Healthy Eating and the Gingerbread Jerks

It wasn’t the realization of the added ten pounds on the doctor’s scale (at which I cried) or the 2 minute per mile slower running time; not the puffy face in recent photos nor the general feeling of blah. There’s no reason for jump starting the healthy eating plan (again) other than it is time.

For the past two days I ate things like this:

  • A piece of Millet bread with a quarter of an avocado spread like butter, topped with a scrambled egg (and two egg whites) and a spoonful of fresh salsa.
  • Juice made from carrots, celery, apple, ginger, kale, beets, and huge bunches of spinach.
  • Gwyneth’s Detox Chicken over millet with a side of kale chips.
  • Back to Nature’s Multi-Seed Crackers with half a piece of jalapeno cheese and a slice of uncured honey ham.
  • Apples.
  • More juice.
  • Whole wheat crusted chicken nuggets baked in the oven with green beans and tomatoes on the side.

Two days of healthy eating and a small dose of exercise (a three-mile run yesterday), and one would assume I was completely on track.

But there’s always a hitch when it comes to clean eating, this time it came in the form of tiny white-fudge-frosted gingerbread men (120 calories for three) nestled inside a pretty Christmas colored box.

If it weren’t for those sneaky gingerbread men I would have conquered two full days free from processed sugar.

Except.

Except their pull over me was too strong that I ate three. And then I ate three more. And the 240 calories I ingested happened faster than you can holler, “KALE!”

The good news is that I got a grip on the situation and stopped. I didn’t go back for more. But I thought about it a lot (a lot, a lot), before running far enough from the kitchen that I was no longer tempted.

One day at a time.

One day at a time.

M.

Do you eat clean or do you struggle? What is it that makes you attack the gingerbread men?

Cute little jerks.
Cute little jerks.

Body Dysmorphia and the Plus-Sized Revolution

Confession: Nothing in my closet fits me. My skinny jeans won’t zip and my boyfriend jeans fit like the skinnies used to.

Confession: I haven’t run more than three miles in a month.

Confession: Although there are six days in which it’s feasible to exercise my body, I have chosen to do other things the majority of the time.

Confession: I ate a gigantic spoonful of raw chocolate chip cookie dough from out of the garage refrigerator yesterday, not because I was craving cookie dough, but because I wanted the sugar high to get me through the afternoon.

With all of the back and forth I have going on in my head, in regard to food and exercise and health, it occurred to me more than once this week that in addition, I might be body dysmorphic.

How come?

Twice in the past few days, while feeling low about my size, I happened upon images of plus-sized women that I thought had bodies similar to mine. There is a plus-size revolution occurring and the women being held up as images to admire are nothing short of beautiful.

But, I’m … fat?

Since I’m currently squeezed out of my size 10s, I am furious with my body; angry at myself. Compared to the those plus size goddesses, my image of myself is not as kind.

Body dysmorphia, according to the Mayo Clinic, is described as, “imagined ugliness.” It turns out, upon further research that it is a real mental illness and people with dysmoraphobia often go to extreme lengths to manage their perceptions (plastic surgery, hiding from others, etc.).

While I’m not willing to diagnose myself with full-blown BD, I do think that my perceived flaws are skewed based on my expectations of self, and how I’ve once again slipped from, “I am healthy girl, hear me roar.”

I am stuck, then, between my own expectations of how I think I should look, the expectations of what the world views as acceptable, and the reality of what it’s like to live in my own body.

If I use the functioning part of my brain filled with endless information about health and well-being, I can dig myself, once again, out of this rut.

Solution # 1: I’ve ordered the Tracy Anderson mat series to do through the winter with the goal to firm up, confuse my muscles into performing as they should (again), and hopefully gather new information to write a helpful review, to boot.

Solution # 2: I will not buy any clothing, period, until I have become consistent again on the exercise front. If I then need to accept that I fit better in a bigger size, I will accept it, but not without a fight.

Solution # 3: I’ll try to eat more wisely, but am sticking to my belief that weighing myself is damaging to my psyche. Cutting out food groups will also be avoided, as anything completely off-limits will inevitably lead me to consume entire batches of cookie dough, just because I can.

To combine two of my favorite songs (as an homage to the place that I find myself today), here is a mashup (care of Madonna and Gene Sir Harlan) …

What it feels like for a girl … For a girl in this world.

But I’m doing the best that I can.”

M.

Do you ever think you suffer from body dysmorphia or any other body image related issues? How do you manage? How do you conquer?

Image 4 of ASOS CURVE Exclusive Belted Wrap Top
Asos Curve Plus-Size Belted Wrap Top.
Image from the Size Issue of V Magazine.
Crystal Renn is a size 12. Gorgeous, no?
An image from V's Size Issue
An image from V’s Size Issue. The depths of my love for this picture run deep, but I wouldn’t be caught dead allowing a picture of me like this to surface. Is it my modesty or insecurity? I’m not sure.

Food Mood

When food is used to cope, getting sidelined can happen with just one bite.

One bite and it’s over.

You make commitments to get healthy, to cut out gluten, to run more, to be better, faster, stronger

But then comes an angry text from a certain somebody, an email from the lawyer with a mediation date, two sick kids after only six days of school…

My girls’ Whole Foods margherita pizza looks really good as I sit here and type. It’s bubbling with gooey cheesiness and there’s that thin wheat crust with scattered bits of basil and tomato. And the smell….

The sleeves of Oreos over there look pretty tempting, too. The girl’s dad brought home a gigantic box of those suckers to make home-made ice cream. Would they even notice if I grabbed and dashed and hid in my room, back to the closed door with a crumb coated smile?

They might not.

Eating the pizza would start the inner war. Then would come the apathetic negotiating (which you will lose) for a second piece. A third piece wouldn’t seem unreasonable if the shit hit the fan at any time during that second piece.

Before the pizza had time to move on down the digestive track, the cookies would one finger wave me over and then I’d really be doomed. My soothed mood would make the decision for me; add the sugar and it will be all better. You will feel better. You will feel something other than sad, mad, had…

It would end badly, though; rubbing a sore gut and kicking an already bruised ego.

Instead of managing my stress with food I instead (just) made a bowl of mixed greens with half a pear, some sliced almonds, gorgonzola and a bit of balsamico. Clap. Please, do.

I feel momentarily better, but it doesn’t change the fact that I need to get away from the kitchen and fast.

I know it’s early for bed (6:26) but the farther I get from that room, the better I’ll be able to manage today’s out of control appetite for diet destruction!

Night night.

XOM

The pizza.
The Oreos.
It was pretty. I should have taken a picture, but it was either eat or be beat.

Gluten Free Me?

It has been established that traditional weight loss and diet techniques do not work for me. My yo-yo has worn itself out and my quest for a healthier life and body has led me here.

Step one has been to quit getting on the scale, a strictly mental challenge. My weight on the scale has nothing to do with how I feel in my body, heart or mind. I can be up or I can be down and depending on that digital number my mood is affected, pushing me toward my coping method of choice; food (eat happy, eat sad).

Three weeks ago I quit Diet Coke.

Fifteen days ago I committed to cutting out the sugary foods that plagued my every waking thought; ice cream, cookies, cakes, etcetera. Sugar (in its obvious form), I discovered, was not that difficult to subtract from my diet.

Hidden sugars, it turns out, have been more difficult to avoid as they are in everything from seemingly healthy cereals and protein bars, breads, frozen entrees, and yogurts.

Being aware has helped me to stay away from the hidden sugars, but I’m finding it all but impossible to cut the stuff out completely. Still, I try.

What, then, is the next step?

In the past two weeks I’ve paid attention to my overuse of carbohydrates (healthy and not).

As I see it I have two choices; either commit to only consuming whole grains and other good carbs or attempt a period of gluten-free to see what it might do to my body.

I don’t know much about a gluten-free lifestyle. It doesn’t have a great reputation to those who live and die by carbohydrate laden lifestyles. But every person I’ve ever met who’s gone gluten-free not only looked terrific, they themselves have praised the benefits in regard to how they feel.

I know I’ll never be a waif.  I don’t care to be. But I want to feel good and so I am intrigued.

Like with sugar, I know in the future I’ll be faced with a birthday party cupcake or a morning meeting complete with a box of Crispy Cremes to fuel tired brains. With gluten, I know there will always be mom’s pasta dinners, cheese and crackers at cocktail parties, barbeques with cheeseburgers begging for rolls.

This scares me. A cheeseburger without a roll scares me!

What do you know about gluten-free? How does one prepare for the lifestyle? What changes have you made to your diet that have helped you become a better healthier you (not necessarily in regard to weight)?

XOM

The bottom shelf of the pantry. Our go to snack station. I guess the Rice Crispies are okay? I have no idea, though.

I Quit You

When Ryan Hall dropped out of the Men’s Olympic Marathon less than a month ago, people accused him of being a quitter.

There are Pinterest quotes that scream, “Pain is temporary and quitting is permanent!”

I get that quitting can be bad, but it also can be good (and needed and safer and in Ryan Hall’s decision was an intelligent choice to save a career by accepting an injured hamstring).

I quit drinking Diet Coke well over a week ago when I realized that I was cracking a can every time I felt thirsty. I knew it was wrong, but I’m not sure it was because I felt so awful that I knew it had to be quit. It was a case of intellect outshining desire (damned desire) and in this case my brain won.

It was the first step in taking back some control of a diet that had spun away from me. I’d retreated back to the coping mechanism of using food during what’s been a tumultuous time in my life.

Entering day four without sugar hasn’t been as easy, but it also hasn’t been torture.

I am not having huge cravings and I’m beginning to feel what I think is hunger.

Five days ago the habit to return to the fridge/kitchen/pantry for energy and fuel and emotional strength left me feeling like a guinea pig on a wheel.

Once the wheel got going I could run and run and run, but I never felt satiated and never felt good.

But it saved me from having to think.

The hardest part of cutting out the refined sugar has not been the cravings. It’s been setting myself up to make better choices by having a fridge/kitchen/pantry stocked full of the right things.

In the midst of a hectic day, given the choice to eat a bag of Twizzlers over anything else, the decision too often made itself. Admitting is the first step to recovery and so I confess. This is how I tick. This is how I was made.

Will I ever eat a cupcake again? I’d be in denial if I said, “No.”

Do I hope I’m not in the position to eat one (or a box) for a long time? Oh God, on knees, saying prayers.

My biggest hope is that when I do decide to eat a cupcake (and let’s hope the cake part is moist and rich and the buttercream sings in its sweetness) that I will be able to stop there and not eat three.

A day at a time. A minute at a time. With faith that (for today) I can do this.

Do you emotionally eat? Do you have triggers? Ever feel like a guinea pig on a wheel in the kitchen (or anywhere else for that matter)?

XOM

Cupcakes by Frosted NYC at Stacey’s wedding. they were great. I was sent home with a box for my daughters whose temper fits made their trip down the aisle as flowers girls an impossibility. Would you like to place bets on who actually ate the box?

Laters Sugar…

One week ago I drank the last Diet Coke in the fridge and made the conscious effort to not head out to the store to buy more the next day or the next or the next.

At this time I can officially say, “I’m off the stuff,” until I am in a position where one is presented to me or in my general vicinity, upon which time I’ll be faced with making the right choice; a conscious choice to say, “No, thank you,” and drink something else.

I’ve had a hard time lately using food for reasons other than hunger. Hunger? I have no idea how that should feel.

Yesterday, sick and tired of being a slave to the pantry, I chose I to spend the day free from my biggest food challenge; sweet sweet sugar.

In order to set myself up for success some planning was involved.

Before morning yoga I headed to Whole Foods where I made myself a big green salad with garlicky kale and a boiled egg for protein. I bought a gigantic water, but decided against the little bags of mix nuts at the check out as they were full of added dried fruit (high in sugars and carbohydrates).

After yoga, I ate my salad and later had a bowl of pasta with a few turkey meatballs that Brian had made for the girls the day before. I had a scoop of peanut butter when I thought I was hungry (that hunger thing again…) and mixed up chia seeds with almond milk for later.

My goal to steer clear of ice cream and chocolate (in any form) was successful and by bedtime I fell asleep feeling a bit more confident in my ability to make better choices. I probably did eat too many calories, but I didn’t count, I didn’t get on the scale, I tried to stay present and listen to my body.

I wonder if the diet doctors would consider this approach to gaining back control of my food issues to be half-hearted. It doesn’t much matter. My conviction was strong, which is what is important.

Today is a new day and the planning has begun. Ezekiel bread, half a boiled egg, avocado, tomatoes, and some turkey sausage for breakfast. I’ve got a fridge full of juicing ingredients; spinach, kale, beets, carrots and celery. Apples are waiting on the counter for a late day snack. I haven’t figured out lunch and dinner, but I will try my best to make good choices for both.

How is your diet looking? Do you get that hunger thing? How do you know when it’s true hunger or bored/something to do hunger? 

XOM

I’m out of Greek yogurt, so I opted for this. I wonder sometimes if I need to quit dairy. I love my yogurt, it’s great protein, but I’m not sure if it’s just a vehicle for Go Lean Crunch, which may or may not cause me to be hungry within an hour of eating eat. #dilemma

Food Epiphany

On Sunday I went to the grocery store and spent a bundle; shopping just the outer spaces of the store.

At the same time, Brian went to Sam’s Club and bought “the big stuff” that we go through like water. Cheerios and milk especially.

The house was stocked full.

When Grace looked in the cabinet yesterday afternoon she had a total meltdown.

There was no sugary cereal. No candy in the cabinets. No ice cream. No empty carbs.

“But you can have an apple or a pear or a banana?” I said.

“How about a bowl of Cheerios or a frozen yogurt?”

“Would you like humus with cucumbers and carrots and tomatoes?”

“What about a cup of milk? A grilled cheese sandwich? Leftover noodles with zucchini from last night? A turkey roll?

She turned on the waterworks.

“I just don’t know!” She cried.

But she did know. She has gotten used to Swedish Fish and Bugles as a snack. There was comfort for her in knowing there would always be a box of Fruity Pebbles or cookies in the pantry.

It was an epiphany for me.

As a mom in charge of feeding these little humans I realized how my own food choices and mindless (read easier, here have some processed sugar) purchases have affected my children.

All of the foods I offered are things that are readily available in our kitchen, so they’ve ben exposed to the good stuff, but they’ve gotten used to the processed things that I’ve also bought (too often) for our house.

As is everything in life, this move toward a healthier existence is a process.

I am forty and am beginning the battle a little bit late.

For the children I hope I can turn around their habits for a lifetime of better (healthier) food choices resulting in strong bodies, good self images and satisfaction from the consumption of a juicy pear over an empty bowl of Lucky Charms.

Pear. pear. pear.
Pretty Pear image from Roost.com
Cark_Kleiner
Healthy Foods. These created by artist/photographer Carl Kleiner.
Grilled cheese and banana ice cream cone. Image (and lots of other cute food ideas for kids) at http://www.sixsistersstuff.com.
Edamame
Endamame. I had a bags of these in the freezer, but forgot about them! My kids love endamame!
Making whole foods fun for kids
Making whole foods fun for kids at http://www.naturallivingsocial.blogspot.com