Sunday, January 29, 2012

Let Them Eat Cake

I like to make cakes for my boys’ birthdays. I remember for my eighth birthday my mom made a teddy bear cake, using different sized cans to bake the body parts. It sat up and was 3-D. I loved that cake. I thought it was the coolest cake ever! I’ve tried to do that for my boys. They decide what they want their cake to be, and I figure out how to make it happen. An unfortunate side effect of a 3-D cake is that there is usually a LOT of cake left over. Now I don’t know about other kids, but mine pretty much just eat the frosting and any candy decorations. That leaves cake, lots of cake.

My youngest turned 5 this month and he wanted a bug cake. After much searching, he decided on a Bug Mountain cake. Yes, a MOUNTAIN of cake covered with crushed Oreo “dirt” with gummy bugs all over and inside. Not good timing to have a birthday when I’m starting to eat healthily. But can you just hear it? Sorry, kid. Mommy can’t control herself when there’s cake in the fridge, so no cake this year. Better luck next time! In an attempt to be good, I allowed myself one piece of cake per day. I noticed, though, that each day my piece seemed to be a bit bigger than the previous day. Finally, just to have the cake gone and no more a temptation, I ate the equivalent of probably 3 pieces - with a little half & half poured on top just to make sure it wasn’t dry. Why couldn’t I have just popped that puppy in the garbage? I could have taken some to our neighbors. There are several things that I could’ve done. But, you see, I wanted the cake. That’s what it comes down to. It’s a good thing I’ve got only two kids and they each have 1 birthday per year. I don’t think I’m strong enough to handle more. Lobster will have to buy a measly slice of cake for his birthday. For himself. By himself. Sigh.

So no cake in the house. Add that to my list of rules. Check.

The rule I think I’m following best is not eating at night. That was a big surprise. I thought that would be the hardest part. I did sneak a cheese stick and a package of fruit snacks while babysitting at my sister’s house last night (sorry - I didn’t tell you!). But for the most part, I’ve been a good girl. I lost a couple of pounds this week. I could do much better if I’d follow all of my rules. Mom was right. There is safety in following the rules. So, it’s a new week. Here’s to being a rule follower!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


As I started this, I decided that I didn’t want to count calories and just eat lettuce. I wanted to cook one meal and eat what my family eats. I love to cook and I love good food. So, I decided that my rules are:

1. To eat salad every day for lunch

2. Eat appropriate serving sizes at my other meals

3. Not eat after the kids’ bedtime

I thought that sounded realistic and doable. But this appropriate serving size thing is KILLING me. See, for a very long time I have had extremely large portions and sometimes seconds of extremely large portions. I can see that it’s going to take more than a week to train myself. See, if I’m not stuffed, I don’t think I’ve eaten enough - which is absurd. How much better will my body feel eating smaller portions? I know I’ll feel better but somehow, I’ve got to convince my brain.

Did you know that a serving size of ice cream is a ½ cup? I mean, really – have you ever seen anyone actually put just a ½ cup of ice cream in a bowl? Well, I don’t think I have. I’m not sure what that says about me, but I haven’t. So, I did an experiment. I put an Amy-sized serving of ice cream in a bowl and then measured it. It was a little more than 1½ cups - three times the recommended serving size! One might say, “Well, there you go, there’s your problem” and I guess I would agree. Part of it is that my Lobster (my husband – I’ll tell the story another time) has these ginormous cereal bowls that he likes to use and I have taken to using them as well. A ½ cup looks like a toddler serving in the bottom of those things. But I’ll have to tell him that using those big huge bowls have contributed to my big huge #&@!.

I guess what it comes down to is READ THE LABEL! I can’t trust my brain to tell me what a serving size is, so I’m going to have to read and measure - at least at first. And another key is knowing what not to keep in the house. I can’t control myself when it comes to potato chips. If they are in the house, I must eat them. Especially if it’s Lays Balsamic Sweet Onion flavor. Oh, those are THE best. So, anyway, I just can’t buy chips. Lobster likes to take chips when he makes sandwiches for lunch, so not keeping chips in the house is inconvenient for him. (But then so is thinking there are chips in the cabinet and waking up to find that your wife ate the whole bag whilst you were peacefully snoozing the night away.) If he buys them, he has to take them to work where I won’t think about them every minute. It may seem silly, but I have to set myself up for success.

All in all, it was a good week with a few setbacks. One was my youngest’s birthday cake, but we can talk about that later. As you can see, I’ve included a picture of myself with today’s post. I don’t love doing it, but it’s necessary. I also took measurements of my body so I can better track any loss. Not fun, but again, necessary. I know it’s not pleasant to look at, but just be glad I’ve got clothes on!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

This Fat Lady's Song

They say it’s not over until the Fat Lady sings. Well, this fat lady has been leading an unhealthy lifestyle. I have been sedentary. I eat too much. I don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, even though vegetables are really some of my favorite foods. I know how to eat healthily, in fact, I like healthy food. I know how to exercise. I know what I need to do to be a healthy person. In theory, I want to BE a healthy person. I can even picture myself looking svelte on the tennis court or playing in the pool with my boys. The problem comes when I need to act. See this much of me didn’t happen overnight. Yes, my family history includes several big boys and girls. Yes, I’ve “struggled” with my weight since childhood. Yes, I have a relationship with food. I love it and it LOOOOOVES me. I use it to soothe hurt feelings, ease the end of a stressful day. I get a fix from food. It’s not just fuel for me and therein lays the problem. I have carefully created this body over decades and even trained my husband how to help me. Even knowing what to do, DOING it is my downfall. And my body has been a willing participant, until recently. See, other than being obese (boy, is that a hard word to write!), my body has been healthy. Cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, etc. have tested normal – until recently.

Early last year my blood sugar tested borderline high. No big deal. We’ll keep an eye on it. Then my period (sorry guys – men can skip this paragraph if needed) started going more wonky than normal. It’s never been tremendously predictable, but last year my cycle was a monthly study of extremes. Last February, I went to the Emergency Room because I was losing a lot of blood. Eventually, I was referred to a specialist and a biopsy showed pre-cancerous cells in my uterus. A few months, a D&C and an IUD insertion later, we’ve got it in check. But what did the doctor tell me? “LOSE WEIGHT.” More fat cells in the body make it produce more estrogen which can cause cancer. CANCER.

I know each of us has been touched by cancer in some way – someone we love or loved diagnosed with cancer. Maybe we’ve lost our loved ones. In my case, it was my father. My daddy died in 2003. Now, the word CANCER hit me with a big club. It should have scared me straight. But even being faced with such a scary reality, the food was there to soothe my fear. My carefully crafted habit of eating through my emotions is protecting itself. What will I do if my way to cope with fear, stress, feelings of inadequacy, even happiness is stripped away? The thought of that sent me to the cabinet looking for potato chips or mustard and onion pretzel pieces. So I’ve thought a lot about it. I’ve tried to rally the troops into doing what I know is right. Yet still, every night after my boys are asleep, I sit on the couch usually with a snack or dinner leftovers in my hands.

So last night, in my usual post bed-time-scramble corner of the couch, this fat lady munched away on honey mustard and onion pretzel pieces. I was not hungry. I, in fact, was overly full from one too many tacos at dinnertime. I was thinking about this body that, although I have chosen it, it’s not what I want. I thought about my sore knee and poor foot that gets abused daily by the weight put upon them. I thought about how if one of my sons ran out into the path of an oncoming car, or simply ran away from me playing tag; I would not be able to catch him. I thought about how much I miss my dad and imagined my boys having to feel that way being so young. I thought about my husband and how he loves me and would probably enjoy a wife with more energy or with curves actually in the right places. I thought about how good it would be to not worry about the lecture from my doctor at an appointment. How good it would be to look good in clothes and choose clothes that way – not choosing something just because it fits. How wonderful it would be to just not be exhausted all the time.

This fat lady also thought about accountability. Or actually, I thought about the fact that I give myself none. Which after taking the long scenic path, takes us back to my original thought. They say The Fat Lady sings at the end, right? So, this is this Fat Lady’s time to sing - my time to sing to the end of my obesity. I was going to write that it’s the end of my making wrong choices, but I’m pretty darn sure that I’ll be making plenty of those. I warn you that it will most likely be a very long song. I have a whole lot more than just a few pounds to lose. Writing this blog is one of the ways I’m going to hold myself accountable for my lifestyle choices. My writing will be published for the whole world to read, if they so wished. The chance that just anyone could read this and make comments and maybe insult me or be disappointed is one way I’m keeping myself in check.

So keep your fingers crossed for me and wish me luck (and a strong will). Until next week…