Can You Stay for Dinner?

Friends, I finished reading my book finally, and, guess what, Andie Mitchell has an actual website where you can read more about her story and find some wholesome recipes, also.

I’m in the middle of fixing dinner (Chuck and Chelsea have had a long day in Columbia for her surgery followup), so I’m just leaving you with this link. Have fun navigating around her site! Enjoy! http://www.andiemitchell.com/

Runaway Train

One of the things I like most about Andie Mitchell is her ability to find exactly the right words to describe something. Her word pictures are spot on. I know this because the disorder that she has fought is the disorder that I fight. Every day.

During my morning route my mind drifted to stopping to get Chelsea something to eat before her nurse showed up at 8:15. Since McDonald’s is being rebuilt completely from scratch now and won’t be reopened until October, the nearest Mickey D’s is at the junction. Not wanting to drive ten more miles once I was finished driving for the morning, Casey’s was the next most logical breakfast stop.

I remember exactly where I was when I started e̶n̶t̶e̶r̶t̶a̶i̶n̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶t̶h̶o̶u̶g̶h̶t̶s̶ ̶o̶f̶ planning my next binge. I was about to turn onto 15th Street, when suddenly I could think of little else but two sugar cookies from Casey’s, complete with that famous sugary, white glazed icing that is surely made in heaven. Not just one sugar cookie, mind you, but two.  If I’m going to go off-plan, I may as well make it worth my while. I had a really good day yesterday, I reasoned with myself, I can have another one tomorrow.

Once I give myself permission to do something–actually “promise” is more the word I’m looking for–it’s hard to go back on that promise. It’s hard to let all those sugar-laden thoughts and mouth-watering expectations go unfulfilled.

Andie Mitchell of It Was Me All Along wrote, “Once you’ve decided on a binge, it’s almost impossible to stop. Turning back is driving all the way to Florida from Massachusetts, straight through the night, and arriving bleary-eyed and exhausted, only to decide it would be better to turn around and head back up north rather than nap in the sun on the beach for a bit.”

It would make absolutely no sense to turn back once you’ve gotten your taste buds in an uproar. Deliver what you promised!, they scream.

All the way to school I considered this word picture, and I was willing to concede that it honestly was way yonder too hard to resist what I’d already purposed to do. I wasn’t up for the battle. I’m spineless and weak, after all, and, in the whole scheme of things, does the world really care whether I cave in to those two sugar cookies or not?

And, while I wasn’t considering the word picture, I was picturing how utterly depleted I would be if I gave in. I was picturing the sugar cookies being gone within ten minutes, but the guilt lingering far into the afternoon. There may even be enough guilt left over to have a heaping helping of it tomorrow, too.

Still battling as I got back to the bus lot, an angel on my right shoulder and a devil on my left, I slid the gear shift into neutral, engaged my parking brake, switched off my lights, and pivoted in my seat, grunting as I grabbed hold of the dashboard and the safety rail to hoist up my sugar-addicted body onto my aching and stiff knees.

“The sugar won’t help you feel better, Dirinda,” I said out loud. I walked down the aisle of my bus toward the child-check button, continuing my mini lecture. “You may think right now that it will, but it won’t. It will only make you feel worse. Sugar isn’t going to help your knees. Sugar isn’t going to help you get around easier.”

I started making another plan. Chocolate cake (in the form of a THM plan-approved muffin-in-a-mug). “Yep, that’s it. New plan.”

I walked into Casey’s and glanced at the counter for the sugar cookies. I saw some cookies, but I wouldn’t let my eyes settle on them for long. I walked over toward the kitchen and selected a sausage croissant for Chelsea from the turning, heated display case, and then I got her a chocolate milk from the refrigerated section. I found my place in line where I had another moment or two to survey the donuts behind me.

I heard a fellow customer report, “They don’t have any cake donuts.”

“Are you kidding me?!” said her companion who had hobbled in with some kind of surgical brace covering her whole foot and half her leg.

But they do have those airy French twist donuts, I observed, with the delicious white frosting. And they have plenty of those delectable, yeasty glazed donuts, too.

I turned my attention toward the front counter where the cookies are always lined up in rows of cheerful greeters to welcome you when you walk in the front door. Sometimes they go all out and sport colorful, birthday-party sprinkles.  Hmm, I thought, chocolate chip cookies and sugar cookies with no icing. Marshmallow Rice Crispy squares with M&Ms and peanut butter Rice Crispy squares with chocolate icing. Both of those would do in a pinch–and have before– but I paid for Chelsea’s breakfast and headed out to my car without incident or mishap.

When I got home, I walked Chelsea’s breakfast back to her room and set about making me a Trim Healthy Mama chocolate muffin-in-a-mug. I took half of one of those little 85% cocao chocolate bars and broke it up into pieces over the top of the muffin before I put it in the microwave.

Today I waged war against the monster of sugar addiction, and I made the wiser choice. Victory is mine, and right now it feels sweeter than a sugar cookie.

 

It Was Me All Along

I’m nearly finished with the book, It Was Me All Along, I ordered from Amazon. I am so happy that I bought it. Andie Mitchell is a talented writer, and the book has a conversational appeal that drew me in and kept me holding onto the book, continuing to read, even after I realized that I really should be getting to bed or doing other things.

Did any of you follow my suggestion and order it, too, so that you could discuss with me what you thought about it?

Andie’s life is easy to relate to, maybe not her family situation (but we all have our own stories, don’t we?), but I certainly understood her relationship with food and how she used it to cope with the fears, frustrations and angst of growing up with an addicted parent and always being “the fat girl” at school.

If you haven’t read it, yet, I know you will like Andie and appreciate the insight she brings to food addiction and how to break the cycle.

One of the main things I have come away with is what I have always known to be true, but have dragged my feet doing, literally, for about the last year–has it been that long? I need to get off my tush and exercise.

Since I am still eating mostly healthy foods and try to stay within the guidelines for Trim Healthy Mama approved food groupings, my level of activity just isn’t cutting it.

I’m not going to start off as a drill sergeant this time, however. I’m allowing myself to do just five or ten minutes on the treadmill, and then I’m stopping. I think I may stop even if I feel like going longer, just to prove to myself that I can be gentle and encouraging instead of harsh and demanding. I don’t know. I haven’t worked all that out, yet.

I just ordered another book to read while on vacation the first of July. I told Chuck I am going to order every book on food addiction until I get this monster under control. Here is the one I ordered this morning:

I read the “teaser” portion before my morning route just after I placed my order and I’m convinced this is going to be another entertaining and helpful read.

The following is a review I posted on Facebook, after having read my most recent book:

Chelsea and I recently read a book by Jojo Moyes called “Me Before You.” She had kind of wanted to see the movie, but read the book instead and now she says the movie couldn’t possibly have done the story line any justice. I agree. That is most often the case.

Spoiler alert. If you want to read the book or see the movie, do not read any further.

The book is about a successful businessman in London who takes over companies and has a very active, athletic lifestyle. A tragic accident takes everything away from him, except his very life. He suffers an extreme spinal cord injury and becomes a quadriplegic.

He goes from having the world by the tail to being dependent on other people for every single thing but the beat of his heart and the breath in his nostrils. He can’t even lift a fork to his mouth.

He determines that his life isn’t worth living anymore. In two years he contracts pneumonia three times, and the prognosis for his getting any better at all is beyond grim.

A caregiver his mom hires falls in love with him. She makes him laugh and, after she finds out that he has promised his mom six months more before he legally kills himself–with aid, of course–in Switzerland, she sets out to prove to him that life is indeed worth living when you are loved.

The man has lots of pain: bladder spasms, fevers because of inadequate body temperature control, muscle spasms, etc., but, on good days, there is laughter. On good days he enjoys music and films. There is always, always love, no matter what.

In all the book there is no mention that the man is a Christian. In fact, there is quite a bit in the book to make us believe to the contrary. Before his accident he lived a life marked by fornication and entitlement, and throughout the book there were instances of profanity and taking the Lord’s name in vain.

In the end, he decides that love is not enough to endure confinement to a wheelchair and the limitations of his once active and virile body.

His loved ones reconcile that it would be cruel to take the one thing he can control (the choice to live or die) away from him–even the girl who loves him and is initially horrified that his mom and dad have agreed to let him end his life grants him his wish that she be with him when he breathes his last.

Whatever the reader comes away with after reading this tragic tale, the one thing they aren’t given to consider is the afterlife.
The man’s family thinks they are helping him to escape the misery of his wheelchair and ill-health, but there is no escaping the misery of eternal torment in hell.

In hell there is no love, there is no laughter, there are no good days.

Summer school is already half over. Vacation is coming up and I have plans to be a reader! Should be a fun and educational summer!

Trim Healthy Man

I’m proud of my hubby in lots of ways, but firstly I’m proud that he has gotten down to his lowest weight in years. He told me a few nights ago that he had gotten down as low as 203 in the past few weeks.

What is the change? What has made the difference? Okay, for one thing, neither of us usually have bread, and, when we do, it is Ezekiel bread. We eat our hamburgers and hotdogs without buns. Chuck has not, however, completely given up potatoes, and under no circumstances would he consider eating any of my no-tato salad. Basically it’s the same as potato salad, but it’s made with cooked cauliflower instead of potatoes.

I took no-tato salad to our end-of-school picnic and also to our church Memorial Day cookout. I don’t know if it was wildly received, but lots of people tried it. I will say that my own son will eat half of a plateful without blinking an eye. Obviously he can’t tell it has cauliflower in it.

Chuck still has fried chicken on a regular basis, either when we’re eating out or from the deli at Moose’s Market. It doesn’t seem to have a negative effect on his blood sugar. Actually, these days, his blood sugar is always in the normal range. That could be due to the fact that bread, potatoes and pop are almost entirely absent from his diet.

Instead of pop he now drinks apple cider vinegar with the mother, mixed with club soda and Strawberry Crush water enhancer. While the Crush water enhancers probably have unapproved sweeteners in them (as far as Trim Healthy Mama is concerned), it still has zero calories and zero carbs, and it’s better than drinking pop.

Our preference is strawberry, but we haven’t been able to find that one in Super Centers, anymore, and I don’t know why. A couple of days ago I found it on Amazon and bought twelve of them. It was only a little higher than what we had paid for them at Super Center, but it’s better than not having them at all. Chuck had started using the single powder tubes, but they foam up badly when you add the club soda. I also prefer the flavor of the liquid. You would think there wouldn’t be a difference, but I think there is.

Chuck has also been taking Triple Zero yogurt to work with a packet of Truvia to eat at break. Instead of eating any kind of chips he now takes Smartfood popcorn. It’s probably not the wisest choice, but just changing a few major things in our diets yields happy and healthful results.

I’ve been able to string together several good days in a row, but I feel that without getting back on the treadmill I’m not making any real headway. I did fall off the wagon yesterday evening at Aldi’s, but, if I had gone in by myself, it wouldn’t have been quite the calamity. When we walked in the door, the chocolate was right there, just a few steps away. Chuck got the dark chocolate hazelnut and I gave in to the white chocolate coconut crunch. Up until that point, my day had been victorious for the most part.

Chuck thought a difference that has led to my weight gain is that I had stopped fixing oatmeal for breakfast. I used to eat it almost every day, but I gave it up for either THM E pancakes or mocha frappes with Ezekiel toast, Happy Farms cheese and Polaner all-fruit. For the last two mornings I had strawberry yogurt oatmeal. It was delicious, of course, and it wasn’t any harder than mixing up a batch of THM pancakes, so I thought I would go back to having baked oatmeal every day. Still, that hasn’t been what the difference has been.

Chuck tells me I still eat healthful foods most of the time, so the main difference has to be the lack of treadmill, and I agree. It doesn’t really matter what kind of diet a person is on, if their level of activity falls short of the calories they’re taking in, the weight-loss program will be an epic fail.

When participants of the My 600-lb. Life go in to see Dr. Nowzaradan after their surgeries, one of the first things he asks them, if they haven’t lost as much weight as they should have, is “What is your level of activity?”

If those people on My 600-lb. Life can get out of their beds and move, so can I. I just have to want it. It’s not any harder for me than it is for them. In fact, even on my worst day, my knees don’t scream at me any more loudly than their whole body screams at them when they walk through their house. Some of them can’t even be on their feet for five minutes.

Chuck played tennis this morning with our pastor and Cameron and one of his friends. He just ate lunch, and soon he will go out to mow our lawn with a push mower. He will have done more before noon than I will probably do all day long.

On the way home from Warrensburg last night, he was talking about how the people are where he works and how they play the “point system” instead of shooting for perfect attendance, as he does, and collecting the free days the company gives them every six months.

“They treat points like vacation days, and they’re not vacation days. I’d rather stay home and get paid for it than stay home and not get paid.”

Chuck is 57 years old now and has shoulder problems. Sometimes if he reaches for something or if he turns the wrong way in bed he’ll cry out in pain. He refuses to get it checked out because, if it required surgery, he would have to miss work. So he puts up with it.

A couple of times a year the place where he works has a bag house change. I can’t explain it because I don’t know what that is, but I do know that it’s a grueling process and you’re spending eight hours reaching and pulling and squatting and bending. Chuck says for a couple of days afterward it feels like he’s run a marathon. His legs are just shot, and, of course, it’s torture for his shoulders, too.

Because Chuck has been there for twenty-five plus years, sometimes he doesn’t have to do it. The company tries to do it during shutdown, which happens for a week the first week in July and a week or two at Christmas. Chuck gets almost five weeks of vacation a year, including his four perfect attendance days, and he tries to save as many vacation days as he can for the weeks the building shuts down.

He said a couple of guys were grumbling about how they didn’t think bag house changes should come down to who has seniority and who doesn’t, but Chuck told me, “I’m not going to feel guilty about it because I know if they were in my shoes they would use their seniority for everything they could use it for.”

I have a hardworking guy. He comes home just shaking his head about his coworker who spends most of the day on his phone. He said he’s the laziest person he has ever known. He does as little as possible, and, from what Chuck has told me, I’m surprised he still has his job. Chuck is one who likes to keep busy. Even on days when he’s not the one running the mill he occupies his time cleaning and doing other things.

I feel horrible knowing that Chuck sometimes has to do a bag house change. Yet, I can picture in my mind his doing it as quickly and as adequately as possible, giving it 100% until it’s done and not complaining at all. That’s just who Chuck is. He likes to get things done, and he doesn’t like complaining about it. Complaining is a deterrent. Complaining doesn’t help you work faster.

I could take a page out of Chuck’s book. I’m not a self-starter. I drag my feet, and sometimes I complain. And sometimes I procrastinate. Sometimes if I can’t figure something out, I get frustrated and I get angry. To my shame, my son takes after me in that department.

Once I was looking for something. I couldn’t find it and got frustrated. I blamed Chuck for putting it in the wrong place, and I was angrily opening and closing cabinet doors. I wasn’t closing them gently, either. “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” I was doing my best that day to live that one out. Again, to my shame. I slammed one of the cabinet doors and the latch sprung. After that day, try as I might, I could not get the cabinet door to close all the way because I had broken the latch. I would push it closed and it would spring back open.

It was a daily reminder of my ill temper. A daily reminder of my nasty sin nature. Every time I made a pot of coffee, I was reminded of my wretched state, of an area of my life that desperately needs forgiveness and correction.

One day, a few weeks ago, I closed the cabinet door and it latched! And why, how? It hadn’t been repaired. The latch hadn’t been replaced. There was no explanation. Now it is a daily reminder of God’s grace, and how he can fix all our ugly problems. He can heal our frustrations and our anger problems. Much of the stuff that frustrates us is trivial stuff. If I think not being able to figure out how to print off a file is a big problem, then I don’t have a clue what a big problem is.

Thanks for listening to my rambling. I’m just proud of my Chuck, and I’m thankful he’s gone along on this “Trim Healthy Mama” ride and doesn’t complain if I fix burgers without buns or potato salad without potatoes. He does insist that the word “tato” doesn’t belong in the title at all. I declare that it does since it’s “no-tato” salad. Without the word “no,” I can see how it would be openly deceptive. Granted, if you say it fast enough, it may sound like potato salad, but I’m not telling my son. He is eating it and it’s good for him and I’m not telling him. I’m just happy that Chuck is doing the small things, and he’s better for it. He has lost weight and his lab numbers are good. I am thankful, thankful.

Summertime and the Livin’s Easy

I have just a few days left until I start driving for summer school. It has been a good break, and I wouldn’t mind having another week, even though it will be nice to get a paycheck again.

Summertime is a time to reflect and revamp. I have been devoting more time to my jewelry business and have decided to mix things up a little. Instead of doing random Facebook Lives, I have decided to set a schedule of doing them just on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Most people tend to gravitate toward ordered events, and we’ll see if this builds me more of an audience.

I also decided to set my privacy settings to public so that my regular customers can share with their friends.

I am happy to report that I haven’t had a sugar cookie for about three weeks. At least. The longer I go, the less I miss them, and, for that, I am thankful. Maybe I can do this after all and get back on track–where I was last year.

Still not much to report on the exercise front. I am lazy, lazy, lazy, and am my own worst enemy. I was thinking the Nike slogan of “Just Do It” should be tattooed in a prominent place on my body to spur me into action, but probably I would become blind to it, just as I have become deaf to the still, small voice that tries to coax me off my behind and onto the treadmill. Even the vibrations of my Fitbit, telling me “Take me for a stroll?” or “Go for 89 more!” or “It’s step-o-clock!” go unheeded 99% of the time.

I signed up to be an Amazon affiliate. Before, I was not able to do this because I live in Missouri, but something must have changed–and it wasn’t my address. On a whim, I decided to try again and this time I did not get the standard apology that my state did not participate in the program. My laziness, though, has nearly cost me my chance to do this. I need to drive a sale in the first 180 days in order to be eligible.

If I don’t write, I can’t share links, and, if I don’t share links, I can’t drive sales, and, if I don’t drive sales I can’t participate in the affiliate program. When you see links in this post or in any post, probably they will be Amazon links. If you click on them and buy from them, you are benefiting me by providing a small compensation for my participating in their program. Of course, your purchases will not cost you any more than if you weren’t using my links, so if it’s something that would help you or that you would enjoy I encourage you to click away.

My initial intention was to recommend nifty kitchen appliances that I have bought and loved, but I’m not a kitchen guru. I basically despise cooking and usually opt for the easiest route. That’s more laziness coming into play, I’m sure.

I struggle with depression sometimes, but even that probably plays off my laziness. I would hate to see the straits in which I found myself if my life really were falling apart. As of now I still have my husband and both my kids. I still have gainful employment, as does my husband. We are able to meet our bills and put food on the table. We have a roof, a new roof, over our heads, thanks to last year’s hailstorm and our homeowners insurance. Thanks be to God and His provision, we are well taken care of.

Sometimes my husband laments that we are too young to have both lost both our parents. He says he looks around and sees many of his peers that still have both their parents. I don’t look at it in quite the same way, however. He and I lost our dads in the same year, 2012–has it been that long ago?–but they were both in their 70s. My mom wasn’t young young when she passed away at the age of 63, but she had a disease, pulmonary fibrosis, so that’s understandable, too. Still, when you’re 57, 63 sounds younger and younger all the time.

I find myself in the horrible position of wanting to be here to care for my daughter for all the years she needs me and not wanting to be here if anything happens to her first. She is in a wheelchair and exercise comes harder for her. She doesn’t eat a lot, but she does succumb to unhealthy choices. That concerns me, but I feel like my hands are almost tied because she is so picky. For example, last night I fixed an omelet skillet for dinner, with green and red peppers, onions, mushrooms, ham and cheddar cheese. She doesn’t like peppers or onions, so she had me go to McDonald’s for her to get her a McDouble.

I watch those episodes of My 600-lb. Life all the time and cannot understand all the enablers on the program. The people who are over 600 pounds can’t even leave their beds in many cases, so the only way they are getting all the unhealthful food is that their family members are bringing it to them. I shake my head in disbelief and practically scream at them–as if they can hear me through the television–that it’s their fault their loved ones are on the verge of death.

Dr. Nowzaradan tells them the same thing, “You’re shortening her life and that is not love.”

It’s a hard trap to escape, though. When you think of how your loved one’s eyes will light up when you bring them their favorite tasty treat, it feels like love. When I was growing up, seven or eight pies and cakes on the dessert table at Thanksgiving and Christmas felt like love.

I’m ordering a few books this summer, hoping they will help me weed through my predicament of food addiction. This is the first one. After I read it, I’ll tell you what I thought and maybe you can read it, too–or, if you want, maybe you can order it now and we can read it together.

Summertime is a good time to do a little reading–and a good time to regroup in time for the fall.  There are so many books in the food addiction category, and I would love to hit them all. If we can glean useful things from other people’s stories, maybe we can take the necessary steps to avoid living out those same stories ourselves.

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.