No Oil Slicks Here!

Why are healthy baked goods SO DRY? Why do all the recipes I see for black bean burgers and quinoa sloppy Joes look so dry in the pictures? Why is it that the healthy bread I baked a few weeks ago was left uneaten? I think my family members were afraid they’d break a tooth on the loaf, if they tried it after that first few minutes it was out of the oven.

Seriously, I could barely cut it with a serrated knife on day two.

I think I know the reason for the dryness in the dough is that it has very little oil in the recipe. While I realize that oil is fattening and those trying to lose weight and cut down on trans fats need to avoid processed breads and deserts, I’m FINDING IT HARD TO GET EXCITED about the cost and labor involved in making a healthy recipe, only to have it sit in the cupboard or refrigerator until I finally throw it away, unwilling myself to eat what is hard as a rock.  Is it just me, or does it seem that if you eat right you have to be willing to forfeit moisture in the finished product?

I told my family that I think a drier consistency is something we will just have to get used to as we move away from processed foods and eat more whole and unprocessed recipes/meals, but is that true? Do we have to GIVE UP MOISTURE FOR GOODNESS?  Is it necessary to forfeit a creamy texture, in order to gain better digestion and establish a healthier future?  Can’t we have both?  All?  A moist bread dough that is good for us?

I want to eat right and ENJOY MY FOOD.  Does that mean I can never eat home-made bread again?  I’ll do it, if I must, but I tell you what, it won’t make me happy.

Do you have a recipe for bread that is healthy and moist?  What do you do to bring moisture and a smooth texture back to your baking?  What oils do you use when you bake? 

Bed Buddies, No More

When food is no longer your friend, what do you do? Do you still hang out together? Do you still meet each other at the mall? Do you still hit all the county fairs together, go to the movies together on the weekends, or share the holidays? Are you still BED BUDDIES? Do you still pine for one another’s company, to the exclusion of human beings, or do you finally muster the courage to say good-bye, cut the tie that binds (or bound) and move on?

I’ve had a few ugly break-ups in my day. I’ve had some geographical disturbances that caused the death of friendships.  I’ve also had a few relationships that fizzled out and eventually died where no one was at fault. You know, the kind of natural breaks I’m talking about, where people who once worked, schooled, or exercised together have moved on to other jobs, college, or gyms across town. SOME OF THOSE PARTINGS WERE SAD, but a lot of them were predictable. People grow and change, and one day you find that you just don’t have the same connection with that other person you once enjoyed. It happens. It’s a part of life. You move on, but hopefully with some fond memories that stay with you for the rest of your life.

Even when the break up is bad, I try to remember the good times I’ve had with my ex’s–for there were good times, too.  As I’m working through this parting though, leaving my best friend, food, behind, I’m finding it UNWISE TO GLANCE BACK or ponder the memories. The reason for this is that the defining factor in my relationship with food has always been dysfunction.  I ate because I was lonely, bored, angry, threatened, sad, happy, frightened, challenged…

In other words, I maintained a destructive relationship with food that was based first and foremost on emotion. That, and a deep-seated need to MASK TRUE FEELINGS and avoid life by hooking up with a friend my peers wouldn’t approve.  We met secretly many times, but other always knew.  All they had to do was look at me, it was written all over my body.

Like a meth head who’s fled the streets and is hold up in a rehab somewhere, I’ve TAKEN ACTION to rid myself of a junk food dependency, and I’m feeling good about that.  Can I stay clean and disconnected to the source of my sugar addiction?  I hope so.  I really want this friendship to end.  It may be painful, but it’s time.  I may miss my buddy, but I’ll be better off.

How do you find the courage to walk away from a relationship that just isn’t working for you anymore?  What advice do you give for beginning again?     

More Scary Hair Stories

Yesterday I had my hair cut. While at my appointment, I heard that my hair stylist is leaving. After eleven years, she is opening her own salon. She asked if I would go with her, to her new location. I said I would, IF she offered Saturday appointments. Otherwise, no, because my work location and her salon are about an hour and a half’s drive from one another. Not feasible. She assured me that she will be scheduling Saturday appointments. I was both OVERJOYED AND SADDENED BY THE NEWS, because I know how much I love my weekends off from work and feel sorry for her that she will have to be on-the-job on Saturdays.

Crystal assured me that she will be taking Sundays and Mondays off once the new salon is operational, September 12th.  I guess that’s okay, but something as simple as the resentment of having to work on the weekend could send me over the edge back in the day, and become a JUSTIFIABLE REASON TO EAT.  Crystal is not a foodie, so she’ll be fine, but my appointment and the conversation I had with her about the her venture brought up the unpleasant reminder for me that I still have food ghosts haunting me during my waking hours.

In my last post I shared with you about my fears that my hair is falling out.  It is.  Whether the rate of loss is as great as I think it is, is irrelevant.  Controlling the fear factor associated with losing my hair at this point  any point in my life is what’s important to me.  I have to manage the fear, so that I can manage the anxiety, so that I can lessen the loss, so that I can enjoy a head full of hair in the future.  Sound like a round robin of obsessive thinking to you?  Me too, but hey, losing your hair is a big deal, am I right?  The good news is that during my appointment with Crystal yesterday she said, “Sure, I can use the razor on the under side of your hair.  YOU HAVE A LOT OF HAIR BACK THERE, so taking off a little more isn’t a problem.” 

How good is God? 

I needed a professional to assure me that I wasn’t going to go bald anytime soon.  And yes, it felt good to hear it!

Have you ever had a scary hair event in your life?  What did you do about it?  Was it easily handled, or did it take a while to get back to normal?

Hairy Scary

MY HAIR IS FALLNG OUT. I’m just not sure whether it is falling out because of how I have changed my diet, if it is falling out for another reason, or if it isn’t really falling out as quickly as I think it is.

Once, when I was in my twenties, my hair started FALLING OUT BY THE HANDFULS. Every morning my sink would be covered with newly dislodged strands. Day after day more hair fell, until finally I went to see someone about it. I saw my GP first, who told me to see a dermatologist. I saw a dermatologist, who examined my scalp and hair and found nothing awry.  He did want to discuss recent changes in my life, however, things that might be signaling my body and stressing my system.

Have you moved recently? No. Has anyone close to you died? No. Have you ended or begun a new job? No. HAVE YOU RECENTLY BEEN DIVORCED? No. Are you pregnant, or have you recently given birth? No.

No. No. No.

When we were done playing 20 Questions, this is what the professional said to me: I don’t know what it is that has happened to you lately, but something HAS YOU STRESSED OUT. You have answered “no” to every question that I have asked you, and you claim that there is nothing bothering you, but I will tell you this, hair falls out for a reason. There is no apparent reason for the hair loss that I can detect on your scalp, but my experience tells me that you are stressed and the stress you are now experiencing, although unaware of, is having an affect on your body.

WHEN WE FACE DIFFICULT TIMES OR BIOLOGICAL CHANGES, and we are either unaware of how they are affecting us, or we deny that they are affecting us, the body finds a way to express what our conscious mind cannot, he said. Sometimes, we break out in hives (I had done that already). Sometimes, we cry or have nightmares (nightmares, check). Sometimes our hair falls out. For you, hair is falling.

I left the man’s office with no recommendation of further treatment. My hair was falling out. I needed to relax. RIGHT. While my hair was falling out?!?! Right!

It has occurred to me that MY BODY MAY BE STRESSED RIGHT NOW. I received a diagnosis of type 2 Diabetes in December of last year. That can cause stress. I have lost thirty pounds in the last six months. I guess that could cause stress. I am eating an increasingly different diet than I have consumed ever before, and I am struggling to navigate through the maze of plant-based proteins, some days.  Is that why my hair is falling to the floor? I don’t know, but things have changed a lot in a short amount of time. Change is tough on all of us. Apparently, I get more stressed about it than most, and the fact that this doesn’t consciously register with me means my body has to compensate in ways other than a feeling of anxiety that is palpable.

Some folks twittle their thumbs, twirl their hair, pace the floors, bite their lips.  I don’t do any of these things when I’m anxious. Maybe that’s my problem.

Has your body ever responded to change in weird ways? How have you handled the stress making big changes in life can bring? What is your go-to remedy for stress?

A Pocket Full of Change

Change is possible. I believe that, which is why I’m attempting to get fit and improve my health this year. CHANGE IS NOT EASY. Change does not come about instantaneously. Change takes hard work, self-discipline, and the desire to see one’s dreams come to pass during one’s lifetime.

Change INSISTS THAT I LEAVE BEHIND OLD HABITS and that I attempt new things. Change demands that I get off the couch, into the world, and away from the food. Change suggests that I will find comfort in new and perhaps uncomfortable ways. Isn’t that crazy?

Sometimes, I like change.

More often, I hate change.

Almost always, I FEAR CHANGE.

When I am afraid, I remind myself that courage is not the absence of fear. Rather, courage is facing your fears and moving through them to a better place.

Of what am I afraid? The usual: That I won’t be able to do what I’ve set out to do…that in not doing what I have set out to do I will be labeled a loser…an Un-Done Loser. I’M AFRAID THAT I WILL NEVER REACH MY GOAL WEIGHT, which is sixty scary pounds below the weight I am now. I’m afraid that I cannot survive on 1500 calories a day, a number I have yet to achieve. This is a real fear for me. Silly, right, but a real fear nonetheless.

I’m afraid that if I don’t get a handle on my FOOD ADDICTION it is going to put me in an early grave.

Just this morning I had a rather scary thought. What if I lose all the weight I want to lose and then get cancer and die.  What does one thing have to do with the other, my clear-minded self asks?  Nothing, but these are the thoughts that I have to deal with every time I try to push the scales down past a certain point.

I try to mitigate my fears each day by doing something that supports my health and fitness goals. I journal my food, sometimes weighing and measuring. I eat whole grains and raw fruits and vegetables. I read blogs that talk about how to GET FIT THE RIGHT WAY. I take a B12 tablet every day, along with additional vitamin D. I read books that teach me how to pair proteins. I ask close friends to “pray about my food and that I can keep losing.,  A lot of people know I have food issues, but not many know to what extent those food issues disrupt my daily living. I don’t share such personal details with my friends or associates, because I fear that they will want to either become the food police for me, or will be as discouraged as I am when weeks go by and I lose a mere three pounds, maybe.

Will it always be this scary, I wonder?

What scares you about losing weight? Have you had times when you felt numbed by your fears? What strategies do you employ to get you past your fears and faithfully moving forward?

The Pretender

“All mortals tend to turn into the thing they are pretending to be.”  CS Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

COULD IT BE POSSIBLE that all the time I’ve spent educating myself about fitness and nutrition is actually turning me into someone who will one day be both fit and healthy? I hope so. I hope that all the hours I’ve spent reading about cholesterol and casein, diets and eating dynamics, exercise and the excising of sugar-laden pastries from my plate are little by little TURNING ME INTO A STRONGER PERSON. I hope that the DVDs I have watched and the conversations I have had with others are, at this moment, working inside me to bring together muscles, bones and flesh that are healthy, vital and strong.

I hope that journaling my food and learning about how to pair proteins is actually building a body that can properly handle the vitamins and minerals it attempts to take in each day. I hope that the ACHIEVEMENT OF OPTIMAL HEALTH is actually, slowly but meaningfully, turning the tide for me and giving me a better chance at living a longer, stronger life. I hope that this work is not for naught, hopeless, because in the end it will get me no further than previous attempts at health have gotten me.

I’m a firm believer that WHAT ONE DOES, ONE IS. I think that perhaps we really can pretend ourselves into reality. I’ve known people before who bluffed their way into jobs, into relationships, into the military, into college. In the beginning they were bluffing, but then acting as if they really knew what it was they were doing, they became proficient. I don’t mean to say they deceived anyone. Perhaps some did, but most were just exceedingly confident in their own abilities to do whatever they wanted to do.

I want that kind of confidence!

Is achieving health and fitness a matter of BELIEVING YOU CAN or will it require more to get there, from here? I don’t know, but what I do know is that I have a pretty good imagination. If there is something to this pretending-your-way-to-success thing, I’m going to find it and claim it for my own.

What do you think of the concept of pretending to be, until you actually are? Can one use her imagination to drive her recovery? Do all mortals tend to turn into the things they are pretending to be?

Cyber Help

Lately, I’VE DONE A LOT OF RESEARCH AND READING about nutrition on the internet.  I’ve also been following a few blogs. Well, okay, more than a few.  I’ve been picking fresh fruit off the internet tree of health.  Do you do that? If not, why not?

I have gained some INCREDIBLE INSIGHTS out there in cyber space, and I’ve read some wonderful postings that have helped me formulate my own health and fitness plan. I’ve been encouraged by the progress others are making. I’ve been challenged to try new recipes. I’ve been referred to other equally helpful sites, by bloggers who had already given me much food for thought.  I have found the health and fitness network out there to be generous, kind, and nurturing. I think I may have found a few kindred spirits while I’ve been poking around in cyber space.  It feels great to be surrounded by a cloud of fitness witnesses, who remember what it felt like to be sick and tired and searching for a way out of obesity.

Losing weight and GETTING IN SHAPE IS HARD, especially if you have more than a few pounds to shed. I do, and it is.  But sharing this experience and the struggle with others makes it a little bit easier.

Are you looking for that person who seems to share common ground with you and your efforts to lose weight?  Is there a site out there that is especially helpful to you as you develop good nutrition and set nutritional goals?  What are you doing this week to get better?