How much is too much?

How much wheat is too much wheat? That’s the question I’m asking myself today.

As you know if you’ve check out the WHAT I’M READING tab on my blog, I’m reading The China Study and Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease. Both great books, and both recommend high fiber, low fat, plant-based eating, which includes lots of wheat.

Since I have changed my diet, I have been eating more vegetables than ever before in my life. I love it, and I am getting good results, but I’m wondering about all the wheat. HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH? Campbell and Esselstyn recommend lots and lots, but insist that it not be slathered with butters, cheeses, or similarly animal protein-based products, and no oil may be used in its preparation. That’s okay, I use nut butters and honey as a spread, but again, what about the wheat? When is it too much?

Are any of you eating high fiber diets at this point?  Are you avoiding animal proteins, in favor of plant-based proteins?  How much wheat is too much, in your opinion?

Short Day!

It is my impression that most people find Mondays difficult. Most people would like for the weekends to stretch out to four days, rather than two. Most people don’t appreciate having to get up early on Monday morning and trudge into work. Most people want more time for themselves. I’m exactly like most people. I’M TOO OFTEN RUSHED, too seldom settled, and too easily distracted to get the amount of “stuff” I have to do done in the amount of time I have to do it, but I’m trying not to complain.  I’m trying not to focus too much on what didn’t get done, isn’t getting done or won’t get done, because right now I need to focus on what needs to get done for me to stay on track with food.  

I have a friend who is good at focusing on the right thing.  When I find myself looking for excuses to revisit old behavior with food, I can hear her saying, “I know things are tough right now and you have a hundred things to do, but THAT DOES NOT NEGATE THE FACT THAT YOU NEED TO EAT HEALTHY TODAY. 

Can I say, I LOVE MY FRIEND!  I love that single-minded way she has of turning things around. 

Today is a short day for me.  I came in to the office late and I’m leaving early.  That’s good news, because it means I have more time to focus on getting healthy food on the dinner table.  I also have a chance to read some of my favorite health and fitness blogs this afternoon.  I have a chance to pen my own blog entry, too, which helps me to focus more acutely on getting better.  I have a long evening ahead of me, and I’m about two and a half hours late getting lunch.  A delay like that is usually a set-up for bad eating for me.  Right now, I need to be reminded that EATING RIGHT IS MY PRIMARY GOAL for each day, not just those days when I feel like eating right.

How do you ekk out time to take care of yourself?  Do you have some strategies you employ to stay on track? What is most important to you at this stage in your life?

Flamable Food

Have you ever had A FOOD MESSAGE from God that came through loud and clear? I think I had one today.

Two nights ago I went with Bob to the Fair. We go every year and we eat at the fair grounds, every year. We have a sausage sandwich with grilled peppers and onions, and peach shortcake with vanilla ice cream. This is our RITUAL FAIR WEEK INDULGENCE and something we enjoy doing together. We had friends join us this year, and instead of the peach shortcake my gal pal and I indulged in soft serve ice cream. Yum! I did have the sausage sandwich, too (call it peer pressure), but I gave half of my sausage link to Bob and asked the servers to pile on the veggies. It was the best I could do this year. Maybe next year I will do better.

Anyway, the day after my controlled splurge at the fair, I was one pound down on the scales. I could hardly believe it! “Woohoo,” I thought, “I’m safe.” I’d been fearing that weigh in, because THE SAUSAGE WAS A CLEAR VIOLATION of my commitment to eat less fat, less meat, less salt, less of the bad stuff. Still, I was happy that my weight went down, and not up, after the fair experience.

Today when I weighed myself, the scale registered A TWO-POUND GAIN. Rats!  I knew that sausage link would catch up with me. I also knew what I had to do to get that two pounds off. I would be especially mindful of what I put in my mouth today and eat a slim lunch.  I did all that, but about 2:00pm I was ravenously hungry. 

What to do? What to do?

I searched for gum, thinking that would suffice and stave off my hunger.  Then another option occurred to me: Popcorn. I have a few last bags of microwave popcorn in my office. Mary Theresa has asked me not to eat the stuff, and I’ve done pretty well at staying out of it. My son bought me a hot air popper for my birthday, sweet guy that he is, and I have not used microwave popcorn since that day.  As I grabbed the packet of popcorn kernels out of their hiding place on my credenza, I felt a higher power speaking to me, saying DON’T GO DOWN THAT PATH. If you’ve read my last few postings, you know I’m a food addict, so my will power is non-existent most days, but I do get warnings in advance sometimes and today was one of those days. Still, I chose to override the prompting I got to stay away from processed foods that are quite literally killing me. Ugh! For reasons behind this, read my earlier post.

Suffering from food obsession, I opened the door on the microwave, noticed two potato chip bags that had been stored inside and removed them.  I then closed the door, hit the button that is labeled POPCORN, and headed back to my desk to let the kernels pop. That was my second mistake.

Upon returning to the break room I found a smoking microwave and a lingering stench. Oh, no. I knew this spelled trouble. Sure enough, the bag inside was on fire and smoke billowed into the room. My first thought was, “Please God, don’t let that fire alarm go off!” The sound of the fire alarms in my office are ear piercing. My second thought was, “HOW EMBARRASSING!” What I discovered when I opened the microwave again was that a third bad of potato chips still remained inside and they were on fire!

You can just imagine how thrilled I was to discover this disaster. I had to enlist the help of other staff members to remove the burning chips from the break room, then clean (or try to clean, singe marks don’t remove easily) the microwave I had perhaps ruined. All this so that I could have A FEW MORE BITES OF FOOD this afternoon. I usually don’t attribute stuff like this to Divine retribution, but “Yes, God, I’m listening!”

Do you ever feel like you can’t make it through the afternoon without eating something else? What time of day do you feel like grazing, other than meal time? How do you handle those “day after” experience that come up in your life?

Doctoring my drinks

So, today I revisited an old and bad habit: ICED COFFEE. Iced Coffee wouldn’t be such a bad thing for me if it weren’t for the fact that I have to (as my gramps would say), “doctor it” before drinking. I doctor my coffee with flavorings, liquid sugar and cream, oh lovely cream. I know that this type of indulgence does not support my current goal of losing weight and growing more fit, and still I find myself draw to it, and therein lies the problem.

Normal eaters are drawn to food on occasion. They might be “tempted” to eat something they wouldn’t normally eat on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s (can you say Champaign), or at an outdoor Bar-B-Que. They are not tempted to ruin their health or make themselves SICK OVER WRONG FOOD CHOICES, though, and that’s what separates them from me. I am willing to be sick on occasion. Sadly, on too many occasions.  I am.

This morning it was raining as I headed out for the commute to my day job. You’d think that rain would not be an enticement for me to stop on the way to work and get a glass of Iced Coffee. You would think that Iced Coffee would be a drink reserved for a hot day, a muggy day, a swelting-102-degree-in-the-shade day, but you would be wrong.

For the Sugar Addict, ANY AND EVERY OCCASION IS A REASON TO INDULGE.

We think about food all the time. We plan what we will find in the grocery store, then fantasize about what we will make with it. We may calculate how many calories are in it, or give ourselves a good talking to about the necessity to leave it at the grocer’s and move along, but THAT DOES NOT STOP US from bringing this substance home, making it into a delish desert (or not), and eating it. Diet be damned, we will have that thing. This is the difference between us and all those normal eaters out there.

The good news: I only drank half of my SMALL Iced Coffee before coming to my senses and throwing the rest down the drain.  That’s progress, right?

By mid-morning, I had remembered that just because sugar comes in liquid form DOES NOT NEGATE MY NEED TO EAT HEALTHY today.

So, down it goes and up I stand once more, on my own two feet, DOING WHATEVER I CAN TO FIGHT THIS DISEASE, and making better choices, one day at a time.

Do you ever indulge in foods that are not good for you? Once you’ve taken that first bite, sip, drizzle, lick, how long does it take you to rethink your position? What do you do to stop yourself from sabotaging your recovery?

Top 10 Questions I Ask Myself

   What can I say about how I’m relating to food at this point in my recovery? The fact is that sometimes WHEN IT COMES TO FOOD, I DON”T KNOW MYSELF very well. That’s why it’s important for me to check in with others, see what they are doing, connect with a support group, follow a few blogs, and read as much as I can about the disease of compulsive eating and the tricks of the trade that make it possible to change.

Sure, I know what a few of MY TRIGGER FOODS are—they all contain SUGAR—but what else do I need to look out for as I’m working to develop a better plan of eating?

First and foremost, I think I need to remind myself that THIS IS GOING TO BE A LONG PROCESS; a happily-ever-after affair, wherein I will be required to commit myself to progress every day and at every meal.

The following is my TOP 10 GO-TO QUESTIONS for keeping focused on weight loss:

1.  Have I binged today or considered overeating?

2.  Have I eaten secretly, or am I ashamed of anything I have put in my body?

3.  Have I tried to numb feelings with food?

4.  Have I used food to feel happy, joyful, excited, part of the gang?

5.  Have I used a holiday, party, picnic or date as an excuse to pig out?

6.  Have I brought trigger foods into the house, or sought them out at other’s homes?

7.  Does my food shopping support my goal?

8.  Am I actively seeking to surround myself with a support system of like-minded people?

9.  Am I still willing to get on the scale everyday, and go back to basics whenever I see a 3 lbs fluctuation in weight that lasts more than 2 days?

10.  Am I still wishing I could eat all I want and not gain weight?

How about you, what tips or tricks do you employ to keep you focused and on track with your weight loss?  Are you maintaining a big loss?  How do you do it?

Six Little Blogs

In an effort to stay on track and learn more about plant-based foods and eating, I follow a number of blogs. Okay, I FOLLOW SIX BLOGS to be precise. I began following these blogs for advice when I was diagnosed with diabetes in December of 2011. I have learned a lot over the last six months, and I’ve been encouraged to keep putting one foot in front of the other as I’ve worked to get better. Today, I want to share some of the methods I’m using to keep the scales moving in a downward direction.

1. I READ. In this age of internet wonder and wireless cell phones, information I need is at my finger tips any time of the day or night. This is very helpful to someone who feels the need to educate herself without spending hundreds of dollars to do it. THE LOCAL LIBRARY IS A GREAT RESOURCE for obtaining books on almost any topic, and if you are blessed to have a local library that loans DVDs, all the better. I’d much rather learn Yoga or Tai Chi in my living room where no one can see me look ridiculous, than cut a check for $150 to learn it while strangers stare, amazed at my incompetence.

Some of the books I am currently reading are highlighted on a separate tab on this site.  Check them out there.

2.  I FOLLOW SEVERAL BLOGS.  Already discussed earlier.

3.  I WRITE.  I author several blogs on varying topics.  They keep me out of the food and focused on something that is incredibly important to me.  As a sugar addict, I can be tempted to eat sweets for almost any reason, but particularly when I am BORED, ANGRY, FRUSTRATED OR HAPPY.  I know, that last one throws people for a loop when I share it, but think about the times when you eat too much and go home feeling bloated.  How many of those times are linked to happy celebrations like birthday parties, wedding receptions, dinner dates, and family reunions?  I take my composition book with me almost everywhere I go, and when I need it, I’m not afraid to get ‘er out and start writing.

4.  I PRAY.  Praying serves a dual purpose in my search for health and fitness.  It takes me away from the food and it helps me to focus on setting goals that reach beyond my immediate need.  Praying reminds me that I have an UNLIMITED POWER SOURCE available to me.  It also reminds me that there are other sugar addicts out there.  I am not alone.  

5.  I REACH OUT FOR HELP.  I see a natural foods holistic nutritionist about every six weeks.  I had scheduled appointments with two dietitians working in the medical community when I was first diagnosed as diabetic, but was unsatisfied with the attention or guidance they could provide.  They are very busy, what with all the BARIATRIC SURGERIES AND LAP BAND PROCEDURES that are all the rage these days, so I’m not faulting them.  But I have found the natural foods path much less littered with surgical clients, and a whole lot more helpful.  I’m still looking for a life coach, but for now I am happy to have Mary Theresa helping me set life goals that support and encourage the changes I’m making with my food.  

I began this post wanting to talk about frustrations I am experiencing in my life today.  You know, that “stuff” that seeps into our lives and strangles joy.  For those of us who depend on food to deaden the pain, PERSONAL PROBLEMS CAN BE DAUNTING.  Not that they aren’t for regular eaters, too, but choosing not to eat over the anxiety is essential to the health and fitness of recovering sugar addicts.  Eating won’t solve the non-food problems we have, and the guilt is too much to bear when you already have Texan sized demons to slay.  Slowly, I am finding better ways to deal with life.  I hope sharing my list will help you do the same! 

What do you do to keep yourself moving toward recovery and health?  Is there a favorite trick of the trade you like to use to fuel your progress? 

Monday Menu

Breakfast:
Whole grain bagel with butter. Water to drink.

Snack:  Hazelnuts, a hand full.

Lunch:
Banana Walnut Oatmeal with blueberry’s. Water to drink.

Snack: Soft serve vanilla cone.

Dinner:
homemade beef and bean burrito with whole wheat wrap, salad with lite ceasar dressing, refried beans, quinoa, cantalope. Water to drink.