Chubby Girl in Philadelphia

Just got back late last night from Philly with mixed results. I started off strong before I left with a run up the hills of Hopkinton. The challenge then began by a combination of lack of preparation and going outside my typical travel routine.

philly

My daughter had college orientation so I traveled down with her with the intent on working in my hotel room for two days. Seemed simple enough. But, I decided to stay at the Hotel Monaco in Old City so I could get out later in the day and check out a few sites or do a running tour in the mornings. That was the downfall.

I learned this week how breakfast has become such a key success factor in my healthy living journey. The Marriott, Sheraton, Hilton, and Intercontinental hotels all have great buffets. I’m guaranteed a fast breakfast with lots of healthy options. Not so with Kimpton. You have to order up  to your room or at the restaurant. Where I am used to getting food in me within fifteen minutes and then running off to my day, the sit down experience meant that I either ordered up food that I wasn’t quite sure was fitting into my diet or I skipped breakfast altogether because I didn’t have time. Having ate my Skinny Girl bar I always have handy, the day I missed breakfast meant I didn’t eat until after 1:00p.

That starts the downward spiral of food obsession and hunger. The fact that I was still running these two days also meant that my hunger was stronger and my mind weaker. Day one I did a loop through the Old City and then headed to Penn’s Landing to run up and down the bridge stairs and outdoor theater stairs. Then headed to the hotel gym for upper body weights. Great workout, hunger inducing. The next day I stuck indoors to the treadmill as it was already 80 and humid in the morning. Then rushed back to my room to shower and hop on a call. Thus, when lunch and dinner rolled around, I was more focused on getting rid of my hangries and not thinking as much about good choices.

I had a bag of chips from the mini bar. I had a hot dog. I ate a turkey sandwich on a massive whole grain roll (only half, but still!). I had hash browns and a full chicken sausage along with a scrambled egg. I had two hunks of fresh mozzarella cheese (200 calories worth). I even stole some French fries from my daughter’s dinner on the way back to Boston. One of these choices in a week is one thing. To slide at almost every meal over two days was horrible. Yes, I had a crazy good roasted vegetable salad at a brewery. Yes, I grabbed a yogurt and red grapefruit at Temple U while waiting for my daughter at pick-up. Yes, I kept to my workout schedule. But, the scale told me all I needed to hear. Up a pound.

I know I’m paying for it in more ways than the scale. I had my go-to favorite this morning, an egg sandwich (Thomas Light Whole Grained English Muffin, Canadian bacon, fried egg, ultra thin swiss, and spinach). 250 calories of goodness. Instead, my stomach is in knots. I have not had enough plants in my diet and the heavy sandwich that normally satiates me as I go mostly vegan or vegetarian the rest of the day, feels like a rock. I’m also exhausted which is probably from poor eating too.

So, the chubby girl made her way back for a time. I now have to get back on the wagon and push the chubby girl off.

Philly Old City

What I will say is that my goal of doing a running tour was definitely worth it. I didn’t make it to the Rocky stairs this time, but it’s on my list for August when I send my little girl off to college. Instead, running through the historical parks, ducking into the alley where the Ben Franklin Museum was, and catching glimpses of the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and a mock up of the original White House, along with a fun challenge at the river amphitheater, was well worth it.

Maybe not all was lost.

 

 

Top Ten Food Leaps of Faith

As a kid I was read Green Eggs and Ham a lot, being a very picky eater. It didn’t help me then. Not to be discouraged, I read the book to my ultra picky eater son. It didn’t help me then either. Even the Life cereal commercial where Mikey likes it, was more funny than educational on trying new foods.

As an adult and putting on a healthy lifestyle, picky eating is definitely not an option. I take a leap of faith almost every day if I want to both get the nutrition I need and not cause me to do into food boredom. For all of my love of and addiction to food, there is still a lot of stuff out there that I crinkle my nose at. Vegetables are high on that list.

So, here is my top 10 leaps of faith that turned into the love of a new food (from easier to hardest):

  1. Zucchini: It isn’t that I didn’t already eat zucchini, but it was always the slimy food. no matter how I cooked it (usually stir-fry or pan-fry) it mushed.  The spiralize craze is what helped me turn yuck attitude into a love attitude.  Zoodles only need a light pan fry so the zucchini keeps its crunch with zero slime. I also found a great recipe for veggie pancakes where zucchini is grated with onions and potatoes for a twist on latkes (Jewish pancakes). I’m now going through 3 big zucchinis a week.
  2. Eggplant: Here is another yuck vegetable that unless my mother-in-law had made it, I was not a fan. I had tried to do a vegetable lasagna in the past and slide the eggplant thin to use as the noodles, but I still wound up with too thick slices that were chewy and strangely textured. The trick was to get a mandolin. I purchased an $8 hand held that let’s me slice the eggplant really thin like real noodles and it gave me an amazing lasagna. The mandolin also helped with zucchini, and I shave off “noodles” to create eggplant and zucchini layers.
  3. Jicama chips: Over the years I tried veggie chips. In truth, unless the veggies are incorporated into a corn chip, I couldn’t handle it. But, I saw these 100 calorie bags of jicama chips and one was cinnamon sugar. So, I brought a bag home to try. I actually liked it. They look like potato chips but are a big chewier. But, once you get over the hurdle that these aren’t going to be crunchy in the same way as a potato chip you start to enjoy them.  I went back and got other flavors like chili lime. Turns out, hubby and daughter like them so I need to get more bags so I can still have a snack too.
  4. Spaghetti Squash: Long ago I had seen recipes where spaghetti squash was a substitute for noodles.  That seemed to be a fad, but recently I am bumping into spaghetti squash again.  I never really liked the taste of squash, but these new recipes looked really good – burrito filled squash, squash carborna, pizza squash, etc. Well, tried it again and now I have a spaghetti squash around all the time.  I keep my recipes low in fat and calories, but still use the calorie intense recipes for ideas.
  5. Portobello mushroom caps: These meaty things always brought me back to both the time I hated mushrooms to the awful vegetarian meals of the 70s restaurants of my youth. At a recent client advisory, there were caprese Portobello mushroom caps drizzled with balsamic glaze. It was eat this, or have the killer meal of meat, potatoes and pasta. I went with a salad and mushroom. Best thing I ever did. Loved it so much I made it for myself when I got home that weekend. SOOOO EASY!
  6. Ancient grains: How pretentious can you get, right? I am still convinced the name is more marketing gimmick than nutritional reality. But, when at Whole Foods, how can you not grab the craziest fad power food ever and proudly show yourself buying it at the checkout? So vanity wins out and it turns out that throwing these grains in soup with tons of veggies is delicious. And, if the hype is to be true, I get more fiber and nutrients.
  7. The fried egg: I never had a problem eating eggs per se, but the runny yoke thing always icked me out. Then one day at a restaurant I got a pulled pork sandwich with a fried egg on top.  I was converted. At issue is that the sandwich was during my truly chubby state and not something I can really eat now. However, this experience has carried over to healthy living and I’ll throw a fried egg on almost anything. It’s starting to be a running joke with my hubby.
  8. Kale sprouts: I’m always throwing on spinach to a sandwich rather than lettuce to add to the nutritional value. It might be small, but it makes me feel better. I recently stumbled upon kale sprouts at the market. I’m not a big kale fan but these sprouts seemed a better option to the big thick woody leaves. Now I take the kale sprout and sprinkle them on sandwiches, add to salad, and even atop seafood and soups for that extra nutritional kick.
  9. Paneer: I can’t stand tofu, so when I go for Indian buffet and see the paneer floating in sauce I have to walk on by. Last week I instead decided to try paneer out after looking it up online.  It’s cheese! Well, it was wonderful and I might even try to make it at home.
  10. Shirataki noodles: Remember when I said I can’t stand tofu? Well, it turns out that in noodle form I found a great pasta substitute.  Shirataki noodles are somewhat like rice noodles but a bit chewier. I don’t miss my pasta when I have these 10-15 calorie noodles. They are wanting on nutritional value, but when I load a ton of veggies and lean protein on top or throw into a soup, its perfect.

Living with a food addiction

I’ve lived healthy, and I’ve lived in indulgence. When traveling it is easy to indulge with the plethora of top notch restaurants and chefs we learn about in travel magazines, on foodie channels, and the internet. I have to wonder how it is that you can get through travel without manifesting a food addiction.

This chubby girl is taking hard looks at herself on this journey.  I have to be introspective and honest about when I eat, why I make my choices, and overall, what triggers bargaining.

Here is what I found…

Eating as I do is an addiction pure and simple. When I was younger and more active, I burned enough calories that it didn’t necessarily get me in trouble.  When work and life took over, my butt was in a chair more often than my feet were moving and the pounds come on easily. In my late forties and now hormones are finishing the job for me. I can take this as some life changes, but it doesn’t address my food choices. I can’t, nor should I, sit down with a freshly made box of Kraft Mac-n-cheese. Eating a single serve Uno pizza, even a Spinocolli, is another bad choice. Treating myself on work-from-home days to my local Chinese buffett trying to hide my unhealthy eating by loading up on veggie dishes and no rice or noodles doesn’t hide the fact that I still have filled half my container with dumplings, chicken fingers, and crab rangoons. Hungry coming home, no problem, McDonalds has a drive through and I can scarf down a BigMac with fries and tell myself I saved on calories and sugar by getting a bottle water to wash it down instead of a soda.

That is the bad eating, but then I go to great restaurant, especially on the road and absolutely have to indulge in the signature dish, a steak, kitchen made pasta, or the artisan breads with olive oil dipping sauce poured over grated parmesan. I make meals for the family and I’m thinking more about how delectable it can be and fancy myself as an iron chef by throwing huge chunks of butter in the pan to brown my meats.

I am addicted to food. I don’t have control. And, food is going to kill me. What addiction could be worse than one that is tied to being able to live.  I quit smoking when I was 23 (I was a social smoker), but smoking isn’t something that if you stop you would die from. Food is a necessity. I suspect that for many people with weight issues, food is an addiction for them too.

Addictions aren’t just habits. They are hardwired behaviors. Yet, diet programs (and I hear this in my WW meetings and community) talk a lot about breaking bad habits. If this is just about breaking bad habits, why is it that only about 5% of people that lose weight keep it off? Yes, there are aspects about metabolism and physiological memory. But, no commercial weight loss and exercise program out there is talking about how to overcome the brain’s wiring for food addiction and living with that.

I can’t bargain my way out of this.  I can’t use cheat points. I can’t have cheat days. I can’t think about what I will do when I hit my goal and can incorporate back in what I deprived myself of. And, this finally dawned on me when two things happened this week.

  1. A hockey mom friend asked if I ever wanted a burger. Didn’t I ever eat pizza? My WW meeting leader showed concern that I might never indulge and was that sustainable? I thought a lot about this and realized that, for me, this is the first time that I am looking at the fact that I may never eat another Five Guy’s burger if it is a trigger to my addiction. I may never have another bagel with cream cheese and lox for the same reason. Certain foods are for me what cigarettes, alcohol or drugs are for others with addictions. Abstinence is the only way to survive.
  2. My diet is verging on vegetarian. The times I do have meat, chicken or seafood it is in small amounts and very lean. There might be 2 ounces at most. My husband calls this the Asian diet. My stomach calls my new recipe concoctions heaven! So much so that the day this week when I had two little smokie links my stomach revolted with discomfort. The piece of pizza I had last week almost made me throw up I was so nauseous. The fat and grease is just too much. My digestion has changed. I am living in detox.

Sorry for the lengthy point. But, when I finally had this realization about myself it all started to fall into place and I could begin to accept the real issue I have with food and healthy living. I can approach this is a more effective way and get me to sustain healthy living.

 

How I Am Beating The Bulge With Restaurant Meals

Hello from the airport. It’s a long travel week where buffet lunches in all day meetings and meals out at restaurants are dominating. Even as I load up on water and have my nuts handy, my options to bring my own food are pretty non-existent. This is the week that is truly testing my resolve to healthy living and I’m only three days in.

Let’s start with airports.  Think you can find a place to get a grilled chicken sandwich? It’s not as easy as you think. I walked across concourses looking at menus in Newark and Atlanta. TGI Friday’s in Atlanta had a California Chicken Club. At 670 calories I couldn’t eat the whole thing, but half and setting aside some of the bun helped. I did partake in fries and also cut that back. Not the healthiest meal, however, at 2:00p and not having had more than an Americano coffee all day, a salad with vinaigrette seemed like it might make my stomach pretty acidy.

Dinner out with Dad was a better experience.  A great seafood and oyster bar restaurant gave me a lot of choices. I slurped three oysters and went with grilled salmon.  They even let me sub out the potatoes for cauliflower. Half the salmon steak, broccoli and cauliflower was exactly the meal that was both amazingly good and easy on my diet. 479 calories.

The buffet lunch at my client was more interesting.  It was a taco and fajita bar. I racked my brain to figure this one out and remembered a tip for Mexican to get a taco salad but not the shell.  So, I loaded up on the lettuce, threw on the grilled chicken, some grilled onions and peppers, pico de gallo, a taste of shredded cheese and a mix of salsa and bit of guacamole sauce for a dressing. Logging in on my tracker I patted myself on the back as I saw calories total up at 329.

That isn’t to say I feel great about eating most meals higher in fat than I normally would at home. There is certainly more salt to. So, in my bout of guilt on this, last night I hopped on the treadmill for 80 minutes of walking and intervals. I’ve closed my rings each day, although today I’m going to be pressed as I’m getting on the plane to go cross country in about an hour and a half. I just need to check my disappointment and take on the next day as it comes.  I got over my last depressing period (see last post), I can do it again.

Eating Healthy At The Airport

On the road again and connecting through Newark on the way to Tampa. I was able to grab breakfast before I left and throw in my Vietnamese leftovers for the flight. But, I still have the munchies and won’t be able to eat until about 8:30p tonight.

No worries!

Turns out, in terminal C in between gates 80 and 75 is the Global Bazaar. There are ton of healthy things to pull.  I grabbed pomegranate seeds (100 calories/0 points), carrots and hummus (230 calories/7 points), salted edamame (200 calories/4 points) and karma water.

I don’t think I’ll eat all the hummus or edamame to cut back on the calories and points. But, it is better than the restaurant food or the candy and chips I normally find.

The downside is that it’s a bit pricey ($20!). If I was better prepared I could have grabbed this before I went. Although, I think I need to just realize that I am always rushed and its about making better choices in the long run.  I feel like I accomplished that.

Running to my connection. Happy travels!