Tag Archives: over indulging

Anxiety vs. Food

If you’ve ever watched The Biggest Loser, seen a weight-loss commercial or an interview of someone who’s lost a significant amount of weight, you’ve probably heard them say, I’m never going to be heavy again!  Personally, I’m too afraid to utter those words.  Rather than test fate, I know that I still have to take things one day at a time.   2012 has taught me many things – mainly, that nothing in life stays the same.  Never before have I been more aware of that than the past few months.

I spent the majority of this weekend working at Patty’s house, removing the last of her belongings and saying goodbye to the one remaining thing that linked me together with her – her home.  I’d been dreading Saturday and Sunday, becoming increasingly agitated as last week drew to a close, but attributed my emotions to a host of other, unimportant things.  With my anxiety building, I found myself wanting to reach for copious amounts of comfort food before the weekend even arrived. 

This time I tried to think ahead and made a plan to busy myself with painting instead of eating.  By the time Thursday arrived I was furiously working in my studio, finishing three watercolors before the day was over (quite a feat for me.)  All three paintings had themes that were specifically chosen to give a calming, zen-like feel.   Here are two of the three that I finished:

 

 

Thursday came and went and I climbed into bed exhausted.  I wish I could report that I didn’t give in to numbing my grief with food, but I’d be lying. 

On Friday, I woke up determined to not only begin, but complete a very tedious art project.  Working solely with cut paper and glue, I pushed myself for over 12 hours until I finished this: 

I regularly post photos of work in progress on my Facebook art page (which you are invited to ‘Like’ if you’re a Facebooker) and I love receiving comments and ideas from people.  On this particular project I had several comments from some very wise people who saw things that I didn’t.  Well, not until it was pointed out to me:  one – she’s a young Patty (who used to wear a red hat every time she went out) and two – she is me.  Two people combined to make a self portrait. 

Well now, that ought to make a good topic for a therapy session, no?

Again, when I was finished I’d hoped that the anxiety I was feeling would be gone and that I could wake up on Saturday and put myself into full work-mode.  The weekend came and went, leaving me feeling completely drained, both emotionally and physically.  I didn’t binge (I didn’t have time), but I did make extremely poor choices and ate without regard to any consequence. 

Today, I’m feeling disappointed in myself; I really wish I’d been able to channel my emotions strictly into my work – to completely lose myself in distraction.  After seven+ years in maintenance, you would think that I’d have worked out this part by now. 

If anything, this experience has shown me that I will most likely always be a work in progress.  Now that the crisis has passed all I can do is pick myself up and try again next time.  Until then I’ll just keep reminding myself that at least I haven’t thrown in the towel.  I’m still fighting to figure things out and hopefully, one day, I’ll be able to say that food and I have a very healthy relationship with one another.

Have a good week, everyone. 

XO,

~E

 

A typical day in the life of my previous self.

Since this is a holiday week and I am a tad disorganized, I am foregoing my regularly scheduled topic-style posts in favor of a more eclectic mix of posts that will hopefully leave you feeling like you know me a bit better.  They will be deposited in my Lost and Found category of topics.  I hope you enjoy.

When I was heavy, my daily meals looked a little something like this:

Breakfast:  chocolate chip pancakes with pure maple syrup; biscuits and gravy, or sugary cereal with 2% milk and a couple of pop tarts. 

Lunch:  a McDonalds quarter pounder with cheese, french fries and a regular coke; chicken salad sandwich on a croissant with potato chips, or a jumbo-sized chocolate muffin (or) cinnamon bagel with walnut cream cheese and a large, hot coffee drink from Panera.

http://www.photoxpress.com/

Dinner:  Chicago-style stuffed pizza and a regular Dr. Pepper; homemade fettuccini alfredo with garlic bread and a baked potato smothered in sour cream and butter, or take-out cashew chicken with pot stickers and fried rice.

Oh, and add to lunch and dinner some kind of dessert – either homemade cookies, cheesecake or donuts.

Notice you don’t see any fruits, vegetables or grains in any of the above-mentioned foods.  If I did (gasp) choose to eat a salad there would be so much cheese, croutons and full-fat dressing smothered on top you wouldn’t know there was any lettuce underneath. 

I ate like that for years.  Thank goodness I didn’t have a heart condition or diabetes.  If I had and kept making those same food choices I could easily be dead right now.

Fast forward to the year 2010.  My diet has changed so drastically, it embarrasses me to admit I ever ate that way, much less admit that the photos on my blog are pictures of me.  My diet for the past several years includes vegetarian burgers, fruit of all kinds, squash, tofu, hummus, hormone-free chicken, fiber cereal, wheat pasta, couscous, almond milk…you get the point.

http://www.photoxpress.com/

Don’t go handing me the Healthiest Eater of the Year award just yet, though.  I don’t think I will ever, EVER break free from my addiction to carbs.  My father worked in a bakery and I grew up on fresh-baked breads and chocolate.  To this day, the smell of yeast would literally pull me down a dark alley if that’s where it was coming from. 

My biggest difficulty, the monkey on my back – the forever thorn in my side is fighting the urge to eat dessert after a meal.  And no, a small Hershey’s Kiss doesn’t cut it.  I want a slab of cheesecake; a plate of donuts; a bowl of Ben and Jerry’s.  I have tried every possible trick known to man but if I haven’t conquered it in over 5 years, I doubt I ever will. 

Since my husband never knew me at my heaviest, he cannot comprehend that the person in those photos is me.  A meat and potatoes man, he pokes fun at my attempts to slip him a brownie that’s been made with black beans and always asks, ‘What’s in this?’ while giving it a big sniff before taking his first bite.  He’s a trooper though, that man.  

I am still searching for that magic recipe that will satisfy my sweet-tooth.  The perfect fat-free/sugar-free chocolate chip cookies that I’m pretty sure doesn’t exist, or the decadent low fat/low sugar flourless chocolate cake that tastes just like the kind you get at Italian restaurants. 

Mmm………a girl can dream, though.

Anything Goes Thursday – For the love of Popcorn

Today’s post is in direct relation to a comment/ question left from yesterday’s Like It Wednesday which you can read here.  The reader – Jeff, asked some really good questions and I felt that perhaps my other readers wonder about the same thing.  In part, Jeff wanted to know how much is too much when eating foods you love, even though they may help to curb hunger and aid in weight loss.  Popcorn, anyone?

First of all when in doubt, always follow your doctor’s advice.  I am not a registered dietician, nor have I ever studied nutrition or the effects certain foods have on the body.      However, I did some research and do hope I am able to give a little insight to your question with some satisfaction.  Here goes: 

Let’s take Jeff’s passion for popcorn as our example:  According to Nutritiondata.self.com one cup of oil-popped popcorn (the kind you make on the stove) contains 64 calories, 5 grams of fat, 116 mg of sodium and 1 gram of fiber.  Let’s compare that to air-popped popcorn, which for one cup contains 31 calories, 0 grams of fat, 1 mg of sodium and 1 gram of fiber. 

Author: Paolo Neo, image taken from Public Domain Photos

 

Being aware of the choices you have whatever you decide to eat will play a role in how it affects your health.  If popcorn is your thing and you have to have it every day, clearly the better choice would be the air-popped popcorn.  However, does it taste better than the fluffy, yummy popcorn that you make on the stove?  Probably not.  But nothing in life goes without consequence.  For every action, there is a reaction.  Moderation is the key. 

Now, I consider myself a sensitive, caring individual and I think it would be cruel to end this discussion by telling you to go off and eat tasteless, chewy popcorn and be happy with it because your body will thank you.  I personally don’t think that is an acceptable answer.  It may take some creativity on your part, as it did on mine when I was searching for substitutes for my trigger foods (food that I just cannot seem to eat in moderation; the more I eat, the more I want).  I’ve personally used the low-fat, low sodium bags of popcorn as my nightly snack when I was actively dieting.  But for me, satisfaction was key.  If I’m not left satisfied after I eat, I’ll go in search of something that will satisfy me, and that almost always leads to trouble.  Hmm…..choices, choices.  No, I couldn’t melt a half-stick of salted butter and pour it on my popcorn, but I could sprinkle a little Kernel Seasons flavored seasonings on my popcorn.  They have flavors ranging from Parmesan and Garlic to Chili Lime to Chocolate Marshmallow and a little sprinkle goes a long way.  For the butter flavor you enjoy so much, Molly McButter is a great alternative, especially if you are adding it to vegetables.  For one teaspoon, it will add only 5 calories.

Overall, moderation and making healthy choices are important for success. It is absolutely possible to enjoy eating and cut calories at the same time.  It just takes a little creativity.  Which brings me to asking the rest of you:  do you have any foods that you have ‘tweaked’ in order to keep them in your diet?  Do you have any foods that you wish you could find a great substitute for?   I’m working on a post about food swapping and would love to hear about it!