Sunday, January 31, 2010

Anger and Food

One of my friends—and you know who you are if you are reading this—eats ridiculously healthy. She makes everything from scratch and a preservative only crosses her lips if she doesn't know about it. She is a faithful exerciser and does really great resisting "bad" foods. But the hilarious bit is that she loves to cook for others and is a bit of a food pusher when it comes to fattening food. She'll often cook macaroni and cheese for her child, although she'd never eat it. And when I come over to her house,  she'll start offering to make me something, including whatever her family is eating such as waffles, fish fry, desserts, etc. It's enough to make me want to slip her fattening food and tell her it's Weight Watchers.

Last night we went to a mutual friend's house and she brought cheese fondue with bread! I only had three pieces, but it was well over my limit. Meanwhile, she ate vegetables, maybe two pieces of fondue and a small bite of everything else -- including my edamame, sugar snap peas and Newman's Ranch dressing and some brie and crackers. Normally, that would be enough to really make me steamed up. 

The truth, however, is that it's not all about me. She's just making food she thinks everyone will like and it gives her pleasure. There's no secret subversive plot to undermine my temporary resolve. I can see that my resentment of her thin-ness and her healthy lifestyle is really envy. I want what she has and when she doesn't play by the rules, I get angry. Then I eat. It's like this horrid cycle of eating my feelings—instead of being mad at myself for not having more discipline, I get mad at her, then I eat. Then I'm mad at myself for not having more discipline. What I resolve to do is allow myself a brief moment of anger -- really feel it by letting it get into my heart. Then get my "good" head back on and start feeling love. It's just food. Is it something I really like? And if it is, I'll have a bite and if it isn't, I won't.

There's so much anger around my life associated with food. First, I have had this hearing condition called hyperacusis that is really a drag. One aspect of it is this anger/frustration that's triggered by certain sounds. Not only does it hurt me, but for some reason it creates this chemical reaction that also makes you feel highly angry or irritated. Unfortunately, many of the noises are around eating: lip smacking, scraping a teeth on fork, clinking or scraping plates with metal or china, scraping metal with metal and, the supreme insult, eating with the mouth open and hearing the food swish about. Just thinking about them makes me frown and prickles run up my spine. But I also have developed this unconscious anger and resentment when people eat when I'm not hungry, invite me to eat when I'm not wanting food, eating foods that I shouldn't have, noticing what I'm eating and eating a little, tiny bit of food and then saying "I'm so full." Then there's the anger at myself when I overeat, the resentment when people comment on my weight, the resentment when people advise me as if it's all about just educating me on what to eat and what not to eat and the frustration at myself when I realize I ate without thinking.

I have to try to find a new place to live with myself when it comes to food and my attitude about food.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Conscious Eating

I happened to catch Michael Pollan on Oprah last night. What timing! I am more convinced than ever that the reason Americans are so fat is they have been convinced by the food industry that the fillers in low-fat foods are healthy, that faster is better and that having any food any time of year is better. But perhaps we eat more because our taste buds are never satisfied? 

I immediately purchased "Food Rules," "In Defense of Food," and "The Omnivore's Dilemma" and am so excited!

As an experiment and a good-bye to fast food, today I had a McDonalds Angus burger. As I chewed slowly, I forced myself to chew it slowly consciously so that I had a good idea of what it was I would miss and liked. I found that the initial flavor seemed ok. Nice mushrooms, cheesy cheese and moist burger. Then I noticed the salt. And then the slick oil. And then the extremely bland and tasteless aftertaste. Wait. It didn't taste at all good once the initial first or second chews were past. Once I had chewed each bite 5 to 10 times the flavor was gone and it wasn't at all good. Then by the 15th chew, it was really flavorless except the salt. Good riddance. It was an excellent exercise in conscious eating. Usually I eat these types of foods so fast and on the run that I never even get to the 10th chew or even stop to taste what I'm eating. The first few seconds of the bite are all that I taste and this over-processed food only has a mildly good flavor at first. I remember back when I had gone several years without eating fast food, the smell of it made me ill. I can't wait to get to that feeling again, because I know the way I eat when I'm busy is a big part of my issue.

So from now on, whether I'm eating right or wrong, I'm going to focus on really tasting the food and analyzing how it tastes. I'm also going to think about how good the food is for me (I can excuse some less-than-stellar taste if it is really good for me). I already won't buy a fresh tomato out of season, preferring the canned tomatoes that were probably in pretty good shape at the time--as long as there aren't any additives. And some frozen vegetables have nothing but the vegetable in them.

Good bye fast food.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Busy Lady Challenge

Well, Day One went very well. But it has become apparent to me what exactly is going wrong when I'm out and about. I see my habitual stops and the urge to steer the car there requires almost gargantuan efforts to resist. Must. Not. Eat. Junk!

I want to thank people for their support, by the way. As a serial dieter, I always think people are going to scoff when I start up again, saying to themselves "Sure, Lisa. Sure." But this time, I am really focused. I'm putting reminders about being healthy on my fridge, I'm cutting out photos for inspiration, including some of me when I was thin, and really looking at my Cooking Light magazines. I see my steppies looking at me with pride when I make good choices. It's good for them to see too. They love to eat the bread and cheese and skip the veggies and fruit. My efforts will surely help them as well as me. But the truth is, this time it's really for me. I want to feel great.

Here's an email post from my friend Deb:

"You can do it!!! I too have put on a few pounds---I eat out of boredom and I'm putting together a vision board to keep focused. Trying not to 'live to eat' but 'eat to live' :) Once I get in the mode of thinking of food as fuel and not pleasure and reward it will help---and my South Beach Diet/Lifestyle cookbooks :) Hang in there!"

Last night, instead of the paella, we had the delicious vegetable soup I had already made. It had kale, broccoli, carrots, pearl onions, soy beans (frozen), bok choy and chicken. It was so good! I also made the kids grilled cheese (I had 1/2 a grilled cheese with no butter on a cast iron skillet -- I didn't even miss the butter!

Tonight, I am going to make the paella -- but I'm going to use what we have on hand. I have so much food in my freezer and fridge, I'm going to do a little surprise potluck and just add saffron. I know I have the turkey sausage and shrimp. Yum.

Now for the driving around dilemma. Today I'm "Straight Eye for the Queer Guy." My friend -- let's call him Dave -- is a wonderful man who happens to be a gay ho hates to shop. What? True. So I am taking him shopping for clothes. I also consulted on his house remodel and redecoration. It's fun. He's my gay Ken doll. Now, if only I got skinny, I could be my own mature Barbie.  So what to carry with me so I don't eat bad food when he takes me to lunch? Craisins? Pretzels? Apple slices? All sound good. Carrots are easy, but I really hate those little carrots. Too crunchy. I think  I'll also take a graham cracker or two in case I need anything sweet and starchy (craisins are sweet and tarty). Any other ideas? I'd welcome all suggestions.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A new day!

Ok, I finally married this October as a chubby woman. Although I loved my wedding and felt somewhat beautiful on my wedding day, I do wish I had been more comfortable with my figure (see attached photo and note the guns and mighty bosom). Having said that, I am more committed than ever to finding the skinny me inside the zaftig woman. Looking at photos of me around my 30th birthday, when I probably looked my best from the neck down, I know it's in me, I just have to find that trigger.

Listening to a Wayne Dyer CD recently helped me get to the point of really making this work. He said his daughter finally kicked drugs when she was tired of being that person and she no longer wanted to disappont God. I can't say there's a God equivalent in my equation, but I can say that I want to live the way I believe I'll be happiest, and that way isn't worrying about whether I look fat in clothes, feeling like I have to make excuses when I eat something fattening or cringing from someone's touch (even my husband's) if it's anywhere near my stomach. I can truly see myself being confident, thin and purposeful and look forward to that life.

Here's an example of what I'm tossing: last night my husband made pizza. He's known for his deliciously herbal crust, and the kids love it. It was Colin's 10th birthday and he requested it over going out for pizza, which is a clue as to how tasty Tim's pizza really is. Although I know I eat too much of it, I didn't make something else, or eat just a little of the pizza. I devoured plenty. And I also had a hunk of pecan pie with my fabulous whipped cream that also includes a bit of mascarpone, sugar and vanilla. It hit me then that I always eat as if it's my last meal. The constant threat of being on a diet  makes me want to eat more in case it is my last big meal.

So I've joined Weight Watchers, am trying to eat more seasonal/local foods (like before) but also really focusing on whether I'm hungry or not and whether what I'm eating is fueling me for my life and isn't just a quick emotional fix. That's right, I'm also an emotional eater. A little rejection from one of our kids or a friend can send me straight for Taco Hell. A nice, cheesy bean burrito is just what the doctor prescribed. But I'm going to find new ways to be emotional—I always know my horse makes me feel better.

I've also lost my former love of being active. I rarely ride my horse—partly because someone told me I was too big for him which isn't even true—and never go to the gym.

This week, however, that all changes. My sister, Lori, and I are entering into a secret pact—how secret is a pact posted on a blog, though?—to once again be thinner than our sister Heidi. Heidi's done a terrific job losing weight over the past two years or so and shaming us with her running, yoga-ing and whatnot. Our goal is to lose more. That way we'll all be thin and healthy (our sister Holly has always been thin).

My first task is to figure out a great meal for dinner that isn't chicken, vegetables and salad and that my steppies will also love. Perusing my only Weight Watchers cookbook has revealed a great option: Paella with Roasted Vegetables. It includes beets, tomatoes, zucchini, parsnip, red bell peppers, saffron, veggie broth, garlic, white rice, broccoli, cauliflower and peas. I think I'll some Italian turkey sausage and a few steamed mussels for protein and reduce the amount of rice in the dish. (3/4 cup instead of 1 cup dry.)

Wish me luck!