eat, move, think, feel


January 2009

Buffet: Learning From Mistakes

I made a bunch of ’em today, mistakes that is. I started out pretty well. I knew that I was going on a boat all day that included a lunch buffet. I took myself out to breakfast (I am on vacation, remember, so it’s hard to cook here) and got a really good spinach/olive/onion omelet. And only ate half. I didn’t want to let myself get too hungry because I had no idea or control what was going to be on the buffet, and I didn’t want to be in a situation where I’d be starving and just eat everything.

So the lunch buffet opened on the boat. (we were whale-watching) I had just done an hour of snorkeling which I would guess would be equivalent to about 20 minutes of stairmaster or elliptical. It was tough flippering through rough waters! I was pretty hungry.

The buffet had some yummy pulled pork, some grilled teriyaki chicken, rice, white rolls, macaroni salad, and a full bar of complimentary alcoholic drinks. I remembered that my book said that one of the key “sabotaging thoughts” or things that allow us to overeat is, “It’s free.” No, not really free, because we already paid an arm and a leg to COME on the boat.

It was easy to pass up the alcohol. I’d already made that decision, and the drinks looked not so great. That was easy. Ditto on the rice and rolls. I took a bunch of pork, and some chicken. Then (WHY WHY WHY?) I also scooped up a bit, maybe 1/4 cup max, of the macaroni salad. I am still trying to break down that moment. I have not had simple carbs since the day I started this blog.

I took my plate and ate the pork. It was delicious. Then the chicken. I thought for  a second, wouldn’t it be great if I just threw away the plate with the macaroni on it? YES, it would have been awesome! I would have felt so proud of myself! But I did not. When everything else on the plate was gone, I took a little bite of the macaroni. It was gooooood. Then I ate it all.

Then I went back and got 2nds on the pork and a little bit of chicken. Then I circled the boat and did it AGAIN. (I did not get any more macaraoni either time though) And then I felt mad and pissed off and disappointed and too full for the rest of the afternoon. I mulled it over and over.

It had something to do with this buffet mentality.

I think it also had something to do with the fact that my husband was not on the boat. If he had been, there is NO WAY I would have had thirds.  I mean just no way. I wouldn’t have even had seconds.  So I have to admit that part of what was going on was some sort of “getting away with it” thinking which just made me feel like CRAP.

Sometimes I make him out in my head to be the Food Police, and then I rebel against him. But it’s all imaginary nonsense.  I have to be my OWN Food police, or really Food Angel, doing right by myself. Because “getting away with it” did not feel like getting away with anything except feeling terrible.

Someone near and dear to me asked me, “Was it worth it?” and the answer is an unequivocal great, big NO. No, a thousand times no. And may I learn from that.

Guess what, we went to a buffet for dinner too!! Agh. But this was easier. I was ready. I was dying of thirst because I’d ingested a ton of salt water on the ocean. I had three HUGE glasses of ice water, a cup of tomato soup (good) and a salad. I tried some fish and some chicken, but I didn’t like them so I left them after one bite. Still, I was sloshing full by the time we left. I think it was all the water.

I am not going to another buffet if I can help it, for a year. Or more.

Relief, and Enduring Discomfort

I went back to the fitness center this morning and YAY the scale was the same nice, low number that it was two days ago. WITH clothes.  So yay, and a pox on that stupid mall bathroom scale!  (WHY do I do these things???)

Between our room and the fitness center there is an ice-cream shop right on the corner. I have to walk right past it a few times a day. They make those warm homemade waffle cones and the smell is overpoweringly enticing.  I don’t necessarily even want ice cream, but the smell of those cones is incredible. (one good thing to remember is that smelling doesn’t cost any calories)

I remembered something from this great book I’m reading, as I smelled the waffle cones on my way back from the gym. One thing they ask is to rate your discomfort in dealing with some weight-loss challenge. Ie, how uncomfortable do you feel on a scale of one to ten, when you have to avoid something that you want to eat. First, make your scale. One is sitting comfortably in a cushy chair, and ten is childbirth. (HA) I’d say, walking by that waffle smell is about a 2 or 3 on that scale. In other words, I can deal with it. Take about ten steps and it’s over.

Now I’m going to meet a buddy who has gestational diabetes and we can have a healthy luch and bemoan the state of our pancreases (pancreii?) together. Yay.

The Scale is a CrazyMaker

Update on the scale nonsense: I did actually find a scale here where we are on vacation, at the fitness center. It’s one of those super official medical scales, with the slide weights. I tend to trust those more than any other kind of scale. So I stepped up on it yesterday, with my clothes on (I was in the middle of this gym with about a dozen other people in it!) but with no shoes.  I kept jiggling with it and it showed what looked like a few pound weight gain. OK, well, whatever. Then I realized it was ten pounds LOWER than I thought. Which meant I’d lost six lbs since coming on vacation, and 12 lbs total since beginning this blog.

I wasn’t sure whether to laugh, cry, have my head examined, or… ?

For some reason I was not elated. I got scared. It felt like too much. Suddenly I felt weak and lightheaded. I went back to the room and reported to my husband. He was delighted for me. Then I got pissed off (internally). I felt like, MAN, no weight loss is too great, and no diet is too severe for this guy. I think he’s a closet anorexic. But I spent the rest of the evening feeling confused, and had a little bit more at dinner, including a couple of bites of fried calamari.

This morning we went to this amazing breakfast place that specializes in these pancakes smothered in this very intense macadamia nut sauce. It is truly an ecstatic experience. We ordered a short stack. My mom and my younger daughter tried them but nobody else (INCLUDING ME) had any. I had a brief moment of sadness and I had to remind myself about 20 times during that hour that I was NOT going to partake. I had a really good omelette and it was satisfying enough.

Later today we were at the mall and it has this weird scale where you put in your quarter to get your “real true weight!” and a fortune. I WAS SO STUPID TO FALL FOR THIS but I did. I stepped up, and put in a quarter. And guess what it showed?! My all-time high weight!  Or, 13 lbs MORE than the fitness-room scale from yesterday.

I immediately started tripping out. I started doubting that I’d really read what I thought I read yesterday. I was like, nooooo, I have gained weight, a LOT of weight. I started seeing reflections of myself in store windows, and I looked freaking enormous. I really started believing that I had gained weight.

And so, you ask, what difference does it make? How is it that my psyche is so ruled by this stupid number? Because… because… if I really DO weigh what that mall scale says, (my “real true weight!”) after all of this hard work and changing my eating habits, then it makes me feel hopeless. Like none of it was worth it. And this is the point where a huge percentage of dieters throw in the towel and say, FORGET THIS SHIT.

I have to bring back the hypodermic needle/amputee/blindness images, because I have to be motivated by health issues, not be the damn scale or whatever the hell else. That’s probably not the healthiest thing either.

Soon, I want to review this very good book I’ve been reading recently. Maybe tomorrow. Meanwhile, readers, come back. Stay with me. I need your company!

OH and PS on the Biggest Loser: I don’t have a lot to say because due to being in a different time zone, I ended up missing the first hour of the show. I got emotional about the orange team going home. I wish they could have split teams. That David guy is SO into his “I don’t care-ness” and there is no way he is going to succeed. He just isn’t into it. He isn’t ready. It’s too scary for him. Believe me, I have been there, a hundred times.  Many people are disgusted with him and I guess I agree but it’s also sad because it’s where this total disgust/abhorrence of fat people comes from. I resist that, even though I often feel it myself. People in that situation are beating up on themselves enough, are lost and afraid enough without having the whole world pile on as well. So. Mixed feelings on this one. YAY for all the motivated people who are kicking ass, but so many of us have been in that other place.

All The Weights Of My Life

We are on vacation now, which means I can’t be stepping on a scale every day. This is admittedly making me a little nervous. I’m of mixed feelings re the scale. Some people say you should never weigh yourself but just judge things on how you feel, your clothes fit, etc. Some people say you should not weigh yourself more than once a week because weights fluctuate so much daily, and you can go crazy from the miniscule ups and downs. And then others say you should weigh yourself daily so that you can adjust your behavior based on the feedback you get on the scale, but not more than once a day.

I’ve found that when I go long periods without weighing myself, it’s because I am afraid of the scale. I know it’s going to give me bad news so I avoid it. And if that goes on for too long, the news just gets worse and worse. So for me, I think it’s important to do that reality check.

Right now, I think (if I am the same as when I left home on Saturday), I am at what I call “normal overweight.” Meaning I’m still about 20 lbs overweight according to my BMI, but it’s also the weight that my body has defaulted to over the past 5-10 years.

I get alarmed when I’m at “high overweight.” This is when I begin creeping towards, or sometimes even surpassing, my All Time High. Which is what I weighed the day before I gave birth to my daughter.  I’ve been in touching distance of that weight, and even passed it, a few times this year and last. NOT a good feeling, especially when I look at pics of myself at nine months pregnant.

It’s pretty sick? that I can remember exactly how much I have weighed at various points in my life. I remember how distraught I was in middle school when I passed 100 lbs and many of my friends were still in the 80s and 90s.  When I was in high school and running on the track team, I was probably at my all time low for this height. I weighed more in my latter years of high school and then in college.  Then it started creeping up. When I was 27 I went on a trip to southeast Asia and lost 26 lbs after two months of trekking 8 hours a day and not eating very much.  I know exactly what I weighed the day I got married.

Getting pregnant and having kids put me in a permanently higher bracket. First, I got pregnant and we lost that baby after six months. I’m a person who eats when in grief, not the kind who loses weight when in grief. Then I got pregnant again, had that baby, and three years later did it again. I did have gestational diabetes with the 2nd pregnancy and did a LOT of exercise and food monitoring during those months. After I had the baby I was at one of my all time lows again.

So here I am at normal overweight again. All I want is to get into that normal BMI range. The highest BMI # is fine with me. It feels like a long way off.

I’m trying to just focus on avoiding the simple carbs, exercising every day and not getting overfull this week. It will be interesting to see what the scale says when I get home.

The Lure of Biggest Loser

I basically turn my nose up at many reality TV shows, but I am a total sucker for The Biggest Loser, (and also Top Chef).

This season of Biggest Loser started out in a really uplifting and heartwarming way. People on this season were “the biggest ever,” meaning some upwards of 400 lbs. But everyone seemed to be earnestly working hard and rooting for each other.  There was a hint of Bad Attitude before, but last night it really hit the fan. It was so bad. People fighting and screaming and such. It was really unpleasant.

I have been most interested in the medical aspects of this show; the guys on the Black team who don’t look SO bad, until you look at their body scans. The doctors present their transparent body scans next to one of a “normal” body. They point out the enormous pockets and layers of fat, and this one guy whose lungs have been pushed up into the shape of orange slices, rather than full length lungs, because he has so much abdominal fat pushing up from below.

This is something I have long been afraid of: that if somebody opened up my body and removed my heart, it would be this slippery butterball. And that the truth about my diet will be out.

I guess the blood test was one way that I got a little insight into my insides. Which was a hard truth.

Anyway, 3 weeks into The Biggest Loser, the guy with no lungs goes back to the doctor and the doc gets rid of ALL OF HIS MEDS (10 pills per day) except one (he didn’t say which one). I was rather shocked at that. Was he really at normal levels for EVERYthing after 3 weeks, or was that doctor practicing really irresponsible medicine?

Speaking of medicine. I am taking a certain drug, Lisinopril, for my high blood pressure. One of the side effects of this medicine is a tickly, dry, super annoying cough. Last night I feel like I was coughing all night. I have had this cough for over a year. Before, I was on something called Diovan, which had NO side effects, but my health insurance changed, and suddenly Lisinopril was $3/bottle while Diovan costs $90.  It’s not rocket science, but it’s annoying.

Anyway, I hope that if I can lose enough weight I can stop taking this BP medicine altogether, and my cough will go away.

Some nice news: I have lost about 4-5 lbs since last week.

Food That Works

Today was overall a good food day, after my bad start with the scary numbers (I haven’t re-tested). But I did have a bit of an internal tantrum when I went grocery shopping later in the morning. I almost cried when I saw a magazine cover with a luscious photo of macaroni and cheese (“the comfort food issue”). I found myself gazing longingly at the bread. I ended up buying a loaf of artisan olive bread to go with the soup I was going to make for company.

I made Brazilian black bean soup for friends who came for lunch. It disappeared INSTANTLY and we all agreed it was the best black bean soup EVER.  I topped it with nonfat sour cream and it was just so good. I did have a slice of the olive bread with some olive/walnut tapenade I got at the farmers market yesterday. I have no idea if this was a terrible thing to do, or not so bad.

For dinner, I made this sundried tomato/goat cheese/basil chicken from Kalyn’s Kitchen. I was a bit nervous about trying something new, and a little worried about Picky Eating daughter, but everyone in my family LOVED it. I also stir fried some asparagus with lemon/artichoke pesto. It was gooooood.

So everything tasted delicious today. My only “slip” was the olive bread. I felt grateful to find things that I could really enjoy eating.

#*&@&! Numbers

I’ve been a very good girl since Saturday. Vigorous long walks, not a single simple carb or sugared anything have passed my lips. Proteins, and veggies!  I was feeling quite proud of myself.

Hubby gave me the very romantic gift of a home blood glucose testing kit. (I hinted that I wanted one) So this morning, before my coffee, I decided to take it for a test drive. I read the little booklet, got it all calibrated, stabbed myself in the finger and voila!  …


I think I actually yelled “Shit!” just as my mother entered the kitchen. 

He said it was wrong, it had to be wrong. But those big black numbers just kept flashing up at me. I was filled with a sudden dread. What if I did everything right, was a very very good patient, and the numbers got WORSE? I mean, MUCH worse? (because 167 is wayyyyyyy over the diagnostic number of 125)

I’ve been very grumpy ever since. He thinks it’s a mistake. He says, “and if it’s true, we just treat it.” As if it is a simple thing. On one level maybe it is but the swirl of emotions that is running through me says it is NOT. SIMPLE. AT ALL.


More numbers: not surprisingly, my blood pressure was quite high after this blood testing debacle.

Scare Tactics

I love certain kinds of foods so much. Mostly carbs and dairy products. I could easily give up sugar, chocolate, alcohol, meat. But the combination of carbs and dairy – ie wheat and cheese – are like heroin to me. Macaroni and cheese. Grilled cheese. Quesadillas. Pizza. Any kind of bread-and-cheese combo is good. Potatoes and butter. And sour cream. Mmmmm.

I also love rice. My mother made steamed white rice nearly every day of my childhood, and continues now. It is hard to resist. How will I resist?

I’ll tell you how. I did not eat one simple carb today. I saw the bread sitting on the counter. I saw the rice cooker half full of rice, and the leftover phad thai in the refrigerator. How did I not even want to eat it? I scared the crap out of myself.

Everytime I looked at something that could possible raise my blood sugar at all, I visualized a needle. With insulin. Going into my soft, tender skin. When I felt the hint of a temptation, I raised the stakes and imagined amputated feet and legs. This was not hard because I used to be a physical therapist and was actually an expert at wrapping lower-extremity stumps. The cause for 99% of these amputations was diabetes. I could take it even further and visualize blindness, which is one of my greatest fears. I’d gladly give up my legs to save my eyes.

But hopefully if I can keep focused around these, none of these things will be realities in my life.

Two Selves, Fighting

I just got back from a long, gimpy walk in the woods. One leg is super tight and sore from doing a lot of very steep stair and hill workout this week. The other side has some sort of pulled groin muscle. So I was moving pretty slowly. But I was glad I went. It gave me a lot of time to contemplate things. I thought of about twenty blog posts while I was out there.

I’ve been down this road many a time, where I swear to focus and eat right and exercise and the whole thing. And once I make that decision, usually from sort of numerical wake-up call (the scale, or blood tests, or blood pressure, all of which have given me BAD numbers) I am generally pretty ON it. But then I drift away from that eventually, and I am back in the land of “I don’t want to think about it” until something forces me to.

I really do believe there is something to that whole “Ignorance is bliss” thing. Part of me really violently resists the idea of being AWARE, and of having to pay attention to this stuff. In fact it makes me want to have a freaking TANTRUM. I want to just live my life, and eat whatever I feel like, and don’t tell me what to do!!!I almost ripped my radio out of my car because I get so enraged listening to that frickin Allison Janney and her Kaiser “Thrive” commercials. They sounded so smarmy and finger-wagging. “Put down the ice cream, and have some nice broccoli! Get off the couch, and go for a walk!” Even if I agreed with stuff she was saying, even if I WANTED to go for a walk, listening to someone tell me I HAD to just got me into this very defiant, pissed off mood. 

I know that when I’m in the whole “paying attention” mode I tend to look back on my “not paying attention” self with a lot of disgust, disdain and shame. There’s like zero compassion there. And when I’m in my “la la la la I’m not paying attention” mode, I tend to look at my other mode as rigid, restrictive, punishing, anal and neurotic. There’s just no winning and there’s no seeing eye to eye. It’s a little bit like the Middle East; the chances for peace seem very fragile.

I know that I am about to enter a phase of paying attention. (which is funny because when I set up this blog, I was going to be coming at it from the OTHER perspective) I hope that I will be able to do it without totally hating that self that I’ve been for the past year or so.

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