The Girl with the Scarlet Letter

Have you ever had one of those moments where someone told you something and for a split second you had built it up to be so magnificent in your mind, only to drop down about 14 levels of joy once you figured out what it really was?  I had one of those moments yesterday.

I have come to accept the fact that I probably won’t be able to eat (with any confidence anyway) at most places. I no longer throw the early-diagnosis-esque tantrums like I once did if the menu doesn’t have a gluten-free option.

Yesterday was no different…I was going to a cornhole tournament/football watching function at a local bar…where yes, everyone does know your name.  I had confirmed that there would in fact be Woodchuck Cider available (my favorite GF beer!) but since I hadn’t been there since my diagnosis, I already expected that there would be nothing ‘safe’ for me to eat.  My pre-diagnosis trips had included quick glances at the menu to find the greasiest menu item available in an attempt to soak up a portion of the beer that I was undoubtedly ingesting, of course none of the items being gluten-free.

Right before I walked into the door after setting up cornhole boards, the girl that was in charge of the function said something to me about being gluten-free. Then she said, ‘I have something for you to eat.”  What?! I about wet my pants. Had I hallucinated that I’d have a safe food? Could it be that I wouldn’t have to sit there for hours without something to snack on (i.e. something to soak up the alcohol)?!  I was in disbelief.  I felt like Charlie Bucket discovering his golden ticket!

I wondered what it was…a GF dip of some sort…a burger without the bun…a delicious salad with GF dressing. It was a bar after all, so the food running through my mind was not exactly all diet friendly.  What could it be?! What was in store?!

She turned to reach in her bag to pull out my GF surprise…my mind was running like a slot machine….Chips…Fries…Chips…Jackpot!!!!  She reached in….oh I can’t handle the suspense anymore…hand in her bag…I’m salivating…she grabbed the bag…stop the madness already, I’m starving…and she pulled out my treat…

A perfect peach.

Trust me…I am more than grateful and so incredibly humbled that she thought of me and thought enough to even offer me something to eat.  Her kindness to someone she had only just met meant a great deal to me.  And trust me, I know that a peach was a far, far better choice than what I might have previously ordered. And for that, my waistline thanks you, Tricia.

But amongst the smell of burning grease, beer, and hot dogs…I was momentarily deflated.  This is what my ‘cheat days’ have turned into: GF beer and fruit.

I didn’t eat it there because I tend to end up looking like the child below when I eat peaches…half my makeup dripping off the bottom half of my face but sticky and smelling like summer.  I did absolutely destroy it when I got home and it was delicious!!!

I do want to mention that it is not a requirement for me to eat when I go out. However, being able to have a little snack while the rest of my friends are indulging on Eat This Not That’s worst offenders does allow me to feel a slight sense of normalcy…something I haven’t felt since I was diagnosed.   I can’t hide in my own kitchen forever.  I know I need to suck it up and deal with it.

I’ve become that girl that restaurants hate.  I’m the one that walks in and the kitchen staff instantly starts whispering “There’s the girl with all the demands…There’s the girl that is adamant about salt and pepper only on her salmon and absolutely no other bulk seasoning…There’s the girl that requests that we change our gloves and utensils so we don’t contaminate her food…There’s the girl that proclaims that if we accidentally give her something with gluten that she will get violently ill on the spot and run off all the other customers.” (Ok so I won’t exactly get violently ill the second it hits my tongue but I do say that if I feel like the waiter/waitress isn’t listening to me. You’d be surprised how well they pay attention if they feel like they might to have to clean up vomit if they don’t comply.)

I feel at times I need to wear a t-shirt with my demands. I need a nametag with my requirements.  I should be sporting a scarlet letter of my own.  There’s THAT girl….the marked girl…the different girl…the girl with the scarlet G.

But, THAT girl lost weight this week….

 

I’m slowly learning not to sweat what I can’t control.  And that my body is much happier in the long run. I may have had beer and fruit at the bar…but by God my stomach didn’t hurt afterwards!  And for that I did truly hit the jackpot.

And you better believe I’ve got peaches on my grocery list…

“Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.”

~ Chinese Proverb

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Confucius Has A Credo…

Confucius Say…

…person who eat too much over the holiday need to quit cold turkey.

…person who employ low-carb diet is going against the grain.

…person who drinks too much coffee has a latte problems.

…person who succeeds in diet employs mind over platter.

…person who lives life as couch potato will likely raise tater tots.

…person who eats too many donuts dozen have a good diet plan.

…person who are butter lovers generally are not better lovers.

…person who eat too many French fries find weight ketchup to them.

…person who drinks too many fancy coffee drinks may get brewed awakening on scale.

…person who eats too much at Japanese restaurant might have sake weigh-in.

…person who doesn’t like bread overcooked might be black-toast intolerant.

… person who has successful weight-loss journey find it takes breadth away.

Breadth is still going away!

So after the mini-weight loss…here’s what have I learned this week…

Lesson # 1: – Eat at Five Guys Burgers.  Surprisingly enough, Five Guys has been a great gluten-free ally for me! I know…sounds backwards since it’s a burger place, but they are so accommodating when it comes to dietary restrictions. They don’t skip a beat at all when I let them know of my gluten aversion, and are so good about changing their gloves to avoid cross-contamination. Might have to eat the burger wrapped in a piece of iceberg lettuce, but hell, I’ll take it! Fries aren’t too bad either!

Sorry – I know this is a blog centered around losing weight, but it has been so long since I’ve been able to eat French fries (they’re often fried in oil with forbidden things), so I certainly enjoyed the opportunity this weekend! This would probably be a good time to remind myself why my weight loss might have been so mini…damn, bovine deliciousness!

Lesson # 2: Dinner parties/family get-togethers are not so stressful afterall! Have made it thru 2 successfully in recent weeks…one that I had semi-prepared for, and one that, thanks to my amazing aunt, I didn’t have to worry about at all. Entire menu was gluten-free and it was delicious! I had forgotten what it was like to go somewhere without overanalyzing everything that was going on around me. Such a relaxing feeling…finally!  Heather, your hospitality was divine…and the rosemary cashews…Mmmm! I’ll eat burnt nuts any day!  (Haha…that sounds so wrong out of context.)

Lesson # 3: Apparently a blind person creates the sizing standards for women’s clothing. I decided to give myself a little retail therapy this weekend. What I want to know is who in the world sets the standards for these things?! How is it that an 18W is smaller, yes I said smaller, than a regular size 16?! And I don’t mean just a little more snug…I’m talking about so-tight-I-can’t-fit-it-over-my-left-butt-cheek tight. Yes, I know it’s different across brands…but THAT different?! Oh look…today at Target I’m a smaller size! Oh damn! Now at Macy’s I’m banished to the muumuus! Yay! Now at Dillard’s I can shop in the Junior department! No wonder my self-esteem is like a roller coaster when I go shopping! Prozac please!

I think it’s time for legislation! I think it’s time to write our state representatives and demand some consistency! Maybe it will give Anthony Weiner something to do in “rehab”….ah, nevermind…pants are obviously not his specialty!

Final Lesson (yes that’s right…I only learned 4 things all week!)  I am so blessed….blessed with an amazing support system…blessed to have such an amazing and supportive group who read this blog every week…A group that encourages me and motivates me more than they probably realize. I may not have all the answers right now…I may not have everything figured out all the time…I might have been thrown a curve ball or two along the way – but I’m still standing. It’s not about how many times I’ve failed at this before – it’s about picking myself up one more time than I’ve fallen down.

When the world says, “Give up,”
Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.”

~Author Unknown

Good. Gooder. Bestest.

Those of you that read last week’s blog know I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease…If you didn’t know, or didn’t read the blog – SHAME ON YOU!! (Click here for the rundown.) In honor of the fact that I’m feeling much better, and to play off of my post from a few weeks ago – this week’s topic explores the GOOD…the GOODER (yes – I know this is not actually a word)…and the BESTEST (despite what I originally thought – bestest is a word in the dictionary. Learn something new every day!) facets of weight loss.

GOOD: You want to lose weight.

GOODER: You look for guidance and motivation to keep you going on your journey.

BESTEST: You check out my blog every week to know that there is someone else out there fighting the same battle.

 

GOOD: You walked a mile on the treadmill.

GOODER: You ran a 5K on the treadmill.

BESTEST: You made it to the end of the treadmill.

 

GOOD: A co-worker commented on your weight loss.

GOODER: A friend you haven’t seen in a while is shocked at how great you look.

BESTEST: Your mother makes you show her some ID.

 

GOOD: You buy lots of produce at the grocery store.

GOODER: You buy organic produce at the grocery store.

BESTEST: You grow your own vegetables…in your bathtub.

 

GOOD: Salad for lunch.

GOODER: Salad for dinner.

BESTEST: Salad for breakfast.

 

GOOD: You’re taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

GOODER: You’re biking to work instead of driving.

BESTEST: You’ve decided to swim to your European vacation.

 

GOOD: You do 50 sit-ups every day.

GOODER: You do 50 sit-ups every hour.

BESTEST: You never stop doing sit-ups.

 

GOOD: You do Yoga, Pilates or Zumba.

GOODER: You do Yoga, Pilates and Zumba.

BESTEST: You do Yoga, Pilates and Zumba, all at the same time.

 

GOOD: You achieved your goal rate on your heart rate monitor.

GOODER: You exceeded your goal rate on your heart rate monitor.

BESTEST: Your activity level melted your heart rate monitor.

 

GOOD: You have to cut back on cupcakes because of Gluten-free restrictions.

GOODER: You find a Gluten-Free bakery in town.

BESTEST: Your incredible sister bakes you a batch of the most delicious GF cupcakes with a dark chocolate ganache frosting so you won’t be left out when dessert is served.

 

 

GOOD: You watch what you eat.

GOODER: You don’t think twice about making a healthier choice when eating out.

BESTEST: You’ve lost the bad habits that got you in trouble in the first place. (Thank you, Celiac Disease!)

 

GOOD: Your clothes are a bit looser.

GOODER: You have to make a new hole for your belt buckle.

BESTEST: You have to buy suspenders to keep from mooning innocent bystanders.

 

GOOD: Eating healthier has opened the door to trying new vegetables.

GOODER: Your day consists of compiling a list 101 ways to cook a rutabaga.

BESTEST: You can now name every vegetable in the cruciferous family and accurately describe every aspect of their taxonomy.

 

GOOD: You feel comfortable being in public in a swimsuit.

GOODER: You feel comfortable being in public in a bikini.

BESTEST: Hello, nude beach!

 

GOOD: You drink 8 glasses of water a day.

GOODER: You drink your body weight in ounces of water daily.

BESTEST: Your city has just re-instated drought level water restrictions as the result of your daily intake.

 

GOOD: You’ve lost 10 pounds.

GOODER: You’ve lost 20 pounds.

BESTEST: You’ve lost 10% of your starting weight!!!

Not having any trouble with cooking at home, but I’m desperately missing the convenience I once had in terms of finding something to eat. Gone are the days of blindly going out to eat without doing research ahead of time…gone are the quick last minute trips through a drive thru to grab lunch on the go…gone are the days of recovering from a hangover with a chicken biscuit and a regular coke. (I know that accounts for about a zillion calories, but sometimes you’ve just got to grease it up to get yourself back to normal!)

I am now forced to be acutely aware of everything and everyone that might have touched my food. I have to guard my food to prevent someone from sticking their contaminated fork in my potato to have a bite. (Sorry dad – had to call you out on this one!)

I have to trust where I’m going to eat…have to trust that the person preparing my food doesn’t say “Gluten what?” and then proceed to grab my food immediately after touching a hamburger bun. I know that there’s probably a pretty good chance that everything will be ok…but right now, I’m not willing to take the risk. I’m not willing to undo what I’ve already done.

Why am I so OCD about it? Well…I cannot even begin to describe how amazing I have felt for the last week. Sticking to a very strict GF diet has done wonders for my digestive system, my energy level, and my skin, believe it or not. Do I miss bread, fried chicken, Campbell’s soup and licking envelopes? (Yep…the envelope lick-y part could contain trace amounts of gluten.) No I do not. Don’t miss the pasta, don’t miss crackers, don’t miss gravy…To go from feeling as awful as I felt for the last decade, and especially the last 6 months to feeling absolutely incredible – I don’t miss any of it…not for one second!

In honor of my digestive rebirth – I will leave you with this:

GOOD: You finally found out what’s been plaguing you health wise.

GOODER: You start to feel better after “treatment”.

BESTEST: You feel better than you have in 15 years!

 “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” ~ Sir Winston Churchill

God Bless the Pork Belly!

No, your eyes did not deceive you. I did say God Bless the Pork Belly.

If you want to get me all hot and bothered, whisper “pork belly” in my ear. I ordered this at a restaurant for the first time last week. It was beyond slap your momma good. I was with my mom and it warranted an action far more grandiose than smacking her. (Side note: I would never intentionally slap my mom.)  If you’ve never had it before…you’re missing out.

I’m sure you’ve had bacon before (pork belly is the cut used to make bacon), but this is completely different. Let me try and describe it for you.  Ok, close your eyes…ok, no, don’t. Guess it’s a smidge difficult to read with your eyes closed.

So, the pork belly…. Imagine a ribeye steak that tastes like bacon.  The texture was more like a steak – a steak with a crispy topping.  It’s such an amazing textural experience.  You have a nice layer of meat, a nice layer of fat, another nice layer of meat, another nice layer of fat, and then you have a thin crispy layer on top that’s crackly when you bite down into it.

A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!

Doesn’t it look beautiful?!

I feel like I needed trumpets playing while that picture is being viewed. It needs Ariel from The Little Mermaid in the background singing. Streamers and confetti should be raining down.

I considered making a deal with myself while I was eating this. I honestly believe I could give up every unhealthy horrible food and/or beverage that I have EVER craved or eaten just to allow myself a taste of pork belly every once in a while.

While eating it, I had another thought…as delicious and pristine this pork belly was, I reminded myself that pigs aren’t normally eating fried and processed foods. I’m not saying that I want to get my belly in tip top condition so that it’s delicious to eat, but it did make me wonder how ungodly the human stomach must appear with all the hydrogenated, fried, processed, fermented crap that we (mostly I) have ingested in one lifetime.  It’s almost like being in 2nd grade again and looking at the lung of the smoker vs. non-smoker….”Here, Ms. Hayes, is the belly of an organically fed pig…notice how flawless and succulent…now here is your belly, all crusty and gangly from the bologna and French fries you’ve eaten in your lifetime.”  I need to strive for that perfect belly! On the inside and out.

Aside from my belly composition epiphany, you may now be asking yourself, “why is her blog post for this week about one of the most fattening things on the planet?”  Well, yes, this is a blog about weight loss. But this is also indirectly a blog about food and I need a little humor after this week’s result.  I went the wrong way on the scale this week…though not by much.

I needed this to refocus myself.  I’m sure I could have burped an extra time and not gained as much. Nevertheless, I was not careful about what I ate last week. That compounded with the fact that I had been eating almost nothing the week or 2 before really bit me in the ass. I know now that I need to keep my metabolism up so that if I do happen to eat 300 more calories than the day before that my body just doesn’t immediately decide to prepare for famine and store food for the winter around my belly button.

I need to plan better. I want to tell myself that I’ll make the best possible option at the last minute, and I should know by now that I don’t.  It’s not even that I make a bad food choice…I don’t make a choice at all. Eating 1 meal a day is catching up with me.  For those of you that are working on or have been successful at weight loss, what are some of the tips and techniques you have for staying focused food wise or making sure you plan ahead? I know it sounds simple to just say that I’ll plan out everything I’m going to eat 7 days in advance, but I don’t know how realistic that is all the time. Perhaps that’s the problem I’ve had in the past.

Aside from battling some type of food-borne illness or bug or whatever it is that keeps rearing its ugly head every few weeks with me, my attention is completely refocused. I’m going to work on the planning aspects of the diet and hope to get some great feedback from you all on what I can do to not make this organizing-what-I’m-going-to-eat so overwhelming.  I did take a very small step backwards…well the scale did, mentally I’m still moving in the right direction, but despite a slightly higher number, I feel thinner and my clothes are fitting better. My body has never made sense…gain weight and lose inches! I’ll take it though…here’s to getting everything back on track next week!!

Until next time…HH

“Failure is the opportunity to begin again, only this time more intelligently.” ~ Henry Ford