April 26, 2013 § 12 Comments
Yesterday I went for a run along my usual route.
Around familiar corners and through the prettiest neighborhood I came across a car with a sticker on the back that said, “It takes a HUNTER to make a HUNTER!” and below, “Become a hunting mentor.”
In the backseat was a gigantic rubber turkey. I jumped, it looked so real.
I jumped and then I made a face.
A disgusted face.
I hate dead things and I really hate hunting.
I know all the usual reasons that people are pro-hunting.
- People hunt for their food; food that’s free from man-made “intervention.”
- Hunters aid our economy by millions through licenses and taxes and fees.
- Hunting is considered “conservation,” keeping populations of animals from becoming disproportionate.
- It “helps” the animals whose habitats have declined due to pesky humans taking over their land. We pesky humans are doing them a favor, because they’d suffer and die from not having access to foods that they’d normally find in their natural environment.
- Some people believe hunting is a healthy sport for families, because it keeps kids off of computers.
- And last, but not least, death is a part of life.
That last one, I know is true.
I’m a fair-minded kind of girl. If it floats your boat and you’re not hurting anyone (do animals count?), then go ahead and do it.
But I’m stuck on the killing part.
Isn’t killing bad?
Just now I fed my kids rolled up turkey slices with apples and crackers.
Kid A asked if turkey was ham, to which I responded, “No, turkey’s a bird. Ham is a pig.”
Kid B said, “So do they kill the pig to make the ham?”
“Um. Yes. Yes, they do.”
“So do we put the pig in the oven and bake it?”
“Um. Um. Yes. Yes, we do.”
And as I watched them eat their organically fed “healthy” turkey rolls I realize that I’m a hypocrite.
Must go now … off to defrost a chicken for dinner, whilst figuring out how I can live with myself.
I recognize that hunting and raising animals for human consumption are different processes. But it’s all killing, no matter how you slice it. Thoughts?
February 9, 2013 § 6 Comments
Sunday, February 10th, people the world over will be celebrating the 2013 Chinese New Year; the Year of the Snake.
I don’t much like snakes, but the Chinese believe that having one in your house is a good omen, because the snake will ensure that your family won’t starve. Snakes are wise and cunning, and apparently good mediators, who can make sure your family has plenty of food in this year (or any other for that matter).
My girls painted paper snakes in school decorating them with glittering, golden flowers. They ate home-made dumplings lovingly prepared by the mother of a Chinese friend, who also gifted them with a red envelope filled with a crisp one dollar bill; a gift of luck.
On Thursday, both girls wore red to represent happiness and luck as they marched in their preschool’s Chinese New Year Parade, and Sophie chose to wear her most glittering, golden skirt (a Chinese sign of wealth, a five-year-olds sign of fancy).
All of the anticipation got me jazzed for another beginning to 2013, and if I’m honest, I could use a new start myself.
January 1st began with good intentions, but I lost sight over the following weeks.
Fresh starts. Cleaner homes. Better luck.
Happy New Year! Let’s try this again.
Did you know that Sunday is the Chinese New Year?
February 7, 2013 § 6 Comments
A short visit to my trusty M.D. spun me right around, straightened this girl out, and sent her back into the world with a clearer plan for a healthier day-to-day existence.
1. Too much stress is physically bad for the body.
i.e. Stress causes cortisol to raise, which can result in lovely cystic-like (face and neck) acne that five-year-olds can be trained to extract (though they won’t always coöperate when asked).
2. Too much coffee is helpful as an appetite suppressant, except that it has a short half-life, and if you’re already in an anxiety ridden state, added caffeine can increase said anxiety, which leads to impulsivity (of the bingy sort in my case, the liquid sort for alcoholics, etc.).
i.e. Afternoon Starbuck’s trips are fun, but polishing off three boxes of Girl Scout cookies in exactly two after-school afternoons is not. Afternoon coffee and impulsiveness must stop.
3. There is no pill in he world that will tell you that you are full, make you stop eating, or cause you to view sugary icing with repulsion.
i.e. Just don’t go near the “Make Your Own Box” of cookies located next to the salad bar at Whole Foods. In fact, avoid the grocery store altogether, but for once a week. Remember to always go with a list, and when you do go, adhere to the list at all costs.
4. Do the things you know that work, no matter how much you feel like ignoring them.
i.e. Move your body every day. i.e. Hug a kid instead of eating a pound of sugar. i.e. Count your calories. i.e. Use your brain.
5. Set boundaries with people who don’t care about your well-being.
i.e. Say, “No.” i.e. Don’t listen to the meanies.
6. Do what feels good as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody.
i.e. Blog the hell out the blog. Facebook ’til the cows come home. Be a budding social media rock star. It’s yours. Don’t let anyone take away what you love.
7. Come back in six weeks.
i.e. You can do this mama.
When was the last time you had someone spin you around and set you straight?
January 18, 2013 § 5 Comments
You can be replaced.
Martha’s gut (and ego) in turmoil over a pizza/Rice Cripsie hell binge that leveled 12 great days of good choices and diligent fitness pal app food documentation.
Do you believe that hormones play a part in hunger? Do mad hormones act as triggers for mass consumption?
January 9, 2013 § 14 Comments
Did you know that it is entirely possible to run a marathon in March, but by January be unable to sustain two miles at a non-embarassing pace?
Did you know that you can eat upwards of 6,000 calories in a day and pretend that you don’t feel full or sick?
Are you aware that you can tell yourself lie after lie, like saying that you aren’t weighing yourself because it messes with your head, when the truth is that you don’t want to be held accountable for your actions?
AA says that alcoholics need to accept their issues in order to begin to fix a drinking problem, but what about when you are a food user? What about those of us who get relief from food, as opposed to those who eat solely for survival?
Tack on a lack of motivation to exercise; in my case very little running and a weekly trip to yoga, contributes to a body on the verge of total devastation.
Example of destructive behavior: Waking up early for Saturday morning yoga classes, but post savasana, rewarding oneself for a bendy job well done with visits to the hot bar at Whole Foods (their bacon is like fire works in the mouth in case you hadn’t heard).
Once a week hot bar visits is sadly not the extent of my embarrassing behavior. For months I have treated my body like a New York City trash can (full of gunk, but let’s squeeze in a little more, so that its top runneth over).
I’ve secretly hoarded sugar-laced cakes and cookies that I knew would give me a buzz. I’ve made special trips to the store for foods that are known triggers (Ghiradhelli chocolate chips, Kind Healthy Grains granola, sweetened Greek yogurt ) and feigned surprise when bags were empty, before I’d even driven back to into my driveway. Stress relief of the sweetest kind, is the pleasure a food junkie gets from jumping taste buds and a belly packed full.
I’d like to say that my awakening a few days ago happened because I truly care about my health, but I’d be telling you (and myself) another lie.
I care that I can’t fit into a single pair of pants I own. I’m scared by the sight of my backside in stretchy pants. My boobs, much like the Grinch’s heart, have grown three sizes (obviously boob growth took longer than the Grinch’s Christmas day heart swell, it’s just an analogy).
I don’t feel like myself. I don’t know who I feel like at all?
I can’t say for certain that publishing this will change what I decide to do or eat and at what time I shall do it or eat it. I hope I can keep my eye on the fruit bowl (out of the pantry) and watch the numbers on the scale decrease. I want to fit into my clothes again and maybe by summer wear the red Malia Mills that is a tiny size 10 .
This is not about being fat. Or maybe it is.
It’s about not being controlled by behaviors that hurt me. Or maybe it is.
Denial is not a river in Egypt.
Nor is it an option.
Where are you in regard to health, diet and fitness? Are you in denial or right on track?
November 30, 2012 § 5 Comments
It wasn’t the realization of the added ten pounds on the doctor’s scale (at which I cried) or the 2 minute per mile slower running time; not the puffy face in recent photos nor the general feeling of blah. There’s no reason for jump starting the healthy eating plan (again) other than it is time.
For the past two days I ate things like this:
- A piece of Millet bread with a quarter of an avocado spread like butter, topped with a scrambled egg (and two egg whites) and a spoonful of fresh salsa.
- Juice made from carrots, celery, apple, ginger, kale, beets, and huge bunches of spinach.
- Gwyneth’s Detox Chicken over millet with a side of kale chips.
- Back to Nature’s Multi-Seed Crackers with half a piece of jalapeno cheese and a slice of uncured honey ham.
- More juice.
- Whole wheat crusted chicken nuggets baked in the oven with green beans and tomatoes on the side.
Two days of healthy eating and a small dose of exercise (a three-mile run yesterday), and one would assume I was completely on track.
But there’s always a hitch when it comes to clean eating, this time it came in the form of tiny white-fudge-frosted gingerbread men (120 calories for three) nestled inside a pretty Christmas colored box.
If it weren’t for those sneaky gingerbread men I would have conquered two full days free from processed sugar.
Except their pull over me was too strong that I ate three. And then I ate three more. And the 240 calories I ingested happened faster than you can holler, “KALE!”
The good news is that I got a grip on the situation and stopped. I didn’t go back for more. But I thought about it a lot (a lot, a lot), before running far enough from the kitchen that I was no longer tempted.
One day at a time.
One day at a time.
Do you eat clean or do you struggle? What is it that makes you attack the gingerbread men?
October 26, 2012 § 8 Comments
Confession: Nothing in my closet fits me. My skinny jeans won’t zip and my boyfriend jeans fit like the skinnies used to.
Confession: I haven’t run more than three miles in a month.
Confession: Although there are six days in which it’s feasible to exercise my body, I have chosen to do other things the majority of the time.
Confession: I ate a gigantic spoonful of raw chocolate chip cookie dough from out of the garage refrigerator yesterday, not because I was craving cookie dough, but because I wanted the sugar high to get me through the afternoon.
With all of the back and forth I have going on in my head, in regard to food and exercise and health, it occurred to me more than once this week that in addition, I might be body dysmorphic.
Twice in the past few days, while feeling low about my size, I happened upon images of plus-sized women that I thought had bodies similar to mine. There is a plus-size revolution occurring and the women being held up as images to admire are nothing short of beautiful.
But, I’m … fat?
Since I’m currently squeezed out of my size 10s, I am furious with my body; angry at myself. Compared to the those plus size goddesses, my image of myself is not as kind.
Body dysmorphia, according to the Mayo Clinic, is described as, “imagined ugliness.” It turns out, upon further research that it is a real mental illness and people with dysmoraphobia often go to extreme lengths to manage their perceptions (plastic surgery, hiding from others, etc.).
While I’m not willing to diagnose myself with full-blown BD, I do think that my perceived flaws are skewed based on my expectations of self, and how I’ve once again slipped from, “I am healthy girl, hear me roar.”
I am stuck, then, between my own expectations of how I think I should look, the expectations of what the world views as acceptable, and the reality of what it’s like to live in my own body.
If I use the functioning part of my brain filled with endless information about health and well-being, I can dig myself, once again, out of this rut.
Solution # 1: I’ve ordered the Tracy Anderson mat series to do through the winter with the goal to firm up, confuse my muscles into performing as they should (again), and hopefully gather new information to write a helpful review, to boot.
Solution # 2: I will not buy any clothing, period, until I have become consistent again on the exercise front. If I then need to accept that I fit better in a bigger size, I will accept it, but not without a fight.
Solution # 3: I’ll try to eat more wisely, but am sticking to my belief that weighing myself is damaging to my psyche. Cutting out food groups will also be avoided, as anything completely off-limits will inevitably lead me to consume entire batches of cookie dough, just because I can.
To combine two of my favorite songs (as an homage to the place that I find myself today), here is a mashup (care of Madonna and Gene Sir Harlan) …
“What it feels like for a girl … For a girl in this world.
But I’m doing the best that I can.”
Do you ever think you suffer from body dysmorphia or any other body image related issues? How do you manage? How do you conquer?
September 15, 2012 § 2 Comments
When food is used to cope, getting sidelined can happen with just one bite.
One bite and it’s over.
You make commitments to get healthy, to cut out gluten, to run more, to be better, faster, stronger…
But then comes an angry text from a certain somebody, an email from the lawyer with a mediation date, two sick kids after only six days of school…
My girls’ Whole Foods margherita pizza looks really good as I sit here and type. It’s bubbling with gooey cheesiness and there’s that thin wheat crust with scattered bits of basil and tomato. And the smell….
The sleeves of Oreos over there look pretty tempting, too. The girl’s dad brought home a gigantic box of those suckers to make home-made ice cream. Would they even notice if I grabbed and dashed and hid in my room, back to the closed door with a crumb coated smile?
They might not.
Eating the pizza would start the inner war. Then would come the apathetic negotiating (which you will lose) for a second piece. A third piece wouldn’t seem unreasonable if the shit hit the fan at any time during that second piece.
Before the pizza had time to move on down the digestive track, the cookies would one finger wave me over and then I’d really be doomed. My soothed mood would make the decision for me; add the sugar and it will be all better. You will feel better. You will feel something other than sad, mad, had…
It would end badly, though; rubbing a sore gut and kicking an already bruised ego.
Instead of managing my stress with food I instead (just) made a bowl of mixed greens with half a pear, some sliced almonds, gorgonzola and a bit of balsamico. Clap. Please, do.
I feel momentarily better, but it doesn’t change the fact that I need to get away from the kitchen and fast.
I know it’s early for bed (6:26) but the farther I get from that room, the better I’ll be able to manage today’s out of control appetite for diet destruction!
September 9, 2012 § 8 Comments
It has been established that traditional weight loss and diet techniques do not work for me. My yo-yo has worn itself out and my quest for a healthier life and body has led me here.
Step one has been to quit getting on the scale, a strictly mental challenge. My weight on the scale has nothing to do with how I feel in my body, heart or mind. I can be up or I can be down and depending on that digital number my mood is affected, pushing me toward my coping method of choice; food (eat happy, eat sad).
Three weeks ago I quit Diet Coke.
Fifteen days ago I committed to cutting out the sugary foods that plagued my every waking thought; ice cream, cookies, cakes, etcetera. Sugar (in its obvious form), I discovered, was not that difficult to subtract from my diet.
Hidden sugars, it turns out, have been more difficult to avoid as they are in everything from seemingly healthy cereals and protein bars, breads, frozen entrees, and yogurts.
Being aware has helped me to stay away from the hidden sugars, but I’m finding it all but impossible to cut the stuff out completely. Still, I try.
What, then, is the next step?
In the past two weeks I’ve paid attention to my overuse of carbohydrates (healthy and not).
As I see it I have two choices; either commit to only consuming whole grains and other good carbs or attempt a period of gluten-free to see what it might do to my body.
I don’t know much about a gluten-free lifestyle. It doesn’t have a great reputation to those who live and die by carbohydrate laden lifestyles. But every person I’ve ever met who’s gone gluten-free not only looked terrific, they themselves have praised the benefits in regard to how they feel.
I know I’ll never be a waif. I don’t care to be. But I want to feel good and so I am intrigued.
Like with sugar, I know in the future I’ll be faced with a birthday party cupcake or a morning meeting complete with a box of Crispy Cremes to fuel tired brains. With gluten, I know there will always be mom’s pasta dinners, cheese and crackers at cocktail parties, barbeques with cheeseburgers begging for rolls.
This scares me. A cheeseburger without a roll scares me!
What do you know about gluten-free? How does one prepare for the lifestyle? What changes have you made to your diet that have helped you become a better healthier you (not necessarily in regard to weight)?
August 29, 2012 § 11 Comments
When Ryan Hall dropped out of the Men’s Olympic Marathon less than a month ago, people accused him of being a quitter.
There are Pinterest quotes that scream, “Pain is temporary and quitting is permanent!”
I get that quitting can be bad, but it also can be good (and needed and safer and in Ryan Hall’s decision was an intelligent choice to save a career by accepting an injured hamstring).
I quit drinking Diet Coke well over a week ago when I realized that I was cracking a can every time I felt thirsty. I knew it was wrong, but I’m not sure it was because I felt so awful that I knew it had to be quit. It was a case of intellect outshining desire (damned desire) and in this case my brain won.
It was the first step in taking back some control of a diet that had spun away from me. I’d retreated back to the coping mechanism of using food during what’s been a tumultuous time in my life.
Entering day four without sugar hasn’t been as easy, but it also hasn’t been torture.
I am not having huge cravings and I’m beginning to feel what I think is hunger.
Five days ago the habit to return to the fridge/kitchen/pantry for energy and fuel and emotional strength left me feeling like a guinea pig on a wheel.
Once the wheel got going I could run and run and run, but I never felt satiated and never felt good.
But it saved me from having to think.
The hardest part of cutting out the refined sugar has not been the cravings. It’s been setting myself up to make better choices by having a fridge/kitchen/pantry stocked full of the right things.
In the midst of a hectic day, given the choice to eat a bag of Twizzlers over anything else, the decision too often made itself. Admitting is the first step to recovery and so I confess. This is how I tick. This is how I was made.
Will I ever eat a cupcake again? I’d be in denial if I said, “No.”
Do I hope I’m not in the position to eat one (or a box) for a long time? Oh God, on knees, saying prayers.
My biggest hope is that when I do decide to eat a cupcake (and let’s hope the cake part is moist and rich and the buttercream sings in its sweetness) that I will be able to stop there and not eat three.
A day at a time. A minute at a time. With faith that (for today) I can do this.
Do you emotionally eat? Do you have triggers? Ever feel like a guinea pig on a wheel in the kitchen (or anywhere else for that matter)?