Tag Archives: Sugar

Food, Glorious Food…Really!

My babies and I waiting to explore the city.  Walking helps to work off the fantastic cuisine of New Orleans!

My babies and I waiting to explore the city. Walking helps to work off the fantastic cuisine of New Orléans!

Welcome back to Down the Scale! I neglected my blogging duties for the past month, but my weight loss journey still continues! I must say this has been one of my favorite summers. My family and I enjoyed fun activities around town and across the country. Swimming, sight-seeing, relaxing and eating were some of the great activities we indulged in this summer. Yes, I did say eating! I didn’t think enjoying food would be part of my life when I had gastric sleeve surgery over a year ago. I was wrong and a trip to New Orléans showed me how eating out can be a positive part of my life.

After San Francisco, New Orléans is my favorite city. It is full of history, architecture, charm and amazing cuisine. Even though I don’t like shellfish, I love the other types of food New Orléans is known for like beignets, gumbo, jambalaya, pralines and of course a variety of alcoholic beverages. In my past visits, I never worried about what or how much food I consumed. This trip, I knew I couldn’t eat with wild abandon. First, my small stomach prohibits me from eating too much. Second, I didn’t want to gain too much weight. I say “too much” because I knew I would gain weight as I would be eating food higher in fat and sugar than I normally do now. And yes, I’m up a pound and a half since vacation, but I anticipated that and I’m back to eating normally.

So I was excited to visit New Orléans, but I wondered if I would enjoy the food like I did in the past. My first test was breakfast. Cafe Beignet was close to our hotel and I went by myself to pick those hot, fluffy, doughy, sugary pillows of goodness called beignets. I stood in line behind other tourists (do locals eat them, I wonder?), anticipating the first bite, but also wondering would I still enjoy them. With my small stomach, would I even be able to eat much of it? Would the sugar and fat make me feel sick?

Simply put, the answer was no. I took my first bite of beignet and smiled. It tasted just as I remembered. No, it tasted better. Now that I eat healthier, which not only means better food, but eating slower, I truly enjoyed that beignet. I didn’t rush to eat it so I could get to the next one. I savored each bite of the beignet I ate. And yes, I only ate one of these delightful treats. I was full after eating one physically, but also mentally. I finally feel like I’ve learned that eating smaller amounts of food is just as satisfying as stuffing myself. My new body shape and the feeling of health I now have confirm that.

Yes, my guilty pleasure!  Cafe au lait and beignets!  I am so happy I was able to enjoy a bit of these New Orleans treats!

Yes, my guilty pleasure! Cafe au lait and beignets! I am so happy I was able to enjoy a bit of these New Orléans treats!

The rest of our vacation in New Orléans went this way. I enjoyed all my favorites, just in small amounts. Rice fills me up quickly, so I could only eat a bit of jambalaya, but it was worth it. I will admit to missing Muffulettas.   The bread is just too much for me, so a bite of my husband’s sandwich was all I could enjoy. He was kind enough to share it with me and I was kind enough to share my food with him and the rest of my family. I generally share all my dishes when we go out to eat, and even at home. I just can’t eat all the food restaurants serve.

Besides food, New Orléans is known for alcohol. I still drink since my surgery, but I am now a lightweight. One drink, maybe two is my limit. Yes, I’m a cheap date. I can’t eat and drink at the same time (liquids can push the food down too fast and it really doesn’t feel good either), so the New Orléans tradition of “to go cups.” was wonderful. I could order a drink and take it with me as we walked off our fantastic meals.

Our vacation to New Orléans will go down as my favorite. I really love the city and this time we also enjoyed the company of some of our East Coast family. We enjoyed all the typical vacation activities and it definitely included food. I am thrilled that I can still enjoy food, but with a more positive attitude. Eating is definitely different for me now and I am proud of how I handle eating out now. I look forward to more vacations and now I know they can still include eating out and I can still go Down the Scale…

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The “S” Words

Week 40!  While the scale has gone up and down these past few weeks, I am putting on a smile and working it out!

Week 40! While the scale has gone up and down these past few weeks, I am putting on a smile and working it out!

Forgive me, blogging world, for it has been two weeks since I last blogged here at Down the Scale. The last two weeks have been “the ugly” part of “the good, the bad and the ugly” of my weight loss journey so I resisted writing. Time to get back on the saddle and share my story here at Week 40…

Well, you’ve probably guessed that I’ve gained weight so that’s why I haven’t blogged. Week 39 I was up a half a pound and yesterday I was up a half a pound for a total of one pound gain. This morning I am actually back down to a half a pound under my lowest weight, making my loss 90.5 pounds. But I’m a stickler for rules and since Tuesday is my official weigh in day, I’m going with yesterday’s number and making it officially 89 pounds down since I started this journey last June.

Yes, I have tons of reasons and excuses for this weight gain. I think there are two main reasons for this jump: sugar and stress. They’re the “S” words in my life.

Sugar is an obvious reason. The past two weeks have been a good reminder that my new stomach, my sleeve, is just a tool. No, I can’t eat the quantities of food I could before, but I still need to watch my caloric intake. Sugar sneaks in so easily and since I celebrated my birthday last week it was easy to see how it snuck in my diet. That is easily fixed; the birthday celebration is over!

I also realized I was going back to some old habits like drinking sugar coffee drinks like my old favorite, the non-fat white mocha. I love it, but it is definitely not worth the weight gain. Back to my skinny vanilla lattes!

Instead of going to get those sugary or even the sugar-free drinks, I got back into my walking and running schedule. It was my ever supportive husband, who while I was having a breakdown, gently asked when I ran last. I’ve been back to running and adding in more walks with friends. It has made a world of difference this week and again, it was a good reminder to go back to the basics of weight loss: exercising and eating right.

The other “S” word in my life is stress. And I really should be honest and say my stresses are truly “first world problems.” I am extremely fortunate to have an amazing life! My husband and children are my world and I have great friends and family. We live in a beautiful state, we have a roof over our head and we’re healthy and happy. So why the stress?

I think I feel this stress and anxiety so deeply because I care so deeply. Now, that’s not really a bad thing, but I haven’t really learned to temper the stress to realistic levels. The issues I deal with wouldn’t seem so bad to other people and I’m sure some of my friends think I’m crazy about the things I worry about. I just am always thinking that I’m going to disappoint my family or the people around me. It’s usually about something that I can’t completely control such as dealing with a group or person. While I have tried and occasionally succeed in extracting myself from an unhealthy situation (for me), I can’t always do that. I end up feeling out of control and guess what I can control…my eating habits.

So in theory, I should control my eating habits by eating healthy, right? Instead I try to comfort myself and numb myself with unhealthy food. I realized what I was doing the past two weeks when I finally admitted that I was eating more than usual, especially sugar. I let anxiety, stress and depression control me. Obviously that’s one of the main reasons I became 100+ pounds overweight.

They say talking about your problems is the first step to solving them, so I hope that putting this out there is my first step. I am very proud of the progress I have made so far in my journey and I need to remind myself of all the positive changes and progress I have made this year. I hope, no, I WILL tackle my stress issues so that I will be healthy both physically and mentally. Time to kick the “S” words to street and keep running Down the Scale…

Back in the Food World

Getting ready to go out for my first party, post-sleeve!

Getting ready to go out for my first party, post-sleeve!

Week 7 is here and I feel pretty good! Another three and a half pounds down this week for a total of 32.5 pounds. While I’m proud of my weight loss, I am even more proud of my entry back into the “food world.”

Food has always been an important part of my life, but moving back to California made food even more important. San Francisco is a “foodie” town and we have tons of great and interesting restaurants. I think our grocery stores here have a better variety of food. And of course, there are the farmers markets which are the best I’ve seen.

Having these resources wasn’t particular good for my health when we first moved. For the first year and a half, we ate out and picked up take out food more than we should have. Having a cheap and tasty take out dim sum restaurant close to the house made weekend lunches very easy. Coffee shops are on almost every corner so it’s easy to pick up a sugary espresso drink at any time. Way too many options!

Since I can’t make these places go away, I am learning to live with them and still have them as part of my life. I don’t foresee the dim sum restaurant in my near future and perhaps not at all. I haven’t had any fried foods since my gastric sleeve surgery and I’m not sure when or even if I will have it. I am trying to be very careful with my new stomach. And my fear of vomiting keeps me in line, too.

I did venture back to the farmers’ market this past weekend for the first time. It was great! Surrounded by beautiful, healthy fruits and vegetables was inspiring. My focus is on eating enough protein, but I am adding in more vegetables now. My big treat of the day was picking up my favorite Serrano chile goat cheese. Instead of eating it with wild abandonment, I measured out a teaspoon to spread on my half a turkey burger the other night. Suddenly, a teaspoon is enough to get the flavor I enjoy. This weekend, I finally realized that smaller amounts of food are just as satisfying and enjoyable as the large amounts I ate before. For this overeater, this revelation is a bit overwhelming.

My biggest food test was at a party this week. Let me just say this right off the bat, I love wine. I love parties so that I can try new wines and relax and be an adult and not the mommy. Yes, I can drink wine with my new stomach, but I must admit I’m nervous to try. My overprotective nature with my stomach is one reason, but also I have a feeling I’m going to be a really cheap date. Meaning, the two to three glasses I could drink before, I assume will put me in a coma. So, the first time I drink I plan to do it at home. If I don’t feel good, I’d rather be in my home and if a half a glass makes me silly, again, I’d rather be home.

So, no wine at my first party post-sleeve and I was fine. I drank water all night and while it isn’t as yummy as a crisp class of chardonnay, I survived. I was too busy chatting to really care! I also didn’t eat. I made sure to have a protein filled dinner before we came to the party. I did bring vegetables and humus to the party, but I didn’t eat anything. I could have if I wanted to and I think that made all the difference. Knowing I can eat if I want is empowering and I realize I am in charge of my actions in regards to food.

We did leave before they served the birthday cake, so I did get off a little easy. Again, this is something I can eat, but I haven’t had sugar for 7 weeks, so again, this is something I want to try at home. The thought of me bouncing around like a child eating sugar for the first time is mortifying and not something that I need to do in front of family and friends. And I must admit, the sugar-free items I’m eating now (syrups in my lattes and hot chocolate) satisfy my sweet tooth and I would prefer to keep it that way. Eventually I would like to drop them and use natural sweeteners, but I’m happy where I am for now.

Other food challenges await, such as barbeques, eating out with friends, and the holidays, but I am learning to take each challenge one at a time. Food is not the enemy; my eating habits were the enemy. I finally feel like I am taking charge of my eating habits and this tastes better than anything in the world…