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Culture Shock – Primal Living in the USA

Whole Foods MarketAfter a 3 year tour in Bavaria, Germany, we finally set foot on U.S. ground again.  Since then, my mind has officially been blown with the low-carb opportunities that are available to me here in the States.

During our move, I have been off my primal plan, not only because I wouldn’t be able to eat many of my favorite German foods for a long time, but also, because I knew it would be extremely difficult to stay on track while living in hotels for an extended time, with only microwaves to cook with.  It was a conscious decision, yet my body did not thank me.

As soon as I went off program, I immediately started to feel puffy, sluggish and irritable, although, the crankiness could be attributed to all the stress of getting the house ready for the movers to come, selling the cars, and working until the last minute.  We’ve been living in hotels for 3 weeks until we moved into an extended stay place, where we actually have a small kitchen to make our own meals.  I never thought that I would ever get tired of eating in restaurants, but over the last 2 weeks, my body was screaming for real food.  Yes, the fresh waffles and bagels in the mornings at the other hotel were nice, but come lunch-time, I was a shaky, wobbly wreck… I hate when my bloodsugar drops like that and my addiction runs rampant.

Today, I made an effort to stay off of sugar and flour.  I didn’t have much suitable food in the fridge, but I made it through the day.  Not surprisingly at all, I felt calm and my head seemed clearer for the first time in weeks.  Then, while we were in town in the evening, we ate at a restaurant.  I had no problems with staying on plan.  I wanted something light and stuck to a Cobb salad, which left me comfortably full and satisfied. In retrospect, I easily could have been back on plan as soon as we arrived here, because most restaurants will work with their customers, but it just seemed too tempting to try to eat all these foods I thought that I missed out on in the last 3 years.  Again, that’s the addiction talking.

Culture shock really hit me when we walked into the Whole Foods Market for the first time in 6 years.  The assortment of primal foods in the store were overwhelming, and I didn’t buy anything other than some coconut hand creme for my psoriasis on my hands.  I did try some yummy salmon samples and a small cup of sports tea, while cruising the isles, but my head is still spinning, when I think about the massive inventory of foods they carry.  I made a mental note to do my homework before I shop there again (some of the food, I saw at our Commissary for much cheaper.)

Finally, now that we’re in Colorado, I want to explore the nearby farms and farmers markets for free-range eggs, grass-fed beef and local produce.  I can’t wait to get started with that.  I’m ready to let go of the junk!

Until next time,

Nickie

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2012 in Binging, Food Addiction, Low-Carb Diet

 

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Weekend Binge Danger Zone Reframed

Calendar

Image by studiocurve via Flickr

Not staying low-carb on weekends has been my downfall in my weight-loss journey so far.  As soon as I ate something high-carb, my entire weekend turned into a food fest, which undid all of the body-healing progress I’ve made throughout the week.

My Binge Pattern:

As I mentioned in several of my posts, on workdays, I hardly have any cravings at all.  I can even walk by the sweets and cupcakes people leave by the coffee paraphernalia for others to enjoy.  Actually, all unwanted treats from coworkers land there.  “Someone will eat it.” is the common attitude.  And indeed, someone will eventually eat it … just not me.

The trouble starts Friday evening.  Here’s what usually goes through me head: “Weekend!!! It’s time to relax.  Let’s do something special as a family.  Let’s eat out!  I’m going to eat whatever, just for this meal and I’ll get back on track after we leave the restaurant.  Okay, I’ll have some sweets, that’s it for tonight.  I’ll reset over night, let’s go to the store and grab some stuff.”  Saturday goes sort of like this: “Hmmm, I didn’t eat those snack cakes last night.  Let me eat them and get them out of the way, then start over afterwards.  Heck I already started, might as well keep going…”  Once Monday comes around, I’m about 3-4 lbs heavier again, I feel puffy, swollen, and lethargic, combined with a mild, annoying headache and the question looming over my head: “Why the hell did I do this again?”

The bad thing is, there are many places where I could actually break the binge-cycle, but my mind is on overdrive and I go on autopilot.  I don’t seem to have control anymore of what goes into my mouth.  Sweet stuff is all I can think about and I am driven to fulfill that need. The sad thing is, it is never enough. So, my only solution is not to start at all.  But how can I do this?

Reframing:

Back in the old Weight Watchers days, I’ve learned about a tool called refraiming, where you replace a belief or thought with another, more positive one.  Here is how I want to change my thinking for now:

  • Weekends are danger zones – turns into – Weekends are opportunities to learn more about healing my body (more podcasts to listen to, reading, try new recipes that I don’t have time for during the week, etc.)
  • I can have just one of these – turns into – I rather stay on the straight path I’m on right now.  (I imagine the path of binging to be loopy with many d-tours).  If that doesn’t work, walk away and the cravings will diminish.
  • Whatever. I don’t care. I don’t want to do anything – turns into – What do I really feel?  Am I blocking something out?

So for this week, I’ll be practicing my reframing skills and post about my progress as I go along.

Next, I’d like to hear from you readers if reframing has worked for you.  What thoughts have you changed? Have you noticed any changes in your thinking, your mood, your behavior?  Just leave a comment below to share your experience.

Until next time,

Nickie

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2011 in Food Addiction, Low-Carb Diet

 

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Sunday – Day 7 Back on Low-Carb – Danger Zone

It’s not over yet – I’m still in the danger-zone for binging, since I have another day off tomorrow for Columbus day. But it’s not all doom and gloom.  My plan is to stay busy and productive and spend some time out of the house.  Usually, a change of scenery does wonders in lifting my spirits.

So far, this is day 7 back on low-carb after an all-weekend binge last week.  I’m not back to my pre-binge weight yet, but I can’t change that, so I’m not stressing over it.  Today I was 99% on track (other than drinking diet coke, but that’s something I don’t really want to give up just yet), and I’m happy with that.

Today’s project was to spend some time learning about blogging.  Wow, I still feel like a newby when it comes to writing a decent blog and getting people to read it. I’m going to cut today’s post short, so I can add some of my favorite low-carb blogs and podcast links to my blog page.  I meant to do this for a few months now, just didn’t get around to do it yet.  Feel free to click on a few of them.  Maybe there’s something you like.

What I’ve learned: 

Using better tags and categories, writing better headlines, searching and following other blogs & tags. Wohoo, watch out WordPress, ’cause here I come!

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2011 in Food Addiction, Low-Carb Diet

 

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Saturday – Day 6 Back on Low-Carb – Danger Zone

My Monster Kitties

Yes, it’s Saturday and I’m off work for a 3-day weekend.  I did sleep in, about an hour past my usual wake-up time, and slowly made my way down-stairs to feed my little monster-kitties (see picture).

As I sat on the couch, trying to figure out what to do with my day, I remembered that I had some pictures that I needed to download from my cameras.  Organizing, cropping, tagging, and adding descriptions in Photoshop took a little while and I was thankful when my husband brought me a small plate with a sunny-side up egg and 2 1/2 breakfast sausages he had cooked up.  Once I had my photo project completed and my files backed up, I finally got in the shower and got myself ready for a trip to post and into town to get some shopping done with hubby.

While at the German grocery store, I picked up a nice, big celeriac (the root of a celery stalk) to make some low-carb french fries.  Don picked up a small bag of frozen curly fries for himself.  As we were nearing the registers, he stopped at the chips display to pick some snacks to munch on while doing some college work later on this evening.  I helped him look for some croissant sticks, but after a minute or two, I felt some cravings creeping up and I had no intentions to cave in.  So I told him that I needed to walk away, before the switch in my head flips and my all-or-nothing mentality takes over.  He understood and we paid for our groceries.  My cravings dissipated shortly after.

Currywurst

Image by Roel via Flickr

For dinner, we had rib-eyes and fries.  I topped my celeriac fries, which I had seasoned with season-all after I fried them in lard, with some mayonnaise and sprinkled a bit of curry powder on top.  Yummy!  In Germany, many people top their fries with mayo, and/or ketchup.  We also eat a lot of curry-wurst, a big hot-dog (about the diameter of a bratwurst), slice it, and top it with curry sauce (a hot ketchup sauce with a bit of curry in it) and sprinkle it with curry powder. Curry wursts usually are served with fries, which you also dip into the sauce (see picture on right).  It tastes like heaven!  But since commercial ketchup is out for me, mayo and curry powder work really well as condiments for fries.

When I was getting ready to go to bed, I noticed that I overdid it with the rib-eye steak and the fries and felt a bit nauseous.  I popped 2 tums, hoping it’ll take the yucky feeling away.  Eventually I felt better and drifted off to sleep while listening to some low-carb / paleo podcasts.

What I’ve learned:

Removing myself from a situation that causes cravings helps me to think clear again.  Then I can make a decision, if I really want to go down the path of binging or I can figure out what I really want, something crunchy, sweet, salty, if anything at all.  Maybe a low-carb version of the food will do the trick.

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2011 in Food Addiction, Low-Carb Diet

 

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Friday – Day 5 Back on Low-Carb – Danger Zone

It’s Friday and again, I’m entering the danger zone – the weekend.  This is when I have the toughest time staying low-carb. Weekends, for most people, is the time to relax and recharge their batteries for a new workweek.  It’s the perfect time for family get-togethers, BBQs, going to dinner and a movie…  All weekend activities seem to involve food.  So here’s how my Friday went:

Morning:

Nothing extra-ordinary to tell ya, so I won’t bore you to death with my mundane morning routine.

Work:

Took my bottle of bone-broth to work and heated up a cup full in the morning, while doing some tedious proof-reading.  Later on I finally received a notification e-mail that I had a package at the post office.  I’ve ordered, which I believe has been my most expensive jacket in my life.  It’s a 3-in-1 Columbia jacket (see the picture) and I’m hoping that it lives up to my expectations, after all, I’ll be wearing it for many years….  So, all morning I was sitting on pins and needles, hoping that it was the jacket that’s waiting at the post office for me.

Come lunch time, I grabbed my umbrella (yes, a nice rain jacket would be nice at about right now) and headed to the post office.  Sure enough, the clerk brought out a big, flat Columbia box.  I was so excited!  As soon as I made it to the car, I used my key to cut the tape on the box and pulled out my awesome jacket.  The color was even prettier than I expected.  Still, I was worried that it wouldn’t fit, since the reviews said it runs very small.  I usually wear an XL top, so per the reviews, I should’ve probably ordered a 3X, which was no longer available – so I ordered a 2X instead.  To my surprise, I was able to zip it up and it fit like a glove, even with thick liner and all.  Woohoo!  Of course, as soon as I stepped out of the car with my fluffy jacket, the rain ceased and the sun came out – dang, suddenly I was really hot…  This omni-heat feature sure works!  Yes, I’m so excited and ready for the Bavarian Winter to start.

Lunch today was just a 1/2 Subway Salad with double meat and I was full, so I saved some for later, if I wanted it.  During the afternoon, I had a bunch more pistachios (as opposed to my colleague’s kit-kat bars) and another cup of broth.

Dinner:

For dinner I made some tripe.  It’s a common dish in southern Germany and my Grandma used to make it a lot when I was a kid, so I decided that I would give it a shot myself.  Well, it was quite an experience, which I’ll devote a separate post to.  Yikes!

Gosh, I was facing temptation earlier this evening when my son made a batch of brownies.  I really didn’t want to mess up my weekend again, so I just had a square of dark chocolate instead, and then we sat down to watch the newest episode of Vampire Diaries.  So for today – I’m safe.

What I’ve learned:

Cheating with carb-bombs is over-rated and not worth the trouble.  Now I just gotta remember that when the next craving strikes!

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2011 in Food Addiction, Low-Carb Diet

 

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Thursday – Day 4 Back on Low-Carb

Morning:

I’m almost back to my pre-binge weight from last week.  Isn’t that something?  Just when a new weekend is about to start, I finally repaired my damage from the weekend before.  That’s pathetic, yet very real.

Nevertheless, my morning went well – had a quick breakfast sausage right before leaving the house and arrived at work just in time for the craziness to start.

Work:

About 9.30 a.m. I started to get a bit hungry, so I decided to eat my cucumber salad, which held me nicely until lunch.  I did bring another batch of chicken curry, which I only ate about half of until I was done with it.  Actually, the fact that I was able to put away the extra food felt pretty good.  On good days, I can walk away from food (or push it away)when I;m done.  Like so many people, I have a hard time tossing food out.  That definitely wasn’t the problem today.

After I ate, I ran some errands and stopped by the Shoppette to buy some more diet coke and sugar-free gum.  I was so tempted to buy some gummy-bears (or other candy in that genre).  The strange thing is, the voice in my head (no, not what you think) kept telling me:  “Hey, it’s Thursday!  Tomorrow is Friday!  You can have a sweet treat!  It’s the WEEKEND!”  My reaction: “NOT!” My entire week went so smooth, I’d be crazy to throw the towel and get on the binge-train.  So I went to the back of the store, picked up a baggie of pistachios, paid for my stuff, and that was the end of that.

For the rest of my workday, I pretty much stayed focused on a project I’m working on.  During distractions, when I wanted to snack on something, I just poured out some pistachios on my desk and started crunching away. I did have a mild headache, but nothing earth-shattering.

Dinner:

Threw the last zip-lock container of chicken curry in the freezer.  Just got a tad tired of looking at it for 3 days in a row.  I was super-tired and brain-fried from work, so dinner had to be a quick fix.  I tossed some spaghetti into some boiling water for hubby, made a quick tomato sauce with ground meat and some chopped up onions and garlic, and reheated some random stuff for hubby and the kids (I call these dinners the “Last Chance Before Tossing Meals”.  I ate some of my last spaghetti squash with tomato sauce, topped with some Swiss cheese.  It was just what I needed and was finished after I ate half of my bowl.  Hubby had real spaghetti with chicken wings from the other day.  The kids came in late tonight, so, who knows what they had…

Also finished up my bone-broth today.  I poured my broth from the crock-pot into a colander, lined with a paper towel to catch all the tiny bone fragments, into a pitcher, added some salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and poured the cooled broth into an empty water bottle, so I can take it to work in the morning and have some yummy chicken broth, which I can heat up in the microwave in my favorite cup.  I’m so looking forward to that!

What I’ve learned:

Just because I have some urges to eat something that’ll throw me into a binge and make me spin out of control, doesn’t mean I have to follow through.  There are good alternatives out there that are just as good and satisfying without the bad side-effects.

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2011 in Food Addiction, Low-Carb Diet

 

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Wednesday – Day 3 Back on Low-Carb

Morning:

Had a bit of a slow morning and felt a little groggy.  That did change, though, as soon as I was going to jump into the shower and I realized that we didn’t have any hot water.  So, what’s a girl to do?  There was no way I would go to work all icky and gross.  I psyched myself out and imagined that I was at the outdoor swimming pool and had to rinse off with that dreadful cold shower.  It worked and in record time I was squeaky clean – and wide awake.

Work:

Work was fun today.  We had some excitement with hundreds of troops being flown in and dropped into the training area for a large training rotation at the post I work at.  It was really cool watching these huge planes come in and dropping Soldiers – it kind of reminded me of the movie Red Dawn from the 80s with hundreds of paratroopers falling from the sky.  Wow!  So, between trying to actually getting some work done and running down the hall to watch the next wave come in, I almost forgot to eat my lunch (the chicken curry I made last night).  Needless to say, I had no particular thoughts about food.

Dinner:

I left work a little early today, so that the repair man could fix our water-heater.  I sure wouldn’t want to have another outdoor swimming pool experience again in the morning.  Not 30 minutes later, I stood in front of my kitchen sink with the water running.  Yay, it was bliss feeling warm water coming out of the faucet again…  You really don’t know how important some things are to you until you don’t have them.

I’m really not that hungry tonight.  After the big cooking action last night and still being full from lunch, I don’t think I want anything big, just want to take it easy.  When I got home I had about 3 slices of bacon and a breakfast sausage.  Right now as I’m typing this (a few hours later), I feel like I want to munch on something, I don’t know what, just want to eat something.  Yet, I’m not physically hungry.  After taking some time to think about why I’m having this nagging feeling in my stomach, I noticed that I’m a bit overwhelmed with stuff I need to get done and the show I want to watch tonight.  I think I’ll just write one more e-mail, finish my show and go to bed and read a bit to unwind.

What I’ve learned:

When getting nagging cravings for something, it really pays off to take a moment to ask yourself if you’re really hungry or if there’s something else that bothers you.  Then you can actually give that feeling a name, so to speak, and do something about it or just feel the feeling and let it pass.  Today, this tiny strategy worked for me.

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2011 in Food Addiction, Low-Carb Diet

 

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