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Dating Game

I was at the salon earlier this evening getting a manicure and pedicure.  My hairstylist and my nail tech are also friends.  While one worked on my feet, and I enjoyed the massage of the pedi chair, my hairstylist friend was waiting for her next client.  She’s signed up for an online dating service and was asking us for input on what age range she should put in, how much difference there is between “regularly” and “socially” in terms of drinking alcohol, etc.   I’m 20 years older than she is so my idea of an acceptable age range for me is different than for her, but she asked me anyway.

My standard response is that I don’t date any guy I’m old enough to have given birth to.  I honestly don’t know what I consider “too old”.  When I was 39, I dated someone who was 53.   A guy in that age difference range to me now would be on Medicare.  Not that there’s anything wrong.  I know some vibrant, sexy people who are in their mid-to-upper 60s.  It just seems strange to me sometimes to remember that I’m going to be 55 on my next birthday.

Back to the whole dating thing.  I haven’t dated in years.   Yes, I firmly believe that men who truly are attracted to obese women are in short supply.  This does not mean they don’t exist.  There are blog readers and commenters here who could testify to the fact that they do and they’re wonderful guys.

Unfortunately, they’ve been in short supply in my life, even moreso over the last several years.  By and large, I’m okay with this absence of a love relationship.  It is what it is and I refuse to be someone who is miserable, dissatisfied, and unappreciative of the wonderfulness of life because I don’t have a guy.

In the course of the conversation this evening, it dawned that as I lose more weight and shape up more with my fitness regime, I might actually meet someone who is interested in dating me.   If I do, someone else might have to point it out because I’m pretty much oblivious to the cues.  Be that as it may, I’m not sure how I’ll react if someone flirts or asks me out.  I’m not adverse to the idea of dating or even having a relationship.  At least, I don’t think that I am.  It’s been so long since I considered the possibility, that I honestly don’t know what I want.

I’m sure not up for the idea of joining a dating site.

After pondering this tonight, I’ve decided that I honestly don’t have to stress over a hypothetical situation.   Perhaps all I need to do right now is agree to be open to considering the idea if it happens.

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Bounce Back

When I used to binge or fall off the food plan wagon, I’d stay down for a while.  If I’d abstained from compulsive overreating for a while, sometimes these binges were huge and I stayed in relapse a lonnnng time.  It is much easier to stay on the horse than remount.

As discouraging as it can be for me to slip and screw up my food plan now, it is very encouraging that I appear able to get myself back on track fairly quickly.  I’ve already bounced back from the bread binge.  As planned, I’ve chosen foods that are easier on my stomach.  Take today, for example.  I started with a protein drink for breakfast.  I had a few roasted peanuts as a mid-morning snack.  At lunch I had some homemade tomato soup.  In the last afternoon, Greek yogurt and strawberries made a nice snack.  Tonight’s dinner — a few forkfuls of lowfat egg salad and some homemade broccoli soup with a sprinkling of low fat cheddar.  For an evening treat, I ate a Skinny Cow ice creamish sandwich.

At no time did I eat compulsively or overdo my portions.  Not only do I feel physically better, but my emotional state balanced out a good bit, too.  Booyah!

This was my first effort at making broccoli soup.  It was “Organics share delivery day” at work and my share included some fresh, organic broccoli.  I love broccoli soup, but usually it’s made with cream and lots of cheese.  I went online to find a soup recipe that nixed the cream.  I figured I could cut back on the cheese myself without reading instructions.   I also bought myself an immersion (aka stick) blender.  Love this gadget!  It works, it’s easy and it’s smaller which makes for easier storage.

The soup turned out reasonably yummy.  I have a couple of small, single-portion containers in the fridge and a larger container in the freezer for the future.  Looks like I’m set for the next few days!

Lessons learned:  Falling off the wagon might hurt, but it doesn’t have to keep you down.  Don’t use a screw up as an excuse to give up.  If you fall off of the wagon and don’t climb back in, you can’t start moving forward again.

Something to remember.

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Trigger Foods

You readers of a certain age, did you think I meant Trigger food as in oats and hay?  🙂

Neigh, my friends.  I mean foods that trigger me to eat compulsively or binge.   In the past, which I could refer to as B.B., or Before Bariatric surgery, and the years when I was in the grip of the worst of my compulsive eating, almost any food could trigger me to eat and eat and eat.  On the short list of non-triggers foods were mushrooms, any form of seafood, raw tomatoes unless in salsa, and liver.    Foods that I don’t like do not spur me to eat more of them.  Imagine that!

Foods I like?  Forget it.   One bite is both too many and never enough.   Pizza was always a big binge food.  I could tell myself six ways upside down that I would limit myself to two slices, but if I was alone in the house with a pie, I would pick and pick and pick at it alll night long.  Four or five slices would make me miserably uncomfortable but that wouldn’t stop me as I washed down still more with gulps of soda.  A few hours later, after the quantities shifted around and digested a bit, I could follow it all with a pint of ice cream.

Other binge foods — really good bread.  Pie.  Yorkshire pudding.  A certain kind of chocolate cake.  Fried chicken, even if it’s really the cripsy, greasy skin that is most tasty.

Disgusting.  It’s not like these foods made me feel good.  After the first portion, I don’t think I ever actually tasted the rest of any of them.  Here’s why I think they’re called trigger foods.  Once you pull the trigger on a gun, you can’t stop the bullet – at least not until it slams into something and its power is completely absorbed.  Unfortunately, in the years B.B., my stomach wasn’t big enough to stop the binge once it fired off.

Things are different now.  I would physically get sick before I could binge that much on pizza.  I can eat one small slice and that’s all.  Anything more would overload my capacity.   I managed to limit myself to one small piece when I was out at a function this weekend. However, I still don’t trust myself around pizza, at least not enough to risk ordering even a small pie into the house if I’m alone.   I am very much afraid that compulsion would overtake me and I would pick-pick-pick at the cheese and toppings until I’d overeaten to the point of illness.

I can practically hear some of you thinking, “Oh come on, Mary.  You’re doing so great.  You’d never succumb to a trigger food!”

Thanks for the votes of confidence, but I could, I would, I did.   For the life of me, I don’t know how I rationalized a food decision yesterday, but here’s what happened.  I was on my way home from the morning function at work when I passed a bakery advertising Fresh Bread Baked Daily.  Earlier in the morning, I’d put two containers of soup out to defrost.  In the few seconds that it took to drive by that sign, my lightning-fast thoughts told me, “Asmallsliceofbreadwithhothealthysoupwon’thurt.Thisisn’tgoingtobeaproblem.Freshbakedbreadwouldbesoawesome.Goforit.”

Yeah, before I got a block beyond the storefront, I’d whipped my car around and pulled into the parking lot.  Where were the lightning-fast thoughts I needed to talk me out of this poor choice?  Smothered under a pillow, held in place by the compulsion.   I ate the first small bit when I got back into the car.  I tore off another corner when I got home.  I sure didn’t eat big chunks at a time, but over time, the series of small bits added up to one uncomfortably overfull stomach pouch.

The discomfort in my stomach didn’t come close to the dis-ease in my head.  I thought about it a lot and finally agreed with what I already knew.  A trigger food is a trigger food is a trigger food and no 30% stomach pouch in the world will combat it on its own.  I’ve said along that the surgery is only a tool.  The real work is in the head and I still have a lot of work to do.

So, this was an excellent lesson.  I need to continue to be vigilant and set myself up for success, not failure.  Just like I know better than to order a pizza when I’m alone, I now know that fresh baked bread is not something I can safely keep in the house.  I’m okay when I’m with other people.  I can and have eaten a single small piece of good bread when out socially, but that’s it.  I’m adopting that same approach to my other known trigger foods.  Keeping them out of the house puts up a good layer of defense between me and the compulsive drive.

I’m going to spend time this week remembering other trigger foods.  Reacquainting myself with these items will shore up my defenses against the impulse to buy and eat them when I’m tempted.

My stomach’s felt rough and achy since the drawn out binge-y episode yesterday. I’m going to baby it for a few days. Protein shake in the morning, yogurt at lunch, soup for dinner — without bread.

By the way, when I woke up this morning, I looked at what remained and made a strong move to protect myself.  I picked it up, marched outside and threw it in the trash at the curb.  Can’t trigger a binge without ammunition.  In this case, none was better than half a loaf.

 

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Suited Up

When I’m all dressed up at the party tonight, I will try to remember to ask a friend to take a photo so I can share it on the blog.   In the meantime, I’m significantly dressed down at the moment.   I had to go into work for a few hours today and was outside the whole time.  When I first went in I went down to play with dolphins which means I also got what we affectionately refer to as “dock butt” — salt water-dampened shorts and legs.  We don’t care because, hey, played with dolphins!

I got home feeling sweaty and salty, took off what I was wearing to fill up the rest of a load of laundry, and then thought about what else I’m doing this afternoon before I get ready for the party.   I have some reading for class which I can do while sitting out on the porch.   I need to water the plants outside.  I need to do at least 30 minutes of some sort of cardio exercise either in the house or in the pool.  Weighing all of these things, I opted to pull on a bathing suit.

Yep, I’m walking around the house (Ok, currently I’m sitting in the house.) in a bathing suit.  Once I finish this post and check the class blackboard, I’m going outside – also in the bathing suit.  It isn’t one of the ones I own with the cute skirt feature to cover my jiggly upper thighs and I haven’t pulled on a rash guard or sun protection shirt to cover my fat upper arms.  (There are hard biceps under that flab, but the underhang is still pretty obvious.)

Oddly, while I am nobody’s candidate for Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, I’m surprisingly unselfconscious about going outside where I can be seen by someone other than my dogs.   I don’t care if someone on a moored or passing boat sees me.  So what if the guy fishing on the point gets a look?  If the sight of an overweight woman relaxing at her own house bugs them, they can just turn and look in another damn direction.

This sort of reminds me of a funny scene in Susan Elizabeth Phillips’s book Nobody’s Baby But Mine.  In it, a very pregnant woman has refused to let her husband see her body.  They make love with the lights off and she maintains her privacy  at all other times when she’s naked.  He’s a pro football player, always pursued by women with perfectly shaped and toned bodies and she’s been sure that he’ll be repulsed by her pregnant, womanly curves.  Finally, she musters up the courage, strips down while he’s away from home, and even rubs scented lotion all over herself in preparation for his return.

When she hears him arrive downstairs, she leaves her robe at the top of the stairs and slowly descends, taking courage from the admiration and surprised on his face.  Then she realizes that his brother, the town pastor is behind him, watching her too.   It’s a comic scene worthy of I Love Lucy, except that back then married couples weren’t even allowed to look as if they slept together.  Their room had twin beds.  God only knows how they conceived Little Ricky that way.

But I digress.  I’m really trying to learn how to accept my shape at each stage of my progress.  Instead of always seeing only the remaining fat, rolls, or batwing underarms, I want to take note of the improvements.   Hard biceps.  Increased definition in my calves.  A waist that actually has some indentation.  The fact that I can see my jawline and collar bones and when I lie down I can feel my hip bones.  My wrists have shape and last night I wore my pinky ring on my ring finger instead.

I feel stronger, more flexible, more capable.   Breath flows easily in and out of my lungs and my heart doesn’t pound from the simple movement of an easy walk.

We who have been overweight much of our lives are hypercritical of our bodies.  We begin to hate them and, sadly, any degree of self-loathing is too much.  It damages our spirit.

My goal today is to accentuate and concentrate on the positive.

Dressed up or suited down, when I look in the mirror I’m going to appreciate what I see.

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Waist Nod; Waste Not

This is a pretty full weekend.   At work, we’re hosting a regional workshop for an organization important to our industry.  Last night was an icebreaker party.  Today we had a full day of demonstrations, presentations, talks, etc. and a dinner.  Tomorrow night I’m invited to a nice birthday party.   Three social activities = three opportunities to show off some of the clothes I bought a few weeks ago.   Remember that I work for a marine mammal facility.  Many of my co-workers spend their days in bathing suits.  Those of us who aren’t on the docks are usually in shorts, sandals and T-shirts or tank tops.

Even though my weight loss is noticeable when I’m dressed in T-shirt and shorts, it’s even more obvious when I wear “dressier” clothes.   Last night, I put on a pair of cropped pants in yet another size smaller and topped it with a fun top that has rows of narrow ruffles in bright turquoise with a hint of sparkle.  I loved the look in the mirror and, have to admit, really enjoyed the compliments from my friends and co-workers when I arrived at the function.  About an hour into the party, one woman I hadn’t seen earlier in the night, came up, hugged me and said, “Mary, has anyone told you tonight how fabulous you look?  What you’re doing isn’t easy, but wow, is it working.”

A positive comment like elevates my spirit sky high.

Tonight I put on a  more tailored, button down blouse in a deep teal that I bought last month.  The material is a little stretchy, and the top is a bit fitted, coming in at the waist.   Previously, I would never have chosen a garment like this.  The last thing I wanted in clothes was anything that might cling and accentuate my truck tire midsection.    Even I could look in the mirror at myself and know that this outfit truly flattered my improving figure.

My friends’ reactions were amazing.  They see me every day, but I’ve probably never worn anything this tailored in front of them before.  If they saw me in a button-down top, it was an oversized “big shirt” and definitely not fitted to the waist.   It was a revelation for them and for me!

I was in line with a different group of co-workers when it was time to go to the buffet.   The aromas of the different dishes filled the air and made us all hungrier.  I said to a colleagues and his girlfriend that it was a good thing that the line was moving slowly, because I needed time to decide between the chicken marsala and the eggplant in pasta.  The girlfriend, who doesn’t know that I’ve had weight loss surgery, said, “Take both!”  I just smiled and said that it would be too much for me to handle.

When I reached the chafing dishes, I took a dab of rice, a portion of chicken equivalent to half of a half breast, and a couple of forkfuls of salad.  I felt good that I didn’t let my eyes get bigger than my stomach, but took the amounts of each dish that I felt I could physically eat.   I got back to my table and one of my other friends looked at my plate and said with warm admiration, “You are being so good with your portion control.”

That comment proved to be positively reinforcing — surprisingly so.  Those who have read this blog from the beginning might remember long ago posts when I talked about how I always felt like people judged what I put on my plate, monitored my eating and, even if they kept their thoughts to myself, nonetheless disapproved of my choices.  I hated it when people commented about my food.  When I started to eat solid foods again a month after surgery, I didn’t mind explaining to people what I could or couldn’t eat, or how much, I was still uncomfortable with people visually assessing my portions.  So, being able to hear the comment and take it in the admiring spirit with which it was intended told me something about my emotional progress.

I’m really looking forward to tomorrow night’s birthday party.  I know it will be lovely and fun with many friends attending.  Best of all, I have a dress that I love all picked out.  It’s purple and turquoise — two of my favorite colors to wear — and a festive style.    I know that when I put it on, I’m going to feel happy, confident, and in a party mood.

It used to be that my goal was just to look presentable — make the most out of a bad situation, i.e. my overweight body with its bulges and rolls.  Even though I’m far from goal, the weight loss and toning have already given me a greatly improved body.  I’m not ashamed of it anymore.  I enjoy the positive changes and love dressing up to make the most of the improvements.

It’s just another way to feel good about all of the positive changes.

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Progress Not Perfection

Sometimes I still eat without thinking.  It’s not that I always eat the wrong foods when this happened, but sometimes I eat food wrong.  (How’s that for great English?)

The other night when I got home from work I was actually hungry.  This is still a little weird to me because for the first few months post-op, I didn’t get hunger cues much at all, unless I’d gone five or six hours between meals.  I still don’t get them as regularly as before, so when one hits, it’s comparatively strong.

I normally don’t eat much before I exercise, but I knew there was no way I could last another two hours until after Tai Chi class.   I grabbed a cheese stick and ate it.  Then, pretty much without thinking, I followed that up with a few baby carrots which I ate far too quickly.  That was the mistake.  By eating quickly, I didn’t chew as thoroughly as I needed to, particularly when crunching down a hard, raw root vegetable.

It is the oddest feeling to sense when food isn’t comfortably progressing down my esophagus to the stomach.  I don’t know if this is a side effect of surgery or if I was just that unaware in my years of carelessly eating.  Some foods are much easier — yogurt, soup, liquids, soft fruits, cheese and pretty much anything that I chew to bits before swallowing.  Foods that habitually give me problems — white meat of chicken, breads, and raw carrots.  There are a few more, but these came to mind right now.

You would think that a wise woman would have remembered about the raw carrots and not scarfed them down.  Had I been thinking and practicing my developing conscious eating techniques, I would either have chosen something else or made sure that I chewed the heck out of those little orange things.  I also realized that putting the carrots on top of the cheese stick crowded my stomach pouch.

I figured that things would settle and I’d be okay in a short period of time, so I went off to class.  Tai Chi is not an aerobic exercise.  It’s performed slowly with great intent and involves lots of balance and stretching.   Some of the moves also include bending over and twisting.  Normally I love that my improved body permits me to move with much greater ease.  The other night, I felt those carrots prod and poke with every single bend or twist.   They weren’t finding enough room for themselves in my stomach and mid-way through the set, I was worried that they might want to launch a reappearance.

I gutted it through the set and then, with apologies to my classmates, I bailed on the rest of class and came home.  Thankfully, the food stayed down, but the internal physical discomfort remained for a few hours.  At that point I always wanted to smack myself upside the head for pure food foolishness.  I put it out of my head for awhile and then pulled the incident out this morning to examine and study.

If I don’t look at these things honestly, I can’t continue to modify my own behavior.  Unconscious, compulsive eating, even in small amounts, gives me trouble.  For my own comfort, well-being, and the sake of fostering long-term success, I always have to be conscious at the time that I’m picking up food and consuming it.  This is not a difficult task.  It just takes continuous practice.  I’m not always going to be perfect in my effort.  One does not completely change the habits of a lifetime in eight months.   I can, however, remain committed to developing and firming up the new, healthier techniques.   One meal at a time.

For today, I will always remember to think before I eat.

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Living a little less Large

I was about to shut off the computer for the night when I realized that I hadn’t posted in a few days!   I’ve been a little overwhelmed by the start of the graduate course I’m taking.  It’s the first time I’ve been “in school” in about 30 years.  I’m out of practice.  It’s a great course so far and I don’t regret enrolling.  I just need a little time to find my balance.

That said, in no way will I allow myself to get pulled away from this blog.  Coming here and exploring my weight loss journey, the issues of compulsive eating, the pitfalls and victories in recovery, and everything else I blabber on about has become essential to my recovery.  I need this more than I needed to log off and go to bed.  So, here I am.  Hi, everybody!

I experienced a very cool NSV yesterday.  For the first time in more than 12 years, I dressed for work in regular XL sized T-shirt — not a 2XL or 3XL.  I’ve been looking forward to this experience for a long time.  I actually bought the shirt more than a month ago, but it was still a little too snug for comfort across the boobs and mid-section.   My 2XLs had begun to look baggy on me.  The shoulder seams on some of them fall practically at the middle of my upper arm.   I’d taken to twisting the hems of the shirts and sort of tucking them under to make them appear a little more neat.

While I was away, I wore an XL shirt for the first time.  It fit, if a little too tightly, but it was black so I could get away with it.   Still, I knew I was close to being able to comfortably wear this smaller size.  Soon, very soon.

On Monday, someone I haven’t seen in awhile comented on how my weight loss progress really shows and how it’s obvious that I’m also toning up.  (She’s a physical therapist and would naturally notice these things.)  The toning comment stayed with me and reminded me that even if the rate of weight loss has slowed a little, the increased exercise also creates positive changes in my body.

Yesterday, when I opened the closet to select a shirt for work, one of the XL shirts I’d been waiting to wear really caught my eye.  It’s a pink and white tie-dyed pattern — funky and fun.  I’ve yearned to wear one of these shirts for years but the Gift Shop never ordered them in 2XL, so I couldn’t.

So, yesterday I took a deep breath, removed the shirt from the hanger, and slipped it over my head.  Sweet and neat, it fit!  I was thrilled.

The positive feeling remained throughout the day.  Everytime I looked down at the pretty pink pattern, I smiled.  NSVs do that for a person.

Even better, when I got ready for work today, I was able to repeat the experience with a second shirt.  Tomorrow’s choice is already decided with a red shirt that has a white diagonal stripe to mimic a Diver Down flag.   I’ll have that on when I stop by the Gift Shop.  I need a few more shirts in my new size.

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Now We’re Cooking

More to the point, I’m cooking.  I’ve already told you about Saturday’s roasted butternut squash soup and yesterday’s baked applesauce.  You’d think those would have been enough to satisfy the need to not let great produce go to waste.  Not quite.  Apparently, this also triggered a need to keep cooking.  I had five bananas going brown and then a friend at Tai Chi gave me some more from his tree.  I already have some bananas cut and frozen for smoothies in my freezer and was truly worried that the  ones on the counter would be wasted.

Undaunted, I turned to the web and did a search for healthy banana bread recipes.  I found several which included less than a cup of sugar and not much fat because each included a third of a cup of plain, low fat yogurt.   The recipe that really caught my eye also included a third of a cup of creamy peanut butter and two tablespoons of chopped peanuts.

I had to debate myself, weighing the protein benefits of peanut butter and peanuts with the extra fat.  Nuts are good fats, I argued.  Plus, the leftover yogurt I had wasn’t low fat, it was no fat.  The only bad fat in the recipe came via two measly tablespoons of melted butter.

Guess who won the debate?  The peanut butter-loving me.

You might ask, what the hell am I doing baking banana bread of any kind when I’m following a low carb diet?  Why am I creating this kind of temptation when I’m doing so well?

Damned if I know.   Perhaps I’m testing my own resolve and proving to myself that I can, indeed, eat even a freshly-made yummy baked treat like a “normal” person.

Maybe I just want a piece of banana bread.

I didn’t have a full size loaf pan, so I split the batter into two smaller, one-use aluminum loaf pans.  If the finished product tastes good, I will immediately take one of the loaves into work.  That halves the problem right off the bat.

I am also making a commitment to myself, stating it publicly here, that I will not compulsively overeat the remaining banana bread.  I will eat a healthy, food plan-appropriate dinner.  Then, a couple of hours later I will treat myself to one small slice of banana bread.  I will eat it slowly, enjoying each bite.  When I finish the slice, that’s it.  No going back for seconds an hour later just because room opens up in my stomach and the bread is in the house.

If, at any time, I feel myself getting out of control and compulsively reaching for little extra bites here and there, I will pour dishwashing liquid over the remaining bread, take the pan out of my house, and throw it into the trash can.

That’s my promise and I’m sticking to it!

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One Fine Day

In keeping with my desire to recognize good things, happenings, developments, I’ve been holding a feeling close.  Today was one fine day.

I slept in a little, with the cooperation of the furkids Nat and Pyxi.  When I rolled out of bed and went outside, I saw that we’d been gifted with bright sunshine with a slight breeze.   I decided not to waste this present.  After breakfast I got my things together and went out on the boat.

It was the first time I’d been out on it in several weeks due to uncooperative weather, other commitments, vacation, etc.  First off I was just relieved that everything was in good working order.  You never know with a boat.  I cruised through the harbor, exchanging “captain waves” with folks on other boats and soaking up the beauty.  Once out past the last channel marker, I powered up and in short order had my boat skimming across the turquoise swells while I soaked up the sun and salt air.

While I love meeting up with friends at the sand bar or going out fishing, I can also content myself with excursions like this, when all I do is cruise around for awhile surrounded by sky and sea.  Joy fills me up and expands through my smile.  90 minutes of fun and pure pleasure.

After I arrived home and rinsed off the boat, I headed indoors to cook up a recipe I’d printed out yesterday.  I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I get a share each week in an organic produce buying club.  Even though I buy the smallest share, appropriately called a Mini, it’s still often too much for me to consume everything.  That’s why I made the butternut squash soup, half of which is in small containers in the freezer.  Last week’s share included several small, sweet Gaia apples and plouts.  I didn’t want these to go to waste, so I decided to make applesauce.  What I don’t eat, I can also freeze for another time.  Once more I turned to the Barefoot Contessa aka Ina Garten for an applesauce recipe that included orange and lemon juice, cinnamon, all spice and a little bit of brown sugar.  Even though she suggests other varieties of apples, I went with what I had and added in the plouts.

When everything was peeled, cored, quartered, spiced, tossed and in the oven to bake, I changed into a bathing suit and grabbed my iPod.  For the next 40 minutes I danced my little ol’ heart out in the pool.  I worked in a few Zumba moves, and did several reps of crunches and leg lifts too.  I take so much joy and appreciation in being able to move, that the exercise doesn’t feel the least bit tedious.

I got out of the pool and stepped into a house delicious scented with apples and cinnamon.  Checked the time and realized I had time to shower.  After that, the applesauce was done and it was time to slide in a couple of meaty turkey thighs so that I’d have protein not only for dinner tonight, but for several meals over the next few days.

One can never underestimate the pleasure of a nice nap, so while the poultry baked, I indulged for half an hour.  Refreshed, I settled in to do some work for class and start organizing my thoughts for the first paper.  It isn’t due until next Sunday, but I have a busy week ahead and would rather get the first draft done tomorrow.  I can then think about it some more and tweak as necessary.

After a delicious dinner, I checked out the television guide and discovered that an old favorite movie was airing.  I’ve lost count of the number of times that I’ve seen E.T., but I still love it as much as I did when it was first released back in the early 80s.  That last scene in the forest when they’re saying goodbye always gets to me.  I weep every time.  This movie features great storytelling, beautifully acted and it’s a classic as far as I’m concerned.

With the movie over and my tears blotted, I played around a bit with Nat and Pyxi, checked in on email and some other Internet business  and then settled in to write this blog post.   Now I’m ready for bed.  It’s been a full day, for sure, but a supremely fine one on all accounts.  Like sunshine warmed my skin earlier, contentment and happiness warm my spirit.

I hope you all had good days too!

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Supermarket Shopping

Every weight loss counselor, magazine article, or list of helpful tips I can think of recommends making a list to take with you when you go food shopping.  I was frequently really good at making up my list ahead of time and studiously finding the items on it when I got to the store.  By the time I got to the check out counter, I’d completed the list for sure, along with a dozen other things that I hadn’t planned to buy until I saw them in the store.

Some experts suggest that you “shop the perimeter” first and stay away from the interior aisles as much as possible.  Yeah, sure, the perimeter has the fresh produce, dairy, seafood, meat and  poultry shelves.  Good choices!  However, in my local Publix supermarket, the first department on the perimeter to my right is the bakery, giving one ample opportunity to load up on cake, pies and doughnuts.  Then the scent of baked goods gives way to the aroma of fried chicken when you hit the deli department.  You can avoid that counter if you cut to the left, but you’ll have to withstand the temptation of the wine shelves and international cheeses.

If you’re successful, you can wile away your time in the produce section before sauntering on to the dairy cases.  Speaking of dairy, I don’t think it’s an accident that the refrigerated cookie dough, biscuits, and popping fresh cinammon roll tubes are situated before you ever get to the non-fat Greek yogurt.

It’s a plot, I tell you.  The masterminds who designed the supermarket layout know that they should make us forge a path through pastries before we can fill our carts with ripe berries and good-for-us greens.  By shopping the perimeter, we could completely pass up boxes of cookies, so of course they want to be sure that the slice and bake stuff can grab our attention.

Just in case we manage to stick to our guns and purchase only the items we pre-wrote on our well-intentioned lists, the stores have one more chance to topple us into temptation — the candy racks at the check-out lines.  I can’t tell you how many internal arguments discussions I’ve had with myself over whether that pack of M&Ms or single Reese’s Peanut Butter cup would really be so bad.

These days I don’t do as much supermarket shopping as I did before.   I pretty much make one trip a week on the weekend and that carries me through.  I’ve become much better at pre-planning, making lists, and then sticking to them once I’m at the store.  The lists, of course, are pretty short, but that doesn’t mean I’m not tempted.  I’m just better at resisting.

I walked in today with my list.  I’m part of an organic produce buying club.  This week’s share included a sizeable butternut squash and I was determined to make homemade soup.  I walked out of the supermarket with every item on my list, but not one thing more.

Not even a pack of M&Ms.

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