Random Thoughts of a Disordered Mind


Non-Scale Victories on the Road

Princess Minnie dollsI had a really good week, most of it in California at my conference.   I intended to concentrate hard on eating differently so I didn’t get sucked into the eat-everything-not-nailed-down mode that usually infects me as soon as I leave the house with a suitcase for an event. But I discovered that I didn’t have to concentrate all that hard.  I just listened to my body and the head went along.

Every morning I bought a big hotel breakfast instead of eating muffins and overpriced coffee at Starbucks.  I figured that a good balanced breakfast would tide me over better and treated myself to things I don’t eat at home, where I always have yogurt with fruit and an English muffin.  Instead I ate egg white omelets or scrambled eggs with bacon and sourdough toast and fruit.  No orange juice either, which they usually pour as soon as you sit down at $3.50 a pop. I love it, but I was happier with Diet Coke 🙂  One morning I ordered blueberry pancakes because I wanted them, ate about 1/3 of the portion, and was finished.  I was kind of astounded to have recognized I was full and stopped.

We had lots of snacks available, including HagenDaz ice cream bars and a lovely dessert reception.  I ate none of it, sticking to an occasional Late July cheddar cheese sandwich cracker pack from my stash or a small Tootsie Roll, also brought from home.   I went to Disneyland after sessions one day, expecting to have dinner there, and didn’t see anything that fit what I was wanting so didn’t eat anything there, either.

Me in Mouse EarsActually, the only things I bought were a pair of dangly earrings with teeeny tiny sparkly mouse ears at the bottom – and a pair of clip on Minnie Mouse ears for my head.  Instead of eating or shopping, I enjoyed watching the wide-eyed delight of little girls dressed in princess costumes, honeymooning couples with wedding mouse ears (with veils for the brides or little tuxes for the grooms), tired parents pushing strollers, and the incredible assortment of costumed Disney character dolls everywhere.  The place is a merchandising mecca.

I also thought of my parents who took my brother and me to Disneyland back in 1964.  I don’t think I ever quite realized what a big deal that was, to fly us all across country, staying at Disney and taking the monorail, riding the rides, watching Tinkerbell fly at night, sprinkling pixie dust on us all.  I remembered it as a magical time and I could see the magic still working in the small faces around me.  I called my parents from a bench on Main Street to tell them I loved them and was thinking about them and everything they’ve done for me.

It was a productive conference and I had the chance to visit with bunches of friends, many of whom I only see once a year.  I found it easy to concentrate on conversation rather than focusing on food, and came home feeling happy with not only what I learned but also how I handled myself.  It showed up on the scale today with a 2.6 lb loss – but the real victory was won before even stepped on it.  Yayyy me!


Taking My Balance to California

BalanceI leave for California on Saturday to attend a computer users group conference.  It’s one of my favorite events and I’ve attended every one since this started in 1993.  We’ve grown from a group of 300 attendees to 1800 at last year’s meeting.  This year, though, because of the economy and tight budgets, I know that attendance will be down, but it will still be a fun and productive time.

What comes with it, though, is 6 days of eating in restaurants.  I know how to do this but admit that I’m nervous of upsetting my still-new-feeling balance with healthy eating.  Airport eating is particularly hard because I want to eat everything not nailed down.  There’s something weird and “out of place” about airport waiting areas that just make me want stuff, plus there’s a 3-hour time change on this trip on top of having to leave the house at 3:30am to get to the airport in the first place.

I’ve been checking restaurant listings on the local arrangements website to see what kinds of options are available and likely to be visited, and checking foods in the WW book to get an idea of points values.  But really, how hard is it to make good choices – assuming they are available to find in the first place?  I’m bringing some Fiber One peanut butter bars to throw into my bag so I have an alternative to pastries and cookies out for breaks and snacks, and I’m hoping there will be fruit around.  It’s California so hopefully that won’t be a problem.  Maybe I can take a cab to a little market to pick up some stuff after I arrive.  We’ll see.

I just want to be prepared but not so rigid that I can’t enjoy myself with friends while keeping boundaries around this balance that I’ve rediscovered.  To get myself started right, I’m going to a WW meeting on Friday night before I pack, throw some good options in my bag, and not beat myself up if I slip.


There’s Been an Attitude Adjustment

Light SwitchIt’s like a switch was thrown inside of me.  Instead of treading water in an endless spiral of griping about being fat and eating food I didn’t really want or need, I’m going somewhere – and for the first time in a long time, it’s not backwards.

I rejoined Weight Watchers, yes.  But I already knew all the WW drill, as well as every other diet and foodplan option on the planet.  Okay, maybe I missed one or two.  Knowing the information, the reasons,  the medical complications, and consequences of failure aren’t enough until you actually want to do something to change.

I don’t have a timeframe or even a real weight goal.  Right now it’s about getting comfortable with making changes and then following through on them long enough for them to become new habits.  Little things and big things that you know as well as I do — journal, eat less, healthy food groups, moving more.

But it’s also about being balanced and not feeling deprived.  I don’t deal well with that and don’t have to go there; there are plenty of options that let me feel satisfied and happy as long as I take the time to explore them.  One thing that’s critical for me is the balance between what I eat for lunch and what’s for dinner.  Lunch is my most social time, when I go out with friends and colleagues, and I want to be able to have choices at a variety of places we’re likely to visit.  Voila!  I do.  In exchange for eating a larger lunch, I eat a lighter evening meal.  Planning the night before lets me do both.

Obsessing over food never was healthy for me and it feels paradoxically as though I’m being more aware and careful while also not thinking about it every waking minute.  The weight will come off in due time – but first the attitude had to change.  It has.  And it feels good.


Doing My Homework

Buddha in SunglassesI’ve been back at WW for two weeks and am feeling good.  I didn’t even care what the scale said yesterday; I’d had a good week of eating food I enjoyed, both out with friends and at home. I’m not going to tell you weekly weight loss because I don’t want to promote losing pounds as the only thing that matters – but know that I did lose and I’m happy with where I am and how I’m doing.

How can I feel deprived when I can have Pad Thai, taco salad, spaghetti pie, pizza and souvlaki?  Not in the same day, of course.  But still.  And there’s my beloved Fage yogurt with fresh strawberries, and vegetables that don’t taste like plastic.  I’ve eaten more salad in the last two weeks than I probably ate in the last year and it feels good.   I’ve done this before and it’s not really hard to actually follow a food plan when you know the details.  When I was resisting mightily, I at least knew exactly what I was doing that was self-sabotage.

One of the best things I do is to use a little time in the evening to plan out my food choices for the next day.  I put it in my tracker and play with the options so I know the structure, what I can have, and where I have wiggle room.  I love doing the etools with the easy online resources for points and better options, especially when going out to eat with friends.  Which is one reason this email from Arlene really opened my eyes:

Wait ’til you read this.. a study from Yale university found that out of 4,311 people who visited Starbucks, Burger King, Au Bon Pain, or McDonald’s, only a ridiculously pathetic number of them (six… yes, SIX!) took the time to find out the calorie counts in foods before ordering.  Granted, the info wasn’t right in front of their faces on the menus — it was posted on walls, printed in pamphlets, or available at computer stations inside the restaurants. But still — SIX people out of 4,311 is 0.1%. POINT ONE PERCENT! That is sad, especially considering that a meal out can contain enough fat for three days if you’re not careful.

So what is it? Are people lazy? In denial? Unaware? Whatever it is, we need to do what we can to change that. Restaurants need to make it WELL KNOWN that their nutritionals are available. And everyone needs to remember to seek this info out when visiting fast-food joints. Don’t be all “out of sight, out of mind” about it — if you don’t see the nutritional stats, ASK for ’em! And/or go on to their website before you go to eat.

Do you know the food values, however you care about them, of the foods you eat out?  Go visit some websites, look at pictures of the food, and arm yourself with information.  You never know when it will come in handy.


Random Thoughts of Food and Politics

I sit here in a candy-corn coma.  Well, not really.  But honestly, that stuff is lethal and a little goes a long way to push the sugar high and make your teeth hurt.  And yes, I had more than my fair share from the communal stash at the office.

My food has been out of whack all week because of lunches out every day.  I’m used to having a bigger meal at lunch and something lighter in the evening — but not every day.  I’m just not cut out for it and am very grateful that tomorrow will be normal.  Monday I had Thai with a friend from the main library.  Tuesday was pizza with my work colleagues.  Yesterday was Thai again for an interview lunch.  Today was seafood with an Italian flair with another candidate – and worse, we didn’t eat until 2pm.  My system doesn’t deal with that well and because of a last minute schedule change, I wasn’t prepared to wait that long.  Hence delving into candy corn.

I’m ready for normal again.  Tomorrow I spend the morning at the dentist, first having a cleaning and then having my final appointment for a replacement crown.  Not very exciting and very expensive.  No lunch out, no meetings, just the dentist and then productive afternoon working on problems.  What a relief!  This weekend I have no plans other than finally doing some serious cleaning, much as I’d rather hire The Maids to come and do a number on the place.  Have I mentioned that I hate cleaning?  No?

What I really want to do is go out and vote early, but my state doesn’t have a provision for that.  I want these last 12 days to not happen, to go directly to Election Day and getting this thing over with so we can get on with the business of dealing with harsh economic realities and moving forward.  Things will get worse before they get better but if I have to hear about Joe the Plumber one more time … wait, I’ve already heard it five times while I’ve been typing this.  Not Good.  It doesn’t help that on the way to work this morning, I saw a sign at a local church that read:  “Jesus loves you and Joe the Plumber.”  Gag me with a spoon!