I Put My Thing Down, Flip It, and Reverse It!

I will always be overweight
And I refuse to believe that
I can succeed at this weight loss
I realize that isn’t the way most people think but
“Eating to live instead of living to eat”
Making myself happy with food
Is more important than
Making myself healthy with food
And this much is true:
People are succeeding at losing weight every day
But I know in my heart this will not be the case for me
Right now it doesn’t seem possible
I can change my ways and be fit for the rest of my life
This is what I believe:
This journey is just too tough for me
It’s just a fact of life that
People like me are weak-willed and lazy
And it’s ridiculous to believe that
I will lose weight and be healthy

That’s how I used to feel…now I’ve changed my way of thinking and reversed my philosophy on this whole weight loss thing…So now read it from the bottom up to see how I currently feel.

 

And if that reversal wasn’t enough…how backwards is this: I managed to LOSE weight over Thanksgiving!!!

 

Who would have thought?!

 

Thanksgiving this year was undoubtedly different than previous years…

 

This year I only got one plate (which I didn’t finish).

This year it was more about spending time with my amazing family than obsessively focusing on how many bites of stuffing or potatoes I could fit in my mouth.

This year the whole family got to experience my gluten-free gravy – and liked it!

This year I felt beautiful and confident instead of feeling insecure and disgusting in my own skin.

This year I realized how blessed I am to have my family, and blown away at the incredible bond that we all have with each other.

This year I felt marvelous and on top of the world.

This year I was healthier than I have been in the past.

This year I gave immense thanks to what I stand for, what I am, and what I am starting to become.

This year I know for a fact that I am amazing.

This year is MY year.

 

“Something inside you emerges….an innate, indwelling peace, stillness, aliveness. It is the unconditioned, who you are in your essence. It is what you had been looking for in the love object. It is yourself.”  – Eckhart Tolle

Advertisements

Penchant de Fromage

I love cheese. And who doesn’t?! Saying you dislike cheese is as disturbing to me as someone saying they hate puppies and children.

Did you know that the root of the English word cheese comes from the Latin caseus, which also gives us the word casein, the milk protein that is the basis of cheese? (More on casein in a minute).

Did you know that that Egypt brings us the earliest archeological evidence of cheesemaking which was found in tomb murals that date back to 2000 BC? Or that these cheeses were likely to have been very sour and salty and similar to a cottage cheese or feta in texture?

Did you know that, According to the British Cheese Board, Britain has approximately 700 distinct local cheeses?  It is thought that France and Italy have perhaps 400 each.

Did you know that The United States is the top producer of cheese in the world, with Wisconsin and California leading the states in production? And while the US is the top producer, Greece and France are the top in terms of consumption?

So what does this talk about fromage have to do with anything?

Well, there I was again today…in the grocery store. Same route every time…I stroll through the produce section…always check out the arugula to see if it’s on sale, then my intent is to head towards the meat counter. But, as it always happens, I get distracted along the way…every time. Halfway between the steak and the lettuce, sits my happy place…the small island I seem to get sucked into every time…my Bermuda triangle: The Cheese Section.

I am unable to divert. Sucked in by an invisible force. If I could buy it all I would (aside from goat cheese, of course, which I despise).  The feta in herbed brine, the fresh smoked mozzarella, big hunks of Parmigiano-Reggiano and of course my favorite: BRIE. Also known as the “Queen of Cheeses”…and with good reason. I certainly worship her. The crust is thin, fluffy and white. The cheese is straw yellow, creamy and soft. And it is my drug.

I am legitimately hooked on cheese. Good cheese. Quality cheese. Double your grocery bill cheese. If only I had grown up on cheez whiz instead of brie and gorgonzola I’d have a lot more money in my grocery budget!

I blame my family for exposing me to the culinary delight of it all.  Salads with feta or blue cheese, appetizers of Boursin or Aloutte, tangy bites of ricotta salata or horseradish cheddar.  And I have loved every bite.

There is one thing I know I can count on with 100% certainty when I go to my grandparents’ house. While some grandchildren know that they’ll have fresh baked cookies waiting inside, I always know there will be at least one variety of brie in their house. And it has been that way for as long as I can remember.

Trust me…I am not complaining!  I’m just trying to peel away 29 years of fromage binge.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, “The average American consumes 23 gallons of milk and 30 pounds of cheese a year.” I’d give up the milk and eat 53 pounds instead!

I could give up give up every other food in the grocery store if you let me stay on my little dairy island. I am in the midst of full-blown addition. Do you or someone you know have an addition to cheese?

Here are the signs:

1.  Desperate Need for More Cheese

2. Desire to eat only cheese

3. Constipation

4. Nightmares

5. Hallucinations

6. Hearing Voices

7. Social Ineptitude

8. Hearing Convincing Arguments Claiming You Should Hurt Your Neighbor, Carrot Top or Paula Abdul

9. Need for more Cowbell

10. Weight Gain…:(

 

But on a serious note…is cheese really an addictive substance?

Well, much to my surprise and a little bit of research, it appears to be…but why?

Well, it’s certainly not because of its aroma, which is startlingly close to old socks. The first hint of a biochemical explanation came in 1981, when scientists at Wellcome Research Laboratories in Research Triangle Park, N.C., found a substance in dairy products that looked remarkably like morphine. After a complex series of tests, they determined that, surprisingly enough, it actually was morphine. Morphine!!!!!!

By a fluke of nature, the enzymes that produce opiates are not confined to poppies — they also hide inside cows’ livers. The morphine is produced in order to create a calming effect on their young.  This makes sure that their young bond with them and that their young continue to feed.

So traces of morphine can pass into the cow’s bloodstream and end up in milk and milk products. The amounts are far too small to explain cheese’s appeal. But nonetheless, the discovery led scientists on their search for opiate compounds in dairy products.

And as it turns out, milk contains more than just morphine, it also contains casein, which when broken down in digestion releases a lot of opiates!  In cheese, casein is in a much higher concentration so cheese can be far more addictive than milk.

So it’s confirmed…it is possible that I am really and truly, physiologically addicted to cheese!!!  That explains my constant need for more cowbell and desire to tie Paula Abdul up so I never have to hear her whiny voice again!

I need to detox from the dairy. I need to give my body a break.  Having gone gluten-free has led me to be a lot more reliant on dairy than I was before. I know most cheeses are safe so I’ve been a little too dependent on it as a staple to my daily diet. And I can feel it all like a lead weight.

Can I take a break from it for a while? I am seriously worried about dairy withdrawal and worried that the withdrawal will lead to an uncontrollable bender. I just can’t quit you, Cheese!

I’m gonna try…with all my might I’m going to focus on the other food groups. Well…the ones that are left that I can have.  Grains/Wheat, Dairy, Vegetables, Proteins, Fruit…I know I can do it and the anti-dairy possibilities are endless!  And I know I’ll feel less weighed down next week, too.  Until then, I’ll see you in my dreams, Cheese island!

“How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese? ~ Charles De Gaulle

I Am Not Alone

I’ll get the ugly part out of the way first…another gain. Definitely time to refocus on the diet.

 

 

The next weigh-in will be different…and lower….I promise. (Headed to the beach next week and won’t have my scale, but will have a post.)

***********************************************************************

Now…to this week’s topic…

I’ve had a few people in the last few weeks question why I do this blog.  Why I bitch week after week about my weight struggle. Why I post my weight for the world to see.  One person actually told me she was surprised I post a picture of the scale, and that I was glorifying being overweight, and that I needed to exhibit a bit more discretion.

Well first off…in case you were not aware, you are not forced to read this blog. It’s not shoved in your face as punishment.  I don’t expect everyone to agree with what I’m doing, but I certainly never expected to be chastised for opening up about something I’ve battled for most of my adult life.  If you think what I’m doing is stupid or immature or disgusting, then stop reading.  That simple.

Secondly, I am not attempting to glorify being overweight.  There is nothing glorious about my muffin top or my overeating.  There is nothing charming about weighing over 200 pounds or wearing plus sizes.  There is certainly nothing splendid about my cellulite or my poor self-image.

So why do I do this?

I write this blog not only to help myself, but to help others that might be struggling with the same thing.  Someone that might be fighting a weight battle or fighting a battle to be healthy.  Someone that might be struggling to find happiness in themselves when they look in the mirror.

I know what it’s like to feel like no one understands.  I know what it feels like to feel you’re fighting a battle on your own.  And I’m not just talking about food or weight…although it’s all sort of tied together for me.

As I have touched on in past posts, I have long struggled with depression.  It is quite well managed now, but I have certainly been through a serious roller coaster.

It all started in college. Off to school, not a care in the world, and certainly much more trusting of the world than I should have been.  I was happy…I was satisfied that I had graduated 6th in my class and was a freshman at UNC.  I was on top of the world…and that would soon come crashing down.

This next revelation is something that I believe I’ve only divulged to my sister.  The spring semester of my freshman year, I found myself as part of a frightening statistic.  I was the victim of date rape…I went out on a date.  I walked away from my drink, and ultimately paid the price for my lack of judgment.

No, I didn’t go to the police.  Yes, I felt at fault for the entire chain of events.  The aftermath and the emotional struggle that ensued sent me on a downward spiral in every aspect of my life that took years to overcome.  I fell into a deep depression and became extremely unmotivated.  I withdrew socially from those around me.  Since that horrifying incident in my life, I have discovered that the US Department of Justice says that one out of every four college women is the victim of date rape.  This statistic makes me sick to my stomach. It was an atrocious, disgusting crime that I kept inside.  This is the first time I have truly opened up about it in 10 years, because like many other women who fall victim to this crime, I blamed myself for its occurrence.

Hurting and embarrassed, I ate to suppress my feelings.  Food became my security blanket.  Food didn’t judge me or hurt me or leave me.  It became my safe place…and I went to it often.  I subsequently gained 60 pounds, which only fueled my self-hate and self-loathing.  Once on medication, the depression got better.  I sustained for a few years, and then felt like since I was feeling better, that I could stop taking anti-depressants.  You can guess what happened.

I continued on an up and down cycle for years.  I would stay in bed for days.  Depression ignited my overeating and overeating led to my depression.  I would cry for no reason, and then I would be on the biggest high for no reason.  I felt worthless.  I blamed myself for many things… being fat, being raped, not having my dream job.  I had even managed to blame myself for my great-grandfather’s death; Convincing myself that if I had called him like I was supposed to when my mom told me to, that he wouldn’t have died.  But since I got busy, karma fought back and he passed away.  I did things without any regard for consequences.  I had a hard time breaking through self-defeating dialogue I’d been replaying in my head since I was young…repeating over and over again if I messed something up that I was a “stupid ungrateful bitch.” That everything gone wrong was my fault.

I have been at the absolute bottom more than once.  It is a place that I hope to never go back to again.  It kills me to say that I know my darkest times have damaged more than myself.  I destroyed every ounce of trust with my family.  I temporarily devastated the relationship with my mom. I take full responsibility for the destruction.  I take full responsibility for the hurt and the pain I caused.  I have enormous amounts of regret when I reflect upon the turmoil that surrounded me a few years ago.  Depression has robbed me of a lot of things, but I wouldn’t be where I am now if I hadn’t gone through the depths of hell.  I’m thankful for my faith in God and constantly reminding myself that I would never be handed more than I could handle, even though at times I was not so sure.  I thank God every day for those amazing women that shared their stories and their struggles with me through 30 days of rehab, and helped me understand that others understood my pain.

I get emotional now as I type this, not because I’m embarrassed or upset about the things of my past. I am emotional because I have come so, so far from where I was, and I am so blessed.  I know now that there are no such things as failures, just different levels of success.

I want to be sure to mention one thing. The purpose of tonight’s post is not to gain sympathy.  I’m not writing any of this so you feel sorry for me. I’m not writing it to bring you down either. I’m writing this for the same reason I write about my weight loss struggle…so you know someone out there understands.

I have written all of this with a heavy heart.  I lost a friend from high school last week.  He unfortunately did not see that light at the end of the tunnel, and he succumbed to his struggle with depression.  He may have felt he was at that place I had been so many times…the place where you feel like no one comprehends your pain…no one comprehends your hurt and your despair. I wish I had reached out to him, I wish I had shared my story.  I wish I had portrayed to him how certain I was at one point that there was no way out – but there ultimately was.  I made it out.  Emotionally battered and bruised, I made it out.  And I made it out because I discovered I was not alone.

So why do I write this blog….because I can only hope that through sharing my stories and my struggles, not only tonight but in previous posts, that you know you are not alone either.

In memory of Scott McCreedy

12/2/81-7/22/11

“You can’t have rainbows without rain.”  – Unknown

 

 

Don’t Waste the Fat Pants!

I’ve given you a million reasons why I want to lose weight…well just for fun, here’s my Reasons NOT to Lose Weight.  (Disclaimer – this is a joke. I’m not really justifying reasons not to lose weight…so pick your jaw up off the floor!)

  • Shame to waste all my “fat” pants
  • 25-lb. bags of potato chips at Costco make unhealthy lifestyle extremely affordable
  • Time spent weight loss blogging could easily be filled with TV watching
  • Less sweaty gym clothes = less laundry
  • I can keep being everyone’s fat friend
  • Easier to maintain casual friendships with all those fast food drive-thru workers
  • Don’t have to answer that embarrassing “Are you losing weight?” question
  • Good excuse to wear sweatpants in public
  • Don’t have to worry about a lot of leftovers cluttering up the fridge
  • Get more for your money at an “all-you-can-eat” buffet
  • Fat is insulation and I don’t want to lose my warmth in the winter
  • Answer to all life’s problems? Gravy…or cheese.
  • Have gotten good at adding new notches to the belt
  • Guy that owns the local Ben & Jerry’s franchise really wants me back

Hmmm…I dunno. I make a pretty compelling argument, but I think I’m gonna stick with the plan.

 

 

Yay! Another decrease!  Operation Unprocessed seems to be a success so far!

I’m celebrating 2 months since going gluten-free! And celebrating 2 months since my body finally knows what it’s supposed to feel like after eating. All but one of my symptoms has completely gone away…the brain fog is still lingering a bit but I’ve been told to anticipate close to 6 months before it’s completely gone. (I’ll get into more of the ‘fog’ in my next post.)

This week reaffirmed to me how poor our labeling standards are in the US.  First off, since wheat is considered one of the top allergens, labeling standards require indication of wheat if the product contains it. What’s the problem with that you might ask? Well, I can’t have barley, spelt, rye or malt either…and no one has to label those. Yes, ingredients are all listed. And yes, I’m now a pro at label reading. But what about those catch-all words companies use? It’s so frustrating to think you’ve found something at the grocery store you can have and get to the very last ingredient: ‘artificial flavors’, ‘broth’, ‘spices’, or ‘artificial color’.  I try and avoid foods that contain these at all costs, but does anyone really know what artificial flavor is? Are food manufacturers just at a loss for the remaining 23 preservatives and chemicals they’ve put in something to keep it edible and on a shelf for 6 months so they just say, “Ok, those 23 things are artificial flavoring.”  I don’t like it!

Second issue I came across was regarding foods labeled Gluten-Free.  My mom bought what she thought were GF crackers. This paragraph isn’t to chastise her for the stupid stipulations of nutrition labels.  It was a good learning experience for her and a reminder to me about how careful I need to be.  After all, the packaging indicated they were gluten free in quite large font.  Knowing how tricky and deceiving this labeling mess can be, I decided to look a little closer at the package. And what do you know?! Right there under the ingredients: Product processed on equipment that contains wheat and nuts. Really?! On equipment?! As in, right after the cookie dough ran through, we processed your crackers. Well thanks for the gluten free claim! Not. FDA regulations allow them to claim the product is gluten free because there are no gluten ingredients within the food itself. It’s the “after” part that messes it all up. Cross contamination isn’t an ingredient.  Well great. Try telling that to someone with a peanut allergy when the cracker they’re eating was rolled around in peanut dust. If you’re doing the gluten-free thing, be careful. Use caution if product wasn’t manufactured in a certified GF facility! You have been warned!

I hope everyone has had a fantastic 4th of July! Enjoy the fireworks and the food and the friends and family! In honor of Operation Unprocessed, I’m off to delve into my favorite dessert (and patriotic too!)….

 

Fresh blueberries, Cool Whip, cinnamon and a drizzle of fragrant Farmer's Market honey! Yum!

 

Mmm…mmm…good!

 

“Life is not about how fast you run, or how high you climb, but how well you bounce.” – Unknown

Would You Rather…

Happy Monday! Get ready…this is a good one!

Here are the 100 Things I’d rather do than gain my weight back…..

  1. Lick a mile of asphalt
  2. Tape grapefruit halves to my knees and wear them around for a month
  3. Begin each day listening to an hour-long audio of Snooki explaining why Sarah Palin is right on the money
  4. Swallow a 9V battery
  5. Play strip poker with all my aunts and uncles
  6. Flush my credit card down the toilet
  7. Have my portrait taken at Walmart
  8. Get sprayed in the face with Easy-Off oven cleaner
  9. Forever believe that stepping on a crack would actually break my mother’s back
  10. Be either person in this conversation: “Hey, whatcha doing tonight?” “Boozin’.”
  11. Develop an irrational fear of Chapstick
  12. Drive a Duke blue minivan
  13. Go see the world’s most boring opera
  14. Fish
  15. Go see the world’s most exciting opera
  16. Have all my sentences mysteriously start ending with the phrase “Boy, howdy”
  17. Get kicked in the head by a donkey
  18. Be pen pals with a death row inmate
  19. Know only 75 words
  20. Start speaking like James Earl Jones
  21. Always have to answer the phone: “Yello”
  22. Develop a taste for cilantro
  23. Wear a “Home of the Whopper” belt buckle to a job interview
  24. Eat (GF) pancakes with no syrup or silverware
  25. French kiss a buffalo
  26. Constantly forget the words to the “Happy Birthday” song
  27. Have a 4-hour conversation with Keanu Reeves about guacamole
  28. Ski topless
  29. Get a tattoo of Popeye giving Bluto a lap-dance
  30. Eat a slice of real bread – and pay the Celiac-y consequences
  31. Drink cold hot chocolate with no marshmallows
  32. Make out with Rick Flair
  33. Have all my teeth yanked and replaced with gummi teeth   
  34. Listen to Barry Manilow singing Snoop Dogg’s greatest hits
  35. Give myself hourly wedgies for a month
  36. Be the designated driver at an Oktoberfest party
  37. Drink warm milk straight from the cow
  38. Get a tetanus shot in the forehead
  39. Listen to my dad tell a story about losing his virginity
  40. Wear a thong made of steel wool
  41. Clean a men’s public restroom with my toothbrush
  42. Watch a reality TV show about the making of a reality TV show
  43. Be a telemarketer for a year
  44. Pick up every piece of a Costco-sized bag of rice after a spill– one kernel at a time
  45. Take LSD and watch open-heart surgery on the Discovery Channel
  46. Eat a kitty sandwich at a PETA convention
  47. Spend a Saturday afternoon at Wal-Mart
  48. Cough up my own liver
  49. Carry a giant bag of bark wherever I go
  50. Think that I’m speaking Spanish when I’m really speaking gibberish
  51. Watch old people dance
  52. Go back to dial-up internet connection
  53. Wear Victoria’s Secret PINK brand sweatpants
  54. Vacuum my eyeballs with a Shop-Vac
  55. Get a full-body massage from Roseanne Barr
  56. Wear a Speedo to church
  57. Have my colonoscopy broadcast on network TV
  58. Be stuck in an elevator with a troupe of flatulent mimes
  59. Randomly call numbers from the phone book and demand “Who dis?!”
  60. Wax off 85% of my hair
  61. Do a 10,000 piece puzzle of a dozen polar bears break-dancing in a blizzard
  62. Put a sticky note on every object in my house, identifying its purpose
  63. Watch sausage and/or babies get made
  64. Wear Elton John glasses for three months
  65. Ask Tom Cruise about Scientology
  66. Glue my mailbox shut 
  67. Run barefoot across a construction site
  68. Watch nuns knit
  69. Repeatedly bang my knee on coffee table
  70. Create a flag that will represent my own nation
  71. Go to a toy store and try to purchase a Monopoly game using Monopoly money
  72. Go to Vegas and boycott drinking and gambling
  73. Pour boiling water up my nose
  74. Invent a new language consisting only of variations in the tone of armpit farts
  75. Develop an allergy to mittens
  76. Whenever I meet someone, announce that I’m the one who coined the phrase “coin the phrase”
  77. Sleep wearing a fur unitard and ice skates
  78. Tell Paula Deen she’s banned from using butter
  79. Go through a car wash with my windows rolled down
  80. Fit Rush Limbaugh for assless chaps
  81. Drink water out of toilet in Mexico City
  82. Call 4-11 and shout “Oh my God! He’s trying to kill me!”
  83. Pierce my lady parts
  84. Inadvertently be the cause of Coca-Cola going out of business
  85. Be a Pro Bowling Tour groupie
  86. After getting my drink on, wake up in a jail cell in a foreign country wearing a wedding dress that doesn’t belong to me
  87. Lose my CareBear
  88. Eat Coco’s dog food
  89. Drive with my seat scooted all the way up
  90. Go to Dollyworld
  91. Live in one of those houses where everything’s slanted
  92. Have the navigational system in my car start talking in an Aussie accent
  93. Super Glue a gerbil to my forehead
  94. Inherit the national debt
  95. Take a job as a change-maker in a video arcade
  96. Be glow-in-the-dark for six months
  97. Eat a plate of abalone, haggis, chitlins and head cheese
  98. Milk a cat
  99. Eat less and exercise more
  100. Write a list of 100 things I’d rather do than gain the weight

What a week! After a stomach virus (which I would have thought was a strange gluten conspiracy if it weren’t for the fever) – and I didn’t lose that much.

And I’m going to apologize ahead of time…but I need to vent this week.  I’ve managed to find some pretty decent substitutes for gluten-heavy items. Crackers are an easy substitute, broth has been and easy switch – but damn…after over a month I am dying for some good starchy goodness.

Sitting around celebrating Father’s Day yesterday, my amazing soon-to-be brother-in-law (holy hyphen that was a quite a sentence!) and I were talking about food. He’s quite the food connoisseur, which I love. A man that understands the beauty of the pork belly like I do….Mmmm!  (Sidenote: That ‘mmmm’ was in reference to the pork belly, not the man. Not that he isn’t handsome…he’s just already reserved by my little sister.)

Sorry, I digress….Ok, so we were sitting and talking about food…he brought up Price’s Chicken in Charlotte. If you’ve never been there, it is worth a trip around the world. My great grandmother (God rest her soul) had nothing on this fried chicken. It’s the stuff dreams are made of.  And I can’t have it anymore.  Not only can’t I have it anymore, but as a girl tipping the scale at over 200 pounds, I shouldn’t even be considering fried chicken. Nonetheless, I’d kill a man for the opportunity to sink my teeth into that greasy, crunchy piece of poultry euphoria.  So there’s one thing I miss.

Another thing…Nilla Wafers. Why? Duh…I live in NC and what do we eat for dessert in the South? Banana Pudding.  Once again, my culinary whiz aunt made the most delicious looking tray of BP for dessert last night. I was tempted…so freaking tempted to just lick the spoon. Alright, I lie. I wanted to stick my face in the entire tray but it was, as it should be, filled with Nilla Wafers. There was part of my Cool Whip-loving self that almost took the bait last night, but I would have been too sick to function for a few days.  Speaking of being sick…needing some gastric relief last week, what settles your stomach? Saltines. Sesame seed crackers on an upset tummy = FAIL.

I want some Carolina Treet BBQ sauce (stupid wheat flour as an ingredient), some lo mein, an authentic meatball, an everything bagel, gnocchi, a flipping beer!!

Not sure why this seems to be getting harder and not easier. I’m slowly finding some good replacements (Elizabeth’s Pizza has a great crust but I’m unsure of prep caution)…my sister made some great fresh spring rolls (sans cilantro just for me!)…but there is still so far to go with some of these “Celiac Friendly” foods out there. Get with it food industry! No one likes to eat cardboard! At least I hope not…and if they do, I’m sure there’s a rehab for that.

And…deep breath.

Thank you for allowing me to bitch for a minute.

Hope you all have a fabulous (and tantrum-free) rest of your week!

“A diet is the penalty we pay for exceeding the feed limit.”  ~Author Unknown