Jan 31, 2010

Would This Hurt My Family?

Stress and aggravation are two of my triggers.  Boy, are they ever.  In fact, it's almost a foregone conclusion that if someone or something pisses me off badly enough, I'll head straight for the fridge or fast food line to soothe myself.

Friday was fine...in the beginning.  I'd drunk my Green Lemonade before going to the gym.  I felt well enough to do both weights and cardio, and that made me feel good.  Nothing beats strapping on the loud music and walking to nowhere.  I can walk through almost any emotion, provided I have the proper tunes as accompaniment.  So I was feeling good.  Got to work and ate my breakfast of fresh fruit, my snack of Ezekiel bread and my lunch of raw salad and whole grain pasta (no cheese, thank you).  Just before I left the office I popped some pistachios--always a great food for keeping my hand-to-mouth syndrome quiet--and didn't feel at all hungry.

And then.  Somewhere between the office and smelling those fucking McDonald's bags on the damn train and being aggravated at some little thing, that ugly bastard beast in my belly starting turning the screws and demanding macaroni and cheese for dinner.  Of course I gave in.

But it didn't end there.

The guilt drum started hammering in my head immediately.  Allison kept asking, "You're going to blog about this, right?  You promised you'd be honest."  And I said yes, again and again, thinking that I might as well hold off blogging until Sunday because I knew full well that I was going to cheat again the very next morning.

Saturday mornings are Eating Out Breakfast time in my household.  We used to all go to the Towson Diner but they started to suck and couldn't get my french fries with mozzarella cheese and gravy order right so we switched to the Amish Market.  Real comfort food made from scratch.  My favorite: chicken tenders with mashed potatoes and gravy.  At 9:00 a.m.

So right there, with barely any effort, I'd cheated twice and eaten my two biggest addictions, all within twenty-four hours.  In this book I'm following (at the advice of my doctor), The Raw Food Detox Diet by Natalia Rose, the author emphasizes that this isn't a make-or-break food plan, that you're allowed to "cheat" on occasion and that the main idea is to give your body as much of a break as possible without making it feel deprived.

She's obviously never met me.

I can't do things halfway.  At least not at first.  Later, when I've broken free from the pull of potatoes, cheese and heavy foods in general, then I can fudge a little and treat myself.  But not now.  Not yet.  I'm climbing a really steep hill and the bottoms of my shoes are still covered in the oil of all the french fries I've eaten over the years.  I need a clean break.

On the way to the Amish Market, I started telling Allison a story about how people who engage in self-destructive behavior are full of shit when they say they're only hurting themselves.  "They're hurting everyone who's close to them," I shouted.  "Everyone who loves them is made to feel pain and helplessness because they're watching their loved one fuck themselves up and usually there isn't a damn thing they can do about it."

We had been talking about her brother, how she couldn't interfere in his life and the mistakes he's making, no matter how shitty and protective it made her feel.  It sucks, that feeling, especially when you're a giant mother hen in human clothing.  It got me thinking and remembering all the times I'd felt it. I tried to remember a time when I'd been the self-destructive one hurting my loved ones with my behavior.

What came up wasn't the past but the present.  My loved ones know my health struggles and what it means if I don't do some heavy work on them.  They try to be supportive, and are, but in the end there's nothing at all that they can do.  It's all up to me.  I realized that I was causing them pain every time I started melting cheese in a pan.  Allison was even driving me to the Amish Market restaurant, knowing full well what I was going to order.  She wasn't being an enabler; none of my family was.  I am an adult. If I choose to do what I know is wrong, that's on me.  She's not going to hide the car keys or render me unconscious until the cravings pass.  If I want Amish Market, then Amish Market I shall have.  And it would hurt her heart with every bite I took.

I still ate my comfort food, but the rest of the day was better and cheat-free, as is this morning so far.  Everything is logged below, including our gym time and my (lack of) blood sugar tracking.  Really need to get better at that.  One thing at a time.  For now, I'm going to ask myself when I'm tempted to cheat, "Would it hurt my family to see me eat this?"  That may sound extreme, but let's face it, I care more about others than I do about myself.  It's a harsh thing, but a true thing, and that's what I need right now, the boot in the ass not the warm and fuzzy.  Not yet.

A note to all of my wonderful, beautiful family who are reading this (and you are family to me if I've personally asked you to read my struggles): if you have something you'd like to change about yourself or your life and need others to "watch" you in order to help keep you on track, maybe think about starting a blog of your own.  I've already hinted strongly to a friend who's going through very similar food struggles that she might want to keep her own accounting, and Allison has mentioned that she might blog through her decision to quit smoking on February 1st.  I don't want to call anyone out, but I know many of you are in the middle right now of life-changing thoughts or choices and I would love to read about them.  Let's help each other.  Why not?  Isn't that why we're here?  No pressure.  (Joking aside, really, none.)

Love to you all for reading and helping.  Please believe that you are helping, in big huge ways.



Green Lemonade (juiced kale, spinach, cucumber, apples and a lemon; it's not as bad as it sounds)
2 pieces of Fruit (I forget what kind)
2 slices of Ezekiel bread with unsalted organic butter
1 cup whole wheat pasta with organic marinara and steamed broccoli
2 cups macaroni and cheese
Dark chocolate (allowed!)

30 minutes weights (abs, ass and hips)
30 minutes treadmill

Forgot to check my blood sugar


Green Lemonade
Chicken tenders and mashed potatoes
Avocado sandwich
Dark chocolate
Veggie lasagna with whole wheat noodles and goat cheese
Dark chocolate

Day off from the gym

Forgot to check my blood sugar...again


Green Lemonade
Strawberries, watermelon and kiwi
Herbal tea
Leftover lasagna
Steak and rice with veggies (no soy sauce)
More chocolate

Day off from the gym (we only go M-F, or do special things on the weekends; at least that's the plan)

I swear I'll check my blood sugar today.

Updated to admit that I didn't check my blood sugar today.  Sigh.

Jan 29, 2010

The Raw Food Life

When your doctor makes it known that you have a choice--change or die early--one tends to take a long, hard look at one's life.  I've done this so many times it's become a point of amusement bordering on ridicule.  I've changed, I've suffered, I've bitched, and here I am, better than before but looking at a whole new mountain to climb.

This time, though, there's a game-changer in play.  Diebetes.  My grandmother had Type I, and being the kind of steel-spined woman she was, she controlled it purely through diet and without the aid of a single insulin needle.  She also raised thirteen children through the Depression, which makes the Diabetes thing seem almost wimpy by comparison, but that's a story for another blog. 

Fact is, I'm not my grandmother.  I try to be, but we don't get to choose what gets passed down to us.  Genetics is a bitch.  I got the Diabetes, but not the willpower to saddle and ride it like my grandmother did.  It rides me at the moment and my back is starting to hurt.  So is my liver, which brings me to my current situation.

My endocrinologist is a wonderful man, very kind without being the least condescending.  He laid it all out for me in simple terms I could understand and remember: major change would only come with major change.  If I wanted the Diabetes to stop screwing with my internal organs, I would have to stop giving it the weapons it needed to do so.  That meant, in short:

No more white potatoes ("They're death," he told me.)
No white flour
No refined sugar
No cow's milk cheese
No fried foods

To those who are already healthy, this might not sound like a big deal.  But my two all-time, hands-down, childhood comfort foods are mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese.  To me, this list translated seamlessly into, "Die Die Die, Your Life Sucks So Much Worse Now, Resign Yourself to Never Feeling Pleasure Again".

And then I cried like a little girl.  I think, at that moment, I was.  Or maybe I was crying for the little girl, the one who remembers when mac and cheese was the decadent treat dinner my mom made for me when I'd had a really shitty day, and that mashed potatoes with gravy was, and is still, the only food my mom can eat at a restaurant that doesn't draw attention to the fact that she doesn't have any teeth.  These foods were my friends, a part of my family as much as my cousins were, and I was being asked to say goodbye to them after all they'd done for me.

They say life is about the future.  If that's true, and if I'm lucky enough to live to seventy, I'm already middle-aged.  That means there's just as much future as past to think about, and I have to choose between them.  So I choose to look ahead, if for no other reason than it's where my son will be, and where I hope to be once I get my act together.  Mac and cheese and mashed potatoes may be in my past, but Mas's college graduation is in my future, and that's worth working for.

Now that that's decided, here's my challenge: to eat more raw foods--fruits and green things with leaves, weird shit called Green Lemonade, pasta that's brown and not white, and potatoes that are sweet and not eaten with gravy.  I will eat nuts instead of Snickers bars and take care of my digestive system.  And all of this will clean my brain, clean my liver, and clean my blood and give me more energy and more time and more pretty clothes, because mama's gonna be shopping if the dress size keeps dropping.  Bank on that.  And here is where I'll come to bitch and crow and cry through words. 

But it won't be all bad.  I still get to eat chocolate.