And then there were Girl Scout cookies

You know the story: a child, or grandchild, or niece, or neighbor’s daughter, or the granddaughter of someone you work with puts out word that “It’s Girl Scout Cookie Time!” Those boxes are only $5 each even if they have fewer cookies in them than they used to have. The tastes bring back past delights – Thin Mints and Samoas (now called Caramel Delites, but the same cookie), the Lemon ones, and Tagalongs (now called Peanut Butter Patties, which is a pretty dull if descriptive name). New faves S’more cookies that are JUST like chocolate covered graham crackers but with a little super thin layer of marshmallow.

I want to eat them all. Sometimes I’m strong enough to give them money to support the troop or to pay to send boxes to military or a shelter or some other good cause that’s not in my mouth. This year was not one of those years. I am hyper stressed and Girl Scout cookies fit the moment perfectly. And my mouth, too, if not my food plan. Definitely not the food plan.

I was a Brownie for a year before “crossing over” and becoming a Girl Scout in my green uniform with round patches of badges for things like Knitting, Cooking, and First Aid. Now of course they have badges for Robot Making, Genealogy, Basic Coding, and things that I’m not exactly sure what they are. But it’s exciting that they’ve kept up with the times. Cookie sales are still a Thing, though, but they’ve changed the process to provide buyers with immediate gratification of Cookies in Hand.

Back in my day we put on our uniforms and went door to door in the neighborhood and up and down nearby streets, ringing doorbells and knocking on doors, pulling out our best sales pitch to convince people who didn’t need cookies that they Really Needed These Amazing Cookies sold ONLY by Girl Scouts but which they couldn’t have yet. Then we sent the orders in and the Cookie Mom’s house was packed with cases and cases of cookies that had to be divided up to match the orders. The girls then picked them up and delivered them, often lugging Red Flyer wagons full of cookies around the neighborhood.

It was work. And we had to do it all ourselves. I don’t remember that anyone in my troop had help from parents asking their work colleagues to buy boxes of cookies. We didn’t set up outside stores with boxes of cookies to sell with our winning smiles – because we had to order them all before we actually had cookies in our hands. My mom was my Girl Scout leader and was also the Cookie Mom for at least two years. I think it made her crazy – I know it would me – in part because my father, who adored Thin Mints, might pop down and walk off with a box that he’d eat in secret so Mom wouldn’t know what he was doing. Thin Mint breath usually gave him away.

The cookies are for sale now and I have four boxes in the garage. I’m not sure why I bought this many except a friend was helping her adored granddaughter with sales. I could have said “No” but I didn’t. My plan is to freeze them and hope that does the trick of “out of sight, out of mind.” Except for the ones I’ve already opened, of course.

It’s a cookie kind of day.

Derailed into Storm Eating

(This post is really more of a journal entry because I need to get the words out to help me figure out what happened.)

Here’s a great description of “Storm Eating” from Dani at Clean and Delicious:

Storm Eating is binge eating or eating out of control.  It is anytime you can’t stop yourself.  You are aware that you are eating and you want to stop but you feel like you can’t stop or like you can’t control yourself.  It’s almost like you are watching another person inside your own body.  Sometimes this happens if we let ourselves get too hungry and sometimes it happens when we have an overwhelming emotion that we do not want to feel.  Storm eating is usually followed by regret and shame.  Many times it’s done in private or in hiding.” (https://cleananddelicious.com/the-four-types-of-eating/

My day started out well: up at 5:00am, 25 oz bottle of water consumed by 5:45. Sat with MyFitnessPal and planned out and pre-logged my food for the day before feeding the cats and making my usual breakfast: oatmeal with blueberries, 1 TB of whipped butter, and a TB of creamer. Got dressed, made second breakfast (blueberries with yogurt) and took it to work where I ate it 2 hours after first breakfast. Yes, I’m a Hobbit and need 2 breakfasts. So far this was all normal.

Went to the doctor for a follow up visit and headed to Panda Express to get my planned (and anticipated) Grilled Teriyaki Chicken entree. I love that stuff something fierce. But there was a big line for the drive through, so I shopped At Home first – and came out only to find the line three times longer than the first time.

This is where things derailed. It was almost 1:00 p.m. and I was legitimately hungry – but also very thirsty. You don’t drink much before doing to the doctor because you have to get on a scale there. This was not a good combination for me, both hungry AND thirsty.

Stopped at Tuesday Morning, which I’d planned to do, but ended up bringing home a box of Meyer lemon meringue cookies. Okay, not so bad, 8 cookies for 80 calories. Except why stop at 8 when there is a whole box full and I’m hungry? Never mind that I had just sent an order FROM THE PARKING LOT to Jersey Mike’s for my beloved #2 Jersey Shore mini sub on rosemary parmesan bread. It was 15 minutes away. But those meringue cookies were right next to me. It was not pretty. I had no excuse for picking them up in the first place except maybe just that I was hungry.

Picked up the sub at Jersey Mike’s and ate it outside on a balmy day. So tasty, so good. Pulled out my MFP app and changed the recorded food to what I actually ate. But when I came home, I was still thirsty. Instead of getting water, I got a diet soda. Not a good plan. Looked for something to graze on and found not very much because I’d already purged the snacky things last week.

But I managed. instead of green grapes (which were IN THE FRIDGE), I found mint chocolate chip ice cream which has been there for a least a month, bought for my brother who never came for Thanksgiving because I cancelled the visit. I wasn’t stomach hungry but my mouth was wanting something – and I must say I was a little afraid that I’d lost my sense of taste which is a symptom of Covid. So I was trying to see if I could taste what I ate.

So there was a little cup of ice cream. And some Ozery snacking rounds which need to not be in my house and are going in the outside trash as soon as I stand up. A little spoon of peanut butter. Topped by 1/2 serving of chicken and dumplings.

Now I feel sick to my stomach because I ate foods that my system was not really used to eating. At least not all in one day. And I’m heart-sick because I thought I had some of this under control and here it is, raging through me while I just find food that I really don’t want but am eating anyway.

I’ve stopped now. But I needed to write it out, and to write it on my food log to be accountable to myself. My 65 lbs weight loss is down to 60 lbs – but still, that’s SIXTY POUNDS down from one year ago. I think I’ve been feeling depressed and like a failure for having gained a little of it back, and when I’m stressed and depressed, I eat. Long-standing pattern that is very hard to break.

So what happened? Yesterday I had pizza for only the second time in a year. Last weekend I baked 14 dozen cookies after almost a year of not baking. Unlike tracking food in Noom, I’m actually seeing the macronutrient values for things like sodium, carbs, and fat – and I’m radically changing what I try to eat to keep myself within set limits. I forgot that “eating normally” for me really wasn’t all that normal which is how I got so fat in the first place. I need to remember that I can eat anything I want to, but not all in the same day.

Immediate things I can change:

  • Schedule my water to make sure I am not dehydrated, which makes me think I’m hungry when I’m really not.
  • Eat all my meals at home for the next week. I have more control here than when I’m out and about – and I don’t need to be out anyway. Seeing the doctor doesn’t mean I need to get take-out lunch somewhere.
  • Throw out the remaining bread things (Ozery rounds, Dave’s Killer Bread, Orowheat Sandwich Thins)
  • Melt ice cream. Do not buy more.
  • Schedule snacks like green grapes which I don’t really like but serve a purpose.
  • Start a gratitude journal to focus on finding positive things instead of things that make me feel like a failure.

Oh, and why was I out shopping? To get steps in. I do better if I have a cart to hold on to and push around. I can whip around a store like Sam’s or At Home and rack up steps without buying much if anything. Masked, of course, and avoiding other people. I was only actually out because of a doctor’s appointment with the other things planned for stops on my way home. Note to self: just go home next time, which is tomorrow.

Living in Stressful Times

StressedI’ve been reverting to very old habits as the weeks have passed with more dreadful economic news every time we turn around.  I know it’s not healthy but there is comfort, albeit shortlived, in eating candy and salty stuff instead of making a healthy meal or taking a walk at lunch time.

We are facing budget cuts of 7.5% this year with another 5% next year and I’ve been spending my time canceling things that have been part of our library’s collection for years.  It’s not completely bad:  this careful review of continued spending obligations is giving us a chance to really decide what the collection of the future needs to look like.  But the short-term is very hard, as is the increasing awareness that there will be personnel adjustments as well.  No knows what that will look like and that’s the hardest part, the not knowing.

I’m not sleeping well, not eating well, not exercising at all, and generally feeling pretty crappy.  And yes, I know that all of this is connected.  The problem is pulling myself out of it.

My former WW leader used to tell the story of a friend who was facing an assortment of problems involving medical, financial, and family issues.  Yet she was able to stick to her WW plan through it all.  When asked how/why, she replied that her food was the only thing she COULD control, and controlling that one thing made her feel better about dealing with everything else spinning out of control around her.  At least one thing was being managed.

I need to pick one thing, even one little thing, and make a firm commitment to it.  I don’t think I’m ready to say I can do that with food.  But I will commit to drinking 8 glasses of water.  Maybe starting with that one small step I can start to pull my way back and keep my world on an even keel.

I’m Not in a Very Good Place Now

Buddha on the rocksIt’s been hard for me to read most of the weight/diet/exercise blogs these last few weeks.  Although you are all writing about yourselves and your own lives, I read and feel judged and lacking – and realized today that it was because (duh) I was judging myself against your successes and ripping myself up inside for not measuring up.

I am morbidly obese.  I’ve gained and lost pounds so many times and am just so sad that I’ve gained back enough that I finally gave away four winter coats in smaller sizes – so that other people can stay warm and so there’s room in the closet for something that covers me.  My knees are bad and I drink too much diet soda.  I don’t exercise as much as I should.  I’m in reasonably good health, all things considered, but it could be better.  I don’t expect to live as long as the thin women my age, and frankly, that’s okay with me; but I want the kitty to be cared for, so that’s a motivator to take care of myself.

I’m not saying this because I want your pity, your sympathy, or most especially your advice.  I could write the book on how to lose weight because I’ve lost it so many times.  I just haven’t found the *click* inside that lets me keep it off.  I hold myself to ridiculously high standards of perfection that set me up to fail, then feed myself comfort food to feel better.  Yes, counseling is a good idea.  I know it, and you’ve told me a dozen times.  Please don’t tell me again; we’ll consider that advice already given.

My Christmas trip to visit family, which should bring joy, has me tied up in knots.  I know we’ll have the Weight Conversation, the Diet Conversation, the Health Conversation, and of course the Church Conversation – and, given the election results, probably the Political Conversation.  The morbidly obese non-churchgoing liberal Democrat is on her way, crying inside that the people who most understand me aren’t related to me and won’t be part of my celebration.

But it’s not just about me.  Christmas is about family and tradition and being there for them in their lives, even if being there stresses me out.  I can deal with it for a week and come home to my small world, my routine, my solitary-ness, my kitty.

I’m a good person, a good friend, an excellent librarian, a loving cat-mama.  I’m smart enough to work at Yale and if I’m old enough to belong to AARP, I’m old enough to make my own choices.  I just need to own them.

I don’t want to diet. I want to eat sensibly in moderation, to enjoy a variety of food, to ease the stress on my knees, to be comfortable in my body and with myself.  That may be mutually exclusive.  All I can do is try and take things one small step at a time.

My Not Very Good Day

Spring AheadYesterday was a very hard day at work, with an unexpected conversation that left me feeling as thought I’d been run over by a truck. On a gray Friday afternoon, at the end of what felt like a long week that had started in Chicago.

Immediately after the bombshell there was a librarian’s lunch to learn about Chinese law. I guess being with people and having the food provided so I didn’t have to make hard choices, plus being distracted by a group discussion, was a good thing.

I just know that after lunch all I wanted to do was barricade myself in the office and do brainless things. Checking files to follow up on outstanding problems. Tidying. Weeding email. Even dusting. I had gentle New Age music playing on Pandora and I got through the time. My immediate desire for chocolate was mollified by two WW peanut butter bliss bars in my emergency stash.

But it was hard and I’m incredibly glad that I have the weekend before going back. Today I spent the morning doing hair things (roots, highlights, cut), going out for lunch, and sitting at home watching the pouring rain and finishing a wonderful book by Diane Chamberlain. I ate too much and am not particularly sorry about it.

Tessie woke me up this morning at 7:30 after I’d had 9 hours of sleep and the alarm didn’t go off at 7, so her little meows in my ear and investigation of the CPAP mask were very timely. Tonight we change the clocks and I’m going to try to just sleep until I wake up tomorrow, whatever time that turns out to be. While I love having more light at the end of the day, I’m not excited about waking up in the deep darkness again, but spring isn’t far away and that too shall pass.