when I was falling away, when I was missing tons of meetings. When I disappeared (for years). Nobody asked me, what’s going on? Again, I have no idea if it would have made a difference.

I think a lot of it had to do with motivation. I often joined but was not motivated. I didn’t really care. I felt like I was there because someone ELSE thought I should be there. (as untrue as that may have been, it was the way I perceived it) And when someone is in that place, it is really hard to reach them.

But I do notice when people don’t come. I notice when they don’t see what they want on the scale, and then they vanish. How familiar is that? Very familiar.

It’s a humbling experience for me, being on this side of things. I’m learning so much, about myself, about other people, and again and again how we are all connected. Or not. I have to remind myself to breathe, and to just offer what I have to offer. And if people are in a place where they really want to make these changes, they will. And if they’re not, well, maybe they’ll come around again in 5 or 10 years.

 

Don’t Fear the Weigh-er November 16, 2009

I just got back from a 4-day retreat that featured some extremely delicious and “clean” food. I pretty much tried to keep it intuitive and mindful and all that but I DID indulge in some beautiful apple crisp (with whipped cream) one night, and some lovely sherry pound cake (with whipped cream) another night. Those people really do know how to make the most divine whipped cream. So I was a little worried. BUT I did get activity in every day – a couple long walks, and then my little trip home to test my blood and do that awesome 14 minute workout, and it was pretty good.

So I was relieved and happy to see that I weighed less when I came home, than I did last week before leaving. That was a real affirmation. Yay. And it reinforced my dearly held belief that I can eat yummy things like dessert with whipped cream and still lose weight.

At the end of this week I have a big staff meeting at WW, a “Tune-Up” to let us know about program changes for 2010. On the national staff message boards, it seem that some of these meetings across the country have included surprise weigh-ins. OH BOY. This threw me into a bit of a tizzy for a little bit.  But then I realized, you know, I should be ready to be weighed in ANY DAY of ANY WEEK, and not worry about it. Yeah right? I thought of calling my supervisor and asking if this was going to happen, but then I realized… what? That if he says “no,” it gives me license to eat like a horse and not work out? And if he says “yes” I’m going to start scrimping on the food? NO NO NO.

I decided to not ask. I decided to just calm down and stay mindful. I decided that my goal is to stay at my same weight that I was this morning. If I do that, I am fine.

But anyone who has faced that scale knows the funny little game playing that can go on. To have a big “cheat day” the day after a weigh-in. To eat hardly anything the few days leading up.  The same thing can happen to staffers, you know. We have our weigh-ins near the first of the month. So the prospect of being weighed on the 20th, was like, UH OH! But that is dangerous thinking. I have to keep telling myself, this is for real, for good, for every day.  Sure, Things Happen, but I’m not going to PLAN to go off program and gain weight just because I think I’m not going to be weighed for a while.

In other news, I took up the challenge to do Jillian’s 30-Day Shred again. I hadn’t done it in a while but I remembered that I liked it. Well, it kicked my little booty! I did the Level 2, and used my brand new 8 lb weights. OH MAN. I was a sweaty mess after 20 minutes. I have to say, that Shred is the most efficient workout thing EVER. And I will do it again tomorrow! I might not do it every single day, ie I will not do it when I see my own trainer because IMHO that is total overkill. But I will do it every other day.

I start my two new At-Work meetings this week! One of them is (almost) all women and the other one is (almost) all men! Won’t that be interesting!! I am enlisting the help of the ever-awesome Jack Sh*t to help me keep the men entertained. (did you see his great post on why losing weight is like sex? LOL) I’m really looking forward to it. Today I got a big box of leaderish office supplies via UPS, including about ten million large paper clips. What will I do with those? They will probably last me until my retirement at the age of 103.

 

Losing or Learning? October 27, 2009

muffinOne of the phrases (and there were many!) that really stuck in my brain from WW training was, “You either have a losing week, or a learning week.” I LOVED this, because it takes away the notion of failure. If we don’t lose weight, what can we learn from that, from our behavior, that we can change if we want to have a losing (or maintaining) week the next time? I must repeat that refrain in my head a dozen times a day.

I am having a big-time learning week. First, I learned that it really IS hard to lose or maintain when I eat out in a restaurant like 5 meals in a row, even if I am trying to make healthy choices. Part of it is the food is just TOO GOOD, and I lose sight of necessary portion control.  Also, we really do not know for sure what is IN the food we eat at restaurants. Then, especially for me, there’s the social aspect, which is sooo distracting. All that adds up to, even with the best intentions, an inevitable weight gain. SO I am making a resolution to really cut down/minimize my restaurant eating as much as possible, from now until December.

As if that weren’t enough, I came home to even more of a delusional bubble. Some part of my brain seems to believe that as a WW staff person I have donned some invisible cloak of immunity, ie, I can do anything and not gain weight. NOT! OMG!  But there’s a little devil on my shoulder this week, poking me and saying, “This won’t count!” and other lies.

Here was my lesson for this morning.  I am particularly vulnerable in the fall, because of colder weather, upcoming holidays, and special things like PUMPKIN TREATS. I am such a sucker for pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bars, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin EVERYthing. I especially love pumpkin muffins. But I have resisted them… until today. I just freaking wanted one. So I got one. And I ate it.

And this is what I learned:

  1. It tasted really good.
  2. But not THAT GOOD.
  3. I felt a little bit sick after I ate it, because I am not used to eating sweet carbs for breakfast anymore.
  4. It did not sustain me. I was hungry pretty quickly, like 90 minutes after I ate it.
  5. I really don’t know how many points it was, but it was anywhere between 6 (best case scenario, which I doubt) and 11. (ACKKKKKK!) Which is like half of my points for the ENTIRE DAY.
  6. It probably was very very bad for my blood sugar but I did not test it right away so I don’t know. :-(
  7. Bottom line? Yeah, it tasted good, but ultimately….. NWI. (NOT WORTH IT)

So yeah, I learned! I could’ve just craved and desired that pumpkin muffin all day- all week or month- but I am actually glad I ate it because now I know. I know it was fine, but y’know? I don’t need to do that again. Instead I am going to search out some low-point pumpkiny treats, and make those instead for the next time the pumpkin urge hits me.

I’m learning! I’m learning!

(pumpkin muffin photo – and recipe -courtesy of my friends over at Muffin Top!)

 

 
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