So, before heading to Oregon — and just a few days after my return from Italy, I was sitting in my NYC apartment – okay still sulking a little bit about American versus Italian food.  A sulk I should reconsider.  First, I’m in the States, so get over it, dammit!  But also – I realize, no have to admit – I also ate what I damn well pleased while there.  Giving lie to my statements that

I never gain weight when I go to Italy!

Except, when I got on the scale upon my return and found out that a week of Janet Eats – Italian style – netted an extra five pounds in avoirdupois.  Oh boy.  Not bummed, mind you.  It is temporary.  And, oh so fun.

I found a quick option to my quest to eat like a Roman – but also keep fit, like most Italians.  I have always said – and this truism is, well, true.

You will not gain weight in Italy, if you eat their food in the WAY they eat their food.  You don’t, for the most part, see them walking around eating food, eating lots of desserts, eating in between meals.  Their fornos are a selected treat.  Not, as I did when I lived there for three months, a place to visit every day.  I have been happy to be vacationing a lot lately.  But, it does make it more challenging to eat healthfully.

  1. Challenge:  Away from home.
  2. Challenge: The food that is available is different, sometimes COMPLETELY different from your everyday choices.  And
  3. Challenge: Who WANTS to eat with limits and care.  It’s vacation!

So, now I face the wonderful opportunity to renew my commitment to healthful eating.  Good choices.  Veggies when I want them.  Steamed with a little olive oil.  Not at all something you even want to eat while on vacation.

You know, you gotta live.  In a way that allows for some indulgences.  If you are challenged, as I am, to eat healthfully on a regular basis (and, even at that, my friends tell me I’m pretty damn good at that) – you need to not judge yourself.  Pick on yourself.  Feel badly about yourself.  Enjoy the food that you eat when you eat it.  If that means a temporary weight gain, then just “man up” and eat the way you know is both best – AND enjoyable – for you.

And, I think I’ll try that recipe I read about from another Word Press Blogger, Iowa Girl Eats:

Baked Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

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At the Fair

Battered Bacon on a Stick!

It struck me this week when I went on a fairly uncharacteristic (well – these days anyway) binge.  The circumstances did not seem to particularly encourage the binge.  I wasn’t really hungry, but binges are rarely about the food.  Salty versus sweet:  this probably has some deep-down meaning I don’t care to ponder.  Bottom line:  binging serves a purpose.  It is up to each one of us to determine that purpose.

What did I eat?  Okay – in the interests of full candor here – and what good is a blog that is less than candid?

  • Chicken salad sandwich on a white roll
  • Wheat roll and butter
  • Butternut Squash Soup

I could have stopped there.  I was on jury duty that day.  I had a long lunch break and figured, what the hell, I’m not in the mood for still yet another green salad with chicken breast so have a sandwich.  I made a fairly indulgent (for me) choice although I did opt for “half a sandwich, a cup of soup.”  I could have picked simple protein, lightly dressed – or with mustard.  I could have had a clear soup – instead of creamed.  But, that is not what I wanted — and it was not what I ordered, and ate.  Eating the roll — with butter — after eating the sandwich should have made me suspicious.  But, I ignored the warning signs.

That is, I could have kept on,  if this were about food.  Something in jury duty struck an anxious chord with me.  The judge’s questions about ‘have you ever or anyone you know been convicted?” for one.  Was I supposed to divulge the youthful indiscretion of getting busted for pot possession?  I sweated that out for a year and the judge tossed it out…said I didn’t need to tell anyone about it – it was as if I had not been arrested, booked, fingerprinted and mug shotted.  (all of which I was).  I figured that gave me a pass.

That someone close to me was convicted – was another thing.  Candor unnecessary because it is not my story, but theirs.  But, it clearly stirred up some stuff!

The binge.  Oh yeah: the binge.  After the lunch that let me beyond sated, I headed back to the courthouse.  Passed a bakery and thought, what the hell.  No, let’s be honest: I was foraging for binge food.  And, pie came to mind.  Childhood comfort food if e’er there were one.  So, I stopped at Billy’s Bakery, counted my shekels and saw I had enough to get

  • a piece of peach pie

The pie was okay.  But, just okay.  I am pretty sure the peaches were not fresh – and the pie was cold – and I didn’t feel like bringing anyone else into my shameful little overindulgence and get it heated up.   I ate it.  And, enjoyed it.  Very little.

After court, when I revealed the other’s conviction, I entered the streets of the city – in search of more F-O-O-D.  I had entered the gateway to the binge.  I bought

  • a raspberry shortbread bar (I should’ve gotten the lemon bar the night before – and maybe this binge would never have started.  Who knows at this point.  Though, c’mon!!!  YOU SHOULD KNOW!!).
  • a lemon raspberry cookie.  Then
  • a dark snickers bar
  • And a Häagen-Dazs® ice-cream bar.

You know in writing it doesn’t look so bad.  But, it felt bad.  And, I felt badly about it.   So, here is the point of this candid anecdote.  Life presented me with an opportunity, not to pick on myself, not to beat up on me, not to even feel badly about the day, because it was past and passed.  This was my chance to look at what was underlying the binge.  And, learn from it.

When we go into that zone where all we think about is food, overeating food, what we would eat if we could – and would.  Then, how icky we feel afterwards.  ALL of that distracts us from what is really bothering us.  So, I didn’t think once that day of the anxiety over the conviction revelation.  Or, what the power that incident still clearly held over me emotionally.  All I thought about was E.A.T.I.N.G.!!!

To my credit – and we all have this power, I did look at that behavior the next day – and analyzed it for what it was.  That allowed me to leave the binge behind.  And, be all the wiser for looking at what caused it in the first place.

It is well-known in the weight loss world that one of the best things you can do is keep a food diary.  As a writer, I understand all too well, the power of pen on paper.  Something profound happens with that direct link between the brain and the ink.  I’m sure there is some science behind it.

Writing down what you eat keeps you on track.  Even if you are not ready to start changing the way you eat, start tracking.  When you eat it, write it down.  Some recommend you write the time, place, and what you were feeling.  That’s a fine idea.  But, if you are diet daunted, keep it simple.

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You might wonder why I chose to write about pigging out in my last blog Janet Eats.  Too Much.

It just struck me that to stay true to my “mission” here on JanetEats, my ‘how I lost 50 pounds’ – I need to be open to all the nuances and challenges of that task.  It would be important to share the whole experience, not just the heady “whoo-hoo look-at-me I’m-losing-weight experience.  And, this blog is not just about losing weight through Weight Watchers, though it is clear that I swear by that program.  Why?  Simple.  It’s the “less in, more out” school of eating that leads to successful weight loss.  Weight University, I often call it.  It is a good time to learn whaddup with the overeating experience.

We do have our ups and downs.  We’ve seen that dramatically with Oprah.

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Shovel It InReality bites!

I am happy to say that I not only lost 50 pounds, I reached my weight-loss goal at the end of January.  In total, I lost 51 pounds.

This does not mean my life as a watcher of weight is over.  I continue to exercise my “eat properly” muscles.  With that, comes indulgences on occasion.   I realized when I reached my goal what an awesome challenge I would be facing with Maintenance.  I know how to lose weight.  I know how to gain it.  Keeping myself at a steady weight, now that is something I need to learn to do.

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Careening Car

Out of Control.  I’ve lost control.  “She lacks self-control.”  No willpower, that one!  If only I could control my eating!

All easy accusations to make – whether from yourself or from others – when you walk through the gateway to a binge.  I think Al Roker calls it the “zone.”

The way I look at it: that on-a-binge, eating-until-you’re-sick-to-your-stomach, eating-more-than-you-can-stand, having-the-box-of-cereal-rather-than-the-piece-of-cake behavior is NOT! Out. Of. Control.

Isn’t it, in fact, absolute control?

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