Living to Eat, or Eating to Live?

Home again, and so glad to be.  Looking forward to eating healthier (already ate a ton of fruit and veggies yesterday!)  It was quite a horrendous week (end result was good) but I don’t want to write about that right now.  What’s on my mind is the Oprah shows I recorded while I was gone, and watched yesterday.

 The first show was actually a recap of that show that I mentioned a few weeks ago about the ‘half-ton dad.’  Only this was the ‘half-ton mom,’ who actually died two years ago following her gastric bypass surgery.  Yikes.  Before they said she had died, I was wondering why they just didn’t feed her a healthy diet there in the hospital where she was a ‘captive audience,’ and would have to eat what they brought her.  They also had ‘Ruby’ on this same show going to an obesity clinic where they treat the severely obese patients as addicts.  Oprah pointed out that obesity was a disease just like alcoholism.  All this just really made me think about the ways many of us get ‘out of control’ with our eating, how we ‘use’ food to calm our anxieties, and how difficult it is to get ‘back on the wagon’ once we fall off.  What do you think?  Is it a true disease?  Is it a true addiction?  Should we be working through the 12 steps of A.A.?  (I don’t even know what the 12 steps are.  I know that Overeaters Anonymous follow these 12 steps.)

The next show was about people who want to extend their life, mostly through dietary changes.  There were the food limiters (the woman ate 1600 calories/day–I didn’t think that sounded so bad.)  And there was the guy that owned Dole and he ate tremendous amounts of fruits and veggies, and a little fish and egg whites.  I think Barbara would approve of his ‘primarian type’ diet.  I actually liked the ideas on this show.  I’m not so much into extending my life, but I would like the end of it to be with as little pain as possible… And I liked the foods that they ate, I liked that the choices are what we all are trying to do–eat clean, or however you would like to describe it.  Whenever I see this type of thing–tables piled high with fruits and veggies–it really appeals to me.  But then, I think, well, I would still want some popcorn.  And some SF FF chocolate pudding.  I guess I’ll just keep trying to adjust what I eat.  I have noticed lately that I have no urge whatsoever to get a hamburger and fries, so that is an indication that I can change.  It just takes time.

Out of Town

I’m out of town for the week, moving my dad and his wife.  Getting in a two mile walk every morning so far.  And I should be in the workout room now instead of writing this! 

So, get little bits  of time to check in with you all, but not too much time to comment.  To try and cut down on the over-eating, and eating out, I brought quite a bit of food with me.  I chose a place that has a mini-suite with refrigerator.  Here is some of the food I brought.

Various fruit, cottage cheese, greek yogurt, string cheese, fat-free, sugar free pudding, zone and clif bars, walnuts, dates, unsweetened vanilla almond breeze, pre-made steel cut oatmeal, and some of my favorite lite popcorn.

This has helped a little bit, but even so I feel like a tick about to pop.  Not that I really know what a tick feels like.  I’m off to work out a wee bit before I settle in for the night watching ‘the Biggest Loser, and Dancing with the Stars, the Results, and of course, a bit of Animal Planet!

What to Do When You Want to Eat Too Much

Today was kind of a weird day.  There was a planned power outage from 7AM to 4 PM.  No problem, I thought.  Until 7 AM and the computer went off in the midst of a most enjoyable blog read…fortunately I had already cooked my oatmeal.  Went off to church, and decided I would come home and just have a nice quiet afternoon of reading.  And had my food planned out for the day, and was really trying to stick with a limited amount…first problem….roasted brussel sprouts was on the menu for lunch.  Funny how you forget the power is out at the same time you are aware that it is out.  No problem, adjusted my menu and still had a delicious low-cal lunch.  But after that, I was kinda bored.  And I really wanted to eat.  This wasn’t the kind of eating where you are hungry, or where your body is really seeking food.  No, this was just ‘I want to amuse myself with food.’  So here’s what I did.

First, made myself drink a glass of water.  Then did some stuff to keep my hands busy–went over and spun some fiber on my spinning wheel.  Walked around and packed for tomorrow’s trip.  Was packing food to take with me, and allowed myself to have one date with a walnut inside. I still REALLY want to eat, and am continuously going through all the mental gymnastics of why I don’t need to eat right now.  ‘Can you just wait 2 hours?’  Then, still wanting to eat, I found 2 carrots and ate them with a tiny bit of hummus to dip them in, while drinking another glass of water.  Read some more.  Still wanted to eat.   The book I was reading described a delightful scene of two women sitting in front of the fire enjoying coffee and dessert.  I really want to eat.  So, warmed up some leftover coffee and a small slice of banana bread on top of the wood stove.  A delightful snack.  Finally, I don’t want/need to eat anymore.  And the snacks I had were only about 200 calories total.  And now, since I wasn’t really hungry,  and had eaten unplanned-for food, I adjusted my dinner plans, and just had a delicious light dinner of the roasted brussel sprouts and cottage cheese w/pears.  

Now that’s a good food day.  

But it sure did require a lot of mental work.  I have to say, having done the mental work and made it through, it makes me feel just a bit stronger in this never-ending struggle.

I Can Do This?

Motivation.  Where does it come from?  When it comes, does it stay?  What is it, actually?  Roni had an interesting video discussion on motivation.  She was trying to answer a question that had been asked about finding motivation.  The person asking the question was overweight, had a sister in heart failure, and her father had recently died at a young age from heart disease.  Of course, the obvious question is, wasn’t that enough motivation?  But the truth is, all around us people are living sub-optimal lives when they have clear factual information that making certain changes (diet, exercise, quit smoking, quit drinking, etc.) will vastly improve their lives.  But they ‘choose’ not to change. I chose not to change for 20 years.  This is such a complex topic, and Roni did a good job of discussing and trying to define motivation.  Her conclusion was that motivation was not something that comes and stays.  You have to work at it too, just like you have to work at diet and exercise.  I think I agree with her.  

But I think there is another aspect that is hard for ‘diet starters’ to conceive.  And that is, that there is a different way to eat, and it is actually really really good.  And enjoyable.  And there is a different way to move.  And it is also really good and enjoyable.  I guess you could call this aspect, Experience.

I won’t lie.  I am struggling myself this week.  The stress of my dad and his wife, and work, and my whole life basically being disrupted, has affected the way I eat, and especially the way I don’t exercise.  And a week of moving them and being away from home looms in front of me.  The title of this blog ‘I can do this’ comes from my little book ‘100 Days of Weight Loss‘ and she suggests saying this phrase to yourself 10 times a day.  Hmmmph, I told myself.  But I am trying it nonetheless.  Maybe just saying it will add a little motivation.

Back to the experience aspect.  I’ve been at this for four years.  And just this week I discovered the delights of strawberries and cottage cheese.  I absolutely LOVE it.  I crave it.  I will have it for lunch today!  And really, just a few weeks ago, I discovered how delicious ground flax seed was on top of my cottage cheese and fruit.  When I was heavy (fat, morbidly obese–choose your own term) I would have wrinkled my nose up at such food choices.  Remember, the only way I ate strawberries was swimming in heavy cream with a liberal dose of powdered sugar on top.

And listening to a podcast of Dietgirl reminded me of how I felt just walking around, or bending over to tie my shoelaces.  Out of breath all the time.  Now I can take 5 flights of stairs without stopping, and get to the unit almost as fast as the girls who take the elevator.  I can run or walk really fast the half mile out to my car after a 12 hour workday, and enjoy it.  I used to take the shuttle bus, and just going up the steps into the bus was a real chore.

I want to tell this to all those starters looking for motivation.  But I think I finally understand why just me or dietgirl or roni or books or magazines, or any of the amazing bloggers out there telling the starters won’t work.  By the very word I chose to describe this:  EXPERIENCE.  We can’t make them experience it.  They have to do it themselves.

Okay….I can do this!

The Day After

Just thought I’d post about some upbeat stuff that happened the day after the ‘angry cookie incident!’  (see previous post)  My half-mile walk in from the parking lot was excellent.  I don’t know if it was speed walking or a jog-shuffle, but I felt good enough to go fast the whole way, and then up five flights of stairs without stopping.  Early in the morning I went for a coffee run (we have a good coffee cafe in the lobby of the hospital) and by the time I took everyone’s orders, I had 6 cups of coffee to carry back!  No problem.  My arms were strong enough to carry two trays, one in each hand.  I got a big kick out of that, and everyone who saw me was impressed.  A little thing, but it reminded me that I am still in a different place than I was 4 years ago.  Later in the day I needed a rocking chair for a mom, and there were none in adjacent rooms, so I had to go down a long hall to get one.  I started to drag it, as all of us do in moving the rocking chairs from place to place, and then I thought, why do that.  And I picked it up with one arm and carried it back down the long hall.  It just felt good to be able to do that.  There was no junk food in the breakroom, and so my eating was right on track, and I had even packed less than my allotted amount of food for the day, so that when I got home, I could have a ‘legitimate’ snack.  Whew!  

So the answer to ‘what was that about?’ is “LIFE.”  And it goes on, and we just pick up and keep going.  I got a new book, ‘1oo Days of Weight Loss,’ that I think Jill recommended, and it is pretty good.  It’s my night time read before I fall asleep every night.  each chapter is just a little short comment on what this is all about.  For me, its just a reminder, but I need reminding still.  Oh, I just looked at the book, and it even says ‘A daily motivator’ on the cover.  Last night’s entry was about just this very thing.  The title was ‘Interested or committed?’  And she defines this by saying “With interested, you tend to stay with your plans only until something better comes along.  For me, this is illustrated by the years I read ‘Shape’ magazine with a brownie and a diet coke.  I was very interested in those stories of women losing large amounts of weight, and how to exercise to get those perfect bodies they show in that magazine.  But I wasn’t more interested in losing weight than I was in good brownies…  Then she says “When you’re truly committed to achieving your goals, you have an entirely different outlook…you stick with it, no matter what.

What was That About???

It’s way too late and I am way too tired to write a coherent post.  But I feel the need for confession.  I am usually way beyond tired and way beyond reason after work.  But today…several things added up to me being VERY UNHAPPY on my way home.  So of course, I thought, I’ll eat something bad.  That’ll show ‘them.’  Honestly, I really don’t even know who ‘them’ is.  The only funny thing in this sad tale is that little by little I”ve been weaning the ‘bad’ stuff out of my house, and it was hard to find something ‘bad.’  But I managed.  I remembered the leftover Christmas cookies.  And I chomped down quite a few of them, and then threw the rest away.  

While I was doing that I read my favorite blogs–kinda like the olden days when I would have a brownie and a classic coke while reading my Shape magazine.  And all over blog land I read about people struggling, and even being extremely hungry.  And some people encouraging others to make good choices.  Its exhausting and tiring being us, isn’t it?  Poor us, having food on every corner tempting us, having a tv set in every room showing us food commercials, having enough money even in this economy to be able to gorge ourselves on the ‘dollar menu.’  Poor us.  We should all move to India.

 (I just watched a documentary with two excellent speeches by Mother Teresa.)

Just too tired to link to all I should, but the most excellent post by Dietgirl is a must-read.  And my friend Jill started a new ‘Ask the Pear’ feature, and has some GREAT healthy food ideas (too bad I forgot them 1/2 hour ago.)

Oh. My. Goodness.

It has been an eventful 3 days. I went to the Bay Area to help my Dad and his wife again. Had two full days of appointments scheduled, so went a day early to give my Mom ‘equal time.’ That can be stressful as well, but we actually had a very nice time, and I got a gorgeous pair of Ann Taylor heels for spring at the Thrift Store! We went out to eat at one of my favorite restaurants, and I really did overeat. Then went back to my hotel room, and did like I always did when presented with the cable TV–channel surfed like crazy. And even though I had overeaten, I had to have my evening popcorn, and then settled down to watch ‘Half-Ton Dad.’ Oh. My. Goodness. Honestly, I don’t really like these kinds of shows, but I couldn’t stop watching. And the whole time I am watching, I am ‘feeling’ like I am every bit as fat as that.  I was very happy the next morning that I caught a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror and I actually still have a shape in the middle…

And the next morning, I had a stomach ache.  That hasn’t happened to me for years.  Do you know that they make a Mylanta that is ‘for the pain and discomfort caused by overeating?’  What is wrong with our society?

We got a lot accomplished with the D&J situation (as my sister and I have come to call the situation with Dad and his wife) but the more you get done, the more it seems there is to do.  And, honestly, even though I am always most anxious to leave and come home, I feel terrible walking out the door and leaving them alone.  

So here’s the question I pondered on my way home:

Why don’t they teach you useful stuff in school?  Like ‘How to Care for Aging Parents.’  ‘How to Buy a House.’  ‘The Endless Evils of Credit Cards.’  ‘How to Stay Married More Than Seven Years.’  ‘How to Be a Mother Without Losing Your Mind.’  Oh yeah, and ‘How to Eat Healthy in an Unhealthy World.’