Saturday, January 04, 2014
I came across a surprising editorial in the New York Times by Mike Tyson during my 'net wanderings today. Although he focused on his recovery from alcohol / street drugs, I, on the other hand, honed right in to how closely his insights & experiences parallel my own junk (i.e. sugary, starchy) food addiction.
Here is a link to his essay:
Fighting to Kick the Habit
Even the title hits home! Here are some of the more striking quotes:
"For addicts, discipline isn't something to strive for each new year; itís necessary for every moment."
"I had to replace the cravings for drugs or alcohol with a craving to be a better person."
"Iíve learned that being sober is more than just avoiding drugs or alcohol. Itís a lifestyle focused on making moral choices and elevating the things that make life worth living to the forefront."
"Even with your conscience nagging at you, itís extremely difficult to develop a sober and moral consciousness without a good support system." Where would we be without our supportive friends, family and SparkFamily? "Recovery is a drawn-out process, and without the continued encouragement of my support system, it would be close to impossible."
"Strangely, times of success are most dangerous for me. When people tell me, 'Youíre great' or 'Your comeback is amazing' or 'Youíre a god,' I could feed right into it and go get high." Yep, been there, done that...even recently a well-meaning person who hadn't seen me in a while was telling me how good I looked and to myself I replied: Ugh. Don't tell me that! Cuz I know the score. My tight pants knows the score! I have been known to pervert praise as an imaginary "get out of jail free" card. Which we all KNOW doesn't exist, but those well-worn grooves can be so treacherously easy to slide back into!
I know I've seen similar thoughts / struggles from those well into maintaining weight loss: "even though I hadn't been using for five years, all that time I just didn't feel comfortable in my skin."
And near the end he shares a lesson I've recently re-learned, re-honed: "I had learned not to beat up on myself. I remembered that relapse is a part of recovery." Congrats Mike and thank you for passing along your insights!
This is day 3 since my re-set. Tracking & low carbing absolute essentials to where I want to be!
I also GREATLY appreciate the HUGE tip shared by WATERMELLEN (check out her recent blogs:
I've since signed up for Steve Siebold's FatLoser program (Mental Toughness Program for Dieters) and have begun reading his free e-book:
www.fatloser.com and doing the work.
In other news, I was disappointed today to have my allergy problem, which may be more than allergies, I'm beginning to suspect, prevent me from getting out on one of the increasingly rare days when we can cross country ski in our area. I've been sneezing uncontrollably, runny eyes, raw nose from blowing, headaches (which I rarely get) and absolutely zero energy. Despite that I have been able to put together a terrific soup with beef broth, crushed tomatoes, kale, onions, garlic, jalapenos, a smidgen of pumpkin left over and black beans.
AND I've wrapped up my third day of tracking. Sure I feel lousy with my allergies, but hey, no matter what, I can always choose what to eat!
Monday I see my old allergy doc, hopefully get to the bottom of these spells which come and go and knock my socks off!
Thursday, January 02, 2014
I usually do my utmost NOT to join in with the crowd as I've always disliked the I'm-doing-it-cuz-everyone-is-doing-it mentality.
As a result I've never been a fan of New Year's Resolutions.
Well, this year will be an exception as I have backslid too much during the "dark months" and it is time to declare *ENOUGH!*
Some of the thoughts / factors influencing me are:
---Reaching the upper end of tolerance for tight clothes. Thank goodness I gave away all my "fatter" clothes...! :-)
---Feeling the pounds tugging at my cardio performance. Going slower against my will? Not at ALL tolerant of THAT!
---News of upcoming cycling events for 2014 and just not at ALL wanting to beat myself up for dragging along extra pounds that I coulda/shoulda/woulda sent to the curb.
---One of the retail therapy "indulgences" I've allowed myself over the past few months has been to gradually pick up deals on camping gear for some more self-supported cycling trips. I've got my tent/footprint, sleeping bag, super absorbent towel, inflatable pillow, powerpack for cell phone...all that's left is the air mattress and a waterproof stuff sack. All these material investments in my cycling fun has me thinking it's way past time to kick it in the pants for some physical investments into my body!
So my plan? First & foremost: no self-bashing! I've done enough of that! Now *learning* a thing or two about relapse prevention? I'm two thumbs way UP on that!
As always I've gotta keep it simple. Two critical factors will bring results for me as they always have:
1) Dial the processed carb way WAY down. In fact my hope is to only allow for perhaps one serving of fruit per day and at times legumes in soups and hummus. All sugar/flour-based carbs...fuggedaboutem!
and the REAL BIGGIE:
2) Tracking my food intake. Duh...what a shocker, right? Nothing has brought me the results and satisfaction with my efforts like tracking and being highly aware of the types of calories (fat/protein/carbohydrate) I'm consuming.
One thing I like about my past accomplishments is that without tracking, just eating what I *KNOW* and have learned over the years is "good" food for myself I am able to maintain my weight around 240 pounds. Which is no small thing given the heights my weight has reached in the past.
But: I know that is not enough to satisfy me over the long haul. I still think 200 is going to be a weight which will be an acceptable goal for myself. Who knows for sure until one gets down around that range as to whether or not this will be live-able and maintain-able...but I'd like to give it a serious shot. I succeeded once back in March 2010 and I know the critical factor which enabled this success was tracking.
Another accomplishment I feel good about is my rock-solid commitment to being physically active and working out at least 5x a week with maybe one, at most two days off.
Another thing I'm going to try short-term as a way of jump-starting my efforts is to limit my eating to roughly between the hours of noon and 8 pm. This results in a limited "fast" for the other 16 hours. I'm intrigued by this idea as it "keeps it simple:" no thoughts or concerns about eating during a good part of the day! Will it be sustainable? Dunno. I'll maintain awareness of my inner deprivation / resentment barometer...if it kicks up too much of a fuss I'll ditch this pattern. If nothing else, it sorta shakes things up which appeals to me. Let's not just get outta the rut, how about taking some DYNAMITE to the rut?!
So let's get this 2014 thing kicking, shall we? :-)
Saturday, December 28, 2013
What? Me work on my car? Not on your life...I'm woefully all-thumbs with most things mechanical as my wallet well-knows!
But: the one thing I enjoy about taking my car to have work done is that the shop is just a few blocks from the upper end of one of my favorite and most-well-traveled local park with it's trail. I "almost" decided to attempt to cx ski, but figured with temps heading for mid-40s the snow would be too skimpy...and it was: I kidded with a fellow who was there doing some cx skiing "You're making me regret not having brought my skis!" And he smiled, saying it was really "sticky" and not very pleasant skiing.
My plan was to walk / jog through Otsiningo, then a few blocks beyond the southern end I could connect to another park / trail at Cheri Lindsay which would take me along the river downtown where there was a blood drive today as I hoped to finally get around to donating blood. As some of you may know earlier this year in Feb. I "flunked" the Red Cross test for donating blood as my heart rate was too low, in the 20s & 30s. But since the cardioversion my heart's been bumped into a stable and healthy rhythm. So let's get back to the donor drill! HOWEVER, I mucked it up and thought the drive would run from 12 to 3 when it really ran from 8 to 1. I arrived 20 mins too late! I was pretty steamed over my mis-cue, but the last fellow there from the Red Cross said that they would've screened me out anyway as they look for a year to elapse after a health issue such as mine prevented me from donating. So put it on my list for Feb/March!
It was a PERFECT day for getting out with BOATLOADS of sunshine, lots of folks out using the trails (which always makes my heart sing!) including a few friends I caught up with along the way by surprise. However at 9 miles for the round trip I have to admit to feeling a lot more sore than I would like to be feeling...ugh! But it will pass...the sunshine and Vitamin D boost will linger through the deep freeze that lurks around the corner as the bottom drops out and we head for single digits by the mid-week.
A thought I had percolating during my walk is how focused we here at SparkPeople are over re-inventing ourselves physically and incorporating many lifestyle changes which support our "new" version of ourselves. This seems for myself and I think for many among us to lead toward broadening our re-definition of ourselves beyond the physical. Like gardeners, pruning, weeding making choices over what we want in our lives and what we don't...not only for our bodies, but our emotions, our social life, our spirituality. Working and nurturing our soil, choosing what to plant and how to foster deep, healthy roots and flourishing flora that speaks to our heart's content.
I have to credit Mary Chapin Carpenter here as a few of her songs inspired my thoughts along these lines during my walk today. She admitted to never wanting to be pigeon-holed as a country artist and has taken some bold, creative steps herself toward re-defining herself as being a singer-songwriter which speaks much more to the heart of her music:
What to Keep and What to Throw Away
Don't Need Much To Be Happy
Soul Companion (with special guest James Taylor!)
As we near our year's end many of us reflect on where we've been and what we want more of in our lives. My wish for myself and for each of you is that we listen to our hearts and follow through as best we can to breathe as much LIFE in our living as possible!
ps...on the lighter side...here is a fun link you might try. By answering these questions this website can tell what part of the country you are from. It's fun. I was a little disappointed that it appears I've lost my mid-west Chicago dialect and am pretty thoroughly upstate NY in my dialect:
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Another member was curious about my home-made hummus which I posted about yesterday in my status.
Well, I got sorta yacky in my response and figured why not share with others? :-)
I found this recipe in SparkRecipes:
I liked the simplicity of it and the fact that it was a recipe that didn't require tahini as many of them do. Tahini can be hard to find and pricey. AND since it is really a nut butter made from sesame seeds it can add a significant caloric punch, albeit of a healthful variety most likely.
Following recipes has never been my forte, however...I take many liberties as I have with this one...but I DO appreciate it as a base plan for my own hummus.
Here are some of the things I do:
Forget about canned chickpeas...who knows what additives there are, salt, BHA or whatever that stuff is. I buy the dried chickpeas, soak them overnight and boil them up. The whole bag...forget, 12 or 16 oz? Something like that. Plus the OTHER fun thing I do is vary the bean of choice. As I figure a chickpea is just another bean why not substitute black beans? Pinto? Northern? Even the variety pack of dried beans which they use for soups? Done 'em all, love 'em all.
Variations to boiling: I ALWAYS add fresh onion and garlic...sometimes I overdo it and we all wilt each other with our breath afterward...lol! I have tried variations of adding these as well. Sometimes I add them fresh after I'm done boiling the chickpea (or whatever bean I choose). I've found that you need to tone it WAY down on the quantity of onion and garlic if you do it this way as they are in their MOST potent form. Sometimes I will sautee the garlic and onions in olive oil before adding them. And then the OTHER variation is to boil the garlic and onions with the bean of choice. I pour the water off into whatever homemade soup I've got going...most recently leftover turkey / barley / carrots/ celery / spinach...yum! Anyhow ALL variations work.
Next: what to do with all these ingredients? The recipe calls for "smashing" it. And certainly you can do that and keep it simple. However I love a yummy smooth texture so I use my food processor to pull all the ingredients together. I imagine a blender could do a respectable job as well.
Note on the sour cream: I substitute non-fat yogurt. I suppose one could use non-fat sour cream or Greek yogurt as well.
Note on spices: I don't bother with salt but love to go crazy jazzing it up with crushed red pepper, black pepper, sometimes use lemon pepper, even chili powder! And of course lots of cumin which gives it the distinctive hummus-flavor we all know & love.
Note on onion & garlic: nope the original recipe doesn't call for onion. Oh well. IMHO, one can't have garlic without onion! :-) I take great liberties with the quantities of these ingredients as well...as in LOTS!
Other variations: As a mentioned in my status yesterday I varied this recipe by tossing in a handful of cranberries and an apple which contrasts nicely with the lemon juice to give it an added touch of sweet tangy-ness. I've added tomatoes sometimes for another variation. Yams for another. Probably berries would be cool. Have fun and play with it...see what you come up with!
It's sorta funny how the original recipe was titled Hummus My Way, cuz that's what I sure DID with it! :-)
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