The time has come that I dread the most. I hate photo day. I have to take these photos every month and with so little progress happening, I feel as if every photo I have taken is just more of the same. Still, since I didn't post my last photo, I'll post this one. Do you see a difference? I don't.
The vegetable habit continues to elude me. It really is extremely difficult to eat five vegetables a day. In order to complete this habit, I really do have to make sure I prepare all of my own meals. You can't go out and expect to get even a full vegetable serving. You might get one serving, but you likely won't get more than that.
When I don't have anything to pack for lunch at work and I go out, I am faced with hundreds of choices within a few blocks of my office. It's amazing how few of them offer vegetables. I think about my favorite places for lunch like Mangu Dominican, Sophie's Cuban, Rickshaw Dumpling, or Zaiya Japanese noodle shop. At best you can order a small scoop of salad with your lunch combo at Mangu or Sophie's. Rickshaw has a tiny salad too. Maybe that's one serving of vegetables. Places like Boi Sandwich (a banh mi shop) or Chipotle will put their meat offerings on a "salad" for you, but the only real vegetable there is lettuce. (Well, I guess that's not 100% correct. At Chipotle I can ask for fajita vegetables with my meat and get a scant handful and if I want to be generous, I can count the salsas.) Even the shops that advertise as healthful and organic are not very vegetable heavy. Salads are lettuce with fruit, meat, cheese, and nuts along with occasional tomatoes. Sandwiches are ubiquitous, but you can't fit that many vegetables between two slices of bread. At best you'll have a serving. Sit-down restaurants might give you a serving of vegetables on the side. I guess you can get a salad appetizer too, but then I have to deal with the lack of actual vegetables in a restaurant salad. My only choice is salad bars and hot cases at the delis. The problem with those is that they can be really pricey.
Let's just say my habit compliance has not been great this week. I tried. I even did a fair amount of my own cooking this week and came to realize I don't cook with enough vegetables. I thought I learned that lesson last week, but apparently I didn't.
I had an assignment this week to select a movie from a list of food-related movies and watch it. Among the choices were Supersize Me, King Corn, and Food Inc. I had seen Supersize Me. Although I hadn't seen the other two, I knew about them and I think I'm rather savvy about the horrors of the food industry. They wouldn't be telling me anything I didn't already know. Another choice they offered was the independent movie, LBs. LBs is about a young man named Neil is who dangerously obese, suffers a heart attack and retreats from the world in a trailer in rural midstate NY where he commits to a better lifestyle and confronts his own demons.
I was both horrified by Neil and felt a strong connection to him. Neil was a glutton. He ate enormous amounts of food. He didn't seem to have many psychological issues beyond his weight itself. He had a close-knit and loving Italian family, with a smothering mother who loved to feed him. That's hardly atypical in many Italian families. He also had a best friend who was a cocaine addict, which I guess helped feed his own addictions. He just really loved to eat and was capable of putting away enormous amounts of food.
In one scene after he came home from the hospital, he tried to eat a vegetable soup his family fed him and he was totally repulsed. He headed to his local pizza parlor and begged his friend behind the counter to give him some real food. The scene cut to him sitting at the table eating a burger with three slices of pizza on the table in front of him and also what appeared to be an entire plate of chocolate cookies. Later in the movie, after he had been making progress in his trailer, he had a fight with his friend and ended up at the local barbecue takeout and ordered even more food. He bought multiple combo meals, a burger, large fries, and two sodas. He didn't even leave the parking lot to eat it.
I can think of too many times in my life when my desire to eat certain foods overrode my desire to be slimmer and healthier. I could pay lip service to my weight, and even make efforts to cut back, but too many times I threw caution to the wind and just ate what I wanted in my teens and early twenties. I could eat a barbecue combo of chicken and ribs, or a value combo from McDonalds for lunch and still eat a full dinner at the end of the day. I could eat Chinese takeout as an after-dinner snack. I could order a burger deluxe at the diner and eat every french fry on my plate and finish it off with a slice of pie. I could wash down an entire chili cheesesteak wedge with a milkshake. What I ate was not on the scale of what I saw in LBs, but it was a lot of food for a woman of my size.
I think I can remember the day I really began to understand the reach of my own gluttony. It was fourteen years ago and I was joining my boyfriend Kevin on his family vacation in Florida for the first time. Things were becoming pretty serious between us and I realized that this trip could potentially affect everyone's impressions of me. Kevin and I were staying at a lovely Holiday Inn on the beach. I remember how pleasurable it was to sit on the outdoor poolside patio of the hotel restaurant at breakfast staring out at the ocean and enjoying the many excellent selections the Holiday Inn offered. One day I decided to cave to temptation and ordered one of their Skillet Inspirations". These are pans full of scrambled eggs and many other waistline-damaging ingredients. I chose what was likely the worst one of the bunch. It had peppers, onions, potatoes, bacon, and sausage. I had a biscuit on the side. I was about three quarters of the way through it when Kevin said to me, "You can really pack it in."
I slammed down my fork. I shot him a dirty look. What did he mean by that? He pleaded innocence. "I just meant you have a healthy appetite." I know he didn't mean to offend me, but suddenly I saw myself through others' eyes. I saw myself through his eyes. I saw myself through my mother's eyes (Mom has never been shy about calling me out when I complain I'm too fat and then eat something totally inappropriate.) I thought about how I looked to just about anyone who knew me. Here I was, this chubby girl who hated her weight, who nonetheless loved every unhealthful food on the planet and ate it to her heart's content. My boyfriend was naturally thin, had a much smaller appetite, and hated many of the foods I found the most tempting. Even though I knew he had a naturally unfair advantage, I thought about how repulsive my eating habits must seem to him. I realized I was full. I was beyond full. I couldn't eat another bite of that skillet. I didn't want to eat anything else that day. At lunch time the family wanted to have a brunch together at a local pancake house. The menu was full of delicious temptations. There was a time when I would have ordered what I wanted. I ordered a fruit cup. I had learned a lesson that day. I needed to back off.
The next day we were having breakfast and there was an obese man sitting at a nearby table. He ordered the skillet (which came with toast or a biscuit) and a bagel with cream cheese. I realized the importance of backing off, and of taking it easy after those meals where I don't back off. I was where I was weight-wise because I do things like order that skillet. That man likely looked the way he looked because he would eat the entire thing and a caloric side dish to boot.
The incident hardly damaged my relationship. Kevin and I were married two years later. Over the years I have learned to back off. I do try to balance my more gluttonous episodes with reasonable, small, meals. I'm not saying I never go all-out. I'm still a danger at parties and there are times I just have to have a cheeseburger. I avoid pizza because it's a huge trigger food for me. (Stop at one slice? You must be kidding me!) What's weird is that with all of the attempts I make to back off and strike a balance, I gained up to18 pounds since that Florida trip. Right now I'm seven pounds above the weight I was then.
It would be nice to not have to struggle with this. At the end of LBs, Neil acknowledges his love of food. He, like me, considers it one of his greatest pleasures. He ends the film with the commentary that he needs to find that thing he loves as much, or loves more. I do have things I know I love more. It's just when food is in front of me, or if I have a certain food on the brain, I forget.
So here are my current stats since I'm sharing my photo, I'll share the rest.
Thigh: 25 (that measurement never wants to go anywhere)
Pounds lost: 6.5
Inches lost: 5.6