Nutrition, Part 2

I’ve gained about 10 lbs since I left my job in February and this
distresses me. I’m trying to do some running again. I can only make it
to about 1.3 miles before I get winded and tired. I’ve never been
athletic so running is a significant challenge for me. I’ll be honest —
I run about 1-2 times a week for about 15-17 minutes. That’s almost
less than half the recommended time for exercise so I’m not doing a
good job. I like to think the 15 minutes is better than nothing but
when I step on the scale and see 155 lbs the next day instead of 153
from the day before, I get pretty upset.

Yes, I’ve heard it all before: I’m building muscle mass. Well,
that’s great but I’d like my belly to cooperate. I have about 15 pairs of
pants in my apartment and since I wear them at my waist, I can only fit comfortably in about five of
them. Even my sweatpants with elastic waists have become significantly uncomfortable. My MIL took some of my
pants in after I dropped about 15 lbs after leaving the hospital in late 2006. A year and a half later, I may ask her to take them back out. Talk about a depressing thought.

I feel uncomfortable in my own skin. I grab my "love handles" (whatever you call those rolls of fat) several
times a day in disgust with myself. I still have not gotten used to the
fact that I am not the petite, skinny girl I always was until 2004, when I began taking
Paxil.

When it comes to my food diet:

  • I definitely do not eat enough vegetables or fruit. I’m allergic to a lot of raw
    fruit (ie, apples, pears, pineapples) and easily tire of eating spring
    mix after 2 days. However, I can eat bananas, strawberries, and grapes
    without a problem. I can eat oranges but they’re too messy and the
    citrus taste gets old for me after the first bite or two.
  • I enjoy hot vegetables: broccoli, spinach, brussel sprouts, carrots,
    etc. I do my best to limit corn because of its starchy content; I don’t
    consider it a "healthy" vegetable.
  • I love meat. I like poultry. I like chicken. I enjoy turkey. I’m a
    sucker for well-done steak on occasion. Breaded chicken is my downfall
    these days.
  • Carbs are my HUGE downfall. As a child of West Indian immigrants, I
    grew up on rice and beans and chicken that are the main staple of
    Caribbean inhabitants. As a result, my body is trained to stay full on
    mostly carbs.

I frequently read Shape and Self magazines that tell me to fill up on all the veggies I want, have some protein, and limit my carbs.

Well, here’s the problem for me: A huge salad with a nice amount of
protein and limited carbs equals hunger a half-hour to an hour later.
Should I decide to add garlic bread, biscuits, or mashed potatoes on
the side, I’m a full and happy camper.

Then, there’s the debate about not eating till you’re full. How does
anyone manage to get away with that? Even when I was on Effexor, I ate
until I was full (but that happened in less than five bites).

Limiting portions is tough. Growing up, I was always told to clean
everything off my plate because of the poor starving children in
Somalia. Now, it’s a habit I’m hard-pressed to break. I’m not even sure
whether the "finish your plate" mentality is something I should pass on
to my kids.

My biggest problem lies in sweets.

For the most part, I don’t eat chocolate. I grew up allergic to
chocolate and now I’m not a fan of the taste. I can get away with my
addiction to low-fat Betty Crocker brownies. (How that happened, I have
no clue.) Other than that, I avoid chocolate like the plague.

So I stick with my plain-jane addiction. Vanilla cupcakes. Cake batter ice cream. Apple pie. Strawberry and banana sundaes. Strawberry shortcake. Powdered
donuts. There’s more than enough alternatives
to chocolate in the world to satisfy my sweet tooth and penchant for
packing on pounds.

So my nutrition is OK until I hit carbs and sweets. Then I’m officially screwed There are some days when I’m very good. Most days I’m pretty
bad. I don’t know how to control my eating. I don’t "overeat." I eat
like a normal American.

I need to stop eating like a normal American.

In the meantime, off I go to indulge myself in biscuits from Cracker Barrel.

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4 Comments

  1. May 22, 2008 at 5:51 am

    Carbs are my downfall too. I read “somewhere” that many people with depression crave carbs because it raises serotonin levels.
    I have the same problem with the clean your plate mentality. I have decided that I will not pass on those ideas to my children. Smaller portions, letting them eat at their own pace and respecting their little tummies when they are full is important to me. Sometimes it drives me crazy because it seems that they never finish a meal, but I remind myself that I don’t want to pass on the food pressures that my mother (poor mom – it’s always her fault) drilled into me. I just think it’s insane to feed a child adult size portions and then spending hours making them eat it because they’re not allowed to get up from the table until it’s all gone.

  2. May 22, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    I didn’t realize that carbs raise serotonin levels but that would make sense – my dad is bipolar and will stand at the counter and eat half a loaf of bread as a snack. o_O He doesn’t do this as much as he used to, but my mom gets irritated because then she doesn’t have enough bread to make their lunches.
    I am frustrated with my weight gain due to medication also. Since I stopped taking meds about a month ago, I have lost about 5 pounds, but I need to start exercising. Running doesn’t come naturally to me either. One thing that I do like is rollerblading – it’s lower impact and I can do it for a much longer period of time. It may be something to try if there is a nice paved area near where you live.
    Apparently there is also a new thing for the Nintendo Wii coming out, called the Wii Fit. It includes a balance board and the whole package is supposed to cost around $90. I am not much of a gaming person but my fiance is and he’s adament that we are going to get one. I hope it’s fun so I’ll actually do it…I guess we can’t underestimate the importance of enjoying whatever activity we choose.

  3. Jazz said,

    May 22, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    Carbs are my downfall, too. I love my potatoes and breads and rice and cookies and cakes…I’m trying to limit those things now, but I really miss potatoes 😦

  4. Nancie said,

    May 23, 2008 at 10:05 pm

    Weight gain can be really frustrating. I struggled with it too. Good of you to look into your diet and nutrition. That is one big challenge there to manage. It makes a lot of difference to our weight control.
    I am glad you are running. I read that a combination of regular exercise and healthy diet helps a lot in losing weight and maintaining it.
    I am trying to walk or exercise for at least 3 to 5 times a week. I read that it is good to start slowly and don’t over-exert. I think your 15 to 17 minutes is good. Maybe increase the number of days and it will help to build up your stamina. Yes, once you start exercising regularly, you will build up muscle. So don’t look at the scale too often.
    Gradually increase the time of your exercise to 20 minutes after 1 week or 2, and so on. When you begin to lose weight you will find that your clothings get a bit loose. It’s a long-term commitment.
    Don’t give up. Do slowly and consistently. That’s what I am doing now. Wish you all the best! Hope you have a blessed weekends!


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