Having a great time visiting my parents!!

by Christine on July 4th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates

I’m having a lovely time visiting my parents already!

I anticipated the drive to take 16 hours, but we actually made it in 13 hours. We drove the whole way….I did 11 hours of the driving, and felt great…I could have driven the whole thing. My hubby read a book or slept for most of the time. We stopped on the way for dinner, and I got a “chicken bacon wrap” at a healthy food store at the rest stop. The food was laughable! I only ate about 1/4 of the sandwich and a handful of grapes that I took with me.

Seeing my parents is great! They look the same, if not a wee bit older. After all, it’s been over a year since I’ve seen them. We arrived at a breathtakingly early 6 a.m. in the morning. My father was up, but my mom was asleep. Poor mom, I ruined her sleep by arriving so early!  We chatted all day.

It was nice to see the house I grew up in again. We put on our swim suits and swam for a few hours. I miss our swimming pool!

Dear god, I didn’t just post a pic of me in my bathing suit did I??? Yikes!

Food Yesterday: we stopped at a restaurant for breakfast in order to not show up at the house at 5 a.m.  I had 1 scrambled egg, 1 slice of bacon, about 2 oz of Orange Juice, and about 1/4 of a biscuit. Yum!  For a late lunch/early dinner my mom ordered pizza. My favorite pizza in the whole world, but unfortunately I can’t eat the dough.  I had 1 slice of pizza (had the cheese off it) and a side salad.  Not too bad. Then I had 1/2 a candy bar while playing a board game.

Oh! Did my parents notice my weight loss? Yes!  My father was the most enthusiastic about it, saying, “WOW!” to me a lot! My mom didn’t even mention it to me for at least two or three hours. I don’t take this personally — my mom has a lot on her brain and she spins around in circles mentally sometimes. So she might think something, but her brain is still thinking about politics, so it takes a while for all her thoughts to come spilling out to the surface. Oh, and boy, can my mom talk? And she has certainly gotten increasingly opinionated, prejudiced, and stubborn the older she gets.

And oh! The food in the house! It makes me laugh. While growing up my parents’ fridge was the talk of my friends’s families. The fridge was historic, man. It was jammed packed all the time. I had to take a pic to document this. Keep in mind….it’s only my mom and dad that live here. No kids. No relatives. But look how much food they keep in their fridge!!!

Today we woke up early and went for a bike ride. This was truly a historic moment for me. I have literally never, EVER done anything remotely “athletic” with my parents, not since I was a wee child (think 3rd grade or younger). My parents were always overweight, and preferred to spend their time watching tv.  This was literally the first time I’ve done anything physical with them. It was wonderful and glorious! The three-hour bike ride was lovely, through some really charming farm fields. Lots of corn! I had a really great time. It warms my heart so much to see my parents getting out there and getting exercise!

Oh! And the last thing…their scale is amazing. It said I was 139 pounds this morning! Of course I cannot adopt the number as “real life” but it sure looked good!

Food today so far: 1 fried fish sandwich minus the bun, with tartar sauce, 1 tomato slice, and some lettuce.  1.5 slice of cheese, with 3 crackers as a snack. For dinner tonight I have requested grilled steak on top of a homemade salad (my mom makes the BEST salad dressing on the planet.)  Yummers!


Eating in Secret and Hiding Food

by Christine on June 30th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Eating Disorders, Gastric Banding Surgery

Eating in SecretDo you have any “secret” food that is hidden in your house that only you know about?

Do you “hide” food away?

Do you eat in secret?  At night when everyone is asleep? Do you sneak into the kitchen when your kids go outside to play?

Do you feel guilty when you eat certain things, making you want to eat them secretly?

Chocolate candy bars.

I have a stack of them. Mr. Goodbar, that’s my downfall.  My husband doesn’t eat them. The candy bars have nuts in them, which he doesn’t eat.  These candy bars are all mine. I don’t have to compete with a tribe of faster grabbers to snag one for myself. They are mine, all mine!

I have the candy bars on the kitchen counter (I don’t have to fear hubby eating them) but I cover them up with a towel or notepad of paper, etc.

I cover them because I want them to be secret.

I generally only eat the candy bars when I sneak into the kitchen for a water refill when Hubby is safely in the living room. Or, I might eat one if Hubby goes downstairs to play computer games. The eating feels “secret,” which is really silly because I know Hubby wouldn’t care less if I ate them or not.  Usually, I only have a bite or two at a time. I don’t gobble the whole thing down at once.

Eating the candy bar isn’t that big of a deal, really. I don’t want to put anything off-limits to me. I’m not on a “diet,” after all, but just trying to make healthier choices and eat in moderation. Cutting candy bars off entirely would send me into major binge-mode.  That being said, I’ve given this candy bar some kind of power over myself by hiding it, making it “secret.”


Is this disordered eating?
Is this unhealthy?
What would a more positive change to this behavior involve?

That’s the only food I can think of that I hide like that, but in a similar-yet-unrelated tpic…I also hide my laxatives.  There’s a little bit of backstory that I suppose needs to go here. In one of my eighty-thousand-million attempts to lose weight, in a land far-far away, I somehow got it into my head that if food leaves my body quickly, then surely some of those calories would not get absorbed. I was never able to purge (and yes, I tried) but I found some kind of mental relief by taking laxatives.  Big binge? No problem…it’s nothing that four or five extra-strength ex-laxes couldn’t eliminate in a few hours. Owch.

I discovered later that there’s a growing movement to include laxative abuse into the DSM-IV definition of bulimia. In my case, I think that the definition would fit. I think I had bulimic tendencies, even though I didn’tvomit my food. Disordered eating, indeed.

There’s a few things ironic in here. Firstly, it’s ironic that I was even approved for gastric banding surgery. My psychiatric evaluation prior to surgery was a big joke — he never even asked me questions about any history of disordered eating.  Even if he had, I probably would have lied. The second bit of irony: I vomit all the time now, thanks to the gastric band. But oh, there’s a big, huge difference between my vomiting and laxative abuse.  I puke because the food is stuck in the gastric band and I need to get it out. When the food is stuck, I can’t breathe. My eyes water. My heart rate elevates. My saliva starts spilling out of my mouth because there’s no place downwards for it to go.  I do not — I repeat, I do NOT — vomit on purpose because I want to eliminate food that I eat.  It’s the intent that’s quite different between these vomiting versus laxative abuse scenarios.

Since my surgery, my laxative abuse has almost entirely gone away.  I don’t get frantic over the food that I eat because with the gastric band, I just can’t “binge” the way I used to.  I’m not frantic, so I don’t feel any need to “purge” the food I eat.  Even if I have that secret Mr. Goodbar on the counter, I really don’t get worked up about it.  That being said, since my surgery I’ve had problems pooping regularly. This week I realized I went five days without pooping. Clearly, in such instances, a little help is needed. I put Benefiber in every I drink, but it doesn’t help. I’ve gotten “cleanser” lemonade things that haven’t helped.  Grapes, prunes, sundried tomatoes, apples…I’ve tried them all.  Sometimes…a little extra action is necessary. Again, there’s a big different in intent her: pooping because you need to versus pooping to relieve your head after a binge.

There’s a cabinet where we keep all our medications, and the laxatives should go there. But they aren’t there. They are hidden, even now. I know Hubby wouldn’t care about it. I know Hubby wouldn’t use them. But I hide them anyway. Why? Why do I do this? When I take a laxative, it’s always, always in secret. And then I feel guilty for doing so.


I’m not sure how to resolve either of these issues — the hidden candy bar, or the laxatives. What would be healthier ways of dealing with both of these issues?

Many thanks to Prior Fatgirl (link to blog) for making me think about this today….



Music weekend and youthful generosity

by Christine on June 28th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates

Me at Jazz FestWell, this weekend was Jazz Fest, and we had a really good time! I went with a good friend of mine that has a solid appreciation of jazz music. As for me, I was just looking forward to reading my new book and hearing the Afro Cuban All Stars play!

Saturday was a bit rainy, but it didn’t hinder our fun.  Fortunately for Jazz Fest they let you bring food and drink (yes, even alcohol) into the park! We stopped at Subway and I got a 6-inch sub. I hadn’t had a sub sandwich in perhaps a year? It was rough and slow-going. The bread was really hard on me. I only ate half of the sub for lunch, then I ate the rest of the sub for dinner. Mostly I just picked at it. I also had some wheat thin crackers and hummus and a few slices of cheese as a snack. Overall, not bad. Most of my calories came from alcohol, but I didn’t even have a lot of that.

Sunday was the best day: the weather was better, the music was better, the fun was better! We camped out at the small stage and heard a group called the Trio of Oz play. They were wonderful! They did jazz renditions of popular songs (Death Cab for Cutie; the Police; Stone Temple Pilots, etc.) I really enjoyed them.

After they played, my friend wanted to get their CD. There were two lines — one line to purchase the music, and one line for autographs with the band. I held a place in the autograph line while my friend bought the cd.  He grabbed the last CD off the shelf. Boy, was the guy behind him disappointed! The gentleman asked the Borders rep if there were any more CDs in storage, but he shook his head. They were all out.

There was a young kid standing behind me in the autograph line. He had dark, moppy hair and was maybe as tall as my shoulder. He was maybe 14 years old at best, if I had to guess.  He had two CDs in his hand. He went up to the gentleman without a CD and said, “Here, take this one.” The guy said, “Are you sure? Oh, that’s really nice of you! Thanks!” and got into line to buy it. The kid said, “No no, I already bought this. It’s paid for…enjoy the music, man!” The guy was flabbergasted. Okay, we were all a little flabbergasted. He pulled out his wallet and the kid pushed his hand away. “No, it’s free. Just take it. You gotta pass the music on, you know.  It’s for the music, man.”

It was so cliche that I had to laugh, but really, the kid’s generosity really touched all of us. The man ran off to find some money to pay the kid back with (his wallet was empty). In the meantime, I told the kid what a great thing he did there, and offered to buy him an ice cream cone. He said no. He said that he was learning to play guitar (acoustic and base) and really just enjoys jazz music, and this band was really good and wanted to pass the music on. What a great kid. With an attitude like that, he’s really going to go places. His father must be terribly proud of him.

afrocubanallstarsFeeling pretty good after this wonderful act of generosity, then came the Afro Cuban All Stars. They were great! The whole place got up and danced to the salsa and merengue music. I was grinning ear to ear to see so many people moving their bodies, smiling, and dancing with each other! Everyone was dancing — old and young, black and white, guys and girls, good and the bad dancers…everyone! It was a giant celebration! My favorite was their Buena Vista Social Club tribute, but the other stuff was super fun too!

Afterwards the band had an autograph signing. Being the autograph hound that I am, I decided I had to get Juan De Marco’s autograph.  So I sucked up my shyness, bought a “Live at Carnegie Hall” cd, and stood in line.  Here’s a pic of me with him and his two beautiful daughters. They were all very nice!

Juan de marco

On Sunday I had a salad with tunafish for lunch, some chips as a snack, an ice cream cone while listing to the AFAS, then had some French Onion soup after the show. Plus two beers over the course of the day. Not a low-calorie day, and very high in salt. Today I’m bloated as all get-out…no surprise as to why. I shall counteract the salt-bloat by drinking a lot of water today!



The Mediterranean Diet

by Christine on June 15th, 2010

filed under Diet, Food, Nutrition, General Information

Red WineI have been scouring medical journals and recent medical reports in the last few days (yay for PubMed!) and I consistently see references to the “Mediterranean Diet” and the benefits this diet has on the average human body.

So I can figure that this diet plan probably involves lots of fish, limited red meat, ample wine and healthy fats…but the details are a little fuzzy for me. I thought I would delve into this diet in today’s edition of The Phoenix Revolution Blog News!

Who lauds the Mediterranean Diet?

Mayo Clinic


What are the benefits?

  • A 2007 study showed that the Mediterranean diet leads to a decrease risk of heart disease and cancer
  • The Mediterranean Diet has been associated with lower LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol)
  • High life expectancy, up to a six percent reduction in mortality according to the Mediterranean Diet Foundation
  • A high-fat diet like this can help keep you “regular” on the potty.
  • This diet keeps blood circulation healthy and prevents blood clots from forming (mostly from the red wine)
  • A 12 year study showed that those following this diet have significantly lower body weights, low blood pressure, blood fats, blood sugar, and insulin levels.
  • A four-year study from Columbia University medical Center showed that those following this diet had up to 40% less risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
  • A new study from the Institute of Epidemiology at Ulm University in Germany suggests that the Mediterranean diet may cut risk for respiratory disease.

How is it different from other diets?

  • Drink red wine, in moderation (5 oz per day for women, 10 oz per day for men)
  • Limit consumption of red meat
  • Eat fish or shellfish twice a week
  • Use herbs and spices to flavor food instead of salt
  • Consume healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
  • Consume nuts, in moderation
  • Eat in small portions, especially because many of the foods on this diet are high in calories
  • Partake in beans and peas, especially white beans, lentils, chick peas, and capers
  • Eating whole grains is okay, such as couscous, polenta, rice, pasta, bread, and potatoes.
  • Consumption of cheese and milk is okay, in moderation. Yogurt is an especially good choice.
  • Choosing eggs is allowed!

Of course, like other diets, the Mediterranean Diet requires lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.  For example, residents of Greece eat very little red meat and an average of nine servings a day of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. (Many people in the Mediterranean area have fruit for dessert.) However, it is the consumption of healthy fats that makes this diet unique.  The goal is to choose monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, and polyunsaturated fats, which contain linolenic acid (a type of omega-3 fatty acid). These can be found in canola oil, walnuts, and fish.  Avoid bad fats that can be found in butter and heavy sauces as well as bacon and fatty meats.


Lose weight the Star Wars way‏

by Christine on June 9th, 2010

filed under Diet, Food, Nutrition, Exercise, General Information

Luke Skywalker Working Out with YodaHey there, you scruffy looking nerf herder. Are you looking to get in shape? Lose weight? Get motivated to turn your life around?  Then look no further than your Star Wars mentors! It may not be obvious, but the secret to weight loss is hidden in the movies.

The most important thing to remember about weight loss is that you need to be fully committed to your goals for the right reason: for yourself.  Look at yourself in the mirror and repeat after Han: “It is for ME, sister. Look, I ain’t in this for your revolution, and I’m not in it for you, Princess.”  You’re in it for you, and don’t forget that. There’s no more important lesson that you can take away from the movies.

Are you interested in losing weight and gaining powers with the force? Luke Skywalker taught us that running around, somersaulting, and jumping around a thick and sweaty swamp with Yoda strapped to your back is the best way to get into shape.  If that doesn’t do it for you, consider running away from white-faced storm troopers to burn calories. Did you know that there are exactly 26.2 miles from Docking Bay 327 to Prison Cell 2187 where Leia was kept on the Death Star? Get into shape – get running!

The martial arts can be a great way to get in shape. A great example of burning calories engaging the martial arts would be the Duel of Dates featuring Darth Maul and Qui Gon Jinn in the reactor core. While we cannot condone killing your exercise partner, working out with sticks instead of light sabers should work for the at-home duelist.  Pop the video in and repeat after them. I recommend watching in slow motion.

If you’re looking for great looking buns, look no further than Princess Leia. Tie braided buns to either side of your head; it will help you achieve a great sense of balance. For you yoga-ites, after a week of bun-training, try Garudasana pose (eagle pose) again; you’ll discover that it’s much easier!

Slave Leia doesn't eat candy barsAre you interested in eating well so you can look good? Well, you probably don’t want to have the skinny chicken legs of Kal’Faln C’ndros.  But Jar-Jar Binks keeps a low body fat percentage: take a tip from him and eat an apple when you’re walking from school to a friend’s house.

“Donuts, cookies, and ice cream. These are the ways to the dark side,” said Yoda. Princess Leia clearly works hard to maintain her figure, especially that Slave Leia outfit. We never see her eat in the movies. Are you thinking about eating that candy bar? Put it down and keep your slave outfit in mind!

Pizza the Hut leads to looking like Jabba the Hut. Stay away from the pan-fried pizza! Eating slimy frogs probably doesn’t do much for slimming your hips either.

When it comes to losing weight and looking good, there’s no such thing as luck – only good effort and pre-planning.

Are you interested in strengthening your mind so you can be powerful inside as well as out? Strengthen your mind and not just your arms! Pick up rocks with your mind and let your arms hang free.

Han Solo had confidence that oozed off him in wet, sexy drippings. “What are you looking at? I know what I’m doing,” he said. If you have anyone that questions you, let them know that you are fully capable of acting to your fullest potential! C-3PO, despite his awkardness at times, was equally confident. If someone tries to belittle you, just tell them “Don’t call me a mindless philosopher, you overweight glob of grease.” That’ll show them.

Follow your movie-mentors and learn the proper way to lose weight and maintain overall balance in your life.  When you harness that ability, you’ll achieve the highly-sought-after Jedi Master ranking.  You can do it – start today!

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