My Homemade Mother's Day Gift

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

What I've learned in 4 years...

I used to be thin.  I used to be active.  In my Junior year, we'd moved from Texas to St. Louis.  All my friends left behind... all my activities... no more swimming pool... no more eternal summers... no more kickball or cheer-leading practice or dances or spending the entire day at the mall.  My father fell ill.  My mom started a job and I came home from school and watched TV... talked with my dad... or when I'd get with my friends, we'd ride around in cars.  My metabolism hung on through my Junior year but by the summer before my Senior year, I started putting on a little weight.  My dad died.  Mom didn't make meals like she used to.  

When I went to college, I started noticing a lot of the girls got that Academic spread.  I was determined it wouldn't happen to me.  So I started riding my bike and I was really careful not to eat the junk.  I thinned back out.

Seems like every time I've figured out what to do to keep my weight down, it would work for a while but then some lifestyle change would come along and yank the rug out from under me... and everything would start unraveling again.

I come into work early.  6 A.M I start.  The call center doesn't start up until 7:30 so its usually just me in there until at least 7 and sometimes not until 8 because a lot of folks work from home.

Yesterday morning, a co-worker stopped by my cubicle.  "Hi Judi." I smiled.  I drown out the sounds of an empty room while I do my work with my earbuds and music from my computer.  I get a little jumpy.  I keep thinking I see things and I start concentrating more on what is not going on around me than what I'm doing.  So I smiled and gestured and said "Good Morning," and went back to what I was doing.

But she stopped and came over and sat in the empty chair by me.  She works in another department.  "We started a Biggest Loser's program in our department," she began.  "One of the women you used to work with said you'd lost quite a bit of weight."

"Yeah, half of me so far."

We talked about how hard it is to diet... to exercise when you're really heavy.  She told me that our mutual co-worker told her I'd been doing this three years.  Actually, it was 4. (

She asked how I kept the weight off. I had to change everything.  I stopped looking at a diet as a temporary fix that I was looking to get past. I told her that the only way she was going to be successful, was to change her whole way of thinking about food and eating and to change her family's eating habits along with hers.  

I mentioned how I never eat anything like cheeseburgers and fries anymore.  That its just not worth it to me.  

She looked like I'd hit her.   I know that feeling.  The "diet" is just for now... I explained, to stay thin, (funny but I haven't actually gotten there yet), you have to quit looking at everything as temporary.  It isn't.  It can't be.  The diet is the easy part.  The really hard part is maintaining.

I explained about condensed calories... and this is my favorite example.  A McDonalds Big Mac, large fries and a Soda, 1300 Calories.  18 Apples, 1300 Calories.  What in the world would make you eat 18 Apples?  If someone told you that you had to, you'd feel pretty desperate.  I can't eat all that!!  But I've most certainly eaten that meal.  

I've learned to count calories.  I've learned that I can eat a huge plate of vegetables or a huge bowl of Salad and consume very few calories if I leave off the butter and the cheese.  I've learned to appreciate food as a way to stave off hunger instead of as a way to fill an unfillable hole or as reward or as a substitute.  I've learned that I can add spice and heat and make my food delicious without making it calorie laden and that I reward myself with being able to bend over or squat down... because for a very long time, way too much time, I couldn't... I couldn't run... I couldn't stand for long periods of time.  I couldn't control my eating... and now that I am master over my appetite instead of being enslaved, that too is a reward.

I found these things on various websites... because its important for me to remember that I can eat three pounds of celery for the same amount of calories as 1.5 ounces of a Snickers Bar.  That I can change 2 whole apples for 2 slices of cheese or 7 little squares about the size of a dice.  I wanted to keep it where I can go back and look at it or share it the next time someone wants to know how I keep it off.  

Food can benefit my life or it can become an oppressive tormentor whose delicious favors appear rewarding but are, in reality, stealing away my life. 

What 200 Calories look like (taken from numerous sites)

Apples (385 grams / 13.5 oz ~ 2 Med apples)

Butter (28 grams / 0.98 oz or 2 Tblsp)

Broccoli (588 grams / 20.7 oz or 1 1/4 lb)

Snickers Chocolate Bar (41 grams / 1.45 oz  or 4/5 of a 1.85 oz bar.)

Cooked Pasta (145 grams / 5.11 oz or about a 1/2 C dry or about 1 C cooked)

Hot Dogs (66 grams / 2.33 oz- ewww)

Kiwi Fruit (328 grams / 11.6 oz or about 4 med)

Cheeseburger (75 grams / 2.6 oz or 1/2 of a McDonald's Double Cheeseburger)

Eggs (150 grams / 5.3 oz or 2 large eggs cooked with a teaspoon of butter)

Celery (1425 grams / 50.3 oz or 3 lbs)

McDonald's Apple Pie (62.3 grams / 2.2 oz 1 pie less 1/2 oz The whole pie weighs 2.7)

Mini Peppers (740 grams / 26.1 oz or 1 lb 10 oz)

Canned Black Beans (186 grams / 6.56 oz or about 3/4 of a cup)

Werther’s  Candy (46 grams / 1.6 oz or not quite 9 pieces)

Chic-Fill-A ChickenBurger (total calories is 440 so not quite half of this)

Dunkin Doughnut- Glazed (52 grams / 1.8 oz total calorie cnt of the doughnut is 230)

French Roll (72 grams / 2.5 oz)

Avocado (120 grams / 4.25 oz about 1 small)

Canned Sweet Corn (308 grams / 10.9 oz or a little over a cup)

Baby Carrots (570 gram / 20.1 oz or 1 1/4 lbs)

Canned Green Peas (357 grams / 12.6 oz or a cup and a half)

Canned Baked Beans (186 grams / 6.56 oz or about 2/3 of a cup)

Doritos (41 grams / 1.44 oz or about 22 chips)

Dried Apricots (83 grams / 2.9 oz or 10 pieces)

French Fries (62 grams / 2.2 oz or if you get the small fries at McDonald's, its 30 calories over the 200)

Fruit Loops Cereal (51 grams / 1.8 oz or about 1-3/4 Cup)

Grapes (290 grams / 10.2 oz or 3 -1/3 Cups)

Gummy Bears (51 grams / 1.8 oz They're 9 calories each so you can have 22)

Hershey Kisses (36 grams / 1.27 oz or 8 they are 25 calories each)

Honey Dew Melon (553 grams / 19.5 oz or 3-1/4 Cups diced ) Cantaloupe 3-3/4 Cups Watermelon, 4-1/2 Cups

Jelly Belly Beans (54 grams / 1.9 oz or 50 jelly beans)

Tomato sauce (226 grams / 7.97 oz)

M&M's (40 grams / 1.4 oz or 58 milk chocolate or 20 peanut)

Red Onions (475 grams / 16.75 oz or a pound)

Sliced Smoked Turkey (204 grams / 7.2 oz enough for a couple of sandwiches)

Coca Cola (496 ml / 16.77 oz or not quite a can and a third of another can)

Olive Oil (23 grams / 0.8 oz or 1-2/3 Tblsp)

Tootsie Pops (68 grams / 2.4 oz 3 are 180 Calories and 4 are 240)

Whole Milk (333 ml / 11.3 fl oz)

Balsamic Vinegar (200 ml / 6.8 fl oz)

Lowfat Strawberry Yogurt (196 grams / 6.9 oz-about 3/4 Cup )

Canned Chili con Carne (189 grams / 6.7 oz -about 3/4 Cup )

Canned Tuna  (102 grams / 3.6 oz or 60% of a can of Tuna)

Fiber One Cereal (100 grams / 3.5 oz or        1-2/3 cup)

Bread (90 grams / 3.17 oz Unless you eat Ezekiel bread... then its 2.5 slices of bread you can live on.)

Blueberry Muffin (72 grams / 2.5 oz  well it depends on the recipe, but the Starbucks Muffin, you get a little over half.)

Condensed milk (60 ml / 2.02 fl oz or 1/4 cup)

Whole Wheat Flr (60 grams / 2.1oz 1/2 cup)

Rice Cereal (54 grams / 1.9 oz or about 2 cups)

Wheat Cereal (53 grams / 1.87 oz 2 Cups)

Brown Sugar (53 grams / 1.87 oz about 1/3 C)

Salted Pretzels (52 grams / 1.83 oz or about 31 tiny twists 15 of the classic.)

Cheddar Cheese (51 grams / 1.8 oz about the size of a woman's thumb)

Potato Chips (37 grams / 1.3oz)

Sliced and Toasted Almonds 
(35 grams / 1.23 oz or 6 tblsp)

Peanut Butter (34 grams / 1.2 oz or ~2 Tblsp)

Salted Mixed Nuts    (33 grams / 1.16 oz or   3-1/3 Tblsp)