Saturday, 14 March 2009

Talking Fat #9: The Meltdown

Two weekends ago I experienced a major food meltdown. I’m having a bit of trouble coming out of that meltdown. I love unhealthy food! I want Chinese food, curry, chocolate, icing – everything! For the ultimate flavour experience, most restaurants do not prepare ethnic food with “health” in mind. Let’s face it – fatty foods really do taste better. Yes, Chinese and East Indian foods could be prepared fairly healthy – but they aren’t – because it doesn’t taste as good!
Since returning from Vancouver I have been struggling to get my eating habits back in check. Sure, I feel much better when I eat right, and the benefits should be clear. I am also struggling to work out – again, I feel better when I work out. When I am on a regular exercise regime, I rarely get sick, my joints feel good, I have energy – sometimes too much. I hate spending time working out. Unfortunately I am starting to remember how easy it is to gain weight. No, correction – I’m remembering how easy it is for ME to gain weight. Sniff a piece of chocolate cake, and bang! There are 5 pounds on the waist.
The problem with my eating, is that I’m an emotional eater. The more stressed out I am, the more I will devour. Short of becoming a trash compacter, I have an appetite like no other. Now, combine my love for food with the fact I haven’t been eating what I want for the past 15 months, with the fact that I am stressed out…oh food meltdown, here I come! When I emotional eat, I have no off switch- there is no point at which I am full. The other night I devoured my dinner, literally by sucking it up. One of my girlfriends looked at me with some shock – and then showed more shock, when she realized I wasn’t full! As it turns out, moderately-less-fat-Leanne can actually eat more than Obese Leanne could. Really! After loosing over 100 pounds, I have an appetite that rivals my former self. Luckily there are few people who I actually allow to witness my true appetite.
Oh yes, I could eat – “eat healthy” is what I will be told. But it is not the healthy stuff that I want. It’s the empty calories, dripping with sweetness, that I so desire.
Ok now granted, I keep a good enough work out regime that I have a higher metabolism than I once had – but trust me, even with working out, I will never burn off the calories that I want to consume.

So, how will I deal with this food crisis? New tactics! New psychological conditioning! New strategies!

Tactic #1: Meal Planning
I’ve never really been into planning my meals. When I wake up in the morning, I grab whatever is in the freezer to defrost, and I work around that. This tactic involves me actually planning out my meals for the 5-7 days. Tonight we are eating turkey stew and salad. Sunday we are at an event, so I will try to maintain a careful distance from the deep fryers. Monday will be rosemary grilled pork chops, steamed vegetables, and salad. Tuesday’s menu calls for turkey tacos, seasoned potatoes (zero trans fat), and salad. Wednesday will be the boringly grilled chicken breast, fresh veggies, and maybe something with rice.

Two things – I’m trying to branch out the food options. For the majority of the past year, I have stuck mainly to grilled chicken breasts, broccoli, salad, and beans. It gets boring! Sometimes I would spice up the chicken breasts with Mrs. Dash. It doesn’t matter how you cover it, it is still a stinky grilled chicken breast. The other thing: I’m actually in the process of limiting my available meat options; a book that I recently read has pushed me towards cutting red and processed meats (including lunch meats, sausage, etc) out of my diet. Just because I love food, doesn’t mean I want my body to be a wasteland.

Tactic #2: Psychological Conditioning
This has more to do with working out. As I am returning to London at the end of the month, I have decided to increase my work out haul. The psychological factor is convincing myself (through every miserable step) is that it is “only for 2 weeks”, “only for 2 weeks”, “only for 2 weeks”.

Odds & Ends
I am presently reading the book “The Complete Master Cleanse”; you may know it by its more common name – The Lemonade Diet. My friend was talking about this great cleanse that cleaned out the colon, and removed years of debris from your system. I am sceptical, and think it is a bunch of hooey. At one point the author praises the cleanse for removing parasites and bacteria from the digestive system. Newsflash! We need those parasites!
Because I really have nothing to do, I might try this lemonade diet. I realize that any weight loss generated on such a diet is entirely superficial and the weight gain will be almost instantaneous once the diet is over. I just want to prove it is hooey.

The same friend is also interested in the Martha’s Vineyard Diet. You can loose 20 pounds in 20 days. I think this is hooey too. I feel that both of these diets, and any other fad diet, banks on the fact that you weren’t previously dieting when you started. Any time you “start” a diet from scratch, you will loose a fairly substantial amount of weight in the early stages; don’t credit the fad diet – credit your body.

This whole lifestyle-change-thing, has actually diversified my palate. A year ago I would never have eaten calamari – I ate it a week ago, and really enjoyed it. You reach a point that it really doesn’t matter what you eat, as long as you eat.

I’m keeping my breakfasts as 1 cup of Special K (various flavours) with a small amount of skim milk, 100 g of yogurt, 1 slice of toast or fruit, and coffee. I’m trying to eat lunch – lately it has been Knorr Coloured soups (green or red), and maybe toast. I need to get away from products with yeast – I could live on bread, and it’s really not that good for you.

Lastly, I just need to say that I am going crazy this spring. Peasants tops (or whatever they are called now) are the in-thing in all of the stores (at least in North America, and I’m hoping in London too!). A year ago I couldn’t fit the clothes in the majority of clothing stores. I love the Bohemian look, and I love peasant tops, and I fit clothes this spring – every time I walk past Costa Blanca, Old Navy, or whichever other store, I actually drool! Finally I fit, and I have no money!!!!!! GRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! I found a store in Edmonton that I am in LOVE with – XXI (Forever 21) – and can be relieved we don’t have one in Thunder Bay. I am in clothing angst!

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