Posts Tagged ‘food’

I don’t really like to watch too much TV, but sometimes on weekdays I have off I’ll cruise the channels a little bit with my morning coffee or tea until I’m fully woken up. Today I caught a show on Lifetime TV (which I usually HATE mind-you) called “Cook Yourself Thin.” As most shows on the Lifetime network that aren’t reruns of “Frasier” the show was a bit condescending, pandering and corny. But I thought the recipes were good. The basic concept is that the women who host the show go to the house of a woman who wants to lose some weight and they’ll examine some of her typical recipes, then show her ways to health it up while still making it taste good. That’s a pretty common-sense concept to those of us who’ve been doing this thing for awhile, but I can see how it’s kind of a novel thing for some people to change up what they’ve been used to doing for so many years. The particular episode I caught did a healthier quiche (and I LOVE quiche!), a grilled eggplant dish that was meant to take the place of a very fattening, deep-fried eggplant parmigiana, and a lighter version of cupcakes as well as a light version of those frou-frou coffee drinks you get at Starbucks and the like that usually have a zillion calories per serving. I could take or leave the frou-frou coffee thing as I enjoy my coffee unadulterated (I drink mine black and unsweetened), but the cupcakes looked pretty good. Something to think about for when I make my contribution to take to our family holiday gatherings this year. It had about a third of the calories of a traditional cupcake recipe and looked pretty tasty…doesn’t mean you can eat 10 cupcakes, but still not a total calorie disaster by comparison to the “fully loaded” version.

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Amy Tracks Her Progress is my new blog. It’s more or less an online archive/back-up of my spankin’ new food/exercise journaling/progress tracking program I designed for myself by tweaking a food/exercise journal template I found on The Balanced Weight Management site . Go to my new blog and you’ll learn of how I tailored my new journaling system to work just for me (although it may help others as well). I’ll be keeping a Weekly Assessment page (which is also in spreadsheet form on my PC), as well as my journal entries (which are also saved as Word documents on my PC). It will differ from this blog in the sense that it’ll focus mainly on my personal weight tracking and thoughts regarding weight, whereas this blog’s topics have strayed all over the place (not that there’s anything wrong w/ that).

Also, I have a page on there with pics of myself at various stages of weight gain and loss since 2001. I’ve blocked out my face, as a personal safety and privacy measure (I only show un-masked photos on more “private” venues online where only people I know can see them), but it gives a bit of a visual representation of my battle of the bulge. It also helps me, because sometimes the number on the scale isn’t always the whole story.

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So my next health and diet goal I’m thinking is to markedly reduce my sodium intake. It’s not something I’ve really addressed as I’m still pretty young and chipper, but I can tell that my propensity to pour tons of salt on all my food is going to come back to haunt me one day. Genetically, I’m predisposed to a laundry list of heart problems, and high blood pressure is definitely a thing I risk from the paternal side of my family. Multiple incidences of stroke and high blood pressure on that side of the family makes me not want to take my chances.

I’ve actually been helping out a couple I know who have a child on the way out with cooking. Neither one of them have the instinctual urge to cook, but appreciate home-cooked food. They essentially hired me to work for them part time, which is awesome. One of the dietary needs I have to look out for in cooking for them is the husband’s high blood pressure, which means the food I cook for them has to be low-sodium. I have a tendency to find foods without salt in them bland. It’s definitely a challenge to me, but I know for a fact that it’s only because my tastebuds are no longer sensitive to salt.

I’m going to start retraining my tastebuds. I want to learn to be content with the flavors of herbs and spices, and get used to food without using salt to cook it. Right now I’m actually enjoying some roasted veggies that I added no salt to, and I’m finding myself appreciating the complexity of the flavors I’ve built with the herbs I used. I used to be one of those, “I like a little food with my salt…” types. But I really want to change that.

An uncle I’m particularly close to on my dad’s side of the family thought he was being healthy when he had his first and only heart attack at the age of 50. Upon examining his diet, he realized that his “addiction” to salt was more than likely a dietary culprit, and when combined with his genes was a disaster waiting to happen. He and my aunt still, 17 years later, don’t add any extra salt to their cooking, except for maybe a small dash of Bragg Liquid Aminos. In addition to that, they broil or bake most cooked dishes, and use maybe 1/4 of a teaspoon of oil (using a brush to brush it around) to pan-sear things. They also eat a lot of raw foods. My uncle’s health has turned around amazingly. He and my aunt also started exercising more regularly after joining the YMCA. My uncle’s blood pressure has stayed in the safe range for years now, and he hasn’t had any other heart problems according to his doctor. They are excellent health-food cooks on top of that! Come to think of it, I know for a fact they don’t add salt to their cooking but it’s always so flavorful that I never feel the need to add salt. Thusly, I’ll be emulating them. 🙂

It felt good yesterday to cook very healthy, vegetarian food for my friends yesterday that also tasted amazing. Not to toot my own horn, but cooking comes very instinctively to me. I almost never use a recipe, and most of my stuff is made up off the top of my head. I guarantee that if you have a well-stocked pantry, spice-rack, and fridge, I can make you a good meal. I do not consider myself a vegetarian, but I don’t eat much meat, either.

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I have stretch marks and saggy skin from all the weight I’ve lost. I’m young enough that I know that’ll eventually go away with time. I have a pretty good skin-care regimen, I use a good cocoa butter lotion and such. But it’s annoying, and it’s a reminder of the damage I did to my body by being so fat for a good decade or so. At least now when I’m walking I can look down and see my feet. Most people in my life consider me a “normal” weight at this point. I have about 30 lbs. left to lose until I’m at my goal of 120. It feels good being in the “home stretch” for sure, but I just really hope that my skin starts to look normal eventually. I accept that I may always have a little bit of stretch markage going on, but I hope they at least become reduced in appearance.

My ankles are weak for some reason. Wearing ankle braces while I work out isn’t really helping, it almost seems to make it worse. I still work out and work on my feet anyway. I have to. I deal with the pain with Tiger Balm, ibuprofen, and soaking my feet and ankles in epsom salt. I keep telling myself that this too shall pass. I can’t afford new shoes right now. Good shoes are expensive, even if you get them on sale.

My mom got me a cute, new workout outfit to wear to the gym. My current workout clothes are more appropriate for winter time and what my mom got me will be good for when the weather is warmer. We’ve been having really nice, sunny, warm days this week so I’ve been skipping the gym in favor of getting outdoor exercise. I just can’t stand being shut-in inside all day. I’m on day 2 of a 7-day work week. This shall be interesting. I know that exercise will help me not get too stressed at work. The next Saturday that I get off work, I want to go swimming. The bathing suit I bought at the end of the summer last year that was a bit too snug now fits great. It’s not a “sexy” bathing suit, it’s just a nice suit that a swimmer would wear, very full-coverage and aerodynamic (or would that be hydrodynamic?)…Even when I get to be thin I’m not sure I’m into the idea of prancing around in a bikini.

I would rather have saggy skin than extra fat. I know for a fact my skin isn’t as saggy as some people’s who’ve lost a lot of weight since I’ve lost weight slowly, and because I didn’t get as fat as some people.

I’m going to go change into my workout clothes and run now. It’s really pretty outside and unseasonably warm.

As far as being poor goes, we seem to be doing ok. I’ve picked up extra hours this week at work (obviously) and hope to pick up some more later, enough to cover all the bills and such. It’ll be close, but we’ll make it. Roomie’s bosses want to get people back to work in a few weeks if all goes well. Think positive for us, I’m doing my best to do so.

I had a tough weekend with food. I succumbed to my lust for donuts and ate a half dozen of them over 2 days. I guess some would argue that you could do far worse than that, but 3 donuts is a lot of calories and sugar and bad crap. This is why you eat before going grocery shopping. Me and the roommate went to go get a few necessities and neither of us had eaten much that day. That was a mistake because we cruised by the bakery to maybe get a little of the day-old bread for dinner, and instead left with a dozen donuts since they’d marked down the day-old ones to half priced dozens. I told myself I’d only have like 2 of the whole dozen and the roomie could have the rest, but I ended up having six. And I felt it, too. Blarf. I suppose that other people do worse and maybe I shouldn’t beat myself up over it, but because I felt very “out of control” and binge-y while indulging in these things, instead of it being a planned thing, I feel that it merits a little bit of reflection so I deter myself from doing it again. That being said, we rarely keep any sweets in the house aside from his lime sherbet and pop tarts (which I hate anyway, they’re all his and the skinny mofo can eat a ton without gaining an ounce), and sometimes some lowfat frozen yogurt for me to have on weekends (to keep me from eating things like donuts, lol). So I guess I didn’t do as bad as many people do every day. Sometimes I wonder if I do replace food for other forms of pleasure that would actually fulfill me more, like masturbation or massage…haha. Either way, back in control yesterday and today, which is good.

OK I’m going to go exercise now. Laters!

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Well, today I’m glad I don’t have to be at work til 4 pm, because that means I can be home to watch the first Inaugural ceremony I’ve ever been actually excited to watch in my lifetime. I’m hopeful and optimistic about Barack Obama’s potential to help lead our country in a new direction.

As far as fitness goes today, I’m definitely getting the sick. I find that natural remedies help me feel more relief from the symptoms than the over-the-counter Nyquil/Dayquil crap. Coughing is a very important function of the immune system, and most modern medicines suppress coughs, which can make your illness last longer. I tend to try and heal myself with rest, good food, tea, and a few supplements. I find elderberry, zinc, oil of oregano, garlic, ginger and goldenseal to be very helpful whenever I’m sick. Those, along with a little bit of ibuprofen and and antihistamine usually help me better than nyquil or dayquil (or their other counterparts). I also really love spicy food and I like it even spicier when I have a stuffy nose and sore throat. As far as exercise goes today, I’m still feeling up for a little bit. Yesterday when I did the aerobic tape I still had to do the moves faster than they did on the tape, and it felt good to get my heartrate up. Today I’m feeling more groggy, headachy, etc. so I’m thinking a walk is more my speed. I’m going to suit up and go do that before the Inauguration starts. It’s a bit warmer out today than it’s been, and the sun is shining. And I’m happy today.

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Well, I woke up with a head full-o-snot and a sore, scratchy throat. So much for not getting sick. I have decided if I have something infectious, I’m not going to be a jerk and go to the gym and spread it around. But that doesn’t mean I get to slack off! I have a bunch of chores I should have done yesterday that I’m going to do this morning. I’ve already got the garbage and recycling out, and I have a kitchen that needs to be gotten into shape, as well as laundry going. And that aerobics tape that’s normally too easy for me? I’m going to do that today. I still want to exercise even though I’ve gotten the yuck, just take it down a notch so my body can still heal. Since I don’t feel any lung congestion, I feel like some cardio will still be safe to do today. I’m still optimistic that I won’t get as sick as others around me since I’ve been taking good care of myself lately, so I shouldn’t be absent from the gym too long. I just don’t want to spread my illness to others.

Yesterday I had a “cheat day” of sorts, but I still ordered one of the healthiest things on the menu where I went to eat w/ my folks. My parents like Jimmy Buffet (I don’t, haha) and recently one of his chain restaurants opened up in my city. They wanted to eat there. Most of the menu consisted of, well, cheeseburgers (“Cheeseburger in Paradise…” is one of his songs and the name of the chain). But they had some healthy stuff on the menu. I ordered the “chicken satay” skewers with terriyaki broccoli on the side. It wasn’t too bad. The chicken was the white meat marinated and grilled on skewers kabob style, and the broccoli was steamed w/ garlic and such. I couldn’t eat all the chicken, there was just too much for one meal (obviously) so I only ate 2 of the skewers and saved the other 4 for later (yep, there were SIX skewers of chicken, probably amounting to about 24 oz. of meat for one entree!). I plan on using the rest of the chicken in some sort of stir fry dish later. Anyway, I was proud that even though I was allowed to “cheat” I went for the healthier option anyway. The real “cheat” was the ice cream I had, which I couldn’t even finish because it was so sweet.

OK, I have 2 hours and 20 minutes til I have to leave for work, so I’m going to finish up the kitchen, do my exercise, prepare food, and get cleaned up for work. I hope everyone has a great, productive day!

In other news….I am a little worried. My housemate works for a small business which is suffering due to the poor state of our economy. He’s one of the upper managers, so I’m hopeful that his job isn’t in jeopardy, but it still worries me. If he’s out of a job, we won’t be able to afford our apartment – I can’t make enough money at my job to float both of us without some kind of assistance. So if everyone out there in blogland could think happy, positive thoughts for his business to stay alive, I’d really, truly appreciate it ever so much. Thanks, all! Peace and love!

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Another day, another workout. I went with the elliptical again today instead of swimming to avoid the swimmer’s ear. I had time to relax in the sauna today, which was great. Went and got lunch and saw a friend after, home now relaxing. Mind trying to convince the body not to get the sick that everyone around me seems to have. I feel a little congestion coming on, but I feel like I won’t get as bad as my roomie or my friend I saw today (the latter is already feeling better than he did before). I feel my workouts and healthy diet and vitamin-regimen will help stave it off. I just have to keep getting lots of sleep. That’ll be no problem tonight. My muscles are sore and it feels good because I know they’re getting used to the new routine (hence not wanting to get sick, not wanting to slow down the process of getting in shape). I think I can use the power of mind over matter to keep myself from succumbing fully to the bug going around. That combined with common sense (getting sleep, good diet, taking vitamins), I shall overcome. Sorry if I’m boring people. I actually do have a point to posting.

People always freak out when they found out that you’re pushing your body physically. Not seasoned fitness folks, mind you, but just everyday people. They’re the people who tell you that you shouldn’t push yourself, and you shouldn’t feel any pain whatsoever from exercise, and that building muscle will make you “bulky,” do pilates instead because it’ll give you a “long, lean” look…the people who say that taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking far away from the building you’re entering, and playing with your cats is enough exercise for anyone. The body is made to do a lot more than that, and with the insane portion sizes people eat these days, they should be doing more. Furthermore, I want to be super fit. I want to be able to lift heavy things without asking a man to help me. I want to be able to clamber around mountains and climb up rocks with grace and ease. To me, having a very strong body is my ticket to seeing the world in a very unique way. Why shouldn’t I push myself? If I just go for a nice, little walk every day, I can keep from gaining more weight maybe, but I won’t maintain actual fitness. Fitness requires cardiovascular and muscular exercise. Fact.

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So I’m a single woman, and I live with a housemate who appreciates my cooking, but we work different schedules and cooking meals together doesn’t always sync up. We usually end up doing a nice meal together once a week or so, and the rest of the week we each fend for ourselves.

I am a strong advocate of Crock Pot meals, but I get tired of eating the same food 3 or 4 days in a row, so I tend to like to center my daily meal prep on things that are easy to make just a small portion of for one meal. Crock Pot meals, soups, and stews can be made into multiple, small servings and frozen in small containers if you have enough freezer space. I have gone through periods where I was really into doing this, and periods where I preferred to just kind of play it by ear, but keep lots of ingredients on hand.

I own a small rice cooker, which is very handy. Brown rice is definitely a staple in my diet. I will usually make a big batch of either rice or quinoa and just measure out a 1-cup portion for whatever meal I want to make. Making things like rice and dried beans ahead of time saves me time in my food prep and makes it easier to cook for myself. A lot of single people just figure they might as well eat out, but when you eat out you never know what you’re getting. At home, you get to make it exactly as you like, want, and need it, and it’s cheaper. I’ll make a giant pot of dried beans, let them cool, then put them on a cookie sheet spread out (so they don’t stick together as bad) with a little foil on top to keep them from getting freezer burn, let them freeze, them keep them in a plastic freezer bag. Then I just use as much as I need for a recipe. I usually alternate different types of beans so I don’t get too bored. It usually takes me a good month to go through a gallon freezer bag of beans, so each month I’ll try a different bean. I don’t do the same with lentils because they are way quicker to cook and take way less time, so why bother using the freezer space. I am lucky right now to have a sizable freezer with 2 shelves and side shelves. For awhile I lived in an apartment with a tiny fridge with an equally tiny freezer, which made all this prep work a lot more difficult.

I use frozen veggies, but I don’t overcook them. I usually steam them just enough to allow the water in them to make them hot, but I like them to still have some crunch. In the winter when the prices go up and I don’t have the farmer’s market, I usually stick to fresh veggies that are on the cheaper side (cucumbers, carrots, celery, cabbage, cawliflower – the 5 C’s) and for greens, peas, and corn (which I know is a grain and not a veggie) I use frozen.

For meat, I prefer to eat locally raised stuff that wasn’t fed hormones and such, which I have access to at the health store. But if I ate meat at every meal that would be cost-prohibitive. So I stretch out my meat supply with eggs, beans, natural peanut butter, and these awesome fake “chicken” tender things from Quorn (no soy, made from mycoprotein, and yummy). I do think humans should eat some meat in their diet, but it doesn’t have to be every meal, or even every day. I will buy a pack of chicken breasts, cut them into little tenders, and freeze what I’m not immediately using. I also get ground turkey, which even free-range and hormone/antibiotic free at the health food store, is not too expensive.

So a typical week consists of 5 workdays and 2 weekend days. Each day I eat 3 meals and 2 or 3 small snacks that can be no more than 100 calories (the snacks, not the meals). The snacks have to be quality and nutrient-dense, though. No 100-calorie junk food packs for me! Each meal allows for 2 servings of sensibly-cooked whole grains (1 serving cooked grain = 1/2 c., 1 serving dry cereal = 1 cup, 1 serving bread = 1 slice), 2 or 3 servings of either fruit or veggies, and one serving of protein. I don’t eat much dairy due to a minor allergy, but sometimes my snack will be some fat free yogurt. I’m pretty much also allowed to snack on as many carrots, celery, or cucumbers that I want/can (I can only buy so many afterall). On Sunday I eat a serving of cereal (usually oatmeal) and maybe a hardboiled egg for breakfast and just have a light snack in the early afternoon because I have a ritual with my parents that we go out to dinner on Sunday evening. That is my “cheat meal” of the week. I’m also allowed my one, small dessert of the week. I eat lighter earlier in the day to make up for it because usually at a restaurant you’re being served 2 or 3 meals in one. So basically in the morning and early afternoon I eat enough to keep me going til the big meal. For the cheat meal, I try to make it still fairly sensible, but I do get things I like. Luckily since I find a lot of healthy food really tasty, it isn’t hard for me to pick thing that are healthier and also enjoy it. I also don’t tend to like fried stuff anymore since it irritates my stomach. So even when I’m cheating, I’m doing way better than a lot of people who go out to eat. And whatever dessert I have is always a small, single-serving size, and always exactly what I want instead of just any old crap. It’s usually a small bit of ice cream or I’ll get 2 tablespoons of dark chocolate covered raisins from the bulk section at the store. This cheat designation helps me keep on track through the week. I thrive on ritual and routine when it comes to eating right and regulating indulgence. It’s those wacky times (like the holidays) where my schedule is all shot to hell that I have a hard time sticking with it.

For meals throughout the week, I try to keep supplies on hand that could make many different possibilities. I find when you’re planning specific recipes, it leads to overspending. So I just try to keep a lot of spices, canned tomatoes and sauce, curry pastes, etc. on hand so I can make a variety of different dishes with different flavors. I keep beans, rice, flour, salsa, and veggies and fruits. So I can make a lot of different things out of what I have on hand. This week I decided that some of my at-home meals could be based around some corn hard-taco shells and refried beans that were on sale at the store. I still have some salsa I bought last week, and I have some veggies I can use too. I paid about 3 bucks for the makings of 3 meals. Awesome! And I figure the rest of the week I’ll just play it by ear. I am a creative cook, so I like it that way. I don’t use recipes often, but I like to look at recipes and comb cookbooks just to get some ideas, then I tend to just play with it in the kitchen to achieve a certain flavor.

Usually for our weekly meal together, my housemate and I hit the market for meats and veggies that are on sale. It’s usually either boneless pork chops or steaks that are marked down. We’ll grill the meat and usually do some rice or baked potatoes, and stir-fried, roasted or raw veggies. We like to eat raw carrots and celery for snacks, so why not just eat them with your meal? Whatever flavors we feel like are usually in my kitchen with the exception of a few things. I make a lot of curry and stir-fry dishes. I also love spicy food, so I always have my standard bottle of “cock sauce”, Sri Racha on hand, as well as a few bottles of more intense hot sauces.

So that’s how I cook. The reason I posted this is that I’ve been asked lately what I eat and how I prepare it by people who admired my weight loss, wanting to know how I managed the whole eating thing. I will reiterate that my willpower is a constant evolution. I use a food journal every day, and recommend it to anyone who has had a problem with their weight and overeating. My rule is that every day I have to write down everything I eat, be honest about it, and look at it before I eat my next meal or snack to remind myself of what I’ve eaten. The reason I advocate so strongly for this is that it’s so easy to forget what you’ve eaten, or think that you only had a little bit of something when you had a lot.

The TLC network used to mostly have nature and science-related programming, but now it’s a bunch of, “hey look at the big, fat freak!” shows. I caught a few minutes of one late one evening where the people were hugely, morbidly obese and consumed unholy amounts of food at all times. They basically followed all these people in the documentary for a day and then at the end of the day they laid out everything the person ate that day on their kitchen table. It was alarming, and most of us don’t eat like that. But I’ll bet you five dollars that most of us eat more than we think we do while we’re not really paying attention.

The food journal keeps me aware and mindful. I strongly recommend it to anyone. It sounds like a pain in the ass, but it’s way worth it if it keeps you on track. And I’ve had a lot of people seeing me use it and comment on it, and usually they say it’s not a bad idea. At first I was like, “how embarrassing, they see me having to use a journal cause I’m a fatty-fat-fat,” but I’ve had multiple people comment that it was actually a pretty good idea and probably made it easier for me to watch my diet. This is true.

I tend to find that most people admire a very heavy person for taking control of their weight, anyway, and applaud their methods if they’re healthy ones. I’ve had a few idiots tell me not to lose any more weight because I look “fine” but I think that’s jealousy talking. The majority of people usually applaud the efforts of anyone trying to improve their health, whether it be to lose weight or quitting smoking, or something like that.

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Well, I’m the only child of a divorced marriage, and both my folks ended up being remarried and had my 2 sisters. In a perfect world, we could all get along and do one big Christmas celebration together, but since the big D (divorce) is a factor in these familial relationships, it makes for many separate Christmas celebrations. My dad’s second marriage ended after 5 years, so when I have Christmas with Dad, I also have it with the sister that my ex-stepmom had w/ Dad. Back in the day when we were little, we’d alternate Christmases with each set of parents, but it all started to get too complicated and stressful, so my dad was cool enough to start just having his own separate Christmas with me and my oldest younger sister. Now that we’re all adults, the celebration has changed a bit, and is way less lavish and simpler than it used to be. But overeating still happens, and after this final Christmasing was overwith on Sunday evening of this past weekend, I was left feeling bloated and unwell. Also, I’m sure this is a product of my childhood stressors, but I have a lot of mixed feelings about the holidays, and I’m always a little relieved when it’s over. Taking down my tiny tree is the most cathartic experience ever. My sister shares the same sentiment. She not only has the big D to contend with, her mom’s family is just very large and it would be a nigh impossible task to have just one Christmas, so like me she is always pretty much over it after New Year’s.

I’m happy to report that just 4 days later, I feel good again. I still like to indulge like everyone else (see my last entry), but when I do too much, I feel it hardcore. I was literally in pain and feeling like ass for 2 days after. I’ve stayed on program, however, since Sunday night (which is when I was like, “I’m so full, I never want to eat again!”), and I’m feeling MUCH better.

It’s amazing how after you get used to having a mostly clean diet that when you do indulge and go a little overboard with it, how painful it can be. The digestive punishment I received is a reminder that I’m so happy living a day-to-day healthy lifestyle. My Sunday “cheat” dinner is never nearly as decadent as any holiday fare! And any dessert I choose to have is usually tiny and insignificant compared to the rich fudge and Christmas cookies that I tend to nosh on during “that time of year.” I tend to go for things on the healthier side of “bad” anyway on Sundays, I’m just not as stringent with the “rules” I follow as I usually am. A better way to put it is that I tend to go for quality, not quantity when I’m having my once-a-week cheat meal.

My gym re-opens on Saturday (as I’ve said before, it’s a campus gym at a university, and they close seasonally for maintainence, etc.), and I’m so psyched to go work out! I’ve been exercising at home, but I’m craving a HARDCORE gym workout. I also plan on hitting the sauna as a reward afterwards…

Another thing I’ve been thinking about lately is that people tend to reward themselves for accomplishments with food. Every celebration revolves around some kind of food. What if we rewarded ourselves by doing something FUN instead? Or by doing something simple like taking a hot bath with our favorite bath salts, or having a cup of tea (non-sugared of course). Why does it always have to be stuffing our faces that we reward ourselves and each other with? Food for thought (pun SO intended).

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So I’ve been thinking about something. Over the holidays, I went to a bar-crawl that was organized by an old high-school friend, a mini high-school reunion of sorts, a consortium of townies. Everyone noticed how much weight I’ve dropped which was amazing. I got asked an interesting question at one point.

“So, do you allow for treats, or do you deprive yourself of those?” I answered back with, “I try to exercise self-control at all times.” Bearing in mind that when I choose to be bad, I know I’m being bad and adjust for the consequences later on. Sometimes it’s not so healthy. I ate way too much over the holidays, a.k.a. Feastmas as a fellow blogger affectionately called it. But I practiced damage limitation (another phrase coined by Losing Ahundredweight) and escaped the Feastmas by not gaining any more weight (although I didn’t lose, either – that is my cross to bear and good thing my gym opens soon).

This made me think about the concept of deprivation. To me, deprivation means that you’re going without something you need. Foregoing something you want because you know it’s bad for you or you don’t need it and could go without is not deprivation, it’s self-control. I like treats as much as the next guy, and sometimes I want them. But any time I want a treat, I have to think about whether or not I can deal with the consequences. If I can, I go ahead and have the treat. I also like my treats to be planned so I can have exactly what I want and what I deem is good, not some crappy crap. Also, when I cheat I like it to be a high-quality cheat (instead of a Snickers bar, having a small square of gourmet, dark chocolate for instance). I also like my cheats to come in a single-serving size and I do not keep the stuff in my house. If it’s here, I’ll eat it. I know myself better than anyone, so knowing how I will react to certain stimuli helps me create an ideal situation for myself. Thus, practicing self-control is good for me.

If I were truly depriving myself of anything, I would be intentionally going without food when I need it. That’s not what I do. I just choose not to partake of every piece of junkfood in the known universe because I like to control when I have it, how much of it I have, and what it is. I’m not depriving myself, I’m practicing self-control (most of the time, anyway – Thank Gods the Feastmas is over!).

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