Sunday, November 30, 2008

Gluttony, step to one side please

I like turkey. I don't like turkey. I like turkey when it is cooked whole and eaten with all the usual trimmings of fluffy buttery mashed potatoes, silky gravy, sweet cranberry sauce, stuffing and candied sweet potatoes. Turkey breast? Then I don't like turkey. Because turkey breast is served with baked potatoes, dry and boring. It's served with steamed broccoli. There's no crispy skin or wing bones to gnaw on. So I really only like turkey during the holidays when I would never consider restricting my intake or cooking just a low fat healthy turkey breast.
This year was wonderful. We brined the turkey in a new way that resulted in moist but firm white meat. We (the "we" is my daughter and I) rubbed the turkey with Kosher salt and left it in a plastic bag in the frig overnight. I'm sure a longer brining would be better but we only had about 36 hours.
We laughed as we cooked: Each dish used at least one stick of butter, sometimes two. Butter here. Butter there. And lots of brown sugar.
The meal was amazing. Every dish was perfectly cooked. And I ate very little. Why???? I wish I could have a redo right now. But I wasn't hungry. Or at least not hungry enough to stuff myself. I may have a history of eating past "fullness" but I have to be hungry at the start or I cannot do it. I just wasn't hungry. Perhaps it was the bag of potato chips I ate while cooking? Or the real sugar Pepsi I drank to wash down the chips. Or the delicious breakfast my husband and I had at a wonderful place in Venice, CA. I don't know. I just know that I only ate one small piece of turkey and a tiny spoonful of all the accompaniments. Now I lament that I didn't have more. Another lamentation to add to my tally for my life. Usually it's that I ate too much and I'm sorry. This time I'm sorry I didn't eat more!
So back home, Thanksgiving over. A decision by my husband and me that we have to stop. Eating isn't as much fun as it used to be when we were younger. It's getting harder to stuff ourselves. It doesn't feel as good. It's down right painful. It used to be a joke to come home with the top button my pants opened. Now I wear pants with elastic waists but still, the expansion is not funny.
So, dear gluttony, please step to one side. We're not proposing diets but we are proposing reduction. We're going to continue to enjoy the gastronomic wonders of the restaurants we love but we're going to do so in smaller portions. Sharing perhaps. In fact, last night we shared dinner and it was lovely. Also, it cost way less! We shared an appetizer and we shared an entree. It was enough food. And it was good.
Getting older sucks. We can't eat as much as we used to. Forget the aches and pains upon awakening, the loss of hearing, the failing eyesight, the sagging skin. We can't eat as much as we did when we were young. That's the lament for the day.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Turkey Day Feasting

Joy Bauer, a tiny dietitian who appears regularly on The Today Show, informed us this morning that the typical Thanksgiving dinner is worth (and I say "worth" because it is a valuable commodity) 4,000 calories. I love it. 4,000 calories. One meal. Not even one day. Just one. And I'm presuming that its not even a gluttonous meal but one offering the typical turkey, gravy, stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie (with maybe a little whipped cream).
Here's my plan: I'm going to eat it. All. I'm going to love it. I'm going to savor every delicious bite. I'm going to memorize the flavors and textures. I'm going to eat until I have to open the top button on my pants. I'm going to linger at the table with my family, watching them enjoy the meal.
I'm not going to worry about the calories or the fat or my waistline or the effect on my cholesterol. That one day isn't going to kill me (the ones leading up to it and the ones following might!).
Then Friday, I'll do my best to return to my normal gluttony while we ponder the leftovers and move on to a more normal eating regimen.
How many feast days do we have? Birthdays. Anniversaries. Thanksgiving. New Year's Eve. Not that many. I'm not going to worry. No doubt I will weigh more next week than I weigh today but it won't be because of one meal. That's for sure.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

My body has a mind of its own???

I found this on the Internet:

"The Calorie Shifting diet confuses your metabolism by eating in a way that you've never eaten before. You are going to eat in a way that is opposite of what your body expects you to do. On this calorie shifting program, you are not going to eat the same types of calories for more than a couple of days at a time and you are going to lose a lot of weight by using this method."

Puleeze. Okay. Puleeze. Isn't any diet eating in a way that you don't normally eat? And I didn't know that my "body" had expectations about how I was going to eat.
"I wonder what she will eat today", muses my body.
"Carbs? Protein? Fat? A combination? And will she exercise?", ponders my body to itself.

The only way I'm going to lose a lot of weight is to eat sensibly, once and for all! To cut out the large portions. To smile and say, "No, thank you. I've had enough."

Friday, November 21, 2008

Potato chips and other snack foods

Potato chips. Crunchy. Salty. Tasty. I like them when they're rippled. I like them when they're thick. I like them when they're thin. I like them anyway except flavored. I like my potato chips to be potatoes, salt and oil. No flavorings. If I want flavorings, I'll dip them.
Today I had potato chips. Not a lot. Just a handful. Maybe not even a handful because I ate them one at a time out of the bowl and I know I didn't eat that many. They were particularly light and crunchy. I don't know the brand. I was at a friend's house and we stood at the kitchen counter eating out of the bowl discussing our upcoming road trip to LA. It was a girlfriend moment made even better by the lovely chips.
Corn chips are good but not as good as potato chips. Cheetos (ooops, no idea how to spell that!), not so much. Pretzels....yes, if they're the rod kind. I mean, I'll eat the other ones but I prefer the rods. Oh, but best of all are the big NY style pretzels. Excellent. They sell them in movie theaters now but they're never that good. Still, I do eat them. Love the salt against the bland bland thick starchy pretzel.
Lately I've been enjoying bagel chips and pita chips. But nothing can compare to potato chips. Sounds like an "ode to potato chips".

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Apples and Candy Bars

I just read a post on a list serve about a gimmick to determine if you are "hungry" or just craving a candy bar when you seek a candy bar. Just ask yourself if you'd eat an apple if there were no candy bar available. Duh. No. I wouldn't. Apples do not take the place of candy bars. Does anyone really think they're "hungry" when they think about eating a candy bar?
Well, sometimes they may indeed be "hungry" and choose to eat a candy bar because they want the taste or texture of that food to satisfy the emptiness in their gut rather than a bowl of bright green broccoli.
You know, my mother believed "if you're really hungry, you'll eat anything." Uh, no. I won't. In fact, I won't even eat something I like when I'm hungry if I don't "feel" like eating it.
There are times when hunger and craving are very distinct with no overlap. If you've just eaten a lovely meal and you're feeling satisfied in your tummy but not in your head, then I think you realize it's a "craving". But if it's 4 p.m. and I haven't eaten since noon and I'm thinking "bowl of pasta" and nothing else will do, that's a combo craving/hunger need. Don't you agree?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Dear Public Diary

Yes, I know. Blogs are public. And I've done a little to get the blog "out there". Still, I kinda thought just a few of my friends were reading it. Then the other day I received some comments...from strangers (or at least people who did not identify themselves as acquaintances). Thinking that no one but a few people with time on their hands is reading my rantings and ravings about being fat, losing weight, and finding clothes that fit made it easy to be open and honest. Now that I know that other people are reading this, I don't know. That's weird...but welcome.
Here's the thing (or better said, one of the things): I know all the angles. I just get trapped in the corners of the angles sometimes. Like now. Like this month. Like today. Like yesterday when I had M&Ms at the movies (BTW...great movie...Rachel Getting Married). Now, I didn't have M&Ms mixed with popcorn (which is one of my favorites....salty crunch popcorn with sweet chocolatey M&Ms). I didn't wash the candy down with a Pepsi. I just had a handful of M&Ms. But, why? I was fine. Not hungry. Not actually "craving" anything. And I'm not so much a fan of M&Ms. I mean, they're okay. But they're not exactly a favorite food. So, why? Why? Just because. I felt like it.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Feast Day Gluttony

Just found this quote from an article I wrote last year. It's from the book, "Beyond the Shadow of a diet" by Matz and Frankel.
"...a healthy relationship with food means eating in response to physical hunger most of the time. However, normal eating can also include experiences such as eating occasionally because something looks good, eating past fullness at a special meal, eating in response to an emotion once in a while or choosing foods based on nutritional content because this feels care-taking. Attuned eating means that eating for satisfaction is predominant, and experiencing deprivation is virtually non-existent. Attuned eating is a natural skill. It can be relearned by people who have lost touch with their hunger and can be reinforced and nurtured in children so that they maintain this healthy relationship with food throughout their lives."

So, how does Thanksgiving fit into this model? It's okay to eat a lot when something looks good or to eat past fullness at a special meal. So it's okay to look forward to stuffing myself on Thanksgiving? It's not perverted to plan for a gluttonous day? I can feel safe eating thousands of calories at one meal just this one day? Candied yams, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce...oh, and let's not forget the turkey. Lots of butter and cream in the mashed potatoes and maybe even in the gravy. Dessert? No decision yet but whatever it is, it will be calorific!

Should we include a veggie to be "care-taking"? Something of good nutritional content?

I'll think about it. But not obsessively.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Scarlet O'Hara and Me

To paraphrase Scarlet, "As God is my witness, I won't be hungry anymore". The truth is, I haven't been hungry....really hungry...for a long time. I head hunger off at the pass way before the feeling is strong enough to remind me to eat. Even when I'm dieting, hunger is not that much of an issue. It's the fear of hunger that is a problem. Fear that there won't be any food around when I am hungry. Or food that is "suitable" to eat. No food around? In this city? In this house? Perhaps there's no food on a flight from here to anywhere now that the airlines no longer serve meals but there's food every place else. Plenty of it. So what's my problem!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Never say never

I give up. I give in. I am throwing in the towel. I've had enough. I'm exhausted thinking about dieting. Does thinking about it use up calories??? I know what I want. I just cannot seem to accomplish it. I am going to blame this all on my parents. It seems to me that kids who grew up in households where food was not an integral part of every moment of the day....those people seem to be weight stable most of their lives. This is just a casual observation. Nothing scientific. My parents were not like that. My mother was an excellent cook. And we ate something different every night. Always cooked from scratch. Always very tasty. My mother baked-coffee cakes, cheesecakes, cookies, pies, mile high chocolate cakes. My father had been a cook in the army (WW II) so he took over in the kitchen once in a while. He made the best spaghetti and meatballs and garlic bread. I almost forgot about the garlic bread. Fabulous. My mother's specialty was fried chicken served with homemade potato salad and homemade cole slaw. That chicken was sooooo good when it was cold. At midnight. A little snack. And then there was the ice cream. Always ice cream in the freezer. Big containers. And the candy. Lots of candy around the house. And nuts. We all loved nuts. Bread. Butter. Real butter. Whole milk. All the fat! We ate the skin on chicken and my mother didn't trim her rib steaks to remove the fat. Lovely food. All the time. Frig always full.
How can I overcome that??? How can my taste buds forget the deliciousness of my childhood food memories? Now if my parents really loved me (!), they would have served broiled fish and steamed veggies. Then I wouldn't have cravings for crunchy crusty fried foods. Or creamy cold sweet ice cream. I wouldn't dream about french fries and chocolate covered strawberries.
So I give up. For today. For this minute. But not forever.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sharon, tell us how you feel about restaurant labeling

I'm a person with lots of opinions. And here's one of them. I'm opposed to restaurant labeling...that is, labeling the menu items with nutrient content. Here's why:
First, it's almost impossible for a cook to adhere to an exact recipe when cooking on the line. Line cooks do not have time to weigh and measure each ounce of liquid or pinch of salt as an order comes in from the floor. The public is being deluded if they think that the dish they eat today is identical to what they will eat tomorrow. Most of the time, the cook who prepares it today is not even the one who will prepare it the following day. Sure, the food always tastes the same to us but if two or three of the same dishes were prepared individually and served side by side, you might actually be able to discern the differences in taste. Unless you weigh and measure all your ingredients at home, each time you prepare a dish the flavor and the nutrient content will be different. We don't notice the sometimes subtle differences because the food tastes about the same. It isn't.
Now if people use the menu information just as a guide, then maybe it isn't so bad. But that's where having only a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing. I don't think that's how it is going to work. I think someone will look at the menu, scan the calories and make a decision based solely on calories. I think people will ignore all the other calculations and look at calories and maybe fat as the criteria for making a choice. But there's more to making healthy choices than just calories and fat. Remember, an avocado, a very healthy food, is very high in calories and very high in fat. Yet it is a food we should all be eating.
Maybe even more important is that food will, I think, become less about pleasure and more about whether it is fattening or not. Pleasure. Maybe I put too much emphasis on pleasure for myself but by making the menu read like a nutrition textbook, the emphasis will shift to numbers and what the food provides rather than the pleasure the food gives us. I see that as a dangerous trend that could possibly backfire.
Go out and order a grilled chicken breast served with quinoa pilaf and roasted cauliflower, for instance. Now, that actually sounds pretty good to me. But if you order it because it's the lowest calorie option on the menu rather than because it sounds like a tasty offering, then you might....just might...consider that you have the right to indulge in a "sinful" dessert afterwards because look at how virtuous you were in choosing your meal.
Sure, there's really nothing wrong with that except that it sets up the notion that if we eat good food, we can have dessert. Remember when your mommy promised you a dessert if you ate your vegetables?
So you chose the lowest calorie option and then you indulge in dessert. Voila. Calories are now much higher...maybe even double. But you really didn't want the grilled chicken breast. You wanted (I wanted!) the fried chicken breast. Perhaps you would have been satisfied with the fried chicken breast, mashed potatoes and gravy and you wouldn't then order the sinful dessert to reward yourself for your virtuous entree choice.
I'm just sayin'.....It's okay to know what's in your food as long as you understand that it isn't exactly what's on your's an estimate and it's variable depending on who is in the kitchen, how well she is trained, and how much time and effort the cook puts into being exact. I'm just sayin'....It's okay to want to know what's in your food as long as the calories and/or fat content isn't the only criteria you use to make a choice.
I'm just sayin'....So far none of this has worked. Labels on food and labels in restaurants and all the carb free food and "value" added foods haven't kept us from getting fat and fatter.
I don't have the answer. I only have a criticism.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What size do I wear?

All labs came back normal from last week's visit to the doctor. Soooo, that means that fat can be fit. And it also means that I have even less of an incentive to lose weight! Except that I so badly want some new "winter" (winter doesn't mean much here since we only have a few "cold" days and a few "cold" nights and then we go back to wearing lighter clothes rather quickly) clothes.
You know how this season's clothes go on major sale at the end of the season? That's when it's a good time to buy the less trendy fashions, the staples like a white shirt or a good pair of jeans...something that will be "in style" for years to come. I can't do that. Because I know I'll probably be BIGGER next season and the shirt with the tag still hanging from the sleeve with be too small. Or better yet, perhaps I might buy a pair of pants that are just a teeny bit to tight believing that this will be the year that I will actually lose and keep off weight so that when the new season rolls around, the pants will miraculously fit. Of course, I'm still waiting for the miracle that makes those pants fit! Not gonna happen.
The resale store near my house loves me. They know my name. They love my clothes. They're in the sizes that most women wear. The sizes that I have never worn. The sizes I keep buying. I mean, I want to be like everyone else. You know?
So I put off buying clothes. I don't buy at the beginning of the season because they're too expensive. I don't buy at the end because I just know they won't fit next season.
It's emotionally draining. All of this. When to shop. What to buy. Should I look in that three way mirror or not? Should I buy something that really fits...fits in the waist, I mean....and then have the dressmaker alter the rest of it? But then the dressmaker will know just how fat I am!
And so we come to the real issue: Does anyone really know how fat I am? No one has seen me (pardon the expression) "nekid" in a long time. So, no, no one knows. In fact, even I don't know because I'm among the group of "no one has seem me" in a long time.
Goodness. I don't look. I won't look. You can't make me look. But maybe I should look. A long hard look.
After I eat something. I can't look on an empty stomach.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Not PC diet

If you're easily offended, skip this post. That was a warning and a disclaimer!

If you're still reading: Here's a link to a pretty hysterical faux diet plan. As long as you can look past the incorrectness of making light of a particularly devastating mental illness, you should be able to see the humor.

Please don't inundate my mailbox with angry e-mails about OCD. I warned you!

Actually, to my tastebuds, lots of the combinations of foods I have eaten in the name of "healthy" eating, sort of look and taste like the ones in the photos!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Back in bowl

"Back in bowl" is a line from a Lily Tomlin/Steve Martin movie "All of Me". It's a line my husband and I say to each other with perhaps slightly different meaning than the writer had intended when he wrote those lines. To us it means it is time to get back to doing what we should have been doing but stopped doing. So, "back in bowl" for me...tomorrow.
I've been totally ignoring the tenets of healthy eating. Interestingly, though, I haven't been eating what I want. No fried chicken. Should I have some tonight? No pizza. Maybe I should wait to get back in bowl until Tuesday so I can have pizza tomorrow.
I've just been eating whatever, wherever, whenever. None of my craved foods. None of my favorites. That's really odd. In fact, I haven't really enjoyed anything in a while. It's just been eating. Not mindless eating, just eating. I taste it. I know what I'm eating. I know when I've had enough. I just haven't really enjoyed any of it.
I'm almost craving a salad...almost. Thought about oatmeal this morning for the first time in a while. Fish. Wouldn't mind a piece of broiled fish. So maybe it is time to get back in bowl.
But back in bowl in a different way, I think. WW didn't exactly work out well because once I left the fold, I left it completely. Eating whatever, whenever isn't working either. So how about, eating the way I was eating on WW (lots of fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean protein, lowfat dairy) but eating what I want when I want occasionally. Before I wasn't allowing myself the occasional fried chicken wing or scoop of ice cream.
Yes, yes. There were the LA transgressions. And the eating out issues. But if I consider them to be "transgressions" (even though I insisted I had no guilt!), then that's not emotionally healthy! So, here we go again. Eating as healthfully as possible, sticking to the concepts of healthy eating but allowing for satisfying cravings.
Another issue has been that I have only transgressed when I've eaten out while making eating home the place to stay on track. It might be better to switch that tactic a little or at least allow myself to prepare something gorgeously delicious at home once in a while. And so I will.
Should it be fried chicken?