Thursday, August 14, 2014

August 14th, 2014 Giving My Taste Buds A Workout

August 14th, 2014 Giving My Taste Buds A Workout

When I say "I eat what I like and nothing I don't," it doesn't mean I'm not willing to try new things. It simply means I don't believe in choking something down that isn't appealing in the name of losing weight. This is why I don't eat salads. However, I've learned throughout the last 6 years to at least give some things a try and when I'm encouraged (I'll rarely do it on my own), I'll usually suspend my natural inclination to reject what isn't familiar and open up. I did that today.

I received an exclusive invite to the private home of this area's most prominent "all natural-whole foods-single source-straight from the garden-meat from the local rancher-clean eating-gourmet" type person for a lunch very different from my usual fare. Her name is Katherine, but everyone calls her Kat for short. I first met Kat and her husband Steve through my connections in our exceptionally strong local community theater scene. Kat is also a regular guest on my radio show as a representative of this area's economic development authority. Kat is passionate about food and nutrition in ways I wouldn't even begin to realize I could or should care about. Her commitment is on the highest level. She knows her stuff. I don't know my stuff too well in this department and honestly, I kind of like it that way. We'll nicely call this an ignorant bliss. But at the same time, I refuse to close my mind to learning new things or trying something different.

I almost declined the invitation, for just a second, simply because I love what I eat and I wasn't sure if I was honestly willing to try anything "too new" or "out there" at this time. Of course, what if I did try something different and ended up discovering another asparagus? There was a time when I wouldn't touch asparagus, not even on a dare. I remember writing about my aversion years ago and drawing encouragement from several, namely fellow weight loss blogger Divad in Canada. She wrote how grilled asparagus was like candy. I like candy. So I tried asparagus--and WOW.  It quickly became my favorite vegetable in the entire world. Could there be other foods I haven't given the time of day that could possibly be as wonderful as asparagus? I'll never know unless I take a bite. Or a few bites. Or an entire lunch.

I arrived at noon and made my way through the gardens surrounding their home. Kat was outside, hidden among the rows of edible foliage as she cut fresh herbs to garnish the expertly prepared dishes. And I thought I took extra time, care and attention in preparing my meals! Kat has me beat.

The table was set upon my arrival and when she pulled back the coverings, I was slightly relieved it wasn't a giant salad. I couldn't have done it--and I think Kat knows me well enough to know this, thank goodness. Still, the dishes were just outside of my comfort zone, challenging me to have an open mind and at least attempt to find something to my liking from the spread of new things.

Kat doesn't necessarily concern herself with calorie counts but for me, she did. Each dish was weighed, measured and counted. It was a very nice, accommodating gesture. I dined on a zucchini noodle pesto and lentil beans with sprouted wild rice topped with sauteed onions, mushrooms and garlic. What does sprouted mean? It isn't cooked--it's soaked until it sprouts to life. Seriously--this food is alive. In the name of trying everything, I also put some of the sweet potato/beet salad with balsamic on my plate--but after one bite my finicky kid-like taste buds deemed it unacceptable and I tossed it in the floor. I'm kidding. I "accidentally" knocked it off the table. Still kidding. Seriously now, I politely informed her "I can't do that." Kat was cool, a cool Kat, if you will. She understood.

We also had a spot of zero calorie herbal hot tea, which made me feel slightly British. I almost insisted we speak with British accents as we dined. It was an elegant touch. Kat finished off this generous offering with a half serving banana shake made with 1/2 a banana, coconut oil, raw-local honey, cinnamon, walnuts and water. It was really good, not too sweet, sugar free--and, yeah--nice. I will definitely be trying the zucchini noodles again, perhaps hot with a fresh tomato and herb sauce. The lentils with sprouted rice was different but not bad at all. Overall, it was a very good experience. Just getting out of my comfort zone was good. A little anxious, but in the end a good experience. Thank you Kat!

I was given VIP tickets for the big Michael McDonald/Toto concert tonight. They were playing 25 minutes away, but the concert had a start time of 8pm--and on a work night, especially with everything else I do--it just didn't seem reasonable for me. But then I started humming their songs throughout the day and by 4pm I decided to get what I needed to get done, then allow myself to enjoy the VIP section at what was sure to be an exceptional concert filled with hit after hit song.

I made my way to the YMCA for a solid elliptical workout on level 8, then I headed down the street from the Y to my favorite little Mexican restaurant. This little place is the home of the Hawaiian Fajitas I'm crazy about. I figured I could get my workout finished and dinner complete before the show--then all I would have left to do later was write and drop in bed.

I tightened my calorie budget for this restaurant trip, opting to skip the chips and salsa. I also turned away the cheese, beans, rice and guacamole--instead focusing my attention on assembling my "special order" entree, with crispy corn shells instead of the typical flour tortillas.

As I enjoyed my dinner, I thought about my desire to get more sleep. The more I thought about it, I realized my best move would be to skip the concert and head home--write the blog and go to bed early for a change. It was a tough decision. I was getting really excited about seeing the concert. I even performed vocal impressions of both McDonald and Toto for the tellers at the bank when they mentioned they hadn't ever heard of them. I assured them they would know the music and after my impressions, they agreed they did. Of course they might have agreed simply to shut me up. By the way, I was the only customer in the bank at the time.

Skipping the concert was a tough call to make, but an important one. Unfortunately, upon my return to my apartment, I found my internet service not working. I waited and waited. I did the trouble shooting. Then I called the customer service line for my provider. I learned they had a fiber line cut and their entire system was 100% out of service. This wasn't what I wanted to hear. It meant I would need to either wait until first thing in the morning to write this blog--assuming it would be fixed by then, or make my way to the studio across town to get this edition on the record. I opted to make the trip to the studio and get it done. I arrived and immediately remembered a work project I forgot to finish earlier today--so the first little while here was spent doing studio duties. My point is, my intentions to get to bed early didn't work out like I planned. Perhaps I should have joined Michael and Toto after all.

My food Tweets (and a few others) from today:

   












I haven't had my bedtime snack #lastfoodofday yet or I would have included it here. Might have a small pear or something else light when I get home.

Thank you for reading and as always, the blog post discussion "after party" is in the comments section of each post. Do you relate to some of the dynamics explored? Have a comment? Have a suggestion? Do you have your own weight loss blog you would like to share with me and everyone else? I'll be sure to reply to your comment. Looking forward to our virtual visit!

Strength,
Sean

33 comments:

  1. That's so nice that your friend went all out with the healthy food preparation. I can relate to your preference for more basic simple food, though. : )

    I've started making a banana shake with almond/coconut milk, protein powder, frozen banana and sometimes the cinnamon. Just like an ice cream shake but much healthier! I think you do kind of the same thing, don't you? It makes a good breakfast-on-the-go as well as a snack.

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    1. I do have some Shakeology I'll occasionally enjoy. I haven't tried it as a meal replacement yet--just a nutrition and calorie dense snack for me-- a good one!
      The lunch was a wonderful invitation and she was a gracious host. I was honored to be selected! She only invites two people a month, so it's kind of a big deal. :)
      I'm a simple kind of guy in a lot of ways. And Kat knows this--she's always ready with very simple preparation instructions. Many of the things she prepares looks complicated, but to hear her tell it, not so much! Of course, she's incredibly talented in culinary skills.

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  2. Sean, you crack me up! And thank you for sharing your 'distrust' of what my husband would call 'earthy crunchy' foods which I happen to like very much but hubby not so much. I often struggle making meals on my plan that he will also like (he is also obese and wants to lose weight). I have found a new appreciation for his tastes through this post, thank you! And like you he will actually try new things now which is a new development and the other day I served quinoa and he liked it a lot! Success :)

    I admire your mental resolve through this journey. I have lost my mojo after almost four months on my weigh loss journey, things going on that make me feel very unsettled and I have been eating my emotions big time. Which really upsets me because I had made some good progress, not just losing weight but mentally and emotionally. But right now numbing and soothing feel more important to me than losing weight. Do you have any good tips on how to get out of such a bad funk? I really don't want to undo all the good of the last few months and it's almost like this (familiar) alien has invaded my body and is making me do this and I feel helpless. And a little pathetic, too, truth be told.

    Your journey continues to be such an inspiration, thank you so much!

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    1. "Earthy-Crunchy"-, yes--that's the perfect term! Glad you found some perspective on your husband's finickiness. Quinoa-Very good! Interesting story--the first time I tried Quinoa was on stage in front of a packed theatre during a cooking show with a professional chef. I was so worried I would hate it--and I was pretty sure if I did hate it I wouldn't be able to pretend otherwise... hundreds of people were watching as Chef Jeff offered up the first bite--and thankfully I didn't react in a grimacing fashion. It was actually good. I haven't had it since--but I could, I just haven't.

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    2. You're very important question:
      Reply part 1--
      Two things first: You're not helpless and you're not in any way, shape or form pathetic. You are HUMAN, that's a certainty. Helpless and pathetic? No.
      It was some very trying emotional times for me when I started retreating and regaining after having maintained for 1.5 years...and I kept eating those feelings--and it compounded the negative emotions into one giant ball of negative momentum that took another 1.5 years of slowly spiraling. lingering on and off in a most frustrating way.
      I can only speak from my experience--and I'm certainly in no way a therapist of any kind--nor do I pretend to be. But--I can tell you what I found for me:
      The first thing I had to do was acknowledge how horribly I was treating myself with a constant barrage of negative self-talk--My brain held thoughts, brutal things I wouldn't say to my worst enemy, yet I was directing this energy inward. Why? Because I lost my hold?? Because I did what 90% of everyone else does? Because I'm a human who has little compassion for himself?
      Recognizing the brutal negativity I was intentionally marinating in each day was a critical awakening. It had to stop.

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    3. Reply part 2:
      One of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves is pure compassion. It's the act of being less than perfect--less than the preconceived expectation level WE set--and being perfectly understanding and compassionate in its regard. There's a line too, the one that separates self-compassion with enabling continued negative behaviors, and sometimes that's an easy line to cross--How you recognize this line more easily is with an extreme level of self-honesty.
      Once we establish that we're not as bad as our abusive thoughts tried to make us believe--and we replace those negatives with positive reinforcements--that's when we can approach the emotional and mental challenges along this road unencumbered by the mental weight of our previous perspective.
      With this new "clearing," so to speak, we can think on a more reasonable level--more solid ground.
      The realization I had for me was: The issues and circumstances I was experiencing were not actually being treated with the excess food and the super secretive binge eating. The food was an escape--a reactive response ingrained in the same survival instincts that keep me alive in so many other fascinating ways. This response is hard to shake. I really had to get outside of my own head--and try my best to look at the circumstances from a more level perspective. My personal therapist made a monumental difference in me being able to do this, as did people like Life Coach Gerri.
      Food isn't a therapist. It can't fix anything except my meal. Food's job is to nourish me, not fix my emotions. It would love to help me, but it can't--and when I allow food to try to fix me, a horribly negative-compounding effect happens---suddenly I'm feeling worse than I did to begin with, because now I have all of the negative consequences of the "emotion stuffing" to contend with...and that's when I would deal with these self-imposed added consequences by eating even more...until I felt possessed--the alien you speak of has lived in me too, Kerstin. It's terrifying to feel possessed and driven toward behaviors we know are not helping, only hurting us.
      Once we make our "clearing" and we reach an accord of compassion with our inner voice--followed by our realizations about where we truly are and the role food plays--and doesn't play in our life--then, hopefully we're in a position to get back to the fundamentals that brought us success initially...but this time perhaps, we incorporate elements we didn't use or rarely used before--maybe additional accountability measures, additional support--a higher importance level in honor of who we are. Because Kerstin, we are important. We deserve to be treated with love, understanding and compassion. We are not perfect and we do not need to be perfect. We just need to be consistent, and it starts with being consistently compassionate toward ourselves.
      I kind of went off on a long ramble there-- sorry! But it's my experience--and it flows rather easily some days.
      I hope something in all that helps.
      Please remember--if nothing else helped--You are NOT helpless or pathetic.
      You're very capable, smart and talented.
      I wish you the best, Kerstin, always.

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    4. WOW-- that was SO well expressed, Sean.

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    5. Important to note concerning above: In my experience, depression can negate all of it. I have my doctor and therapist to thank for helping me in that regard.

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    6. GREAT response, Sean! Can and should be a post (or three) all by itself! In maintenance, my only 'failings' have been during times of stress; it's something I'm still working on, learning how NOT to eat to self-medicate or self-soothe. Learning to try and catch myself in those knee-jerk reactions, and trying to re-train my brain to NEW knee-jerk reactions that are healthy and health affirming instead. :)

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    7. It's certainly not easy, Gwen! It is doable. But not easy.

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    8. Yep. Work in progress, I am. Even at my old age. :)

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    9. Thank you so much, Sean, AMAZING response. You totally got it and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate that you took the time to write this reply. I will need a bit of time to digest it all but I am already feeling a little lighter for being understood and for the guidance provided. Self-compassion has never been high on my radar and you have given me a new way of looking at this. I am also in session with a great coach and you know what? Reaching out, like I do with her or like I did with you on here, is something that I wouldn't have done in the past. I normally just retreat and don't communicate, let alone ask for help. Which is another reason why your response means so much. Thank you, Sean!

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  3. Isn't is amazing the fabulous food that's out there? I love zoodles, so much more than spaghetti squash. Do you know one of the first things our wellness workshop facilitator told us was "Stop eating foods you think you should that you don't like in the name of dieting." Fantastic advice and when you do that you open yourself up to have calories for some of the wonderful food we are so lucky to have access to in this country!

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    1. I will be having Zoodles again very soon! Your wellness workshop facilitator is spot on!!! We are VERY blessed people. #thankful #grateful

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  4. Ha ha - thanks for the "asparagus" credit. Just to clarify, it only takes like candy when grilled! ;) WOW - I want to be asked to Kat's place - she can cook! It looks like beautiful food with good variety. Way to be brave!

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    1. Absolutely--thank you for jogging my memory about the "candy" reference--brought it all back! Kat's is a pretty cool place. She needs her own cooking show--where each episode she invites someone new in her kitchen. ;)

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  5. Do you know what part of the sweet potato/beet/balsamic vinegar salad that you didn't like? Beets, Blue Cheese and Horseradish are on my never-willingly-eat-again list. I liked that you were willing to try new foods. My husband has a hard time doing that. Have a great weekend Sean!

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    1. The sweet potato was raw as far as I could tell-- I like mine cooked--so it was hard to accept a different texture and flavor--My brain was thinking soft-warm-- but it was hard and cool...The beets and balsamic are both on my list as things I avoid--so that salad had a hard time with me from the word go. You to LTR!!

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  6. I was laughing at your "accidentally knocked it off the table"!

    My husband got me a frightening vegetable shaver thing (just, like a peeler, but for julienne-ing, sort of) and I make zucchini/yellow squash noodles with it. They do get watery, so you have to drain them well, but I just heat them in the microwave and put a tomato sauce on them, or just garlic and olive oil. yum!

    I have to ask! Do you not like "salads" because you don't like lettuce, or because you don't like any green leaves, or ...? There are so many kinds of leaves, I'm surprised there isn't ONE you've found to love! Spinach? Arugula? A mix? Nothing? :-)

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    1. I must get me one of those gadgets!!!
      I'm strange when it comes to lettuce--I love it shredded but not leafy. If it's finely shredded I'll eat it in a taco salad--but not a regular salad with dressing--cold... Any semblance of a salad I've ever eaten usually contains meat or other protein-- or guac on top of lettuce--But notice, when I eat lettuce it's usually finely shredded. I don't like fresh spinach or mix--and I've never heard of Arugula! :) I'm not sure if it's the lettuce or the dressings--I remember having a very strong dislike of dressings from a very young age. Glad you laughed!

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    2. Here's an idea....but that Italian tomato sauce (spaghetti sauce) on top of a bed of greens. Especially romaine, which is SO good for us! It's a great, low-cal, low-carb way to eat spaghetti sauce! I bet you hardly notice the salad that way. :)

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    3. Interesting idea, Gwen! Not sure I could do it-- but I agree, probably wouldn't notice the salad!

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    4. It's funny how many foods can be okay one way but not another! I have a love-hate relationship with tomatoes, except super fresh local ones this time of year. Pasta sauce ok - chunks bad! Salsa okay - slices on sandwiches bad! I confuse myself.

      Arugula has kind of a peppery-bitter taste - I don't much care for it by itself, but in a mix it's ok. It looks kind of like ... dandelion leaves, I guess?

      Thanks for the chat!

      - oh, some friends just made grilled romaine for us for the first time, and I was amazed at how good it was. It reminded me of my mom's "wilted lettuce" when I was a kid!

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  7. Sean, I hate to tell you, but you made a wise decision to not go to the Michael McDonald concert. I saw him a couple of months ago, and he was SO AWFUL. I was heartbroken. He couldn't hit hardly any of his well known notes, he looked like a heart attack seriously waiting to happen, but he BUTCHERED his own songs. So sooooo sad.

    Re food choices....I've stopped eating chicken except at work. (shhh, I work for a chicken restaurant chain. LOL) I just don't like the flavor (or lack thereof, actually) of chicken. So I'm almost exclusively beef now for my meat. (well, since I'm 'primal', the occasional bacon too. LOL) I figure at almost 63, life is decidedly too short to eat food I don't enjoy. :)

    Have a great weekend!

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    1. Yeah, I've heard. He's gained a significant amount of weight and it's seriously hampering his abilities to move and sing. I did see him on PBS's showing of the 4th of July from Washington--he was one of the performers. I hope he can find a way to take care of himself soon--he's an amazing vocalist.
      I love your meat choices--and your attitude and philosophy. Enjoy, Gwen!! Your success is incredibly inspiring!!

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    2. No, YOU are! :P (thanks.)

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  8. Beets, if they are in a soup or cooked, I adore them! Espcially boiled and cubed then marinated with olive oil, a smidge of salt and garlic = delicious. Hope you expand your horizons every so often and give other veggies (raw and cooked) a try.

    You made the right choice putting a priority on sleep. Lack of sleep impairs judgement and metabolism. I struggled last year with that issue. And it took a while and help to figure things out and then get into a routine that works for me. Didn't happen overnight :)

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    1. I will expand every now and then! I'm still trying to figure it out.

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  9. I would have loved the organic lunch. Nonetheless, thought of you today in fact I texted you. Mexican taco salad, measured out 12 chips and had a nice 350 cal lunch. Had to cut back some of my dinner plan but it was so worth it. I was so PROUD of myself!

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    1. Gerri-- I didn't get your text until just now! It was there-- I was short napping when it arrived got up and rushed to a meeting, so I didn't notice it. My goodness-- sounds wonderful!! Proud of you too!!

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  10. Wow!! She had calorie counts for the food she was offering you? That is SO SO nice of her.
    I'm good with vegetables, I like most of them. But the couple of times I've had sweet potato- did not like it at all. It also actually has more calories than real potato... I guess it's an american thing :)

    Have a nice week-end!

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    1. It was very nice of her to include calorie counts! I'm a little strange with sweet potatoes. I will not eat a baked whole sweet potato--but I like it cut up into fries. It is calorie dense--but so good! Have a great weekend too! Thank you!

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