Saturday, November 22, 2014

The insanity stopped....

....and I know the how but have no idea about the why.

I did Ann Louise Gittleman's Smoothie Shakedown for two weeks, with all intentions of going off it for a week (as Gittleman suggests), and then back on it for another two weeks.

I had the days all worked out, and my first day off that diet would have been Thanksgiving. And as I was plotting how I would face yet another holiday trying to diet and failing miserably, I took a three-hour class in mindfulness.

This topic is not new to me. In fact, I spent a week at Kripalu (a yoga retreat in the Berkshires of Massachusetts) practicing the concept three years ago. And although I came home and embraced it for a few weeks, I could never make it part of my life.

But now, it seems to have become part of my being.

For the first time in my life I am at peace with food. I am not dieting, instead simply making good food choices. The restaurant meals that once haunted me have become my friend. I scour the menus really reading each offering, deciding what to eat not based on the calorie count but how appealing the food sounds. I know that since I am eating so slowly, I will only eat half of the meal.

The result? In the past three weeks I have lost 10 pounds, not an earth-shattering amount of weight but I am more proud of these 10 pounds than any other 10 pounds I have ever lost.

Why now? I have numerous theories but the one I like the best is that I have forgiven myself, and my body is responding to the kindness I am now showing it. I know it sounds weird, but then my relationship with food has been anything but normal. Ever.

Until now. Consider the pantry full of snacks awaiting a Thanksgiving visit from my Seattle daughter and her family. Pretzels, nuts, cheese and crackers: All the stuff I never could keep in my house. Now it's there, but my desire to eat any of it is not. It is for my six grandchildren, my children, their spouses and my husband. But if I want a pretzel or cheese and cracker, I will eat it, and enjoy every last morsel.

Last night at book club I took a tiny serving of green tea ice cream because I always wanted to try it. That tiny bit of sweet was enough to salve my hunger. In the past, I would have refused the ice cream and once home, would start eating enough food until I satisfied the beast within. Last night I came home and went to sleep.

I like the new me. Now, instead of praying that I will not stray, I can honestly say that this time I think I have found the key that is unlocking the gate to weight loss. And the perpetual smile that is on my face is testament to this. I am present in my life and I could not be happier.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The insanity continues

Well, that last diet failed. It's not that I didn't like it. I did.

I just felt bloated and gassy all the time. Too many beans I guess.

Last week I returned to my old faithful, Ann Louise Gittleman's Fat Flush. But this time I decided to go all out and bought into her Smoothie Shakedown. Two smoothies a day and one meal.

I also decided I needed to start cooking -- and our dinners the past few nights have been excellent. Flavorful and filling.

I know her diet works. I also know that if you follow her advice you will lose weight -- actually pretty quickly -- sleep better and really look younger, something I really need to do right now. I am feeling fat, old and ugly -- because eating like Dr. Furhman suggested made my stomach expand to the point that I look nine months pregnant.

There are a lot of rules in Fat Flush, rules that for years I have resisted. But now I need a schedule. I need to journal. I need to take vitamins three times a day. I need to drink lots of water -- and when it comes to Fat Flush that water is mixed with no sugar added cranberry juice.

The structure is working right now.

I headlined this blog insanity -- because that is what I have done for years. The insanity of dieting, losing weight, gaining weight has been anything but a good formula to follow. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

I know what works. And I am so tired of yo-yoing. But I've been here before. I pray this time it works. And with a little luck, it will continue to work until I finally can face looking at myself in the mirror.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Just eat

Everyone knows you need to eat fruits and vegetables. But how many of us really eat the amount we should?

I began this week eating like a nutritarian -- which is Dr. Joel Furhman's prescription for a long, healthy life. If I wanted to, I could eat everything pictured spread through my three daily meals, but of course I would never be able to eat that much food in one day.

But looking at this picture, I bet if I added up all the calories in all that food, it would not reach the amount of calories I once ate daily. In fact, I would bet it would come in at least half the calories of my once daily total.

So here's a paragraph from Furhman's "The End of Dieting" that resonates:

"The bottom line is that you needn't adopt any extreme fad diet; instead, eat lots of natural plant foods. Forget fat. Forget carbohydrates. Don't worry about carbohydrate-to-protein ratios -- and for your own sake -- please ditch the diets. We need to stop the low-fat extremism, high-protein extremism (believe it or not, this is gaining popularity too). None of this is constructive to solving our nation's confusion and dietary quagmire."

Confusion and quagmire can just about sum up my eating life. If I read back over my blog, I find myself grasping at various diet plans, hoping that one will work while all others have failed. I also find myself going back to diets that have failed me in the past: Weight Watchers and Paleo.

I am tired so, so tired of dieting.

We should all follow Dr. Furhman's advice:

"Health is the first consideration; weight  is secondary."

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

180-degree turn

Yet again, I started searching for a new diet last week.

Although I loved Paleo, I started thinking that meat with every meal -- even if it is organic and grass fed -- or chicken, fish or eggs cannot be good for a body.

And while it made me feel terrific that last time I was on it, this time I felt horrid. No energy. Not sleeping. Cranky. Really craving peanut butter, and honestly that is something I hardly ever eat.

I was avoiding breakfast because I really don't like eggs, and meat in the morning does not cut it for me. I always eat a big salad at lunch, and it was always the chicken I had to include that I ate last. It wasn't appealing anymore. Dinners were amazing, and they should be if you can have great protein, fat and a bunch of wonderful spices. Paleo recipes really do rock, but dinner was so good I was eating too much, which is exactly why I was not losing.

But the main reason I started searching for a new diet plan was that my blood pressure was not going down. In fact, most days it was up.

Enter Joel Fuhrman's latest, "The End of Dieting." I had seen Dr. Furhman on Dr. Oz a few years ago and bought his "Eat To Live." It didn't resonate with me. I was so not ready to become a vegan.

But with the newest iteration of his diet, you can include a little meat, chicken or fish each week. And it fits perfectly with the name of this blog.

So I am giving it a try. and wishing myself luck.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Day 5

This little guy depicts exactly how I am feeling this morning: happy and worthy of a gold star because this is my fifth day eating clean.

Monday I decided to ease into Paleo gently, because I knew I would be going out to dinner Wednesday night. Wednesday I woke up almost paralyzed, first because I was going out, and second because my friends decided Mexican was the way to go that night. In most cases, Mexican food contains everything that makes my digestive track scream with pain.

So I prepared. Checked the online menu and decided to order steak -- hold the beans and rice -- which I did. I know the steak was not organic, grass-fed, but it was steak, accompanied by non-organic guacamole, salsa and a vinegar coleslaw -- about as Paleo friendly as I could get. I also followed Paleo guru Robb Wolf's drink trick -- tequila with fresh lime and seltzer. Definitely lip puckering, but baby sips made that drink last through the four-hour gab fest I had with my friends. I focused on the conversation and them, and was able to pass up the two desserts that kept circulating 'round and 'round the table.

Was it a perfect Paleo meal? Nah. But did it make me feel in control and really proud of myself? Absolutely.

But most importantly, it convinced me that I can embrace a Paleo  lifestyle and not feel deprived. I can go out to dinner -- an important part of my life -- and if I plan and make good choices, I can eat well and be happy.

I am so tired of diets that control my life and make me miss out on living. I am tired of weighing and counting. I am tired of eating straw and telling myself that it's not bad. And I am tired of the latest food craze.

I want to eat clean, unprocessed foods. I want to shop the perimeter of the market. I want to look at my grocery basket and say there is nothing in it that will clog my arteries.

Our days on Earth are numbered, and I want to enjoy each and every one of them to the fullest.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A start and an end to the day

Two recipes to share today, one my ode to fall, because it really is around the corner, the second, a great way to dress up grilled fish.

The first recipe came about after I read that Starbuck's Pumpkin Spiced Latte is back, which is sheer perfection for your taste buds, and anything but perfection for your body. And it is so not Paleo. My version is not the same, but honestly it is pretty terrific and definitely reminds me of the cooler weather that is just around the corner. And check out my mug: from my favorite non-profit, The Center for Family Justice that fights domestic and sexual assault in six Fairfield County towns in my neck of the woods.

Good Morning Punkin'

1 cup organic black coffee
1 Tblsp. canned organic pumpkin
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 Tblsp. organic coconut oil
  • Mix everything in a blender, whirl for a few seconds until frothy, and pour into your favorite mug. Makes 1 cup.
Our friend Tom Giordano has the best hobby in the world: fishing. And he knows how much we love the blue fish he catches in Long Island Sound, and thankfully is willing to share. The following is an adaptation from what I call my fish bible, James Peterson's "Fish & Shellfish." It's an adaptation because I omitted the tablespoon of brown sugar in the sauce. If you're not Paleo, add it. If you are, believe me when I say you won't miss the added sweetness.

Indonesian-Style Grilled Blue Fish

Two bluefish filets, cleaned and trimmed
4 shallots, peeled
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 Thai chilies or 4 jalapeno chilies, seeded (I used one jalapeno but included the seeds, where most of the heat lives)
Two 5-inch piece of lemongrass, finely sliced
Juice of 2 limes
1 14-oz. can full-fat unsweetened organic coconut milk
2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. ground coriander
  • Place the shallots, garlic, chilies. lemongrass and lime juice in the container of a blender and process until everything is finely diced.
  • In a saucepan, add the paste and the remaining ingredients, except for the fish. Bring to a boil and gently stir every few minutes to keep the mixture from sticking to the pan. Keep boiling until it thickens to a paste. Season with salt to your liking. Peterson says the mixture should be very salty, but personally, too much salt is off-putting to me.
  • Smear both sides of the fish with the paste.
  • Grill the fish for five minutes on one side over medium heat. Flip, add some of the past to the cooked side, and cook another five minutes.
Makes 4 servings.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Patting myself on my Paleo back!

Why is the patting taking place? Because today is Tuesday and I made it through one day eating clean Paleo.

And last night I was asking myself why I had ever gone off this way of eating? I actually had an answer:
1. Laziness: Although Paleo meals are delicious, you really have to plan, grocery shop and cook -- and sometimes that mix is not easy.
2. Boredom: It usually starts when I am craving a pizza with sausage and garlic, that contains everything my stomach hates: bread and cheese. If I could only remember before we order the pizza that I am going to be up all night with stomach pains and heartburn maybe that order would never happen.
3. I HAVE NO IDEA. If I knew, I would unlock the reason why I stop eating good-for-me foods and fill up on junk.

I want this all to stop.

Once and fall all and forever.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Yo-yo writing

It's hard to maintain a blog, especially when life gets in the way.

It's also hard to write when you lack a focus.

Since I first began this blog I have been on too many diets to count -- even though the purpose of this blog is to not diet.

And that means I am a fraud. It also means I am human, and like many of the thousands of people who want to lose weight, the only way we can do so is to go on our favorite four-letter word: DIET.

We feel in control. We pat ourselves on the back when we weigh, measure, count Points or eat only watermelon for a day. And then one day a switch goes off in our brains and we just start eating. Maybe just a nibble here, but hell, since you had a nibble might as well stuff your face.

And start your diet again the next day.

Been there? Then you know that next day often occurs three months later.

Can you tell how angry I am at myself?

Tomorrow I am waking up and starting to eat Paleo once again, because according to all the testing I had done last summer, it is the way my body wants me to eat.

So I'm back, writing again.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Easy to trick

Two years ago, I spent a week at Kripalu Center for Yoga Health learning all about mindful eating. It was a magical, lovely week, and although I am still not anywhere near my goal weight, some of the principles I learned that week have remained part of my daily life.

Mindful eating is all about paying attention to everything that goes into your mouth. To slow down. To concentrate on the food and how it tastes. To put your fork down between bites and chew your food thoroughly.

When I returned from Kripalu, I started using a salad plate for all my meals instead of a large dinner plate. Although I know I am not putting as much food on the salad plate, just the act of filling the plate to the rim with food makes me feel good.

I just read another trick that I think makes perfect sense: Ditch the large fork for the salad one. And while you’re at it, eat with your non-dominant hand, for me, my left. I tried it last night and boy does it work. Spearing food with my left hand is not a pretty sight. At times, I was frustrated, but I persevered because it slowed down my eating. I sat at the table reminding myself that there was not reason to rush through my meal.

So smaller – and slower – it is.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Breaking the daily fast

I have a love/hate relationship with breakfast. I am not a fan of  eggs, so scratch that breakfast. Cold cereals leave me, well, cold. I've tried the Paleo way -- protein, and lots of it for breakfast -- but although it filled me up, it wasn't for me.

And my wheat allergy cuts out a whole category of breakfast dishes that are appealing: pancakes, waffles, English muffins, and on and on.

I've been reading a lot about dieting recently, and over and over again I find research that says successful dieters always eat breakfast. There is also research that suggests having the same breakfast day after day -- although it may sound boring -- is actually helpful because you don't have to think about what to eat during the early-morning rush.

So, for the last four days, I have made a breakfast that takes 4 minutes from start to finish, it's very filling, and I also like it. It's probably not for everyone, but it works for me. Plus, I'm getting lots of  protein, key to keeping me sated through the  morning.

1 serving, 6 WW Points

1/4 cup cream of rice
1 cup water
2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger
1 banana, sliced
1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
6 blackberries, halved
  • Mix cream of wheat, water and spices in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1  minute. Stir. Microwave another minute on high. Stir. Microwave on high 30 seconds. Stir.
  • Add banana and yogurt, mix well, and stir. Top with blackberries and sprinkle on some more cinnamon to make it not so white!
  • If you want it warm, return to microwave for 1 minute. If not, eat as is.

REPEAT DAILY! Or until I really can't stand it anymore....

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Yet again

For months, I was eating terrific foods. But in January, something clicked, and all the foods I had avoided for months started calling. And calling they did. Even my fat clothes don't fit.

So Monday, I finally got up the nerve to jump on the scale, and the result brought tears to my eyes: I am the heaviest I have ever been. Honestly, I didn't need the scale to tell me this. My knees ache. My shoulder hurts. My hands are cramping.

My body has been telling me for weeks to knock off the junk food. Yesterday, I decided I better start listening.

I joined Weight Watchers and started eating like a normal person yesterday. Of course, my noon salad was enough to feed six, but I figured ODing on greens is lots better than the candy, crackers, cookies and nuts that have been my go-to foods for months.

So, I'm back. I'm enthusiastic, which is always the way I feel whenever I start eating well. It's keeping up the momentum that's key.

And so, I write!