Monday, August 29, 2011

Solo Travel

A "solo" moment in Grand Canyon National Park
June, 2007

Many blogs I read have recently asked questions about traveling and/or dining alone.  What I found interesting was that the discussion crossed blog community lines and became a topic of conversation in almost every arena I was reading.  The questions usually revolved around enjoying a meal in a restaurant alone, taking a roadtrip alone, spending nights in a hotel alone or hiking alone.  Since all of the above are things I have been doing for years, enjoy immensely and with which I'm quite comfortable, I'll have to say I've been everything from amused to horrified at some of the responses.  

In our weight loss/healthy living blog community, the discussion generally revolved around gaining the confidence to do anything solo and then finding enjoyment in it.  In the travel/rv community, it's usually compromise among a couple, single adults wanting to see the world or any individual who prefers the convenience of only have to make decisions for themselves.  And in the hiking community, finding true solitude is the #1 reason hikers give for wanting to hike alone.  All of the above (along with many other reasons) are worthy motives for choosing to spend time discovering new things on your own.

I became comfortable with the idea of solo travel early in my career simply because it required it.  As you well know, I'm a vagabond at heart, so the idea of PAID travel with an expense account was quite appealing for a young 20-something upwardly mobile professional!  LOL!  Since Mr. B & I were child-free, I never minded the travel at all.  The last six years of my career was spent in a job where I was required to LIVE at my worksite for months at a time.  Solo travel and living on my own is something I've done for years.  

Now, as the happily retired, but still very much a vagabond, wife of a rare bird who loves his job and can't imagine EVER retiring,  I am thankful that traveling solo is not only something I'm comfortable with, but is something I truly enjoy.  Mr. B and I had some come-to-Jesus-meetings long talks this summer about our future.  The original plan was for him to join me in retirement by now, but that's not going to happen anywhere in the foreseeable future and I've come to accept that.  It brings me joy to see him so happy and we are able to achieve the goal of traveling together when he is out of school.  For now, that's enough travel for him and he sends me on my way with his full support and genuine desire for me to have a great journey whereever I'm headed.   Just make sure there's something in the fridge for his lunch and dinner!!!

There are two kinds of solo trips I specifically enjoy.   One is a true solo experience where I travel alone from start to finish.  All decisions are mine up to and including how much coffee I drink which dictates how often I have to make pit stops!  I mean, REALLY!  What fun is a roadtrip without a big mug of steaming coffee alongside?  What I see, where I eat, what I eat or don't eat, when I stop, the type of accommodations I choose, when I head home, whether I'm silent or whether I listen to music, when I choose to interact with others - all those decisions are mine and there is a certain freedom in knowing that.   The other solo trip I enjoy is the one where I travel alone, but have an end destination or stops along the way that include time with someone else.  In that experience, I think you get the best of all worlds.  It is through that kind of road trip that I hope to meet many of you! 

A "solo" moment in Rocky Mountain National Park
June, 2011

This year, one of my goals is to plan a roadtrip each week.  It won't always be solo, but my guess is that most of the time, it will be!  My roadtrips might be a few hours or a few days.  It might be something new or somewhere I've been a thousand times.  It might be to visit a friend or it might be a drive across the country to visit YOU!!  Who knows?  This I do know - I am excited and looking forward to sharing my adventures with you.  

I am writing this on Sunday afternoon and when you read this early Monday morning, I will already be headed out on this week's roadtrip.  I'm headed to very familiar territory with some new things thrown in.  I'm headed UP to cooler elevations and a spectacular weather forecast is predicted.  I'm excited! 

A "solo" moment in Pisgah National Forest
Robbinsville, NC - October, 2010

I've thought a lot about this idea of solo travel because I think it's important that all of us are comfortable enough in our own skin to relish times of solitude.  Yes, we can, and should, learn many things from the lives and actions of others, but I also believe things of great importance can only be revealed to us through moments when we are moving through life alone.  We can become stronger by stepping out of our comfort zones and walking boldly into circumstances that might be unusual to us.  We find the ability and the desire to see things through the eyes of someone else.  We all need to find the energy, the motivation and the desire to fly "solo" from time to time.  My friend, Cammy (just back from her own roadtrip) wrote a while back that she sometimes enjoys going out for frozen yogurt on her own because it's fun to simply sit back and observe the people around her with undivided attention.  I think she made a great point!

You don't have to take off on a roadtrip - I know lots of people who shudder at the thought of a roadtrip PERIOD, much less on their own.  And that's o.k.   Find something you enjoy and just once, try it ALL BY YOURSELF!  Much as I loved Three Dog Night, their insistence that One Is the Loneliest Number is just plain wrong.  I challenge you to discover that for yourself!  You won't be sorry.

I just have to ask!  Who will admit to being able to name at least five Three Dog Night songs and who didn't have a clue what I was talking about???

What was the last thing you did "solo?"   Will you commit to trying something "solo" this week?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Blog, It Is A Changin'

Moment of Reflection - Ouzel Falls Trails
Rocky Mountain National Park - June, 2011

This is what I was looking at:
Ouzel Falls

On May 14, 2010, Gains and Losses: Life Through Sharon's Eyes began with THIS post.  I had a very definitive "plan" as to what the blog would be and where it would go.  It wasn't something I began on a whim or without lots of thought as to what I would write about.  The "plan" went something like this.  I had exactly 30 pounds to lose in order to return to the goal weight I had reached in early 2007 after having lost 65 pounds and then much to my dismay, regaining 30 of them over a period of three years.  I believed that I was ready and would lose the weight in increments of 4-5 pounds a month like I had in 2006-07.  The blog would primarily be about that for the first six months or so, but then would truly become a blog about Life Through Sharon's Eyes and would cover a whole lot more than healthy eating and losing weight.  I had (have) a journal with three pages of blog post titles about which I intended to write once the weight was gone.  The plan was carefully orchestrated because I challenged myself to stay away from those topics until I had reached goal weight in the hopes that it would be an additional incentive to get there quickly!  

And the plan was working!  For reasons I couldn't know at the time, the pounds were coming off more slowly than before, but nonetheless, they were coming off and on August 19, 2010, I had lost 16 of the 30 pounds.  But life threw a curveball and for whatever reason, all of which are only excuses, I have never recovered.  In fact, exactly one year later, I am within five pounds of the original 30 pounds I set out to lose.  As a result, the blog became solely focused on the weight loss journey and even though I enjoy many blogs in a myriad of blog communities, I have become a part of none, other than this one. 

And that may remain exactly the way it is.  I love this blog community and it provides all the care, support and encouragement I need.   It is my sincere hope that works both ways!   But my head is bursting with all these other things I want to write about that make up who I am.  I am so much more than the woman who constantly struggles with food and weight.  I want you to know that woman!   She's really pretty cool or so she's often told! 

So you will see some subtle changes and I hope that's o.k. because I sure don't want to lose any of you as readers.  I am not discontinuing my journey towards goal weight and a healthy body.  I will continue to keep you informed and updated on exactly what is happening in that area of my life. But that will only be one part of the whole that is ME!   And you may see some additions and/or subtractions to what is seen on the blog.  IOW, all the information will still be there - you might just have to dig a little deeper to find it.  Plus, there are a couple of new challenges I've been wanting to add.

I have been wanting to do this for a long time, but for some reason, have kept hesitating.  I think, in some far corner of my mind, I'm afraid that if I don't write post after post after post about losing this weight that I'll never get it done.  In fact, for me (and ONLY me - can't speak for ANYONE else!),  I think this may be the impetus that gets me going in the right direction.  The constant thought process about food and my relationship to it, coupled with so much self-criticism about not being able to get it right have been working against me for quite some time now.  I believe that turning the blog in a new direction will be just the motivation I need!

So, stick with me PLEASE.   I want and need all of you.   And there's always room for more.   I hope you like what you are about to see through my eyes. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Happy New Year!

Bear Mountain Preserve - Telluride, Colorado
May, 2011

No, I have not lost my mind and no, you are not in a time warp!  And while I'm at it, no, I have not dropped off the face of the earth.  We returned from our trip to Beech Mountain, North Carolina on Tuesday and on Wednesday morning, our new year began!  

For those who might be new or may have forgotten, my husband (affectionately known as Mr. B), is on the faculty at one of our local community colleges.  It is a job he dearly loves and cannot wait to return to each fall.  He also teaches a summer school course during the month of July.  We travel during May/June and the 2-3 weeks between the end of his summer class and beginning of fall term.  That is the routine we have established over the years and is a lifestyle that perfectly merges differing goals we have as individuals.  The two week period just before classes begin is set aside as a "rest" time because once the fall semester begins, his schedule becomes relentless until the following May.   It is a time we guard closely and although we do try to go somewhere new, it is usually closer to home and allows plenty of time for quiet reflection, goal setting and communication.  In other words, it's the start of our New Year!!  And truthfully, it feels much more like a new year to us than January 1 ever does!  So once again, HAPPY NEW YEAR from me to you!

Having said that, I will confess that my transition this year has been difficult.  I always miss him terribly when he first heads back.  The house seems so empty and I have to remember how it is that I adjust.  So in addition to the things we talk about together, I spend lots of time reflecting on my own personal goals for the upcoming year.  It's a time I really enjoy, but still, the fact remains that the house seems big and empty!!  

This year has been particularly poignant because it was one year ago, on August 19th, that Mr. B's dad died.  You all were right there with me and I will never forget your kind words and support.  But we've learned that those days will now be forever associated with our "New Year" and Mr. B's return to school.  He actually missed the first three days last year because of the services for his dad.  

So I imagine it is both of these things along with some other issues that have sent me into a frame of mind I can't even put into words.  I find myself dragging with little energy or motivation to do much of anything.  That includes blogging, reading blogs or giving a rip about healthy eating or losing weight.  The heat wave continues in Tennessee, so even a journey into my beloved Great Smoky Mountains National Park doesn't hold a whole lot of excitement.  

But I sense a change just as I knew I would.  One thing I've learned with age is it's better to feel the feelings, cry if you need to, find help from friends who know you well and wait patiently knowing it's a part of growth.  Rather than trying to talk myself out of this, I've just waited without forcing myself to do, think, be or act in any way simply because I felt that I "should!"  Since last Wednesday morning, that has been my mantra and I woke up this morning knowing it had worked.  Something just felt different. 

So here I am with some new ideas and new ways of seeing Life Through Sharon's Eyes.  There will be GAINS and there will be LOSSES, not all of which have to do with losing weight or healthy eating.  Yes, I have New Year's Resolutions and yes, I plan on keeping them.  This blog is about to undergo some changes that I hope you will like.  But rest assured, it'll still be just plain ole me trying to make progress, not become perfect and doing it one day at a time!

Just curious!   Does anyone else see this time of year as your NEW YEAR?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Cautionary Tale!

Sunset from our cabin porch - Beech Mountain, North Carolina
August 9, 2011

Greetings from 5500 feet.  We're on top of Beech Mountain, North Carolina in a huge log cabin with long covered porches on both levels.  The temperatures are a delightful mid70's daytime and upper50's nighttime.  It is just what we needed for a last fling prior to Mr. B beginning the fall semester of teaching.  He is extremely excited about good things happening this year, but like me, was anxious to escape the horrid heat and humidity at home.  This trip is much different than the weeks in Colorado.  Although we have many things to do, the main focus is rest, relaxation and communication with some exercise thrown in.  We've never stayed on top of Beech Mountain before, but the High Country of western North Carolina is very familiar to us, so most things we choose to do are things we have done before so it makes no difference if we do them again or simply sit on the porch and read.  I am keeping my separate travel journal while here, so if you'd like to read more about our time on Beech Mountain, here's the link to that journal.

This morning, I did what (I think!!) was my first really bone-headed thing in BlogLand, so decided to take a minute and remind all of us that even though we become very comfortable here and feel as if we "know" the people with whom we communicate, it is vitally important to always remember that each BlogFriend is different and each person has carefully chosen how they approach their writing and what information they share or don't share.  I am not going to share exactly what I did, but fortunately, I caught it and was able to UNDO it before any damage had been done.  So don't even TRY to figure out what I did because you can't!  LOL!  But it served as a vivid reminder that I must always proof a comment before I hit send and even go so far as to think about the person behind the blog on which I am commenting.  How much do I really know about their journey, their blog philosophy, what they have and have not shared and their approach to healthy eating/dieting/maintaining/etc? I've seen people hurt by the comments of others, not so much by the comment itself, but because the comment reflected that the commenter had probably not even closely read the post and certainly hadn't taken time to "know" the blogger prior to sending a hastily worded comment.   I actually know a blogger who stopped blogging because of inappropriate comments from others.  That was a long time ago, so don't try figuring that one out either!!!  The last thing that goes through my mind before hitting send to a comment is this:  Most likely, I can't undo this once it's gone.  Is it helpful or hurtful?  Could it be misinterpreted in any way?  How would I feel if this comment came to me?  Is it appropriate to the post and the blogger who wrote it?  At least I'd like to THINK I go through that process, but as you know from my frequent typos, it doesn't always happen.  But this morning's lesson was a reminder to do better.  Thankfully, today's mess up was fixable, but one more thing to remember, is that most blogging platforms do not allow you to undo a comment to the blog of another person.  Once it's gone - it is truly gone.   And then all you can do is helplessly wish you had thought before you acted.   Always be reminded that behind every blog is a very real person who smiles, laughs, hurts and bleeds just like you do.

Thanks again for your feedback on the Diet Rules to Break series I just completed.   The biggest response was to rule #6 about shopping only the perimeter of the grocery store.  And most of you agreed that the rule truly was outdated, so it was a good rule to break.  Several of you mentioned that the bakery section was situated prominently along the perimeter of your grocery store.  That is most definitely NOT a place we need to spend much time loitering.  In my preferred store (Kroger), the bakery aisle is the FIRST aisle I encounter on the perimeter, right alongside fruit and produce.  Geez!   But not only that, the LAST aisle around the perimeter is ice cream and frozen pizza!  Would you believe that in order to get to the Organic and Health Food sections, one practically has to navigate that ice cream aisle?  I've found a way around through the dog food and toilet paper section.  LOL!  I just look at cute puppies on the Cottonnelle and Puppy Chow packages and try not to think about ice cream!  The other side of the coin is many items were mentioned that we NEED for healthy eating and are ONLY found in the middle aisles.  So I think we can all agree that shopping only the perimeter aisle of the grocery store doesn't work and is a good rule to break!

Enough rambling for now!  If I don't get moving, Mr. B is going to decide it's time for a nap.  And for someone who has only been up for two hours, it is definitely NOT time for a nap.  

Please make me feel better.   Have you ever commented on a blog and then immediately wished you hadn't said what you did or worded it differently?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Diet Rules To Break #5 and #6

Mountain Village Condos from the Gondola
Telluride, Colorado - May, 2011

Greeting from Beech Mountain, North Carolina.  Actually, I'm writing this on Saturday morning so I'm not there yet - I just wish I was.  Had some extra time and decided to go ahead and finish out the Diet Rules to Break series by combining #5 and #6 into a single post.  Once we arrive in Beech Mountain, I'm going to be eager to share our adventures there although the minute we hit those 70 degree daytime highs, my energy level will soar and those hiking boots will call.  Can't wait!!

To be honest, I had another reason for combining the last two rules.  You are more than welcome to heartily disagree, but of all six rules, I felt that number 5 really did not belong.  But I'm getting ahead of my self - here it is copied directly the Family Circle Magazine (2/11)

Old Rule: Switch to diet soda. You'll consume fewer calories and lose weight.

Break It: Some research shows that people who drink a lot of artificially sweetened beverages actually have higher BMIs than those who don't—possibly because people think they can splurge while drinking a diet drink (like having a Diet Coke with a double cheeseburger). The super-sweet flavor of artificial sweeteners also might trigger cravings for sugary treats and lead to overeating.

Revised Plan: Swapping high-cal drinks for diet versions isn't a bad thing, but don't use that swap to justify your supersize combo. A diet soda doesn't "cancel out" calories in your meal! If you have trouble keeping sugar cravings under control, you might be better off skipping sweet drinks entirely—even the calorie-free ones—and staying hydrated with water or seltzer instead. 

Sharon's Take On This One:  Not sure if it was rule itself, the advice or something else, but I just felt this didn't belong.  For a "newbie" not yet educated in calorie content, nutritional values, healthy choices as a way of life, etc., this whole concept could be totally confusing because the rule itself, the reason for breaking it and the revised plan all seemed a bunch of mumbo-jumbo to me.  Only in the very last few words are you presented with the best advice and even then, it says you MIGHT be better off skipping sweet drinks altogether.  You may disagree, but I'm pretty firmly convinced that there is NO place for calorie laden beverages in the plan of someone trying to lose pounds and/or get healthy.  Diet drinks aren't the best option either, but they are certainly a better choice than the other.  IMHO, this rule just didn't fit.

Now Rule number 6 was a totally different story.  It most definitely fit and directly addresses one of my favorite healthy eating arguments:

Old Rule: Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, where the healthiest foods—such as fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products—are stocked.

Break It: This rule is impractical. Sure, there are tons of tempting treats (like high-fat chips, candy, and packaged cookies) at the store's center. But there are also some of the best foods for weight loss. Whole grains, all-natural cereals, and whole wheat pastas are loaded with feel-full fiber that helps you eat less. Also residing in the center: nuts, dried and canned beans, and tuna and salmon in pouches, which are among the top choices when it comes to protein.

Revised Plan: "Be discerning whatever aisle you're in," says Victoria Shanta Retelny, RD, a dietitian based in Chicago. Choose grains like cereals and pastas that have at least 3 grams of fiber per serving (5 grams is even better) and have "whole" listed in their first ingredient. Avoid foods with sugar at the top of the ingredient list, as well as anything that contains partially hydrogenated oils (meaning there are some trans fats).

Sharon's Take On This One:  I've been listening to this RULE  since the first time I set foot in a Weight Watcher's meeting over 30 years ago and I've always disagreed with it.  Oh, I fully understand the premise of fresh fruit, veggies, meat, dairy, etc. being around the perimeter, but one only needs to read the revision for a list of the many things found elsewhere in the store.  This really is a very OLD mindset that may have been more applicable decades ago when access to farmer's markets and locally grown food was more difficult.  We also did not know things we now know about what actually happens in processing plants or between the grower/processing plant/shelves in the grocery store.  Currently, I spend LESS time shopping the perimeter of the store because if at all possible, I purchase produce, meat & dairy elsewhere.  I do strongly agree that reading ingredient lists of everything you buy is very, very important.  There are vast differences in nutritional value among products which LOOK the same on the shelf!  

Final thoughts on the 6 Diet Rules To Break:  I really enjoyed this article and appreciate the feedback you've provided on each rule.  It has further served to remind me that each one of us has to carve our own path in finding what works.  I loved the comments where you indicated a rule that hit home with you and realizing that I'd had a completely different response to it.  I suspect it will be the same with my reaction to the rule on diet drinks.  This is not an issue for me and really never has been, so I reacted more strongly to having that included as a rule.  For lots of you, sodas (diet or otherwise) are very much a problem and I'll be anxious to see your response as to whether or not you switched.  All in all, the posts served their purpose.  We thought and we reacted and hopefully, we considered changes where needed.  

Do you shop ONLY the perimeter of your grocery store?  Do you buy all food at a regular grocery store?  What is your philosophy regarding diet drinks?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Diet Rules To Break - Rule #4

Near Vallecito Lake, Colorado
May, 2011

Our week turned a bit topsy-turvy.  The plans for a grocery shopping trip to Atlanta went out the window on Tuesday afternoon when Mr. B managed to pick up a nasty, 24-hour bug.  He was not a happy camper and we were caught completely by surprise because 1) he is not normally prone to that sort of things and 2) who catches a 24-hour virus in the middle of the summer???  At any rate, he was better by Wednesday morning, but not inclined to get excited about riding in a car for 3 1/2 hours and spending 3days where the temps and heat index is even more brutal than it is here in East Tennessee.  So we scrapped the Atlanta adventure, have gotten some things done around here and are so excited about the trip to Beech Mountain, NC where the 10-day forecast keeps looking better and better (translate cooler and cooler).  We don't give a rip if it rains the entire time we are there, we just want temps with a first number of 7.  We leave early Sunday morning.

Diet Rule to Break #4 should bring out some spirited discussion which is the whole point of looking at these separately rather than my just linking to the article and asking your opinions.  If this is the first time you've look at Gains and Losses since I started talking about the Rules, it would make more sense if you read these posts (here, here, and here) before continuing.

The following in red italics is copies directly from Family Circle magazine (2/11):

Old Rule: Eat everything in moderation. Don't make any food off-limits, or you'll want it even more. If you're craving a high-damage goodie, have a few bites and be done with it.

Break It: Recent research has found that a few nibbles of a tempting food may actually spark overeating. In the study, people who ate a small chocolate truffle wanted to continue eating high-calorie, high-fat food just 25 minutes later. Researchers say that a small bite of an indulgent food activates a "pleasure goal" that makes people crave more.

Revised Plan: Identify your trigger foods. While you don't want to label entire categories of foods (like sweets or desserts) as "forbidden," focus on the one or two foods that make you lose control. It's a smart move to keep them out of the house. "Rather than saying, 'I can't have this food' say, "This food doesn't work for me,'" says New York City diet doctor Stephen Gullo, PhD, author of The Thin Commandments (Rodale Books). When you decide to treat yourself, go out for one serving of your trigger food (like ordering a child-size ice cream cone), he says. Then tell yourself that one portion is enough. "The people in our study who truly believed that one truffle would satisfy them were not tempted to eat more," says researcher Juliano Laran, PhD, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Miami School of Business Administration.

Sharon's take on this one: I totally agree on this one, but with a caveat or two.  In my many years of "dieting" before I stopped DIETING once and for all, I did learn that there are three foods which I simply cannot eat or have in the house.  They are true "trigger" foods and once I start, I cannot stop.  (Longtime readers of this blog know exactly what those three are, but now that I've raised your curiosity and you simply can't concentrate further until I repeat them.........they are Triscuit crackers, any type of potato chip and kettle popcorn.)  Do I still eat these from time to time?  Yes, but I now do it with my brain shouting, "you're gonna pay for this for a few days."  And sometimes, the shouting stops me.  That goes right along with the information stated in the Break It and Revised Rule above.  I would love to eventually eliminate white sugar and white flour from my eating as both of those prompt "cravings," but I've realistically come to the conclusion that it will never happen completely and I can be proud of the fact that items containing those things make few appearances in my eating.  So I agree with the "spirit" behind the breaking of this rule.  I also believe that my maintaining friends will tell me that based on your personal journey, this rule might be relaxed a bit when maintaining.  But I also believe they will all attest to the fact that all of us will ALWAYS have certain "trigger" foods that need to be avoided.  

I found Mr. Gullo's statement very interesting and wanted to ask you for comments on that.  Mr. Gullo is advocating the power of positive self-talk.  Rather than the negative, "I can't eat that," telling yourself, "that doesn't work for me" sounds more positive.  And I agree.   

But suppose you are in a social setting, feel food being forced on you or you are being "watched" to see what you eat.  What statements have you found work for you?  The people from whom I receive the most "challenges" would look at me as if I was alien if I said, "that doesn't work for me" at the next family breakfast.   That just isn't the way I normally talk - the statement would seem unnatural because it would be.   

Many bloggers insist that "no, thanks" is enough and if it goes beyond that, it's THEIR problem, not yours.  In theory, that's exactly right, but many others of you know that, in reality, it isn't that simple.  

Here's one that I've discovered works for me and you are more than welcome to copy it.  It's laughable and sometimes borders on lying, but it works for me in situations where unfortunately, truth has gotten me nowhere.  My statement is simply, "my stomach is bothering me and right now, that just doesn't look good or sound good."  A few years ago, I did have some major problems with heartburn that were eventually tied to a medication I was taking.  My family and friends all knew about it and no one questioned when I didn't want to eat something.  They also know that I've felt poorly since January and have tried several different combinations of meds since then.  What they DON'T know is that I'm currently on none of those meds, but the "stomach is bothering me" works like nothing else ever has.  Sometimes I see Mr. B's eyes roll all the way back in his head to keep from laughing, but then he just nods because he knows what I'm doing and he sees that it works.

So there you have it - your blog friend is a pathological liar.  But it works like nothing has ever worked for me before.  It works with my mother and it works with my MIL who are the two that give me the most flack over what I eat or don't eat.  What more could I want??    

I never intended to share that bit of info on the blog, but it worked itself into what I was writing and made me want to ask what specific statement OTHER THAN, "no thanks" works for you.  Maybe you've got something unique to you that will make us all smile!!  And BTW, my stomach feels just fine this morning.   LOL!

What do you think about Rule #4 and share a unique statement  you've learned works for you when faced with a difficult eating situation i.e. forced social setting, feeling that others are "watching" what you eat, family trying to sabotage, etc.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Let's Break Some Rules - Rule #3

San Juan Mountain from the Animas Mountain Trail
Durango, Colorado - May 24, 2011

Welcome to August!  I don't what it's like in your neck of the woods, but if I was expecting anything different here in East Tennessee, it didn't happen.  It is HOT.  It is HUMID.  It is MISERABLE.  I have finally allowed myself to give in to it and not beat myself up for failing to reach 10,000 steps every day.  Yes, I could go to the mall and I have done that on many days.  But my walking is as much for the mental exercise as the physical and I despise the mall.  I come out more stressed than I went in and it just doesn't work for me.  I am such an early morning person that I can often be out by 6 to get a good walk in, but these days, the humidity level at 6 a.m. is horrid, so like I said, I'm just giving myself a break.  

So let's get back to breaking some rules.  If you haven't read the introduction to these, it will make more sense if you read this post and this post.
Here's is Diet Rule #3 To Bbreak as copied directly from the article in Family Circle magazine (2/11).

Old Rule: Choose a wide variety of foods. You'll get more nutrients and eat healthier that way.

Break It: People who are most successful at weight loss actually eat a smaller variety of foods, according to NWCR findings. That's because these dieters find meals and snacks that are "safe"—that satisfy them without putting on pounds—and then stick to them. Other research shows that having a wide variety of foods on hand (even different flavored yogurts or multicolored candies) causes you to eat as much as 50 percent more.

Revised Plan: Eat a large variety of foods only from certain groups: fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. At the grocery store put a new veggie in your cart along with your usual staples, and buy several kinds of fruit to pack in your lunch each week. Branch out from brown rice to other high-fiber grains, like bulgur or quinoa. And in terms of high-fat, high-calorie stuff—like desserts or salty snacks—limit your options by stocking only one kind (if any) in your house.

Sharon's take on this one:  I'll have to say I thought this was somewhat poorly worded and confusing.  I also think that again, it's a matter of finding what works for you.  Personally, I find eating a smaller variety of foods is best.  I don't enjoy cooking and I know what I like.  I find the things that are satisfying and keep me from feeling deprived.  It would be very dangerous for me to have a wide variety of different foods lurking in the pantry that are partially uneaten.  Right now, I just don't have the fortitude to think through five different choices and choose one serving of one thing.  So I even have to take slight exception to the revised plan for the same reason. Shouldn't these be the food groups from which we are eating anyway??  What I enjoy doing is choosing from the fruits and vegetables that are currently in season and can be found at the farmer's market.  When those pass, I'll choose the next group.  That's plenty of variety for me and a whole lot safer.  One of my favorite vendors told me last Saturday morning that this was the last of her blackberries.  These have been the plumpest, juiciest, most beautiful blackberries I've ever tasted and I will look forward to them next year, but that's o.k. because I already have my eye on something else for next week.  I feel as if I've rambled on and said little in the way of clarification which further indicates I wasn't totally satisfied that this "rule" was clearly defined.  I am anxious to hear what you have to say.

In other news............... On Saturday, I turned another year older.  Considering the alternative, I was more than happy to do so!!  It was a great birthday.  Allow me a moment to reminisce.  It was on my birthday last year, that we enjoyed our very last outing with my FIL.  We went to Sam's.  He and Mr. B were instructed to wait on the "old farts" bench while MIL and I went all the way to the rear of the store for me to get some produce.  In a minute, MIL said "I want you to look."  And there came FIL and Mr. B grinning from ear to ear.  He had walked all the way to the back of the store and was so proud.  As it turns out, that was the last time he ever went anywhere with us.  One week later, we took him to the hospital and two weeks later, he was gone.  MIL took us to breakfast Saturday morning.  It was a tad bittersweet, but we shared some memories of that trip to Sam's a year ago and then moved on to celebrating my birthday, something that really got lost in the shuffle last year.  And we are STILL celebrating.  

Mr. B finished teaching his summer class last week and faculty does not have to report back until August 17, so on Wednesday, we are headed to Atlanta for some shopping at the Dekalb Farmer's Market, Whole Foods and Trader Joes.  Then on Sunday, we'll head to Beech Mountain, North Carolina where we sincerely hope to find some cooler temperatures and where I intend to put my hiking boots to good use.  

So tell me what you think of Diet Rule To Break #3.  Does it make perfect sense to you or did you find it vague and somewhat contradictory?