Monday, August 06, 2012
I spent most of my teens and twenties at a healthy weight. Yes, I got there in a rather unhealthy way at age 12 but I got there.... and I stayed there until I got pregnant with my son at 26... returned there only to get pregnant with my daughter at 28.... and never returned. Until I said 'enough is enough' on her 10th birthday and just about 2 years later I am just about 10 months into maintenance.
How does a person who spent so much time at a healthy weight spend 10 years overweight and, eventually, obese? By coping with stress poorly. My daughter has a LOT of health and educational issues. When she was 4, my 6 year old son developed life-threatening food allergies and as he's progressed through school we've found out that he has more than his fair share of educational issues as well. For a person who grew up healthy and breezed through school and expected her children to do the same, this amounted to a life full of very unexpected stresses. And I did NOT cope with them well. I ate to comfort myself. I drank to comfort myself. I ate to celebrate getting through crises. And I drank to do the same. I found myself so exhausted by the mental, emotional, and physical work of dealing with these unexpected stresses that I made little, if any, time for physical activity. People told me it would help. I could not see how carving out the time and energy for one more thing could help me at all. So I yo yo'd - losing when I had the energy to focus on counting calories and making time for exercise, gaining when I was overwhelmed and seeking comfort in the wrong things. Until I ended up broken (due to an arm injury that was just horrible) and obese and totally fed up with myself for letting myself get in that state.
In addition, I had started to pass those lessons on to my daughter :-( A trip to the hospital meant starting the day with a huge chocolate milk and a delicious baked good from Au Bon Pain and ending the day (or taking a break from the day) for a fat-laden lunch of Au Bon Pain mac'n'cheese and high fructose corn syrup sweetened gatorade. I noticed she didn't just do it on hospital days. She also used food for comfort dealing with other stresses too :-(
By the time she'd been through 4 years of surgeries both she and I were obese :-( And, really, enough was enough! Just like she learned bad habits from me, she has now learned and adopted good ones along side me.
We each ate a healthy breakfast today. We each at a healthy lunch today. I got my workout in this morning and she will get hers in in just a few minutes. Yes, she splurged on a low fat cone at McDonald's after her appointment but it was NOT a jumbo brownie at Au Bon Pain. And tonight we are all splurging on homemade low-fat spaghetti sauce with homemade low-fat meatballs served over Barilla Plus pasta with fresh grated parmesan - in reasonable portions. I did NOT ask hubby to pick up crusty white bread on the way home (as much as I r-e-a-l-l-y wanted him to) and I WILL resist opening a bottle of red wine (because I know on a night like tonight I would not stop with 1 glass). My budget will even allow for me to have my low-fat skinny cow ice cream cone later tonight when we are watching the Olympics.
Even though everything went VERY well today and it looks like DD is not going to have to go back into the OR (but she will have to have work done in the doctor's office that will be very unpleasant for her), today was really stressful and I am in need of comfort and, for better or for worse, I do still use food for comfort. This is a meal that is HUGE comfort food for me. I am relieved that I have found a way to still be able to have it without it blowing my calorie budget.
On a brighter note.... the doctor (who hasn't seen me since July 2011 and not in a calm setting since much earlier in 2011 - probably when I was still close to obese).... was amazed at how big the kids are. 'You've both gotten so big but mom still looks the same.' And then she did a double take..... and asked me if I'd lost weight :-)
She's actually part of my inspiration. One morning in pre-op she told DD how she had had a good (healthy) dinner and gone to bed early even though it was the night of a huge football game and then she'd gotten up early to go to the gym before she came to the hospital to operate on her. It was a real light bulb moment. How could I say I didn't have time to exercise when this woman - this VERY successful, VERY talented, VERY hard-working surgeon - had time to? The jig was UP! Maybe someday I'll share that with her :-)
Sunday, August 05, 2012
I like to be active on the weekends without going to the gym but, boy, it's just too hot to be 'authentically' active! I think I'm going to have to resort to cleaning the (air-conditioned) house as my physical activity today!
I hope everyone else is keeping cool!
Saturday, August 04, 2012
I try to make 'fun food' on Friday. My challenge is to keep it within my calorie budget while still feeling like I splurged. Last night I made buffalo balls and crudite and it was a huge hit! Just watch out the sodium content is crazy.... and I don't see a way to fix that since it comes from the blue cheese and the wing sauce.
Buffalo Balls (adapted from I Breathe, I'm Hungry: www.ibreatheimhungry.com/2012/02/buf
Buffalo Balls (makes 41 balls, probably 4 reasonable entrée portions)
For the meatballs:
1 lb ground chicken breast
2 oz light cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup egg whites
2 Tbs chopped celery
1 oz crumbled reduced fat blue cheese
1/2 tsp black pepper
For the sauce:
6 oz Frank's Red Hot Wings Sauce - Hot Buffalo
Combine all of the meatball ingredients in a medium bowl. DO NOT ADD
SALT!!! The Frank's is super salty as is the blue cheese so trust me you
don't need to add more. The mix will be sticky and gooey but that's normal.
Form into about 1 inch balls - remember these are cocktail/bite sized so
don't make them too big. (I used a small Pampered Chef cookie scoop and just
ejected onto the pan.) Place them on a greased cookie sheet (with sides) and
bake at 350 degrees (F) for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove balls from
oven and dunk carefully (they are tender from the cream cheese and could
fall apart if you are too rough) in the buffalo sauce. Put back onto the
cookie sheet and bake for another 12 minutes. If you have leftover sauce
you could pour it over the meatballs and bake for another 3 to 4 minutes if
you want them really saucy. These have a subtle blue cheese flavor but I
love the dressing so I added more and it was awesome! And of course, you
must serve with celery sticks to be authentic!
Nutrition (calculated from recipe ingredients) - per ball (41 per pound of chicken)
Calories From Fat: 6
Total Fat: less than 1g
Carbohydrates: less than 1g
Fiber: less than 1g
Sugar: less than 1g
For crudite. I served grape tomatoes, carrot chips, white mushrooms, and celery sticks with a blue cheese, pepper, yogurt dip that is a new favorite with the family. I don't have nutrition info on it but it should be simple enough to calculate.
Peppery Blue Cheese Dip:
3 oz crumbled reduced fat blue cheese
6 oz fat-free plain Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp coarse-grind black pepper
2 tbsp fat-free milk
Zip it all up in a blender/food processor or stir together (for a chunkier dip). Add more milk if it still seems too thick. Serve with veggies.
Friday, August 03, 2012
And so it goes.... back under goal in time for the weekend. Not at 'safe weight' but definitely comfortable. Breathing easy. Feeling OK about splurging tonight with the special 'fun food Friday' meal I have planned for the family.
Around the time that I was beginning this journey, I made a conscious decision to stop trying to 'control' a few aspects of my life that truly are not in my control. I was able to pull together all I'd learned about nutrition and fitness and apply them to my own life when I stopped beating myself up for not being able to control things that were not mine to control. I think that I traded trying to control things I can't control for controlling my weight and fitness. I've done that before with very unhealthy outcomes but this time I did it in a way that leaves my body feeling wonderful when I stick to the plan. But... I wonder... when my plan is SO FAR from the norm in our society have I done myself a disfavor? When I 'let my guard down', 'follow the crowd', 'relax'.... I have a recovery week like this last one where I truly feel physically unwell and it starts to affect my emotional state. There were times this week when I looked in the mirror and all I saw was fat me. It reminded me a LOT of the body image issues I had in middle school and it scared me. This time I am aware of enough to know that my mind is playing tricks on me but it's still unsettling.
Oy. I was talking to a fellow clean-eating mom this week and she said to me 'Why is it that I'm made to feel like the weird one?'... speaking about her peers' reaction to her refusal to feed her children processed food. That's where I'm stuck.... why is it that when I get together in social groups and 'let my guard down', 'follow the crowd', 'relax' does it have to be so unhealthy? Why is what I do considered weird and a weekend of white carbs, sugar, fat, alcohol and inactivty considered fine and normal? Can we not relax and have fun without those things anymore?
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