Posts Tagged ‘Food’


Saturday I weighed in and was very happy to record a 3.2-pound loss. I was actually blown away because not only did I indulge in half a piece of Cracker Barrel Coca Cola Chocolate Cake, I also ate half a chicken Parmesan sub and a generous portion of waffle fries at a local pizza joint Friday night.

I’ve been dealing with a fair amount of anxiety lately. It seems the times I’m content to be lazy and unproductive are most conducive to weight loss. If I have little stress, I am not not a stress eater. That’s pretty easy math.

However, if I start thinking I need to “do something” with my life, say like go back to school, and start questioning whether I actually have the stuff to be a parent, a wife, a full-time employee and grad student who still has 100 pounds to lose, that’s when I start strapping on the feedbag in an attempt to medicate myself into sublime ambivalence.

My last three weeks have been filled with poor, poor food choices and it’s starting to freak me out a little bit. I mean, if I’m this anxious about the thought of taking a graduate class, how stressed am I going to be when I sit down the first night with the syllabus?

I didn’t want to move forward in any other area of my life until I was sure I had my eating problems under control. I wanted the ability to make good food choices be so ingrained that I could withstand the rigors of academia without falling off the wagon.

I thought I was there, but I guess I’m not.

Last night Nathan went out to run errands and came home with the largest bag of smoked cheddar popcorn I’d ever seen.

“And if you don’t want the popcorn, I did pick this up for you,” he said and pulled a box of Cow Tails out of his bag.

I ate both. Not the whole bag of popcorn and not the entire box of tails, mind you, but enough.

“Why did you bring this stuff home when you know I’ve been struggling with my eating?” I wailed as though he had forced me into gluttony.

“I don’t know,” he said.  He was confused and I think a little scared. I was being unreasonable in blaming him for my own weaknesses and he handled it as any man in his position would; he left the room as soon as possible.

Later, after I had calmed down some, we talked about what’s been eating me lately.

“Remember Christmas?” I asked. “Remember all that CHOCOLATE we bought on clearance afterwards and how I didn’t have any problem with any of it and was able to limit my portions without going all crazy? What the hell happened?”

“I don’t know” he said.  “Maybe you just don’t care anymore.”

Yeah, I know. He does try, though.

I do care. I really do. I am two pounds away from 100 pounds lost. I am ten pounds away from being halfway to goal, but where I am now is where I’ve been every other time I’ve lost weight. I’m at the point where I start to gain it all back.

The stress starts to increase, the exercise starts to bore me, the menu planning becomes a chore and I am suddenly unable to say no to yeast rolls from Logan’s Roadhouse.

The thought of adding more to my life is stressing me out, but the thought of adding the weight back onto my body scares the hell out of me.  How I get through this block is going to separate this time from every other time I’ve lost weight. Yes, I’ve lost more than I’ve ever lost before and yes, I have stuck to the plan longer than I ever have before, but this time is not going to be any different than the others if the scale starts moving back up again.

I want my life to move forward. I want to feel productive and useful. I want to exercise my mind as well as my body and I want to be able to do it all while making that slow, slow progress towards my goal. I can’t put my life on hold while I try to lose weight. I can’t make my whole life be about losing weight because one of these days I may find myself in a position where I don’t have to worry about losing. What then?

Maintenance, yes, and I suppose that will be just as tough as losing if not harder.

I have been doing so well this time that I didn’t think I’d find myself back in this place, this vulnerable, gluttonous place full of insecurities and fear of failure.

There’s a word for that; COCKY.

I’ve been cocky and it’s now time for a generous portion of humble pie which, thankfully, is completely free of carbohydrates.


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Chinese food mothers

Yesterday my mom and I took Autumn to see the Princess Diana exhibit at the Grand Rapids Art Museum. We were going to make an afternoon of it and my mother, who has tried every Chinese buffet in the greater West Michigan area, suggested we visit a buffet she’s been raving about for months.

“They have sushi, fruit and a salad bar there. You’ll be able to find something that fits into your diet,” she said.

I looked at her. “I’m not on a diet mom. This is the way I eat now,” and went on to tell her I’d rather go someplace with a more sensible menu.  Normally the word diet doesn’t chaff my khakis like it did when my mom said it, but there was something in her tone that told me I needed to set her straight about the way I’m living now.

My mother is only familiar with the old school Weight Watchers that had Socrates holding ketchup-making workshops at the Lyceum.  Back then they mandated the consumption of organ meats and killed your soul with a multitude of restrictions, and while my mother did reach goal on that plan, it was definitely a diet and not something that taught her how to live at a healthy weight and still enjoy Chinese buffets.

When my mom used the word diet, it implied that this whole thing I’m doing-the tracking, the eating well and the waking at ungodly hours to sweat my ass off on an elliptical-would end at some point and I’d go back to being on board the Panda Express indulging in fifty variations of breaded and sauced chicken.

My mom has every right to believe I won’t make it to goal. In the past twenty years she has seen my weight go up and down like a carnival ride and anyone else who has known me that long may also be wondering when I’ll finally dive headfirst into the nearest Costco cake.

Hell, I sometimes wonder the same thing, but about a year ago, after just a few months into this latest season of my own personal Biggest Loser, I realized the way I’m eating now is going to have to be the way I eat for the rest of my life.  The workouts are also going to have to continue for as long as I’m physically able to do them.

And you know what? That thought did not depress me at all. In the past it would have because food was so tightly entwined with my idea of quality of life that having to pass up things like Costco cake or a Chinese buffet (or Costco cake and a Chinese buffet) would have made me want to stick my head in the oven at the thought of all that deprivation.

Now that I am more mature (read: old) and have experienced the pain of being broken and brittle, I now know that quality of life has very little to do with food. Deprivation isn’t about keeping yourself from eating what you want as much as you want to eat it. Deprivation is being 350 pounds with two arthritic knees that keep you from having great sex or giving your child a piggy back ride.  Quality of life is about being healthy and vibrant and engaged in the world around you, not about eating whole bags of peanut butter cups or a mountain of pasta.

And what can feel better than hauling a 30-pound bag of dog food up the stairs and realizing you’ve lost three of those suckers because of all your hard work?

That being said, I have to confess I do regret not agreeing to the buffet.  We wound up eating at Wendy’s per my suggestion and the whole experience was disappointing. The service was bad, the sandwich wasn’t much better and holy crap has Wendy’s jacked up their prices.  After all was said and done, I didn’t pay much less for my meal and Autumn’s than I would have at the buffet. Food may not ensure quality of life, but sometimes it goes a way towards enhancing it, especially if there’s sushi involved.

And yes, I did tell my mom I should have listened to her. I may have eaten more than I should have if I had gone to the buffet, but another great thing I learned this year is to own my bad choices, forgive myself and move on.

You can recover from any misstep as long as you keep on walking.

Damn, I sound like Oprah now.

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Food porn

Last week I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies with dark chocolate chips. The recipe I used came right off the chip bag and it called for two sticks of butter.

I love to make cookies and this batter was so light and fluffy that I couldn’t keep my fingers out of it. I’ve always been that way with cookie batter. Raw eggs be damned, I will eat spoonfuls of the stuff before a single cookie comes out of the oven.

I remember my mom baking cookies when I was a kid and even back then I could not keep my hands out of the batter. Autumn is the same way and there’s something about her blatant thievery of dough that reminds me of myself when I was young.  And yes, it is a little frightening considering how all that cookie dough now hangs on me in 150 pounds of excess weight.

Of course that excess weight did not come from stealing cookie dough from my mother’s bowl. It came from being the kind of person who would make her own batch of dough and eat the whole thing raw. I didn’t even have to have chocolate chips or a recipe. I’d just start dumping butter, sugar, flour and vanilla together until it tasted like the dough my mother made.

I remember the day my mom first told me about ice cream made with real cookie dough. She said Jane Fonda or some other celebrity had talked about it and so we spent weeks looking for the stuff in our local stores.  This was at least 25 years ago before it was everywhere, but I remember scouring the frozen food section for the mythic flavor I was sure would replace Hudsonville Strawberry Cheesecake as my absolute most favorite ice cream flavor ever.

Now I wish I’d been the one to dream up cookie dough ice cream. It’s such a simple concept and yet look at how popular it is now. It’s right there in the case next to your Moose Tracks and your Butter Pecan and your Mint Chocolate Chip. And I’ll bet the person who dreamed up the cookie dough genius is not only a lover of the dough like me but stinkin’ rich to boot.

I think that’s how some people get rich. They discover their passion, figure out how to enhance it and capitalize on the opportunity to share it with others like them. Just look at Larry Flint.  He parlayed a love of sex into a multi-million dollar business.  Of course he now keeps to his wheelchair and pees in a bag, but for awhile there he was somewhat of a revolutionary.

Maybe it’s silly to compare cookie dough to porn, but we all have our vices.  Some are just a little sweeter and a little more delicious than others.  Look at it this way; if one can turn an addiction into an enterprise, anything is possible. That doesn’t exactly help me with my cookie dough problem, but it is comforting to know desire and obsession can be the vehicle which drives us toward success.

And if you happen to get a warm crispy cookie at the end, that just sweetens the pot.

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I feel like looking on the bright side today, so I’m going to highlight one of the good things about my new desk situation. I am no longer in close proximity to the treats.

My unit likes to bring in snacks. One woman brings them in ALL THE TIME. She frequently bakes and places her cookies or brownies on a tall file cabinet that is central to everyone in that aisle. That’s also where the clearance Easter candy, the clearance Halloween candy and the clearance Valentines candy goes when people decide they need to get that shit out of their houses.

My old desk was positioned such that I faced that cabinet all day. Back when I didn’t care about what I ate, I couldn’t pass the cabinet without dipping into the candy bowl or the cookie container. The only things I really could stay away from were the dates one of our counselors brought back from a recruiting trip to the Middle East. Those things took forever to disappear. Too many people thought they looked like roaches.

Occasionally I’d make an extra trip to the printer just to pass the cabinet. Especially if there were Reeses.

Now I’m no longer in that aisle.  Candy and cookies are not one of the first things I look for when I plop down at my desk in the morning. I’m oblivious to what’s over there, though once in awhile I’ll hear the ping ping ping of M & M’s being dumped into the glass candy bowl.

Which is what prompted me to write this in the first place. Someone just got into the jelly beans.

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Last week I asked Autumn what kind of candy she’d like to give to her friends at her school Valentine party. Since she was in the middle of a dental health unit at said school, she matter-of-factly replied, “Candy is not good for you, mom.”

And since I dislike when my child shows she’s smarter than me, I tried to counter that argument.

“Candy is okay sometimes,” I said. “It’s bad if you have it every day, but once in awhile it’s a nice treat.”

Honestly, I thought she’d buy it, but that day she was intent on preaching the evils of sugar and was not at all interested in dispensing sweet valentines to her classmates. Mind you, this is the same child who days later would eagerly gobble down Everlasting Gobstoppers which her father brought home to prove there really is a Willy Wonka. That day, however, she stuck to her guns.

DSC_0012_au I suggested flowers instead. She loved the idea so last night we picked up a very pretty, very GREEN bouquet of posies from Costco.  I separated the bouquet into individual stems and attached a gender neutral Scooby Doo valentine complete with groovy tattoo to each.

Then I went ahead and made these for my Valentine treat.


You can preach to the choir all you want, but chances are the choir won’t listen once they’ve had a taste of Bakerella’s cake pops.

And yes, that is MY bite in the picture above.

But that’s all I had. I swear.

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Nathan bought some pizzelles at the store a couple of nights ago. When I came home today, I found what was left of the package torn to bits on the floor. I told Nathan “someone” had eaten the rest of the cookies and he must have forgotten to put them up before he left this morning.

“I put them on top of the fridge, I swear,” he said.

We both looked up at the fridge and then down at our dog and decided she’s in need of an intervention and a 12 step program.

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