Friday, February 27, 2009

Yogurt...poison in a foil-covered cup

So it feels like my life right now revolves around food, losing weight and being sick.  These three things seem to fight with each other on a regular basis, which means that I feel like I'm in the middle of a boxing match.  Allow me to explain.

I am trying to eat right and get healthy, therefore I am counting calories and recording everything I eat.

Bill and I got pretty sick around the same time which completely destroyed our workout plan. This means I have to be extra careful about what I'm eating and make sure everything counts because I've only been up for walking Master Teddy.  I'm not going to "waste" calories on something frivolous because I want to make sure I stay at my chosen number of calories for the day.  (You would think that would mean I don't waste it on my coffee, but let me assure you, coffee is NOT frivolous.  I gladly exchange a morning snack for my beloved beverage.)

When you don't feel good, certain things sound delicious and other things sound crappy.  Most people don't crave broccoli when they are sick.  Or a grilled chicken breast with steamed asparagus.  When I'm sick, I want two things that I never eat otherwise: macaroni and cheese and apple juice.  I never waste time or calories drinking juice but when I'm sick, cold apple juice tastes so good to me.  I can't explain the mac and cheese.

And finally, the last element of this epic battle between food, losing weight and fighting illness is that you have to EAT to recover.  My weight loss diet is a sensible diet with lots of fruits and veggies, which will give me lots of energy and assist my immune system.  But it doesn't make me FEEL better.  

And to top it all off, my doctor recommends that I wash down the grape-sized antibiotic tablets with, gulp, yogurt.  I hate yogurt.  Yogurt, in my opinion, equals frivolous calories.  Most servings of yogurt come out to about 100 calories.  100 calories of sour, fake tasting yuckiness. The only way you can get yogurt to taste sort of palatable is to buy the whole milk, heavily sweetened kind, like Tillamook, which has a lot of sugar, fat and more calories.  I never feel satisfied after yogurt, I usually want something to wash the taste out of my mouth.  Like beer.

But even worse than yogurt (ear muffs, guys) is the dreaded yeast infection that usually comes along with taking antibiotics.  Especially the one my doc put me on, Augmentin.  It is pretty much a sure thing that around day 4 of taking the pills, the medicine has killed every spec of bacteria anywhere in my body and a yeast infection takes over.  Yuck.  So, I'm forced to choose. Shall I attempt to avoid the yeast infection by eating yogurt every day or shall I tempt fate and hope that this will be the one time the yeast fairy passes my bacteria-less body by?  (I imagine the yeast fairy is more like a mosquito than a fairy.  Something you want to smack or incinerate with a bug zapper.)

I chose the yogurt and bought some on the way home from the pharmacy.  I decided to buy plain yogurt because the container was the only one that claimed it "meets National Yogurt Association criteria for live and active culture yogurt."  (National Yogurt Association?  THAT would be a fun meeting to attend.)  The container also boasted "BILLIONS of live active and probiotic cultures!"  Oh goody.  

Listen up you billions of probiotic cultures!  If I am going to waste calories on you so you can counteract the bacteria nuclear bomb I'm ingesting in the form of a battery-sized pill, if I'm going to choke you down, fighting back my gag reflex so you can replace the innocent good bacteria I lose in this other kind of Cold War, if I'm going to swap some other yummy snack for the likes of you in the hopes that you will prevent a horrible yeast infection then YOU BETTER NOT LET ME DOWN!

Let that be a warning to you!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Salty People Suck

After that last post it is obvious that I need to post something a little more cheery.  I am feeling much improved after my slump last week and although I am doing a little dance with Bill's cold, I am back to my usual happy self.  Sigh.  I missed me.

Anyway, on to more important things.  Like my live-it.  (Bill and I decided not to call it a diet, since we are eating to live!)  My current weight loss is about 8 pounds.  Yea!  I am very used to recording what I eat and have tried several absolutely delicious recipes from Cooking Light.  If you need a comfort food fix, try Chicken Tamale Casserole and if you have a hankering for Thai food, Broiled Tilapia with Thai Coconut Curry Sauce is amazing.  The sauce is excellent for chicken also or grilled tofu if you are vegetarian.  Or if you just like tofu.  

I am still struggling to work out on a regular basis.  I average twice a week plus walking Teddy. I would be much happier if I went to the gym 3-4 times a week.  I know this will improve when Bill is done coaching so we can take turns going to the gym and tending to Master Teddy.  

Although weight loss is difficult for everyone, I am going to make a very bold statement here when I say that it is easier for salty people.  Before you start throwing pretzels at me, allow me to explain.

I am a sweet person.  I don't mean I am friendly and like to cuddle puppies and coo at babies (although that is definitely true!)  What I mean is that I have a sweet tooth.  No, I don't have a sweet tooth.  I have a whole mouthful of sweet teeth.  Plus all my wisdom sweet teeth.  (Note: This means I really like sweets, not that I actually have my wisdom teeth.  All four were pulled many years ago.  I want to be truthful.)

I usually don't want hard candy.  I go for baked goods.  Not just baked goods.  But baked goods, drenched in ooey, gooey sauce.  Warmed up so that everything oozes together.  Mmmmmm. Ice cream is fine, but in a sundae ice cream is really just a medium to deliver copious amounts of hot fudge.  Truth be told, I'd gladly pass on the ice cream in a sundae.  Hot fudge is amazing but my true love is caramel.  The ingredients in caramel are butter, brown sugar and cream.  How could you not love that combination?  

So this is why I believe weight loss is easier for salty folks.  People who love salty snacks don't have nearly the amount of temptation that us sweet folk have.  Think about it.  There isn't a single holiday that is celebrated with salty snacks.  Can you imagine receiving a bag of potato chips from your Valentine?  What about leaving Santa a big plate of pretzels?  Or on Halloween getting Doritos in your trick or treat bag?  Come on!  That holiday even has "sweet" in the iconic phrase that makes it famous!  Trick or TREAT.  What about terms of endearment?  You don't call the love of your life your little Cheet-O.  Of course not!   It is "sweetie", "honey" or cutie-"pie". Would you replace your child's marshmallow Peeps in his Easter basket with cheese puffs and his chocolate Easter bunny with an order of fries?  On our birthdays we always blow out the candles on our CAKE.  It wouldn't be the same if we blew out candles on our birthday corn nuts. 

Sweet treats surround every holiday and celebration.  We have cake for anniversaries, winning the little league trophy and honoring someone's retirement.  We eat it at weddings even though most people I know always say, "I don't really like cake" while licking a smear of frosting off their fork.  We go out for dessert after watching a play and eat dessert when we meet for book club.  A meeting isn't a meeting if the boss doesn't bring in doughnuts!  

Lord how I wish I craved salty snacks instead of sweet treats.  I wish I drooled at the thought of a handful of corn chips instead of feeling attacked by the constant barrage of sweet goodness that taunts me during every social occasion.  How much easier weight loss would be!  I could walk through the staff room and not give another glance to the plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies someone brought in.  (Notice how no one ever brings in sardines to share?)  Or imagine being able to walk past the secretary's desk and not feel the need to pause for a tiny handful of M&Ms.  I would finally be free from the chains that bind me in the form of red and black licorice ropes!   

So salty people, while I don't believe your weight loss is easy by any means, I do envy your cravings.  How I wish they were mine!  Then maybe I wouldn't feel so tempted all the time.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Sometimes it just feels crappy...and that's all it is.

I spent a good part of today trying to rationalize why I feel lousy.  Why is it that when we feel bad we try to figure out who or what to blame?  Like there must be an explanation for feeling blue. We can't just feel blue because we do but there must be some REASON why.  Are we obligated to be happy and positive all the time?  I've blamed feeling low on hormones.  (Guys, please note that under no circumstances are you to EVER blame a woman's mood on hormones.  Women are the only ones allowed to do that.)  I've claimed that I feel low because of lack of sleep.  Lack of exercise is also often the recipient of blame.  Sometimes I blame other people.  

But very rarely, if ever, do I just say, "I feel like crap."  Period.  Without an explanation or list of excuses.  

Today isn't the day either.  I know why I feel down and glum and sad.   I blame it on life.  

Most of the time I find life a joy to live.  I love my husband and our home.  I truly enjoy what I do for a living.  I have a great many friends who never stop reminding me why I choose to have them in my life.  I'm healthy.  My husband is healthy.   We have a sweetie pie dog, cars that are paid for, families that love us.  We're lucky.

I feel like complaining or feeling bad isn't allowed because really, what do I have to complain about? 

And then today, for no particular reason, I can't get my mind off troubles and worries and fears and all other kinds of negative emotions.  In church on Sunday we heard how to worry means to lack faith in God.  We should use the gifts and tools God gave us, not sit idly by and let a tree fall on us, but to worry really accomplishes nothing.  I believe that.  Doesn't mean I can turn of the old worry switch.  Heck, I can't even find my worry switch.  I don't know who keeps turning it on but I don't feel like I have any control over it.

I'm worried about my job.  Education in our state has taken, is taking and will continue to take a hit, just like a lot of other industries.  Worse case scenario is I'm out of a job.  Best case scenario is many of my colleagues are out of a job and we take a pretty significant pay cut. Neither of those situations is good.  I don't know what is going to happen so my imagination takes over.  I have a vivid imagination.  I can't do anything other than pray that God give the president, the governor, the legislature, the school administrations and everyone else involved the wisdom to make good decisions for kids, educators and taxpayers.

We just started year two of trying to have a family and I'm really starting to get discouraged. Talk about out of my hands!  Last year was really hard and even though we did and are doing everything right, we keep getting reminded that so much about what happens to us isn't in our control.  

I really hate that.  I think that may be the hardest part.  If you have experienced or can imagine an emotion that a person/couple would feel when trying to have children, suffering loss and other challenges, well, I've felt that.  But knowing that regardless of how much I want this, how hard we try, how carefully I take care of myself and how closely I monitor the whole process, it really is out of my hands.  

So, since I can't do anything about the things in my life that are making me feel scared, out of control, powerless, et cetera...I choose instead to dig deep, and revel in the joy in my life. 

(In no particular order...)
1.  My dog, panting after a long walk, yet racing to find his frizbee, because there is always more fun to be had.

2.  Jon Stewart.

3.  My friends, who can make me dissolve into giggles or howl with laughter any time I see them and don't hesitate to comfort me and tell me it will be okay.

4.  My husband, who I am still amazed chose me. 

5.  My family, who support me and love me and are always cheering me on.

6.  Coffee.  And chocolate.  Preferably both.

7.  Flowers, especially yellow ones.