Random Thoughts – July 2021

Monday 7/5

“We can’t escape from the fact of our eating; no matter what, we are killing living things so that we can live ourselves. If it’s not an animal, it’s a plant or something else.”

Deborah Madison is a chef, writer, and author of 13 celebrated vegetarian cookbooks, including the modern classic Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.

Today is the 5th of July and I have the day off from work. Yesterday was the real 4th of July holiday which was celebrated in a typical American fashion, a cook out by the pool. I didn’t have to cook which made the fourth a special fourth for me. I know how much work and preparation goes into hosting a large gathering and my heartfelt thanks go out to our relatives in Claremore, OK.

The morning started with a little tree trimming in the yard followed by some deep thoughts no one should have on the Fourth of July. Reminder to all who read this: these are random thoughts. If I lose you, just stop reading.

The level of personal indiscipline since leaving Colorado has been astoundingly high. In plain English my diet has regressed. The rules and lists I’ve crafted over the years were not adhered to since coming back from the Rockies. I blame Colorado. The State of Craft Beer https://www.coloradocraftbrews.com/colorado-breweries/ overwhelmingly managed to delete the #1 item on my Do Not Have It in the House list. Beer is back in the house.

The folks in Colorado make real good beer. The Mountain Man and his Colorado Girl keep plenty of the good stuff in their fridge. Pizza out twice during the trip meant more good craft beers. We also stopped at Casey Brewing in Glenwood Springs, which is the only brand name I remember. Back home I continued the Colorado theme with some Odell and Blue Moon. As I’ve done for years I am monitoring my weight daily. I need to. See my previous post Consistent self-monitoring of weight: a key component of successful weight loss maintenance — Random Thoughts 01.02.21. To repeat myself – There’s beer in the house.

Abandoning old habits is hard especially when the old habit is just so damn satisfying. But if you want (or need) to lose weight you must change your habits. Colorado was fun and a lot of old habits crept back into my routine. I shouldn’t be surprised that some of those habits are still sticking around. The weather got hot back home in Oklahoma and there’s nothing like a really cold beer on a hot day…

One of the books I’ve been reading is Aging as a Spiritual Practice by Lewis Richmond, a Buddhist priest and meditation teacher. I’m nearly halfway through the book and it’s exactly what you’d expect from a Buddhist priest and meditation teacher. But every now and then we all need stark reminders of the obvious which we tend to forget about. Richmond reminded me of the value of being flexible.

“I hate when people say they want to go plant based or give up meat. But won’t mind eating chicken, eggs and bacon. I need to find vegan friends.”

Anonymous Twitter user

Flexibility, honest respect for differences in opinion, and critical thinking skills all seem to be in short supply, especially in younger generations who have become willing victims of confirmation bias on social media platforms. Maybe if they spent more time reading books…

So before you label me a hypocrite I have created a new list called Things That Are OK to Have in the House and BEER IS BACK. Food and drink that get put on this list are subject to swift removal if the trend-line on the Truth Machine takes a sharp turn to the north. Yet even after a month of indiscipline the number stands at 170. Check back next month for the next exciting installment of my lifelong struggle.

Postscript

Deborah Madison is not and never was a vegetarian. She wrote vegetarian cookbooks. Flexibility!

Random Thoughts – June 2021

Obesity is a Chronic Condition: Obesity is a chronic and often progressive condition not unlike diabetes or hypertension. Successful obesity management requires realistic and sustainable treatment strategies. Short-term “quick-fix” solutions focusing on maximizing weight loss are generally unsustainable and therefore associated with high rates of weight regain.

Core Principles of Obesity Management — https://www.drsharma.ca/core-principles-of-obesity-management

Tues 6/8

Random Thoughts

The Boss and I just returned from visiting the Mountain Man and his Colorado Girl. Great trip. I gained only three pounds. Of course there were many other reasons why this was a great trip. But when I stepped on the scale this morning for the first time in nearly a week I had gained just three pounds. I’ll take plus three anytime when I allow myself to cut loose, eat and drink whatever I want and not obsess about my weight.

The round trip between Edmond Oklahoma and Carbondale Colorado is rough 1650 miles. Heading west we stopped in Hays Kansas and driving back east we spent a night in Colby Kansas. In Hays there are many more choices for lodging and food. In Colby you are literally spending the night in a truck stop. Food off the Interstate would hardly be considered healthy fare. But knowing that was the situation I made sure I had some Clif bars in the car. Have I mentioned I only gained three pounds?

If you’ve been to this blog you know I like to keep lists. Here’s my list of what I ate on my vacation. Subway sandwiches (twice), homemade biscuits with sausage gravy topped with an egg, pizza (twice in restaurants, once leftovers for breakfast), local Colorado beer, wine, scotch (not for breakfast), home cooked Pad Thai, lettuce wraps, grilled steak/potatoes/broccoli, a freshly baked bagel with hummus and vegetables, fast food burgers/fries (twice), Chick-fil-A sandwich and waffle fries, flourless chocolate cake with fresh whipped cream. All of the above (aside from the scotch, Chick-fil-A and chocolate cake) are not normally part of my diet. I am surprised I didn’t gain more than I did.

There are Hampton Inns in Colby and Hays. We stayed at both. The “free” breakfast in Colby was better than the “free” breakfast in Hays. Headed home I ate a small cheese omelette and a couple of turkey sausage links. The eggs were fresh eggs. On the way west my breakfast consisted of a cup of powdered eggs and a couple of french toast sticks. The coffee in both locations was decent. On our next driving trip to Colorado it will be a tough choice of where to spend the night when splitting up the drive. Truck stop or powered eggs for breakfast? If you’ve never had powdered eggs I won’t spoil your first experience when you get an opportunity to try some. Besides, reconstituted scrambled powdered eggs are difficult to describe. Trust me on this.

We’re back home and it’s time to gradually slip back into our usual routines. Last night I ate yogurt with some sketchy strawberries that might have been a few days past perfect for the compost heap. Restoring my good gut bug population is a priority for the upcoming week. Egg salad (fresh eggs) and fruit for lunch today. Dinner will be pasta with veggies, olive oil and lots of garlic. It was a great trip and I’m tired so I’m glad I took today off before returning to work. I’ve already been to two grocery stores, purposely walked down the beer aisles and did not buy any on either trip. Today’s free time was spent taking care of errands, listening to music and writing but no work on my future best seller. If I don’t lose the three pounds I gained none of this will be in the book. That’s a promise.

Random Thoughts – May 2021

Sat 5/8

Writing has been difficult the past several weeks. Got no Mojo. Sometimes you just have to put your butt in the chair and start. And this morning I’m putting my butt in my chair and writing. My future best seller though is on the shelf for now. I’m writing but the book is just too much effort for what I hope will be a relaxing Saturday. So to write while keeping it light this month’s random thoughts are about my pantry.

Entering year two of the pandemic the pantry is pretty well stocked. A prepper wouldn’t agree with this statement but I’m not preparing for the end of the world. I just want to be prepared for the coming supply chain shortages. Remember last year when no one knew what the hell was happening and panic drove some to buy rooms full of toilet paper? Well the year ahead will be interesting and different from the beginning stages and perhaps more challenging.

I was at the grocery store and ground turkey is always on my list. A couple of trips ago the store had no ground turkey. Nada. Nothing. Zero. So I was quite pleased to see the store restocked with plenty of ground turkey. I was not pleased to discover a nearly 50% increase in the price. Your frugal writer didn’t buy any. Ground turkey is merely an example. Who knows what will or won’t be available? The reality is whatever you want to buy will cost you more. Hello inflation.

Labor shortages, supply constraints, high freight costs and increasing commodity prices all combine to create higher prices for you and me. I read somewhere that some of the biggest retailers and distributors are fining their suppliers for late or incomplete orders which will add more to the cost for us. Bizarre business strategy if you ask me but it’s happening. Prices inevitably will go up.

So under the assumption your pantry is decently stocked here’s what I would do moving forward.

Buy more of what you need when it’s on sale. Memorial Day is coming up which means a lot of picnic and cookout items will be on sale. Stock up.

Use food storage containers. We bought more yesterday. Keep any tiny creepy crawlers out of your stash.

Be willing to substitute when prices demand substitution. No ground turkey for me at $6.29 a pound. Instead I bought boneless chicken breast for $6.49 a pound on sale, regularly $8.49 a pound (yes it was a higher quality chicken and I wasn’t at Whole Paycheck Food Market).

Drink good Scotch.

Hope you like my list.

Random Thoughts – April 2021

Sunday 04.04.21

My self imposed beer ban has ended. And to avoid any feelings of guilt and shame I created a new list. My new list is Things You Can Have in the House but Only on Occasion. Last week the trip to the store started as any other trip to the store. I had a short list and planned to stick to the list. But when I was in the store I found myself mesmerized by the beer choices while standing in front of the colorful cans all calling out to me. I broke down and bought a six pack. My three month self imposed beer ban ended and immediately on the way home the rationalization began.

I promised myself I would closely monitor my weight (an empty promise since I weigh myself daily). I probably lost my taste for beer and I won’t drink any (nope). I committed to drinking just one can a day (that lasted just one day). In the end I could only justify my purchase by making up a new house rule so I could drink the one beverage that caused me to create house rules to begin with. I know I’m being too hard on myself. But that’s what people do when they know they can eat and drink themselves back up to 370 pounds. I never want to weigh that much again so I am always pretty hard on myself.

When I tell people I used to weigh 370 pounds they don’t believe me. With my sense of humor a lot of people really don’t know if I’m kidding. Well, I’m not joking. I used to weigh 370 and I never ever want to wear 44 inch waist jeans again. Beer was one of the culprits way back when and beer could easily become my Number One Nemesis again.

Then during the last week of March all hell broke loose. We left home and our normal routines for four days of bonding with Tiny Humans. That was the good part of the trip. As you may have already guessed the bad part was me being bad. I had three restaurant meals via delivery to the house.

Although some restaurants provide high-quality foods, the dietary quality for meals away from home, especially from fast-food chains, is usually lower compared with meals cooked at home. Evidence has shown that meals away from home tend to be higher in energy density, fat, and sodium, but lower in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protective nutrients such as dietary fiber and antioxidants.

Frequent consumption of meals prepared away from home linked to increased risk of early death — https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/03/210325084824.htm

A couple of beers I found in the fridge found their way into my belly. I did not weigh myself while I was gone. I ATE CHOCOLATE CAKE THREE NIGHTS IN A ROW. I might have eaten some chocolate chip cookies too. Maybe even a few pieces of chocolate here and there.

Too much sugar is unhealthy – that we know, but it’s not just down to the many calories. Even moderate amounts of added fructose and sucrose double the body’s own fat production in the liver, researchers have shown. In the long term, this contributes to the development of diabetes or a fatty liver.

Consumption of added sugar doubles fat production — https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/03/210316100709.htm

I was completely out of my normal routine and beginning to believe I had lost all control. I feared the worst.

We got back home on a Thursday evening. On Friday morning I approached the bathroom scale with immense trepidation. The Truth was about to unfold and when the number came into view I had actually lost a pound since the Sunday before. I was very bad and still lost some weight. Sigh. Of. Relief.

Yesterday morning I was at the grocery store with my short list of things to buy. When I got to the beer aisle I kept walking. I reminded myself of my new list and promised myself it was OK to put beer on the Things You Can Have in the House but Only on Occasion list. Then I went to the liquor store and bought myself a bottle of Monkey Shoulder blended single malt scotch. It was my reward for surviving a multi-day period of dietary indiscretions.

The 90+ Study finds link between moderate Alcohol Consumption and Longevity

https://www.mind.uci.edu/90-study-finds-link-moderate-alcohol-consumption-longevity/

Purely medicinal of course.

Consistent self-monitoring of weight: a key component of successful weight loss maintenance — Random Thoughts 01.02.21

Consistent self-weighing may help individuals maintain their successful weight loss by allowing them to catch weight gains before they escalate and make behavior changes to prevent additional weight gain. While change in self-weighing frequency is a marker for changes in other parameters of weight control, decreasing self-weighing frequency is also independently associated with greater weight gain.

Consistent self-monitoring of weight: a key component of successful weight loss maintenance — https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18198319/

And another year of the lifelong struggle begins. I’d be lying if I said all of this effort is easy. It would also be a lie if I said substantial weight loss is easy. The hard truth is everyone is different and what works for me won’t necessarily work for you. We are all somewhere along the continuum as we trudge ahead in year two of the Great Pandemic. In writing the memoir genre stands alone. The author picks and chooses what she wants to share. But memories dim with age and the memories themselves change over time. Many just disappear never to be brought to the surface again. Other memories get fleshed out by the memoirist and a really good piece of memoir writing is always part fiction. For the writer this technique is especially useful. We write with the intent to tell our stories even if some of the facts are muddled or made up.

I step onto The Digital Devil nearly every day. You might think I’m OCD (and in fact I’ve wondered that myself). But I’m not OCD because I know that 75% of people who have lost a lot of weight and kept it off weigh themselves at least once a week and 36% weigh themselves daily according to published research. This March marks 14 years of feeding information to The National Weight Control Registry http://www.nwcr.ws/. Here’s proof I didn’t make this up:

Yes Eagle Eyes, same institution where Dr. Lee did his residency.

2020 was the year I got serious again about my weight. I’m where I want to be so 2021 is maintenance mode. Some the behavioral changes I made last year were easy. Other changes came about from the virus and turned out to be positives from a weight loss perspective. This year has just started and I’m not confident how long beer will remain on the Don’t Have It In the House List. All I know is no beer makes it a hell of a lot easier to keep my weight where I want it to be. At the same time a good beer is pure heaven on earth.

Due to the holidays there are two packages of tiny chocolate peanut butter cups in the Pandemic Pantry. I over bought chocolate and The Boss didn’t bake as many cookies as she could have. These tasty nasties belong on the Don’t Have It In the House List. But so far both bags are unopened. I’m not confident about the shelf life of these things. Could be short. Time to stop thinking about chocolate and get back to writing my future best seller.

YIKES! How did these things get in the house?

Random Thoughts Xmas Eve Day 2020

Thurs 12/24

“Keep a diary or journal. Record your reflections on your life experience in a journal. You will find this simple practice to be invaluable in your quest for wisdom.”

Warren G. Bennis 1925-2014

Wednesday 26 January 2005

I downloaded this application last night from the Treepad website. Someone on the planet took the time to create a tiny word processor in the Treepad file format. S(he) uploaded it to the site and the app is free. It can be used to document just about anything you want to track by date.

I’m going to use this app for tracking food consumption, exercise, and any other random thoughts that enter my mind. I will also use this space to capture notes on my progress towards my goals.

It is also a good space to write. Just write.

I started keeping a journal 15 years ago. Bennis was brilliant and 100% correct in saying keeping a journal is invaluable in your quest for wisdom. I don’t feel I’m wise enough yet so I keep writing. Most of what I’ve written will never be read by anyone other than me. And for some strange reason that bothered me. When I started a blog I was troubled by sharing my most intimate thoughts online. As the years have passed I’ve begun sharing more online. I came to the realization that if I only help one person through sharing my life experiences it’s worth it. Even if that help is merely my One Rotisserie Chicken, 50 Meals – #3 Sour Cream Chicken Enchilada Casserole recipe.

This morning I did the Old Person Hour at the grocery store. Not exactly the best time to do your grocery shopping because there were a lot of empty spots on the shelves and restocking had just started. It was hard to tell which items were unavailable due to hoarding. Still managed to get everything I had on my list except fresh cilantro, a specific brand of tortilla chips and canned green chilies. The lack of chilies is a hoarding thing but no tortilla chips is a restocking issue. Trust me on this.

I must have stood in front of a neatly stacked tower of light beer for at least five minutes. Before me was a new offering from a major brewery, low carb, low calories (probably tasteless too). At this very moment I realized my fat jeans were feeling kind of loose and baggy. I didn’t buy any beer. The holidays are hard enough for those of us struggling with our weight. I ate three cookies yesterday! So for the rest of this holiday season beer stays on the Don’t Have It in the House List.

Losing weight is hard. Keeping the weight off is harder. Remember not to get too high nor too low. Make the The 90% Solution your strategy. I’m probably around 60/40 now but always strive to do better. Which reminds me, I should work on my book today.