Friday, April 13

Highway Blind

I know it's been forever and a day since I've posted on this blog. I'm genuinely sorry about that and I am really grateful to the people who made comments and encouraged me to, well, get my act together and say something. As bloggers go, I kinda suck -- consistency is one of the primary criteria of this web genre. Then again, I swear that doing the FT+ job routine plus the Single Mom routine plus having other substantial things in my life, already means that anything important to me I have to deduct from sleep hours. I don't know how people with more kids do it. I have one and I feel like the time issues are ridiculous.

I'm also really focused as a personality. Sometimes I have trouble focusing on more than one or two things at a time. So when my food/exercise/health is in focus you can't shut me up, and when it's not in focus I'm nearly antisocial. I stayed away from the forum so long (aside from occasional lurking) that now I have a guiltfest about acting like a friend to friends after having abandoned them. (It's a four planets in Virgo thing. I can feel guilty about anything. Pretty impressive... I'm not even Catholic. ;-))

OK let's see. FOOD! Well, I've learned something, and that is always a good thing, even if you have to wade through a trench filled with carb-laden disaster to learn it: I learned that it is very hard for me to do anything "moderately." Starve myself? I can do that. Eat to oblivion? I can do that. Do low-carb? I can do that. Do low-cal? I can do that. However, the "do moderately low carb, moderately low cal, moderate amounts of food, eaten several times a day, along with decent water intake and supplements" -- is apparently a challenge I haven't yet mastered.

What is it about "moderation and balance" that is so hard for me?

I think maybe it actually relates to "attention, intention and expectation." Curiously, these three things are heavily tied into another subject I study as well, in which psychology plays a major role. Let me explain:

When I do something extremely, I really have to pay attention. Compare it to how people actually spell common names wrong more often than long complicated names. Why? Because the long complicated names, they really have to pay attention to, to write/type at all. It's the ones like Smithson that tend to end up with typos or what have you, that they don't think they need to think much about. So when I am totally lowcarb, I really have to pay attention to what the heck I'm cooking and eating, because I'm counting carbs all over the place. But when I am "moderate carb" -- basically just "eating with an emphasis toward protein and veggies and an emphasis away from starches and sugars" -- well frankly, that's just so middle of the road. I don't need to "worry about" the details of how many carbs or how much protein because I'm not counting.

I thought counting carbs etc. was kind of driving me crazy. But now I'm starting to think maybe it's the thing that was actually making it possible for me.

Intention is another subject. In order for me to really INTEND toward my health goals, obviously I have to pay attention, but it's really part of a driving "intent" that one either carries with them or they don't. When I have that driving intent because the 'attention' factor is forcing my food and exercise and health to be "present in my mind" almost constantly, then I am much more prone to be 'committed' to whatever I am doing. I am more habitual about drinking water for example, which affects how I feel, how bloated I am not, which can affect my energy level, which can affect my exercise quantity and even my food choices, so these things snowball like crazy into an end result for better or worse. Often worse.

And finally, expectation. When a person is really working hard to eat well and count carbs and get exercise and drink water, they EXPECT to lose weight. Well, or at least to gain muscle, or something! I believe that expectation, on a psychological level, is a huge driver of the reality we create for ourselves. One only needs to be around children awhile to see how their belief systems, and what they have learned to expect, has a profound effect on not only how they filter their perception of reality but, it seems, even the 'luck' that brings events into their life. I mean it works with adults just as well, but we tend to be so ingrained in patterns and slow to change that it is less obvious with us.

So my plans for 'moderate' eating failed abysmally, primarily because apparently the whole fact that it was moderate caused me not enough attention, intention or expectation concerning it. I am wondering if this actually speaks to the larger question of our society and why it's so hard for most our non genetically thin members to STAY lean and fit through their life. I mean you have to admit that with the exception of health issues, most people would "eventually" be in good shape if they just ate "moderately" -- I don't just mean in portions I mean in terms of food composition (eating moderate amounts of deep dish pizza will still make you fat ;-)). But most people don't eat moderately. They eat excessively, and then eventually they go to the other extreme, on some kind of diet or another, and eat non-moderately in some other way. Go figure.

So meanwhile back at the scale, I haven't weighed in a couple weeks but I think I am at about 390, about 10lbs heavier than my lowest weight, which is actually only about 1-2 lbs heavier than when I went on my "moderate plan" which shortly failed to be a plan at all.

I think at the moment what I am mostly fighting is emotional, psychological frustration. I want fresh orange juice now and then. I want to not have to make every imaginable food from scratch. I want to be able to eat at a restaurant and have more than 1-2 menu choices. I know, I am acting like a petulant child. That is how I feel about it though.

Some days ago I crockpotted a huge bag of chicken breasts which we've been 'mostly' living on. I discovered if I chop it up and toss it with cream-of-anything soup and some veggies it's quick protein (although, also carbs). I just finished cooking a brisket in my oversized crockpot. I didn't know what to do as I forgot to buy beer. I poured in a cup of red cooking wine, a cup of real apple cider with mother, a few cups of water, a bunch of natures's seasoning, minced jar'd garlic and course black pepper, and hoped for the best. It came with a pre-seasoning stuff all over it and you know, it just did not smell that good cooking, so I'm not sure I'll like it. I think I recall last time planning to NOT get it seasoned next time, but forgot! Anyway, so tonight I have to figure out something to do with it. I should go eat some now. I've never used a crockpot for brisket before. Never had one big enough!

I've also had fast food and regular soft drinks during this period so I can't pretend I'm eating well. I want to get off the soft drinks but it kind of requires getting enough sleep for once. The more exhausted I am from sleep deprivation the more I drink caffeine (I really detest diet drinks. I don't mind diet rite tangerine, but it has no caffeine!) which has sugar and then I end up wanting all kinds of stuff that is not good.

Isn't it funny how carbs/sugar changes your taste. When I am lowcarb, I drool over slices of onion. Asparagus is dreamy. Real food is awesome. An orange is orgasmic. When I am not lowcarb, I have zero interest in even the sweetest fruits unless they've got sugar added so it's a dessert! I just want carbs. So if I allow myself to eat the carbs I want when I am lowcarb, I then cease to have any interest in eating lowcarb. Oh brother.

I have an exercise room now, at least I do when I can get my kid to clean it up, as she is nearly living in there now, she loves it. She sits on the weight bench and watches star trek: the next generation videos on the TV which is up on the wall. She nabs the big cutting board from the kitchen and does Sculpey clay stuff while watching. I am getting slightly more exercise than I used to, although the addition of yard work is certainly increasing this by a big percentage. My yard is not huge but everything grew like 8" from no-green to overgrown in like 10 days -- the whole city was overgrown -- it wasn't easy to mow.

Speaking of yard. I decided I'm not going to garden except a tiny bit this year. I just don't have time. Meanwhile, spring sprung, everything in the landscaping grew like crazy, especially the grapevines and this is their first real year so that's cool, it was beautiful and impressive, and then it froze deeply for a few days, then was hot, then froze again, then was hot again, and now everything looks dead as rocks. grrrr. Hope they survive.

They opened a movie theatre by my house, I'm pretty excited to have 4 screens near me, we used to have to drive an hour nearly to get to one. My dad talked to the chief of the tribe who was building it, and told him about my issue with fitting in seats, and how I used to be a movie freak but when I got fat, stopped going since I didn't want to sit in the aisle or be miserable. Well that was a long time ago they had this talk and the theatre just opened and ALL the seats have 'optional' arm rests that go up, so I fit in anything! It's so awesome! And it's like 4 blocks from my house. Way cool! My kid's pretty excited about it too. ;-)

Two of my cats remain indoors but the others live outside now. They are less than thrilled about this, especially when it is raining like today. But I have a garage with a cat door (it has mild heating) and a covered front porch with a padded bench and they get fed regularly so they are not gonna die of it. I miss them but I so do NOT miss the constant disaster of 8 barfy, poopy, hairy animals living indoors!

My house is so much better now that my ex moved out I just can't believe it. I mean literally it's a different house. And my little girl is nearly a completely different person. She used to always be miserable, whiney, cranky, drama queen, and for the most part now it's like her entire personality has had major sunshine added to it. I'm making a point to spend at least an hour with her every night and focus on a decent bedtime and it really seems to be paying off a lot. I mean she is just so much happier. And when he first left she was literally bubbling and dancing for days. It was sort of sad, and embarrassing for him, that she was so obviously so much happier. I'm so glad I finally made the decisiona about that. And so glad for my friends that helped me see sanity on the subject. Oh yeah and she recently got her jr. purple belt in karate, she's so proud. She just got glasses. I let her get whatever she wanted and she chose some insanely pricey designer pair (nearly $300! I had no idea they were that much until it was too late), but they do look cute and are due today or Monday. She is actually looking forward to wearing them, bizarrely enough, this after months of angst about not wanting to wear glasses! Only needs them if she 'needs' to see distance like the chalkboard.

Meanwhile it's been just over a year since my LASIK. I need some +1-+1.25 reading glasses but I'm 41 so that would have happened anyway. My distance vision is about 20/45 in one eye and 20/15 in the other so it's about 20/25 together; not super clear but I don't need glasses to drive. I was waaaaaay beyond legally blind before I had lasik, it was just 'correctable' was all. I couldn't see the face of someone I shook the hand of; I couldn't read the giant numbers on my digital alarm clock while lying right next to it. So I am still stupidly happy about it and I feel sure my vision would be even better if I had kept my eyes decently hydrated esp. the last six months. With indoor climate control it is really hard, they get dry so easily after LASIK.

Well anyway, so that is what is up with me. I have been having these little pep talks with myself lately about how I need to get my act together and focus on my health. But you know, for the last few months, since January, I have focused on my house, my job, my kid, and a little bit on my primary hobby which has a ton of internet stuff that has required mega time investment. I just haven't felt like I had "enough left over" to focus on my food and my exercise and water and supplements and weighing and counting and so on. But that's stupid, I mean it's a cop-out excuse and I know it, because I know that I feel better when I focus on my health, and I feel even more competent about everything ELSE when I do, so it is not competition for attention, it only benefits the other things in my life.

I'm still "thinking" about it. Working on getting up the gumption for appropriate attention, intention and expectation. But I wanted to post something about my status at least, so people didn't think I had forever abandoned the blog. Right now I just feel like I am trucking down the highway of life, halfway hypnotized, highway blind.



Anonymous said...

Welcome back! I enjoy your blog, however infrequently you may post. It's always worth the wait.

There is much wisdom in your analysis of why and how "moderation" fails for some (many?) of us. Perhaps it's not possible to "moderately" eat carbs if one is, in some sense, addicted. In that case, "moderation" would be like an alcoholic trying to drink moderately. The unconscious urge to consume more and more takes control when "attention, intention and expectation" are not intensively employed.

Big Daddy D said...

Welcome back! We've missed you.

Your understanding of "attention, intention and expectation" reminds me a lot of Claud Bristol's 1948 classic book, "The Magic of Believing". I definitely grok what you are talking about. Most people do not have nearly as keen of insights on the workings of the mind and reality.

Triggered by one of your blog posts, I have researched carb-cycling. My wife and I did a one and a half month experiment with a 2 up (>100)and 5 down cycle (<30 me & <45 her). Rather than losing 5 pounds a month, it seems we both only lost about 2 pounds. Regardless of the slower weight loss, I think it is doing something as my tolerance to sugar has increased meaning that my sensitivity to carbs is coming back down. Before cycling and after 6+ months of low-carb, I would get a sugar rush if I ate a piece of birthday cake. I think that my cycles were too short to be effective in losing weight. By the time I slipped into Ketosis, I think I only got in 2 days of real weight-loss each week. We are changing the cycle to 3 up and 11 down (every other weekend we'll eat what we crave). Since you were my inspiration, I'll keep you posted on the results. I have a good feeling about this method.

By the way, I decided to do my blog as a means to stay focused. I felt a need to obsess about my diet to make it work. And, having people reading it and e-mailing me about it keeps me on track. I don't want to let my on-line pals down. And, I'd hate to come back and post about failure. Blogging has been a great tool for me.

Big Daddy D said...

Also... of all the low-carb websites that I read, I like yours the best.

Avany said...

I like your blog. It is nice to hear from you after long time. I have a two year old boy. I have my mother who helps me alot at home. I also wonder how people with many kids and no help at home are surviving :) I have recently read a book called "Disease proof your child" by dr.fuhrman. it is a nice book on how to keep the kids safe from future cancers to current cold and ear infections. With the amount of vegetables you grow, I think that it is a wonderful book for you. he also wrote another book "Eat to live" which happens to best way to reduce cholestrol even faster than statin(?). He calls for no sugar, no salt, no fat(in the form of oil or butter), no dairy. you can substitute with soy products and date sugar and real dates and lots of nuts.
I like everything except the fact that "No salt". I couldn't eat with out salt. (I don't really eat any processed snaks like chips etc..from stores much) I make most of times.

I do recommend that you give it a try once atleast reading the book for knowledge sake. I have two year old boy. I do think that every parent should read the book once whether they want to follow or not. I got the book from library.

I find another cooking blog /
your passion for growing organic vegetable will be really complemented with this style. I do think that you will enjoy too.

Carol Bardelli said...

Welcome back, PJ. I missed you and have checked in every few days...the important thing is to keep getting back on the horse.

I have 4 planets (Sun, Moon, Mars and Neptune) in Scorpio. Which makes me driven, unrelenting and an over-sexed maniac. Ha, ha.

Fat Victoria said...

Hey girl! I thought you were MIA never to be seen again!