Monday, October 23
This is not 'instead of' a belief in God, but rather, part and parcel of it; I tend to think that all things are by nature (without distortion) divine, because all things are of God. I consider animals, plants and even metals and rock (in different ways) to be "composed of sentience" because I think our entire reality/universe is.
Physicists say that mass, like your coffee table, is 'vibrating energy trapped in a cohesive shape.' That we see it as a coffee table and not vibrating energy is due to the biological filters of our body. That it hurts when we run into it is due to the span of frequencies our biological bodies inhabit "compared to" that of the coffee table. If it vibrated more quickly than our bodys'-energy, it would be less-solid than us, from slightly permeable to liquid to gas to sound to light and finally to invisible. It is vibrating somewhat more slowly, which is why it is seemingly denser and harder than we are. If it were yet more dense, it would eventually be hard as rock, then diamond, and if it were too slow, it might not even be "within the range" of frequency we can perceive, and like light above the violet zone, we might be oblivious to it.
I consider 'energy' to be the other side (wave form) of consciousness, in the same way that space and time are the same thing but in an inexplicable way none of us will ever get our brains around while resident in these bodies. Hence, the coffee table 'has' some degree of consciousness, though it is not 'self-aware' in the way that humans are. And I tend to assume that there are identities in our universe which are 'aware' to a degree that makes us look about as bright as coffee tables. ;-) Angels maybe, who knows.
So lately I've been thinking a lot about my body having its OWN consciousness, as apart from, although part-of, "mine." I've had some "esoteric experiences" where I became incredibly aware of this, and it was totally amazing.
We think of our bodies "as" "us". Yet whether your religion is something traditional or more metaphysical, all of them definitely hold the philsophy that "we are more than our physical bodies" -- that bodies are something we HAVE, not something we ARE.
The past few days I have been forcing myself to think of my body not AS me but as a highly intelligent, complex "nature spirit" that happens to be "part of" me.
And what's kinda funny is that it is really having an effect. I am starting to think of my body as a friend -- as a sweet creature that I want to TAKE CARE OF. Not like, "I'm ignoring you because you're me and who cares about me." More like a partnership of sorts, though not as separated as that makes it sound.
I'm starting to think when I ignore that I am thirsty, or have to pee but I'm busy and try to put it off, or when my back hurts because I'm slouching and I'm ignoring it, that I am being very unkind to this fabulous entity, thanks to whom I have a presence in this range of frequency and beat-pattern we call reality. :-)
I'm starting to think that maybe I should be nicer to my body. It has put up with a whole lot of crap over the years and the fact is, it was my horrible lifestyle that apparently destroyed my metabolism, and that was MY choice, not my body's. Aside from the metabolic issues, I'm really disgustingly healthy. I've been athletic and strong all my life until my massive weight gain around 15 years ago. I've always carried weight far better than most people, looking thinner with more weight and being more active at higher weights, who knows why, distribution of it maybe. I was blessed with the ability to really focus, absorb, extrapolate and innovate, mental qualities that have benefitted my life in every area. Though I'm sure higher aspects of "ME" have something to do with that stuff too, the bottom line is that my body, as an entity worth respecting on its own merits, has worked hard for me, suffered a lot, and continues to support me like a real trooper despite the condition I've put it in.
I'm concluding that maybe there is some "lack of self-value" going on, if I ignore my body when I think of it as "me," yet am suddenly all compassion and appreciation when I think of it as even partly separable. Maybe that Virgo service ethic gone overboard: "Everybody else matters more than me."
I'm starting to think of my body more as a gift from God I've been given for my use, rather than an obnoxious incomprehensible thing I am trapped in.
Anyway, this is just musing a bit, but it's the kind of thing I find interesting. And the good news is, my body is benefitting, and as a result, so is my life.
Sunday, October 22
4 ingredients. 5 min max to make, 1 min to cook. Mix/cook/store/eat from same bowl. High protein low carb. Yummy. Uses pre-cooked chicken.
I was experimenting with a few goals in mind:
1 - A use for cooked chicken, because we tend to crockpot two big bags of formerly-frozen chicken breasts at a time, so we have a big bowl of cooked chicken that needs to be eaten.
2 - Something that could be made QUICK AND EASY, in the microwave even, and with not many ingredients
3 - Something with enough protein and few enough carbs that eating it wouldn't make me have to do the hula around carbs the rest of my day.
4 - Something that I could make a bunch of, put in those 1/2cup/4oz Glad containers, and eat a few times a day -- so something that could be nuked as leftovers.
This worked out really great!
As it turns out, it's even good eaten at room temp and straight out of the fridge like a sort of mexi-flavored chicken salad. It's like chopped chicken in a sort of 'creamy' mix, not very creamy, but enough to full flavor every bite in the best way.
You can vary this recipe any way you like -- add spices, add fresh herbs, add more or less hot peppers, add onions. This is more a 'concept' recipe but it comes out really yummy!!
I planned it for 'single serving' but it actually came out like 2-3 each.
Old El Paso brand is available in most groceries; they make tons of stuff, including "enchilada sauce" in mild green, red, red medium, and red hot. It comes in cans, they are yellow with red titles and available in the mexican-food section of the store.
1 oz cream cheese,
2 oz El Paso enchilada sauce, either mild green OR red
1-2 oz chopped FRESH chilis so they are crunchy, either green OR red
(you can substitute green chilis in the can, or onions for this, but it's really good with the fresh chilis)
2 oz grated cheese: pepperjack (for green) or cheddar (for red)
4-6oz small- to finely- chopped cooked chicken (I use mine from the fridge)
You can mix and cook and store and eat this all from the same bowl. I used one of those deep rectangular 24oz Glad plastic bowls.
Put the cream cheese in your bowl and nuke it till it's supersoft.
Add the enchilada sauce
Add the chopped chilis and stir it all up well
Add the grated cheese (I only had slices for the pepperjack, so I just chopped them up well) and again mix it all together well.
Add the chopped chicken and stir it all up so the chicken is totally mixed into the rest of the ingredients.
Nuke it for 45-60 seconds, take it out and stir it well.
That's it! It's yummy!
This makes about 10-12oz of stuff depending on your ingredients. I used 4.25oz as the 'serving size' in my counts below -- that's 20-25g of protein and 3-4g of carbs depending on the version.
If you add 6oz rather than 4oz meat, obviously the same weight of serving will have a little more protein and calories and a little less carbs. So vary it as you need. It's a little creamier the more 'other' stuff you add to the chicken. Chopping the chicken more finely also makes it a little creamier. Theoretically I bet you could even blender this and use it as a 'spread' on something.
Green chilis have a tad more carbs than red chilis, if you're buying and chopping fresh. However, red chilis tend to be hotter. I have a big garden with lots of stuff. For my green I used poblano and anaheim and a jalapeno. For my red I used thai, cayenne, and red jalapeno.
The 'crunch' of the fresh chopped veggies really added a lot to this! Made it kinda like chicken salad with fresh onions or something. If you add onions instead of chilis you add more carbs but keep some of the crunch. If you add canned green chilis instead of the fresh, you keep the flavor on the green chili version but lose all the crunch.
Like all the recipes I post, it depends on how you put it together! But here's the counts on the two versions I made in my experiment, with line-item counts in case that helps ya.
cal prot carb fiber
223.00 43.00 - - 5 oz chicken
18.59 - 2.79 - 2 oz mild green el paso
99.00 2.00 1.00 - 1 oz cream cheese
109.00 7.00 1.00 - 2 oz pepper jack cheese
23.00 1.13 5.36 0.90 2 oz green chilis, fresh,
472.59 53.13 10.15 0.90 TOTAL RECIPE MADE ~11.25 OZ
42.01 4.72 0.90 0.08 per ounce
178.53 20.07 3.83 0.34 for a 4.25oz serving (~ 1/2c)
cal prot carb fiber
275.00 52.00 - - 6 oz chicken
23.63 0.95 2.84 - 2 oz HOT red el paso red
99.00 2.00 1.00 - 1 oz cream cheese
223.00 13.00 1.00 - 2 oz cheddar cheese
14.00 0.66 3.12 0.50 1.25 oz hot red chilis, fresh,
634.63 68.61 7.96 0.50 TOTAL RECIPE MADE ~11.5 OUNCES
55.19 5.97 0.69 0.04 per ounce
234.54 25.36 2.94 0.18 per 4.25oz serving (~ 1/2 c)
The serving size (half a cup is around 4-4.5 oz) is reasonable because with 20-25 grams of protein this is pretty filling.
Thursday, October 19
It is based on several factors, including:
- Because I'm so heavy, I need to stay at lower-carb levels than most folks for a long time. That has several built-in considerations, though:
- I need to stay lower than some of the lowcarb eating plans recommend for post-induction. Yet,
- I can't make it so low, that my food range is drastically limited. If it's going to take me years to lose the weight, I really need as much variety in my diet as possible.
- There needs to be some 'allowance' of deductions for fiber and SA carbs, as part of hugely expanding the menu. Yet there should be a cap on them, because SAs in particular can really get out of hand when you're "not counting" them.
- Because it is very easy to 'slide out' of ketosis or at least slide into very light degrees of it, I need to ensure that if this should happen for any reason, it is shortly curtailed and my level of ketosis brought back to something good for weight-loss, carb-craving suppression and appetite suppression. Beginning every month with a few days (or whatever it takes) of "core food only" regularly brings me back to that.
I call it "PJ's Induction Cycling." (Added my name just in case the term is used anywhere else and I don't know about it, don't want to get it confused with other stuff.) Here's the basics: (click the link to see the image)
Warning: If your browser is set to "resize images" it will make that unreadably tiny! Take that setting off! LOL!
This addresses some 'issues' I've observed in the field at large from reading tons of journals, as well as in myself and my own experience.
Now that I know what I'm doing and plan ahead, induction is easy. And given I'm doing it a few days every month based on the eating plan cycle, it no longer seems like such a long-suffering major thing anymore.
Changed it to 20 on standard (stage 2) after discussion with another LCer.
OK I thought I was done but that's not it.
Q. Do you do protein powder on the first-stage?
A. Yes, protein powders, protein puddings.
Q. Why no grains, mushrooms or cheese?
A. The first for bowel reasons, the second two for herbalism reasons. Basically just to make it so there's a few days each month I detox from such things for sure. And because I know if I don't rule it out I will be eating mega amounts of cheese during the induction period, as I love it, and I really want to force the protein-fat meat/seafood/poultry emphasis instead.
Q. Isn't 20 carbs + 15 deducted carbs a lot compared to 10?
A. Yeah. Monthly re-induction ought to make me appreciate what I get the rest of the time.
Q. Not counting fiber/SA carbs has an effect. You lose more weight if you do.
A. I agree. However if I'm going to be on this eating plan the rest of my natural and unnatural life, I have to have a decent variety of good tasting food to eat. So for me there has to be some middle ground between 'keep it lowcarb to lose' vs. 'keep it enough carb to enjoy it and not feel deprived'. I made it 15 carbs + 15-MAX deducted because that is a different result than just saying '30 carbs'. The deductions will allow me to make little crepes I can use as a bread-replacement of sorts, and a sweet now and then, and have daily fresh garden peppers for example (broccoli stir fried in peanut oil with garlic and ginger, YUM!). But the limit on the deducted carbs per day will probably keep me from ODing on a whole day of food that is "invisible" carbs and calling it a good day... even if carbquick and flaxmeal and my sugar alternatives can make me a ton of food with almost zero net carbs, how much "not quite basic" food I can eat is pretty limited due to the cap on the deductible carbs.
Q. The calorie range is rather large.
A. I have a hard time making 1000 calories half the time. And due to my weight, theoretically I could eat a helluva lot more calories and still lose, but it varies by food choices - drastically. A day with bacon, butter and mayo will skyrocket calories into the 2000 zone while other days I'll be struggling to meet the 1100 minimum. Unfortunately the highest cal stuff is carby sometimes. If I could eat my extra calories in peanut butter without the carbs I'd happily do so! So I leave that a variable option because my mood, food, weight, protein intake and exercise will make me vary the calories. I put 2000 there as a 'maximum' -- not a goal.
Q. Keto sticks don't always measure ketosis.
A. Yeah, I've heard that. If I'm drinking 2 gallons of water a day (I wish) I won't worry about that, it'd flood the ketones. If I still have decent energy, little appetite and no major cravings, and I'm losing weight or size at all, then I'll have to do the three day minimum and call it good. Right now I can't taste, smell or feel ketones and every other time I've been on lowcarb, it's major and obvious. Yet I'm losing weight steadily, have energy, suppressed appetite, no cravings, and I turned a keto-stick purple, so I'm going to have to figure it's ok.
Q. How come you allow yourself nuts/nutbutters but not cheese? The Atkins OWL doesn't bring in nuts until much later.
A. True. Bear in mind this is a maintenance plan not a starting-out plan. But the main reason I allow them is because peanut butter is the only 'sweet' I'm willing to allow myself during stage 1. If I can't go three days without Splenda I've got a problem!
Q. Doesn't this seem like an arbitrary rearrangement of Atkins/Eades/etc., similar to KimKins for example?
A. Sure, everybody comes up with what works for them. Because my weight is so high and my weight-loss efforts will take so long, because my protein demands are so great and my resultant calories tend to be so low, and because I want to experiment with food and not worry quite so much that a 'gradual slide out of ketosis' will lead to my ruin, I felt I needed an approach customized to me.
Wednesday, October 18
Lowcarbing has its own "niche field." It's a fairly small one, actually. There are several large forums, although the larger the forum, the more it is mixed with people doing every imaginable kind of diet including things completely different than lowcarb. I admit, that when I am journaling or reading journals about lowcarb, I feel sort of nonplussed about someone who is instead on weight watchers lowfat/ lowcal/ highcarb eating plan, or something else also very different than mine. I don't mind what people choose -- my best friend loves WW and I love her, so for now, I'm happy for her -- but it seems like it's pretty difficult to give any kind of useful advice to someone besides "Ra Ra" cheerleading, when the way people go about losing the weight is so drastically different.
I read all the lowcarb blogs I can find, and I have 15-20 journals at the LowCarber forum bookmarked to visit daily. Still, it isn't much new stuff to read for a person who reads fast and types fast and is used to high-volume internet activity. It's relatively educational, in a personality profile sense, though.
People who've lost a lot of weight quickly, seem to be the most fervent about the details of their beliefs about food. People who've lost a lot of weight but very slowly seem a lot more relaxed about it; of course, maybe being more relaxed is why they lost it more slowly -- or maybe being forced to develop patience, and to work on the variable details of their body, has made them realize it's a unique journey. People who are brand new to the subject tend to be much more insecure both in the eating plan and themselves but that's no surprise.
People who've been involved for a few months and lost some weight but probably not as much as they hoped, have more of a tendency to be outright rude to others, especially new folks, and I expect there is some of that "preaching it to make themselves better believe what they're doing is right" going on, which you can see in most religions never mind most eating plans. (Note: I'm not against religion. But sometimes genuine love and devotion vs. evangelism aren't well connected, as anybody who's spent time in church oughtta be able to see for themselves.)
I notice that thin diabetics, who eat lowcarb for that reason and not for weight, often don't seem nearly as supportive of or even friendly to the really obese as those who themselves are obese, and I figure some of the cultural bias ("I'm LC because I'm ill, but you're just a pig!") might be in there somewhere.
People who have been educated in anything health-related, even if the tradition is something like personal training (bodybuilding) which has always been more lowcarb focused than the mainstream, are often like anybody else I guess: they are certain they know it all, which is only a problem when several of them are in the same conversation (as they're totally convincing when in agreement or on a thread alone).
It doesn't matter what the argument is. The value vs. negative of dietary fat? Of calories? Of fiber carbs? Of sugar alcohol carbs? Of aerobic exercise? If this weren't low carb I'd say, "Bring popcorn and sit back and watch the show." Watching the debates can be an interest all its own.
The people who've been lowcarbing for a long time seem the most mellow yet no nonsense about it, for obvious reasons I guess. People new to it, tend to make it almost an obsession, but you see that in every field. And to some degree, when you're new and you really have to pay attention and spend time learning and such, it's almost needed.
I notice that thin diabetics, who eat lowcarb for that reason and not for weight, often don't seem nearly as supportive of or even friendly to the really obese as those who themselves are obese, and I figure some of the cultural bias ("I'm LC because I'm ill, but you're just a pig!") might be in there somewhere. This despite the fact that in my view, it'd be hard to find ANY severely obese person who did not have a specific insulin-related metabolic issue -- just like they do, although sometimes self-created in ignorance or by parents, and less recognized as a 'disease'.
I don't like thinking of metabolic problems as a disease, as that makes it sound hopeless, but they at least qualify as a 'syndrome' that exists regardless of your eating habits (though low-carb may help improve the situation). They definitely exist as something that you may have to behave in conformity to for the rest of your life, even if you lose the extra weight that made the problems 'apparent'.
The diversity of opinion even within the lowcarb field itself must be so confusing for new folks. On one hand people will tell you things like, "You must eat enough calories" (usually your baseline metabolic minimum) "or your body will go into starvation mode," and I am a living breathing example of a body that does exactly that. Some will say, "You must eat several small meals, rather than one bigger meal, to keep your system digesting, because fasting causes the starvation response," while somewhere else, people are saying that fasting and eating only one meal a day is a really great thing they recommend.
You'll get lectures on how fat actually helps take OFF weight and hence some oils each day are good, "find some way to incorporate them into your diet," while others go on about how you should minimize fat, something easier said than done on a lowcarb diet, since most protein has fat (and you will not find anything low-fat going into MY mouth; usually that stuff is in my opinion better considered a frankenfood).
This reminds me of my stepmother, who is diabetic, and who basically is supposed to avoid much calories, fat, cholesterol... interesting, since I've done a great deal of reading suggesting that the fat (and even cholesterol) with sufficient protein and low carb will take care of a lot of blood issues, not to mention butt-size issues, and greatly improve a lot of insulin issues as well.
Typical of course, modern medicine prescribes pretty much everything that will not only eventually kill her, definitely not save her, but will ensure she is appropriately miserable in the meantime. It is pretty damn difficult for people to do a diet that restricts nearly everything! (As I say, no eating plan helps if you're not on it. It needs to be possible, sheesh.)
There are an astonishing number of people with eating disorder problems in the LC field. I suppose there are just as many in WW and other eating plans, but perhaps because I've never known anybody with that condition, it always seems surprising to me. In particular the binging and getting fatter (as opposed to the binging and purging -- they are probably in WW instead, hahaha).
I gained over 200 lbs in less than 2 years in my mid-20's. During that, I worked 70 hrs/wk, commuted 4.5 hrs/day on the worst highways, and went to night school. I was stressed out and sleep deprived. I ate one meal a day: Del Taco at 1-2am, before crashing into bed to get up at 6am. Bad lifestyle? Wrong eating? Yep. "Gluttony"? No. "Lazy"? No. Gimme a break!
But this leads to the one thing that I see described, mourned, and opined everywhere, and that gradually has started to really kind of bother me. Not that I mind someone describing their experience -- at all. If Jane's experience was that she binged on massive junkfood and four McD's meals all the way to 350 lbs, well, that's Jane's experience, and it's good that she shares it, and supports others in doing so.
But I call this the "bon-bon theory" and to me it is one of the most pervasive prejudices against the severely obese. It is essentially the paradigm that says if a person is massively overweight, that it's obvious they got that way from sitting around eating like a massive glutton all the time... as opposed to some genuine metabolic problem which, if anybody else had it, might have had the very same end result. It is rather irksome. 382 extra pounds of bon-bons! Yeah... riiiight.
I think it's one of those things that side effects get confused about:
1. Gluttony will make you fat.
2. Serious insulin resistance will make you fat. The more serious, the more fat.
3. Untreated repeatedly abused food sensitivies can contribute greatly as well.
4. Stress contributes hugely.
5. Eating carbs before bed reduces growth hormone in sleep, that contributes.
6. Sleep deprivation contributes.
7. Insert about 40 other factors that contribute to weight gain here.
I gained over 200 lbs in less than 2 years in my mid-20's. During that time, I worked 70 hours a week, I commuted 4.5 hours a day on the worst highways in the nation, and I went to night school. I was massively stressed out, and seriously sleep deprived.
I ate one meal a day, not a huge one but more than a small one for sure: Del Taco (pure carbs!), just before I crashed into sleep at 1-2am, to get up the next day by 6am.
I did not know that a massive dose of carbs whacked your insulin levels, or that combining this constantly with growing overweight to obesity would create an insulin resistance issue. Much of my family deals with what to me is obviously IR, but they are oblivious... after 40 years of dieting for some of them, it's second nature to assume they are obviously lazy pigs.
Binging is an eating disorder. Not all severely obese people have an eating disorder, though most of them clearly have a metabolic disorder even if it is combined with an eating problem in some (not all) cases.I hear people online talk about how they successfully lost weight, but how they gained it to begin with because they used to just totally binge on massive junk, and then felt bad, and then did it again, and kept growing, and so on. This is an eating disorder. I don't know why that should be considered normal. I don't even understand this really. Sure, I've eaten dessert I shouldn't have at a restaurant, or too many slices of pizza, or even 'whatever I wanted' when I felt my weight was increasing and hopeless to control, but my problem is usually eating at ALL.
After 15+ years of living on one meal late in the day for the most part, getting myself to eat several small meals during the day is hard as hell. It's a pain. It takes time. It takes planning. And frankly, since I have *trained my body not be hungry until evening*, it also takes eating when I am not particularly hungry, no matter what fire and brimstone people preach against doing that. When I'm around others (even very thin people), they usually end up commenting: how can you get up early, stay up late, and eat and drink like nothing?! I'm very focused. If I'm busy, I don't even think about food until nighttime, or unless someone drops it in front of me.
At times in the last 15 years, I have tracked my calories, and even "matched food intake with" someone I was living with. I steadily, though much more slowly than that initial period, gained weight -- even when they lost it on the same food. And my basal metabolic rate, at over 400lbs, is incredibly high -- like 4000 calories or something -- so you know, it seems physiologically impossible that if you're only eating like 1500 calories a day or less, that you would not be dropping weight at the speed of light. I'm here to tell ya, if I eat it in carbs, I am gaining weight. And since I'm a total carb addict -- whole milk and anything breadlike -- it was easy to do that. I didn't know I had a problem with those foods. I didn't know lowcarb was the answer. All I knew was that allegedly calories were the factor, and no amount of vastly lower calories than my BMR did not make me lose weight. At all.
I don't lose weight unless I lowcarb. Period. And even then -- the eating many small meals, vs. a few or even one bigger meal, seems to clearly make a difference. So, I can only conclude that for me, carbs are the culprit AND, a seriously overactive body 'survival starvation instinct' is as well. Even now, losing weight on lowcarb, I don't lose quite as much as the "calorie math" would suggest. I'm frankly getting pretty sick of the whole calorie-obsession in our culture; I recognize its reality in most cases, but it clearly is not the main criteria for metabolic problems.
Off the subject: I wonder if childbirth and infanthood issues could affect the body in some way. I wonder because I notice with cats, if they are malnourished as young kittens, they are completely distorted for food the rest of their lives -- they will happily eat popcorn and spaghetti if you let them because they'll eat anything. It just seems that some innate-response of the body to food is a bit distorted. Makes me wonder what infanthood issues may 'set up' for the body as 'survival instincts'.When I hear somebody on a forum opining that everybody should quit whining about metabolism because the fact is if they weren't total binging gluttons they wouldn't be fat, I just sigh. (And on occasion, nobody else has permission to be fat; a person will be happy to diss others for being so since to them, "There's no excuse." These are the people SUPPORTIVE of others. Gosh. Hope I never meet the people who aren't!) Sometimes, I just can't help but feel my eyes roll up in my head.
I call this the "bon-bon theory" ... the paradigm that if a person is severely overweight, it's obvious they got that way from severe gluttony (as opposed to metabolic problems). 382 extra pounds of bon-bons! Yeah... riiiight.Living with severe morbid obesity for years, and this after formerly being a performer, where looks and how people reacted to me were a big deal, has been a helluva education in "social stigma" and "assumptions" and "biases".
If I were black, with magenta hair and a nose ring, a lesbian, and an open pagan witch, I would not get half the bias I get for being so obese. (I'm just trying to think of groups of people that commonly deal with unfair bias, for that example.)
Obesity is the one stigma that transcends all colors, cultures and other social groupings. When it comes to weight, most people are not biased: they despise all severely obese people equally. It's usually not-quite-hidden, of course, in sneers they can't quite prevent, in active avoidance (conversations that go carefully around you, or don't even hear you), sometimes in instant hostility with no cause (such as women who project their self-loathing on you the instant they see you, as if you are taking on not only the weight they've been fighting with terror, but everything else they hate about themselves as well).
And a great deal of that bias is because of THE BON-BON THEORY: because people feel certain that when they meet me, and I weigh over 400 lbs, my gosh how I must be the most insanely gluttonous, lazy person alive. I can sit down to dinner with them and eat 1/3 what they do, and that won't keep them from critically eyeing my plate as if I shouldn't be eating that. They're completely unaware and unapologetic that they've just eaten enough carbs and calories for 2 days in a single meal -- if it doesn't make them fat personally, they're oblivious!
The body wants to eat its weight in calories, usually. And severely heavy bodies tend to need energy to lug it around more than smaller ones. So there are plenty of obese people who "eat more than a thin person would" -- and that's considered overeating. I consider that eating for their weight. It's eating enough to gain more weight that is overeating. I've seen fat people 'overeat' who didn't when thin; it was their changing metabolism that made them fat, and as they got fatter, their body demanded more calories and more carb-energy so they began eating more.
As I know from my experience, sometimes "overeating" can simply consist of ingesting one meal a day even at calories less than half the basal metabolic rate. If your body is thrifty enough and concerned enough for your survival, you could store carrot sticks and cottage cheese in fat cells just to be safe. You might not have much energy, but anybody obese can say to that, "So what's new."
Obesity is the one stigma that transcends all colors, cultures and other social groupings. When it comes to weight, most people are not biased: they despise all severely obese people equally.
Someday, just as an experiment, I'd like to rig a wetsuit to add about 300lbs to someone's body. Put it on anybody, and then say, "Alrighty then! Go about your day." And watch how easy it is NOT to function with that much weight, how exhausting the smallest things are.
Recently I bought a pair of tennis shoes; finally, shopping in the men's dept., I found some that were wide enough in side and toe-box to fit me. I'd been wearing slip-on shoes, zero padding or support, for years. I didn't realize until I began wearing the shoes, that when I was not wearing them, I was walking normally -- that is to say, I was "slowly hobbling," with every step in major pain, especially if I'd had to spend any time walking on hard floors (say, shopping at walmart). I didn't realize how MUCH pain I was in with every step until I got shoes, and enough of it went away to make me aware of it.
Add that, and chafed-to-bloody thighs and under-breast areas, and other really charming side-effects of severe obesity, and nobody oughtta be wondering why the severely obese are not more active. Most of them don't even want to MOVE. Any of my thin friends, if they had the conditions of raw skin I've had over the years, they not only wouldn't be walking around shopping trying to pretend they weren't in pain, they'd be in ER! They'd be off work, well bandaged, getting major sympathy from friends. But no, when the conditions are a side effect of fat, that humiliating condition, people won't admit to it. They will just hobble, and walk slowly trying not to move their legs much, or try not to move too much lest a bra rub an already raw and bloody chafing area, and maybe even cause them to embarrass themselves by crying out in pain in public.
I've *gained* weight while eating less than half my BMR in calories and doing aerobics. You can ruin your insulin and metabolism, and I guess I did. Now, I resent being considered a lazy pig. That is not always the cause of obesity. It's a horrible prejudice. Lowcarb is the ONLY thing that my body responds to for weight loss. I could cry for not finding it 15 years earlier. But I have it now.
So I guess you might say, that being really obese is hell enough. People -- whether fat, thin, formerly-fat, or what, who add to that daily unjoy extensive public opinions about how, 'come on, they know, they were really a pig and it made them fat so most others who are really fat are just pigs too, fess up y'all!' -- sigh. I don't say much (and nothing in those areas) because I respect everybody's right to say what they think, and especially to talk about their own experience.
But it is a little frustrating that it seems to just perpetuate the bon-bon theory in the world at large, and to even see it IN the lowcarb field, where more recognition of insulin and other metabolic issues exists than anywhere, is such a bummer.
I am currently tracking my weight, my calories, my carbs, my protein, and for 18 days straight I have lost half a pound a day. According to my basal metabolic rate, compared to calories, I should be losing twice that much. And I've eaten the calories I eat now without low carb and still gained weight. So obviously, it is not about calories or food ingestion in SOME cases.
Binging is an eating disorder. Not all severely obese people have an eating disorder, though most of them clearly have a metabolic disorder even if it is combined with an eating problem in some cases. Yes, it's fair to call "binging made them fat" a bit of a 'generality'.
But as long as an entire class of people are sneered about, dissed, etc. based on a "generality," it is still plain and simple, PREJUDICE.
Which frankly is pretty lousy no matter what it's about.
Hmmn. I think this is my first rant on this blog! Heh. Now it's "real." ;-)
Tuesday, October 17
Looking back, I'm not sure why botchilism didn't kill us all, but he would make a gigantic sized pot of it on the stove, and it would literally sit there and simmer on lowest fire for DAYS. (If grandma needed the stove, he would move it to the top of the Wood Stove that was the house's heater.) Everybody in the extended family would at some point drop by and have some.
I have many fond memories of the stuff, and I didn't think of it being "low-carb-able" until I saw the recipe. Granted, I can't have the big homemade flour tortillas to go with it (primarily used to cool the fire of it in your mouth) but that's ok. I don't much like pork, either -- bacon, spicy sausage, and this, that's it. I detest 'ham'. But the meat is so good in this! I can't resist.
If you like SPICY FOOD and meat, I bet you'll like this. If you're a spice wimp, or you don't much care for things like garlic/onions/peppers, skip this recipe, or definitely use only a tiny amount of sweet peppers instead of the pepper mix and quantity I mention -- and use the 'variant' below that makes a thicker, less meat-heavy stew.
I first found the recipe here, although this is only one version (there are many I've found on the web).
Below is the version I make in my large oval crockpot -- and it is more than twice the size of the original recipe so you might want to cut this down a bit if your crockpot is the typical round-size. This stuff would freeze very well for the long term.
Traditional chili verde is basically a thick stew. This recipe, if you want to make that, should increase everything but meat and decrease the meat (so it's more like 4lbs meat and 4cups 'stuff' and 2tsp+ of each of the spices). However I wanted something super-heavy on the meat, so it would be really low carb, yet still with that awesome flavor and heat, so that's what this recipe is geared for. It is basically a bowl of supersoft spicy meat chunks with a bit of 'sauce' that is in the bowl that I spoon over 'em that is the beer, onions, peppers and spices all cooked together.
About 5-7 lbs of pork loin, chopped into bite-size chunks. (There are two 'grades' of this, one half the price of the other. The cheaper is just fine. This cooks so much that when I've combined them, I can't tell the diff anyway. The cheaper variant has a lot of fat; we cut most the fat off the outside of ours first but it's your option. We used about 8 lbs last time.)
8oz of beer and 8oz of water (we use Foster's lager. You can taste the beer if you use more than about 12 oz of it. If it's Fosters, that's not a bad thing (I dislike beer, but I don't mind the malt/hops 'influence' on this), but if you're using cheap beer I'd dilute it! ;-))
About 1/2- 2 cups of coursely chopped onion. (We used around a cup last time. Green onion has fewer carbs than regular if you care, but we used a white onion last time.
About 1.5-2.5 cups of chopped hot and sweet peppers; chop them about the size of the onions. (We used about 2-2.5 cups last time. We use our garden stuff which has poblano, cayenne, jalapeno, anaheim chili, hot banana, cherry bomb, and red bell, now that most the season is over; most of those are very red at this point (hot!) and yummy.)
About 12-14 fresh tomatillos. Chop them about the size you did the veggies. These are the small mexican green-tomatos that come in a 'husk' in the store. You can just stuff 'em in a food processor if you prefer.*
One can (I forget size. 8-10oz?) of the HOT green tomatillo sauce -- the kind you get in the mexican section of the store, NOT the green enchilida sauce.*
* Alternatively just add a few more tomatillos and no sauce, or use more of the sauce and fewer fresh tomatillos, or just forget the sauce, it's up to you. We like the spice of the canned stuff but the freshness of the real veggies.
4oz can diced green chilis.
6 garlic cloves, minced
1.5 tsp Oregano
1.5 tsp Sage
1.5 tsp Cumin
a little bit of salt and pepper
a little bit of peanut oil (or whatever you wish)
Dice the pork into small bite-size pieces. Brown it in a big pan, separate or stirred enough that the pieces get a bit cooked on at least 4 sides. It'll take a lot of batches to do this. Toss your browned pork into the crockpot.
Add some oil to the pan and saute all your onions and peppers a little. (Note: peanut oil is good for browning, as olive oil isn't great used with heat and veggie oil usually has trans-fats.) Lower the heat so they can brown without burning. When done, dump the whole pan of stuff into the crockpot.
Mix all your spices, garlic and the water with the beer and dump it over the whole thing in the crockpot.
Put the lid on and cook on high for around 8-9 hours. If you want, you can take off the lid after about 5 hours and stir it well. You'll lose about half an hour of heating time if you do that just fyi (that you should add to the end). I should mention that when you begin this, you don't see the fluid -- it's way at the bottom -- you just have veggies and stuff all the way to the top of the crock. So stirring is a good idea.
Note: you can eat it in 5 hours if you must. But it's better cooked longer; the pork is softer and the spice is stronger and hotter. Sometimes we have a bowl for dinner and leave it cooking for several more hours.... in fact the more it's cooked the better it gets, so cooking leftovers is great.
I stuff those little 4oz "Glad" containers with it, put 'em in the fridge, and several times a day I grab one, take off the lid and nuke it for 45 seconds, and I have an instant little meal. Since it's almost entirely meat it's still pretty filling though not a big portion.
My version of it, per one of those containers of stuff (4 7/8 oz not counting container weight), comes out to around
Fat etc.: no clue
But you really need to figure your own ingredients and quantities for counts. Really. It varies a great deal depending on the quantity of beer, onions and peppers and spices.
I had to figure my counts in reverse -- by measuring how much meat vs. veggies vs. liquid was in one of those little containers we filled 'on average' and then calculate. If you weigh your ingredients in grams and then get the counts for that many grams from the USDA database for that food, you'd have a good idea what the whole recipe has... if you separate it into little bowls, you can divide up how many servings it made.
I love this stuff. Of course, the more veggies and spices you have compared to quantity of meat, the more glorious it is, but the mostly-meat variant above is still insanely good. It has finally allowed me to make a ton of food that is easy to grab a small serving of for eating, freezing for later, whatever.
I recommend most folks start with the above recipe using about 4-5lbs of meat instead. I suspect most people would like it better. I'm really trying to limit carbs is all, hence my over-emphasis on the meat in the dish.
ADDENDUM 10/26/2006: We just made this again. This time, we used a little less peppers, but a can of hot tomato+chilis (Rotel brand), a little less beer, but a bunch of water. The result was still spicy, a little more rich, and with a lot more "juice" (the yummiest part).
Sunday, October 15
Time... slips away, you know
Seems like every day it goes
A little bit faster
Calendar books are fine
Watches that keep the time
But they don't explain this kind
Oh, all I know
Is just another day gone
I'm not the best at
These kind of tests, I get
A little bit nervous
Some spinning days
I can't remember my age
It shouldn't matter if I'm late
We're moving at the same rate
Oh, all I know
Is just another day gone
Time goes past
By so fast
Oh, we all know,
It's just another day
It's just another day gone
It's just another day...
Another Day Gone
lyrics to a song by me, circa 1991
Every day, another day of our lives pass.
I'm older today. Wiser? Maybe. Can't help but notice that I'm going to be moving along, every single day, whether I like it or not. Time, inexorable, never stops. A month from now, you and I are going to be one month older, no matter what.
Days are the currency of our life span. How will you spend them?
Next week, I will be a few pounds lighter. This week, I am a few pounds lighter than last week. And even when the weight on the scale isn't falling much, my size is gradually changing, my limber ability to move around improves.
Some days, it seems like I am challenged anew to stay on my eating plan. I don't have much problem with wrong-foods but a couple times I have. Usually it involves someone setting something sweet and bready down by me; I'm nearly beginning to think they should pay as much attention to banning donuts in public places as cigarettes.
Haha. I'm kidding, of course. A red-state libertarian, I don't believe they should ban anything. Unless it's done at the state-level, so people can move to the states with the laws they best agree with. And then, such banning should be by vote of the people or at least their representatives, not by old dudes in robes.
Then again, I don't believe the gov't should be in bed with the AMA, FDA, USDA, and all the corporate marketing interests that are perfecting their ability to kill our population verrrry slowly, so that we require the most amount of eternal 'treatment drugs' (which in turn cause other problems), either. Without which, the issue of banning junk would be a smaller issue for sure.
I once read this book called 'murder by injection' that was a detailed history of the founding of the AMA. Two other things it covered were
(a) a 1986 supreme court ruling from a case that proved the AMA had a mass conspiracy to discredit and destroy chiropractry (which was/is also heavy on nutrition and preventative medicine), by tactics that were basically just like the mob, and
(b) it had at the time of its writing, the board of directors of many gov't food- and health- related agencies, chemical corps, food corps and media corps, and then told you how they all related. All these people are related to each other.
It was probably one of the most shocking books I ever read. Privately published I believe, for obvious reasons, though I bet it can be found if one searches. The guy who wrote it was what I call an american paranoid, someone who is probably a bit obsessive but who has spent half their life in the library of congress researching stuff, and who has the good sense to provide facts that could be followed up on for confirmation, not just claims.
Gosh, how I digress. I was actually talking about time... and how time keeps moving on, every day, no matter what.
Yesterday I was tempted to eat something not lowcarb. And before I did so, I thought about it, and realized something a friend said to me long ago was right:
It really doesn't matter how long it takes you to lose weight. There is no point in my being demoralized over the long time period I am looking at, due to my size. The reality is that a year from now, we're going to be a year older. We can either be a year older fatter, the same, or thinner. It is totally up to us. But the time is pointless to stress about, since the TIME is going to happen either way.
The reality is that a year from now, we're going to be a year older. We can either be a year older fatter, the same, or thinner.
I imagined myself in my tomorrow, looking back at having blown it in the today. It wasn't a good feeling.
I thought about how blowing it can screw up insulin balance, cause cravings, sometimes lead to being off the wagon entirely. I thought about how I lost from 482 to 411 about 18 months ago (in 3 months) and felt so great, and then the pressure of family and high-carb foods and time and convenience made me make the lousy decision to go off low carb (and back to mainly fast food), which resulted in me starting over at 467 back on 9/18. I thought about how I felt when I restarted. About looking at the 411 number and thinking, "What if I had been on lowcarb the last year and a half? What number would that be now? How much less time would I have stretching into the future for weight loss to some healthy place?" It was a form of grief.
And then I imagined myself in a year, looking back on this year as a failure, being even heavier, and it was SO depressing.
Then I made a major effort to imagine myself in the future -- in tomorrow, in next week, next month, and next year -- damn proud of myself, so relieved, so glad about what I had accomplished. I closed my eyes and let those emotions really build inside me, higher and stronger, I was THERE, I had DONE IT. And the biochemicals of self-confidence and pride and success started flowing through me. And by the end of the brief visualization, I was done.
I would not be eating over-carbs that day.
This is a simplified version of a basic NLP technique. Act-as-if. Imagine you have the power, imagine that whatever you are having trouble dealing with is ALREADY DONE, and you are feeling great about it, and you are telling your friends about it, and you are making some hilarious story about it for others.
We are the heroes of our own movie of life. I love my MP3 player because I can put on something upbeat and classical and imagine that my actions have a soundtrack, as if I am in a character in a movie, and these are the things I am seen doing -- eating well, counting carbs, moving around even when I don't feel like it -- which I know is leading up to that happy ending.
Sometimes I tell myself, that if I were thin, I would exercise every day, and I would eat really well. Then I think, wait a minute. If I behaved that way now, I eventually WOULD be thin. And more importantly, by the time I got there, I would not be "reverting" to lousy habits that cause weight regain, it would simply be a way of life for me. If I daydream of that perfect-me who has the discipline to get up in the morning and exercise, why not make that real? Why does that person have to live in my head for the future? Why not make that who I am right now?
My whiner self complains. It points out that I cannot really exercise in a 'real' way at the moment. My attempt to do the 'slow burn' exercises, which are ideal for everyone but especially the obese, were utterly hilarious. I couldn't actually do even ONE slow situp or pushup for example, and let's not start on how hard it was to get off the floor, let alone rolling around like a beached whale while down there. But despite that, I have to say: I felt decent about myself after trying.
I felt like just the effort to put on some clothes I could exercise in (at my weight, putting on clothes IS exercise), and to do what I could -- no matter how pitiful compared to my former athletic self when young -- was something. That it mattered. That it was a healthy habit. Most importantly, that it was the kind of habit that "a person in charge of their life, disciplined and successful, would have." No matter what the scale or inches said, that made me feel like I was accomplishing something.
So I have a new plan. I call it "Will-Building."
My goal is that every single evening, I will come up with one specific thing that I will accomplish the next day. It might be 'sufficient protein' one day and 'exercise' the next. Ideally it will be the same thing for a week but as days and circumstance vary it might not be. It might even be 'shopping on my own at super walmart' (a whole exercise regimen of its own, sheesh). It might be 'recording everything I eat'. It should be whatever I want most but have trouble doing consistently.
It isn't about me not being fat. It's about me being the person I want to be. That is a much bigger picture of my life.
And when I can go 7 days successfully doing ONE thing each day that I plan ahead of time, then I want to make a goal of TWO things for each day for the next 7. If I blow it, I start the day 1-7 count over, until I have seven consecutive days of accomplishing that number of items.
(I got this idea from nuidog's 'cheat-free' approach on lowcarber.org. But I don't have a problem cheating. I have problems eating enough, taking enough supplements, drinking enough water, or exercising. I very seldom am even tempted with the idea of cheating by eating the wrong foods, and so far have never given in to it.)
The goal is not about losing weight, and it is not really about food though it can be. To me that's what makes it more important: although it is being initially applied toward such goals, the base of the exercise is much larger in scale.
It isn't about me not being fat. It's about me being the person I want to be. That is a much bigger picture of my life.
It is about being in charge of my own life. In many of the more esoteric traditions I've studied over the years, the first exercises are all about self-discipline, about learning to use the will as the muscle it really is, to make proactive changes in your body, your life and your whole reality. It isn't really any different with losing weight; I want to cause change in accordance with my will.
So first, I have to get my will cleaned up and shaped up and focused, so it can function as the powerful, life-changing (and sometimes even world-changing) tool it is capable of being.
Every day that I do my will, that I exercise my discipline, is -- just like if I had NOT done so -- another day gone. That day is going to pass no matter what I do.
Every time I look at the scale, I am not looking at what I accomplished right then, I am looking at what my will helped me to accomplish the previous day, week, month, year. Those days are going to go by for me, whether I am lowcarb or not, whether I am disciplined or not. Every week I am going to look back at and feel good -- or not -- about what I have accomplished.
So in the end, always, it's just another day gone. Days are the currency of our life span. How do you want to spend them? How do you want to feel when you look back a month from now?
And regardless of how many pounds you've lost or muscle you've gained, what have you done for your sense of control over your life?
Is losing weight only about food for you, or is it just one part of an over-all "Will-Building" effort that looks to make the most of yourself in every possible way?
Wednesday, October 11
Speaking of refrigerators, when you start lowcarbing you promptly realize you have too many cupboards and not enough refrigerator. It's crazy. Everything has to be refrigerated except the various LC 'ingredients' like flours and sweeteners and flavorings and such. My refrigerator is as fat inside as I am outside. Every time I open it I am assaulted by things like flying cheeses hurling themselves off the shelves at me. Do you think this is a message.
Speaking of messages, the lowcarb forums are interesting, in that the boards are pretty boring for the most part and not much messaging -- and too big a % in newbies who apparently can read forums but not their own diet books -- but the journals sections are much cooler. It's kind of novel, you read enough of someone's journal and you feel like you know them. There are people I feel fond of like they are sisters, and people I admire like crazy and want to be more like. I'm in online forums for other topics -- or rather I was, until the 18th when I went low carb and totally swore off all the other junk keeping me online too much, even though some of them are big projects I'm owner of -- but other topics don't seem to inspire the personal level of bonding that LC journaling does. Maybe because it's a vulnerable state of mind, working with food which is pretty intimate, and problems and ego-security etc.
Speaking of egos, I find it humorous that people can be just as hardheaded and opinionated about food as about every other topic I've seen online. Apparently, any place where humans gather, there's going to be dispute -- there are probably serious arguments even on basket-weaving forums. (Now there's an art that gets a lot of undeserved humor and flak.)
Which reminds me of flax -- yes, this is a stream of consciousness blog day -- I've been continuing my experiments. So far two variations on the crepes have failed miserably. I just want one un-sweet enough, soft and flex enough, yet firm enough, that I can have a tuna-mayo rollup. Is that so much to ask. This having to come up with something to cook every day and night and even morning is ridiculous. I've gotten some great advice about stuff to keep onhand and cooking one day a week. Hoping to get up the energy to do half a day full of cooking this weekend...
...and speaking of this weekend, I have an appointment to spend essentially all my spare money to go buy a quarter of a cow. That's right, 25% of the meat from an animal I'm sure was lovely and sentient but now is dinner. The former vegetarian in me still has a twinge of guilt---but not much, heh, since this is a free range grass-fed non-drug cow, and that's the kind of life I'd like to support for anything we eat.
And speaking of eating, I can't seem to eat often enough, or eat enough protein when I do. Stallone puddings may save my life, since I'm pretty sure I can eat chocolate pudding (and it's pretty snack-pack cheap-tasting-but-good) any time I like and getting 20g of protein out of it rocks. Otherwise, I am basically stuck eating meat.
Speaking of meat, today I had an 8oz round sirloin made on the foreman grill, with a salad in a bag they call 'field greens' that is filled with weird junk I've never seen before and is nearly as scary as japanese food, and I even had 4oz of sausage and an egg as well, and STILL I am at less than half my 'required protein' for the day. Even though I've eaten so much I'll be stuffed till tomorrow. Then the cycle starts all over again, and I'll be hunting and gathering and foraging for sufficient protein.
And again, will probably end up eating a big chunk of cow. Speaking of...
I SO have the urge to experiment with the 'deep fried donut' recipe.
No. That has nothing to do with cows. Why would you think it did? :-)
Monday, October 9
It helps to realize the present is a gift indeed. The point of power is NOW, as Seth once said.
Today and yesterday I've run into the much more mundane side of my eating plan (don't say diet). Coincidentally (is there such thing really?), I've also gotten some great advice spontaneously from a couple others just at the very time I needed it most, about how to deal with it all even when the chips are down. Not that we would dream of eating chips, hahaha. (Thanks you guys.)
I've always thought that the big things in life were the easier things. You know, give me the do-or-die challenges, I'll bleed for the cause, no problem. I was the kind of teen that casually read the whole textbook in the first two days, aced the tests through the term -- and nearly failed for a lack of homework points (in part caused by reading Robert Heinlein et al. through the rest of the course). I think in some respects this sums up my life in many ways. I love big jobs and big tests. It's the long term stuff that makes me groan.
The real work of life is the day in, day out, seemingly endless stick-to-it-ness that defines "persistence" and "consistency." Those things are so much harder. The dogged day-by-freakin-day of it. It doesn't matter if we're talking about working on an eating plan or working on building a boat, working on a talent/skill or working on being a good parent. The toughest works in life for me are not the gigantic challenges to courage, competence or creativity that come along sometimes, but the death by a million papercuts of getting up and 'dealing with' it, whatever IT is, every day ... by endless day.
I always admired pioneer women. I always wondered what was in it for them. Work insanely hard through childhood, marry young, have too many kids, be essentially a slave from dawn till dusk with the kids and house and farm and food and usually die in childbirth. Nothing against men, but I think if it had been up to men to be that stoic our whole civilization would have died out before it even began. The ability to do the long-term shouldering of the drudgery of daily life and still be wily in bed and happy at holidays and sweet for the little ones is a distinctive quality of humanity of either gender, but throughout history, women have really borne the pain of it, in more ways than one. Sometimes when I am whining about feeling like I spend all my daily minutes on kid, house, food, work, and have no time left for me, for "a life" as I call it, I think about what my life would have been like born 200 years sooner. Or even 100 years sooner. Or for that matter, even 50 years sooner! All in all, I guess I have it pretty easy.
When you turn off the volume from all the philosophy and all the hype and enthusiasm about anything, including the great enthusiasm many share (and thank goodness for that!) about a shared eating plan, you find yourself standing in the deep puddle of The Now. Every moment is a decision. To eat, not to eat. What to eat. Even how to eat. Every day is a new start; is the first day of the rest of your life. Every meal is a chance to confirm your intentions for yourself vs. undermine your own confidence. There is no such thing as history except in our heads. In the real world, it is always the NOW. Decision is always in your court, every moment.
And some days, the decision has to be just to keep on keeping on. Even when nothing is going right in your life or on your scale. Even when nothing sounds good, when you're out of half your ingredients, when you haven't time to cook a meal, when you're exhausted, when it would be so damn easy to walk right across the street and have Taco Bell or McDonalds instead. When you stand in front of your open refrigerator until your eyeballs are getting frostbite and still nothing looks or sounds good, but knowing that maybe for your metabolism, skipping meals packs on pounds, and you better find something no matter how uninspiring. Consider it body-parts in teamwork: you gotta get it down your throat for the sake of your thighs.
When you are not inspired, when the scale makes you want to cry, when your journal buddies are ignoring you, when it seems like the world keeps going around and every day you just have another day of the same damn foods you've been boring yourself into culinary comatose with... you just have to be stoic. We are the pioneers of the brand new territory of our own potential. We are the frontiersmen of what we CAN be, if we can focus not on what we fear we might be lost in eternally, but on what we dream we could be eventually, and we start by being that, acting as-if, right NOW.
Every decision in the Now wears a groove in our forever.
Every moment is now. Right now, reading this, you are in the NOW. The present is the only place where you can change your life: what awesome opportunity! This is your point of power, of decision, of inspiration -- and yes, sometimes, of putting your shoulder into it and plodding on another mile when you already feel like you're worn to the bone. Sometimes, just eating another freakin egg or salad feels like getting up at dawn to push the plow. But we don't have to look at the road behind or the years ahead. We don't have to look at every food we've had and will have. Narrow the focus to the present: life is only the small segment of momentary awareness we call the NOW.
If I can start at 482 pounds and some days be crazy-weary over food and want to hide my head about the scope of my journey, I think other people can start wherever they are and survive the down days too. We're a stoic sisterhood (and brotherhood) of people who've pushed the plow of eating-plan determination in the ever-present Now long enough to know it's worth it. I will make good decisions, because it's me in control of making them, because living in the present allows me to change my life.
Every good decision we make wears a neural pathway in favor of our tenacity, in favor of our determination. Every decision in the Now wears a groove in our forever. "Be here, now," as the Eastern sages say: every moment is now, and the now is always.
I'll push the plow another day.
There is no time like the present... and the present is a gift indeed.
Sunday, October 8
One ship sails East,
And another West,
By the self-same winds that blow,
Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales,
That tells the way we go.
Like the winds of the sea
Are the waves of time,
As we journey along through life,
Tis the set of the soul,
That determines the goal,
And not the calm or the strife.
-- Ella Wheeler Wilcox
First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.
I know the price of success: dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen.
-- Frank Lloyd Wright
The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.
You have to set goals that are almost out of reach. If you set a goal that is attainable without much work or thought, you are stuck with something below your true talent and potential.
-- Steve Garvey
You measure the size of the accomplishment by the obstacles you had to overcome to reach your goals.
-- Booker T. Washington
What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.
-- Zig Ziglar
Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.
-- Walter Elliott
He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.
-- Benjamin Franklin
People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, make them.
-- George Bernard Shaw
That some achieve great success, is proof to all that others can achieve it as well.
-- Abraham Lincoln
Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.
-- John Wooden
Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.
-- Albert Schweitzer
Do a little more each day than you think you possibly can.
-- Lowell Thomas
People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.
-- Dale Carnegie
You can't fly a kite unless you go against the wind and have a weight to keep it from turning a somersault. The same with man. No man will succeed unless he is ready to face and overcome difficulties and is prepared to assume responsibilities.
-- William J.H. Boetcker
The man of character finds an especial attractiveness in difficulty since it is only by coming to grips with difficulty that he can realize his potentialities.
-- Charles de Gaulle
The true measure of a man is not how he behaves in moments of comfort and convenience but how he stands at times of controversy and challenges.
-- Martin Luther King Jr.
Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness concerning all acts of initiative and creation. There is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans; that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision raising in s favor all manner of unforeseen events, meetings and material assistance which no one could have dreamed would have come their way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets: "Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now!"
-- W.H. Murray
What this power is I cannot say; all I know is that it exists and it becomes available only when a man is in that state of mind in which he knows exactly what he wants and is fully determined not to quit until he finds it.
-- Alexander Graham Bell
BUT probably the most inspiration thing is something I thought of that a friend once said to me:
Whether you are on a health program or not, a year from now, you're still going to be a year older. A year older. You are still going to be a year older. Do you want to see that new year healthier or not?
Bad moods in my world are always spawned by pity-me parties, of course. And nearly always relate to human relationships in some fashion and usually at least two people. After many hours of determinedly trying not to throw a tantrum like a three year old, I am now mellowing to the point of armchair philosophy, which means I am separating from it, I guess.
Of course I skipped all food until 3pm in my sulking. Sigh.
It occurred to me that a lot of what we get from other people in life is based on what we are willing to accept.
Then it occurred to me that a lot of what we get from ourselves in life is based on what we are willing to accept.
Now, before I go casting stones at everybody else, I figure I ought to look at what I do for myself. If I feel others treat me badly, could it be that I treat myself badly, and pretty much it's all one ball o' wax?
You know how they say that you have to love yourself before others love you. Well, maybe it works just the other way around, too. Maybe you have to disrespect yourself in order to get to the point where others disrespect you.
Not to be too obvious or anything, but I think it's safe to say that anybody who lets themselves get to nearly 500lbs has probably got some situation related to a lack of self respect.
I will grant myself up to about 350lbs only because I honestly did not know there was a way to deal with my weight. Early on in my weight gain I did very low-cal, daily aerobics, whole foods (mostly grains), everything perfect, and GAINED weight. This is what happens to people who react badly to carbohydrates. I knew that made me worse, that it'd be decades of agony like I've seen family members go through, and said screw it then, I'm not going to worry about it. Until I encountered the low-carb concept and read about it over a period of time, I didn't know it was possible for me. I thought I was as doomed to be gigantic as people are doomed to be without a leg if they lose one.
But between that weight and 150 lbs more, I did know that there was hope, that it was possible for me. I realize I had some psychology about it; I'd spent nearly 15 years working on 'accepting' my lot in life, mostly by being in total denial of self, mirrors, pictures, clothing, etc. It wasn't easy to make myself believe -- I was afraid to hope. I was afraid to try lest I fail, and losing that hope would seem worse than never having had it.
So now I know.
At the end of one of my favorite movies, "Groundhog Day," Bill Murray, delighted to be alive in a new day, leans over in bed to the woman he is completely in love with and says, "What can I do for you today?"
What can I do for me today?
It seems to me that if I want to respect myself, and I want to stay 'aware', that every single day when I wake up I should ask myself:
What can I do for myself today? What would be a good thing that I would do for myself if I loved myself?
And when the urge to skip a meal comes (with me it's not eating wrong stuff, it's not eating at all that is the problem), should I ask myself,
Who am I right now? Does this decision reflect respect for myself? If I really respected myself, how would I be acting toward food/eating at this moment?
Maybe in order to demand respect from other people, we first have to demand it from ourselves. Maybe I shouldn't just go along, day by day, but should proactively plan what would be good for me, a gift for me, each day, just like I might if I were in love with someone and wanting to do something that made them healthy and happy.
I tell myself that eating lowcarb is proactive. It's a start. I'm getting a lot more movement into my days, and that's a start too.
Eating regularly would help a helluva lot, I think. Drinking enough water would help. Eating more protein and less fiber would help. Taking my vitamins would help. Using my essential oils would help (seriously). In short, taking care of myself.
If I respected myself properly, wouldn't I take better care of myself? Would it have to be a grand rare occasion when I got all required food, water, vitamins, and whatever self-care all in the same day?
Because I cannot change the behavior of my mate or my kid, both of whom (for different reasons) are totally On My List today, I think I should focus on changing my own behavior. I think I should shoulder the world aside when necessary to make room for myself to have time to eat, clean space to eat in, and some personal time to take care of myself. I think if I treated myself like someone I loved, someone I wanted to take care of, this is what I would do.
And maybe, as a side effect, treating myself well will sort of "trickle down" into my reality to others around me.
Friday, October 6
Everybody on the thread where I found this recipe said it tasted just like apple pie. "Suuuuure," I thought to myself, remembering the old recipes where everyone swore that crushed pork rinds with cinnamon were SO yummy. (Bleagh!)
But I'm trying to be kind to the husband to maintain a decent environ since we have Issues at the moment, and apple pie is his fave, so I figured my first dessert ought to start with that.
It's unbelievable. I swear I had a hard time believing that the zucchini would ever truly end up tasting like apple, but damn if it didn't. I think the reality is that maybe zucchini (cooked first with lemon) and apple might not have a whole bunch of taste on their own, so the sweeteners and spices flavor whatever is there. In any case, this came out REALLY GOOD! We were all surprised, haha.
Guess what I am growing in the garden next year. :-)
The original thread/contributor and where I waxed on about it is here.
I doubled the filling, as many had commented about that.
3-1/2 cups zucchini - peeled, seeded, and chopped
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp (5 Tbsp total) fresh lemon juice (I used TrueLemon and water)
1/2 cup sugar-equivalent (I used a mix of splenda, eyrthritol, and diabetisweet which is isomalt and Ace-K)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon *
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg *
* I used 1 teaspoon of "apple pie spice" instead (has those + some allspice)
Put the zucchini and lemon juice in a medium saucepan with lid. Cook covered over medium heat stirring occasionally. Cook around 10 minutes or until the zucchini are very tender/soft.
Stir in the sweetener and spice, cook for about a minute more, then remove from heat and set aside till you're ready for it.
1-1/3 cups carbquik (you could use other meal/flour-ish combos here)
1/2 cup equivalent of sweetener (I used the same as noted above)
1/2 cup butter, chilled (if it's TOO chilled this is a bit of a pain...)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I used 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice.)
Heat oven to 375.
We used ramekins but you can use a 9x9 baking dish if you prefer. Spray it with nonstick stuff.
Mix the flour-ishes and sweetener, then gradually cut in butter until the mixture resembles course crumbs. Stir half the mixture into the filling in the saucepan. Press the rest of it, minus a little you save for the topping, into your cooking dish(es). Pour in filling, and then top with the crumbles that remain. Sprinkle with a little more cinnamon if you wish.
Bake for around 25-40 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Let cool a bit.
We had some extra filling. It'll rock over ice cream.
I really recommend this!
Thursday, October 5
I've gone from being on my feet a total of 10 minutes a day (pre 9/18) to being on my feet several hours a day (mostly with cooking, cleaning and shopping). And I'm doing more 'going out to the car and going somewhere and coming back' since I'm now driving kid to/from school, as well as all her karate/dance lessons etc. (and shopping etc.) Pre 9/18 I'd get to the car and have to pant for awhile. I have to say my oxygen absorption has improved by light years, as I can now do quite a bit of exercise without panting. I may breathe more deeply but it's not the same.
My body, however, has its own opinions about my enthusiasm. My feet ache with every step, my knees don't want to bend, and if I bend at the waist or lean sideways, muscles all the way around my torso and especially in my back cry out in such pain that I wail out loud. Every motion is harder, even getting into my bed or getting up from a chair.
I spent 15-20 minutes in the kitchen this morning and had to leave because I was to the point where I could barely move. I dropped a lid and the thought of having to bend over another time to pick it up nearly made me cry. As fast as I could I grabbed my food and got out of there so I could go sit down and rest my back.
I feel like I got run over by something big and mean.
Wednesday, October 4
The source of nurture on occasion as well as nourishment, the kitchen holds the building blocks of our determination, our inspiration, and our dedication. When you eat real food, it doesn't come in a fastfood bag... it comes from the kitchen.
Yesterday I paid my housekeeper/friend a whole lotta money to--while I was working--'deal with' my kitchen in more than the ordinary way. The endless odd plastic containers DH has collected we either threw away or, in the case of a couple dozen half gallon coffee containers, tossed in the backyard garden for seed starting or whatever. Every pan and utensil that had rust (!) on it, we threw away. Every appliance got cleaned, the appliance & lowcarb shelves got cleaned, all the cabinets got wiped out, many of their dishes got rewashed, and so on. It's not done. Well that part is, but there is more. But it's a great start. By the time I finally got back to the kitchen (at nearly midnight when I returned with groceries) it was looking downright CLEAN for the first time since I mistakenly, in my single mom exhaustion, handed it over to the SO, who is becoming more the IO by the day.
I still have a massive fridge-freezer cleanout to do, and big table/counter cleanup, and some shelves I want to get rid of -- I have to walk sideways to get in my kitchen. This is going to stop. -- and the spice cabinet, but I'm not picky. Already it is a place where I actually WANT to prepare food. Unlike the last couple weeks of avoidance, now finally, it's FUN to be in there!
This leads me to more armchair theorizing. We generally avoid stuff we aren't fond of, even subconsciously. And I'm starting to think that the degree of respect that we have for what we eat shows, not only in what we buy and what we eat, but also in how we prepare it.
Recently on a lowcarb forum a woman was saying that prior to lowcarb, she was obsessed with food, ate all the time, and that LC had saved her from that, made her full all the time, killed the carb addict cycle, etc. I found that interesting, because with me, it is just the opposite. I've never really even cared about food. If it's in front of me and I like the taste I'll eat it. If it's not, I won't eat. I've never respected food, I am realizing. I hardly even paid attention to it. If I had food, I scarfed it down with barely a shred of notice, while programming usually, or on the way somewhere, or standing in the kitchen. If me and food had a 'relationship', you might say I severely took it for granted as a result, treated it very poorly.
The idea of actually planning a yummy meal, and preparing that meal, and sitting down and really ENJOYING that meal, is something I haven't even considered in... well, since my mid 20's when I lived alone (the only period of my life I've lived alone).
And a nice kitchen is part of that. I just realized how many cool versions of baking pans I have, like muffin pans but in tons of shapes and sizes and molds. I forgot! They've all been up on an unreachable shelf for a year and a half. Now suddenly I see them and I think of all the great recipes I've seen online that could be made in them. I was eyeing my rotisserie, my deep fryer, my yogurt maker, my ice cream machine, my food processor, my dehydrator, and more appliances, all of which were covered with dust from disuse (many never used at all, bought in the last 1.5 years), now which are gleaming white on the white 'appliances' shelf just outside the kitchen, and I was thinking: gosh, so many great things to make! I bet the kid would love this, and that! And wouldn't it be great to make this other thing for thanksgiving, so the diabetics in my stepmom's family would have something yummy they could eat? And imagine doing this or that as a treat for the kids' classroom! And I could invite my parents to dinner and make -- oooh, yum!
There is some part of me that feels like cleaning and organizing my kitchen, is cleaning and organizing a part of myself and my life on a larger and deeper scale as well (sort of a Feng Shui result). Much like the ritual of prayer, it's a small thing on the outside, but a galaxy of meaning on the inside.
Tonight I have planned a chicken and spaghetti-squash primavera dinner, with a small side salad with avocado and pecan and homemade blue cheese dressing, some corn on the cob for the kid and dh, and if I have time, some zucchini cobbler-ettes (that's the stuff that tastes amazingly like apple pie) for dessert. I'm excited to make it, it'll be fun to have the kid help me, and I think eating it will be awesome.
Now I am realizing: I don't have a table! The dining area is taken over by DH's computer testing station and ebay inventory. The other 2/3 of the living/dining room are split between he and my workstations. My dining table is in the small kitchen pretending to be a counter. The only room for even the smallest table for eating would have to be outside!
It seems dysfunctional to me that we don't have any place to eat! It reminds me of that movie "Mermaids" (Cher, Winona Ryder, Christine Ricci) where the dysfunctional single mom makes nothing but finger foods and they all eat while sitting on counters and whatever. The first time they really sit down at a table for a family dinner, with her new boyfriend, it's wonderful, and she realizes abruptly that he is 'making them a family' (and flips out, feeling threatened).
I wonder if on some level this relates to our rather un-family situation. That we don't have a family table or anywhere that we can sit down and 'be together'. Probably.
But enough psychoanalysis. Back to the kitchen. I cleaned off the rolling cart-thing for food prep, and now it actually stores lots of useful stuff at hand. Last night while shopping I also got a couple new pans and tools (to replace those icky that we tossed) and some cooling racks. And two nifty rectangle wooden trays (molded a bit bowl-like but flat at bottom) I thought were really nifty, that I thought would be cool for holding food instead of a normal plate and less likely to spill (given our lack of table) for wettish foods. And I think I have finished shopping finally. I got all the stuff we were missing (basic kitchen stuff, we were out of like everything!) and lots of stuff for cooking.
Now I have to figure out what to do with the butternut squash I decided to buy and look for some moderate-carb recipe for as a side dish; is there a way to make it sweetish, I wonder. I'm starting to look at veggies, given we have a major garden, and think, "What can I grow that I could eat?" That would surely save money!
It's kind of exciting. It's like a whole new interest in life.... FOOD! And a great part of that is now thanks to having a clean, organized kitchen I want to get creative in.
After telling my husband I would be doing the shopping, cooking and cleaning from now on, today was a real alpha-test of just how practical this is.
I got up at 6 and did some email, showered, woke up the kid, then spent an hour cooking and cleaning in the kitchen, just in time to scarf down food and drive her to school. Came back just in time to get ready for work at 8:30. Got off work just before 6pm, just in time to go to the grocery store and shop as we're missing many core ingredient-foods. Got home just in time to take the kid to her dance class. Class finished, dropped her friend home, and went to the store to shop for the ton of stuff I discovered we don't have in the kitchen. (Why is it that he doesn't buy all the non-food stuff needed, like paper/foil/plastic wraps, storage containers, paper towels, etc.? And we were out of every basic thing (like mayo, mustard). And my housekeeper stayed extra and cleaned out the cupboards today and we threw away a bunch of rusty stuff so I needed some new pans and implements.) We were also shopping (me and the kid) allegedly to buy her a couple clothing items but that was a real disaster of stubborn bad fashion taste and arguing with mom I don't want to get into right now, as I just found emotional equilibrium and don't want to blow it haha. Then I came home and, mercifully, talked DH into helping me bring the bags in from the car. Finally got all the stuff put away. It was midnight.
I normally spend about 5-10 minutes a day on my feet. Today it was well over 4 hours. My shoes are basically a form of house shoe, no padding/support whatever. My feet think they are in hell. I could barely walk by the time I got home.
And I never got a chance to eat after 8:30am.
I fell asleep sitting up an hour or so ago and just woke up, briefly I think, realized it's tomorrow already, and I have to get up in 4.5 hours.
Of course, this is the life I led for five years of single motherhood. This was one reason why, despite 4 of 5 years of marriage being to a 'roommate/friend', despite 5 years of single motherhood, I agreed to have her dad move back in with me -- I was so exhausted, and she was starting to do poorly in school, get chubby, I thought some help with good food and her schedule and having a dad around who could do exercise-ish things with her and so on might help. He hasn't really been all that useful, so that's that. But I see that a year and a half of pawning off responsibility for the food-world on someone else has made me soft!
And this day has made me utterly exhausted. Have you any idea how much fun it is NOT to walk around on bad shoes carrying well over 400lbs? With a body that adiposity mis-aligns in spine and hips, and with thighs too big so preventing straight steps, so the process is more like a slightly hunched forward Frankenstein duck-waddle?
The average person has a hard enough time exercising; note how few gym memberships are used after 3 months. Even just moving, for life, let alone exercise, is insanely more complicated and difficult and severely un-fun when a person is overweight, and more obese they are, the moreso.
For breakfast I got the kid kiwi fruits and I'm making soyrizo & eggs, and for lunch... I dunno. I have a lot of food. I don't think I could stuff another egg into my fridge right now. I need to dedicate quite a bit of time to a massive fridge cleaning... next project!
For another day. My feet are unconscious. My head keeps lolling, I am that wiped out. My daily personal "activity level" has just jumped by several orders of magnitude. I hope, eventually, this is a positive thing for my metabolism, at least! All this motion... so suddenly... is crazy.
Back to sleep now.
Tuesday, October 3
This rocks. The original recipe I didn't use but based it on is here and the detailed post where I have all my waxing-on about it and how I made it is here. Ingredients and basics are below. I really recommend this one.
Egg+ Crepes (sweet version)
3 eggs (I used large)
2 Tablespoons butter (melted, I used unsalted)
1 oz cream cheese (greatly softened)
1 teaspoon almond flour (I used the course meal)
1 teaspoon flax meal (golden)
1 teaspoon protein powder (I used designer whey vanilla-praline)
1 teaspoon carbsense baking mix (like carbquick)
1 Tablespoon DaVinci Maple(pancake) syrup (it's a sweetener too)
(I meant to add some kind of spice but forgot!)
I added a drop or 2 of brown sugar extract
Filling: whatever you want. I used ricotta, lowcarb jam and a pkt Splenda.
It made 5 crepes in my 8" pan.
Totals for the five crepes: Cal 585.04 Fat 53.26 Carb 4.64 Fiber 1.17 Protein 23.8 (ECC 3.47)
Total per crepe (1/5): Cal 117.01 Fat 10.65 Carb .93 Fiber .23 Protein 4.76 (ECC .70)
You'll need to add the counts for whatever filling you use, to the above.
Mix all your stuff together until batter is thin and smooth though some tiniest chunks of cream cheese may remain, that was ok in mine.
If you don't know how to make crepes or don't have a crepe pan, I used an 8" nonstick shallow saute pan, sprayed it with nonstick stuff before each crepe (lightly, not heavily), poured about 1/5 the batter (maybe half a cup?) into it for each one, turned the pan until it well coated the whole bottom and a few times around the bottom-sides to make that solid too, and let cook about a minute on low-med or until the top was 'set'. Then I flipped it (sliding it gently out onto an oversized spatula, then flipping) and cooked the other side about a minute, then flipped the pan above a plate to drop it out.
I spread some of my filling all over the crepe, then rolled up, and put a tiny bit of lowcarb jam on the top. Would have been better if I had slightly nuked the jam in a little dish; that way it goes farther and it's really good warm, could be 'drizzled' over it.
This gets my 5 star rating for taste. I'd never made crepes before but now that I know how and by the last one was getting the hang of it, I don't think this will be hard to make from now on. It took me an hour to make all of them and clean up my mess this morning but I bet I could do it in about 15 minutes next time.
Some butter with a cinnamon/sweetener mix, rolled up, would be great on these too.
Actually I'm thinking that I could do a carbsense/almond/flax/protein dry "mix" of the four and keep it in the fridge, and then just grab that by the teaspoon/tablespoon into this in the morning, that might save time/trouble.
As well as rolling up with filling, like crepes:
You could layer these out flat with butter in between and syrup on top and eat them like super thin pancakes. They were actually surprisingly filling; I ate three and I had to force the last one down (I didn't have a container to store it in to save, is why, need to go get some).
If you were making a savory version of this, you could saute some stuff for the inside (I'm thinking like a little shredded cooked chicken, mushrooms, onions, peppers, garlic, and some grated cheese melty on top), then dump that in the crepe once it's flipped and fold it over like some hybrid of omelette and quesadilla.
Although these are not "tough" like tortillas (which need gluten for that), they are more than competent to serve as a soft burrito or taco shell if you made a savory (not sweet) version, especially if you made them larger so they'd be easier to roll up while folding up one side (so you could hold it by hand).
This could be messed with for variants very easily. I think next time I might put a tad more carbsense (baking mix) in. I bet one egg could be replaced with a bit more cream cheese or something for those who really just are NOT into eggs at all, although I have to say I don't like eggs and sweet but this didn't taste eggy enough for that to be any serious issue (to me anyway).
My next experiment: Did I mention that I am a pesto and hot-pepper freak? I'm going to mix pesto, finely chopped cooked chicken, finely chopped sliced peppers, and make a savory version of these crepes, maybe even with Rye flavor and Caraway seed, and then use that as a rather thick 'spread' for them, sprinkle a little fresh grated parmesan and red pepper flakes on top and roll up. They'd be thicker but it would work.
Actually, putting toothpicks in and slicing the roll ito swirly medallions would probably be cool and make a great looking appetizer or snacker now that I think of it.