Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Conversation

The night I ate too much Chinese food, I called my husband over and told him, "I ate too much Chinese."

He replied, "So? I got it for you as a treat."

"It was so good, I ate too much."


"So, I feel like I've blown it. I feel like I might as well forget about it all and just eat whatever I want."

"That's just an excuse to give up."

"But what do I do?"

He looked at me like I was from another planet.

"No, seriously, I don't know what to do. I blew it. I'm a failure."

And then he said, "Why don't you just eat less tomorrow?"


"Why don't you just eat half or something of whatever you eat tomorrow."

"Is that all? Is it that simple?"

and so it was.

(PS: dental work helps.)

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Reading the blogs in my sidebar today I am reminded of how courageous these folks are to put it out there. The effort to lose (or maintain a loss) is formidable in some cases...I feel quite small in the face of it.

My struggles are hardly monumental--and I feel as though I give into them more than I resist-- (though I have no idea how accurate that is. If the scale is our measure, then I must be doing something right as I believe I'm now down more than 15 pounds from where I "started.").

Nonetheless. I want to take a moment to write down what they make me think.

1. Food and what I eat may always be the subject of an internal dialogue. Should I eat this? Should I not? Should I put in on the plan for tomorrow? (This is one thing I love about Beck--she advocates you can eat anything you want--as long as you plan for it--and work it into your allotment of calories for that day.)

As a result, I will, probably, always, make a food plan for what I will eat on any given day. A drag. Yes. But that's life. The only time food isn't a struggle is when I choose to ignore it--and my weight. That's a choice--and a valid one. Sometimes, it's a necessary one. I am glad that I have not been preoccupied with my weight all my life.

In the Spring of 2001 I was about 165lbs. My weight crept up and up and up until, as I recall, October of 2008. Then, I weighed around 200 pounds. I quit smoking--and the next thing I knew I had gained about 30 lbs. In less than 6 months. Then, somehow, I got up to 258. That really scared me--so I set out in May of 2009 to lose weight. By September, I was down to 217. By May of 2010 I was back in the 240's. That stabilized until this Spring, when I went back up to 257 and decided to do something about it again.

But that's it. My weight history hasn't been all that dramatic or even all that interesting (to anyone but me, I'm sure!)

For me, the truth seems to be that if I pay attention to what I eat, I can lose weight. If I don't--then I gain. It's just a fact I have to accept--given that I do not want to weigh more than 200 pounds for the rest of my life.

Oh well.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Soft Foods Plan for a Day

I knew this day was coming...and I didn't plan for it.

Today was the first of four sessions to treat my periodontal disease. In other words, the left side of my mouth was frozen all the way up to my eyeballs while someone took sharp metal instruments and scraped away at the roots of my teeth for two hours.

Yeah. That bad.

And it will happen three more times.

I didn't have a food plan for today: and so I scrambled around to figure out what to eat. Next time, I'll be ready.

(Breakfast does not need to be a "soft" food.)

Breakfast: 1 cup Oatmeal with fruit.

1 cup Black bean soup, pureed
or 1 cup Brody's lentil soup, pureed
1 cup vegetable juice,
1 piece of soft, ripe fruit, or canned peaches, or applesauce.

1/2 medium sweet potato boiled with 1 carrot. Mash with a fork.
1 cup boiled potato (without skin). Mash with skim milk and butter.
Poached salmon. (2 oz)

Snack 1: The infamous Dr. Oz green drink: (I'll make half of it.)

Dr. Oz Green Drink Recipe

  • 2 apples, cored
  • 2 big handfuls of spinach
  • 1/2 cup of chopped parsley
  • 1 celery stick, chopped
  • 1 thumbnail length of ginger root, peeled
  • 1 lemon - juice only (use peel slice for zest)
  • 1 medium cucumber
Place ingredients in a blender, add 4 oz. spring water or a handful of ice cubes, then puree quickly for one minute. Makes two glasses of Dr. Oz’s green drink.

Snack 2: 1/2 cup yogurt with soft fruit, blended if necessary.

All I'm missing from this food plan is 1 serving (about 60 calories) of carbohydrates/starch/grains. I could use 1/2 cup of oatmeal, or 1/2 cup of mashed potatoes, possibly another 1/2 cup of bean soup (though my plan, unlike others, counts beans primarily as a protein and not a starch).

Here's a site I found with some great whole-food options: Soft Food Diet. Here's another from diettriffic

My next appointment is a couple of weeks away. Too soon for me.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

In Relationship

When my son was yound and in distress, my first thought was always, "He's hungry." I would sit down and nurse him. He would calm and nurse for a while.

I did the same for my daughter. But, sometimes, she wouldn't take my breast. Eating did not calm her.

Later, when the kids would hurt themselves, I found myself offerring a cookie to them. My son would take it. My daughter would look at me as if I were nuts with that clarity only a three year old has. That was when I realised I was perpetuating my family's cycle of using food for comfort.

Comfort: It is only one aspect of my relationship with food. Our relationship needs to be redefined and renegotiated in order for me to lose weight--and for it to stay lost.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I am losing weight.
But I don't deserve it.

I really am seeing the scale go down nearly every day. But I am not exercising with my Leslie Sansone videos every day and I'm not following my plan exactly right every day either.

Today, for example, I had a small bowl of potato chips. Yesterday, it was a half cup of chocolate chips and peanuts. The day before that --well, that was Monday. It may have been a "perfectly on-plan" day.

But there's that word. That horrible word. That word which derails more attempts at change than any other, I'd bet. That word which has destroyed more than it has ever created. What word?


Yeah, that one.

I think that rooted in my feelings of undeservedness is this feeling that I cannot possibly derserve what I want and am working towards unless my efforts are perfect.

So, while I may not be doing my Leslie Sansone videos evetry day, I am getting out in the evening and walking with my husband and the dog. I walked from one end of the mall to the other today without feeling like I had to collapse. My feet didn't ache, even though I wasn't wearing the "right" shoes.) I couldn't do that two months ago.

And the food? Well, it isn't perfect and I do need to reign it in: but it is perfectly acceptable, for example, to compensate for the unplanned "treat" (like the peanuts and chocolate chips) by not eating the one I had planned. It still counts as taking the right steps in the direction I want to be traveling.

When I look at it like that, "derserve" actually seems like an odd notion. Weight loss is not something I "deserve" as a result of my efforts: it IS the result of my efforts. One day, maybe, a plateau will be the result of my efforts--or a gain. I won't "deserve" those either--they will simply be the results of my actions--no more, no less.

I am responsible for my actions and thus I am responsible for their consequences, to a point. Teasing out that point is a brier patch of problems. The whole rhetoric of "personal freedom" and its accompanying language of "dessert" and "worthiness" around obesity and weight loss is a decidedly thorny issue.

But tonight, I can say this much. I am not doing this weight loss thing perfectly. Not by a long shot. But I seem to be doing it well enough.

And that's good enough.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Ending the Downward Spiral

This one.
This time.

It started with Tuesday's post, actually. I got hold of an article called "Obesity and Energy Balance--Is the Tail Wagging the Dog?" --a long and complicated thing (well out of my expertise) arguing that perhaps all the reasons Dr. Sharma lists as causes of weight gain (eating too much, feeling lethargic and not exercising, having cravings, etc) are actually symptoms of eating too much fructose--or something. They extrapolate to glucose, too, which confused me. (Maybe the whole chain of unfortunate events is set of by a combination of glucose and fructose, such as found in table sugar and HFCS? Could be.)

In any event, even though the authors were careful to say that their particular explanation of how obesity happens does not rule out making behavioural changes to manage it, I find myself completely demoralized and disabled by this approach. I felt the same way when I read Taubes back around Christmas time.

Perhaps one day I'll be able to "hear" whatever it is they are saying, but not right now.

The downward spiral, unfortunately, really began when my children got home. They were away for a glorious, quiet, and restful week and now they are back with their noise and their demands. It's been a difficult transition.

As well, I'm in the midst of planning my son's homeschool year. I want to start tomorrow. Neither of us are ready. As a result, I let the house go, this week, so it is now extremely difficult to find things and to maneuver. Fortunately, my husband took the kitchen in hand this morning before I got up and I was able to make breakfast according to my food plan. (Onion and mushroom frittata with rye toast and 1 cup of mixed berries topped with 1/4 cup yogurt. Coffee. Yum.) I didn't eat well yesterday at all. I couldn't figure it out. There was no counter space to prepare anything. I couldn't think what I wanted to prepare. I couldn't get my food planning sheets off the computer (more on that below.) I felt helpless and overwhelmed. I ate chocolate chips by the hand-full from the bag.

I didn't exercise this week. I need to do it more for mood control than for weight loss. I really could have used it on a week like this!

And sleep. The family, somehow, is back to going to bed at midnight (and myself later, since I need/want a completely calm house before I settle) and the kids and I aren't getting up until quite late. It's hard on my husband who has to be up at 6:30am. But somehow, in spite of my nagging, we get busy in the evenings and it is hard to get away. (My daughter won't go upstairs alone. She doesn't like to be in her room without me, so if I get busy--as I was with planning this week--she doesn't go to bed until I drag myself away. My fault, but I resent it.) My husband and son will take a bath--up to an hour each--every evening. We have only one bath tub--and my son waits for his father to be done so they can say prayers before he will go to bed. I often have to "remind" them that there's no TV allowed after ten o'clock and get them moving every single night. If I don't, things just drift. I should be over my anger about this, shouldn't I? It hasn't changed the situation in over 13 years.

Last, but not least, the computer started giving us major grief a few days ago. It was acting very slowly: programs, if they even started up, would run for a bit--and then not run for even longer. As I was trying to condense an extremely complicated Poetry unit from 24 weeks to twelve (and trying to determine whether hymns like "All Creatures of our God and King" are in short, long or common meter, what trochaic meter is and whether The Tyger by William Blake is an example of it or not. (It is). Of course internet access and the ability to construct spreadsheets were crucial for this task--and I worked on the hiccuping monster until I was forced to stop and run diagnostics. (Thank you, Major Geeks!)

My weight this week: 244.0lbs.

Amazing, that's still less than it was last week. By exactly how much, I don't know. I have to clean up the dining room/home office to find out.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Causes of Weight Gain

Dr. Sharma is posting articles from his archives this week. This one, What is Obesity? lists some factors which contribute to weight gain. I wanted to reproduce them here for my own reference.

Firstly, though, I have one small quibble with Dr. Sharma to put out of the way. When one is 250 pounds, (female and 5' 5"), and one remains at that weight for several months: is there something wrong with the body's "energy homeostasis'? Dr. Sharma assumes there is--
one can look at excess body fat simply as a sign or symptom of the fact that there is a something “wrong” with energy homeostasis.

But I thought homeostasis refers to whether or not one's weight is stable, not how much body fat is being stored. There is absolutely nothing wrong with one's "energy homeostasis" if one's weight is stable--even if it is "too high" by some measure.

To say what Dr. Sharma said is to assume that there is a "correct" or proper amount of fat to be stored on each and every body and that it is the job of whatever it is that contributes to "energy homeostasis" to achieve it. If body weight is in excess of this "correct" amount, then something is broken. I agree there is something broken, however, if someone is carrying too much weight--and it could be my marriage as much as confused satiety signals.

What exactly is not working to produce this "correct" or proper amount of body fat in each person's body could be any number of things, as Sharma says:
Only when we find what is causing the excessive intake will we have made a diagnosis of what is causing the problem - a few specific examples could include: poor meal planning, peer pressure, hedonic overeating, depression, obesogenic medications, binge eating disorder, defective satiety signaling, etc. The point is that till we know what is causing the overeating, we can’t fix it, which means we will have little success in treating the weight problem and will be limited to a “symptomatic” approach - just eat less! (emphasis mine)

On the other side of the "energy equation"
when the problem appears to be lack of activity, again the question is what exactly is causing the problem. Obviously if the problem is lack of time our approach will hopefully be very different than if the problem is back pain or lack of motivation (a possible symptom of sleep apnea, exhaustion or depression). A “symptomatic” but useless approach would be to simply recommend 10,000 steps. No better than offering an ice-pack to someone with a fever.(emphasis mine)

So, here's a check list for periodic review:

1. Do I have a food plan?
2. Is there anyone "pressuring" me to eat other than what is on my plan?
3. Am I eating for the rewards it brings me? Do I have a plan to cope with that?
4. Am I using food to treat my emotions, specifically, depression?
5. Am I on any medication which causes weight gain?
6. Do I have binge-eating disorder? If so, am I getting effective treatment for it?
7. Do I find myself unable to feel full after I eat? If I do feel full, do I continue to eat anyway? Do I want to continue eating?

As for exercise:
1. Have a scheduled time for a workout--or do I just hope to make it a part of my day, some where?
2. Is my back pain an impediment? Do I have a treatment plan for it?
3. If I'm not motivated to exercise, what are some of the ways I can motivate myself?

I am having trouble getting in my planned exercise: so I think I may make up a list of advantages for that and read that 2x a day!