Back to Behaving

The Easter weekend has ended. We took our daughter to the airport. It may be a month or five before we see her again. Our son, only in Lincoln, is off to San Antonio tomorrow. Our kids are full-fledged grown-ups now. It’s weird. It’s wonderful, too.

My husband and I listened to our “kids” talk about investments, insurance, taxes, and work. Just a few short years ago (I kid myself… more like eight years now) and these two would have been rough-housing and playing music loud. Ten years earlier than that? Probably throwing things at each other and running out the door to go see friends… a few years before that? I suppose I was hiding Easter eggs. They’d have been biting the ears off their chocolate bunnies. I’d have been convincing my kids to taste broccoli salad… which is now a staple at family holidays.

Times keep changing. Not worse. Not better. Just different. Each stage has its ups and downs, and although I’d say the years when they were little were my favorite, I certainly remember being tired of picking up toys and wiping noses and just being tired in general. The energy it took to raise little ones exhausted me. It’s a task for the young. I don’t have grandchildren yet, but wonder if I’ll have enough pep to babysit if I’m ever blessed with the opportunity.

This is one of the reasons I’ve been working hard to lose weight. I have a lot of life to live yet and if I don’t get in better shape, I won’t enjoy those years. Maybe I can go as far to say that I don’t believe I’d really deserve them. I owe my family, my future grandkids, and myself the best woman I can be. Healthy. Happy. Active. Able.

In that vein, the hubs and I have not spent a lot of time thinking about yummy food over the last three months. Oh, I think about food a lot, but not about how delicious it will be. I think about the amount of nutrition and calories it has. The best way to cook it. How to best use the calories we have each day. This is all something we never used to think about. Ever. It’s why we were both overweight and why we need to think about our health now. We need to relearn how to see food, make food, and eat food. So far, my husband’s lost around twenty pounds and I’ve lost around thirty. Eating healthy food works.

Back to the past weekend. I made healthy food with veggie and fruit options. I used ground turkey instead of ground beef. I didn’t make any desserts. There are no chips and dips in this house. Fruits, cheeses, baby carrots, sugar snap peas for snacks. I made meals and tried to set the example of taking small portions. All things I should have done when I was raising my kids, but you know, if wishes were horses, beggars would ride, as the saying goes. I can’t change the past.

My kids were very good-natured about the change in how we ate, although my son rolled his eyes at our portions and had seconds and thirds. It’s not like I made tasteless food. We had spaghetti and meatballs one night, shrimp and ground turkey fajitas another night, a full German breakfast for brunch which meant meats, cheeses, fruit, boiled eggs, etc. Salad. Really. We did good.

Then the Easter dinner arrived. For us… Easter means Ham. Dreaded Ham. Delicious Ham. Evil Ham!!

I’ve been training myself to eat food for fuel and nutrition more than taste. It all tastes fine, of course, but there’s a huge difference between a clean tasting and satisfying salad with turkey meat, sunflower seeds, and a boiled egg…. than a big slice of ham with mustard and brown sugar glaze. Quite frankly… I’d forgotten the sensation of eating something so delicious that I wanted more… not because I was hungry… just because it was there. Honestly, I think the Bible says not to eat pork for a serious reason. Bacon… ham… it’s like a freaking drug!! I’m still thinking about it! The taste lingers in my mouth. The idea in my mind that there is a container of ham sitting in my refrigerator right this very moment! I could seriously sit down and eat every slice of it.

So. I do believe my husband will be having a very thick ham sandwich for lunch and I will try very hard to get rid of the last bits of evidence of that delicious meal today. Back to fish and turkey and veggies. Back to eating food that’s good for my mind and body, not my emotions. Back to trying to lose the two pounds that snuck back on over the weekend, and yes, I can’t completely blame the ham… there were these Lemon cello cocktails with frozen grapes, and a bottle of wine or three that had something to do with that, too.

Honestly, I’m looking forward to once again being a sensible grown woman who eats healthy food. I also really enjoyed the weekend. Sometimes you have to fall off the wagon to remember why you were on it to begin with. It’s fun to be naughty, but far more rewarding to be good. But those Lemon Cello cocktails… yeah… I’m keeping those. Everyone needs a vice, after all.

Nutrisystem Update

Well, it’s my third week on the Nutrisystem plan. I have positives and negatives to report.

The positives first.

The first week’s Turbo Plan is great. It prepares you to eat less and it removed the need to plan and buy foods or think about meals. It gives you a start, and that’s often one of the hardest parts for me. Plus, you see some immediate results, and that gives you hope.

The second week I almost had myself convinced the food wasn’t bad and I could do this for months and months. By the end of the second week, I’d lost ten pounds (not a true ten though, and you’ll see why later.) I have a very long way to go, but I already feel quite a bit better and have more energy. I’m very hopeful I can learn new eating habits. I like the six small meals lifestyle. I’m getting used to small portions. I think I can become a grazer, rather than a big meal twice-a-day kind of person.

Now, here are the negatives.

Last week I caught a stomach bug (I’m still not feeling quite right) and didn’t eat at all for one day because I just couldn’t (lost 2 pounds that day, but it wasn’t a real 2 pounds and didn’t stay off.) The second day of the bug, I tried some food, but didn’t keep it down, so again avoided eating. The third day I began observing the regular schedule Nutrisystem provides, but nothing tasted good. And by that, I mean, it all tasted absolutely horrible.

I remember when I was a little kid, my mother made a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. It was so good, I ate too much of it then became sick and threw up the cake. I still can’t eat carrot cake and can’t stand cream cheese frosting. Just looking at it rolls my stomach. So, when you get sick, you tend to remember the taste of the last thing you ate, and you just don’t want that food again.

Because Nutrisystem food all tastes kind of the same… like there’s some kind of process or protein they put in it and it all has a specific after-taste, now I just can’t enjoy the food. Truthfully, I can just barely stand to eat it. Not that it could have been classified as enjoyable to begin with. Oh no. Not tasty at all. But, I was on board with learning a mind-set of food being fuel, not fun. Yet. Here I am, three weeks in, and I can hardly even stand to eat the food. So, I’ll finish up what I have… begrudgingly… and I ordered some ala carte items because I enjoyed the Nutricrush bars and the turbo shakes, and I’m going to try to learn to eat regular food in the way Nutrisystem sets up a daily schedule. I plan to keep doing small portions, and eating specific things six times a day—protein mid-morning and mid-afternoon, a carb mid-afternoon, lots of water, etc.

Fingers crossed. I didn’t think I’d go off the plan after a month, but the food is just so darn horrible. I can’t recommend the food at all. But, I like the tracking system, and I like the way the meals are structured, and I have a far better understanding of protein, carbs, and portions.

I’ll keep you posted. I clearly need to change my relationship with food. There’s a lot in the world to do and see and enjoy, and food should be what fuels me to do those things. It shouldn’t be my main source of entertainment.

Diets, Boundaries, and Blooming

Eating Right: Regular food hates me. I wasn’t aware of that until yesterday. My son came home and brought a friend. For them, I made lasagna, garlic bread,  a salad, cherry pie and ice cream. It was all yummy, but my system practically ejected it upon impact. I won’t bother you with any more details than that, but let’s just say I won’t have ice cream, pie, or large quantities of salad dressing or cheese again anytime soon.  My husband and I haven’t actually been following any specific diet plan, but we’re avoiding carbs (not eliminating, just not thinking every meal must include  a roll or potato), we’re avoiding refined white sugar and using organic raw honey, cane sugar and molasses instead, and we’re avoiding processed foods. So, whole foods, essentially. Plenty of fruit, vegetables, and lean meats (in smaller quantities.) So far I’ve lost nine pounds. I seem to steadily lose two pounds a week. The biggest payoff is I feel better, and  the way my system acted yesterday, I had no idea how yucky I felt before! To enforce my desire to continue eating well, I just made the double batch of granola you see above.

Pushing  Boundaries: Is it always a good idea to color outside the lines? I like to try different things and I’m not afraid to embrace unique ideas. I’m beginning to delve into researching how to push writing boundaries. I don’t know much yet, but I’m curious. What ideas do you as a reader (or writer) have about how to push boundaries in writing? What does it mean to you, or do you feel as though you’ve done it in the past?

Bloom Where You’re Planted: If we visit a writing group and it isn’t for us, is it a waste of our time? I suppose so if we’re only in it for what we can get out of it. But let’s consider what we can put into the groups we visit. Any group. Writing groups, classes, conferences, church… take your pick. Maybe we’re there, not to bathe in the light of new knowledge, but to provide a light for someone else. They say teaching is the best way to really learn something. I think that’s true. I also think if you find you can’t “bloom” where you are, uproot yourself and go to another garden. Maybe this is where I push my boundaries. All I know is I do not plan to push dietary boundaries more than I have to!

Treating Myself Better

Just like every 365 days, it is once again a new year. 2015, here we all come. Ready or not. And just like every January I am thinking about being healthier. Treating myself better. My daughter has set out to lose weight by doing a sugar cleanse. My son tells me he’s working out and is talking about cutting back on fast foods. Friends talk about cutting carbs and calories. So, I’ll make my efforts and maybe, just maybe, this year I’ll stick to some of the healthy eating habits I try to adopt. My goal is to actually think about what I put in my mouth and to make an effort not to indulge my every food whim.

I read a blog about additives and processing of food here in America that other countries consider unacceptable. I have a friend who lives in France because she simply can’t achieve health while living here and being subjected to processed and commercially grown foods. Here’s the blog post if you’re interested. Beware. It may cause paranoia, and rightly so. Formaldehyde in milk and meat? Good Lord. That might be enough reason to consider a vegan diet. It would be a stretch, though, for this meat lover.

My daughter tells me I need to watch a documentary called Fed Up . It was a game-changer for her. She’s journaling her process on this blogsite. I’m not sure I have the guts to watch the show. Maybe you’ll watch it for me and tell me all about it. I know what I need to do to live healthier without watching shows that scare me. I need to eat less, move more, and think about what I’m putting in my body.

So, I will eat more fish, more chicken, more vegetables, more fruit, and if I eat carbs, I’ll try to choose whole grains. Desserts, potato chips, and fried food will become things I avoid, or only have on occasion. I’ll go with the idea of all things in moderation. I’m going to try my best to land on the common sense side of the fence when it comes to my health.

Wish me luck. I’m off to make some Red Beans and Quinoa.