Monday, October 29, 2012

AFTER Effects

Today let’s go back to food journaling for a bit. After a few months of doing the meal evaluations and check-ins, my nutritionist gave me a worksheet to fill out about my eating preferences. I’ll add an image of it at the end. It’s called the AFTER worksheet: Aroma, Flavor, Texture, Experience, and Response.

Basically you fill in everything that you can think of about things that you love and things that you hate. It’s in five different categories about food and about the things you sense when you are eating. So it isn’t just “I love chocolate and I hate broccoli.” It’s also about aromas that make you hungry or turn you off and textures that you enjoy or that make you want to spit something out. It’s about whether you like to go to busy restaurants with crowded tables and loud conversations or intimate places with low lighting or bright places and only a few other quiet, considerate patrons. It’s about WHAT you love about chocolate and hate about broccoli. It’s about creamy, crunchy, bitter, sour, savory, salty, soupy or sweet. It’s about “warm soup belly” or feeling bloated or dehydrated. It’s about the burn of capsaicin and the cool of sour cream.

What this exercise does is get you to focus on the things about a meal that will make you feel more satisfied or satiated. If you can incorporate several of the “loves” into a meal, you can make choices based on satisfaction rather than fat and calorie counts. For example, I like to eat crispy/crunchy things and savory/salty things, so potato chips are pretty high on my list of trigger foods. But I have found that very crisp cucumbers or carrots with savory Italian vinaigrette also hit that crispy-savory spot that I need. Okay, sometimes I just want some freaking Doritos, but I know that afterward I feel dehydrated and a little sick to my stomach, so sometimes I can happily choose the cucumbers and be okay.

But even more, it gives you a way to make every meal happier for yourself, even if it isn’t a choice between the healthy thing and the less healthy thing. If I’m going to have a salad, I’m happier if there are crunchy things in it than if it’s just lettuce and tomato. I want my soups to be thick and hearty, maybe more like stew than soup, and I like lots of “stuff” in it, rather than just limp noodles and tiny cubes of chicken. If I’m going to make a steak, I prefer to marinate it in something salty/savory for a bit. These are things that I can do to end a meal feeling not only full but actually satisfied, and therefore I’ll be less likely to want to keep going or try something else or soothe myself with sweets after the meal.

Here's the sample worksheet with my preferences entered, so you can see what it's like.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Article Sharing Time!

I have a blog post in the works, but for today I found another article on Jezebel to share. The title gave me pause, but by the end of the article I was much less worried about it. Here's the link: "Losing Weight Won't Fill the Emptiness Inside. Only Cake Can Do That."

Please read the whole article in order to get past that awful title. Here's a section from the end:

"I don't blame Attenberg for this, or at least I really actively try not to, but it does make me sad.
I went through a lot of my life dealing with the aftermath of chronic dieting and childhood teasing, and it's those things that attempted to make me feel less than whole, less than human. It wasn't some mysterious "hole" inside of me that I was trying to stuff with Cheetos, it was put there by a society that's unrelenting when it comes to women's bodies. And it wasn't something that I ever tried to cram with snack packs; if anything, it was something that I tried to dig out and make thinner, make smaller, make gone.

We can't reframe the way society thinks and feels about weight overnight; there will always be cheering when a fat woman (or probably any woman who doesn't suffer from visible anorexia) loses weight. But we can fight damn hard for the right to be comfortable in and with our own bodies, even if it's really, really fucking hard."

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Beauty of Different

I found a nifty video on Upworthy today that I want to share. It's three minutes long and put together by artist Karen Walrond. Check that out here: The Beauty of Different. Apparently there is also a book...

Her website is here, though I haven't quite been able to check out her 1,000 Faces gallery quite yet because my computer can't seem to handle so many open tabs at one time!

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Okay, here’s the new lesson for the week... I am not alone! Quite often, when I’m down or angry or hopeless, I sit with it for too long, think about it too much, close myself off and eventually make it so much worse. I don’t reach out to anyone for help or guidance, someone who could lift my spirits or change my mind or help me figure out what’s going on. Take note of that word “don’t” because that’s the important part. It’s not that I can’t, it’s not that no one is there for me, but I just won’t reach out.

I’ve been thinking about this - yes, I think too much, even about thinking too much! - and I see that the problem is multi-layered. I want to handle it alone, because I think that I can. But also because I think that I ought to. I think that I ought to handle my depressive cycles alone because I don’t want to be a bother to anyone. I, and my issues, are not important, not worthy enough to take up anyone’s time.

But wait, there’s more!

I ought to handle my issues alone because I’m the caretaker. I’m not supposed to dump my crap on other people, I am here to help other people carry their crap. I am supposed to carry my crap and everyone else’s crap too. Right? And besides, admitting to even having issues means that I’m weak. That I feel stuff. That I’m not perfect. That I can’t handle everything, and do it all alone.

All of that is, of course, total bullshit.

That’s what is so nice about journaling. You get to put it out there in black and white, these things you kinda sorta think to yourself, maybe even subconsciously, and take a good hard look at it. And then you realize that you are full of shit.

Do I really think that I’m so much better than everyone else that I won’t ever get angry or depressed or upset or hurt? Do I really think that I’m so important to everyone that I alone carry all of their burdens for them? Do I really think that my loved ones would lose their minds if they find out that I am not perfect?

Well, of course not.

Oh, but that inner voice, the mean, frightened little voice, it is such a good liar. I don’t hear it as much as I used to, I think I even believed that it was gone there for a while, but apparently it just went deeper inside, and now it can only emerge when the darkness spreads and it feels confident enough to whisper to me again. When I’m stuck, when I’m depressed, when I feel alone in the deep dark hole, that’s when it comes to me - and it lies. ‘No one cares,’ it says. ‘No one wants to hear from you,’ it says. ‘No one needs to know that you’re hurting - they can use it against you,’ it says. ‘Suck it up, sister.’

So here is the lesson I need to remember now. I am surrounded. Not by darkness, not by despair. I am surrounded by love, and friendship, and support, and laughter (the good kind!), and kindness. All I have to do is look up.