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Make it special

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I had cookies after dinner last night. I do that every now and again, but it's been a while, and man, those cookies were goooooooood. Can we say the "o" word again?

I think the reason the cookies tasted so good was simply because it had been a while since I'd had any. It was special. I have been working on cutting back on sweets. I will never eliminate them -- I don't even plan to try -- but I know that I still eat too many sweets.

How many times have you eaten a whole sleeve or package of cookies, not really tasted one bite, and felt sick to your stomach afterwards? Ashamed? Guilty? Like a failure?

Cookies shouldn't be off the menu. But they should be special. Don't settle for anything less than great. If it's not great, throw it out after a bite. You are worth more than mediocre cookies.

And that goes for all holiday treats. I like to say that you can eat anything you want, you just can't eat everything you want. So pick and choose wisely. Savor every single bite. Maybe leave just a few bites on your plate. Make it special, because you're special!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STARTSPARKING 12/20/2008 12:06AM

    One of the tips I've read regarding holiday feasts is to skip the "everyday" food and enjoy special holiday specialities. For example, do indulge in a sliver of Aunt Margaret's famous homemade sweet potato pie that she only makes on special occasions, but skip the potato chips and store-bought dinner rolls.

I really like what you said in the end: "Make it special because you're special!" I'll have to remember that.

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KARBIE18 12/19/2008 7:36AM

    Great blog! I don't think I've ever eaten a whole sleeve of cookies either, but I have eaten enough to make myself sick. Many times. But not recently, thank goodness. I'm starting to do exactly what you suggest - make it special. We really can have our cake, and eat it too!

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ASTARB1 12/17/2008 8:29PM

    Sweets are a weakness of mine, too. Especially this time of the year. They are everywhere and often seem so innocent when you indulge in small quantities. But I know they add up. Good for you for having such a positive attitude!

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NITAINMN 12/17/2008 11:26AM

    Honestly, I have never eaten a whole sleeve or a whole box of cookies! Hehehe:) Only because I am not a cookie fan! LOL. I like to eat what is good for me and I truly enjoy eating it. There are a very few healthy foods that I do not enjoy. My hubby thinks I am crazy - perhaps this is why I never had to battle the fat until now! However, even a good thing can be toxic when you eat too much! You are so right there:) Moderation is the key that we all struggle to learn to be successful. For me moderation not just in food but, other aspects of my life too. Thanks for this thought!

emoticon emoticon

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Just say no

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ok, I lied yesterday, just a little bit: yes, I write this blog for me. But I also enjoy helping & motivating other people. So sometimes it's for you (and me) and today is one of those days.

The holiday season is already in full swing. And food pushers lurk around every corner. What's a healthy eater to do?

Just say no, of course. But that doesn't mean you have to be abrupt or short. A little bit of honey really does make the medicine go down.

So when someone tells you they made something just for you, tell them "thank you. That was so kind of you; it looks like you really poured a lot of love into that. I'm just stuffed right now, but I'd love to take some home."

Of course, the trick here is to take it home and either regift it or simply throw it out. It doesn't do any good if you take it home & snarf it down in the privacy of your own home (calories DO count if you eat it standing up).

You need to acknowledge the effort that went into the person's gift, thank them graciously . . . and stick to your guns.

But what about the person that insists they will die on the spot if you don't just take a bite? You can try taking one or two bites (assuming you don't have ten of these people waiting in line to pour food down your throat), tell them how delicious it is, and say you simply couldn't eat another bite. Then ask THEM a question. Or you can thank them, tell them you're trying to eat healthier, and then ask them a question.

For the really food pusher, you can always say "no thank you" and just move on. They're dealing with their own issues.

Most people will empathize with you when you explain that you need to eat healthier. And if they don't, as I said, they have issues of their own. Food may have been -- still is -- the center of our conversations in my home growing up (even if we just finished a holdiay meal, we'll be discussing the next one), I was lucky that my mother isn't a food pusher. She will provide us with way too much food, but her feelings aren't hurt if you don't want to eat it.

You can have a good time and please the people around you AND stick to your guns.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NOMI_822 12/16/2008 11:38PM

    I so love this blog. I have a DIL who constantly drives by BK and every time she tries to buy me something. I tell her no and smile usually telling her that I have just eaten. The bad part is she is a member of Sparks and she eats whatever she wants. She is overweight and has really high cholesterol and I have been trying to help her through this but she just doesn't seem to care. I do care and I must do what I know I need to do to be healthy. She just wants a quick fix. But she is a food pusher and I can't understand why if she knows I am working so hard that I don't need her pushing food in my face every day. But each time I stick to my guns, I succeed. Hang tough, and success is one little word away!!! emoticon

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NITAINMN 12/16/2008 8:40PM

    Hi:) No food pushers around me this Christmas considering how I am not attending Cardiac rehab with grannies this year, no job being disabled! Oh, miss those good old days. I also loved it when my Mom, aunts, cooked my favorite food and enjoyed with such joy watching me eat with sounds like 'mmmmmmhhh'! When all the food pushers are gone, you wish there was one who really cared for you, cook or bake for you, I suppose? I love it when my now adult children and their hubbies ask me to cook their favorite foods even before they come to visit me and then, enjoy it to their hearts' content!!


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Get it out to get it off

Monday, December 15, 2008

I had a spark buddy email me. I'm on a sparkteam that is active, but doesn't have active bloggers (and I haven't been active on it in a while). She was wondering if I was lonely, because my blog shows up . . . day after day after day.

I replied that while I'm often alone, I'm seldom lonely. Which is true. I have four animals to snuggle with, which is mostly great on cold days like today (the downside is having to be outside where once I might have chosen to huddle inside, since the dogs do not like to go out in the cold -- and still need their daily walks).

But I don't blog to get comments on my blogs, although of course I like getting comments. I blog for me. Because getting stuff out of me helps me get stuff off of me.

Julia Cameron wrote "The Write Diet" (she is also author of the Artist's Way, which should be a must for any person who is creative). In both books, she has what she calls morning pages. You just sit and write first thing in the morning -- anything that comes to mind. It helps you to clear your mind.

I admit that I have fallen out of the practice of morning pages, as often happens. I've also fallen out of the practice of my private journal -- I still journal, just not as often as I used to (my private journal is separate from this blog).

I do believe she's right, though. Writing, even if we're not writers, is a good way to get stuff off of our chest. And for most of us, it's not what we're eating, it's what's eating us. Sometimes we don't know, but it still ends up coming out when we just take pen to paper.

I really think sparkguy is a briliiant guy. Everything is here for a reason, and that includes these blogs. It includes the articles, the sparkteams, the newsletters -- everything! If you're not using all the tools here, you're only cheating yourself. And they're all free!

Sometimes, like today, I have no idea what I will write about. Other times I have a subject in mind. And sometimes things just come out -- things I didn't know I was thinking about or hadn't consciously realized.

I blog for me.

On Cookbook Maven today:

DIY sugar-free hot chooclate

So simple, I almost didn't post it!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STARTSPARKING 12/19/2008 10:10PM

    I must admit I do get writer's block occasionally, but in general I enjoy blogging. It helps me slow down to reflect and to get a better perspective. It helps me work things out in my mind. Sometimes I come across interesting articles that I like to share.

Maybe you didn't have an idea what you were going to write about, but you ended with another thought-provoking blog post anyway. I always enjoy reading your blog whenever I get a chance. You always have something interesting to say. I am glad you are a regular blogger. emoticon

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MTER67 12/17/2008 5:51PM

    I started keeping journals when I was 13. I didn't write everyday, but almost everyday and I have my 7th grade English teacher to thank for getting me started. Blogging is a big part of my life now thanks to SP and I am grateful for that. I can't think of any other way you can pour all your feelings out--but then stop, step back, and reread your thoughts from a distance (as other readers would.) Not only does it validate and give weight to what you feel, but it also leads to self discoveries and new perspectives on things that otherwise you might have never seen. Having people comment is great, of course, but it is just icing on the cake. I think we would all blog whether we were acknowledged for it or not.

Lonely? Nah. I am glad that you continue to blog. If it keeps you company too, well that's a good thing, but I don't think it means you are lonely--just that you have that wonderful luxury of some quiet time to reflect! Right?

Comment edited on: 12/17/2008 5:53:31 PM

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SHOOTIN4STARS 12/15/2008 5:40PM

    thanks for recommending The Artist's Way. I will have to pick that up.


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NITAINMN 12/15/2008 5:19PM

    I enjoy reading blogs that I can identify with or are fun being entertianing or informational with good laughs or intersting stories:) I like your blog so far as to what I have read since I am not good at publicly expressing my thoughts being overly self critical. Lonely people do not blog to get out of loneliness I would think or rather reach out to others in a more inter active way. So, my dear keep on doing what works for you! Spark guy Chris is brilliant yes! of course. We are fortunate to have bumped into this site.

Just in case you are interested, I love Kathy's blogs who is a regular like you.


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Fear of gaining

Sunday, December 14, 2008

All I have to do is look at Oprah, and the ugly fear of regaining -- not really gaining, but regaining what I have lost, rears its ugly head. I have had times in my life when I've maintained, but it seems as though there's always some point when I regain. Not always more than I've lost, but sometimes. I am definitely tired of the cycle. I want to be done, as so many people here say.

That is why I do get fearful when I see a gain. My mind knows that it is normal -- even if you eat perfectly every day and exercise every day, at some point on your journey you will see a gain. I don't let it derail me, but every time it happens, I feel like a failure. Feeling like a failure is probably what has created my distorted relationship with food in the first place.

I can balme it on all sorts of things, but when all is said and done, it boils down to my choices. No one puts a gun to my head and forces me to eat.

I do believe that this time is different. I feel that it is. But how many times has Oprah felt that same way?

I have to *believe* that this time is different. Maintaining doesn't mean I will never gain weight again (and let's face it, I'm still a long ways away from maintenance); maintaining means that I will believe I can maintain. I will look back over what worked in the past. I will continue to go to weekly meetings, as much as I can, no matter how crazy my life gets. Maintaining means that I will set a weight gain that is my alarm bell -- and not hit the snooze button!

I have lived much of the first half century of my life stuck in a cycle of losing, gaining, losing, gaining. I do not want to spend the next half century of my life stuck.

On Cookbook Maven today:

Vegan brownie scones

No, these aren't low fat, but they are a nice treat. I made the large ones; if you make them smaller, they can easily fit into a healthy eating plan. Even the large ones can . . . on a special occasion.

Think you can make these tasty and lowfat? Got a better way to veganize them? Submit your own recipe -- I'll post it & credit you however you'd like to be credited! Or just send me your tips. I want Cookbook Maven to be a community for people passionate about food.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STARTSPARKING 12/15/2008 5:54AM

    Another brilliant blog post that speaks to me. I've been regaining for the past few weeks, and I'm scared. I'm getting tired of talking about it. I'm frustrated and disappointed in myself. However, I agree that we have to BELIEVE that this time is different, no matter how many times we have yo-yoed in the past. That's the only way we can succeed.

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NITAINMN 12/14/2008 5:12PM

    A little bit of fear is good to keep us on track. I just gained a pound and the fearof gaining made me decid to come off of my spark break, although I had lost a pound too when I was on break. so, I guess we do not credit ( I don't) myself enough but, I am the first one to blame myself, yes! for my choices!! I happen to read about coconut VS olive oil thread, having tracked it thru the team digest e-mail and bumped into your response. I agree with you, coconut can be excellent for us in whatever form when moderately consume. I even visited your cookbook maven site:) Thanks! emoticon

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RENA1965 12/14/2008 8:20AM

    I have been on maintenance nearly two years without paying a red cent. I have a iron fist rule my weight has to sit between 129.9 and 132, if it goes over this no extras and I have to work to get back between these numbers to enjoy the luxury of extras..
It is no huge punishment or even depriving myself. The morning fast weight has to be okay and no ifs and buts, to wait a day or two sometimes is just because of fluids or lack of them that slows the system down. Once the scales are peachy business as usual, I never throw caution to the wind. This is how i maintenance my weight, a mastering skill called "no accepts to the rules" no matter what time of the year or with whom. I also have spelt out no peer pressure especially from family. My boys never moan about this as only have me now their dad passed away to his diabetes type 1.. The boyfriends family also asks me what I will and won't eat.. I have given the effort to get peoples respect by never backing down on my principples and lossing face to it.. Consistency also gives people messages where they stand..

Comment edited on: 12/14/2008 8:22:39 AM

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Momentum in 09

Saturday, December 13, 2008

If you're a WW memeber, by now (unless you weigh in today), you're familiar with Momentum. It's been all the buzz on my SP WW team. Yesterday was my meeting, so I finally got some details.

It's not really a huge change for me, because I was already following the Flex plan. I think it's a bigger change for Core followers, because now they have to track.

But it did get me thinking about my food choices, and that's never a bad thing. One of the reasons I never followed Core is that I like to cook and bake, which means a fair amount of non-Core foods, and it just seemed too restrictive to me.

Now the cornerstone is to choose "filling" (aka Core) foods as much as possible. And this makes a lot of sense. It's not that I don't eat a lot of Core foods, I do; but do I always make the best choices for me?

Mostly I'm reconsidering my snacks. How can I choose more filling foods on a regular basis for snacks? This is something I have to think about. I do use nuts as snacks -- portion-contrlled -- on a regular basis, and unfortunately they are not considered a filling food, although by rights they ought to be. I suppose the thinking was that they are high in fat, and therefore easier to go overboard on. But I have a tin that holds exactly one ounce of nuts, and I usually eat only a quarter to a half of that at one time.

And that is one of the areas where I do think they fall short of the mark. I think there is too much emphasis on fat free and sometimes sugar free foods as filling foods. Fat free cheese qualifies, for instance, when the irony is you're more likely to be satisfied eating the full fat variety -- but watching your portion size. Fat free tends to be full of junk, not to mention not tasting like much. Full fat, while much higher in fat, naturally, is more satisfying for the simple reason that it IS full fat.

Sugar free is also problematic to my mind (for instance, sugar free cocoa or pudding, while not filling foods -- I think -- do qualify towards your calcium intake). But sugar free is guaranteed to be full of junk. There truly is nothing wrong with a little sugar (a lot is where we get into trouble). I know, I know, some people can't control themselves around sugar, and I used to be one of them; but I've come a long way. Reliance on those "real" filling foods is the very reason I can afford to have some sugar now and again.

These are, of course, just my opinions.

Still, I am doing my best to rethink my choices, and see where I can choose filling foods more often than I have been. While I eat pretty healthy, there's always room for improvement!

So my question to you WW memebers -- what are your favorite snacks involving filling foods, NOT fat free or sugar free, that fall around 1-3 points?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NITAINMN 12/15/2008 5:39PM

    I have never been to a weight watchers meeting either. However, I do know both my daughters who live far away from me lost quite a bit following their diet. Sad part being it came right back when they no longer were on it. I never believed in diets. I eat everything that is healthy for me, cooking mostly from scratch, shopping only the outer periphery of my supermarket and it works for me. I do not enjoy sugar free things either. Have you tried Tosca's clean eating plan for a healthy living? I do enjoy her recipes on salads and entrees once in a while. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MTER67 12/13/2008 6:51PM

    I have never been to a WW meeting or anything, but from what I have heard from you and others, they have the most sensible plan for helping people lose weight and keep it off. I am with you on the snacks though. I think it is a mistake to replace REAL LIVE food with artificial junk, even if the artificial junk has less fat or fewer calories. I haven't been doing the greatest job eating well lately, but for the most part, I do believe in eating mostly things that don't originate in a factory. I usually have a serving of crackers or baked chips with my lunch, which of course are loaded with artificial stuff, but I put the serving (usually like 15 chips, right) on my plate, then put the bag away. I eat a tiny handful of nuts almost everyday (I do think they are filling) and make my own cocoa with real sugar and chocolate and skim milk. It is comforting to me to know what I am putting in my mouth. Which is why my kids have never had cheese in a can and why I will never buy Twinkies!

Cooking and baking is time consuming. Sometimes it doesn't happen. But I do believe that tastebuds can be retrained from enjoying junk to craving the good stuff instead. Fresh almost always tastes better. In a mad rush to get dinner the other night, I microwaved a frozen lasagna for my family. It took an entire evening of swigging water just to get the salty aftertaste out of my mouth! As long as you practice careful portion control, REAL food has got to be better for you!

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