In the past several months, I have had a great opportunity to learn how to feel conflicted about writing content for my website.
Sure, I suppose there are lots of reasons to avoid doing this and many actually make sense, if I choose not to care about the website. I can excuse myself by simply not having the time, right? Maybe I’m too tired…heck, that one will get any of us. Another good one is that I could be doing something fun, or just visiting with my wife, after all, both of our computers have this dedicated room, but with only one chair. This has never been a room where we count our time as time spent together. Certainly, we would be separated from each other if I am in here. Finally, and most prevalent of excuses that really aren’t the reason, I’m not up for the research it takes to convert my layman’s knowledge to fact. I love learning, but I don’t like finding so many sites filled with opinion making solid fact harder to find.
I’m suggesting with today’s article that, for me, my reason for not writing is something far outside the realm of what most bloggers will admit to.
Sometime around the end of November 2018, I took a break from living a lean lifestyle to do something that I have done during every holiday season (except 2017), which starts with baking a pie or two for Thanksgiving, then I begin the Christmas treats with things like banana nut bread, butter almond toffee, chocolate chip cookies, cinnamon sugar candied nuts, fudge and even a few drinks like hot buttered rum.
I started off great without skimming a cookie off the top, licking a beater or sampling the fudge, but eventually, I had this great idea for a new cookie recipe and, after I confirmed that it is unique, I made the cookie dough, baked the cookies and decided I would eat one before I proudly presented a nasty cookie.
The cookie(s) were delicious!
I stopped writing here that day. This site is about weight loss. This site is about like after weight loss surgery. This site is about getting fit to get the most out of our emerging new bodies. How can I continue to write when I have failed to pursue any of those things? I can’t, but I’m putting myself back on track today! Writing this article is the kick off.
Hopefully, someone will read this post and it will inspire them to get back on track for whatever it is they hope to accomplish because all personal failure has two commonalities; we are the only ones who can turn it around and we can all benefit from the support of others in ultimately reaching the next personal success.
So this post about my personal failure doesn’t require any research. I have decided to clear myself of dietary wrong-doings and avoid being a two-faced blogger by posting here just what is wrong about what I have done and how I will fix myself to get back on track.
Food In General – The wrong stuff is everywhere!
The main problem with dieting, losing weight, preparing for or recovering from weight loss surgery is the very obstacle to the success of reaching the goal weight that we agreed to with our doctors. Food.
There are too many situations that we get ourselves into where we are surrounded by nothing other than the foods that are not exactly welcoming to our goals. We even make our own events right at home to give reason for eating the wrong foods.
Weddings, birthday parties, anniversaries, Valentine’s day, Mother’s day, Father’s Day, Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving and even holidays not particularly thought of for family celebrations or even food-based celebrations. In the U.S.we eat on Independence day, Memorial day and Labor day, too. And because we can’t get enough of our own holidays, we turn to alcohol for Mexico’s Cinco De Mayo. Who needs holidays to excuse our poor eating festivals, donuts at an office meeting, working lunches, Tuesday night fights, Sunday football, and especially the Super Bowl.
The bad food is just impossible to stay away from because we are surrounded by the rest of the world who not only eat those foods, they also actively push them on you even when they know you are on a diet or that your doctor has forbidden you from eating them.
I am guilty! I’ve participated in or have been confronted by these kinds of situations and I’ve enjoyed the moments, but the onset of guilt was soon to follow, but that was easy to get over, I’d just tell myself that I’ll do better tomorrow then I’d forget about it.
Today, I’m bringing the right foods with me when I’m going to be out for more than a couple of hours.
Lunch box sized coolers have come a long way, especially if you buy one of the higher end brands, like Yeti. Some of them even plug into your car outlet and will work to keep your food cool while just sitting in your car.
A couple of sticks of mozzarella wrapped in some pepperoni or salami will hold me for 4-6 hours. Sometimes, a cup of cottage cheese does it for me, too. The cottage cheese is just as satisfying to eat, but has more carbs and doesn’t hold me over for as long as the meat and cheese do. Either strategy will save you from being stuck somewhere with only poor food choices.
Carbonated Beverages – That gut feeling you can’t ignore
I hate to admit this but I have become just about addicted to the fizz of diet Dr. Pepper. I’ve got it down to a certain type of fizz, too. If I refrigerate the soda, it gives a harsh sort of fizz, but if I drink it at room temperature, it gives a fizz more like that of root beer. Now, I would just drink the diet A&W root beer, which has really great flavor, but it holds a lot of its carbonation for later AND it has no caffeine in it, which I will discus later.
Carbonated beverages will defeat us if we don’t gain control over them I have not been winning this fight, but I’m still working on it. I switched to tea, then I switched to caffeine free tea, then I added back in the soda, so I believe my struggle is not so much with the soda as it is the caffeine.
My strategy is to slowly reduce the amount of soda that I have each day while staying with the tea. It’s cheaper, too! I can live with feeling like I’m walking around looking like Uncle Sy. Well, not exactly!
I like my tea sweet, but only mildly sweet, so a little bit of Splenda and I’m set. And while on the subject of sweetness…
Sweets – One begat another, begat another…
The new cookies were the beginning of the end for me. These cookies don’t have any chocolate in them, so I ended up wanting some cookies that do, then the butter almond toffee, a piece of chocolate creme pie which I didn’t make, a piece of pumpkin pie and I was all the way in. I still have cravings for chocolate but I’m fighting against them.
Oddly, my favorite “candy bar” used to be the Reese’s peanut butter cups, but my craving for chocolate has made me desire a 3 Musketeer bar or one of those premium, high percentage dark chocolate bars that are 70% or higher.
I finished all my chocolate last week. I’d have to hunt for that to buy it and to that end, I’m really good at saying no to picking it up at the store. I’m just terrible at saying no to it when it’s in my house. It’s like I hear it calling out to me.
So I’m done with chocolate candy. I hope it’s permanent. Cross your fingers! If I can convince myself that the chocolate flavored protein drinks have satisfied my chocolate cravings, I will be alright.
Alcohol – A renewed relationship
This is a really simple one, folks.
People are more likely to become dependent on alcohol after weight loss surgery. From my own experience, I have learned that it’s far less expensive to drink with a sleeve. One adult beverage and I’m good!
Now, before my surgery, I was the guy who couldn’t drink beer fast enough to ever get drunk on it (At least not on 3.2 beers). I switched to tequila because it was far more efficient in reaching my goal. Cheaper, too!
After the surgery, I didn’t drink for over a year, then I began to sip tequila. I eventually switch to whiskey and diet cola and then spiced rum and diet ginger ale or diet cola. Most recently, after watching 40 episodes too many of “Bar Rescue”, I decided to try an “Old Fashioned” cocktail. After all, Jon Taffer says it’s the most simple and one of the most common drinks in America. So I looked up the ingredients and made one, I was impressed with the simplicity and its flavor.
An “Old Fashioned” has the ingredient simple syrup in it. Now, in buying simple syrup, you get a hot sauce-sized bottle or maybe a cooking wine-sized bottle full of it for around $5. This amount will net you 3-4 Old Fashioneds if you make them in a racks glass, so, since my wife and I were drinking together, I looked up how to make simple syrup.
Making simple syrup will enlighten a person who is avoiding sugar. This stuff is made of equal parts (By Volume) of sugar and water. So I decided to buy a water dispenser like you might see in a nice restaurant. It’s just a glass bottle with a spring-hinge stopper. This bottle will hold the simple syrup made from 3 cups of water and 3 cups of sugar.
So…if I have 3 drinks, and my wife has 3 drinks, about half of the simple syrup has been used. It didn’t all occur to me until we had used the entire bottle over a week. Making the next batch made me realize how much pure sugar the two of us had consumed in one week. Three full cups of straight sugar! And that’s not all… breaking down the recipe of the Old Fashioned, I realized that we had also drank 6 cups of whiskey in that same week!
I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that I’m going to stop drinking. Truthfully, I have an anti-addictive behavior, if it’s not a hoarding behavior, but I’d just as soon save it until I really need a drink, which then will never happen. I do the exact same thing with pain medication. They almost always expire before I use them.
What I am doing is limiting the Old Fashioned drink to a special occasion and drinking the whiskey with diet cola instead. I made the simple syrup with Splenda once, but when I mixed all four ingredients together, it turned cloudy. The syrup also turned cloudy all by itself while sitting in the fridge. I’m also limiting the drinks to evenings that both my wife and I are off together the next day, which happens about every 2-3 weeks.
Caffeine and Sleep – Wake me up before you go-go
Another ingredient for us to avoid after weight loss surgery is caffeine. Sometimes, I feel like I need it.
I was on second shift at my job, which was 2pm to 10:30pm. I was doing great without caffeine in my life, but when my shift changed to 10pm to 6:30am, I felt like I needed caffeine prior to work, just to get through the night.
After you do that, a vicious cycle starts because I don’t sleep well the next day, then when it’s time to go back to work, I need caffeine again. By the time I get my sleep routine and caffeine consumption to work together, I cut off the caffeine then have the wicked caffeine withdrawal headaches. Since I can no longer take Ibuprofen, there’s not enough Tylenol in the jar to make one of these headaches go away.
I’m still addicted! But I found out that a certain brand of “Decaf” tea still has a small amount of caffeine in it, so I’m reducing the amounts of diet Dr. Pepper and softening the blow with the lower caffeine tea. When I get down to just the tea, I will reduce my tea with fully decaf tea until I can do without caffeine altogether.
I need to drink more plain water, anyway!
Exposure to Foods – It’s party time!
The parties never end! I cut my food-based parties almost completely out when I moved from California to Texas. Think of your kids hanging out in the wrong crowd while trying to kick the bad behavior. That was me. These are some great, great friends who also love to eat and invite people over to eat!
I mean to tell you that I know some people who can make some awesome food! That makes it even harder to say no.
There are some big family holidays like Easter and Christmas. In the U.S. we also do Thanksgiving day. There’s always good choices at these meals and I’ll be making a Thanksgiving foods blog and Christmas foods blog in the very near future which will be packed full of ideas that are healthy for various dieters.
Aside from all the choices that won’t bust your gut like ham, turkey, chicken, goose, beef, tofu and more, there are plenty of things to avoid. A good example is potatoes. There’s not a potato on this planet that any of us need for a healthy body. Nope, not even the kind they put in tater tots, which are my weakness.
But instead of potatoes au gratin, put broccoli au gratin on the table. Potato substitutes do alright, but only for looks. They still taste like cauliflower, so just put cauliflower on the table and there won’t be any disappointment.
If you thing a salad has to be part of your Spring holiday meal, put a fruit salad or a cold broccoli & bacon bit salad on the table.
The trick when eating at someone else’s house, as I mentioned earlier, is to bring something you can eat. Trust me, almost nobody at a pot luck style family meal will be thinking of your diet when they prepare their dish, so don’t you be thinking about theirs!
The New Verbs – Not breakfasting
In ending this blog, I want to remind you to fight the commercialization of new “verbs”.
We don’t “Summer” in the Hamptons and we don’t “Breakfast” on the riviera.
A verb is an action like going for a walk, taking a swim, playing a sport, doing yoga, lifting weights and so on, but those are the good ones.
There are verbs that are not as good for you like watching, snacking, sitting (Though I struggle with this as a verb) and many others.
I urge you to pick a good one from your own list and make it your thing. Do your thing by appointment in the same way that you brush your teeth. Make it part of your day and schedule other things around that time. Be firm.
I also urge you to pick a bad one and make a plan to eliminate it from your life as I have done here. The existence of this article is not a great example. I should have been sleeping, instead I was writing…not helping the fight against caffeine.
Finally, I urge you to write to me about your struggles. I’m fairly new to this, but I have responded to everyone who has posted on this site and will continue to do so as I learn about struggles other than my own.
Now, get out there and VERB!