Friday, February 27, 2009

Request for my fellow recruits

I have a favor to ask of my fellow Project recruits. This ties in to Chris's most recent message about meditation.

Many of you know Diana from Chris's Saturday morning yoga class. I first coaxed her into coming with me to Chris's class when he was still teaching at Twisted Sage and she took to yoga like a duck to water. She is also my dearest friend, and I have been blessed with her friendship for more than twenty years.

This week she suffered a great loss when she had to put down her little dog Payton. Diana was a great caregiver to her, but Payton was 16 years old and had had many illnesses and complications from old age, and the time had come to let her go.

My request is that in your meditation session this weekend, that you think of Diana and send her your love and support. I know she is grieving and I want to do whatever I can to help her through it. I think the power of group meditation is great and I can't think of a better way to use it, if you all could please help. Thanks.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The dreaded office pitch-in

You know it's gonna happen: the dreaded, diet-busting office pitch-in. They post the sign-up list on somebody's cubicle and I start wondering "how bad will it be?" How many bags of hydrogenated oil-soaked chips will be piled on the "goodie" table? Who will bring in the artificially-flavored, neon-pink frosted cupcakes encrusted with sprinkles from the local Megamart in all of their plastic-covered glory?

Come on, you all know what I'm talking about. You know which of your co-workers makes a mean molded-fruit-and-mini-marshmallow Jello salad and can be expected to bring it to every potluck. Somebody else always brings a tiny tub of store-bought macaroni salad (as if everyone could be expected to only scoop out one measly noodle). You can always count on the single guy in the group who brings artificially-flavored barbecue potato chips and canned whey-based dip with dehydrated onion. By the way, whoever came up with the idea of barbecue-flavored potato chips? Who would barbecue a potato? Was someone in the lab at Frito-Lay sitting around pining for the good old days when their mom would fire up the grill and make REAL barbecue-flavored chips, and decided they just HAD to duplicate that down-home flavor in a beaker?

Anyway, I had to face down a potluck today. It was "Records Clean-Up Day," which is a pretentious way of saying that we all had a lot of papers and shit to clean out of our cubicles so we can store some more. So to make the occasion more festive our AA arranged a pitch-in.

I did pretty well. There are some people in our group who enjoy healthy stuff who brought fresh cut fruit, fresh raw veggies, and trail mix, and I indulged in all of those. But I also had a hot dog.

I can hear y'all screaming now BUT YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT'S IN THOSE and they will basically LODGE THEMSELVES in your AORTA and you will die immediately. Honestly, hot dogs don't really bother me all that much. I figure they are actually a good use of all the bits and pieces that would otherwise get thrown away. Very frugal. Plus there's nothing better at a ball park, and I'll bet I only have a hot dog two or three times a year which hasn't killed me yet. I do draw the line at the other tube-shaped meat products. Potted meat? Please. When a list of ingredients begins with the phrase "mechanically-separated pork shoulder" I avoid it just because of the mental picture it evokes.

So I had my plain little hot dog with some mustard, and loaded up on the fruits and veggies. Now I'm ready for baseball season, which means spring training is right around the corner, which means spring is coming soon! Yay!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Je suis une lover du chocolat

Sweet Jesus on a lighthouse, do I love chocolate. Why does it have to be so sinful, so fattening, so yummy, so rich, so decadent?

The real absolute truth is, I love fat. In lots of artery-clogging forms. An excellent full-fat cheese, thick-sliced bacon, real cream, duck confit, European butter, dark chocolate pots de creme -- anything with loads of animal fat that is vaguely French, I love. I shy away from the organ meats -- I'm American enough to still think of it as having a smidgen of eau de roadkill, so I leave the goose liver to them. I remember something Julia Child once said, in response to the low-fat craze that swept the country, that "giving up butter, for instance, means that in two years you would be covered with dandruff." I quite agree. I once had a creme brulee that was so rich, so silky, and so loaded with luxurious velvety fat that I couldn't decide whether to eat it or rub it all over my body.

The French paradox is truly a phenomenon. How do they eat all that fat and drink wine and stay thin? I suppose a lot of has to do with the fact that they walk everywhere they go, plus lots of them smoke. Every cafe in Paris -- and there are 12,000 of them in that city -- has people sitting, smoking, drinking their glass of wine or aperitif, and ninety percent of them are positively scrawny. It's infuriating.

But, they also eat lots of local, fresh vegetables and homemade dressings, and their portions are small. This is something that I am re-learning during the Project - portion size. I am enjoying having a few high-quality treats as opposed to a flying-saucer-sized plate of dreck.

At least that's what I told myself as justification, as I drank my glass of red wine and ate my single chocolate truffle on Valentine's Day. The Project has made me take better care of my body, but sometimes, you just have to feed the soul.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

can I get an Amen

Regarding Chris's Project Tip about turning off your TV - AMEN! I am frequently irritated to hear people talking about the lack of time that they have to pursue a hobby, stay in shape, or read when they clearly have no problem memorizing the latest American Idol contestants due to their three hours a day of evening TV-watching.

I prefer reading. Yes, I know it's not physical exertion but it is my personal favorite stress-relieving activity. I am as addicted to reading books as much as any fitness nut is addicted to biking or running marathons.

One of the ways I have rewarded myself when I have followed all my Project activites to a T is by allowing myself time to simply read, undisturbed, on a weekend afternoon. No working, no TV, no puttering around with errands, but a nice quiet afternoon in front of the fire with my cup of tea and a good book. Heaven!

How do you reward yourself?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Limerick Friday!

There once was a girl on a diet
who cut up a chicken to fry it
unwrapped the foil,
poured in the oil,
but the kitchen was eerily quiet

No wine bottle popping its cork
No tasting the rice with a fork
Portions are small
I'm climbing the wall
I could eat an entire roast pork

Wandering around in the clutter
Looking for snacks as I mutter
under my breath,
"a fate worse than death?"
Dreaming of chocolate and butter

I sigh as I sit down to eat
Three ounces of sprouted whole wheat
a salad of green,
a single green bean,
and a morsel of overcooked meat

The chicken will wait until later
I'll fry it and serve it with taters
mashed up with cream,
some broccoli I'll steam,
But for now the goal is much greater

So off to the gym I will run,
skip all food served on a bun,
drink water, not wine
eat tofu, not swine,
until the tortune is done

I've got twenty more pounds to lose,
this diet is blowing my fuse
I'm outta the kitchen
I'm sick of this bitchin'
I'm off to the mall to buy shoes.

Monday, February 2, 2009

the ego speaks up

I was strangely angry this weekend. Off and on I kept feeling this irritation build up, even after doing Chris's yoga class Saturday morning. Usually after a power yoga class I am completely mellow, but I was crabby as hell.

The mental and emotional aspect of doing this project is challenging to me. Truthfully, I am tired already of writing down every bloody mouthful of food I eat, counting every calorie in every single green bean or shred of carrot, measuring every teaspoon of oil and obsessing over the extra dash of salsa I put on my scrambled egg. Did I count it? Did I put it in the diary? Do I have a thousand more fun things to do instead of tracking my food intake, like alphabetizing my canned goods or maybe counting how many freckles I have and categorizing them by color, size, and location?

This isn't the first time I've obsessed over calories and number of workouts. It's just another in a long list of experiences I have put myself through over the past 30 years trying to get, or keep, my weight down and my body in shape. Yes, I signed up for this of my own free will and was not in any way coerced. I intend to follow the Project until the bitter end, and hope to have incorporated enough of the habits to make a lasting healthy change in my life, but.....

The truth is aging sucks. Being a woman and aging sucks. Living in a society that values women mostly for their looks - that really sucks. The relentless pursuit of eternal youth is exhausting. I waver between wanting to be in the best possible shape I can be, and wanting to accept and love myself exactly as I am and stop torturing myself over weight and calories and "good" foods and "bad" foods and number of miles run and how fast and how much weight I lift and on and on and on, ad infinitum. Do I only get to relax when I'm dead?

I am aware that all of this is my ego talking. Right now I am pretty fed up with my ego and would be pleased if I could pull if out of my head, like an irritating hair in my ear, and put it away where it won't bother me. The meditation helps, but it doesn't erase the irritating voice of my ego as I enviously watch my skinny co-worker eat a cheeseburger.

It's just so hard to be good.