Time to Focus

January 27, 2012

I need to buckle down on my eating. For most of the month, I haven’t been as diligent and focused as I could be. I wouldn’t say that I’m completely off my game – I’ve just been lazy. Portion sizes have gotten larger. My emphasis on planning has wained. I’ve indulged my cravings much sooner than usual, and without consideration on how those calories would impact the rest of my day.

I’ve gone through periods like this before – it starts to happen whenever I plateau or repeatedly gain and lose the same couple of pounds. I begin thinking, “Why not eat foods X, Y, and Z – I’m not losing weight anyway.” In the past few weeks, I’ve bought a candy bar (or two) at gas stations, a pint of ice cream (which was polished off much sooner than it should have been), and I’ve been really craving 7-11 corn dogs, so I’ve gotten a couple of those, too (I know, I know, they technically don’t quality as ‘food’ – more like ‘food-like substances’).

None of that is the end of the world, and I’m not beating myself up over any of it. It’s the behavior behind that bothering me and needs to change. All of those purchases were impulsive. I wanted junk food, so I bought junk food, and ate it immediately (usually, in my car, except for the ice cream). The most caloric impulse purchase was a slice of Sbarro pizza at the food court in the mall. It was the worst kind of eating: I was at the mall, I hadn’t eaten in a while, and I was a little hungry, but not achingly so. I walked past the Sbarro, and I wasn’t even craving pizza, but I thought, ‘Oh, that looks good, I haven’t eaten that in a while’ – and without a second thought, I bought a piece. I wish I had registered that I was hungry, taken stock of all the options in the food court, figured out if there was anything at all I wanted to get there, and made a more conscious, informed, intelligent decision. But I didn’t. I went for what was right in front of me. And it was greasy. And it was good, but it wasn’t the best.

Again, the pizza isn’t the end of the world, and I’m gonna gain dozens of pounds because of it. But the thinking (or lack thereof) is what I need to squash. I need to get back to the place where I think about my days, think about the food in my fridge, and the exciting ways I’m going to eat it, and then stick to those plans. When I do that, I alleviate a lot of temptation, and which temptations do strike, I can better fend them off, without giving into them mere moments after they appear.

Another reason why I’ve given in to poor food choices is because my cupboards are a little bare. My grocery shopping game, at the moment, is off – I have healthy food around, but not enough choices, and when I don’t have enough choices in my kitchen, I start not wanting to eat it. I had a container of pre-washed mixed baby salad greens in my fridge – you know the kind, every grocery store sells them. But because I didn’t many other good salad things to add to it, I never wanted to eat it. I stared at it every day for a week, maybe longer. I should have gone and picked up some salad ingredients that excite me, but I didn’t. And it sat there, and sat there, and sat there, and then yesterday I picked it up and realized it had long since expired. I opened the container, and sure enough, it smelled like a compost heap and every leaf was slimy. I don’t like wasting food, and that pissed me off.

Yesterday afternoon, I rectified my lack of healthy options problem with a big trip to Whole Foods. Here’s the entirety of my fresh produce before the trip:

Two sweet potatoes, two apples, an onion, a lemon and a head of garlic.

And here’s what I picked up at Whole Foods:

Top half, L-R: 3 red pears, 4 zucchini, 4 tomatoes, 5 satsuma tangerines, a cucumber, 2 pints blueberries, baby carrots, red bell peppers. Bottom half, L-R: celery, strawberries, bananas, pre-washed kale (and yes, I will eat it before it goes bad), 4 (more) apples, broccoli.

I also picked up a new-to-me produce item that I’ve never seen before, because I haven’t done that in a while (not since I sampled a calamondin in Michigan). Check these out – they’re popcorn shoots!

They were in the sprouts and sprouted bean section, and I presume they’re baby corn plants. They seem really thin and delicate, and although you may not be able to tell in these pictures, they’re almost translucent, which I think is really cool.

I have my research to do, but I already have an idea for how to use them as part of a breakfast dish. Look for that post this weekend!

In the meantime, I have my work cut out for me: Eat better. Plan more. Consider cravings and see if they subside instead of immediately caving into them. Oh, and you wanna know how you can help? If you’re a regular blog reader, pay attention. There’s a sure-fire sign that I’m not eating as well as I could be, and it’s that I simply don’t write about food. Since I’ve returned from my holiday travels, I’ve only written one food-based post (What’s In The RediSetGo? Part Twenty-One). If you see me go for a stretch without any mention of food, call me out on it, either in the comments section or through the Contact page!

OK – I’m off to my new gym (while my eating has suffered lately, my exercise has been pretty stellar), and I already know what I’m making for lunch when I get back – I’m getting back on the salad train with that kale, one of those tomatoes, and one of those peppers. I’ll post a picture on my Facebook page later today as proof!

Keep it up, David!

UPDATE (3pm): The salad photo is up on my Facebook page, as promised! Check it out here.

Your Questions, Answered

January 29, 2011

I’ve gotten tons of new readers over the past few weeks, thanks to the exposure from appearing on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”, and I’m thankful that each and every one of you has checked out the blog, and I also love that so many of you feel compelled by what you’re seeing and reading to leave notes in the comments section.

Due to the number of new comments and because I ended up going out of town for a while right after the show aired, I haven’t been able to respond to many of them, although I have read each and every single one.  I thought I’d dedicate a post to answering a few of the questions you’ve been leaving in the comments section.  If this goes well, maybe it’ll become something I do on a regular basis!

Before the questions, though, I want to clear up a little kerfuffle from a couple weeks ago.  That’s right, I just used the word kerfuffle (and had to look up the correct spelling).  I got a lot of comments on my post where I shared the first mean comment that I’ve gotten (read the post here).  One of the comments was an apology from ‘Mike Hunt,’ the guy who left the mean comment in the first place.  Except, though, that it wasn’t.  I have a good friend who anonymously leaves comments every once and a while with the goal of trying to make me laugh (he’s not anonymous to me – I know which comments are his, even though he uses a fake name).  The apology came from him, with the thought that it might make me smile, which it did.  What I didn’t expect was that other people would then contact me, saying ‘Oh my god, that guy apologized!  I’ve never seen that before!  What are you gonna do?’  Um, I’m gonna do nothing.  ‘Mike Hunt’ is still at large, and he did not apologize, nor do I expect him to.  Case closed.

OK – here are some questions:

Mindy wrote:

Edgar Sawtelle is a fabulous book. Have you read Water for Elephants? That’s a good one too.

I finished The Story of Edgar Sawtelle a few days ago and absolutely loved it.  And yep, I read Water for Elephants and really enjoyed it, too.  Have you seen the trailer for the movie version with Reese Witherspoon?  Watch it here.  Gonna need to find a new book –   suggestions, anyone?

Zach wrote:

I need help. I just need ideas for what to eat, and how much to eat. Life is going nowhere right now, and I am a depressed eater. I eat whatever I want and in huge quanities. At this rate I am going to hurt myself. I weight 358.4 lbs, at age 25, standing right at 6 foot tall. All of my weight, ALL OF IT, is in my belly. My back hurts, shoulders, I am starting to have a hard time running short distances. I just woke up the other day and decided I need to stop wearing 4X polos. So do you have any tips to get started?

Hey Zach!  What I would recommend is to identify one thing you can do, starting tomorrow, to be healthier, and then do it.  Can you take the stairs to get to your office instead of the elevator?  Can you replace a couple sodas and drink water instead?  Can you pack your lunch instead of eating out?  Start small, and do one new thing for a few days.  Then, add a second new thing, and, a week later, a third, and so on.  I’ve been in your shoes, and I know how daunting it can seem, but one small change isn’t daunting at all, and you’ll find that once you start making those changes, you’ll gain some momentum, and see that those small changes, added up, can make a big difference!

Shelby wrote:

What do you do to stop cravings, also are you just doing exercise from the Richard Simmons videos? I have some health problems like asthma and bad knees and wonder if the video workouts are hard.  Good luck with the rest of your weight loss.

Hi Shelby!  Ugh – cravings are hard!  I can watch a commercial for Oreos and by the time those 30 seconds are over, I want some!  But here’s what’s been working for me lately:  I refuse to let myself act impulsively.  I identify a craving specifically – so, instead of thinking ‘I really want something sweet,’ I narrow it down to exactly what I’m craving: ‘I really want a Butterfinger Blizzard from Dairy Queen.’  Then, I sleep on it.  Many times, I wake up, and the craving is gone.  Sometimes, I still have it, and it’s stronger.  Then I start figuring out what I can eat that will satisfy the craving without making me feel guilty.  I’ve found that if I don’t satisfy the craving at all than it just gets stronger and stronger and I’ll end up making some really poor choices or binging.  For the Dairy Queen craving, I ended up, after a few days, going to Baskin Robbins and getting 300 calories worth of sherbet.  You can read more about that craving battle here.

Oh wait – Shelby’s question is a two-parter!  As for the exercise, I’m currently up to 5-6 workouts a week, and I switch them up – I take classes at Slimmons, do cardio and toning at the gym, and go running, too.  You mentioned having bad knees – have you tried doing a chair workout?  I haven’t done this myself, but Richard has a DVD called “Sit Tight” that’s a complete workout without any stress on your knees.  Check it out here.  I’ve done Richard’s “Sweatin’ to the Oldies 5” – and the good thing about it is that you can only do what you can.  Who’s gonna know?  If you can only make it through 1/2, than do 1/2.  Maybe the next time you can do a few minutes more.  That’s how you’ll get stronger!

Thanks for the questions, everyone, and, more importantly, thanks for reading the blog.  If you have a question for me, leave it in a comments section.  I read every comment – every one of ’em!

Keep it up, David!