Monday, January 20, 2014
This is an extremely sobering article filled with very eye-opening information such as:
“Basically, the U.S. healthcare system spends about $1 trillion per year (and possibly more) fighting the effects of excess sugar consumption.”
"American politics are organized to protect corporate interests that make voters and taxpayers sick, and there is no better example: in a candy bar or a bowl of healthy granola, sugar is the big stake in the heart of American health."
The article takes care to point out the political problem is non-partisan: BOTH sides of the aisle are more than willing to take money from Big Sugar corporations and their lobbyists.
“In 2009, (sugar) crop producers spent more than $20.5 million on federal lobbying.” ( “How Big Sugar Gets Its Way," The Florida Independent, Sept. 11, 2011) That is the tip of the iceberg. Sugar producers and related industries cumulatively spend billions through dark money channels in political campaigns and “independent” expenditure committees supporting their candidates at all levels of government: from the smallest fry in Florida counties, to the state capitols wherever sugar can be grown. ("Koch-backed political coalition, designed to shield donors, raised $400 million in 2012," Washington Post, 1/7/2014) Sugar money in American politics disappears through the figments of campaign finance law and filaments of law enforcement. The United States is that special snow flake fallen on a pile of white sugar, melted golden by corporations more powerful than people."
More information here about the science behind the dangers of sugar:
Now I usually take care to keep politics out of my blogs here at SparkPeople, however when it intersects with our health and wellness I think there is value in keeping the Big Picture in mind!
Not because I think we need to lament and shake our heads helplessly, but because the more we are aware of the powerful forces against which we swim, the more we can 1) get ANGRY about this and 2) take actions to counter such forces!
When I see people loading their grocery carts with soda and highly processed carbohydrates I don't judge them: I judge the corporate / political / media SYSTEM that masquerades underneath our supposed free-will and shapes our preferences toward such death & disability-inducing choices!
What actions? A couple I can think of right off the bat is as many of us do: vote with our consumer dollars and avoid buying sugar-laden products. But the more important step is to speak out to our political leaders.
European countries appear to be so much more adept in holding their political leaders responsible for taking actions that benefit the majority of people and hold their leaders to task if they stray from this to serve their own self-interests by allowing corporations to buying out politicians to the detriment of the health and well-being of the people.
Speak out against subsidies for unhealthy industries such as Big Sugar! Ask our leaders: Why can we not subsidize HEALTHY food development? There is precious little help afforded to those who grow our vegetables and fruits.
Make noise: we need to be heard and we need to let our leaders know that we 1) will NOT support them if they don't take active steps to promote our health and wellness but that they will 2) earn our steadfast support if they DO support our health and wellness!
Bonus link: The wonderful Michael Pollan shares his common sense thoughts on the paleo approach to food:
Bonus link #2: Great upbeat message in this song:
LIVE OUT LOUD! by Intervision
Let's all keep Rockin' the SPARK!
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
All righty...last week was my first weigh-in so THIS is my first week of seeing the pay-off: SEVEN POUNDS!
Here are some of the numbers I'm seeing on the nutrition tracker:
Daily calories totaling around 1400-1500
Daily carbs totaling around 130-150
Daily protein totaling around 80-100
What confidence boost to see that I really, truly *KNOW* what my body needs and can take control so effectively!
Before going to sleep or when I wake up in the morning feeling that little gnarly twinge of hunger in my belly now brings a smile to my face: my friend is letting me know I'm on the right track! YES!
Let's keep doing all we can to take charge and fill our lives with SPARK! :-)
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
I have really gotten rolling with my re-set:
---No sugar, no grains
---Eating only between noon - 8-9pm, resulting in a daily "fast" of 16 hours
---Tracking all food
---Weighing in weekly.
I've avoided the latter two for too long and I don't wanna hit spring filled with coulda/shoulda/wouldas. Being at the upper limit of my clothes...nothing nudges me like THAT!
The irony, which I'm able to take without self-bashing, is that when I finally weighed in last Weds. for the first time in a long time I looked back @ my weight records @ SP only to find my weight was within a pound of where I was a year ago last January! 255. I had succeeded in whittling down to 240 during this past year and allowed it to slide right back up again.
Here's my goal: no more Sisyphean-rock-rolling back up the hill only to allow that rock to fall again! REALLY going to do my utmost to hold onto nutrition tracking and weighing in so that I can hold onto, maintain and add to my progress.
Along with be-friending Hunger and welcoming it almost every night and morning when I wake up, I am making peace with what used to be my OTHER former "mortal enemy": NUMBERS! While I could do better with the whole portion thing and may tighten up in that department, I've made significant improvements.
For example I almost always have a bag of natural, unroasted almonds in my car for snacking. I used to snack on them very mindlessly without limits. Now I find myself being very selective about my almond-munching and count them out while I eat them, remembering that 24 roughly = an ounce. I'll often break up my ounce to 10 or so almonds at a time.
Over the weekend I had a challenge with TWO restaurant visits in one day, one of which was at a BUFFET, no less! The buffet was pretty easy to negotiate as I simply did not allow myself to "wander" into the sweet, desert-y section and stuck (since there were still breakfast items available) to a freshly made omelet with ingredients of my choosing and a slice of turkey.
Later we went to an ITALIAN restaurant where carbie dishes are crawling out of the woodwork! BUT: I found a nice big spinach salad with cranberries, walnuts and blue cheese and opted to top it off with a chicken breast. I used the dressing extremely sparingly and...best of all could only barely eat 1/2 of the salad before feeling "full", not STUFFED. Saved the rest for my my lunch at work the next day.
Which leads to another reward I'm already reaping: my appetite is shrinking. I'm feeling full with less and less food.
Inspired by a Mary Oliver poem shared by VALERIEMAHA:
When loneliness comes stalking, go into the fields, consider
the orderliness of the world. Notice
something you have never noticed before,
like the tambourine sound of the snow-cricket
whose pale green body is no longer than your thumb.
Stare hard at the hummingbird, in the summer rain,
shaking the water-sparks from its wings.
Let grief be your sister, she will whether or no.
Rise up from the stump of sorrow, and be green also,
like the diligent leaves.
A lifetime isn't long enough for the beauty of this world
and the responsibilities of your life.
Scatter your flowers over the graves, and walk away.
Be good-natured and untidy in your exuberance.
In the glare of your mind, be modest.
And beholden to what is tactile, and thrilling.
~ Mary Oliver ~
(The Leaf and the Cloud: A Poem)
My reaction: There might be something to be gained from re-framing many conditions formerly thought to be "negative".
I've been befriending hunger. Perhaps it's time to start adding others such as loneliness and grief (as mentioned by Oliver) instead of self-medicating with food...even GOOD food! I sometimes find myself gnawing through a bag of baby carrots when something is gnawing at ME.
As I have been learning to "be with" my hunger, it might be worthwhile to spend time "being with" anger, loneliness, anxiety and a host of other emotions formerly thought to be "uncomfortable" and to be avoided at all cost...
Friday, January 10, 2014
It was a late work day yesterday (heck today too!), after 8 pm when finished and I was HUNGRY! Way more than my usual hunger thus far in my re-set for the new year. But I thought of WATERMELLEN's advice from www.fatloser.com and Siebold's tip to welcome hunger as a sign that one's efforts are paying off and weight is being lost.
I have an ancient, automatic response to hunger which says: FEED ME!
I had to pick up some freggies and canned goods at the grocery store which were going to go off sale by the end of the week and I knew I'd be too busy to get there beyond today.
So I'm in probably the very WORST condition to be waltzing through a grocery store! I had developed a hugely horrible habit over the past several weeks to "reward" or "self-sooth" myself with a carbie snack whenever I go to the grocery store or drug store. So I resolved that it just ain't gonna happen anymore!
I whizzed through, avoiding all the tempting aisles, got the freggies & canned goods I was going after & outta the store minus any indulgences and made it home to MY own food!
But even THEN I wasn't out of the woods. I realized that I was trying to talk myself into eating something OTHER than the home-made black bean soup which I planned on. I teased apart my thinking a little further. It went something like this:
"Jeez I'm REALLY hungry, maybe I'd better have something more substantial than the soup I had planned. Since I'm limiting my food intake to only between Noon and 8-9 pm, how about some eggs, cheese and salsa...that'll stick to my ribs better and hold me overnight. Besides, I avoided buying any carbie junk, why not reward myself?" Sneaky booger, that inner tiger I'm trying to cage!
I realized I was acting like a fireman rushing to a fire and looking to put it out as best I could. I stepped back and reminded myself yet again about Siebold's talk about hunger being a GOOD thing, an indicator that my plan is working, that I'm torching calories! I reminded myself of all the freggies I'd had earlier today along with portioned cheese and was like "who am I kidding?"
So I stuck with the bowl of soup, dodged a craving bullet tonight and learned to turn my "mortal enemy," hunger into my best bud!
I got a kick out of a co-worker today who stops by all the time to graze out of my bowl of freggies which I put out everyday for myself and whoever's interested. He tossed me a $20 bill as he does now & then saying: "thanks for keeping me stocked on the good stuff! If this wasn't around I'd be eating all sorts of garbage everyday!"
I think I've started my own CSA at work! :-)
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