I Hate Treadmills

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My favorite Willow trees

I feel like, for the last few years, I have been running in place. I have made a few strides, kicking smoking and losing twenty-five-plus pounds. I work a little towards something every day, but I feel as if I am still in the same place. For a while, we were waiting on the sale of our house with bated breath, and now we are waiting for my husband to find a new job.

Waiting and hoping isn’t something most people excel at; the feeling of hopelessness doesn’t seem to abate, even when I’m doing my best to be optimistic. So what do I do to live in the now? Yoda says to Luke Skywalker, “All my life has he looked away, to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was, hmm?” This describes me perfectly, always thinking ten steps ahead, if I can and when I can’t, I am in agony.

I was reading a book called Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hanh. In it, he talks about a term called “mindfulness.” This is a practice of being in the present at all times. An example he gives in the book is the Buddhist monks who drink a hot cup of tea and take an hour to do so. They focus on how the tea engages their senses: the color, taste, smell, temperature, and texture on the tongue.

My husband, Brad, was the first one to introduce “savoring” to me. All of my life I have flitted about, living a life of fun, but not really of depth. My senses were mostly dulled in my attempt to live. One of our first dates Brad took me to a small Greek restaurant here in Boise called the Cazba. Enamored with Brad, I paid attention to his every move: the way he took in the way I smelled and looked, the way he savored every bite of his dinner, how he slowly chewed and took deep resonating breaths to really taste everything fully. Senses heightened, I too enjoyed that meal more than any other meal in my life. I can still picture him looking at me and taking his first bite of lamb. Watching him savor it, I could live within that memory.

That night we sat for what seemed like hours in the car, just talking or sometimes holding hands in silence. It seemed as if touching his skin forced my mind to shut off and only feel, that sense overwhelming the constant chatter of my mind. It was the first time in my life when I have felt that blessing.

Those times are far between now. I struggle for that sort of life-giving focus. I want my body to be overwhelmed by the joy of touch. My mind combats the idea of giving into such frivolous pursuits. As a Midwesterner, I combat my base compulsion to feel useful at all times. I am making a vow to stop that. I need that peace, and so does Brad. I haven’t noticed him enjoying himself mindfully as much anymore.

We need to live in the now, even if it is a smaller scale. Last Friday, Brad surprised me at work and took me on a dinner picnic. He made some roasted chicken, Greek salad, and brought bottled water. We sat on the bench watch the geese frolic, the sun glistening on the lake, and wind flowing through my favorite weeping willow trees. We laughed as the geese squawked at us.

We are trying.

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That is my gorgeous man!

Memories of a booth for me and my family…

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Add me in the mix…this isn’t fitting in a booth anymore!

I know that some people have really amazing memories of childhood; you know the ones where they are on the beach with their mom and dad are laughing and building sand castles. Mine are much simpler. Some of my favorite memories as a child were when my family went out to eat at any place with a booth. I know that sounds silly, but I loved it when we all piled into a booth at Pizza Hut or at this little place in Enid called Bob’s Cone Corner.

When I was young my family didn’t have much money, so we didn’t eat out much. Mostly our entertainment was TV and movies or outdoor exercising. As I have mentioned, Mom made sure we exercised. On rare occasions we would eat out, and those days seemed glorious. The best part of eating at Pizza Hut was squeezing into the booth with my family. There is an intimacy in a red plastic booth. Sitting shoulder to shoulder with my brother, it is was easy to tell secrets and giggle.  Sitting across from my parents, gaining their full attention was not just mine but every child’s dream.

If it was a really special visit then a dollar worth of quarters were placed in our little grubby hands and Matthew and I would run to the juke box discussing who would get to pick their song first. My choice was always Eye of the Tiger, Matthew could hardly refuse. So if I had my way I would be dancing my way back to my booth, with my brother jabbing into the air as if he was hitting a boxing bag. Bob’s cone corner had a different sort of selection. Matthew and I always chose, “Just a swinging” and “Don’t touch my Toot-toot.” These songs made us giggle. My brother and I had an unspoken embargo during these trips. They were too few and far between to mess it up by bickering. Instead it was one of the rare times we would embarrass our parents by dancing and singing on the linoleum.

Later on my husband and I had a particularly cute date at a diner here in Boise. We sat on the same side of the booth nauseatingly like a romantic comedy couple. We giggled at our silliness and smooched shoulder to shoulder. It was in the middle of the sweet spot of our romance, early on when we were skinnier and first in love.

I can’t really fit comfortably in a booth. There are restaurants husband and I can’t go to because they are all booths. One of the good breakfast places here is called The Capri. They serve really hot, fast, delicious breakfast. We can’t go anymore because we can’t fit in the booths or at the counter, and it just isn’t the same to go. Have you eaten hash browns to go before…ya, not as good, right?

I know it sounds weird to try and lose weight so that I can eat out at a restaurant, but like I said some of my best memories are from there. At the time, it was one of the only things that could get two siblings from bickering. Any siblings or parents out there know there is some magic in that.

Going back to Childhood

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Feeling the joy swinging with my nephew. That’s my handsome brother pushing him!

I am on vacation right now. It has been a year since I have seen my close knit family in Oklahoma. I can tell you right off the bat, Oklahomans and my family, are a beautiful people: strong, friendly, and giving to a fault. I am so happy to finally be seeing them. When I am away from family sometimes it feels like there is a small part of myself that other people just don’t understand. Right off the plane, it feels like okay, yep, there it is, that is the hole I needed filled. That is the understanding I was looking for. Instantly there are the hugs, smiles, and giggles that I missed.

Two things are aligned against me this week in the weight loss arena. One, I am on vacation and I haven’t seen these people in a year so it feels like I am entitled to splurge on some freshly grilled cheeseburgers off my brothers grill, my Mom’s homemade yummy chocolate cake, or Eskimo Joe’s famous cheese fries. These are only just a few of the don’ts I did this week and they were delicious. Family and food I think at least for me seem interchange able. We eat and talk or play games and talk. It is inevitable. So what do you do in those situations when you are caught up in the moment and you just want to be like everyone else eating the cake and ice cream? Luckily I did well in that moment so I am proud of that. I ate only a small piece of cake maybe four bites and a small scoop of ice cream maybe three bites. But those fries…took me down.

A good or bad part about being around family they watch your sugars and your proteins because they know you are. They are helping in the way that you know you are being watched. Yesterday my sister said, “Don’t you want some ham or something? You are eating an awful lot of carbs and I don’t want you to get sick.” (She was sharing her Valentines chocolates with me, another bad move on my part.)

That is sort of the other thing. Most of my family and I have the same fatal flaw too, we have bad eating habits. Dad and I have been comparing out diabetic testing machines and testing each other’s sugars. As I mentioned, my sister and I shared the chocolates. Mom too has a weakness for chocolates. My mom has learned portion control long ago, she eats a very small amount of food, but not much of it is healthy. My brothers are doing better. Patrick takes an hour walk every night. I threatened to go with him a couple of times…never did. Matthew is a father and has an amazing wife who I believe encourages him to make healthy choices. They feed their kid veggies and fruits.

His name is Caleb. Being around such a young eater reminded me how fun food can be. At three years old, Caleb eats one bite out of his cucumber and says, “Look it’s the moon!” He also had sliced pickles on his plate that he made little moons out of. I told him, “That pickle used to be a cucumber.”

He replies, “I don’t get it.”

But then he patiently listened while I tell him about the spices and the vinegar. I think we all can find hope in young eaters like this.

I look at the way my brother and his wife feed Caleb and think, I should take just as great care in what I put in my mouth. I should examine it and understand it in the intrinsic way he seems to as if it is the first time eating it. Maybe I should look at food like it is new. I feel I need to ignore all I have learned and know about the food I eat, and just focus on its unique properties. Perhaps this mindful aesthetic approach will be more enjoyable for me.

There is so much drama in food for my family. I have been thinking about how it affects all of us. I hate onions, sister hates cheese, brother hates pasta, and Dad hates pretty much most green foods. There is so much emotion behind it too. My sister regales us with tales of trauma suffered by a certain food and the bathroom adventures. Oh, and forget a certain persons aversion (yes even mine) and be accused of just not caring at all. Then there is always the food guilt, shame, and weight loss baggage, that’s a big soup of drudgery to stir through.

That leaves an imprint, a mark on your tongue and heart. How do you clear out the cobwebs of this emotion and just look food like the miracle of God that it is? Look at a cucumber and say, look its whitish green soft flesh, and when I bite it, it’s the moon! It might be time to play with the food, and look at it with awe and intrigue again. Perhaps I will rediscover how it nourishes me and how to cohabitate with it healthfully.

The Big Mistake I Keep Making

Roasted Asparagus

If you haven’t roasted asparagus in the oven, do it now! Little olive oil, salt and pepper, for fifteen minutes, YUM!

I can’t stress this enough in my head and to my soul, falling off the wagon makes it so hard to get back on. I have to keep telling myself this. This is like a trap door that I keep forgetting is there. I walk across it every time. I feel foolish afterwards, I have bruises and scratches and for a while remember but then a month later, I am tricked by its allure again. I go walking that way and woops.

Here is what I think makes it even harder. If you feed yourself Taco Time nachos, crisp meat burrito, and a large mexi-fry one night and then the next night you try to feed it a chicken thigh and some asparagus, your tummy is saying WTF where is all that food I had last night. I am still farting it out to make room for all the food I was promised today.

Yes, this is a true life example. I had a really urgent craving for nachos and so we fell off the wagon. I super gorged on Taco Time, which was lovely for the thirty minutes it took to eat it. The tough part too, is after a major binge like that, the next day your tummy isn’t happy, especially when you binge on Mexican food. So for the next eighteen or so hours I felt lethargic, bloat-y, and tired. I can’t tell you how upset my tummy was because I want to not be indelicate. Let’s just say I spent a lot of time in the restroom and leave it at that. Just when I have flushed out the last of it, it seemed, it was dinner time again.

So exhausted from my body trying to get rid of the evidence I sit down to dinner with the hubby. He made delicious chicken thighs with roasted tomatoes and oven roasted asparagus. We sat down and ate together, and I have been trying to eat more slowly, but when it was over I was still hungry. I thought I will give it thirty minutes, like those diet people say to do. Nope, I was still hungry. Brad and I had some popcorn, still hungry. I was hungry until I went to sleep but had eaten my points and had to take it. I needed to re-shrink my tummy. I knew it had to be done.

I do it to myself sometimes. In the sixth month of this my life change I am realizing how bad it truly is to eat so much in one sitting. Brad even said when he went to bed how hard it was to retrain your tummy after gorging on tacos. I can’t do it again to myself. I need to not fall back on those habits. If I crave nachos, I will just eat nachos. I will put them in as points too. That night I let myself get off the reservation and paid for it the whole next day. Never again I cry with my fist in the air!!! Never will I ever allow myself to be allured by the smell of tasty food, and gorge myself. I will stick to the diet or it will make it worse for me. I hope I have learned my lesson.

Overindulgence

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After you get your presents, it may not be an excuse to be naughty

 

Wow, I over did it. I gained four pounds for Christmas. That is a present that could keep on giving. I didn’t really ask for it, but as they say…I asked for it didn’t I. There were the donuts at work Christmas Eve. I mean it’s Christmas Eve I rationalized. Then there was the pizza that night. Again I talked myself into it, Who wants to cook on Christmas Eve? Now that is ridiculous. I mean I knew I would indulge the next day. I should have just eaten my veggies and waited. I knew what I was doing was wrong. I knew that there would be consequences. The next morning I was bloated and starving. While skyping with my family my husband made our traditional Christmas breakfast-orange cinnamon rolls and sausage links. This is a tradition we will need to change. I ate one of the cinnamon rolls and three sausage links, on the drive to my aunt’s house for lunch I almost puked. I had to pull over to the side of the road and eat some walnuts out of the trunk. This evolved into a bunch of jokes about my eating “trunk nuts.”

Christmas dinner was amazing. My aunt is an accomplished caterer. She makes prime rib every year and it is the best I have ever tasted. The ends are crunchy and the middle is the perfect blush.  She pairs it with a horse radish sauce that is precisely biting. Then there were scallop potatoes, spinach, cranberry, and walnut salad, a jell-o salad, green beans and cherry tomatoes, soft homemade rolls, and cake. Not to mention the four or five classes of wine/champagne I drank. Before hand we had cheese dip with almonds, bacon wrapped crackers, ham cups, peanut brittle, peppermint bark, and several kinds of chocolate truffles. I didn’t hold myself back in anyway. Nothing was off limits. I thought, “Merry Christmas to me!!!!”

I thought the same thing I have thought so many times before. My go to justification is always, “I deserve to indulge in this because I work hard and I have been so good.” I will “treat” myself to this because it is Christmas. Four pounds gained later, and you have to wonder, is that really a treat? I mean is it an indulgence to have to lose even more weight. I mean what is really worth that.

I feel like I am working hard, fighting tooth and nail for every pound I lose. I write down what I eat, sacrifice this to get that, etc. Do I really want to add to that load? Is that a present I am willing to give myself? It almost feels as if the price is too huge. I won’t get into that whole elliptical time it takes to burn off a piece of white cake with delicious butter cream icing. I will let all the health mags do that.

For me, the worst part of indulging that much is, the next day my body seems to continue to ask for that much food. I was starving constantly. I wanted to eat everything in sight. I don’t know if it was psychological, or if my tummy was stretched out again and so it felt emptier, but either way I wanted to chew my own arm off I was so hungry.

Secondly, I was so bloated all my clothes were fitting tight again. I thought, geez did I gain back all 28 pounds I have lost? It was seriously concerning me. Bloaty tight pants all day made me cranky and scared. So I am starving, too scared to eat, and seriously cranky. Not to mention after I hang out with four dogs all day my allergies are to the extreme. That is not a way to go back to work. Bloating, sneezing, swollen, ravenous, and cranky, and again, I ask…was it worth it? I mean I can’t fix the sneezing part, but everything else I could have controlled. I could have had one serving of everything instead of two. I could have had a little taste of everything instead of six or seven. There are things I could have done instead of giving myself a present of bloating and four more pounds to lose. I am still mulling this over, I mean…my Aunt makes a mean Christmas dinner.

Eating the All of the Marrow, is just a proverbial term

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Me and my beautiful friend

One of my really amazing friends got married. I admire this friend and feel a kindred spirit in her. She is the embodiment of the way I strive to live. At the wedding someone described her as pure joy, and that isn’t an understatement. I know that she gets upset especially about the environment, but it is more like passion. Every other encounter I have had with her I have reveled in her enjoyment of life, one of those eating all the marrow people. When she is in town, I jump at a chance to see her, even if it is in a crowded room full of people I don’t know. So I went to the bachelorette party, the meet and greet, and the wedding. This wedding was a fancy deal!

I had been doing well on my diet and the no smoking. I am becoming quite the loyal vapor. So far since my doctor’s appointment up until the Sunday before the wedding I had lost twelve pounds. That is in a month’s time. I was extremely proud of myself, so I wanted to be careful.

I was really good at the bachelorette party. I didn’t eat anything I wasn’t supposed to and had only one martini, the same for the meet and greet. The wedding was another story. I kept saying that this qualifies as a “special occasion.” Basically, I was saying I can do what I want for one night.

Oh, and I did. I really put one on. I will spare you the details but I had sushi, potatoes and something like seven martinis. I even had a little cake and a tiny apple turnover. Regardless of the fact that sort of threw up it all later, when I weighed in Sunday I had gained six pounds. Along with my tremendous hang over, I was really depressed with myself.

Here is the thing– I didn’t even enjoy my drunkenness. I don’t know why but I felt normal up until the seventh martini. I felt absolutely normal, and then I didn’t. So, I don’t think drinking is a good idea because of that. To be honest, I don’t drink that much anymore. So this really isn’t going to be much of a strain. The carbs is my struggle, and I don’t think the cheat was worth it. I had some California rolls, a potato, and a little cake. Was that worth 6 pounds?

I am fully aware that I can have fun without it. I had only one martini at both the bachelorette and the meet and greet and was still the “life of the party.” I danced and I told jokes and I really enjoyed myself. I think I had more fun then, than even at the wedding. So I don’t need to drink or cheat to have fun. Lesson learned.

The adage “being skinny is more fun that the current bite” is annoying, entirely cliché and trite. The saying bugs me, as if you can’t have both. I know skinny people that eat like pigs. I know people who have weight problems who only eat very small amounts of the worst foods imaginable and have been able to lose weight. I can’t do that. I can’t make a donut last all day. I can pick and choose what is worth it.

I am confident now. Like trying a cigarette after a month of not smoking, I have realized it stinks and tastes nasty. Now, that isn’t to say I am not going to eat a chocolate cupcake from Starbucks every once in a GREAT while. I am dreaming about my birthday next month where most likely my aunt will bake me a cake. If you knew my aunt, there isn’t one of you who wouldn’t be dreaming about it. What I am saying is that I understand my will power a little better now. I get that I can pick and choose the days that I will forgive carbs, but those days will be less than they used to be. I guess I am just proud that for the for once in my life, losing the weight is more important.

 

The third day meal

My husband is going to school and not working right now, as I have said before. In this arrangement he has taken over dinner duties, as is our deal. He has been doing a really good job since my diagnoses. He has been looking up low carb recipes on the web. He found a delicious one on Linda’s low carb web site. http://genaw.com/lowcarb/gyro_burgers_greek_salad.html This recipe was so delicious the first day, and then the second day when he sent the leftovers to work for me. I really did love the recipe.

The following day was a hard one for me. Work was particularly brutal with people yelling at me constantly. I don’t remember the specifics but I was grouchy. A permanent scowl had taken shape on my face. I had a headache that started in my shoulders. My feet were swollen and achy.

Around an hour before I got off I texted Brad, what’s for dinner? Sadly, I was looking forward to eating. A mood suppressor if you will. I was looking forward to something to satiate the anger in my soul. Notice I didn’t say Brad’s loving hugs, or his amazing soft lipped kisses. This is my embarrassment and my shame. I was basing my happiness that day on dinner. Please take a minute and soak up how pathetic I am.

Brad said he was using the left over Greek meat to make tacos. Now, I thought he meant that he would spice it with taco like spices and it would be a whole new meal. I thought good idea, way to be resourceful. Then when I saw him that night, he explained that he was just going to make it the same way. My response was so we are going to eat the same exact thing we have eaten the past three days, just in a tortilla?? He said, “Umm, well when you put it that way it doesn’t sound so good.”

I was a bitch about it. I pouted and didn’t talk. He was very kind about it after, but I really did act like a petulant teenager. I said things like, “All you have to do is make dinner.” Which isn’t true, Brad does almost everything for me. I was an ungrateful baby. I have since apologized and hopefully enough penance that he is putting it behind him. I recognize how horrible I was, but what I don’t understand is the disappointment.

That is also the other thing that embarrasses me to my core. How do I become like the birds, I mean I don’t believe they ever say worms again? How do I lower the priority of food in my life? How do I make better things more important to me than food? This is something that I have to negotiate. I mean I know that everyone has meals they look forward too, and I will always find pleasure with food. However, I don’t want to look forward to it so much that I am going to put more priority on it than the company of the man I love more than anything. I don’t mean that I want to transfer my addiction. I just need to realize why I do that. I need to learn to master my feelings so that I am not reliant on a good meal to make me feel better. I will have made myself feel better.