August 7, 2014

True Confessions: I'm Addicted to Food

So, I keep seeing this meme pop up online. At first, this image yielded my typical responses--"Huh, interesting"--and afterward, "Oh, please, shut up".

Now, I'll admit that exercise was at least somewhat effective for depressive symptoms. At my exercise peak, I had the energy to do a lot more than usual... once I found the motivation (which exercise did NOT cure thankyouverymuch).

I will also admit, my life does revolve around food. There's been *cough* several times when I go to meet with someone, particularly my boyfriend, and they want to go to a store or something and I respond with, "Yea! That sounds great! After food though. Right? Right. Food."

There was zero shame to my game.

But here, in part 2 of chronicling my healthier habits, there is all the shame, and frustration, and anxiety, and depression. My life still revolves around food but it's in the most tedious and unpleasant fashion.

I've been using the myfitnesspal application on my phone to keep track of how much food I'm consuming, my nutrition, exercise, and water intake. For the  most part, the app has been great except it it not as intuitive for daily life.

Like, for example, the app has "chewing" as an exercise. But there's no exercise for "Rampaging in DC traffic"

 Another example, you can log calories burned from being on the elliptical and other cardio machines but it doesn't say that doing cardio, then planks, then squats, then a wall sit, then multiple sets on multiple leg machines, then lunges with weights burns calories. It doesn't even matter that you got halfway down the gym stairs to leave, wanted to sit at the landing and lament like Andy from The Office, "Oh, I could just sit here and cry"

I've maybe been watching a lot of The Office... I'm sure nobody could tell.

I'm able to get over this issue because it exaggerates the number of calories I burned on the elliptical-- "Oh, training for 25 minutes equals 300 calories? The machine told me 230 but OK!"

It's mainly the food. I figured out months ago, when I downloaded the app, that I have ZERO judge on the size and serving of food. I've had a chai latte practically every morning for the last... yikes, 7 1/2 years... wow. I'm coming up on a chai-aversary in a few years... Anyway! I knew that the habit wasn't GREAT for me but, hey, it wasn't coffee and I had moved myself down from 2% milk down to skim milk (which is essentially white and water), so it couldn't be that bad. Right? Let's see, I'm supposed to have a 300-400 calorie breakfast and chai is 70 calories for every 1/2 cup. "That shouldn't be too bad!" I pour my typical amount of chai concentrate into my mug and then pour it into a measuring cup... there goes 1/2 a cup... and 3/4... and now I've run out of lines... "You know what, fuck this!" I turned off the app and glared at phone for the rest of day for what it did.

I wasn't ready to quit my chai. I wasn't ready to start chronicling my every calorie because I knew it would be fraught with disappointment and bitter surprise, sometimes horror. I wasn't even ready to say "Ok, let's start working our way down to 1/2 cup of chai with half cup of milk. That's totally doable."

I figured out I had to do the leg work first--guilt-tripping yourself out of eating a food is so much easier when you're not craving it. I created a list of snack foods and appropriate meals. While typing this sentence took 2 seconds, I promise you getting to where I was last week when I finally pulled the trigger on this plan took, arguably, 2 years.

Now, here's another moment where I'll admit that my obsessiveness did not help. I bought a ricemaker thinking "rice is healthy and I love it. I will forever eat rice". But, as karma demands it, no, white rice is just as terrible as white bread. Because it's not just about getting a food low in fat or calories, it's about the sodium and cholesterol content if your family has a history of heart disease (*swish* count it!) or sugar if your family has a history of diabetes (*swishswish* COUNT IT!).

You doubt everything you buy. Nothing is good for you. And after spending 5 minutes debating every purchase in the grocery store only to get to the bottom of the nutrition facts and find out the product is riddled with fake sugars and processed evil mystery preservative (anddd family history of cancer for the hat trick *swishswishswish*).

Here's the moment when I would reuse The Office Andy "I can too just sit here and cry" picture.

I will never be safe until I build a biodome.

In case this existential crisis wasn't clusterfucked enough, enter life, stage right. My grandmother recently broke her hip and due to what seems like some true-life-based Saw movie, I've been visiting her in the rehabilitation facility at least 3 times a week. Day 2 of my healthier venture, I agreed to go to a meeting to talk about her upcoming discharge (thank godbuddahallah).

9am: I had my healthy breakfast, I'm good to go!
11am (mid-meeting): CRAP! It's time to eat again? But I forgot to bring a pre-packaged 150 calorie snack. Oh well. I'm not hungry because I had an awesome healthy breakfast.

 *somewhere in here my mom volunteers me to stay with Mimi for another 2 hours which then turned into me doing her laundry and returning it to rehab for another 4 hours*


And what do you do when you're counting calories and need lunch? You sure as shit don't go to a restaurant because you won't be able to log it in! So I got a chicken salad sandwich from Harris Teeter. No nutrition facts. SHOULD HAVE SCANNED IT IN THE STORE. But I didn't. I went back to Mimi's to listen to the hum of the dryer and ate my sandwich containing 500+ mg of sodium.

And that all was just one day. Most of the days this week have included some panic to get "healthy" looking food only to eat it and then become pissed and/or disappointed. Today I was back at Mimi's and wanted a burger from this place down the road. It's a very hipster place that totes it's killing of happy cows who were frolicking locally before being lured into the barn with an axe. The dairy cows, if capable of frolicking, are also in said local fields produced cheese for the meat products of their angus brethren. Even the veggies placed on top of this local feast was grown on the same lands, just out of cow-reach. As a proud meat-eating redneck, this makes me very happy. But as an chicken-eating soulless creature trying to eat healthier, I dragged myself into a sandwich chain store and ordered what I thought was a lean turkey sandwich but turned out to be dehydrated, thinly-sliced, shredded lettuce-topped mess.

Side note-- why the hell is deli-thin slice a thing? You can barely taste anything that's thinly sliced. "Oh, you know what really brings out the flavor of that cake? Slicing it into slivers so you can eat 4 of them just to get the same amount you normally would."... said no one ever.

I'm now leaving my house wondering about when I'm going to eat next, what will I eat, what will I eat after that to compensate. Nothing about the unhealthy eating habits have seemed to change, but, arguably, have gotten worse. It's depressing.

I'll close with this: leaving a bag of grapes on the counter is dangerous.
What is the serving size equivalent to "I went to the bag and just started shoving them into my face"?

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