Monday, October 08, 2012
I'm just starting to work this through, but it's an idea I think is worth pursuing.
I've been broke recently - like genuine penury, not just a bit low on funds - and it's changed the way I eat. I traded an old 1949 FarmAll tractor for four years' worth of CSA membership, and basically I've been eating what they give me, supplemented with beans (the dry kind that you soak and cook, not the canned, high sodium ones) and brown rice, cooked or dressed with olive oil. Once in a while, I'll buy some cheese, usually feta or parm. I buy an occasional dozen eggs from my Amish neighbors, maybe bum a quart of raw milk off my friends across the way, but little else with any regularity. I decided a long time ago that if I wanted bread, I'd make it rather than spend $4/loaf (and I still had money then - just refused to pay the price, and wanted to cut down on the bread anyway.) I have almost 200 acres of half-wild farmland, and I've done some of the Euell Gibbons stuff, too - it's surprising, the things that are yummy and growing wild (no, no mushrooms. Broke, not suicidal.)
As a result, given my preference for easy, hot meals, I've made a lot of large pots of soups and stews, and a lot of trays of roasted vegetables to eat hot or cold. What I've noticed is that, with fewer choices, I've become less concerned about what and when I eat. I don't have "tempting treats" around, so I'm not constantly fighting the urge to snack. If I'm genuinely hungry, whenever that occurs, I can grab a tomato and a handful of carrots, or heat up some soup. I've eaten a baked sweet potato for breakfast, and many times eaten the same vegetable stew for brunch and dinner.
It sounds really boring, and maybe it is, but it's healthy as the dickens (all organic, all fresh, all grown within walking distance of home) and I find that spending less time fretting over figuring and counting and planning food is helping me not only lose weight but find time for other things that I enjoy doing.
It's been really interesting, discovering all the things I thought I couldn't live without that are barely making a blip on my radar of missing things. Mayonnaise and butter are two of the food things. Directv made a big mistake, I think, in shutting off my service, because I found I really don't miss it all that much.
I bought apples today, because the weird spring weather caused me to lose my entire cherry and apple crops - me, along with many other farmers in my region. But last year, every day for breakfast I'd go out and pick an apple or two to enjoy with a bit of cheddar and my black coffee ( I started drinking it black again when I ran out of cream one day and discovered I didn't care.)
Maybe this sort of careless monotony only works for certain kinds of people (like those of us who live alone) but for me, it's been very instructive. I not only shed a few pounds painlessly, but I've gotten to see how much of what I think of as "necessary", really isn't. Eating only when I'm hungry, sleeping only when I'm tired (radical concepts!), and not worrying about either one of those things at other times has been both educational and freeing. I've spent most of the summer farming (for the CSA) and now am doing a lot of wood for the winter, and frankly I haven't worried much about exercising. Even if I wanted to, most days I'm too beat at the end of the day for anything more than a quick dog walk.
I've always lived pretty close to the ground - cooked from scratch, had big gardens, enjoyed the outdoors and relatively hard physical labor - but this summer has taken it to a whole new level of basic-ness.
I'm not really recommending Spartan existence, just suggesting that maybe all this emphasis on planning and programs and counting isn't such a good idea for all of us. Maybe we'd do better without obsessing over every sit-up and calorie (and if you can count all those things without becoming obsessive, then God bless you - I couldn't) and just live our lives as they unfold.
As I said in the very beginning, this is something that I'm just starting to play around with in my mind, not a strong opinion or platform. But what if it's true that what you think about expands...doesn't that suggest that the more we fuss about food and fat, the more fuss and fat we get? Just stuff to think about...
Wednesday, October 03, 2012
I'm below 200# for the first time in ...well, quite a while, certainly. And I believe that, for myself, the secret is that I'm a cheapskate.
I just absolutely refuse to pay $4 for a loaf of bread. I swore that if I were that desperate for bread, I could just make myself a loaf. And a few times I've done that (no fair buying the frozen kind - we're talking yeast, flour, kneading, rising, the whole deal.)
However, since my cheapskateness (and if that's not a word, well, it should be) is rivaled only by my laziness, bread doesn't get made all that often and therefore, my carb consumption is way down. I pretty much eat what the CSA gives me to eat, throwing in some beans here and a package of tuna there. A few eggs if I have them. Yogurt smoothies for breakfast. My diet is very heavy on the vegetables, and very light on the other stuff. You'd also be surprised at how the urge to snack goes away when the only way to snack on something is to cook a vegetable (or eat another one raw - and I do sometimes.)
Oh, and I also quit buying butter and mayonnaise. I don't care if I want it - if it's not in the house, I'm safe from it. I'd *much* rather put mayo on my tuna-in-a-tomato lunch, but since I don't have any, I'm forced to use balsamic and a sprinkle of herbs. I like butter on my bread, but since I rarely have bread, the missing butter isn't so bad.
I may just be getting the hang of this thing. I'm tired of whining about feeling fat - I want to whine about how all my clothing is too big!
Have a great day, guys.
Sunday, September 30, 2012
I honestly thought I'd made some blog entries in August or September....oh, well. My first goal for October is *drum roll* showing up on SP every day. The others, in no particular order, are:
- impose some sort of order on my work schedule. I've been working on three separate Internet projects, all of which have the potential to be very lucrative, and also have the potential to be complete washouts. I've pretty much put 40+ hours per week into the aethers. I've also been working one day at the CSA for money (very little money, but every bit helps) and several other days for free. I suspect this is the source of my three pound loss. I really do, however, need to get an actual, paying job like normal humans have, at least until something independent starts paying off.
- become firmly established below 200 pounds
- blog (here) 2-3 times per week
- remember to wear the FitBit and get in my 10,000 steps per day, plus a couple days (like 2-3) of semi-serious lifting
- make the "daily" household chores become, in fact, daily, rather than waiting until they reach calamitous proportions
- set aside time for daily meditation
I think that's enough for one month. Heck, I'd be happy to achieve even one of these goals, let alone all seven, but we'll see what we can do. I've never done very well with the, "Let's get up tomorrow and be a whole different person!" :D :D :D sort of approach, but I am reasonably successful at sneaking things past me until they become habits.
What about you guys? Have any special October goals (not eating all the Halloween candy is a good goal, too.)
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Okay, I know it's off-topic and not terribly exciting, but it still is useful. File under Learning Something New Every Day.
Did you know that dust build-up in the sockets of light bulbs makes them overheat and blow out faster? I sure didn't. I probably vacuum out the light bulb sockets in the chandeliers and ceiling lights....once a year? Maybe? I did realize that dust and the occasional moth probably wasn't a good thing, but frankly, vacuuming light bulb sockets isn't high on my to-do list.
And, apparently, the older the wiring, the more important this is. I suppose that overheating sockets could lead to a fire, too, although I don't know this for sure.
HIPPIECHICK says that there's mercury in the new fluorescent bulbs, so I can't recommend one way or the other on them, but given the new info on blue light emissions (my previous blog on insomnia), I"m sticking to regular incandescent tungsten light bulbs next to me and in the bedroom. I'll still use the fluorescent ones that last for five years (so they say...) in the fixtures that require ladders to change bulbs.
Who knows - maybe I"ll even vacuum the fixtures more often.
Friday, July 20, 2012
Any of you who read my blogs or irritated "status" updates know I don't sleep well. Ive always been one of those, "I'll sleep when I"m dead" people, but in the last year or two it's become ridiculous. Now maybe I know why.
Seems computers and smart phones (and tvs, but they aren't right next to our heads) emit a wavelength of light that is normally only found in daylight, and scientists suggest that this may be screwing with the circadian rhythms of some susceptible humans. They think that perhaps until technology can sort this out (and they're working on it as we speak) the best thing to do is not to play around with computers and phones right before - or in - bed.
I don't know about you, but if I can't sleep, the first thing I do after I finish reading my bedside book is haul out the computer and see what other night owls are up to. Or else I text my children, and if they're sleeping, I'll play some teensy game on the phone.
I may have to change that and just keep a bigger pile of books and magazines by the bed. Only I may have to change light bulbs, too - seems many of the fluorescent bulbs also emit this blue light.
Here's the link to the article in the Chicago Tribune, by staff writer Monica Eng:
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