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!

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.

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).

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!

Thank you for coming by for a chat and thank you for supporting my blog by using my affiliate link to order all your Trim Healthy Mama supplies!  God bless!  My THM affiliate link –>https://store.trimhealthymama.com/#_l_df

Live as if Your Life Depends on It

Chuck decided to get even more serious about his eating after his A1c was higher than last time. He asked me if I would be willing to make him a smoothie every morning for breakfast: that way he wouldn’t have to stop somewhere to get a sausage biscuit.

“Sure!” I said. “But are you sure that will keep you full until your first break? You only drink a fraction of the smoothie, so I’m not convinced you’re getting enough protein.”

He can only drink one of those old-fashioned Coke glasses that McDonald’s used to give away. That’s not even half of the Nutribullet container. I drink the rest of it, and, believe me, I could drink the whole thing, just slurp it right down.

“I can’t drink that much. I get full,” he insists. “I don’t know how you can drink that much.”

“You’re kidding me, right? Come on, you should know me by now. I can suck in ice cream like I suck in air.”

“It’s not ice cream,” he responds.

“Yes, it is. It has almond milk, sweetener, blueberries, whey protein, vanilla, all the stuff that you might find in ice cream . . . ” I don’t tell him it has cottage cheese in it because that’s TMI for him. My goal is to get him to drink it, not turn his nose up at it, and he has been drinking it–all except for about a fourth of an inch in the bottom.

It annoys me that he leaves a little bit in the bottom, but he says that’s only because he has manners and refuses to slurp.

“Take your straw out, then, and just tilt it back and drink it.” But he won’t do it. I guess we all have our quirks.

Since I began Trim Healthy Mama, 1% cottage cheese has become a staple in my house. When it’s on sale I usually buy three cartons. I mean, I go through it! Every single day I squeeze in a shake or smoothie at some point, sometimes two during the course of a day, and every shake has about a fourth of a cup of cottage cheese in it.

For those who do not like cottage cheese, I guarantee, you will not be able to tell the cottage cheese is in there. Just ask my husband. No, on second thought, do not ask my husband because I don’t want him to know.

If you have ever found little curds of cottage cheese in your shake or smoothie than I submit to you that you need a better blender. Early, early on in my THM journey, my Nutribullet was gifted to me. It had been taking me about fifteen minutes to make my strawberry cheesecake shake, and I mentioned my slower-than-a-turtle Oster blender in the THM Beginners group. A very kind friend insisted that she send me a Nutribullet. I was blown away by her generosity. She also sent me my very first tub of whey protein powder (back when Swanson’s was still on plan) and a container of glucomannan.

It was right around my birthday, and I was already down about twenty-five pounds. Let me say, it was one of the best birthdays ever. What a gift! And I use it all the time!! Every single day almost. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

My Nutribullet really put my Oster to shame. It takes me under a minute to blend up a smoothie now.

I didn’t intend for this post to turn into a Nutribullet commercial, but, if you’re serious about Trim Healthy Mama and love to incorporate whey protein isolate shakes and smoothies into your daily meal plan, it would behoove you to get some kind of high quality blender, whether a Ninja or a Nutribullet or even one of those really expensive ones. For my purposes, the Nutribullet works just perfectly.

Where can you find quality whey protein isolate?  Trim Healthy Mama sells it –>HERE<– or you can use Piping Rock –>HERE<–.  I generally buy the Piping Rock, only because I can buy a 1.2 pound tub for $13.99. Unless you can find it on sale, the Trim Healthy Mama is generally $16.99 for a pound bag. (*Post edit: I just checked my link, and, at this point in time, it appears that the Trim Healthy Mama whey protein is cheaper than the Piping Rock: that is not normally the case.)

Yesterday as I was leaving work I happened to look up at a billboard and saw this phrase: Live as if your life depended on it. So simple, yet so profound.

Every choice you make affects your life in some way, whether it’s a food choice or a moral choice–or if you choose safety or recklessness.

I don’t know if it’s just in Missouri or nationwide, but I noticed the department of transportation put up a sign on I-70 that said road deaths were up 6% from last year. I don’t know that this is the reason, but immediately I wondered if it was because of texting.

My son plays basketball and softball (and tennis, too, sometimes) in other towns. Often, to save on gas, he rides with a friend. He told us that one of his friends texts constantly behind the wheel, yet he rides with this friend just to save on gas.

Chuck and I told him we would give him money for gas if he would stop riding with this friend. I would rather pay out gas money than attend my son’s funeral because he doesn’t put as much value on his life as he does a tank of gas.

What you put in your body as food and drink matters. Poor choices lead to poor consequences. This is true across the board, whether you’re talking about nutrition, driving habits, choice of friends, etc.

If you don’t want to spend your life in jail, don’t choose criminals as friends.

It’s pretty basic stuff.

If you don’t want to die early of a heart attack or diabetes, don’t buy processed foods with a lot of trans fats or sugar.

Today is the day God has given you. Live as if your life depends on it.