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Making this work in real life

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Old 07-22-2009, 08:28 AM   #1
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Summer seems to bring lots of special events. There are family get togethers of all sorts, weddings, trips to amusement parks and county fairs, camping trips and vacations to special places. I suspect for most of us all those events and places are associated with special foods. Food has always been a binder for families and clans, with special items reserved for special days. A long time ago we only ate those foods at those times. Now we have more exposure to those high fat, high carb, sweet treats. We can even make them at home when we need comfort. That doesn't stop us/me from thinking I'm entitled to them when I go somewhere. If the key to success is changing our lifestyle and mindset rather than a brief time with a diet, how do we fit those events into our lives? What about the people we care about who make those treats? Sometimes it feels like navigating a mine field.

When I was young my family decided to become vegetarian. My whole family is very Italian and food is a key ingredient in all events. It was really hard for my Gram to adjust and accept our food choices. She and my Dad butted heads regularly over this (and other stuff ) but in the end we stuck to our decision (except my brother who never signed on). She made some adjustments, we brought more of the meal, and we all loved each other at the end of the experiment.

Now I live with a diabetic. She chooses to control her diabetes with diet as much as possible and only use the drugs she has to. For the last 8 years every meal I cook, every restaurant we go to is weighed against an ingredient list. I have the caretaker gene. It was easy for me to ask about ingredients, request variations and bring things she could eat whenever we went anywhere. It's her health on the line and I have no time for anyone who can't respect that. We are also vegetarian and chicken broth is not vegetarian! I have learned to be assertive about food in those instances.

Now it is my health. Some could say that this WOL is optional, that I don't need to follow this plan. I know that the obesity was threatening my health, well being, and ultimately my life. In my mind that's not too far different from DP's diabetes. For me this way of eating has worked beyond my wildest dreams. My weight is in check, my inflammation level is down, my mood has improved dramatically, and my crazy eating behavior is better. I really believe that avoiding high fructose corn syrup totally and staying away from white flours and all sugars has changed my life. I know because I've made a mistake here and there and paid for it. So yeah, this is about my health and my life.

That's all a long way to get to planning and dealing with other people. I'm very upfront about my food choices, though I don't explain them to everyone. And I don't compromise. I never ask family and friends to adjust their plans or menus, but I do ask about every ingredient and bring my own dishes to share. I do ask restaurants about ingredients and to tweak menus. You'd be amazed how many restaurants will vary an item if you request it. I go everywhere I want to go and I always plan the food first. Honestly if people really care about me they need to get past feeling hurt if I don't eat the food they prepared. How could you not want the people you care about to be healthy? Eating their food isn't how I show I care, being there does that. I know it's not that easy, heck I'm Italian! But it does work after some bumps. The best part is that through no intention of my own a few of the people in my life have started making healthier choices now to. I love that extra bonus because I never expected it

Have I made mistakes? About a million Every time I do I regret it afterward because my body is that sensitive to some of this stuff. Sometimes I knowingly plan a "treat" in a very controlled, limited fashion. I didn't do that though until I reached maintenance. I think my body needed the time to really adjust into this new way of life. Now I will occasionally eat a home baked item. I never waste time on prefab crap but something baked from scratch will fit in now and then. At the holidays I ate one each of the three cookies my Mom baked from scratch. The varieties that started with mixes didn't make the cut (aside from the probable HFCS they just weren't as good). Some things haven't been worth it. French fries just no longer appeal to me so once was enough. I suspect this will be a lifelong process of trial and error.

So what works for you? What hasn't worked? What are your challenges?
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Old 07-22-2009, 08:55 AM   #2
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Thanks, Cyndi, for sharing your insight. I think this can be a very powerful thread since it can keep going like our dinner thread. When questions get mixed up in our dailys they get great answers but just get lost in the long run.

My biggest challenge is not having "tastes" of things not OP. I'm resisting but changing my mindset about it.

At first it was "no, you can't taste it, it's not OP!" The thought is transforming to, "there is no point in tasting this because it's not OP and I don't plan on eating it in MY future." That is what I said to self when I thought of tasting DD's gross looking plate of biscuits and gravy yesterday. I ate OP, didn't sample, and by the time we got home both DH and DD had to nap because they had just eaten a toxic meal of white flour, fat and salt. I quietly celebrated and continued on task while they slept half the afternoon away.

It is sometimes hard to say no to a crisco laden birthday cake but I do. When I do say no, I remind myself that I can make a SB homemade cake anytime I want, and have a piece. I have done that and it is a good shift for me.

Thanks again.
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Old 07-22-2009, 08:56 AM   #3
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Cyndi, with me I think it is just a "mindset". Do I still love all the junk I should not eat? Yep. Could I sit down right now and eat a whole box of cheese-its? Oh yeah. But I've just told myself "I don't eat that...it is poison". When I really think about it, that box of cheese-its doesn't have the appeal it used to. I'm with you on the prepackaged cookies etc. No appeal. My (skinny) husband was scarfing down some cookies the other day and said "I feel bad eating these in front of you". And I told him I really didn't want any. yuk.

I think my "problem" these days are "other people". It seems that they in a way "feel sorry for me" or feel they have to tip toe around what I eat. For example when I went to visit my sister and mother last month, my mom was really worried about what to "feed me". I told her don't worry about it at all (I always do the cooking anyway!) Other people worry that when we go out to eat that I will not have anything on the menu to eat. (in 2 years that has only happened once and I ate a tiny little dinner salad at a German restaurant). I also feel like they feel "bad" for ordering a dessert when I "can't have any". Actually I don't WANT any.

During the holidays I do eat all the traditional foods we have here, but not in the quantities I used to. And now I do have an occasional homemade goodie (like the brownies I made the other day. I had one and it was good, but not good enough to eat a whole plate full. I think I enjoyed the pecans on top more than the brownie)

I still have days every now and then when I look into the fridge and see someone's leftover pizza and want to just grab a slice instead of taking the time to make something healthy, but really not too often.
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Old 07-22-2009, 09:11 AM   #4
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It's interesting you both mentioned something DP taught me early on. She will be the first to admit that the relatively young diabetes was self inflicted. She was a huge sugar eater. Now she thinks of those sweet things as poison, and they really are. That takes a lot of the emotional loading out of them. Kind of like anti-freeze, it might be sweet but it's really bad for you

The first year I spent a lot of time creating healthier versions of some of the foods I used to love and crave. The funny thing is that now my tastes have really changed and I don't make many of those things much anymore. They were important to me in the transition though.

Debbie - Maybe there is a place for this thread or a similar one in the FAQ area. Seems like most of us run into these issues early on and so many people get off track this way.

Cat - As a culture we have such interesting ideas about food and eating I would often apologize to DP for eating something in front of her until I finally got that it didn't bother her. I find people often feel they need to make excuses for their food choices in front of me. if my body chemistry was different maybe my choices would be different. This is what works for me but I think everyone needs to find what works for them.
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Old 07-22-2009, 09:22 AM   #5
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You are all very inspiring - Even though this is my second time on the beach, I find that even after only a few days, my acid reflux is totally gone and I'm sleeping so much better. You would think I should have learned from that the first time.
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Old 07-22-2009, 09:25 AM   #6
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Cyndi,

I have had to rethink how much I associate food with events. I am learning to enjoy the county fair without a huge funnel cake. Instead, my whole family got one and shared it. I am beginning to understand that Thanksgiving can be one meal that I will enjoy greatly, but it doesn't have to equate to a weeks worth of leftovers. I am also trying to begin some new traditions with my children that incorporate getting more active--like floats on the river and hiking through a national park each summer.

In addition, (hardly a novel idea) I am finding wonderful ways to prepare my favorite foods in a healthy fashion and in ways that I don't feel deprived. Going to potlucks and things aren't a problem for me. I take a dish or two that is on plan for me--that way I always have plenty to eat while taking only small portions of the other indulgences. Going to restaurants isn't something I do much of. I will agree with you though they are usually more than accomodating if you ask.

I have been making better choices for over a year now. Every day is new and while it's an adventure, I won't say each day doesn't present challenges. I want to be balanced and have health though---more so than any cake, cookie or donut. Our health and bodies are such beautiful gifts. I want that more than anything I could whip up in a kitchen.

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Old 07-22-2009, 09:30 AM   #7
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I agree a permanent spot would be great. During my P1, by NOT tasting one bite of something off plan, I got to observe over and over and over and over......just how often my unconsious mind would have my hand dipping into something without even thinking. I just finished "The End of Overeating." One thing that really stuck in my mind is that when people were asked to write down absolutely everything that they put in their mouth without making an effort to restrict intake that by far, the majority were eating way more food than they had previously thought.
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Old 07-22-2009, 09:32 AM   #8
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This conversation got me thinking about something that happened yesterday. I was in Walgreens picking up a few things. When I got to the counter to pay, apparently they were having a candy sale and the clerk had to ask everyone to take a look at the candy on sale. She says "We are having a sale on candy today" and I say "no, thanks" and she says "But the prices are very low if you want to pick up a few bars" and I say " I don't eat sugar". She kind of looks at me weird and then tells the man behind me "Well, I KNOW you eat sugar, so you can buy some" He laughed and also kind of looked at me weird and grabbed a few bars. I'm thinking that I'm at a store that should be promoting health, and they are "pushing" my "drug of choice". Kind of strange, huh?

Would they say "well, we are having a sale today on opiates...grab a few vials!". ??
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Old 07-22-2009, 10:13 AM   #9
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Great thread! Thanks so much for taking the time to start it, Cyndi. Methinks this will be a really important sticky.
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Old 07-22-2009, 10:54 AM   #10
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Cat, I had a similar experience at our Walgreens, but she didn't push it after I said no the first time. But you're so right-on about them pushing something unhealthy at a pharmacy. Says a lot about our society...BTW, our Walgreens is next-door to the McDonald's. Irony.

Cyndi, this is a GREAT thread! I'll sticky it in the FAQ when it seems to have died down a bit. Otherwise, people might not find it at first. Thanks for starting this frank discussion.

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Originally Posted by Lexxiss View Post
It is sometimes hard to say no to a crisco laden birthday cake but I do. When I do say no, I remind myself that I can make a SB homemade cake anytime I want, and have a piece.
Debbie, that's exactly what works for me. The combo of the "sand in a watch" trans-fat idea and the knowledge of what the sugar will do to me (and the need to do P1 after that) keep me away from the Crisco cakes. But knowing that I can (and often do) make an SBD-safe dessert that will taste even better, IMHO, and be healthier for me is a big encouragement.

I can't say that my tastes have changed so drastically that I no longer want some of the unhealthy stuff. I'm more like Cat in that regard. But I have decided that I don't like how they make me feel. That makes the difference for me. I have also learned to love lots of things I never would have thought of eating before, like vegetables! They are such a joy to me now, and I have a major appreciation for the joys of fruit. My tastes are slowly changing and I am thrilled with the way I feel on SBD. That's what keeps me OP.

I understand the frustrations of dealing with family, friends, and especially strangers. I adopt Cyndi's plan of attack pretty much to the T. I have no qualms, period, about making tons of adjustments to food in restaurants and asking lots of questions. Some things I've learned not to worry about (pretty much everything I think has sugar does, so I've learned to avoid them and just deal), and I've also learned to be a sleuth (if they have whole wheat bread on anything on the menu, that means they have it and I can sub it for what they use in other things). I plan ahead as much as I can.

I can't say that those around me worry too much about what I can eat. More than anything, I'm amazed at how little the people I know have picked up on what I can and can't eat, though they've asked many times and I've explained it clearly. I can't really expect them all to know, but people I see frequently (like the members of my monthly book club, which made dinner for each other every month) shouldn't find it that hard to remember that I can't have sugar. Oh well... The only hard thing for me is when someone makes something "special" for me (like, for instance, a "sugar free" dessert that's full of white flour) and I have to explain that I still can't eat it. But I do tell them. I'm not going to compromise my health. I do it as nicely as I can, and I tell them how much I appreciate it.

When people give me gifts of food (which happens often), if I can easily say no, I do. If not, I take it and give it away, either to DH (who is under instructions to take it to work), or to whomever wants it.

Like Cyndi noted, I ask my hosts what they're making and then plan to bring my own food to complement it. At parties, I often bring a side dish that can function as a main dish (like 3 bean salad) if I am unsure of what they are making or can't contact someone to find out. If I know there'll be a decadent dessert, I either bring something SBD-safe for myself, or make a dessert to share.

Often, when I bring my own food to events, people will ogle it and ask, "Where did you get THAT?" with envy, or say, "That looks so good!" I'm constantly amazed by that. I also have found that the only times that people tell me they are sorry to eat something in front of me is when they feel ashamed about eating it. Really! Keep that one in mind next time...
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Old 07-22-2009, 11:55 AM   #11
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Quote:
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BTW, our Walgreens is next-door to the McDonald's. Irony.
You think that's weird. The hospital I work at is known for it's heart care and we have a McDonald's in the hospital!

Love reading this thread. As I look back, since starting SB I have learned so much about nutrition. And some of that is rubbing off on the people around me. My mom and kids now know that just calling something "wheat" does not mean whole wheat and that "fat free" means there's usually hidden sugar in it. My daughter now knows that sugar is in ketchup, spaghetti sauce and salad dressings and that it's healthier to consume a little good fat than HFCS and other sugars. I have my mom reading yogurt labels, etc. My kids are eating way more vegetables because I'm fixing them more. I just wish they felt the same way about beans. Gotta keep working on that.

My problem about treating myself occasionally is that once I eat one off plan thing I tend to eat uncontrollaby the rest of the day. That leads to me feeling sick, having abdominal discomfort and even occasionally vomiting. If I could control the overeating I never would have had a weight problem. When I eat clean I feel good. I was on Prevacid for GERD for over 10 years and have been off of it for a year now. My cholesterol has plummeted on SB and I am also sleeping like a baby. Can't say enough good things about SB way of eating.
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Old 07-22-2009, 12:05 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by femmecreole View Post
This conversation got me thinking about something that happened yesterday. I was in Walgreens picking up a few things. When I got to the counter to pay, apparently they were having a candy sale and the clerk had to ask everyone to take a look at the candy on sale. She says "We are having a sale on candy today" and I say "no, thanks" and she says "But the prices are very low if you want to pick up a few bars" and I say " I don't eat sugar". She kind of looks at me weird and then tells the man behind me "Well, I KNOW you eat sugar, so you can buy some" He laughed and also kind of looked at me weird and grabbed a few bars. I'm thinking that I'm at a store that should be promoting health, and they are "pushing" my "drug of choice". Kind of strange, huh?

Would they say "well, we are having a sale today on opiates...grab a few vials!". ??

OMG--the same exact thing has been happening consistently at my own Walgreens which I frequent for the last two months or so. The lady offered me a brownie @ checkout last week. I have also been offered all sorts of chocolate bars and mints. What's with the upsell @ checkout! Also, I hate that my Kroger now has ADS playing at checkout on TV screens. Also, I hate the ads playing on TV screens in the waiting area of the mens dressing room that target women! OMG! Yes, hate is a strong word and yep, I HATE this stuff.
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Old 07-22-2009, 12:33 PM   #13
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CyndiM, that's a very inspiring attitude Thank you.
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Old 07-22-2009, 01:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Kind of like anti-freeze, it might be sweet but it's really bad for you
Cyndi...I LOVE this line...thank you for it! It inspired a lurker to post...
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Old 07-22-2009, 02:05 PM   #15
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This is a wonderful thread, Cyndi, and I appreciate you starting it up and thank everyone who has contributed to it. I'll add my own 2cts. worth after I get home this evening.
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