In Need of Accountability!

Discussion in 'Healthful Living / Natural Treatments' started by Christy, Jul 2, 2008.

  1. Christy

    Christy New Member

    I posted this response in Totoro's post about being a carb junkie. This is the first I have been in this part of the forum because I have been hiding my head in the sand when it comes to healthy living. I want to get back to caring about me and I figured that since I really don't feel entirely motivated to do this, then I need some accountability. So I am copying my post for all the world (at least our little corner of the world) to see it. By doing this, I am hoping to make myself accountable.

    I gave up most carbs and it did wonders for me. I lost 90 lbs. I had excellent control over my type II diabetes. My PCOS symptoms were less severe and my cycle was regular for a change. I was full of energy and exercised regualrly. And then, life got hard. My mom was diagnosis'd with cancer and I traveled several times a week out of state to visit her at the hospital and then hospice. Lots of fast food and cafeteria food and at first, I tried to keep to my way of eating but it was dificult. My mom was dying and I didn't want to worry about finding a salad or something suitable. I ate what was available. My appetitie for carbs that I had supressed with my strict eating plan began to emerge again and with everything else going on, I gave into it. I ate to feel better. Now it is 7 months later, my mom's death is still hard on me but I am geting through it. What I can't seem to do is get back on track with my eating and exercise. First I stopped weighing myself, then I stopped checking my blood sugar, I don't exercise, and I crave sweets all the time. I snack all day long and binge in the evenings. Eating has once again become a form of relaxation for me and it's killing me. I've gainned all but 30 lbs of what I lost, nothing fits, my blood sugar is no longer in good control, and yet I keep eating. I looked into the lap band procedure just this morning and when I saw all the possible side effects and the way you have to chew things so carefully, what happens when you eat too much, etc... I told myself, I have to try this one more time with diet and exercise first. So here goes, I am going to cut out the bad carbs, force myself to exercise, stop snacking and binging. Why don't I believe myself?

    Just wanted to share my story and say that I truly underastand the power carb addition has over a person. Good luck working through it. I hope we will be successful in overcoming this!

    So I know what to do. Now I just need to fo it!
  2. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi Christy,

    Welcome!! Glad that you made the step to join us. Sometimes that first step is the biggest and the most difficult.

    It's fabulous that lost 90 pounds last year. We are going to be here with you as you get that 60 off! You are not alone.

  3. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Hello Christy,

    Adding my welcome, and support.
    You CAN do this. You've proven it to yourself once, you can do it again.

    You're not alone. We're all here working together. Please do lean on us for support.

  4. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Glad you are here-you can do this and we are here for you!
  5. Christy

    Christy New Member

    Thanks guys. I appreciate the support. :)
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Hi, Christy.

    It takes willpower. You've got that. Also, you've got experience as well as motivation.

    The trouble with carbs, especially sugars, is they are almost like a drug of addiction. Once you give in without imposing any controls, you crave more. So you need to be strong with yourself and also have a really effective inner talk whenever you face situations that give you little alternative.

    I have my own heirarchy of what I can allow myself to eat, in what order.

    You've also discovered what I discovered - fast food is generally high carb as well as high fat. Even food that looks healthy will tend to have hidden carbs and/or hidden fats. It becomes a case of "cherchez le fats" or "cherchez le carbs".

    I first discovered this when trying the Atkins diet about three to four years ago. I'd been on the diet for a week before I had to go out to see doctors, do shopping etc. I got hungry and was looking for something I could allow myself. I was on 30 g carbs daily, at the time. That's practically nothing.
    Then I saw a health food shop/upmarket boutique which was selling rice paper rolls. They used soaked rice paper (like wonton sheets) to wrap up snow pea sprouts, some sliced cooked chicken breast, some bean sprouts and possibly some lettuce - couldn't tell through the rice paper, not in detail. The rice paper was carb but it was only a thin layer on the outside, surely it wouldn't contribute much...
    So I bought one. It tasted good - but when I looked inside after I took a bite, I realised that inside, it must have been about 40% rice vermicelli - pure carbs! OK, that was my daily allowance of carbs, gone in one bite! On a healthy food item!

    The Atkins diet taught me one very important bit of information - people who make and sell fast food are in the business of filling tummies at the lowest cost. This means they use MORE carbs than a healthy cook does at home. Carbs are cheap calories. Customers leave in general more satisfied, cravings filled. They'll be back.

    I also learned - low-fat is bad for you because it's generally higher in simple sugars. If you must go low-fat, then read the nutrition labels very carefully and avoid anything with added sugars (or even higher natural sugars). it stands to reason - take out the fat from milk, for example, and another 4 mls out of every hundred mls gets added to make up the volume. That's 40 mls in a litre. And in tat 40 mls per litre, is 40 mls worth of extra lactose. That's why skim milk tastes sweeter. They haven't added anything; just taken out the fat. Which takes out volume. Which gets replaced by skim milk. You drink skim milk - your body gets a sugar hit form the lactose. No fat in it, to slow down the sugar absorption. WHAM! Straight to your pancreas, to pump out more insulin.

    My current diet is more forgiving than Atkins. However, there are no simple carbs in it. Instead, all carbs have to be wholegrain. No potatoes, no sugar. Load in the fibre. No fat (as far as possible). Sauces permitted, within sensible range.

    So, when eating out on the run and needing to grab a healthy meal - I have an exclusion list, in order of NEED TO AVOID.

    Avoid, beginning with the highest need to run the other way, going down to "eat it if desperate":


    1) Sugar (includes confectionery, sweetened drinks, fruit juice, smoothies)

    2) Fruit (one piece allowed per day - so save your one piece for a time when you can really savour it)

    3) Other carbs - a small amount of plain rice is the only exception. NO BREAD AT ALL WHEN OUT - again, one or two slices of wholegrain bread is the exception, with salad filling. NO BREAD ROLLS.

    4) Fat - avoid the obvious stuff. Be aware that just about all meat available when you go out, has been deep-fried. If you must eat something, go for a serve of lean meat on its own and make sure it's well-drained.

    This list leaves very little remaining, that you can eat when away from home.

    So here are some options:


    1) sushi. Try to go for ones with less rice, more other stuff. My preferred sushi is sashimi salmon wrapped around rice, and topped with roe. I eat two small pieces and make that last. Also on the list - MY sushi place does a rice paper roll which IS NOT stuffed with rice vermicelli. Good stuff, right through - sprouts, lettuce, lean protein.

    2) salad - but buy your own, from a greengrocer. Avoid buying salad from a fast food shop - they try to sneak in carbs or fat into their salads to bulk them out and have you coming back for more. Have a close look at these salads next time you're out and about. Salads in shops are carefully layered. The seafood salads are made with a lot of shredded lettuce underneath, seafood extender mixed through and a few yummy looking prawns (large shrimp) arranged apparently haphazardly on the top. Greek salads - often made with cows' milk feta (not the traditional goat or sheep cheese), lots of lettuce (not very traditional) and olives (not often the good Kalamata olives) again carefully arranged, with the feta, to disguise the lack of anything substantial. A caesar salad - it barely qualifies as a salad. It's certainly not healthy. You can make a healthier one yourself, but avoid the bacon and the croutons. even the anchovies are greasy. Take all that out, and all that is left is lettuce. And maybe an egg.
    So buy your own fresh greens and make up your own salad.

    3) Lean low-fat protein - a bag of prawns, fresh from the fish shop. Eat immediately. Trouble is, they often ned peeling, which if you're on the tun, you haven't got time for. So other options - Indian. Chicken tikka. Whole chicken thigh fillets, marinated in spices and yogurt, oven-baked. Grab a handful of serviettes to clean up, because the spice stains your fingers. Or there are chicken kebabs - thigh fillets again, threaded onto a skewer, rolled in flour and deep-fried. Not great, but much healthier than most apparently healthy options.
    Grab just the meat, ask for NO RICE. They will only give you a very small serve (because usually when you get takeaway Asian, they pad it out with a lot more rice tan you realise). Get into the habit of being satisfied with less, because if you take out the volume of the rice, you're still getting a great deal of nutrition in just the meat. If you still feel empty, have a big drink of water to make up the volume, because you have now eaten enough to stop you from passing out with hunger, you don't need to eat any more.

    An interesting trick to teach yourself what is safe to eat and what is not - wear lipstick. A good, all-day one. If you need to re-apply your lipstick completely, after eating then what you just ate was far too greasy. Remember, for next time.

    So, the fast version of the above list - no sugar. No fat. Nothing with bread rolls. Only wholegrain. No serves of rice with anything you order. Drink water. Eat less by volume.

    But you're craving the taste of sugar? OK, this makes sense, especially with your diabetes. You CAN turn this around.

    First, think about how your mouth feels and tastes, about half an hour AFTER you've had sugar (or bread, or rice, or other carbs). You know that sour taste you get? Often it's what drives you to reach for another sweet, or another sandwich. You associate that taste with being hungry, but you're not. That taste is the hangover from your LAST carb hit; a trace amount stays in your mouth (hence tooth decay) and a combination of your saliva and friendly bacteria partly digest the sugar, and the resultant compound has that sour taste. It ALWAYS happens. Even cleaning your teeth cannot totally prevent it. We might reach for a mint to get rid of the sour taste - but the mint so often is also made with sugar, and it happens again! It takes almost no sugar, to cause this effect.

    You did well before, because when you stopped eating carbs in quantity (especially sugar) this taste was gone. You then felt no need to eat more sugar, you had no reminder. But begin eating sugar, and tis turns into craving.

    There is a way. Look for artificially sweetened sweet things to give you a taste of something sweet, without the sour after-taste. You may need to experiment, because some still give you the sour taste.
    One that does not, is Isomalt. It tastes exactly like sugar, because chemically, it IS sugar. BUT - it is an isomer, a mirror image of the sugar molecule. Because sugar is a more complex molecule than, say, water, your body doesn't recognise the mirror image. You can taste it, but your body can't use it. The saliva in your mouth can't begin to digest it and neither can the bacteria. You can leave a pile of Isomalt lying around and ants won't recognise it.
    It has a cost, though - if your body doesn't recognise it, it will go right through you. In small amounts this is not a problem. But if you pig out and eat half a packet, the Isomalt concentration in your GI tract will drag water along with it, and you will find that you've got gripy wind and diarrhoea. It's not a sensitivity reaction or anything nasty - it's purely osmosis in action. Go easy on the sweets and you'll be fine. Ration them.

    But Isomalt sweets do not leave that sour taste in your mouth half an hour later. Nor do they contribute to tooth decay, or aggravate your diabetes, or anything else.

    I grab about three or four, and put them in my pocket. I make those last until my next meal, and haven't had a problem. Mind you, I did have problems before, until I realised why I had bellyaches!

    The packets do come with a warning "excess consumption can have a laxative effect" but tat is why.

    Now you've had a chemistry lesson as well as a lesson in nutrition.

    My gastroenterologist did talk about lap band surgery with me; he said I wasn't a candidate. He also said it's not pleasant and is not a way out to avoid willpower - you need even more willpower with lap band surgery. But he did put me on diet pills. We talked about it, so I had some say in what he gave me. I'm on the ones which stop your body going into famine mode when you diet. They're also supposed to curb your appetite, but I am still hungry all the time. However, I keep telling myself I'm not needing to eat as much as my eyes tell me I want. I am not about to fade away to a shadow! So I cook a lot, try to make sure it's healthy, and try to make sure there are other people to feed. If what I've cooked is healthy, I can eat a serve of it too. When everyone else has white rice with their meal, I eat brown rice. I cook up a batch of brown rice and keep it, cooked, in the fridge for a few days. I reheat my serve of rice in the microwave separately.

    The other thing I've had to do - is do all this with medical supervision. My GP and my gastroenterologist are working as a team. That way, when people try to sabotage me, I can point to my doctors and say, "go argue with them about it."

    And people DO sabotage! It is amazing to discover who does it to you, and how, and you then wonder why. The saboteurs are the ones who keep offering you cake & biscuits, who pile food on your plate (especially food you shouldn't have), who keep telling you how pale or sick you look, what a terrible colour you have. Saboteurs will also discourage you from exercising, or tell you it's your fault when you come home tired, or with aching muscles.
    Ignore them. Ask your doctor if you're not sure if you're overdoing things.

    I've been enjoying being able to breathe better especially at night; not having that horrible pinching sensation in my middle, which I suspect was my liver getting pinched between my rib cage and my abdominal muscles; enjoying good skin and hair; enjoying being able to almost read the scales without having to lift bits of my body out of the way.

    The first three, I had within two weeks.

    And for exercise - we bought Wii Fit. I've posted separately about that. It's great, it involves the whole family in getting fit and healthy, it's a lot of fun too.

    I'm looking better, I'm feeling better, I'm hoping I can keep most of this off when my diet pills are stopped in six weeks' time. That's when my specialist orders more tests and we discover if I've been successful in turning around diabetes and liver damage.

    Good luck!

  7. Christy

    Christy New Member

    Thanks for the good advice Marg! You are preaching to the choir! I learned by eating to my glucose meter and having my chloesterol tested that what they say is good for you is not always the case. When I ate very low carb, I learned that fats, even the saturated ones, did not raise my cholesterol and foods like oatmeal and brown rice that were suggested fare in my diabetes education classes would spike my blood sugar just like any other carb. I learned to eat carbs with proteinand fat rather than alone to keep my blood sugar more stable. The trouble now is that I know all these things but can't gather the motivation to get back to it. I've got to be tough and quit the carbs. I can't handle moderating them. When I was complaining to my husband about the weight I've gained, he said to me, you buy the groceries, if you don't want to eat it, don't buy it. Makes sense, but I do want to eat those foods. If I don't buy them on grocery day, I will find myself using difficult child as an excuse to stop for fastfood, ice cream, let's bake cookies, etc... And on the other side, once I kick the carbs so to speak, I am not tempted. I can have anything in the house and I won't eat it.

    So over the past few days, I have cut out a lot of mindless eating, I have made better food choices, but I still haven't gotten mysef psyched up to do this. I'm wearing my workout shoes but haven't yet taken the walk I promised myself. Still. I'm wanting to get there and for a long time I just ignored my eating and the effect it was having on me. So it's a step in the right direction.

    Thanks again,
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    You're right about the difficulty in sticking to a diet when you're the one doing the shopping.

    You need a good enough reason to convince yourself. In my case, it was knowing that if I stepped up now and controlled my diet, then there was a chance I could go back to eating my favourite foods, at least occasionally. But if I didn't, then there was 100% chance that strict dieting would be forced on me very soon, permanently, by diabetes.

    That gave me the reason. Do it now, for a while, or do it soon anyway, forever. Not much choice in that.

    We're all different in how we cope. I find I get obsessed with food when I'm dieting. But I can deal with it by going on a cooking binge, as long as there are other people to eat what I produce. I play with food, in other words. At the moment I am poaching a chook overnight in the crock pot. I will use it to feed people tomorrow - informally. On the weekends we relax a fair bit, people drift in and out and at some stage I suggest a bowl of soup or (especially in our cold weather) some comfort food like risotto or gnocchi (both loaded with carbs) all made fresh while the chicken stock simmers. Having the hot stock available makes so much possible, so quickly - especially the risotto. I can do a quick, healthy almost instant chicken & vegetable soup using the hot stock and some vegetables. I make it in the mug, by the mugful, using the microwave to finish the cooking and to thicken it with a little cornstarch. Five minutes, tops, including shredding the vegetables.

    Or I play with biscuits or cupcakes. I bought some special cake sprinkle stuff last time I shopped, so I could play with making/decorating cakes and biscuits. While I like eating biscuits, they are banned on my diet. But even more than eating them, I enjoy filling a small basket or pretty biscuit tin with a variety of biscuits in different shapes, flavours and decorations. I have biscuit cutters of various shapes and sizes, including hearts and stars in three or four different sizes as well as tiny and larger teddy bear cutters and gingerbread men (and lady) cutters. So I play. I make two different flavours of biscuit dough, roll it out into a log and keep the log in the fridge. When I want to make biscuits I cut thin slices and put them onto a baking sheet. Then I use my cutters and cut the largest hearts (for example) in two different flavours/colours. Then I get the next size down and carefully cut a smaller shape inside the larger one. I remove the smaller shape (carefully) from each one and swap them, so the vanilla heart now contains a slightly smaller chocolate heart. And vice versa. Then I do it again. I keep going until I have no smaller cutter. And by this stage I have pre-cooked biscuits that are layered concentrically. Then I decorate with choc bits, or nuts, or silver cachous. Or you can leave the final shape as a hole, and fill it with sugar before baking. In the oven it caramelises into toffee like a sugar window pane. Or you can leave a hole and sandwich cooked biscuits together with butter cream or jam, one biscuit with the hole so the filling is peek-a-boo.
    It's really easy to do a whole tray of biscuits differently, so you put a mix into the oven. And they come out already decorated.

    For Christmas I put a small hole in each compound biscuit before baking, then after baking I thread them on a little curling ribbon and give away a packet of them as edible tree ornaments.

    Or I make tomato relish (when tomatoes are in season). By the time it's all made the last thing i want to do is eat some. I've had to taste as I cook (not enough to damage the diet) and I feel like I've eaten a lot, when in fact I've hardly had a thing.

    And once you've cooked all the fun, special stuff you normally wouldn't make time for, you then have a lot of fun sharing it around. In the process you earn brownie points with friends and neighbours - always a good thing.

    As for the problem of using the kids as an excuse to stop for fast food - we've been trying to work on the kids from Day 1, to teach them to value good food, real food. Not necessarily healthy food, but food that tastes good instead of food that is merchandised well. For example, Aussie hamburgers are distinctive. They have a lot of salad on them, they are usually a two-fisted job to hold and don't get made in the franchise shops at all. So we search out the best shops that make distinctive burgers, or other fast food, and teach the kids to really enjoy these places. If they still want the more commercial fast food joint, it's usually just for the toy and you can buy those individually anyway.

    But as you said - you need to be psyched up to be strong, yourself. Because if you're not, you'll only sabotage yourself and could end up worse off than if you gave up trying to diet, for now.

    Feeling guilty is not a good way to manage a diet. It's better to consciously make a decision to not diet, for now, so you don't have to feel guilty. telling yourself you SHOULD diet, but eating the wrong things anyway - it's much more damaging. It's all the disadvantages of being on a diet, with all the disadvantages of eating the foods you crave, with none of the advantages of either.