I don’t know about you, but for me the end of summer and beginning of fall seems to be almost more busy than was the rest of the this year.  Things have picked up at work, so that even when my intentions to post a new blog entry are good, I rarely find the time to follow through.  I need to write about this journey I’m on, so today I have eked out just enough time to write this blog post, but no more.

My weight loss efforts continue to move forward in a linear fashion at this time, but I HAVE TO CONFESS, I’m not losing weight.  This is frustrating to say the least.  I have been encouraged to tweak my food plan a bit, and the result has been a pound lost here and a pound gained there, but no significant change in the last month.

I’ve begun to think that PORTION CONTROL is where my focus now needs to be.  I could once get by eating the right foods in any amount that satisfied, but now that’s not working so much.  I have read that if you aren’t hungry for at least a part of your day, you’re eating too much.  That kind of advice makes me sad, because, well, yeah, I’m a foodie.

I love my food, and I love to eat. I love to cook and bake and experiment with new recipes. I love to look at recipes on-line, or in old cookbooks.  I like to food shop, and share what I find with others.  I spend a lot of each day thinking about, preparing, eating or cleaning up food, so how do I do the portion control thing?

I bought a food scale a few months ago.  I HAVE NEVER USED IT!  Not once.  Nada.  I also bought small containers in varying sizes in order to pack my lunch. I thought the cute, brightly colored containers would help me get motivated to carry my lunch, and stay away from fast food joints.  I have not packed my lunch, NOT ONE TIME. 

I have not one, but two sets of measuring cups that I could use to measure my foods.  I have not used them, NOT ONCE. So what is wrong with me?  I have a desire to eat portion controlled meals, but not the will.  Where do I get the will; that golden, coveted, cherished, priceless will?

I have will power that carries me through many tasks each day.  I lack it with regards to food and eating.  Recently, I’ve taken to thinking I MAY HAVE OCD.  Is that my problem?  Or is it something more insidious?  How can I find out, and what can I do to change it—this lack of will power where food is concerned?  I’m looking for answers, so if you have any, chime in.

I ventured upon a quote that I’ve been reading again and again:  “Without a commitment to portion control, the concept of weight loss is just a fantasy.”  Anonymous 

What do you do to amp up your will power regarding food?  Do you focus on portion control?  What methods do you use to stay within your calorie allotment each day?

You ARE What You Eat

Oh, the things that can change in one week’s time.

On Thursday, my sister was taken by ambulance to the hospital in the wee hours of the morning. She was in excruciating pain. Emergency surgery was necessary. She had experienced a bowel obstruction and a blow out. Poisonous fluids had emptied into her abdominal cavity from what she later learned was a diverticulitis pocket gone bad.

This week has been crazy. I’ve been to the hospital three days out of five. I live 30 minutes away, and I work another 30 beyond that, so the nights I have traveled to the hospital after work, I have gotten home late. My eating has been all over the place during this time, but it has not been out of control. I’ve had a food angel watching over me, directing my eating while I was concentrating on making sure my sister knew I loved her and was there for her.

My sister chose to have gastric bypass to help her deal with her overeating. Her surgery took place in 2005. She is diabetic and was told by her doctors that after the surgery she would be free of the diabetic medicines that she was being forced to take to survive and not kill her liver, kidneys or heart. This turned out not to be the truth. She still takes medication for her diabetes, and she still has trouble controlling her disease. For her, gastric bypass did not work. She lost some weight, and then she gained some. She is smaller than she was before the surgery, but she is not happier. Especially after this most recent health complication.

Upon receiving my own diabetes diagnosis, I decided to go in another direction. When seeking a cure, or remission of my disease, I decided to move away from the medical community and into a whole eating, raw foods, vegetarian neighborhood. I’m glad I made the decision I did.

It has not been easy formulating my own eating plan, put together from snips and snaps of other diet plans, but I have seen incredible results as I have tried to learn how to eat a healthier diet. Today, my sugar levels are all within normal ranges. I credit good eating and smart eating with my success. That, and a God who has allowed me to meet the right people, read the right books, find the right blogs and experiment with the right foods.

Through my search, however, I have found that we really are what we eat.

Have you had gastric bypass or other surgical remedies offered to you, so that you could lose weight? What are you doing, or what have you done to lower the number on the scales and get fit?

The Sweeter Side of Things

I have a box of STEVIA IN THE RAW sitting on my desk this afternoon. A friend brought it to me to try. She has noticed that I’m losing weight, and when we had a discussion about Stevia the other day, she rememebered that I said I’d never tried it. I must admit, I’m skeptical about this alternative sweetener.

I’ve heard that Stevia is a natural product, an extract from a herb grown in Brazil and Paraguay. The box says it is “suitable for people with Diabetes” and that it is “naturally gluten-free food.” That all sounds fine, but the ingredients label says that the box contains both DEXTROSE and Stevia leaf extract. The box reads, and I quote, “Because this extract is 300-400 times sweeter than sugar, we blend with dextrose, an all natural carbohydrate derived from corn, so that all you get with Stevia In The Raw is a delicious, sweet flavor without the extra calories.”

Yeah, sicky, sweet, addictive corn flavors. 

I’m skeptical.

Obviously, Stevia In The Raw is not Stevia alone. In researching Dextrose, I found some scary stuff. Is this JUST ANOTHER FORM OF CORN SYRUP? It seems like it is.

I’m trying to get away from corn syrup and sugars, so it seems like using this product might not be the wisest thing I could do. Hmmmm, I’m not sure how I feel about this. I’ve been leaning more toward HONEY, and less white and brown sugar. Is Stevia In The Raw something I should or shouldn’t incorporate into my diet?

Do you use Stevia In The Raw in your drinks and cooking?  How do you feel about this “all natural” product?

Finish Line Friday

Today is Friday and the end to another busy week.  My coworker has been away vacationing this week, so all the things that I usually have help with at the office, I have had to handle alone.  That’s made for FIVE-DAYS OF CHAOS, with break-neck pacing in what is usually a quiet and serene environment.  My eating has been okay, but not what I would wish it to be, not by a long shot.  I wish that I didn’t feel the urge to eat things that are not good for me.  I wish I hated high fat, fried and soft serve foods.  I wish that food was  not an issue for me, but it is.  It always is. If only I could find a magic wand under some rocks and claim it as my own.  But alas, MAGIC WANDS DON’T EXIST, and easy solutions to food addiction don’t either, so I am left with workable plans and organized support systems to get me through all the food madness.

I want to share some of my current obsessions, urges, cravings and temptation. I do this, in part, hoping that in HONESTLY ADMITTING THAT I STRUGGLE with these things, someone reading this will offer a suggestion, share a strategy, impart something that will help me turn my back on harmful food choices and move on to other, more healthy substances.

One of my BIGGEST STUMBLING BLOCKS with regards to food/drink, is coffee.  Iced coffee to be exact.  I have been able to avoid it while at home and in the office, but when I am out, when I am surfing the web for writing material, when I am composing an essay or penning a poem, yeah, coffee calls to me.  What do I do to turn down the volume?  I can drink tea, but it doesn’t evoke the same feeling in me as a good mug or cup of cold, either hot or iced.  

I do not any longer drink sodas.  I do drink a lot of water, pure spring water, in bottles.

My second food problem is cheap ice cream.  I LOVE A SOFT SERVE CONE off the dollar menu at McD’s or BK.   I have rationalized eating these for a while now, because they are single servings, single flavored and inexpensive.  I have not found them to raise my blood sugar levels, and I have found they satisfy and are better for me than a candy bar or donut.  Am I right?  Are they better?  Are they a good stopgap for more dangerous foods, or am I just fooling myself and substituting bad for bad, food-wise?  What do I need to know about these foods that I don’t know now?  How bad for me are they?  How addictive?

Lately, I’ve felt lazy when it comes to food and moving.  What can I do to change things up, rev my imagination again, stay the course?

Are there certain go-to foods you allow yourself in order to divert your attention from more harmful foods?  How do you change direction when you realize you’ve veered off course?  What encourages you to eat right, when the wrong foods are so easily available?

Lazy Much?

Sadly, as I progress in my recovery from food addiction, I am discovering  that one of the biggest stumbling blocks to my personal success is LAZINESS. Has it always been this way?  I would have never thought that of myself–that I am lazy.  I’m not lazy about everything, but I am lazy when it comes to taking care of my body and exercising.  As I am wrestling with the weight, I am seeing some attitudes of resistance, rebellion, and yes, laziness in my approach to diet and exercise.  Moreover, I’m finding that I am lazy about anything that doesn’t excite me. The things I enjoy, I tackle with gusto, but things like meal planning and shopping and most of all, working to develop a mental toughness with regards to food temptations, these I am finding extremely difficult–activities I would much rather put off or ignore all together.

 I know that in order to get where I want to go, I must apply sound principles and consistent actions.  I know that eating less and moving more equals weight loss and health.  I know that muscles don’t firm on their own, but rather, must be coaxed into contracting and building for a stronger tomorrow.  I also know that when I exercise, I feel better, burn fat easier, enjoy life much more and find inspiration in all sorts of things, in addition to my exercise routine.  I have been an active gym member before, lost weight and firmed-up using a consistent program for strength training and aerobics.  I know these things work, because in the past they have worked for me.  Why then, am I FINDING IT SO HARD TO GET BACK TO IT?  Why such a struggle with my mind to decide which workout will be best for me this time around? 

Maybe I’m confused about what it will take to get me past my present plateau.  MAYBE I AM AFRAID to try something unfamiliar, fearing I will not be able to finish what I start.  Maybe I don’t want to look foolish as I try something new.  Maybe I’m cheap, and don’t want to pay the gym membership again, or maybe, just maybe, I’m lazy and I want to spend a few more months lying on the couch and watching TV before sweating in the gym and having all eyes on me while I go through the motions.  Could it be that last one is truth and the rest just excuses?  I hope not, but as I look at my current lack of motivation deliberation with regards to starting some program, any program, I’m beginning to wonder, what is my problem?

I see a laziness in my current approach to exercise. Dang. Now to figure out how best to ATTACK MY AMBIVALENCE and conquer it. 

Embarking on a program that promotes health and fitness is simple, but it is not easy.

Those of you out there who pray, pray for me today.  Pray that I will be willing to work for what I want, DEVELOP A MENTAL TOUGHNESS that can beat back temptation, and that I would willingly put some sweat equity into my recovery, refusing to be a lazy loafer any longer. 

When it comes to losing weight and regaining my health, I NEED TO FIND A WAY to engage!

How about you, do you find yourself being lazy some days?  How do you stop the urge to just sit and let the world pass by you?  What are you doing today to stay on top of your own health and fitness program?