Choices

Famous Last Words

The things that make me sick, tired and over weight are the same things that make me feel stuck, depressed and stranded. When I eat better and when I move more, I feel much better in every regard. My skin is clearer, my sleep is better, and my energy is higher. I feel "cleaner." When I eat poorly and am sedentary, I feel tired, unmotivated, and just plain "blah." 

But there are not easy fixes or magic quick answers. Just as I'm learning about many things in my work life and in relationships, it is the longer-term, day to day consistency that is what pays off. And so it is for my health. I can't afford to let myself continue to be trapped in the lies that try to pull me down. I have got to take the time each day to eat nutritious food, whether that means buying it or making it. I've got to take the time to walk and stretch my muscles and work my heart. I've got to take time to continue learning about nutrition so that I stay motivated, and I need to record my struggles and my progress each day.





3/31/16

It is the last day of March already, and I am yet to have a full good day getting back to eating properly. And, I've gained 10 lbs in the past week and a half since feeling so sick. I'm sure some of it is fluid retention from having higher ratios of refined carbs. And some of it is paying the price for the first couple of days of eating poorly and thinking it didn't impact me...it really did, it just took a few days to catch up with me. 

So far this morning, by 8:30am, I've had two doughnuts and an ice cream bar. How quickly we can fall away from the things that are best for us! Frustrated, but ready to start over again for real. 





Starting Again

I've fallen prey to the same traps that have consumed me in the past. After getting started again, I've failed to do the things that keep me focused in the right direction. Snacking on something extra turns into eventually eating whatever I want, ignore the clean eating principles that have helped me so much. And failing to track the good foods I eat, failing to study each day about nutrition or fitness to keep it on the top of my mind, and failing to write each day about the progress keep me from being mindful about what I'm doing and result in slowly slipping away and ceasing to remember.  

I'm finally feeling nearly 100% after recovering from pneumonia. I lost my appetite entirely when I was so sick. But as I've begun to feel better, it has returned to fully capacity. Another lesson learned: while I felt sick, I delighted in losing weight and not eating much. I'd sometimes miss two of three meals. And I wasn't eating all of the good stuff I should. But I felt like saying "who cares? I'm losing weight, aren't I?" Well, the problem is my body, which had been used to a flood of nutritious food and antioxidants, then experienced a shut-down of the flow of nutrition. I may have lost weight, but I started to starve my body of the nutrients it needed. That not only compromised the health and healing of my body, but it pulled me further and further from sound nutritional principles, leaving me to languish in the world of moderately-healthy food, or even unhealthy food. 

So, in some ways I hate to say it, because I wish it were not the experience, but here I am starting again. But in other ways I'm glad to say it, because it means I am starting again and that hope is in sight of feeling better in terms of energy and clean eating. 





3/22/16

Well, the good intentions... As I've been hovering around the 20 lbs lost mark, my appetite has suddenly dramatically increased this week. Part of it has to do, I'm sure, with finally getting over pneumonia and feeling like eating again. But part of it is a cycle. Eat something salty or sugary, and my body craves more salt and more sugar. For months, passing ice cream in the grocery store has not been a temptation at all. I picture allergies to the milk in it, and clogged arteries from the cream. But today, for some reason, I bought a small container and thought I'll just taste it. And that taste turned into eating 3 servings worth. Kathy made Easter sugar cookies, and just a nibble turned into eating a bunch. And those are really bad: cream cheese in the batter and shortening in the icing. Anyway, as the pounds start to inch upward again, I am re-committing to staying full of clean foods so that I can get rid of the cravings that start to intrude.





3/19/16

One concept I've been using lately is something shared with me by my son that is a principle from addiction treatment. It is called "Fast-forward the fantasy." The concept is that when we are tempted to indulge in something that we know is not good for us, the draw to it can be extremely powerful. During those moments of temptation, we seem to only think about the physical pleasure we will receive if we indulge. Our minds quickly supply all the rationalization we may need: "you can start over tomorrow," "just once won't hurt," or "you deserve it because life has been so ... (Fill in the blank...stressful, empty, etc." But, rather than giving in to the temptation, one can instead fast-forward in time past the point of indulging in whatever it is that we are trying to overcome. Often, after a moment of pleasure comes reality -- guilt, regret, emptiness, helplessness, frustration, and a literal feeling of "coming down" off of whatever artificial high the addiction has produced. The trick behind fast forwarding the fantasy is to think about and even try to experience in advance those feelings that will come if you do decide to indulge. They are much less alluring than the feelings that lead one to indulge in the first place. For me, this has been really helpful in the areas of salty foods and sugary foods. Sugary foods make me week and give me acid reflux. Instead of imagining the sugar-high produced after eating them, if I instead think of the feeling of physical weakness and the acidic feeling in my stomach, I find that the temptation loses much of its allure. Likewise, if I think of salty foods as drying up my body of the moisture it needs and raising my blood pressure, the trade off hardly seems worth it. I hope to continue assembling tools like this to fight the addictions I face relating to food, and I'm grateful to my son for sharing these ideas with me.





3/2/16

Today is Super Tuesday, when a bunch of states conduct their primary elections / caucuses to decide who will be the nation's presidential nomination from each political party. I stayed focused on work for much of the day, leading up until the results started coming in from the participating states, at which time I became distracted. I ate relatively-good food all day until the evening. I notice that if can give my mind a distraction from eating and almond milk -- not the best breakfast in the world, but ok in moderation. But as I went to eat, I pulled up the news and placed the cereal box next to me on the table. I got lost in reading different news articles and did not attend to how I felt about what I was eating or, especially, how much I was eating.  





3/1/16

Noticed a bit of progress today. I went to the grocery store late in the evening, after skipping lunch, and was very hungry. Not a good decision usually, as it probably wasn't today. But here are a few things I noticed:

  • I was mentally kind of looking for an excuse to eat junk ... "I deserve it after a long day and it wouldn't be so bad because I've hardly had much to eat today"
  • I was in a setting where "no one would know." In the past, this has involved me purchasing junk and eating it before going home
  • I am in a habit of buying things at the store to consume on the drive home, whether healthy or less healthy

But, as I wandered the store, deciding what to buy, my cravings were not for the high-sugar, highly-processed or high-sodium items. I wasn't tempted for ice cream, chips, candy or crackers, but more for granola, health-food peanut butter with dark chocolate, juice, etc. In some ways I thought this was a good sign that my tasks and desires are changing when it comes to food. There have been times in the past where the cycle of buying and eating junk food at grocery and convenience food stores led me to consuming 1,000 - 3,000 calories all just off that one shopping experience, consumed entirely by the time I got home. Not this time...my indulgence led me to some all-fruit Popsicles, a bunch of frozen no-sugar-added fruits I can blend into smoothies, and a huge bottle of water.





1/27/16

Today was a day of meetings. I started the morning with an Acai smoothie and headed into the meetings. Had lunch with Bishop Remer at Taco Bell, which is a challenging place to go and eat anything nutritious. I had a pintos and cheese (yellow), a bean burrito (yellow) and water. More than the nutritional content, I am concerned about the amount of sodium -- had to be a huge amount.   





1/25/16

Frustrated with myself this morning. Weighed in at 252 lbs, and I understand there will be ups and downs in my weight based on a number of factors, but I have not done things to help myself this past week very much. I, once again, ate food right before bed last night, and once again was too liberal about what constitutes "yellow" food and how much to eat. 

I had steak, more than I planned on eating, for dinner. It was high in sodium and is clearly a yellow food, but I kept on eating it rather than only eating the amount on my plate. I also ate lemon blueberry pancakes that Bekah got out for lunch. And I even put maple syrup on them, which is either a yellow or a red food, and yet I kept eating them. And then Kathy made Strawberry bread and I nibbled at that, with the nibbles turning into eating pieces of it. So, overall, I had a day of eating much more yellow food and probably some red, rather than making it to the 80% green target.  

The lack of fresh vegetables, especially greens, in my diet this past week is really telling. I feel less hydrated and more like eating starchy foods. I also have done poorly at planning out what to eat in advance, compared with other weeks. I will get both of these back on track this week and pair them with exercise. My goal is to walk at least 5,000 steps per day each day this week and to do at least one exercise routine through an app each evening this week. 





1/18/16

Well, today was a holiday, so I didn't have work, but it turned out to be a really busy day. I started by sleeping in an bit and having breakfast before heading out to do some shopping at Vitamin Cottage, which is always an interesting experience. As I roam the isles, I'm always impressed with the quality (but not selection) of their produce. The greens are hard to match at any other store around here. But as I go through some of the other areas of the store, I have to wonder what some people think of as "healthy." Vitamin Cottage is a "healthy" store, or at least that is the marketing, so it is interesting to me to find quite a few products with sugar in them (Sprouts is worse, and so is Whole Foods Market). And there are also quite a few products loaded with salt and highly processed. But, there are enough of the type I'm looking for -- low or no salt added, no sugar added, not highly processed--to get plenty of what I need. Checking out is always an adventure. They don't provide plastic bags because they are bad for the environment, so you either have to supply your own bags (fabric) or put your stuff in a box they provide (like Costco, only much smaller scale).