Category Archives: Eating

How it’s Going: FAT TUESDAY series, Part 6

not actual serving size

Suzy’s Going Public Post

A Problem and a Potential Solution

Baby Steps on the Road to Healthy Living

I Think I Might Have Found my Why

I Have a Sponsor

I went back and re-read my FAT TUESDAY series. I was reminded of the thoughts and feelings that were present while I wrote and the ones that sometimes occur when I eat. Since the A to Z Blog Challenge takes Sundays off, I’m writing my next FAT TUESDAY installment today.

When we last looked in on our protagonist, she was planning to shop and eat the perimeter of the grocery store, keep a food journal, and limit eating hours to 7am-7pm daily.

Do you use any food or exercise apps? My Fitness Pal? Endomondo? I have. For me, though, they add a layer to my eating that is actually unhelpful, as I focus more on the number of calories, grams of carbs, etc., than the experience of eating the food and what I feel like after I do so. I think this is why the food journal baby step only lasted a few days. It may be back in the future, but isn’t working right now.

The perimeter of the grocery store continues to be an extremely helpful focus. I find myself shopping this way more and more, and the food in the house is primarily healthful, although we still have a few snack and processed foods.

Finally, deciding to stop eating at 7pm every evening has been a very good baby step for me. Coupled with deciding that there are no banned foods, I’m finding the 7pm stopping point to work very well.

Understanding baby steps also seems to be of value in my journey. Typically, I have imagined a baby step to be something that is small, but also short-lived before the next one is implemented. When I think about the way a baby walks, she takes a step, or maybe two, and then lands on her butt before she gets up again to take another step. No baby I know walks like an Olympic speed-walker.

I have actually found myself sometimes saying no thank you to the delicious ice cream in the freezer asking to be eaten. It’s my very favorite kind, locally made, expensive, and very high quality. There seems to be something powerful to having the ice cream available and to know I can eat it anytime I want (between 7am and 7pm). No big fights about it within. Therefore, no compulsion to eat it now as if I can never get anymore again.

Today, as we discussed dinner, I first suggested pizza, probably out of habit, and the memory of how that first bite of cheesy, saucy, dough tastes. After a few minutes, I realized I didn’t really want pizza. I wanted one of my super duper smoothies. (kale, spinach, kefir, blueberries, wheatgrass, etc) I was pleasantly surprised at this turn of events.

Having a sponsor is more helpful than I would ever have imagined.

So, my eating isn’t perfect. Never has been. Never will be. I really do not believe there is any such thing as perfection, so that’s not even the goal. I’m looking to be nourished, to be in touch with what I eat, to make choices that actually serve my health, and oh yeah, to enjoy it all.

Suzy’s Going Public Post

Yes, S-u-z-y. An online friend of mine, but I have no doubt we would enjoy many things together were we to meet in real life. Suzy’s Going Public Post spoke about her ongoing issues with weight and you can read about it here.

I, Siouxsie, have also had ongoing issues with weight. Now, I’m not talking about the little ups and downs that everyone has. Nor do I have the extremes of bulimia, eating entire cartons of ice cream, or weighing several hundred pounds. No, I have managed to hide my weight issues pretty well (I think). Most people wouldn’t guess my weight correctly, being quite surprised that the number is so high.

But it’s a secret burden, and a source of shame. Not my weight, per se, but the depth to which I plunge my heart into loss and grief by choices I make about what I put in my mouth. How many times have I gobbled up all the [insert junk food name here] for “the last time,” thinking that going ahead and eating it and not having anymore would somehow make the slightest difference? Hello? There are four Kroger stores three miles in any direction from me. I have a car. I have a drivers license. I do not hesitate to use them.

Over the years, I have dulled my senses and my conscience about food.

When I was a girl, my dad and I used to go to Bonnie Lynn Bakery for “emergency rations,” doughnuts to have along “just in case.” But it was really just for fun. I would go along with him on his drapery installations and hand him things as he stood on the ladder putting up the beautiful drapery rods and draperies that would beautify the homes of his customers. I felt like his Princess Assistant, so important, so treasured, so loved. Doughnuts from Bonnie Lynn were part of that experience.

Always, special times with Dad included food and meals. Grabbing lunch at the now-defunct “Burger Chef.” Running up to the United Dairy Farmers for a mid-afternoon chocolate malt (for him) and shake (for me). We had the “lunch bunch” with extended family members once a week. Thousands of visits to the pizza joints after Sunday evening church, and later in place of Sunday evening church. Lunches with just me and Dad. Chips and Pepsi shared companionably during thousands of quarters of football games. Trips to the Aglamesis Brothers ice cream parlor where we laughed and joked and told stories and felt happy.

My faithful mother was in the background, serving meals that included vegetables, cooking us hot breakfasts of healthy foods, whipping up huge meals for guests who would stop by. She is an amazing cook. The bar was set high in my mind.

Along came scientific research. Look long enough, and you’ll find the pro and con research about every food and drink known to man. Yes, eat more of this! No, don’t eat any of it! You know how Steve Jobs wore the same clothes every day because he didn’t want to use his energy on such a small decision? I’m like that. And when the decision doesn’t seem to have any clear answer, as is the case for me with food, I get paralyzed with inaction, and then eventually just say the hell with it and I get a pizza.

Suzy’s going public post put it out there that she was going to do something about her weight issues. And she did and she has. She lost 50 pounds and has kept all but 5 off for over two years. Clearly, she has made a lifestyle change.

That’s what this post ostensibly is about. Making a lifestyle change. But what the change needs to be is the question. What does the change need to be? I don’t know the answer to that yet, but I am sharing this with the world — I want to be healthy and vibrant. My current food choices are not making that a reality.

Besides the “putting into my mouth” aspect, there is also the “what to do instead” aspect, and the “letting go of the belief that changing my eating habits could ever alter the sweet, sweet times I had with Dad.”

This is going to have to be an ongoing process. I don’t have the answers at this time. As a matter of fact, I think I need to just allow myself to be lost in the wilderness of this right now. Accept that I am lost in the wilderness right now.

photo credit: Greg Taylor

There are benchmarks and signs in the wilderness that help one navigate, even if one only has a topographical map. Using a map and compass means taking the next steps and then stopping again to figure out where to go next. My map today says to acknowledge the trees that surround me and the darkness that seems to be most evident on the path ahead. My heart says to take the next step. Therefore, I create this post and share it, knowing that doing so is the courageous step that will help me find my way out of this dark forest.

Eating as Recreation

Me and food, we’re close. Real close. I have wonderful memories of me and food that go way, way back to my early days. But, as sometimes happens with good friends, we grew apart. But I couldn’t live without food, so I began to use her. I would read, and eat, but wouldn’t pay any attention to her. No longer cared about the details of what I was eating, as long as it tasted good. Yes, I suppose the food offered more than just a sweet, pretty face, but I was more interested in doing something else while I ate.

I noticed my children had picked up this habit, and even though we would occasionally eat a meal together, when my children ate alone or with another person, they would inevitably read all the way through the meal, including and not limited to the time they carried their dishes into the kitchen.

I decided on October 1st we were going to have two new rules here. One: no eating anywhere except the table. For us, this would mean no more eating in front of the computer, or in front of the tv, or in our rooms, or walking from one place in the house to another. Big change. But the second rule was bigger. Two: no reading while eating. We would now have to carry our food to the table and just eat it.

It’s been a week. Here’s what I have noticed. I am eating less. No longer just something to do while I turn the pages of a book, I have to be intentional about sitting down at the table and eating. This takes time! Until this past weekend, I could easily justify killing two birds with one stone, eating while doing the crossword puzzle, eating while reading a novel, eating while going through the mail. As I realize what it means to over-consume, I have realized that over-consumption doesn’t just mean eating too much food! For me it also means treating food as entertainment, as filler, as recreation. No!

The picture? It is the grape stem I finally noticed today. Now that I have nothing to distract me from the food, I am looking at the food. I had never seen these long, long roots that connected the grapes to the vine. A few stems only had short roots around the edge. I suspect this happens as the grapes ripen and are ready to pick. But you can see that there are very long roots on many of the stems. What else have I missed as I’ve distracted myself from the food? I am looking forward to those discoveries.

Bon appetit!