Cold Weather Meals

I haven’t shared my week in meal planning recently. I guess, much like my weight plateau, I haven’t been as diligent about providing updates for my 10 readers (LOL). But seriously, I appreciate the moral and spiritual support from every single one of you, and I’m not doing any of this for fame and fortune.

Now that the weather has turned from mid-90s to mid-40s in less than 4 weeks, it is quickly time to transition into cold weather foods. Namely: soups. SOUP SOUP SOUP. Probably my favorite meal premise. Throw anything together with some broth and let’s party.

This weekend I made a tasty “Keto taco soup” in my slow cooker. Needed more heat, but they do recommend topping with jalapenos. I added a can of corn because I wanted more vegetable substance to the soup. I guess corn should really be considered a grain, but the crunch was a nice addition.

Slow cooker taco soup

Perhaps my favorite soup to date is a chicken and wild rice concoction Hubs helped me whip up. I didn’t do the slow cooker on this one — instead I used my big dutch oven and simmered it sweetly one afternoon as it rained.

I think the thing I like most about soups, beside them sliding down my gullet like warm and welcoming elixers, is the idea that I can really cut the carbs almost entirely and be satisfied when I eat in soup form. It is really easy to add back some grains with a bread or cracker or tortilla chip delivery device, but I don’t need it to enjoy the soup.

As this arctic blast comes through I think the next on my list of soups is a good broccoli cheddar. Then perhaps a veggie chili?

Deja Vu

I found my lost FitBit. I decided to switch purses and pulled an old faithful from my closet. It was still full of the random junk you don’t actually need but forget to transfer when switching purses. Only in the bottom I found it: my FitBit. I reinstalled the app, charged the tiny device and got back into the step-counting groove.

I found something interesting in the FitBit app that caused a bit of a pause. More than a year before I kickstarted this current “journey,” I apparently tried to kickstart another version.

There it is. More than a year ago I had gotten down to about where I’m stuck now, then apparently rebounded back almost 10 pounds.

Am I stuck in this loop for the rest of my life?

Am I stuck in this loop for the rest of my life? Do I casually abandon the cause, add the weight then recommit to losing it? Shave off that same 10 pounds and repeat, year after year until I die?

During all that self-reflection the past few weeks, I’ve come to terms with the idea that my value is not determined by my obesity. I need to be able to look at myself in the mirror and honestly tell myself that I am a valuable human exactly the way I am. I’m not giving up. Giving up would be easy. It is what my body wants (colder weather means there’s this internal desire to pack on the extra insulation) and it is just easier to settle back into old routines.

Thought I looked cute. Might delete it later 🙂

I started following James Clear on Twitter. He’s the guy who is all about habits. I mentioned him in an earlier post. His Twitter feed kicks my ass. Just when I want to settle for choices that are comfortable, here he comes with some tweet about being where we are because we choose to be there. Now I will admit that my choices over time have, in fact, gotten me to this place. But I don’t have to settle for that and stop trying to change my trajectory.

So here is to sending selfies to your husband when you’ve done your eyebrows and hair and think you’re cute. Here is to avoiding the pantry when you’re hangry and sent all the well-balanced meals in sacks with your kids and husband that morning. Here’s to forcing yourself to get that last set of chest presses at the gym when you’re boobs want to fall off.

Here is to lasting change.

Finding the New Normal

I spent the last week in reflection and self care. They busyness of life prevented me from going to the gym for weight training or really giving proper attention to my meals. But for this one week I allowed it. I didn’t beat myself up over it or consider the week a failure.

I consider it to be the first real step toward getting to know the me that I’m becoming. In other words: I think I hit a mid-life crisis.

I can understand why folks go get new careers or sports cars or tattoos when they hit this MLC. I started researching landscaping design classes or furniture making classes at the local community college. I looked on Zillow for homes on a minimum of 10 acres in the region. I researched all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean. I pinned ideas for master bath remodels to Pinterest. It wasn’t because I intend to actually do these things in the near future. It was more the idea that I want to be free to at least consider them without guilt. That it is OK to look and daydream about big plans without the condemnation of present logistics.

I’m climbing out of the Dark Place yet again.

Recharging helped.

I think allowing myself to mentally explore life’s possibilities helped. Taking deep dives in conversations with friends also helped. Allowing myself to have quiet time helped. Recharging helped.

I know I need to re-establish the habits I started in the summer. Not only to help me keep on pace toward my goals, but also because I feel like a mud puddle when I get to the end of the day and realize I didn’t eat a piece of fruit or vegetable the entire day. I stepped on the scale today for the weekly weigh-in and was pleasantly surprised. I chalk it up to the end of the monthly cycle and not anything I actively chose to eat or lift.

Today I’m taking the family out to a nature preserve to attempt to get portraits for our Christmas card. I’m bringing the tripod so I can be in as many of them as possible.

Life is good.

Recalculation

Officially seeing no results any longer. I have a few tokens I can hold onto from my journey thus far: I have been able to stay right at a net loss of 10 pounds. And I do notice that wheat products create very uncomfortable inflammation, specifically in my neck. OK and maybe I can casually eat vegetables now.

That’s all fine and good, but this plateau.

I did a lot of reflection this week. I turned 38 on Wednesday, and I thought a lot about the direction I’m headed and whether I wanted to change course. There are a few things I’ve come up with:

My Value Doesn’t Come from Numbers

My value isn’t calculated by how much money I’m able to bring in through contract work. It isn’t calculated by my kids’ performance. And it isn’t calculated by the pounds I carry. I’m not giving up on my ultimate goal, but dadgumit I need to be OK with myself in the present or I’ll never be OK with myself when/if I reach this number I’ve elevated in my head as a goal.

Most of My Missteps Are Symptoms of a Bigger Problem

Depression and anxiety are real. Coping with food is real. The real heavy lifting in this journey is mental.

I Can Find My Happy Place Anywhere

My Happy Place isn’t in 2 years. My Happy Place isn’t 50 pounds away. My Happy Place isn’t at the gym. My Happy Place isn’t winning the lottery or landing a Big Fish client that pays way more than necessary for my skills. My Happy Place is wherever I make it. I’ve always been a resourceful person, finding ways to meet goals without the financial or material support most people employ to meet those goals. Why should my life be any different? I don’t need extra discretionary funds to find fulfillment, and I don’t need to be thinner to be a good person.

Insatiable

As I do housework alone I typically have a show playing in the background on my phone. My sister-in-law introduced me to Netflix’s “Insatiable” a week or so ago and I worked my way through season one (quite literally, as I did laundry, dishes, straightening, etc.). I resolved in the shower this morning that I was going to dig in deeper and try to push through this plateau I’ve hit. My mind was making game plans for how I’d do that.

More self control. More gym time. Less snacking. I have to get it together.

Then as I sipped my coffee and waited for the rest of the house to wake, I watched a scene from “Insatiable” where the main character, a formerly obese high schooler who got punched by a homeless person and had to get her jaw wired shut that caused her to lose a tremendous amount of weight and now she competes in beauty pageants, convinced herself that if she could just lose a little more weight and get a hotter boyfriend she could get revenge on the ex-boyfriend she caught smooching someone else. I didn’t say this show was wholesome. In fact it is pure trash in an over-the-top way, like soap operas.

So this main character is in her kitchen determined to get results. Her mom offers to make her pancakes and she rejects the breakfast, saying she’s on the Paleo diet now. She goes to make herself some egg whites and her mom leaves for work. Inner monologue details the thought process of how she’s decided egg whites won’t be enough, so she goes into the fridge for a yogurt. Then she sees the chocolate cereal on the counter and adds a sprinkling for crunch. Then she goes for a second handful. It then shows this character binging the entire box of chocolate cereal. She then realizes what she’s done and goes on a cardio binge at the gym to try to burn it all off.

First let me say I am not at that point. But I have to commend the writers of this show for humanizing disordered eating. They’ve shown Overeaters Anonymous meetings, they’ve shown the logic used during binges and they’ve shown how this character hides the troubling behavior from everyone. They also strongly connect this disordered eating to coping mechanisms.

This trashy TV show helped me see what I didn’t want to become. I’ve mentioned before how one of my coping mechanisms is eating. It isn’t a healthy way of coping with stress, and after going through a coping binge I end up in the same mental place as this fictional character: shame and overcompensation.

Stress is guaranteed in life. I just need to find a healthier coping mechanism.