I HAVE MOVED! My main blog as of Sept of 2010 is TWO YEARS TO HAPPY WEIGHT AFTER. Visit me there. My post links in the updates below will link up to the new blog. THANKS for reading!

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Using Dr. Beck's Tools To Cope With Cravings and Emotional Eating

I've just added a new member to my Diet Blog Royalty set of links: Beck Diet Girl. Since some of my blogging pals have struggled--as I have--with cravings, binges, emotional eating and other out of control food uses, I thought it would be good to focus on those psychological tools out there. In this case, Dr. Beck's tools.

Beck Diet Girl posted this back in August, and it will help when cravings hit (if implemented, of course):

Dr. Beck offers two kinds of anti-craving strategies: Mindset Techniques and Behavioral Techniques.

There are 5 Mindset Techniques:

Label It. Tell myself this is only a craving, not a true need.
No problem.

Stand Firm. Tell myself I am absolutely not going to eat the food I'm craving.
Easier said than done.

Don't Give Yourself a Choice. Tell myself NO CHOICE.
How is this different than standing firm? Apparently I'll find out on Day 16.

Imagine the Aftermath of Giving In. Think about giving in to the craving, but focus on what happens after I swallow: feeling weak and out of control and hopeless.
This is a great idea!

Remind Myself Why I Want to Learn to Withstand Cravings. Read my ARC.
Another great idea!

There are 4 Behavioral Techniques:

Distance Myself from the Food I Crave. Leave the room or throw away or give away the food.
This could be difficult since it calls on will power again.

Drink a No- or Low-Calorie Beverage. Satisfying thirst masked as hunger can erase cravings; have a glass of water or another low-calorie drink.
I already do this, drinking almost a gallon of water a day, and it does help.

Relax. Focus on my breathing, in through my nose for 4 counts and out for 4 counts.
This can be helpful in stressful situations of any kind.

Distract Myself. Perform another activity instead of giving in to the craving.
A definite winner!

The idea is to practice these techniques when a craving hits so I'll be able to ignore it until it goes away.

In this other post, she uses the same tools to address emotional eating.

The tools worked for her, cause until this past week, she had not had a weight gain/regain. She's pulling out her Beck set of tools to address it.

I know that weeks when I do better (when I look at my records) are when I instinctively did some of these techniques (remember, I haven't read the book.) The distraction. The water. The distance. The low-cal beverage or snack. The firm self-talk. Thing is, I really have slacked off. Like Beck Diet Girl, it's time to bring the tools back to the forefront. Which means putting the weight loss as priority one. Something's got to give. I let dieting go to the back burner, and as a result, I spent most of the last month not losing. (I wish I could multi-task with greater ease and balance, but I can't. I suck at juggling in my middle age. Did better at it when I was younger.)

If you want to use Dr. Beck's tools, I recommend her book. (I have it, but need to read and implement it!) Also, her blog, with links to bloggers using her method.

More books for those who need to get free from emotional eating:

Thursday, November 15, 2007

DragonFire Factoid: Emotional Eating Big Obstacle to Big Loss & Maintenance

New research shows that those who have the hardest time keeping off the weight are those who eat for internal emotional reasons.

The study (published in Obesity) looked at those who were participating in a behavioral weight loss trial and also used data from the National Weight Control Register (NWCR).

The study found that it was easy to predict outcomes for those who ate in response to internal cues, such as feelings and thoughts. Essentially the higher levels of "internal disinhibition" at the beginning of the weight loss program - meant the less weight loss overall.
--Diet Blog "Maintaining Your Weight: Emotional Eating Must Be Addressed"


Scale Tale: Vampire Mode & A Wee Bit 'O Progress

Another spotty week. I have to admit, I've lost a good portion of my focus. This happens when weight loss is not priority one. It has NOT been priority one. Things like some home improvement and writerly stuff has taken precedence.

Plus my schedule is all blown to hell again. I've been going to sleep anywhere from 8 am to 1 pm, and I've been getting up anywhere from 4pm to 8pm. This is always a troubling schedule for me. I tend to want to eat MORE, so I've been fighting the vampire syndrome (wake up to EAT!)

Still, despite lasagna and tiramisu with hubby yesterday, Mr. Tanita says:


Thank God for small mercies.

And I'll be honest, I did NOT want to step on the scale. I forced myself to. The Challenge kept me accountable, if a day late. I really thought it would be bad, since I've been having my characteristic chin and jawline breakout that signals hormonal changes in prep for the Red Guest. But, I guess perimenopause is winning this round. No sign of a visitor. Well, other than salty cravings and zits. :P

I'm working today on getting back on track, and part of that is posting (this, yeah) and reading (like this series of posts) and visiting my blogging fatfighter pals. It's a journey. Or, as Tales from the Scales blog has in their post today on Positive Self-talk, it's an ADVENTURE!


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Sharing Some of My Art Collection

--L'Amore by Sara Butcher

The last couple eating days have been weird, not to mention sleeping and everything else. Had to move all the stuff out of my kitchen and dining room to put new flooring, and scrub the floors on my hands and knees, clean the fridge, etc. I could barely walk yesterday and today. Everything from the waist down hurts! The lack of adequate sleep and odd schedule has me eating off plan. Plus, Thursday--pizza binge. Again. I can easily say that's my number one trouble food. But I didn't have anything in the house to make it and it was late and, yes, the only restaurants open late round here are pizza joints and Denny's and IHOPs. And only pizza delivers.

So, today, I woke up after sleeping 9 hours. Nice! And I had a healthy 300 calorie breakfast of egg white and spinach frittata and a raw tomato with parsley and olive oil. Fresh-ground coffee to die for. And I got to enjoy my nice new floor.

Still moving like a hobbled senior citizen, but, that'll pass.

Since my eating has been crap two days running, and I'm breaking out, and I'm holding water, I decided to offer you something much nicer to look at than my ankles at present. :)

A few things from the art I've collected since last year. (Which will have to tide me over for a while, since we got our tax bills and the budget just DIED!)

First, a piece that was my Christmas present last year from hubby. I commissioned it from Sara Butcher, an enormously talented young artist who specializes in Christian (ie, angels and such) and Fantasy (ie fairies, wizards, etc) art. My watercolor came out so nice, a friend of mine commissioned art, too, and than another recommended Sara to her boss, who had her sister memorialized as a stunning angel by Sara in a watercolor. (Makes me emotional to think about it, and it's so lovely a tribute.)

My painting is called "Warrior's Guardian"--the title was chosen by Sara. (click the link to see a LARGER, better image).I merely specified what I wanted in the panting (ie, a large, black-haired angel with a dragon and a knight in each hand.) Here she is:

I spent a mini-boatload on a fabulous golden frame with a pattern that matches that on the angel's bodice. It hangs here, in my office. And when I look at her, I feel so good and calm. She's therapeutic. She's also doctrinally trinitarian. Those of you who are trinitarian will catch what I mean. Everyone else, just notice the pattern of THREEs in the painting--in the buds, the layers of the skirting, in the rings of light, in the birds, etc. There are various sets of three, including, of course, the three central beings: the dragon, the knight, and the angel.

The first image way up top, that's L'Amore by Sara, and I bought that ACEO because it reminded me of hubby and myself, him fair of hair, me dark, and lots of love, love, love!

Another gifted fantasy artist is Carmen Keys. I bought an original watercolor that she'd already painted (not to my specs) because the expression on the elvish lady's face reminded me of my mom, who happened to love both that lavender color and lilies. It's called, fittingly, "DREAM OF LILIES"

I spent a second mini-boatload framing her gloriously. Took a long time to find the right matting colors to suit the color scheme. Probably the toughest color selection for professional framing I've ever had to do. But it came out splendidly. (I need to one day take digital shots of them as they hand on the wall, cause the frames and good matting actually accentuates the beauties of the works.)

At left is an adorable small painting (and ACEO), also by Carmen Keys, and it's called "Afraid of the Dark." I suffered badly from that phobia for years. I'm much better now, thanks.
At right is a cute "sweater fairy" I bought from Natalie Ewert. I wish I could afford some of her Queen of Hearts originals in her Alice In Wonderland series. Love those!

My most recent commission--the artist just sent me the final image via email yesterday--is one based on the character and setting of my Novel-In-Progress. The character is named Selah, and the background skyline is in Miami. The novel is an urban fantasy. But here is Hanna Sandvig's conception of Selah (who lives in a magical, multi-dimensional pseudo-monastery with a particularly attractive and mysterious guardian angel, a place where no one ages and many secrets are kept):

As previously, I specified what I wanted (the scar on her cheek, the color and style of hair, a red blouse, a ghostly moon, a "Gothy" feel to her outfit, a misty environment, an ancient looking stone edifice), but it's Hanna's talent that brought her to life. You can tell that Hanna has a strong "anime" sensibility. Hubby and I occasionally watch anime, and I wanted something in that milieu.

While I couldn't afford new art from Melanie Weidner at this time, I did order several prints from her collection, which you can start to view at the previous link and here. Some prints that I ordered are "Deep Breath," "Opening," "At Home," "Gathering Strength," and "Between Us." I also got the prints set of "The Passion of the Earth" series.

If I were flush with millions, I'd have a house full from top to bottom of art. I really love watercolors best of all, but any really beautiful piece--a collage, an oil painting, a sculpture, etc--they can really make me just feel like bursting. And sometimes light me up when I feel dark. Or give me hope on a hard day.

I have several more fairy/fantasy/angel pieces, but I don't have them all scanned/photographed. I also have three silly-fun Monster By Mail small pieces by Len Peralta (who started doing these to raise money for his latest child's birth, and she was born days ago!) You can see Len creating my "Botticelli's Birth of Venus Zombie" and my "Tormented Female Novelist Alien at South Beach Cafe" at YouTube. The latter features a fun, bouncy tune. Len also did my Halloween present to my husband--a sort of vampiric alter-hubby.

If you want to buy something really special for a loved one, consider art. You support an artist and you get something gorgeous. Win/Win. Even if all you can buy is a $15 print, it's a lovely thing. And some artists, like Sara Butcher, are doing philanthropic stuff for the holidays. (Sara is giving $1 from each bookmark sold to the homeless.My angel painting is offered in bookmark form, and I ordered some. Also, a gorgeous one called "Blues of Winter" is a terrific choice. Cool and graceful for the season.)

What do you collect that makes you happy and feel a little "bigger" inside?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Behold: The Princess as the Years Roll By

In case any of y'all wonder what I look like.

I hate taking pics. Even when I was a normal weight teen I hated it, cause, basically, I have tiny eyes and no cheekbones and tetracycline stained teeth from my multiple bouts of illnesses as a child, during my formative teeth years. Above is a snapshot my BIL took of me and my darling boo at our wedding, where I didn't allow a pro photographer, even having to argue about it with my beloved mom who wanted one. That was in 1983 and I weighed 154 lbs and wore a size 14/16. Hubby, as you can see, was the handsomest groom ever. (I am biased and I admit it. But he's dang cute--then and now!)

Probably one of my fave snapshots of me is below. I was 29 and I loved that hairdo and color. My hair was dyed jet black, though I'm too old for it now, dang. (I may go really darker, close to black, next time. To hell with the rules.) I weighed about 180, so my face was much slimmer, not to mention I actually had a jawline (still no cheekbones--I envy people with cheekbones):

I still have those earrings that my sister gave me. LOVE em!

This is a pic from August of 2000, when one of my online pals (we met online in 1996) visited Miami and we went out to dinner in a Coral Gables restaurant. I had come from visiting my mom, who was in the hospital (and it was my sister's turn to spend the night with her). I weighed about 260 there. My friend's visit lifted my spirits:

Now, at 47, I'm not digging the effects of time and gravity. The camera makes me cringe. Eh. Could be worse. This is a pic of me taken last week:

Hubby took the above pic at a museum exhibit using his camera phone. I had asked him to bring the digital cam to get good shots of the masterworks, but they didn't allow flash, and the camera battery went kaput, anyway. I was very happy. I love art and I love hubby and I love my sister, and so it was a day when I felt very loved and very full of life, even if I had slept little and my face was puffy from salt retention. I was about 278 there, and 2 lbs of that was water retention.

This is my handsome groom today:

He's lost about 30-35 lbs in the last couple years, and now I want to slim down and look hotter for my snooky. We'll celebrate our 25th anniversary next June. By then, I'd love to fit into a much smaller dress size for our big celebratory bash.

So, did I look anything like what you expected?


Please Pray for Oinkstop

Things are tough for our fellow fatfighter. She had a HUGE loss this week, but it came from sorrow, and no one wants that sort of grief.

If you believe in the power of prayer, please add your voice.

Scale Tale: Ticking Slightly Downwards, even with Cuban feast digesting in my gut

Hello, all. Yeah, I've been scarce. But I did want to come and report for the challenge.

Not the most exciting report. Mr Tanita says:


That's a loss of 0.4 pounds. Almost half a pound. I'll take it!

My face is breaking out, which may mean company's coming. We'll see. But I had some good days, some iffy days. Yesterday, after visiting a relative at the hospital, my sister and I went for Cuban food. I had a points-accumulating feast of:

1 tamale (Cuban style, with onions on a leaf)
1 cup garbanzo soup (oh, how I adore garbanzo soup) into which I dumped about a third of a cup of white rice to thicken
1 large slice of toston (fried green plantain) with salt
5 ounces or so of masitas de puerco con mojo(fried pork chunks with garlic-sour orange-olive oil sauce)
2/3 cup of congri (rice cooked together with black beans, aka 'moros y cristianos')
and 1 serving of coconut flan

Yes, it was delicious and comforting and my sister and I reveled.

I'd had a breakfast of about 400 cals, and then this calorie-rich lunch. So, dinner was a scoop of protein powder mixed with water and some coconut water (to balance the salty restaurant meal a tad).

I don't regret it, btw. I am unrepentant.

But today, I'm being very, very good.

Hi to all my blogging fatfighters. I'm praying for all of us to end the year at a lovely deficit. The only time we wanna have a deficit, huh? :)

Friday, November 2, 2007

Weil, Taubes, Oz: The Diet Discussion and The Princess' Philosophy on Food

I probably agree most with Dr. Weil on this one. Gary Taubes ideas about fat, though, are intriguing. It's interesting that even Dr. Oz admits he eats mostly low-carb in this clip.

My mom and dad had no heart disease, had very different body types, different food preferences, and both lived to their 80's. My mother was not much of a meat-eater. She ate small servings of meat, and larger servings of starchy veggies (plantains, cassava, boniato, malanga, potato.) She loved her dairy: especially milk (whole fat) and ice cream. She loved fruits and fruit juices. And soups (usually some sort of legume.) My father loved his rice and meat and eggs and whole milk. Every day, we had whole milk with breakfast, and often with a snack late in the afternoon or at night. Butter and olive oil were our main fats, although mom used lard when I was a kid to fry stuff. Lard was later exchanged for corn oil. Our only salad dressing was olive oil and vinegar. White cheese was often consumed (Cuban thing).

But mom and dad were cod liver oil afficionados. All of us got it. It was mom's cure-all. Cod liver oil. My dad consumed huge quantities of the stuff.

With all the hoopla about fish oils now, well, makes one wonder if that was mighty helpful in keeping their hearts normal.

I wish I could still take fish oils, but my allergy to seafood makes me leery. I'm really afraid I'll end up in the E.R.

As far as my food philosophy, here it is, and I hope I do not offend any of you. This is just how I see it, and I respect your right to disagree and hold a totally different philosophy:

I believe we are meant to eat the wide spectrum. I believe this for religious reasons, first and foremost--ie, I'm a Christian, and I believe humans are created, not genetic accidents--but also because of my reading on the subject. And because I tend to shy away from food extremism. Whether it's the raw food recruiters or the no-carbs proselytizers or the no fat fanatics or the vegan venerators.

I believe we were created to consume fruits/veggies/herbs/nuts in abundance, yes, as depicted in Genesis.

I have given you every plant with seeds on the face of the earth and every tree that has fruit with seeds. This will
be your food. Genesis 1:29

But whatever and wherever Eden was, it's not here and now. Our foreparents were driven forth, barred from the ease and healthfulness and abundance of Paradise, and our diet was altered by God to suit a changed world and our changed beings:

Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field Genesis 3:18

Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. Genesis 9:3

And take your father and your households, and come unto me: and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and ye shall eat the fat of the land. Genesis 45:18

And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat. Genesis 18:8

There's even a warning that, well, may apply to our age:

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils ... commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. -- 1 Timothy 4:1-3

I'll let the theologians wrangle that out. But it's worth keeping in mind when extremist diets are touted.

Still, back to my general philosophy: What is good and wholesome out there, given to us from the earth and its creatures, by sanction of God, is okay to eat AS LONG AS IT AGREES WITH OUR BODIES. Some of us have special chronic conditions that disallow an all-inclusive diet (say, diabetics or people with celiac disease or allergies).

Wholesome being the key word.

Yet, the way we tend to purchase it in the grocery store or restaurants can be mighty different from how it comes from nature, nutritionally sound. Whole foods, I believe, give us what our bodies need. Over-processed foods with additives can give us things we really don't want. We weren't created to consume mass quantities of salt, sugar, corn syrup, preservatives, etc. (I consume processed products for convenience's sake, but I do try to make sure what I eat includes MOSTLY wholesome, whole grain, organic, minimally processed foods. I do have special, chronic conditions, and I have to adapt, but I try to make sure I eat something raw with every meal and I've mostly--though not altogether--eliminated sugar and white flour and trans fats and minimized the consumption of foods with a gazillion chemicals with freaky names. Although, sorry, I do use sucralose in place of sugar. It's fakey, but we insulin resistant folks have to make concessions.)

Healthy animal flesh is also given to us to eat by the Creator, and by healthy or wholesome I mean creatures allowed to grow and move in a mostly normal animal manner (not penned up and unable to move more than mere inches), and who eat in a natural way (as opposed to being fed a lot of garbage), breathe fresh air, drink clean water, breed, nurture young, etc. I believe this is also wholesome to the human body. Animals stressed by overcrowding, abusive conditions, poor feed, excessive hormones and chemicals and such, I do not believe are wholesome to the human body.

(BTW, I'm not a vegetarian, but often eat vegetarian days. I just don't believe it's a moral issue, certainly not for me. If God says I can eat meat, hey, sorry, but you won't convince me otherwise. But if I choose not to eat meat--for whatever reason, health or political or conscience--then God's cool with that, too. We don't have to eat just one way any more than we have to pray just one way or sing the same song in worship or wear the same outfits everyone else does in church. I prefer beans and cheese to, say, steak and ribs. And I wish I could eat seafood, but, hey, allergic. )

In any case, the discussions provoked by Taubes in the past few years have been beneficial, I believe, to the whole diet world. And I have started to read his book,which is dense reading, I can tell you.

I hope the discussion continues, with input from scientists and dietitians and other persons, because folks like me and you really want good information, not bad science or bad anecdotal evidence or crazy theories. We just eant to eat well.

And sometimes, it's about experimenting. Seeing what works for each of us, since we're not all the same.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

November is National Novel Writing Month...And The Princess Must Write

I will likely be scarce-ish for the next 30 days. I'm signed up for NaNoWriMo--50K words in 30 days!--so I gotta keep the fingers and brain for the fiction, not so much for the blogging.

I will try to keep in touch with my fatfighting pals via blog comments and keep posting on my progress and problems, but, like I said, I may skip days and be quieter than usual.

I really need to finish this novel, and NaNo is a good support tool. And maybe I'll be so busy creating, I'll not be tempted to nosh on "food porn" as Scale Junkie calls it. :)

Thanks for understanding!

Oh, and if you haven't seen Scale Junkie's posts about a year-long challenge for 2008, head on over there and see if this is for you. Anyone who wants support and kicks in the keister (me, me, me) and has a lot of weight to lose (me, me, me) should check it out.