Wednesday, October 15, 2014
I read an article on SP today about eating slower. Funny how these articles seem to sync with my life every once in a while. This is definitely something I would benefit from doing, but the "how to do it" parts seem to be just beyond my grasp for some reason.
This article has some recommendations; some may work for me, but some I wonder about:
1. Give yourself enough time to eatóat least 20-30 minutes just to eat the meal, plus additional time to prepare it.
Last May, when I went to NYC, it was noted that one of the two friends with me was a very slow eater. We had days filled to the hilt with places to be and things we wanted to see. Along the way we might stop to catch a drink and/or a "quick bite to eat". Quick was the key word here. We had time restraints. I and my other friend would slosh down our drink and/or gobble up our snack so that we could keep moving to the next place. We would be done and ready to go only to discover that our "slow eater" still had at least half of her drink left and we wondered if she had even touched her snack yet. So there we sat waiting (impatiently) for her. It amazed us that it could take her so long. We even came right out and asked her "What on earth is taking you so long? Lets go!". We all laughed, but she really had no answer to our question.
Our discussion turned to why the two of us ate so fast. The biggest reason we figured out was because of life long work habits. I, for one, was in the profession of nursing that only gave me a 30 minute lunch break. So it was quick gobble my food so that I would have a few minutes left to relax before getting back to it.
2. Donít eat amidst distractions, like the TV, computer, or while driving.
Growing up we normally ate at the dining table, but I definitely remember times of eating in front of the TV on TV trays; usually if my dad was traveling and it was just me and mom. Even today, dinner time seems to fall at news time between 6-7p.m. Although we have our backs to the TV, we can still hear the news. Sometimes I eat in front of my laptop at breakfast or lunch. What a better way to multi-task; eating and reading SP too! I have eaten in my car, but that is very rare since I don't want food crumbs left all over the place.
This leads me to wonder what I can do in place of these distractions. I do honestly believe I need some sort of distraction. I have this thing that I can hardly stand to listen to myself chew food let alone listen to anyone else. OK, so I'm weird! Our neighbors often eat out on their deck during the summer and they always play dinner music. I think this might be worth a try. It might even be fun; just like in a restaurant.
3. Be fully present while you eat. Notice the smell, temperature, texture, color, and subtle flavor differences of each food you consume, and, 4. Eat mindfully, chewing each bite as many times as necessary to pulverize any texture.
These two seem to go hand in hand to me and I have tried them (making Mindful Eating a goal even) as I thought it would be the best way for me to slow down. I found some things out while doing this. It is very hard to keep food warm for 20 minutes, let alone 30. Although I am usually very careful to make sure there is color on my plate and flavor in my food. a lot of food doesn't have enough texture and it feels mushy in my mouth which I find very unpleasant.
5. Take smaller portions, taking a break before refilling.
I think this is a great idea. Trying to stay within my SP calorie range has make this one easy. Also, the next time I buy dinner plates I will surely consider the size of them and go for something on the smaller side.
6. Put your fork down after each bite.
This one could also an easy one for me and it has made me realize something more about myself. Although I like the thought of eating a sandwich, I don't do very well with them. I have discovered that once I pick up a sandwich or burger, for example, that I don't like putting it down and then picking it up again and again and again. OK, another weird quirk I have! So I just end up gobbling it down to get it done with. I would be far better off eating something that required an eating utensil instead.
7. If youíre eating in a group, be aware of the speed at which others are eating. Challenge yourself to be the last to finish.
This was the last, but, for me, not the least of the suggestions on how to slow down your eating. Referring back to my friend that I mentioned earlier, I had a chance to observe her eating recently and so I tried to look for some clues to how she managed to eat so slowly. She seemed to gaze around the room a lot (looking at others? daydreaming? contemplating the food in her mouth? I'm not sure what she was thinking about.), she took very small bites, and she seemed to chew the food forever (that same food felt like it had no substance to me so I wondered what there was exactly to chew).
Also, for me, eating was all about business when I was young. When my family sat down to the dinner table there was no conversation because the business at hand was to eat, not talk. This remains true even today when I have my father over for dinner. He sits, he eats, he doesn't talk, and when he is done eating he gets up from the table and goes right home. To be fair to him, he has had to learn to eat slowly and chew his food well as a stroke has made swallowing tricky business for him. It does, however, leave my DH and I to stare at each other across the table until he is finished. I have tried making a game of being the last one finished. It was very difficult to do without putting more food than I should have on my plate or filling my glass up again with some more wine.
Reading back through my blog (and, BTW, thanks for letting me ramble on - again!) has helped my formulate some ideas to try: Music with our meals, more texture into my food, eating foods requiring utensils instead of finger foods, and making a game out of it all.
I'm wondering if eating too fast is a problem for any of you? What do you do to slow yourself down? I could sure use some help with this so all ideas are appreciated.
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Do you believe that we are 3/4 through this year! Time stands still for no one and nothing.
I have been putting off doing this blog because, well, truth be told I really have nothing fantastic to report, no fun & fancy quotes, no pictures to post, etc. It is just plain old me here, but I decided to go ahead and blog because that is what I told myself I was going to do at the beginning of this year - a quarterly progress blog. If I am successful in nothing else, I can at least say I stuck to this.
My first quarter was filled with post-surgical total left hip replacement and recovery and then rehospitalization for a complication of Diverticulitis, but by the end of the quarter I was back on track to fitness with exercising and healthy eating. I had been doing some journaling along the way and learned some important lessons that I knew I needed to apply if I was going to succeed at reaching my weight loss and healthy lifestyle goal.
My second quarter I had a wonderful trip with some girlfriends to NYC. Let me just say that I totally enjoyed myself! All thought of healthy eating went right out the window and I made no progress in my healthy journey. Plus we did so much walking that I ended up with a knee injury. 40+ miles in 3 days darting around a zillion people without a flat sidewalk to be found! Yep, that will do it to ya. This quarter also found me back in the hospital again for a Bowel Resection to resolve the issue I had in my first quarter and thus going through post-op recovery again. The lessons I had learned through my journaling in my first quarter were still in the back of my mind and still applied, but this set-back really left me feeling drained and discouraged.
Here I am now at the end of my third quarter. I am still in the same place that I was at the beginning of the year and somewhat disgusted with myself for wasting time. This quarter has found me throwing all caution to the wind as I was finally able to start living like a "normal" human being instead of in a constant state of recovery. I'm sure there must be a name for this syndrome when you over react from an significant life event. My social calendar filled and we started all of our motorcycle vacations we had planned for this year. This all adds up to a lot of eating out along with adult beverages. One positive thing that I did do was to engage a friend in a weekly hike through our many county parks. Each week we would hike somewhere different. I started to take some pictures of our trails and perhaps next year I will post about them, but for now I have to admit I am headed for another set-back.
I knew this day was coming although wishful thinking had made me put it toward the back of my mind. When I had my left hip done my doctor had told me I might have about 2 years left on my other hip. Although I loved it and can't wait to do it some more, that hiking did me in. My left knee is still bothering me after 4 months and so I am finally pursuing what exactly the problem is if it is possible to say (thus the MRI I had yesterday). Also, the next and final quarter of this year is going to find me back in the hospital for the 4th time. This time will be for a total replacement of my other hip followed by a post-op recovery period of 3 months.
I'm trying not to be discouraged. I know this all will pass. After all of the eating and drinking of our vacations it feels good to be home and back on track in my eating. Although my exercise is limited at this time due to the pain it causes in my right hip and my left knee, I am looking forward to 2015 and two strong & steady legs!
To end on a positive note, one thing I know for sure is that when I finally reach my weight loss goal I will be good at maintenance since I have had no trouble at all this year holding my weight at a stand still!
Sunday, August 24, 2014
First of all, for those of you who are not 55 or older and thought they would take a peek to see just what in the heck I was talking about, please take no offense to my reference to age. Hopefully you will get to meaning of my title.
I am not much of one for visual ques and/or reminders. I really don't like or want sticky notes plastered all over my house. I am way too private for that. When I first joined Spark People you could earn Spark Points by developing a Visual Board of pictures and sayings or whatever that you could look at, reflect on, find motivation in, etc. I thought I might be able to handle a board that I could hang in my own little "private craft room". I just checked the Spark Point section of our Start Page and I don't see that option any more. It seems that it might possibly have been replaced by the Goal Board that you find right on the front of your Start Page.
I am always reading articles and looking for things to help me with my motivation. There is documentation and recommendations that these visual ques can be helpful. But for me I have to wonder about that.
I have been a Weight Watchers member many times in my life. One time they had these little guys that you were suppose to keep in sight to remind you of your goals. I loved this "Calorie Monster". He is just sooo cute that I took some ribbon and tied him to the handle on my refrigerator. I frequently smile when I look at him, but he does nothing to keep me from opening that door and putting food in my mouth.
When I first heard about these motivational/goal boards I gave it consideration. I looked through the magazines I had for pictures and sayings that I could cut out and put on my board, but I could not find a single thing that touched me. I couldn't figure out where I was suppose to find these things.
I thought I would consider trying a Visual Board again after doing the 21-day Fat Loser program by Steve Siebold. Visual ques were also mention by Spark Guy in a pre-review of a mini book he is working on. I have been thinking about this for a while and as I stand in the check-out lane at the grocery store you know all of those magazines are staring at you. Many of them deal with losing weight, getting in shape, being stylish. I couldn't list them all there are so many. The thing about these magazines is that they all feature people in their 20s and 30s. Believe me when I say that after 2 children and 3 abdominal surgeries in my life, my abs or any other part of my body, as a matter of fact, will never look like this - LOL:
So my question is: where on earth do you go for age appropriate pictures? All ideas will be appreciated
Friday, August 22, 2014
Yesterday was an emotionally charged day that is for sure.
I took on the task with the support of my DH of having my dad's cat euthized. At 20 years old and with the increasing issues he was having it was time. This was my mother's cat and when she passed away a few years ago my dad inherited it. I have never much liked this cat. It was not the least bit friendly. But the ending of a life is never easy no matter what and so I did indeed shed a few tears. Most likely for memories of loss from the past, those to come in the future, and for my dad as this cat was his last tie to my mom who he still misses dearly.
I am wondering if this had more impact on me subconsciously than I know. I recently completed the 21 day free program at fatloser.com that one of our Spark friends had mentioned. Loved the straight forward approach. It talks a great deal about emotions and how they effect our behaviors. I've said it before and I will say it again - I am such a slow learner. I can't help but wonder where all that information in my head goes!
As my day progressed I seemed to embrace all of the things that Spark warns us about. When I got home from the vet I spent another day in my yard/flower beds pruning things up. We have had such a rainy summer that my gardens are looking like a jungle that needed some taming. After 4 hours the heat and humidity got the best of me. My DH and I really enjoy an afternoon break on our front porch with a cold beer on days like this. I slept lousy they night before and the time got away from me so I skipped lunch. After my first beer and 2 cheese sticks I said to DH - I am so tired will you get me one more beer. Then I will get busy again.
1. DON'T SKIP MEALS
2. GET YOUR REST
So after our little break I showered and then started dinner. I had invited my dad to try and occupy some of his time and mind so he won't miss the cat so much. Having dad for dinner always involves Happy Hour. Two Rum and diet cokes later dinner was ready. Rib Eye steak, baked potato w/ light sour cream, baked cauliflower (involving light mayo and bread crumbs), and last but not least, some great wine! Our Rib Eyes are 1# steaks. I remember the day when me and my DH could each eat one. Now days we split one in half, but that is still 8 oz. of meat. Somehow I just cannot envision only eating 4 oz. My dad is not one to dawdle so after dinner he is out the door. And I collapse into my recliner.
3. ALCOHOL IS NOT YOUR FRIEND
4. IT IS ALL ABOUT PORTION CONTROL
The Sparkle continued to fad as night time TV watching approached and a craving for popcorn laden with butter and salt attacked me. Yes indeed, it was yummy.
5. TRACK YOU FOOD
On a positive note I have been trying to track my food on a more regular basis. Yes, I even went back today tracked all of the food and drink I had yesterday; except for the popcorn as by that time the calorie count was so far over that I just couldn't care anymore.
6. DO NOT BEAT YOURSELF UP OVER A SLIP UP
I think many of us have had disastrous eating days like this. If I don't lose any weight this week, I will have no one to blame but myself as I am sure I ate up all of the calories that I have sacrificed so far. I will be happy with a "maintain". I hope this blog is not too glum for you. Blogging is a good way for me to work through the things that float through my head - LOL!
The good news is that this emotional and eating slide is not long-lived. Today is a new day and I am determined to stay on track! Here's to a Sparkling weekend
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Since I was released July 10the from my doctor after my last surgery life has been a whirlwind and I have thrown all caution to the wind. Life has been packed full of activities and many of them have included food and drink at restaurants. One 10 day vacation done, a 4 day mini vacation done, and one more 10 day vacation to go.
It rained this morning - again! This summer, if you can call it that, has been filled with rain and cool temps where I live. There are times when I find this absolutely depressing. I mean, geez, we all need a little sunshine once in a while. But today I have found the rain peaceful.
My DH is currently on his own vacation with some guy friends filling their passion for golf. I seem to have mixed emotions when he goes away like this. On one hand I miss him terribly and on the other hand I savor my solitude.
This is also the time of year when I start to feel a change in the air. I can't quite put my finger on it, but there is something that tells my senses that a seasonal change is coming. I love the fall season. Not only are the colors beautiful, but there is a coziness about it for me. I don't dwell on the fact that the cold winter will soon be here. I choose to savor the richness of the season instead; warm comfort food, cuddly sweaters, a slightly less hectic schedule as we put our motorcycles to bed for the winter, a more relaxing and less urgent feeling.
These feelings and thoughts have left me Feeling Fresh today and that helps build my fortitude to move forward through another day of eating healthy.
I hope all of my Spark friends can find a peaceful, fresh feeling today too!
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