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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

 

Comfort vs Comfort Food August 17, 2010

spreading the love

This event from yesterday impacted me so much that I am double-posting part of it from the food blog. Here’s what happened:

the problem was, I didn’t get enough sleep last night. I went to bed really late and got up unrested and so that was the wrong foot. It’s a Monday after a nice celebratory weekend. I went to work and the poor guy I had to work with was just a miserable soul in a lot of pain. I felt for him, and his pain leeched into me.

So by 11:30am I was just feeling terrible. Exhausted, cold (SO cold!), sad, lonely, (this is my not-so-social work place, as opposed to my super buddy workplace) and just DOWN. I began plotting all the ways I could comfort myself at lunchtime. I would take myself to this restaurant across the street that has ginormous portions of comfort food. I told myself I’d “forget” to bring my camera. YIKES.

But I was trying to be mindful. I was trying to recognize the fact that I was actively planning to use food for non-food distress. (even though hunger was part of the mix too) I teased it out in my head. I told myself, I could go to a soup place instead, and that way I could take care of cold, hunger and comfort all at once. That was a really good first step. Then I felt willing to bring my camera.

THEN I had a REAL stroke of genius. (ha!) I remembered that it was Monday, the only day of the week when Mr. McBody and I work about 2 blocks apart from each other. I texted him. “Lunch?” He had already eaten, but he said he’d come meet me. I waited on the street corner and man, I was never so happy to see someone. I really felt like he was literally saving me from a binge.

And it was like: OMG. I wanted comfort. And I got REAL LIVE human comfort. How fantastic was that!! He gave me the biggest hug. And all of a sudden I didn’t even need the soup. I was warm! I was loved!

We went to my favorite salad bar place and he sat with me while I ate my salad and listened to my woes and then gave me another big hug. And then I felt like I could make it through the afternoon.

I actually can’t stop thinking about this and I credit the reading of Savor (which I love) – about slowing that moment down, being mindful, and saying, what do I REALLY need?

I was hungry. I needed food. But what KIND of food?
I was cold. I put on my jacket.
I was lonely and needed comfort. I called out for my dear spouse, who luckily was close by.
I was tired. I had a cup of coffee because I couldn’t really go for a nap at the moment. But it taught me that going to bed early is key.

I was so ready to go and get some plate of SOMETHING to deal with all those things when in fact it would have helped none of them, not even the hunger, because it would have most likely been something regretful that I would then feel physically and emotionally bad about.

I’m learning! I’m really learning.

 

Cinderblocks on my Feet March 8, 2010


Cinderblocks

Originally uploaded by mikemol

There’s something about sadness that just saps all energy. It’s hard to believe that a week ago I was running over six miles. This weekend it was all I could do to put one foot in front of the other. Yesterday my husband texted me and invited me for a walk in my favorite park. I told him we’d have to drive there and park in the parking lot because I didn’t think I could manage the hill from our house to the park.

We got there and had a pretty nice walk. But I was tired. I was so tired. Not out of breath, but just ….. I don’t know, weary.

A series of unrelated but strong events have hit our household in recent days/weeks. There’s a lot of emotion, sadness, worry, grief, anger, and it is swirling around everything.

On a good note, I am managing not to eat everything in sight. On a bad note, when I walk I feel like I have cinderblocks on my feet.

 

It’s A Test. A Big Test. March 2, 2010

Filed under: emotions,food,overeating — Susan @ 11:50 am
Tags: , , ,

I feel like I’m in the midst of a major test right now. Stress raining down like bowling balls, and the test is: will I turn to food? Will I be able to wriggle out of this one without gaining significant amounts of weight? I feel like I’m in the SATs, the MCATs and the LSATs all rolled into one. Please cross your fingers for me that I am Prepared enough to get through this.

Thank you.

Edited to add:

Well, if it was a pass-fail test, I think I passed. If it was a letter grade, I’d give myself a B-. Maybe a C+. I managed to get through the hardest day because I was being super-mindful in the midst of my stress. I kept telling myself, “Food won’t fix it.” I kept reminding myself how much WORSE I would feel if I ended up binging out on some food, and that it would, in fact, ADD to my stress.

The problem with such reasoning, of course, is that often in the midst of an emotional crisis, one just plain doesn’t care. (I was there a ways back, for a little bit) Who cares if I gain weight? Who cares if I feel worse later? I WANT THIS NOW. Sigh.

Anyway, I did manage to get through the worst of it pretty well. It felt good then to exercise the next day (yesterday). I thought I had gotten through it. But then what? I let my guard down. I thought it was “over.” Then, another sneaky, different stress came and attacked me. I was Unprepared. I slipped into I Don’t Care mode. I was just tired.

I was emotionally in a bad place. I had about 15 minutes to get something to eat before teaching (not WW) class. I went to Quiznos. I just got whatever I wanted, without regard to anything. Just looked it up. 1030 calorie sandwich. NICE. Then I had a couple of madeleine cookies from Starbucks.

So it wasn’t, like, a complete and total disaster. In fact, this is something I would have considered reasonably “healthy” a year ago. But it is not the choice I’d make if I was on target.

I think the mistake I made was thinking I’d somehow “made it through.” I got distracted by the fact that I’d had a good workout. But I wasn’t “out of the woods” yet. I was still feeling kinda funky, then I was sideswiped by something I wasn’t totally expecting.

The moral of this story: stay awake.

What else could I have done last night? I don’t know. I could’ve talked myself down somehow, probably. I could’ve gone to CPK and gotten that asparagus soup.

Back in the saddle.

 

The Land of “I Don’t Care!” February 3, 2010

I kind of shocked myself this week. I got into a place where I haven’t been in a very, very, very long time. It was the land of “I Don’t Care!” (… “I just want to EAT!”)

Why did it shock me so much? Because I feel so… equipped, you know?  Last week I caught a glimpse of a number on the scale, the likes of which I had not seen in Years. I felt so on top of things.

But then, late in the week, I got a call from my Offspring-in-Distress, and it unhinged me more than I can say. I flew to her side. The plan was that I was going to hang with her,  keep her company, and that we would both go to her gym together. But she was sick. She could not work out. We ate several restaurant meals. And so the days slipped by and I didn’t want to leave her, so I did not work out either, until the very last day and I took that freezing cold run. Then I had to leave to come home. By this time I was in a HIGH state of distress. She was still sick.

When I landed for my connecting flight, I received a text message that the health center had diagnosed her with mono.

By this time I was really distraught. All my nattering on to my WW meeting last week about “what to do other than eat when you are feeling emotional” went RIGHT OUT the window. I wanted pizza dammit! Now I KNEW (intellectually) that pizza was 1. Not REALLY going to make me feel better, and 2. Certainly not make my KID feel better, but… I DID. NOT CARE.

There was something in me larger than that knowledge. It was a roaring flaming pit of hell sort of furnace that was just … FEED ME. Here’s the funny thing. I tried to get a pizza. But the pizza people said it would take 7 minutes to prepare (this was the fancy shmancy California Pizza Kitchen,  not Pizza Hut!). I did not HAVE 7 minutes because my flight was boarding. So I got a cup of vegetable soup instead. Hahahahaha! I felt like somehow, the Universe was looking out for me.

When I arrived, I discovered that my suitcase did not arrive with me. That was thing one. Then the parking lot shuttle bus took over half an hour to arrive. Thing two. I was exhausted. Then when I finally GOT to my car, it was… dead. I lost it. Thankfully, the parking lot people had seen this before. I did not need to call AAA. They helped me locate the Extremely Hidden Battery (in the trunk) of my hybrid, and eventually got me on my way (another 40 minutes). By this time I was a zombie.

Next day. (yesterday) I did not hear from daughter for most of the day, in spite of my incessant motherly texting and calling. Hopefully she was sleeping. THEN, all hell broke loose. I ate things I haven’t eaten in a long time.

And it wasn’t so much what I ate. It wasn’t the fact that I gained all sorts of poundage since last week. It was the absolute Lack of Caring. Which shocked me. Last night I would say was a big huge low point.

Today, I’m back. I’m heading to see my trainer (thank god thank god thank god!).

I am concluding, with great humbleness, that the combination of Big Stress + Not Enough Exercise, is what put me over the edge into this place that I truly felt I had left behind forever. Wow, it shocked me.

Thankfully, it only lasted a few days. The damage is not huge. I finally heard from my kid and I believe that things are going to be OK, even though they are hard.

But wow. Just… wow.

 

Sneaky Eating, Foodie Style January 25, 2010

I’ve been dyyying to write this post ever since I read ManMeetsScale’s fantastic post on “Sneaky Eating.” Once again I was blown away by the terrific writing, absolute honesty and hilarious humor in this guy’s writing. And I had so so so so many things to say in response but kept feeling as if I’d need two free years and a 500-page blank book in order to do it. (might need that anyway)

Go read that one first. Then come back here. Are you back? Wasn’t that great??

I have to say, it brought tears to my eyes. The kind of tears that come when you really feel SEEN. And understood. Now I suspect that many, many people feel this same way about certain food behaviors, but they don’t go around telling people about it. The thing that astonishes me about this CEO of ours is that he DOES put his dirty laundry out there. And it is such a gift and a service to all the rest of us.

I was completely fascinated by the way he does that “sneak a little spoonful” thing. That’s not how I do it. You wanna hear how I do it? My own personal sneakiness has to do with eating in a car. I think I have had this belief that “if you eat it in a car, it’s invisible” (and of COURSE contains no calories! Natch!) And the car is like this little soundproof, sealed, safe container.

I don’t remember when I first started eating in a car but I suspect it had something to do with when I got married and no longer lived alone. I had to find a place where I’d be anonymous, hidden. My favorites were super-rich macaroni and cheese, or creamy polenta, or chocolate Schoolboy biscuits (the whole box) or shortbread cookies (the whole package). If I was stressed, I’d head straight to the Andronico’s parking lot and there I’d be.

Last week, at my Healthaversary party, someone said to me (in front of everyone else): “I know so many people who try and try and try to lose weight but never can. But you did. What do you think your secret is?” I had to think really hard about that. But I truly do think that the answer is, to come out into the open about what is previously shameful.

Which is at the essence of a really, really good WW meeting. Or blogging about one’s food and weight and eating.

I kept this in the “dark” for so so so so long and it just fueled it, like.. what? Mushrooms? (trying to think of what grows in the dark) Even therapy, a LOT of it, didn’t really touch it because it was just too… private. But talking about it amongst my blogging and Twitter and face-to-face friends has really been the Secret.

I’m taking it another step further. I’m very very very excited to be turning Foodie McBody, the Story, (HA!) into a live solo performance show! I’ve done solo performance before and there is nothing that is quite as wonderful and cathartic and moving. I’m working on a short piece that will be performed (by me!) the night of March 28th, in San Francisco. (same night as the morning of the MARATHON!) If any of you will be around, I’d be extremely psyched to have some friendly faces in the audience. More details to come as it gets closer.

What’s YOUR sneaky eating like? C’mon, tell Foodie all about it.

 

The Stress of Shame October 21, 2009

I almost lost it last night. I was scheduled to be a receptionist substitute at a “traveler” WW meeting; ie one in a remote location, not an official WW Center.  At those locations, they use all manual/paper tallies to track everything, instead of the groovy computer system that is now in place at Centers. I only did a few weeks worth of those before they did the switchover, and boy was I rusty. In fact, I ended up forgetting to do a very important step – marking down all product purchases on the product sheet. This is super important for reconciling the $$ at the end of a meeting. When the other receptionist counted up the money and checked it against the product sales, it was like $80 off. Because I forgot to mark it down. This resulted in everyone having to stay almost 45 minutes later, to fix the problem. I felt terrible. I felt like slinking under the carpet and dying. The other staff members were pretty nice to me about it, but to be honest, I sort of messed up their night. Everyone ended up going home late, after a lot of stress. Caused by me.

I don’t deal with this kind of thing well. AT ALL.  Guess what it makes me want to do?

I drove home down this main road I used to take, after teaching evening classes several years ago. Back then, I didn’t normally have huge problems, but it was still stressful to teach on some level. There would be ONE student who had some kind of issue, or some thing I’d forget to do, and all the way home I’d be beating myself up about it.  One night I stopped in at a Jack in the Box and looked for the most anesthesizing thing on the menu: Bacon Cheddar Potato Wedges!! (omg, I just looked those up: 720 calories in a serving, 432 from fat! O boy!!) Soon it became a habit to just pull in to the drive-through on the way home and inhale a box of those. When I think of that now, it makes me really sad.

So what did I do with my stress last night? I started the evening with a full hand of nice fingernails. They’re down to little nubs now: chewed and torn away. Ah well, I didn’t EAT them so it didn’t cost me any calories.

All night I had recurring dreams of being horribly inept at one thing after another: I had to give a speech, but had brought the wrong one, and then I lost the pages, then I couldn’t work the AV equipment, and then and then…. AUGH I hate messing up!!! It upset me so much I couldn’t even do my regular Biggest Loser liveblogging last night. I did get home in time to watch the final hour, but I pretty much sat here and watched it like a blob. I didn’t really care one way or the other.

This morning, I went to my trainer and had a fantastic workout. THEN, FINALLY, I felt better. Much better.

I am glad that I did not veer into the Jack in the Box and take up old bad habits. I’m glad it didn’t really even occur to me, like it wasn’t a struggle to not do that. I just made a mental note as I drove past. But I still felt terrible.

I need to find ways to not freak out so much when I make a mistake.

 

 
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