What to Do When the “It’s-too-hard” Voice Gets Louder Than the “Attagirl!” Voice

I didn’t just trip, I fell into a canyon. There were a few months where sugar had me by the throat and I was crying “Uncle!” I gave up. I gave in. I couldn’t walk into the grocery store or Casey’s without surrendering my will to sugar. I drew the line at donuts, though–but isn’t that crazy? Why did I think that sugar cookies were an acceptable cheat, but donuts were off-limits? Why did I think that carrot cake or peach cobbler or anything else on the dessert bar was okay to indulge in, but, what? Potatoes or rolls?!! No way, no how! Are you crazy?! I’d rather die than eat mashed potatoes or a hot, fluffy roll or macaroni and cheese. Biscuits and gravy? Get that poison out of here! But, what, you got a sugar cookie at Casey’s and didn’t bring me one?!!

Oh, the games our minds play.

I almost got to the point where I loathed myself. How could I keep on giving in like that? The “It’s-too-hard” voice was drowning out the “Attagirl!” voice in my head.

Do you remember the old Cherokee adage about the grandfather telling his grandson about the internal fight between two wolves? One wolf was evil, full of anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, self-pity, arrogance, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other wolf was good, full of love, joy, peace, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith. The grandson asked which wolf would win, and the grandfather responded, “The one you feed.”

I had been starving the “Attagirl!” inside me. Every time I threw a sugar cookie to the “It’s-too-hard” Dirinda, the more she was filled with greed, sorrow, regret, guilt, and self-pity. Boy, was she greedy. One sugar cookie wasn’t enough, and two were just barely enough.

The sorrow that the greed set into motion was too much to bear, and the regret, guilt and self pity were no fun, either.

The real danger is that the “It’s-too-hard” voice teeters on becoming the “What’s-the-point” and “I-can’t-do-this” voice. That’s where the “It’s-too-hard” lies start coming in. Tomorrow I’ll start back, tomorrow I’ll start back, tomorrow I’ll start back soon turns into a month gone by the wayside.

Start pulling for the “Attagirl!” Root for the “Attagirl!” A lot of people like to cheer for the underdog, but don’t think of your precious “Attagirl!” as an underdog. She is strong. She is brave. She is beautiful. She is an achiever. She is a winner. Give her a chance and let her succeed.

Yesterday I fed my “Attagirl!” more than my “It’s-too-hard” voice. I had a peanut butter cheesecake shake for breakfast, Triple Zero yogurt and an apple for afternoon snack and a strawberry cheesecake shake for dinner. Dirinda: 1 – Sugar cookies: 0.

As a matter of fact, I have been helping my “Attagirl!” win all this week. She is getting stronger because I’ve been feeding her. I have been kind to the “Attagirl!” voice, and it’s getting louder every day.

If you don’t think you have voices in your head, think again. Maybe they’re not audible, but they are at the very least quite present in your subconscious. What tape is running in the background of your brain? Is it a self-defeating, self-hating voice or is it a self-preserving, encouraging voice?

Feed the right voice and the right voice wins.

I went to the grocery store this morning and came out with only two cartons of 1% cottage cheese, a carton of unsweetened almond milk and some light whipped topping. Attagirl! Every small victory is a cheer for Attagirl! She’s your friend. Root for her. Give her a leg up. Help her to succeed.

Somebody Pinch My Finger

I am recovering from a small flu bug. I posted on Facebook that I had attempted the Alka Seltzer Severe Cold and Flu packets to help with symptoms. I admit that the first night I tried one (the nighttime version), I slept like a baby.  I don’t even remember coughing. Maybe I did, but I don’t remember it.

The next morning I tried the daytime packet. No, let me take that back. I attempted to try the daytime packet. I held my nose and tried to gulp quickly through a fat straw, but I couldn’t do it. It made me gag. In fact, just thinking about taking another drink made me gag.

I got a few recommendations on Facebook about what to try–Nyquil, gel tabs, etc.–but my sister suggested that I try this: pinch the end of my little finger and it would stop the gag reflex.

I confess that I wasn’t willing to try the Alka Seltzer again to see if it worked, but I have had to take periodic doses of rather nasty cough syrup for the residual hacking the flu gave me.

I decided to test her theory. It is possible to pinch the end of my left pinkie between my thumb and ring finger or middle finger, after I fill my tablespoon and put down the cough syrup bottle. The downside to that is, I don’t have a free hand to hold my nose, which also helps.

Be that as it may, I have foregone the nose-holding and have stayed with the pinching of the pinkie trick. It may be possible for the extremely talented and dexterous person to pinch their pinkie and hold their nose at the same time. I just tried it, though, and ended up accidentally pinching my nose. Probably in my case I would end up spilling half my cough syrup by concentrating too hard on the activities of my left hand.

All this to say that I wish there were some trick to do to wane the sugar cravings. This is only necessary, of course, when you give in to them. If you stop sugar cold turkey and eat clean 100% of the time, the cravings subside after a couple of weeks. The nutritionist on Extreme Weight Loss attests to this. Well, that’s if you want to do it that hard way.

I jest. I know that stopping sugar cold turkey and eating 100% clean is the best way.

I did see something on Shark Tank a couple of nights ago that piqued my interest. One of the entrepreneurs was trying to get the sharks to invest in a product called Meal Enders. Meal Enders are chocolate-coated balls that resemble malted milk Whoppers, and they have something crazy like twelve or fifteen calories each.

The premise is that the initial flavor is to help with dessert cravings at the end of a meal–and the sharks concurred that the chocolate taste was delightful–but the centers of the balls had a cooling/tingling (Mr. Wonderful described it as “burning”) sensation that is supposed to direct your attention away from eating.

Barbara Cocoran said that the sensation was effective because she was wondering what she could eat to get that taste and feeling out of her mouth and she couldn’t think of a single thing.

Kevin O’Leary wouldn’t invest because he said there was nothing that could persuade him to put one of those in his mouth ever again, and, of course, a product is only effective if you’re brave enough to use it.

Dr. Phil suggests brushing your teeth to keep after-meal snacking at bay. You have to admit that the minty toothpaste taste puts a damper on the flavor of anything you put in your mouth afterward! If I want a piece of chocolate, I’ll have it before I brush my teeth, thank you very much, and the same goes for every other kind of food, too. Crest and Cheetos are not a good flavor combo.

It seems to me that a long time ago, I heard something about wearing a rubber band on your wrist and popping yourself with it if you thought about eating. Does anyone remember anything about that?

My daughter used to make jewelry so I made myself a THM bracelet: it has the initials “THM” on it. When a coworker mentioned that I had lost a lot of weight, I said, “Trim Healthy Mama.” I held up my wrist because I happened to remember that I was wearing the bracelet that day. Then I joked, “Whenever I feel like eating something I just pop myself on the wrist with my bracelet,” and I pulled the stretch band away from my arm and let it snap back against my wrist to demonstrate. He laughed with me.

I don’t think there’s any magic finger-pinching trick that will work. Maybe there’s acupuncture and maybe now I’m just getting silly. I’m sure there are hundreds of dollars we could throw at the problem, instead of just dealing with it on the level that we need to deal with it. In the words of Nancy Reagan, “Just say no.”

Or as my doctor would say, “If you eat the right things you will begin to crave the right things.” The same goes with water. The more water you drink the more water you will crave.

If you eat cauliflower and apples you will crave cauliflower and apples. True story. If you eat coconut bonbons and Hershey’s Kisses or marshmallow Peeps, you will keep craving that stuff, too. Unfortunately, that’s also a true story. Choose your “true.”

Sometimes I have to stop at McDonald’s to bring Chelsea home a breakfast burrito. I used to stop at Casey’s to get her biscuits and gravy, but I told her I couldn’t do that, anymore, because the sugar cookies were pushing me around too much and giving me a hard time. I refuse to be bullied.

Sometimes she will eat my THM pancakes and sometimes I don’t even ask her; I just bring a couple of hard-boiled eggs and sausage links. But sometimes I bring her what she wants.

She doesn’t drive, so she can’t go get her own. Maybe I shouldn’t enable unhealthful eating, but I do it, anyway. It isn’t like she pouts or gets annoyed if she doesn’t get what she wants. She has a very sweet disposition–so no excuses for me, really–but I sometimes still bring her stuff for breakfast that I shouldn’t.

While I’m at McDonald’s, I see that it is the time of year when they bring back their Shamrock Shakes, and Shamrock other stuff, too, apparently. I think I even saw Shamrock hot chocolate on the menu.

Naturally I thought of caving and buying myself one–just a small one, you know, because it would be another whole year before I’d have another opportunity– but I held strong.

I came home to dig that package of frozen spinach out of the freezer so I could make my own Shamrock Shake.

I was too lazy to go to too much effort to find it–maybe I don’t even have a package, but I thought I did–so I wondered what it would be like if I put a handful of frozen okra in there instead to get that green coloring. The consensus? Not bad. Not bad at all. The peppermint extract hides any taste the okra might lend to the overall flavor of the shake, so I’d say it’s a go. I’d do it again.

I do heartily recommend mixing up the frozen okra with the almond milk and cottage cheese for several seconds before adding the whey protein isolate and ice. I always make sure to thoroughly blend it before adding the last ingredients for hubby’s chocolate peanut butter shakes before he goes to work. He still doesn’t know I put okra in his shakes.

The other morning, though, I had just stepped out of the shower when he hollered in that he didn’t think I had mixed his shake up good enough. I stopped dead in my tracks in almost a panic, but then I realized that it couldn’t have been the okra he detected because I do make sure it’s well blended.

“What’s the matter?” I asked. “Did you hit a pocket of protein powder?”

“Yeah,” he said, “or something.”

That’s what happened. Sometimes I forget that I’m only making a shake in a small container (because Chuck always says a big container is too much for him) and I mistakenly add half a cup of water to the half cup of almond milk. Then, in an effort to thicken it up, I try to add as much crushed ice as I can. This particular morning, I overfilled the container and was afraid I was going to have chocolate shake spewing everywhere so I took it off the Nutribullet before I probably should have.

He had left almost half of the shake in his cup, so I tilted it up and drained it. I didn’t detect anything that was wrong with it, but maybe he had already drunk that part of it.

In other news, I’m looking into becoming an Amazon associate so I can monetize my blog because, otherwise, I don’t think I can justify the $411 that I’m going to have to spend next March to renew. Lots to think about. Of course if I’m going to do this thing, I have to do it, which means a commitment on my part. I’ll have to pick up the slack and actually get back into a writing routine, which means I’ll have to go back to the treadmill, too, to keep me accountable to my blog readers.

Of course, I don’t know the first thing about being an Amazon affiliate, and I’m being serious. Not the first thing.

I hope that doesn’t mean my jewelry business will have to go by the wayside. I don’t know. Lots to iron out.

Kicks

The other day I marveled at something I saw on Facebook. Someone posted a photo of a bottle of pop and three bags of candy, saying what a horrible day she had had and how her significant other knew how to make everything better.

I asked Chuck how waking up the next morning weighing three pounds more than you did when you went to bed would make everything better.

Don’t we all do that to ourselves, though?

“I’ve had such a bad day, I deserve this bag of candy/box of donuts/pizza (fill in the blank).”

Please, please, please let me feel that way about exercise.

The Bible says the heart is deceitfully wicked, but I kind of feel that way about my tongue. Is it my heart that wants the sugar or my tongue? What member of our bodies deceives us when it comes to food? What part of our bodies believes that the donut we are about to pop into our mouths is the answer to all our prayers? We think it will make us happy, but it’s only a small “kick.”

Oh, sure, it gives our endorphins a rush until that last gram of sugar dissolves on our tongue. Then we’re left with wanting more. Either that or we’re left with shame and guilt and extra pounds.

“Girl, you thought you found the answer
On that magic carpet ride last night,
But when you wake up in the mornin’
The world still gets you uptight.

Well, there’s nothin’ that you ain’t tried
To fill the emptiness inside,
But when you come back down, girl,
You still ain’t feelin’ right.

And don’t it seem like
Kicks just keep gettin’ harder to find
And all your kicks ain’t bringin’ you peace of mind
Before you find out it’s too late, girl,
You better get straight,

No, but not with kicks.
You just need help, girl.

Well, you think you’re gonna find yourself
A little piece of paradise,
But it ain’t happened yet,
So, girl, you better think twice.

Don’t you see, no matter what you do,
You’ll never run away from you,
And if you keep on runnin’
You’ll have to pay the price.

And don’t it seem like
Kicks just keep gettin’ harder to find
And all your kicks ain’t bringin’ you peace of mind
Before you find out it’s too late, girl,
You better get straight.

No, you don’t need kicks
To help you face the world each day.
That road goes nowhere.
I’m gonna help you find yourself another way.

Kicks just keep gettin’ harder to find
(Oh, you don’t need kicks, girl)
And all your kicks ain’t bringin’ you peace of mind
(You just need help, girl)
Before you find out it’s too late, girl
You better get straight

And don’t it seem like
Kicks just keep gettin’ harder to find
(Oh, you don’t need kicks, girl)
And all your kicks ain’t bringin’ you peace of mind
(You just need help, girl)
Before you find out it’s too late, girl
You better get straight.”

Thank you, Paul Revere and the Raiders, for that important public service announcement about food.

Remember, food is your fuel, not your friend, not your entertainment, not your drug. You don’t need it for kicks–because kicks just keep getting harder to find. It’s true. It takes more and more to satisfy whatever it is you’re seeking to gain from it.

I Know a Heartache When I See One

Lately I’ve been listening to songs with new ears, and it occurs to me how many of them can be assigned to emotions about food. Seriously, I’ve heard at least a few whose subject could be my ugly, yet powerful nemesis: sugar. I am going to try to bring these songs to my feeble mind when I am bombarded by relentless temptations in weak moments.

Here is my first one. Maybe it will help you, too, if you’re familiar with Jennifer Warner’s crossover hit from the seventies.

“I Know a Heartache When I See One”

Look at who the wind’s blowin’ up the road,
Shining like a northern star,
Actin’ like the answer to all my prayers,
But, baby, I know what you really are.

So don’t you knock on my door:
I won’t be home anymore.
You can find me out walking in the sun.
Oh, you hide it so well
It isn’t easy to tell,
But I know a heartache (heart attack, diabetic foot amputation)
When I see one.

Life and Death Are in the Power of the Tongue

Who remembers the old proverb, “Life and death are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof”?

I always understood this proverb to be all about words and how we use our words either to build up or to destroy, but I have been thinking these past couple of weeks about the tongue’s power over my body as well.

The tongue is a selfish member. My tongue doesn’t care if I have diabetes. My tongue doesn’t care about my heart, my joints, my feet or anything else. My tongue cares about one thing: my tongue. My tongue always looks out for number one.

“Oh, that tastes good! Gimme some more of that!” My tongue doesn’t care how many grams of sugar are in something or how many grams of fat or how many chemicals or unpronounceable ingredients or how processed something is. My tongue wants whatever makes my tongue happy.

My tongue doesn’t care if my stomach is saying, “Enough already. I don’t think I can eat even one more bite.” My tongue thinks, “Well, there’s still at least three bites left in the bowl, and I’m having them all!”

My tongue doesn’t care if my joints are inflamed and ache. My tongue doesn’t care if my feet are numb or even if they end up being amputated. My tongue is indeed selfish and not a friend to me or to any part of my body, and sometimes it is necessary to put my tongue in timeout.

It is time for me to esteem other members of my body more highly than my tongue.

I am not doing myself any favors when I give in to the temper tantrums of my tongue. My tongue should not always get its way.

“Deny yourself and follow Me,” Jesus said. I am ashamed to say that I have spent a great deal of my life following my tongue. What a sad commentary. What a poor testimony.

“Live as though your life depends on it.”

“Eat your food like medicine or someday you will eat your medicine like food.”

Sometimes you need to tell your tongue, “Be quiet, you big baby. Stop thinking of yourself all the time and be kind to the other members of your body.”

The tongue is so small and yet it yields so much power–the power over life and death.

I’ve Poisoned My Husband

I want to shout an apology to my husband from the rooftops. I can’t say “I’m sorry” enough. I feel horrible.
 
This morning I insisted that he eat my microwave-version baked strawberry yogurt oatmeal, even though the only kind of oatmeal he normally eats is either in the form of an oatmeal raisin cookie or the newly-tried THM E pancakes. (Yes, the whole family loves those!)
 
My thought was, if I used steel-cut oats, he wouldn’t have that texture that he doesn’t care for. Shoot, they would almost be the texture of the THM pancakes when I pulverize the oats to powder in the blender, right?
 
I had his bowl and my bowl right beside each other on the counter. Every ingredient was exactly the same, except for his I used 1/2 cup of steel-cut oats and for mine I used 1/2 old-fashioned rolled oats.
 
I delivered it, piping hot, on a potholder while I nuked mine. Basically, he sat there and played with it. He took a tiny bite here and there, saying that he didn’t really care for it.
 
“Oh, stop your whining,” I said. “It’s good. You only think you don’t like it. If you would actually try it, you would see how delicious it really is. You tell me over and over that it’s up to me to help you with your blood sugar and then you turn your nose up at the healthful foods I make for you.”
 
As I ate my oatmeal, my mouth literally watered and I relished every sweet bite of that delicious, steamy gift from heaven above.
 
After fifteen minutes or so, it became apparent that he was not going to eat his oatmeal.
 
“Oh, good grief,” I said. “Bring it here, ya big baby. You cannot throw away that perfectly good oatmeal.” Famous last words.
 
After I finished mine, I stuck my spoon into his. Something was off. Way off. Why was it so thick? It’s almost like it absorbed every ounce of fluid I put in there and it still wasn’t enough. I took a taste. Blech! It was awful! Not just bad. Awful! Still, I took three or four more bites, trying to dig out the strawberries, but even they didn’t help the flavor.
 
I made them exactly the same, except for the type of oats I used!
 
“Oh, Chuck, I am sooo sorry! This is horrible. But trust me when I say that mine was delicious. I’ll fix you one like mine tomorrow.”
 
“No, thank you,” he said. “Can I just have some ham and eggs?”
 
What happened? Do steel-cut oats absorb more? But, you know what, it didn’t taste good, either. I keep the steel-cut oats in a mason jar on a shelf by my kitchen sink. Do they go bad?
 
I feel horrible. I feel like I have ruined any chance I may have had in getting my husband to eat oatmeal.
 
On the upside, he is now drinking ACV and taking Triple Zero yogurt and a packet of Truvia to work to eat on his break.
 
I know for a fact that I used to eat steel-cut oats when I first started THM and I don’t remember anything like what I experienced this morning. I don’t have a clue what went wrong.
 
But Chuck, honey, sweetie, I am sooo sorry. You are not a whiny baby.

And This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

Restraint has never been my strong suit. When Ree Drummond makes her kids a special treat, say, an ice cream sundae with whipped cream and various toppings, she likes to tell them, “Practice restraint.”

I can’t do that. When I lose control, I lose control. In the last month, I had gotten off-track with sugar cravings. Sometimes I would stop by Casey’s to see if they had any of those heavenly sugar cookies with the white frosting. Most of the time they did not. Sometimes I would turn on my heel and march straight back out the door (my way of protesting, like “Well, okay, then, if you don’t have my kind of cookies, I just won’t buy anything at all!”–as if they cared), but a time or two I bought a couple of sugar cookies without the frosting because that’s all they had. Did you notice the word “couple”?

When I decide I’m going off plan, I go way off plan. I can’t have a cookie because a cookie is not enough. I want two or three cookies. Or four.

I had this discussion with a coworker one afternoon as she sat on my couch chatting after she dropped by to pick up her jewelry order. The subject was donuts, and we both agreed that it’s hard to stop at just one.

“And that’s why we can’t have nice things,” I said. She erupted in laughter, and immediately I knew I had stumbled upon a catchy blog title.

It’s easier not to eat donuts at all than to stop at one.

Confession time. In the last few weeks I bought, on three separate afternoons, those vanilla sugar wafers (Always Save, the cheap ones) in the cookie aisle at Piggly Wiggly and ate them all single-handedly before the night was through. They weren’t even the “good stuff.” They weren’t gourmet cookies by any stretch of the imagination. A whole package cost me only $1.29 or something like that, and the guilt I felt afterward far outweighed any pleasure that was derived from eating them. Or maybe not. It’s easy to say after the fact, but, while I was stuffing them into my face, I was thoroughly enjoying them.

Here’s something I’ve noticed about myself, though. I set out to eat the whole package. When I bought them in the store, I had no intention of stopping after just three wafers. This was premeditated gluttony. I barely took the time to chew each one. The sugar, oh, the sugar. I can’t even explain the euphoria I experience when that sugar hits my tongue, but I can’t get enough of it and I can’t get it fast enough. I couldn’t even leave my parking spot without ripping open the bag, and I had three rows gone before I hit my driveway–and I only live about three minutes from the store!

Then the depression sets in. I can do fine all morning and afternoon. I have my okra smoothies, my Ezekiel toast or my baked oatmeal. I can coast through my day and be 100% fine, and then in one unguarded moment in the grocery store unravel my whole day.

My husband doesn’t think I’m serious when I say that I cannot go to the grocery store unsupervised.

The nutritionist said on Extreme Weight Loss that the cravings diminish after the first couple of weeks, but they will only diminish if you quit giving in to them.

Even now I feel like one of Pavlov’s dogs. Just the thought of those cheap sugar wafers has my mouth watering. I’m not even hungry. I just drank my coffee okra shake and had two pieces of Ezekiel toast, but the mental picture of those yellow, crunchy sugar wafers with the sweet centers literally has me almost drooling.

I’m pretty sure my grandma used to call those ice cream cookies or icebox cookies. They come in chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. Sometimes you can get packages with all three in them, like neopolitan ice cream–but vanilla is my favorite one, so I just buy the packages that have vanilla. Excuse me, “bought” the packages. Let me just put that in past tense right now before I give myself permission to continue in this destructive lifestyle.

The fall is here and we never got our bikes bought. That’s just as well. I was afraid of getting hit by a texting driver, anyway. Chuck and Chelsea dragged me out to Confederate Park on Saturday to get some walking in. I felt wonderful afterward. My family gave me money for my birthday, so I could buy a Fitbit. I was hoping it would motivate me to walk more, but so far I haven’t.

The treadmill has gone by the wayside. I pretend that I don’t do the treadmill because the motor is going out in it, but the truth is that I have lost my mojo. My motivation to walk on the treadmill is sporadic at best. I walked on it last week a couple of times, but over the summer I could probably count the number of times I got on the treadmill on one hand.

Do you know what that means? That means that I gained some weight over the summer. We went on vacation the first part of July, and all bets were off when it came to my eating. I ate anywhere and anything. Continental breakfasts included four or five donuts, orange juice, raisin bran with milk. I was out of control, and the scale showed it.

I was horrified to discover that suddenly I was up twenty-nine pounds from my lowest weight I had reached after discovering Trim Healthy Mama. Friends went from saying “Wow, how much have you lost now?” to “Are you still doing that Trim Healthy Mama thing?” When that happens you know something has gone wrong.

The difference has mainly been the treadmill–and my occasional sugar outbursts. I still separate my fats from my carbs. I make the Trim Healthy Mama pancakes on page 259 of the new cookbook and don’t even miss the butter. Oh! I have to tell you something. A few days ago, I ran out of vanilla extract, so instead of putting vanilla extract in them I used half a teaspoon of maple extract and a teaspoon of butter extract. Mm mm! They were tasty!

I also throw a handful of blueberries on top after I ladle them onto the griddle. I wish I had tried these long before now. They are wonderful and my family loves them. The recipe is so easy that I had it memorized after only fixing them one time.

Finally I am putting that griddle that Chelsea got for me for Christmas a couple of years ago, when she was in Kindred Hospital, to good use. I used it a couple of times when I first got it for S pancakes, but they don’t hold a candle to these E pancakes. When I say I think I could eat them every day of my life, I am not exaggerating.

I put some chocolate chips in some for Chelsea, and she took some to work with her. Karmin, the owner of the salon, ate three of them that day and gave them a two-thumbs-up.

I only wish I had ordered some more of the THM Super Sweet when it was on sale last week. No one can tell these are not regular pancakes. Chelsea remarked that they are every bit as good as any pancakes she has ever had, and here’s probably the biggest compliment: Cameron said this would be something good to have on Christmas morning. To eat these pancakes and suddenly equate them to a special treat for Christmas morning? That made me beam.

“I can do that,” I said cheerily. I can definitely whip up a batch of these on Christmas morning. They take almost no time at all, and what a comfort food!

I made the rest of the family sausage links, hash browns and eggs, but my husband commented that he was FULL. Over-full would be my guess because there was enough protein in those pancakes to be a meal all by themselves. I got full, too, and pancakes are all that I eat–none of the other stuff.

Thanks for hanging with me this morning. I know I’ve kind of been rambling. I’ve gotten out of the habit of blogging and I’m just pouring out any thought that hits my brain.

Anyway, sugar: bad (really bad). Trim Health Mama pancakes on page 259: good (really good).

Prejudice

A friend stumbled upon this on the Trim Healthy Mama Beginners page and asked if I would mind its being shared on Facebook. I don’t mind at all. In fact, I told her I would share it on my blog. Actually I’m more than happy to do so since I’ve been slacking on my blogging lately.

I wrote this back on March 11, 2015. My apologies if you’ve read it before.

It’s time for a little dose of truth. How many of us have looked down our noses or clicked our tongues at junkies who are addicted to crack cocaine or winos stumbling out of bars? Let me try to type now with just my left hand, since my other hand is raised high in the air with some of yours! If being totally honest, I have to answer that I have!

How many of us have, at the very least, pitied those who are caught in the grips of alcoholism or drug addiction? Truth be told, there are probably some drug addicts who would look down their noses at people carrying around excess flab, too. “Really?” you may ask. You betcha!

If a drug addict looks in the mirror she may see a body image pretty close to what she sees on the covers of magazines, and society tells her (and everyone else!) that obese people are disgusting. We don’t get that generalization as much as we used to, though, before there were fast food places, donut shops, and Starbucks on every corner in our fast-paced lives. America, by and large (yes, we have become very large!), has become a country inundated with overweight people.

I know for a fact that people have looked in disgust at me before. I’ve seen it, and I have heard it. I once saw a member of my husband’s family look at my protruding, sagging tummy with absolute revulsion in her eyes; she was about eight months pregnant at the time.

When I saw her staring at my stomach, I had mixed feelings. First off—I won’t lie—it hurt my feelings a little. All at once I felt like a big, fat sow, but, at the same time I was experiencing another feeling that involved my receiving payback and the horror of realizing my own actions and reactions of a much younger me.

Growing up, I had an aunt who was overweight. I remember looking at her stomach and wondering how she could stand it and why she didn’t do anything about it.

Under this pregnant lady’s scrutinizing gaze, suddenly I thought, “What if my aunt had seen on my face what had been in my mind!??” If so, I was receiving due compensation when the young, pregnant lady looked at my stomach!

Sometimes it’s not easy to feel something or think something and not let it show on our faces!

Let me be perfectly clear. Addiction is addiction.

I think it was at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting that I once heard that sugar and flour, when combined in the blood stream, create the same addictive effect that alcohol does. I’m no scientist, and I certainly haven’t researched this out, but, if true, it would definitely explain why I have been drawn to Twizzlers throughout most of my life—almost to the extent of a crackhead being fixed on his next high.

Whatever harmful stuff I am introducing to my body, which the Bible tells me is the very temple of the Holy Spirit–whether it be cocaine, nicotine, vodka or Twizzlers–the crux of the matter is that sin is sin. No matter how I do it, destroying my body is still destroying my body, whether I cut it with a knife or spoon in quart after quart after quart of sugar-laden ice cream.

Cirrhosis of the liver, drug overdose, lung cancer, stroke, heart attack or diabetes: the cause doesn’t matter. Dead is still dead.

My dad used to say that dieting was harder than quitting drinking or smoking because we HAVE to eat. We can give up alcohol or smoking and never take another sip or puff, but we can’t just stop eating. After all, we have to eat to live, right? If we give up eating, we die!

Probably what Dad didn’t think about—or at least he didn’t mention—was that we can completely give up sugar, flour, rice, pasta, and milk. We certainly will not die if we don’t have those things. In fact, we could be taking a giant step toward regaining our health and living longer! Let’s finish up this week on plan and take care of our temples! It’s Wednesday, ladies! We’re halfway there!

Changing My Mantra

If you’ve followed me for very long, you’ve probably heard me say that “I don’t do hard.” As a child, I would get frustrated and pop the buttons off the back of my dresses because I couldn’t unbutton them behind my neck. Even now I’m trying to understand why a parent would buy a little girl a dress that buttoned in the back–at least if that little girl was expected to dress and undress herself.

That frustration followed me into my teen and adult years (and I find it completely logical that those same manifestations of anger and frustration have surfaced in my own son’s behavior throughout his life). For instance, I never learned to put on my bra properly. I didn’t have the time or patience to line up the hooks and eyelets behind my back. Who did those bra manufacturers think I was, Houdini?

What I would do is fasten the hooks in the front of my body and twist the bra around to where it was supposed to be and then put my arms in the straps and pull them up over my shoulders. This was contrary to how my mother put on her brassiere, but, then, I am lazy. I have always been lazy and, as a toddler, I was also not very bright.

When Mom and Dad would have us pick up our toys, my brother, who was two years younger than I, would load up his arms and haul all he could carry in one trip to the toy box. I would pick up one toy, carry to the toy box and then return for another. Well, you know, back then I didn’t have a treadmill and I had to get my walking in somehow! Of course, I’m being facetious. The furthest thing from my mind was getting exercise, and, if I had weighed the thing out in my small brain, I may have concluded that carrying more was better than making seven or eight trips to the toy box.

Don’t most of us do the same thing now with our groceries? We load ourselves up with eight or nine heavy bags and try to open our front doors with our pinkies or elbows. Heaven forbid that we have to make two trips to our car!

I guess you know that Flylady recommends taking only your frozen goods in first, putting them away and then returning for more. This makes perfect sense, certainly more sense than balancing all those bags (and boxes maybe!) and trying to free an appendage to open the front door!

With Trim Healthy Mama I have always said it must be easy because “I don’t do hard.” The fact is, it isn’t always easy. The concept is easy, but following it perfectly 100% of the time is not.

There are times when life’s stress creeps in, and sometimes we may even be plagued with bouts of depression. When that happens we slip into old patterns and destructive food choices.

What I have noticed is that, as I slacked on the treadmill, I slacked on saying no to sugar. We went on vacation and I returned to finally weigh myself after many promptings by my husband and son. I was horrified to learn that I had gained weight, not just a little weight, either. It was a substantial amount of weight.

I was afraid to weigh because, just as losing weight is a motivation to keep losing more, gaining weight has a tendency to do the exact opposite–and I didn’t want that to happen. What if I completely gave up?

It took me a week, but I lost six of the pounds I had gained back. I haven’t completely given up. I’m still having oatmeal for breakfast most days or Ezekiel toast and chocolate peanut butter shakes with okra, and I’m still having salads or burgers without buns or pizza on low-carb wraps for lunch. The fact is that I’m still not eating buns or potatoes or rice or pasta, but . . . And there’s the big, fat but. The sugar! Oh, the sugar. Please, God, free me from this addiction.

For lunch today Chelsea and I went to the Mexican restaurant. Now, they have excellent cheesecake there that is only $2.25 per slice. Did I mention that it’s very good cheesecake? I can have an awesome on-plan meal (no rice or tortillas) and then totally destroy it with a piece of cheesecake.

Today I had a grilled chicken salad with extra veggies and a dollop of sour cream on top. I did not partake of the cheesecake. I told Chelsea beforehand that I would come home and make myself either a chocolate muffin in a mug or a peanut butter cheesecake shake for dessert. That gave me something to look forward to, to keep my mind off the cheesecake. Then I got home and decided I didn’t really even want dessert, so I just drank some water. Victory.

It was a small victory, but one small victory piled on top of another amounts to one great big victory.

I continue to watch Extreme Weight-Loss Makeover and I halfway identify with the people on that show. I say “halfway” because I’m still convinced that I couldn’t do what they have resolved to do. “I don’t do hard.” I can’t seem to help it. I hear myself speaking those destructive words to my heart. That, my friends, is negative self-talk.

I’m changing my mantra. My new mantra will be “I can do hard and not die.” I love that mantra because it is an ambiguous statement. It can mean “the treadmill won’t kill me” or it can mean “if I do the treadmill I can live longer.”

To cement my new mantra into my brain, for the last two weeks, I have put on my bra the correct way. A couple of times I wanted to cuss (and I don’t cuss!) and a couple of times I wanted to give up and a couple of times I wanted to rip and tear my bra into a million pieces and throw it against the wall. I could feel angry tears ready to come spilling out, but I held them back, just as I held back any cuss words lurking there in the darkness of my mad and frustrated heart. (It could very well be that I need therapy!)

I know you probably don’t care, but putting on my bra is getting easier now. I can do hard and not die.

I don’t like sweating or getting dirt under my fingernails or a whole host of other things, but I can do hard and not die.

With God as my helper, I can be free of a sugar addiction. On Extreme Weight Loss Makeover, the nutritionist said that the cravings should wane after a week of no sugar. I’ve done it before and I can do it, again. And I can do hard and not die. Lord, help me, please–if not on my own, then by Your strength.

Into Her Clothes and into Her Head

I was standing in line at Bio Life yesterday afternoon, waiting to get my finger pricked and my blood pressure and temperature taken, when my eyes landed on a young miss who was probably five foot nothing with a tiny frame. I glanced around at the other attendants and determined that her lab coat was a mere fraction of the size of the others. Was it a small or maybe even an extra small? I wouldn’t have been surprised. Her slender body made the perfect clothes hanger for the lab coat that hung crisply down the sides of her body, unlike some of the wrinkled lab coats of her coworkers that tucked into fat rolls and stretched across girthy backs and bosoms.

Every woman in there would probably love to be able to get into her clothes, but, at that moment in time, there at Bio Life on that Saturday afternoon, I wanted to be able to get into her head. What did she think about? What was her relationship with food?

When ten or ten-thirty rolled around, did she start thinking about what she was going to have for lunch? Was she counting the minutes until her lunch break or was she one of those that others had to prompt to head back to the break room because food was the last thing on her mind?

What would she think if someone told her that a coworker had brought in a box of Lamar’s donuts for the rest of the employees? Would her mind wander to that box of donuts all morning long until she was finally able to partake of one? Would she worry that all the chocolate ones or coconut ones or glazed ones would be gone by the time she got to them?

What would be her first thought if coworkers asked her to join them for Blizzards at Dairy Queen after work to beat the summer heat? Would she relish in the thought or would she politely decline because she had determined not to fill her body with junk like that or would she go and order something else without even being tempted?

I can’t help but wonder if there are people in the world who contemplate what the bare minimum is that they have to eat to still be able to sustain life. Are there people like that? Are there people who don’t enjoy eating or, at the very least, don’t spend as much time thinking about it as I do?

I once had a skinny cousin who would forget to eat. How is it possible to forget to eat? For most of my life, my thoughts have been consumed with food. My whole family was that way, and probably my parents’ families were, too. It’s a cycle that’s difficult to break.

When you’re raised by a mom or dad who equates food with love, you carry that with you your whole life. I’m not saying that my parents didn’t tell me they loved me or that they didn’t give me kisses and hugs and spend time and play games with me because they did, but food was such a big part of our lives and when my dad made a big freezer full of burnt sugar ice cream or a triple-layer German chocolate cake with coconut and pecan frosting I felt love.

My parents were excellent cooks, and mostly our meals were wonderfully nutritious–except for the rolls, biscuits and potatoes and the eight or nine varieties of pies we had for Thanksgiving and Christmas–not to mention the cakes, bread and rice puddings and Jell-o salads.

My parents were reared in a different era. While they were growing up, there wasn’t money for extras. During my mom’s childhood, even a common food like an orange was a rare treat for her. I think my mom vowed that that would never be the case for us. Whenever there was a trip to the grocery store, there was always a treat in the sack for us kids: Slow Pokes, Black Cows, Snickers, Reese’s or Sweet Tarts.

My parents raised a big garden. They canned lots of stuff: green beans, tomatoes, carrots, beets, chili sauce, pear honey, and I don’t even know what else. In the summer, we had a salad with every meal with lots of veggies cut up in there: green onions, radishes, tomatoes, celery and cucumbers. We had fried green tomatoes and fried okra. We had okra and tomatoes. We also had big bowls of cucumbers and onions with a vinegar marinade.

We didn’t have meat at every meal, but we never starved. Sometimes we had beans and cornbread with the homemade chili sauce they had canned. Sometimes we had fried potatoes on homemade biscuits with Velveeta cheese and Miracle Whip and sliced tomatoes, but always there was a big fresh garden salad to go along with it.

I don’t remember there ever being a shortage of apples or other fruit in our house, and we had every sugary cereal imaginable: Quisp, Quake, Sugar Smacks, Cap’n Crunch, Lucky Charms, Fruit Loops. When we were little, Dad also made us lots of hot cereal, too: Ralston Purina, Malto-Meal, Cream of Wheat, oatmeal and big bowls of steaming white rice with milk and sugar. We were well-cared for. I mean, we really were well-cared for, but probably my parents weren’t as educated about nutrition as I am becoming right now.

We always had potatoes, pasta, and bread in the house and we always had milk. Now, I have none of those–except for Ezekiel bread and almond milk, and my family insists that those are not the same thing. I also keep plenty of our new bread, Santa Fe flax tortillas in the house. My husband takes those to work with his tuna salad, and I use them for our sirloin burgers and personal thin-crust pizzas.

We are getting by quite nicely without milk and bread and hotdog buns and hamburger buns.

I remember the spread my parents used to put out for our Fourth of July cookouts: big, thick BBQ burgers with hamburger buns and hotdogs with grill marks on hotdog buns, huge bowls of my mom’s potato salad and macaroni salad, a big plate of sliced homegrown tomatoes and onions, a couple of bags of potato chips and nacho cheese Doritos, a freezer of homemade banana ice cream and a cooler of pop, none of it diet.

I get a little discouraged sometimes because I know I can’t replicate what that meal looked like, smelled like, tasted like and felt like. I feel like it would take too much effort on my part to try to find good THM substitutes for all the comfort foods with which I grew up. There’s a definite learning curve, and I am a lazy person. I’m not using the term lightly. I really am lazy and, for the most part, hugely unmotivated.

Unlike many other ladies, I hate the time it takes to look through cookbooks and Pinterest files. I find it boring and time-consuming.

That being confessed, I am happy with the small changes we have made in our diets: no chips, no white bread or buns, no potatoes, no milk, but I feel that I’m limited now with what I make for dinner. When I was growing up, dinner was colorful and balanced. My mom would plan for some type of meat, generally (except for when we had beans and cornbread or fried potatoes and biscuits), some type of starch (either some type of potato or pasta), but she would also try to offer as many different colored veggies and other foods as she could to make meal time pleasantly appealing to the eye.

I can do that now with our pizzas, omelets and salads. I put as many colored peppers and other veggies as I can in them, but I am limited by my husband’s reluctant acceptance of veggies like celery, cucumbers, broccoli and cauliflower. To be frank, he doesn’t like most vegetables, but I hope he will grow to appreciate them more and more as I have over the course of the past couple of years. I didn’t like Brussels sprouts and wouldn’t have wasted my time on cooked zucchini at buffets, but now those are the foods that I seek out and I pass by my old favorites of mashed potatoes and brown gravy, mac and cheese and fluffy, buttery, yeasty rolls without so much as blinking an eye or even looking in that direction.

As of late, after reading the section in the Trim Healthy Mama Plan book about okra–two or three times!–okra has become the new additive to my shakes (and hubby’s shakes, but–shhh!–don’t tell him!).  I don’t think it’s my imagination that the okra seems to make the shakes more creamy. The cottage cheese also helps, but don’t mention that to my husband, either. He would insist that nothing belongs in shakes except ice cream.

Sometimes I miss my old life and the foods I used to eat, but mostly I think it’s the childhood memories I had that just happened to revolve around the foods we ate.

I can say with 100% certainty that I don’t miss hamburger buns or white bread. I don’t miss milk. I don’t miss mashed potatoes or french fries or baked potatoes or hash browns.

If little by little by little we can become accustomed to doing without those things that are poison to our bodies, not only may we live longer but the quality of the years we have left will be significantly improved.

If we have more energy, if we can sleep better at night, if our joints feel better, those are all good things. If I put hamburger buns on one side of the scale and all the health benefits I get from not eating them on the other side, I know which side of the scale I would choose. Every time.

Are those the kinds of things that Miss Skinny Minny at Bio Life thinks about? Maybe she had a different upbringing than I did, or maybe she knows the same struggles I do. It would be interesting to get inside her head–and wonderful beyond my wildest imagination to be able to fit inside her clothes!

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