Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Easter is this weekend and this Jewish girl is getting all twitchy. Because of all. the. chocolate. I have been walking through Targets and grocery stores alike with my eyes averted from all the chocolate bunnies and eggs and the pastel M&Ms. Taking a lot of deep breaths. I'm sure I'll end up with a bunny melting in my hot little hands at some point before Sunday and I'm okay with that; my goal's not to eliminate sweets but to learn to live with them. But I am looking forward to being present in the moment as I enjoy those few bites of chocolate--not scarfing them down between the checkout line and the car so I can throw the wrapper away in a trash can in the parking lot. So, I'm taking my time and making healthier choices in the time being. And enjoying it.

Take fruit salad, for example:

This guy helps. He's really good at washing (and eating) blueberries.

I wish I knew how to take a good picture because I honestly think kiwi is one of the most beautiful things there is. The color, the seeds, the burst of dark green reaching out to the edges. It's just gorgeous. This picture, however? Is not.

Grapes, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, kiwi...

....and bananas.

Delicious. I won't lie; I wanted to douse the entire bowl in Hershey's syrup. But I didn't. And that's a start.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I am happy to be able to finally report some weight loss since starting this blog monnnnnnnths ago. This morning I stepped on the scale to a 4lb weight loss. I am happy, but hesitant to get my celebration on because as I've mentioned before, my body weight likes to fluctuate a LOT in the course of a day. A four pound loss today might be a five pound gain tomorrow; it's all about the water weight. Whatever I eat on Monday, how salty it is in particular, will be a good indication of what I'll weigh on Tuesday and Wednesday. So until I see a steady pattern of weight loss, I tend to give the scale a big fat (no pun intended) "meh" when I first start to see the numbers go down.

I also have to admit to having a little help. Now that the quest for baby #2 has come to an end, I could switch from the less-effective-but-also-more-baby-friendly blood pressure medicine back to my very-effective-but-could-give-your-baby-3-heads blood pressure medicine. This one is a diuretic, so for the first three days of taking it, I shed a significant amount of water weight. We're talking maybe I should have just thrown on a diaper like I was a crazy, cross-country driving astronaut woman out for blood because I could not stop peeing. And I expected to lose some weight from it, since so much of the weight I gained during the fertility treatments was water weight. But I didn't expect, a week later, to see four pounds still gone from the scale.

Aside from my happy little blood pressure pill, I have doing a lot of thinking about my relationship with food and how it is impacting the quality of my life. I've never really been sure about the idea of food addiction, as it relates to me. I'm not morbidly obese, which I think I've always assumed you'd have to be to truly be "addicted" to food, unable to stop eating. I don't do things like throw food out my car window to get it away from me, but then go back to where I threw it out and forage around until I find it. I don't throw food in the trash and then go back looking for it later. These are the types of stories I've heard from people who considered themselves to be food addicts. "Well," I thought, "I don't do that! Whew! Guess I'm not addicted to food!"

And I am fairly certain that I'm not addicted. But my relationship with food? Is unhealthy. Not just physically, but psychologically. And it is perhaps the psychological part of that relationship that is the hardest to get a grasp on, and holds the key to finding a space where food and I can exist together without such a love/hate relationship. The "why's" of my eating habits are the root of changing them, I believe. And the "why's", I fear, are going to be painful to look at.

How about the "whats"? What are the things I do that make me think my relationship with food is not the norm, and outside the realm of healthy?

1. I eat furtively. Example--when I grocery shop alone, I will sometimes, okay, often. almost always buy a donut or a candy bar & when I get back to the car, I will wolf it down before leaving the parking lot. Especially if I am stressed about something at home--guests, an argument, a long day of chasing a defiant preschooler.
If I go out to the pantry to find ingredients for dinner, and I happen to spy the bag of chocolate chips on the baking shelf, I will pour a handful of chocolate chips and eat them as I stand in the pantry, so no one can see me.
As an ocassional treat? Probably not a big deal. And true, I don't do it all the time (if I gave in every time, I would most certainly be morbidly obese). But it is more what is going on in my day that leads to the sneaking & how I feel about myself after eating the donut or the candy bar--disgusted, frustrated, sick to my stomach, self-loathing--that are the problems. And if I KNOW I'm going to feel that way when I do this...why do I do it?

2. I eat when I am frustrated or angry with Ethan. Almost every time I have sent Ethan to time-out in the past 2 years, I have blindly made my way to the kitchen and found something to grab a handful of to eat while I am counting to ten. It became a part of my calming down ritual. I have stopped using time outs for a number of reasons, but not least of which is the fact that when I recognized I was using food this way, it freaked me right the hell out. And this is just one example of how I use food to quell an uncomfortable emotion. Let's not even talk about how much eating I did while we were trying to get pregnant, mkay?

3. I lie to myself about the food I eat. I can rationalize almost any indulgence ("we come to the Cheesecake Factory so rarely!" or "sushi is really pretty low-fat; I can have another roll"--which? not really true, hello!). I will gladly tell myself that tomorrow I will be better, when, as I've said in another post, tomorrow is often just the same as today.

I've been thinking a lot about my friend Corinne in the past several weeks. Recently, Corinne had an awakening about herself and began the journey towards sobriety. Watching her, through her blog, live from one day to the next without a drink, seeing how it in some ways brought her to her knees and in other, more permanent and meaningful ways, helped her stand back up again, I've felt mightily inspired. I know she's not had an easy time of it, and yet she is so grateful for each day of clarity, and graceful in her navigation of this new life of being present, I cannot help but feel that positive energy and be humbled. I know that most people find themselves in alcoholism because they are trying to numb emotion. I know, that for me, it is food that numbs emotion.

Reading Corinne's blog entries, seeing how she's seeking out different avenues of peace and comfort, seeing how she remains true to herself, for herself and her family, has motivated me. My eating habits are a matter of health for me--I am at an age and a size, and with a family history that does not afford me many more years of being overweight without paying a high cost; a cost I'm not willing to pay for the luxury of making excuses and sneaking "that one last" piece of crap food that I know is going to my arteries, or my butt.

I have been taking a lot of deep breaths, making my food selections slowly and thoughtfully and honoring the frustration I feel when I walk past the donuts on the way to bread aisle. I think so often, "dieting" involves pushing down those feelings of anxiety or frustration or just plain sadness that you can't have that blueberry scone or that piece of cheesecake. Eventually the neglected feelings erupt into "YOU CAN'T KEEP ME FROM THAT DONUT! I'VE BEEN SOOO GOOD (awful value judgment). I DESERVE THAT CUPCAKE!" and then it's all undone and you're (I'm) back to feeling like a gross failure again. Instead, I'm trying to recognize it when I feel the "so unfair! so unfair! I want that donut!!!!", sit with it for a few moments and then move forward, having given my feelings the space they needed. I am finding that often times, giving the feelings space and letting them speak to me for a moment or two is enough to make them quiet down. And with them goes the "need" for the food.

I believe this mindfulness, as well as the new medication, enabled me to let those four pounds go. I hope to never see them again.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

16% Of The Way

That's right folks, at last weigh in I was down a little over 5 lbs (to 156.5 gasp, blah, pfft). Hooray. The best part (or worst depending on how you look at it) is that I don't feel like I've made that many changes. Which is great because it hasn't been that hard and there is still so much room for improvement, but bad, because I am lazy and like eating tasty things and don't really want to work hard.

Since moving I have made HUGE strides in the exercise department. Okay, it's usually lazy paddling of the elliptical or even lazier pedaling of the stationary bike while I read a novel, but still. I am couch potato no more. I go to the gym more days a week than I stay home, and I really feel like exercise and this part of my day are now a permanent part of my routine. So that's a nice improvement. Now I just need to increase the effort exerted in my daily exercise and I'll really be getting somewhere.

As for eating, I have been doing really good limiting the sugar. With the exception of this weekend's birthday cake (of which there is still a reasonably sized chunk that I have no intention of eating) I have stayed away from processed sugar pretty successfully. The few times I have had sugar it has been deliberate, controlled and limited to just a bit. And I feel so much better. I know I'm always going to have to be careful with my sugar intake (that addiction is just a bite away), but not eating it feels nice. I hope to try and eliminate it completely from my everyday diet, but if I can't, I'm pretty okay where I am now.

I have done nothing about cutting gluten at all - in fact I've been having a sandwich almost everyday for lunch. But I use the thin round bread which is super tasty, and lower calorie than regular bread. And I've really avoided eating anything wheat as my main meal - no big bowls of pasta or finishing the kids waffles or cereal. Instead I have brown rice or quinoa, and I think I will continue to try and cut the wheat products. I just really had to focus on getting the sugar eliminated because it was by far the greater evil.

There is much work to be done. There is plenty of room left for improvement and many new plans that can be implemented. But it's happening. Progress is being made. And that is a relief.

Monday, March 22, 2010

"Nothing Tastes as Good as Being Thin Feels"

Oh how I hate the Weight Watchers mantras. I am not even sure if they still use those ridiculous things; I am mainly drawing on my memories of SNL's Julia Sweeney's WW-esque spoofs where she spews the mantras and I think, by the end of the skit, she's face down in a cheesecake. Ah, irony. I briefly attended Weight Watchers meetings this fall and started to see some results (prior to the fertility meds debacle), but I found the environment weird and it made me uncomfortable. Because of that, and because the scale crept steadily up over the next four months, I stopped going.

But, I'm still paying for the online points/activity/weight tracker. And so, this week, I started actually using it. How novel.

Last week I promised that I'd make healthier snacking choices so that when dinner time rolled around, I'd actually be hungry for it and not stuffed to the gills on crackers and cookies and all of that. And I am doing all right. I packed up the Girl Scout cookies and put them in the very back of the pantry (because throwing them away would break the hearts of all those little Girl Scouts, right?). I bought a lot of fruit & yogurt. I started counting points (well, until the weekend, when basically all hell breaks lose. Yes, I realize this has to change, too. GAH!!!!)

Tonight I made an awesome TWO POINT soup for dinner. TWO POINTS! Chicken broth, a can of diced tomatoes (undrained), a bag of Trader Joe's frozen veggies (carrots, peas, corn, beans), a cup of lentils (let them soak for 2 hours before starting the soup), some Italian seasoning and simmer for however long you want. TWO POINTS! The broth, the veggies, all zero points. The lentils are where the points come in, but they are also the source of protein in the dish, so they're important.

This morning, I found my way to the gym. Sigh. The elliptical trainer for 30 minutes and 30 minutes on the treadmill. I'm super excited that I switched from aluminum-based deodorants to Tom's of Maine safe-for-my-lymphnodes-and-I-won't-get-Alzheimer's "deodorant". For a few minutes I smell like a lovely and fragrant stalk of lemongrass. But after a few minutes in the gym, I smell like a sweaty, stinky armpit. AWESOME. So I'm going to live a longer and healthier life, but I will be lonely because I WILL STINK AND NO ONE WILL LOVE ME!

So that's great.

I happened to notice, on my way out of the gym today, that they offer a spinning class at 9am tomorrow morning. When I'd normally be sitting down with a giant steaming cup of soy chai tea latte to write this post (ah, again with the irony--5 point drink!). So, after much pondering over whether or not I could actually survive a spinning class in my current shape and fitness level (somewhere between couch potato & slug), I've decided to go ahead and take the class, which is why I'm writing my Tuesday post on Monday night. Because tomorrow, instead of writing, I'll be spinning. Or? Puking.

Let's hope I live to post on Thursday.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I May Have Gotten the Monkey Off My Back

But make no mistake, he is still right on my heels.

I hate to speak too soon, but I feel as though I may have turned a corner on my sugar addiction. I have been really careful about my sugar intake lately - choosing sweets that had more natural sugars when I had anything at all (inlcuding experimenting with cookie recipes) and I have found that I am not craving sweets like I have been for the past 4 years. I am able to turn down treats easily, and if I do decide to have something i can stop at one without any effort at all.

Sweet! (omg, I love a good pun)

Now, there may be several factors contributing to this. My sweet tooth never showed up until after I had my first child, and for the first time since them I am not on any type of birth control. So my hormones have only just now been able to return to normal levels and that could play a role.

Also, my aunt recommended that I take L-glutamine to help curb sugar cravings, and while I have been taking it for several months but only seen a decrease in my cravings the past week or so, who's to say it doesn't take a while to kick in? Not going to stop taking it to find out whether it is playing a role or not, I'll tell you that!

So while I can't say for certain what factors have contributed to this change, I CAN say how great it feels. I am no longer a slave to sweet foods. I have even had a few things that were too sweet, and really not that appealing. In the past anything too sweet would immediately trigger a "gorge" response wherein I immediately wanted to eat as much as fast as I could. It was out of my control, and it was miserable to try and fight or ignore this impulse. And I failed regularly.

I know that I am not out of the woods. I will probably never be out of the woods when it comes to sugar. But now I know it can be under my control. Now I know that my life will not have to be spent abstaining completely from sweet things. Now I know I am capable of moderation.

And that is sweet.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tomorrow is Another Day...

This mantra really saved Scarlet O'Hara's sanity on more than one occasion. But for me, in this weight-loss journey, it amounts to nothing but a ginormous cop-out of epic proportions. I find myself at the end of most days, looking back on hours of poor eating choices and saying, "well, tomorrow is another day, after all; I'll do better tomorrow." And true, saying this to yourself every once in awhile is not a big deal; in fact, it is healthy, and probably good for a healthy lifestyle to allow yourself indulgences every once in awhile. But daily? If you're saying "Tomorrow is another day" to yourself daily, I think we can all agree that you're doing it wrong!

I tend to do really well until about 4pm. I can do the healthy breakfast, the mid-morning snack and sensible lunch. That's easy. But there are eleventy billion hours between lunch and dinner, and one handful of almonds and a piece of string cheese don't seem to cut the hunger, you know? And then there's the 3.5 year old who neeeeeeeeeeeeeeds snacks and is too little to hunt and gather them on his own. I do try to make his snacks healthy--fruits, whole grains, and whatnot, because a.) he should have healthy snacks, and b.) I am no fool; I know that for every one cracker he eats, I will be eating three. or four. So if I load him up on sugary snacks, I am loading myself up on them as well.

My problem is not really what I am eating, most days. It is the sheer volume of what I'm eating, apparently. Given the seemingly geological age that passes from lunch to dinner, I should sit down to dinner ravenous. But most of the time, I sit down to dinner with barely room to spare in my tummy because of all the munching I've done in the few hours leading up to dinner.

Also? I can rationalize just about anything. That cooking class on Friday night? Clearly I HAD to eat some of everything put in front of me. To the point that driving home I had to unzip the jeans (granted, they were my smallest pair of jeans, but still...that is the drive o' shame if ever there was one). And the dinner party on Saturday night? Well, when a friend brings a cheesecake for dessert, it is just rude not to partake, right? And when she leaves said cheesecake at your house, it is rude not to continue to partake until it's gone, right? If nothing else, I have good manners. Thus, I will eat the entire cheesecake, right?

Actually, yesterday afternoon I did manage to throw away a large portion of the remaining cheesecake (and felt horribly guilty doing it, by the way), after cutting away the back, crusty end of what was left and saving it for later---because cheesecake crust? Might just be the only proof of G-d's existence that I really need.

And after all of these things, I find myself saying, "Well, tomorrow is another day." Except, somewhere in the back of my head I kind of already know that tomorrow? Is going to be just like today.

So my mantra has to change. I have to ditch the Scarlet O'Hara optimism/procrastination and embrace a more Rent-esque "No Day But Today" attitude. The song is about how you can't really control what's going to happen tomorrow, but you can live today in the moment, making it count.

My attitude needs to change from the idea that "I can just start this whole process over again tomorrow", to "I need to make today matter and make choices today that I can feel good about." Because the reality is, going to be every night thinking, "oh well, tomorrow is another day," really doesn't do a lot for the old self-esteem, you know? It would be awesome to go to bed at night feeling like I did the right thing, made good choices and treated my body with the respect it deserves.

So, deep breaths. No day like today...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I Am Not A Tupperware

Storing extra food is not what my body was made for.

I am really working hard to change my mindset of thinking that if something tastes good I have to eat as much of it as fast as I can. There is always another cake or cookie or tasty treat down the line. This is not the last meal I am going to enjoy. Nothing tastes as good as the first few bites, so why take more than that?

I am aware of the cravings making meals for my kids can trigger - nothing like preparing three peanut butter sandwiches to make you want one. But I have learned that a)there is always a bite or two left over and b)these little bits are enough to satisfy me. I don't need my own whole sandwich.

I've just got to apply that to the rest of my portion control - my eyes are still bigger than my stomach, and my ass is bigger than both. But I'm getting there.

Having a new forum to discuss the clothes I wear, where people are going to see pictures of me and how dumpy I've become is a great motivator. I can't afford new clothes, I don't even want new clothes right now because they don't fit right, but I DO want to look cute and stylish for the myriad folk that might drift off the interwebs an see me in all my yoga-pantsed glory.

Oh, by the way, I HAVE lost 3 lbs already - so pfft! 10% of my weight loss goal, DONE

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Maybe I'll Start Sucking My Thumb

I have not had much of an appetite these past few days. For whatever reason, I just haven't been that hungry, and as such I have really been able to notice the difference between hunger and emotional eating.

You always hear advice telling dieters to make sure they are really hungry rather than eating out of emotional reasons. But it can be really hard to differentiate between the two, especially in instances when you ARE hungry, but also craving the wrongs things out of comfort. So for this reason it has been very interesting to experience intense cravings when I know without a doubt that I am not hungry and would not be thinking of food for any other reason.

Of course, identifying the urges when I want to comfort eat and actually finding a way to get around them are two different things. obviously, if I am aware that my desire for cookies is based on the need to comfort or whatever, I can resist. Not that I always do, you understand, but I CAN. however, resisting just means spending the whole night with that vague feeling of needing to do something, plus of course, craving cookies. Which is distracting at best, and fairly unpleasant.

How do you get to where these issues don't bother you anymore? I'm sure it is simply a matter of ignoring it and suffering until your body chemistry is rewired well enough to not send craving signals anymore, but how can I comfort myself in th meantime? There really isn't a good substitute when what your body really wants to do is sink it's teeth into something. I guess there really isn't any choice but to suffer through until the bad habits are broken and food no longer sings it's siren song.

I hope it's soon.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Well, Hello There

It's been awhile since I visited this blog. Primarily because my stint as a Follistim junkie (fertility meds) made it pretty much impossible for me to lose a pound. As a matter of fact, each month I was yo-yo'ing at least 10lbs, steadily up during the treatments and then down just a little bit in the few days where my body was allowed to go drug-free until the next round of treatment started. Weight-loss during fertility treatments is fairly Sisyphean task and I decided not to chronicle that epic failure along with the epic failure of actually NOT getting pregnant each month.

But that is behind us now. For a variety of reasons, not the least of which is what the drugs did to my body each month, we have decided to say goodbye to the hope of a second child and move on with our lives. For me, in part, this means embracing the journey of losing the weight I've been carrying around since becoming pregnant the first time. My body, after a week of being fertility drug free is starting to give up the weight.

When I weighed myself yesterday, I checked in at 173. Still 10lbs over where I was in November when I took my first shot of Follistim. But down 5lbs from where I'd been only 5 days before.

I have jumped back on the Weight Watchers wagon (although that box of Samoas and Lemon Whatever-the-hell-they-ares on top of my fridge are SCREAMING to me) and am hoping that at least a few more of these "seriously, it's not my fault, I'm taking a medicine that makes me fat" pounds fall off easily before I have to dig deep.

I am returning to the gym tomorrow and am planning on an at-home yoga routine on those days when I don't go to the gym. Right now the plan is: Gym M-W-F and yoga Tu-Th, and maybe a yoga class on Sat or Sunday. I hope to find 5k that I can participate in by July and then I hope to do one a month after that until I can work up to a 10k. Okay, that's sort of just falling out of my head as I type. But I want my body back. If it can't make another baby--I have to focus on the things that it CAN do; and surely it can do all of that, if I am committed to it. And after what I've put it through these past months, it deserves to be taken care of, even if it didn't come through for me in the baby department.

In terms of vanity, I've got some added motivation heading my way. We are taking a family trip to Hawaii in April!! We'll be staying at the same resort as we did for our honeymoon. If Mama's got to stuff herself into a bathing suit, I'm going to have to work on shedding some of this junk in my trunk, and fast.

To that end, our meals are going to be uber-healthy and clean for the next month (with the exception of this weekend when I am entertaining guests and making an Ina Garten 40 clove garlic chicken thing that is rife with cream and cognac. Oh, and there WILL be cheese. And cake). But other than that?! Healthy and clean, my friends!

To that end, last night I made an organic chicken sausage, white bean and spinach stew from Everyday Living and it was delish!

Hrm. It does not look particularly delish in this picture. But I assure you, it is photog-error, not a foodFAIL. It was hearty and filling and full of nutrition and fiber.

Hopefully when I write again on Thursday, I will be bitching about how sore my worked-out muscles feel!