Diary of a Fat Girl: REALITY CHECK
Well, as it turns out, all my good intentions and good sense about changing my life came in the nick of time. I’ve been diagnosed with diabetes. I freely admit that fear of chronic illness is what prompted my life style and food changes. I was all about “choice” and “choosing to be healthier” with the knowledge that diets don’t work for me since deprivation is actually a food “trigger” for me. It took me over 20 years to figure that out—really figure it out and not just “get it” in some nebulous way that didn’t have any effect on my daily actions. I wanted to head off the bad stuff because I was ready to face the consequences of living an unhealthy and overweight life and I was worried about getting older and facing a huge burden physically and financially. But I was too late. (Well, my doctor says that on a scale of 1-10 my condition is a 2. He seems confident that if I continue on as I am, my condition will not get worse and can be controlled with diet and exercise.) Regardless of whether or not I am on medication, I will be diabetic and hypertensive for the rest of my life. I want to cry just admitting it. I’m very angry at myself, but am soldiering on through it because this is the bed I made and laid in daily instead of being active.
So it seems I’m psychic! I started for the better this January and had already lost over 10 lbs when I had my check-up. In actuality, I’m on a course that will improve my health, but with a deadly serious new motivation. I do not want to take shots, and I don’t have to for now. But I do have to monitor my blood sugar and I bought a blood pressure monitor to watch that too.
I’ll admit to being overwhelmed. I had already crafted a fairly detailed plan for my daily nutrition and caloric/fat intake, so having to add in all the finger-pricking and counting of sugar grams, etc., sent me into a tail spin and mini-depressive episode. But here’s where things get interesting—food turned me off. This emotional eater and life-long over-eater and lover of fast foods would total out all the consumed food through myfitnesspal.com each night and get a warning that I wasn’t consuming enough calories, which threatened to send my body into starvation mode. I had lost my appetite. Whether I’m eating salad or ice cream, I always EAT with enjoyment. I found myself merely “swallowing” my food after my diagnosis. Internally, I cringed at the thought of eating because now FOOD is a killer and I don’t want to die.
It was time for a reality check! ALL foods will not kill me. SOME foods are not only necessary to live, but taste good. Balance is the key. In an effort to make myself “happy” about some of the foods I eat, I looked for healthy ways to make stuff I consider “fun” food. I LOVE Egg McMuffins, although I’m now convinced that McDonald’s is hell and Ronald is Lucifer. So this weekend I found Canadian bacon at the market, added 3 scrambled egg whites and plated them on a whole wheat sandwich round. You know what? It was good without the cheese and the English muffin. Who knew? And it was filling. But one day this week I was running late, so I opted to go to the drive-thru to get an Egg Mc without cheese, even though that place is evil—I HAD to eat. Know what? While the Egg Mc without cheese was lower in calories and fat, it took up almost a whole day’s allowable cholesterol. The yolk! I forgot about the yolk! Yikes!
I’m learning, y’all. I’m trying and I’m learning and it’s hard damned work being “on” in terms of food consumption all day, every day. Yes, I know, going over my cholesterol grams on one day isn’t going send me into a tail spin. But I’ve got to learn it right the 1st time or the changes won’t stick. I know me—if I don’t think “don’t eat the yolk” every time I think of eggs, I’m gonna eat the yolk. Cause I like yolks and it’s easier to eat ‘em then to remember not to. Unless I train myself to be yolk-less, then it will be a habit and become 2nd nature.
You should see me adding smoked turkey sausage to jambalaya instead of pork. Or watch me buying sugar free fudgcicles instead of just buying the low fat ones. I refuse to buy frozen yogurt—some things are meant to be enjoyed as they are. (I’m talking about you, Rocky Road, and you, Extreme Moose Tracks!) So I eat sugar free ice cream treats and I’m satisfied. I wanted to incorporate peanut butter as a snack both to get in more calories and fat, and also on the advice of a friend. I spent at least 15 minutes on 2 different shopping trips looking at the various PB options. I didn’t like any of them. PB is not a go-too food for me. I find it completely resistible . . . . Unless it’s a Reese’s peanut butter cup or chewy peanut butter cookie, and then I’m all over peanut butter like it’s the most delicious food ever. But I’m all about trying new things and choosing to compromise for my good health. And then, there it was—the thing that made peanut butter attractive to me in a whole new way: all natural peanut butter blended with sweet white chocolate. Bless you, Peanut Butter & CO! I never heard of you, but I like you already. I also figured out how to feel guiltless about eating any peanut butter. A serving of peanut butter is 2 tablespoons, right? So I don’t eat the whole serving. I just had half a serving of apple slices (7 slices) and half a tablespoon of my new favorite PB. Delicious and nutritious and I didn’t have to worry about fat grams OR sugar grams because this peanut butter actually has less sugar than 14 slices of apple.
I’m a learning machine when it comes to food and how this stuff plays out. And I’m happy to say I’m often pleased when I put 2 + 2 together and still come out with a reasonably tasty, healthy snack. This is so much better than cookies, as I’m figuring out. Peanut butter and apples give me fat, calories, protein and fiber, with no cholesterol or and very little sodium. No “100 calorie” snack cookie or cake can claim the same, well, none that I know about. (I’m talking about you, Pepperidge Farms 100 calorie cookie packs, and you, too, Nabisco!) Plus the peanut butter will last longer and is therefore cheaper than actually buying a box of 5 or 6 cookie 100 cal snacks. Portion control is also a huge lesson that has helped me more than once. I ordered a grilled tuna sandwich yesterday, but the tuna steak was think and wide. I only ate half the tuna and had 3-4 bites of the top bun only. Then I saved the rest for another meal and I wasn’t a bit deprived or hungry by only eat about 5 oz. of that delicious tuna instead of the whole thing. I’ve been trying to do that more and more, since I’m a control freak. Look at what an actual portion is and then measure it out and if I can be satisfied by less then I only eat until I’m satisfied. I CAN have about 14 baked barbeque kettle chips but I was counted and was satisfied with 7, so I stopped eating. And I stopped eating after 7 directly from the bag! Which is a huge weight-loss no-no. Still, I opened the bag, I counted the chips as I ate them, enjoyed them, sealed the bag after only eating half a serving and didn’t go back for more last night; although I did have a veggie salad before bed. I realized I hadn’t eaten any veggies all day, so I had to get some salad in my digestive track. That’s how I think now—Fruit? Check! Veggies? Check! Fiber? Check! If I’ve missed something, I usually try to catch it at or before dinner to make sure the meal is balanced. Healthy choices are the way for me.
But I still have my weaknesses . . . cookies and barbeque chips are a weakness. I am no longer allowed to bring ELF Fudge sandwich cookies into the house. I am no longer allowed to bring Lays Southern Sweet Heat Barbecue chips into the house. I kept my portions down to the servings, but I ate them on multiple days with full and complete awareness. So even though I stayed within my food goals, I had to give that stuff away because, even though, I can have an ounce of chips, I didn’t want to stop there. I can even have two ounces of chips. But the nutritional side of my plan suffered for it. Chips are not an even swap for 3 cups of mixed salad with carrots and cucumbers. I know that. I gave that stuff away. “Out of sight, out of mind,” as folks say. Hmmm . . . all this food talk is making me hungry.
Today’s lunch is a big salad with boiled egg white ONLY and grilled blackened tuna steak. Yummy! Later I get to have the other half of that tablespoon of peanut butter and don’t add anything to my food journal because I slotted half a serving with my morning snack. It’s a game I play and enjoy. Sometimes I make myself a cup of decadent hot chocolate and only drink half in the morning, then save the rest for the afternoon and it’s like a “free snack” because I’ve already incorporated the calories, fat and sugar into my daily total. It’s silly, but keeps me on track and keeps me from feeling DEPRIVED. Yay!