Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year decision

No resolutions. At least none I will write down or say out loud....even to myself. But firm decisions. I am tired of eating out of control. I really am tired of it. I have decided to try to follow advice that I would give: Tomorrow morning (not more feast of ice cream before it's over), I'm cleaning out the frig. Tossing out the delicious Fox's UBet chocolate syrup. Getting rid of anything that can lead me down the road of ruin. I'll go thru the cabinets and the freezer. It's time to be serious. I'm going to be 65 soon and I have to stop abusing my body with food. No baking. Not for a long time. In fact, I would like to swear off reading cookbooks but I'm on a cookbook judging committee so I'll be reading 35 cookbooks over the next two weeks. They're all "healthy" cookbooks, though, so there will be no temptation from the recipes. I guess I'm just tired of fooling myself. I can lose weight. There's no "glandular" condition going on here. It's all me. Quantity and choices. And when I'm out of control as I've been for a while, I don't eat the fruits and veggies that I normally do. And I actually miss them. Cold turkey tomorrow. Could probably go for it now but it's New Year's Eve....don't want to be sorry in the morning that I missed out on an ice cream eating opportunity tonight.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Nasty ad for nasty fat

The ad says it all: "Would you like to banish up to 21 pounds of nasty fat from your body in the next 28 days?" For goodness sakes, who wouldn't want to banish nastiness from their body! It's a secret, of course. I mean, you wouldn't want just anybody accessing that earth shaking information. Goodness, no. And the results are amazing. Of course. Nothing less. The many pages of hype continue with the pronouncement that the two who are promoting this snake oil have "contributed to several mainstream books". What are mainstream books? It goes describe how it can "strip fat off real people really fast". The best part is that you can "start putting it into action in less than 60 seconds" because all you have to do is purchase the E book for $97. What!!!! $97 for an E book. Hello? The book offers secrets like 2 exercises that will turn your entire body into a fat burning machine. Scary stuff. I can just see myself at the movies, fat melting from my body, running down the aisle. The authors also promise lots of "shocking truths". The best part...."full 60 day 100% money back guarantee for every penny you have paid. EXCEPT, I read the fine print. And guess what it says.....
"Our company's entire liability, and the purchaser's exclusive remedy, shall be a refund of the price paid or replacement of our products, at our option. " Does that sound like 100% money back guarantee? AND they make "no warranties regarding the use or the results of the use of the web sites, products, services or written materials....". I rest my case.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Resolution Time

Ugh. It's that time of year when we all promise ourselves stuff we won't actually fulfill. I don't know the history of new year's resolutions but it's sort of like starting a diet on a Monday instead of another day. Something magical about the beginning of the week or the beginning of the year. Wipe the slate clean. Start over. Do better. Be thinner. Not going to happen. If it didn't happen last year, what makes me think it could happen this year.
I'm really beginning to contemplate getting old as 65 looms and I realize all the consequences associated with being old. I shouldn't lose weight. Sagging skin. Drooping chin. I mean, really. At my age, I'll be all saggy and wrinkled if I lose too much weight. On the other hand, if I don't lose some weight, my body will look fat in the sack I'm planning to wear in my pine box! A little morbid thinking never hurt anyone.
Eat better. Reduce indulgences.
I'll make my resolutions as vague as I can so it will be easier to succeed.
Instead of resolving to eat more fiber, I'll resolve to eat better. Better than I'm eating now.
Instead of resolving to cut down on ice cream (no, no, not that!), I'll resolve to reduce indulgences in general whatever they may be. Does exercise count as an indulgence?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Restaurant Conundrum

Just got back from dinner. Went to a neighborhood place that is always full of neighborhood people. The food is good. Not lots of "healthy" choices although they're pretty good about making modifications if you ask. Looked around the room and noticed that most of the people were fat. These are locals who eat out during the week which means they probably eat out often during the week after work. The problem is that the menu offers very limited healthier choices and the portions are larger than people would probably eat if they were eating at home.
This is no great revelation. The story will not be featured on the evening news: Sharon discovers the reason for the obesity epidemic.
And it's not like I didn't already know this. I believe that if people cooked their own meals instead of eating out, ordering out, taking out, they would be a lot better off. That includes me.
But we all eat out. Too much. And we expect the restaurant to do for us what we should be doing at home. I think that's expecting too much.
Why didn't I make dinner tonight? Because I didn't feel like it. That's why. I didn't want to dice and chop, saute and boil and then do the dishes. I wanted to be served. So I was served thousands of calories. Lazy me.
Did I order smartly? No. Did I ask for some healthy modifications? No. Am I sorry now? Maybe. If I could behave in a more rational way, then eating out wouldn't be such a negative issue. I do not exercise control when I am at a restaurant. I've written about it. I've thought about it. I mean to do it. I don't do it.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Eating to excess studied

I don't know anyone, fat or thin, who doesn't indulge on holidays. I suppose there are some obsessed people who follow their ritually perfect diets every day of the year but most people relax their dietary restrictions during "the holidays" (funny, isn't it that we all know what "the holidays" means...the time between Thanksgiving and January 1). A researcher at University of AZ, Dr. Bradley Appelhans, has studied why people indulge in excess eating in general. According to Dr. Appelhans, we are hunter-gatherers by biology so we are storing up fat to endure the lean times to come (and I don't think he means the economy).
I kinda don't agree with him. I think our species (and I'm referring more to those who reside in big cities) is pretty far removed from the hunter-gatherer biological construct. I'm not going to fight with him over our ancestry but we've had enough centuries for genetic mutations to have perhaps made some change to that issue. I think that's an "excuse". How does that explain the burgeoning issue of obesity around the world if eating excess calories is part of our genetics? Researchers are always showing statistics that reveal how we have steadily gotten heavier through the years. If eating excess calories has always been part of our genetics, why are we getting fatter now?
I don't buy his reasoning at all. I think that's why we "hold onto" the calories but that doesn't explain why we eat excess calories in the face of abundance.
The conundrum is not solved by Appelhans's research--at least not to my satisfaction. I shall keep searching.
Is it because there are more calories available to us now? More calories to store up?
Pardon me while I store up fat for the winter.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Biggest Loser

I admit it. I'm a fan of the show The Biggest Loser. And I always cry during the finale. Because I'm blown away by the physical changes the contestants have made. Last night's winner was the person I wanted to be the winner. I just liked her. I wanted her to succeed. I mean, they all succeeded but there was something about this young woman that touched me.
Where are the people who were on the show previous seasons? Why don't they parade them out for us to see how well they've maintained their lifestyles? If they were able to continue to exercise and eat healthfully, then we would expect that they had also maintained their weight. The camera focused on a few in the audience but scanned them too quickly for me to notice how they looked. We who live in AZ know that last season's winner is doing just fine because she's sort of dedicated her life to prosleytizing about healthy eating and exercise. She's made it her life's work to work at it. But what about the others? Are they like Oprah? Did they slowly abandon their ideal lifestyle and did the fat come creeping back?
Here's the eating plan the contestants follow:
"The 4-3-2-1 Biggest Loser Pyramid sets the stage for number of servings from each of the food groups: 4 servings of fruits and vegetables 3 servings of protein -- lean, vegetarian, or low-fat dairy 2 servings of whole grains 1 extra of fats, oils, sweets, alcohol, or your choice, equivalent to 200 calories".
It's a higher protein, lower carbohydrate diet. Interesting. So little grain compared to what is recommended. Don't know what supplements they're given. And servings of fruits and veggies don't come close to what would be optimal. Interesting. This is the first time I've seen the plan so I have to think about it a little bit before I make a judgment.
I eagerly await the next group of contestants.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Oprah, weight gain and me

Oprah has done it again. By that I mean she's brought attention to one of the saddest tales of our time: lose it and gain it back. Over and over again. Hundreds of pounds. The old joke, "I've lost and gained a whole person over my life". As if all her viewers hadn't noticed the slow upward climb towards her old weight, Oprah has come out to announce that she is indeed fat again. Oprah, we know. We can see it. You didn't hide it well. All those iron undergarments you wear make you look like you are in a full body caste. Give it up. Jiggle out.
If only I'd known that once becoming fat, getting and staying less fat would become an impossibility, I might have worked harder in my youth to keep from blossoming into my chubby self. But, alas, I started life out as a chubby so doubtless I would have ended up that way anyway.
I'm back to wearing billowy loose clothing. Not so much because my clothes don't fit but probably as a punishment to myself. I don't deserve to look good because I've been a bad girl. Food food food. Lots of delicious food. Hot food. Cold food. Sweet food. Savory food. Platters and bowls and cups of food. Here and there. At home and away. At restaurants and friends houses. None of it mindless. With each bite I asked myself, "Should you be eating this?" Bite. Chew. Swallow. I guess the answer was "yes".
What will Oprah teach me (us) about health and diet and weight when her new season begins? I eagerly await her insights. I shall watch the show with a box of Mallomars and a Pepsi.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Physical hunger vs My mouth

Ever since I abandoned WW, I've noticed that I no longer have the "taste" for things like whole wheat bread and whole grain cereals. In fact, I was unable to finish the sandwich I made for myself yesterday because I just couldn't eat the whole grain bread. It almost made me gag!
It took me a while to retrain my taste buds when I started WW many many months ago. Before each meal, my mouth would ask for pizza but I restrained myself and ate what was "allowed". Oh, sure, WW allows you to eat pizza but you know I didn't just want one slice so it was better to avoid it rather than create an issue of quantity desire. Slowly I learned to answer my true physical hunger with "appropriate" foods. Although my mouth would sometimes rebel, mostly I was able to retrain my taste buds and control the response if not the desire.
So since WW and I have parted ways, I've lost the taste for some of the foods that I should be eating regardless of the regimen I follow. Whole grain foods are a must. But I like white bread. I know. White bread. Not really the fluffy kind that you can roll into a spit ball. Rather I prefer the heartier kind usually from an artisan type bakery. I like white rolls. I like white rice although I have to admit that brown rice and whole grain pastas are acceptable to my demanding mouth. I haven't tried whole grain pizza yet, though.
My mother always said that hungry people will eat anything (meaning, I should eat what she put in front of me regardless of how yucky it was). That just doesn't work for me. I learned finally after weeks of dieting to recognize true physical hunger but my response to it was often determined by my mouth. What would taste good or feel good on my tongue. Filling my belly is almost secondary to how the food will taste. Certainly that will always stand in the way of following a healthier diet.
I have to figure out how to overcome that obstacle. How to override my mouth and respond only to the hunger in my belly and not the desire of my palate.
The truth is, I don't really like "healthy" food. I don't want an apple. I want apple pie. I don't want whole grain bread. I want white bread. I don't want roasted skinless white meat chicken. I want breaded and fried chicken wings. I don't want grilled fish. I want fried fish. The list goes on. Strangely, I'll eat naked (meaning no butter or sauce) steamed broccoli. Why?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Is this something I want?

I just found out about a web site that offers information on finding "healthy" restaurants ( Is this really necessary? Is this something I want?
Don't we dietitians teach people that they can find something healthy to eat at just about any restaurant? Do I want to eat some place where all the food is healthy....meaning low in fat and sugar, high in fiber. Or do I want to eat where the food is well prepared with an emphasis on freshness and flavor? Guess which one I choose.
Maybe it's just me but I eat out because there's something I want to eat that I cannot make at home or I'm too tired to make at home. Rarely do I eat out just for convenience. I guess if I had to eat all my meals out or at least many of them, I might opt for a healthy dining restaurant. If such restaurant offered tasty food, that would be great. But I would never choose a restaurant just because the menu offered healthy choices. Tasty food would have to be a big part of the concept for me to become a diner.
Aren't there plenty of books (like the one by Hope Warshaw or the one by Joanne Lichten) that offer advice on how to make healthy choices when eating out?
I just recently ate at a new local (Phoenix) restaurant that touts its menu as being healthy. I thought the food was bland and pretty uninteresting. I've heard the same from others although some friends have told me that there are some pretty good dishes. I guess I ordered the wrong stuff because what I had was mundane, tasteless, overcooked and not very appealing to the eye. It looked like (and tasted like) something I would make if I had lots of food left over in the frig that was going bad and I combined it all without much thought about flavor and color. I won't be going back any time soon.
I guess I feel virtuous when I make a healthy choice from a menu filled with breaded and fried food, huge portions of fatty meat and few vegetable offerings. Choice. I like choice.
So I won't be using that new healthy dining web site any time soon. And I hope my favorite restaurants stick to their offerings allowing me to make up my own mind. But that's just me.