Posts tagged ‘sugar’

Day 9.5 up to 10: Final Day/s to Happiness

"Girl Showing Thumbs Up" courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Girl Showing Thumbs Up” courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

Of course this is not the last day I intend to be happy.  But this is the sort of end of my “spring break”, and tomorrow I will move on to other topics, with the occasional updates throughout.

Random semi-related thought: I’m really intrigued by the variety of “like”s from this week (because yes, I do sometimes obsess about these things):

Intro: 5 Pieces of Happiness:15       Days 1 & 2: 10     Day 3: 10     Day 4: 9     Day 5: 10     Days 6 & 7: 13     Days 8 and 8.5: 2

So. . . naturally I’m curious about the most recent day.  I think it’s likely that it was too long to read or that people are ready for me to move on.  Or people have places to go, people to see, other blogs to read etc.

Moving on. . .

1. My health took a hit with the two parties I had this week.  I overindulged in many delicious sweets, and I paid for it, especially today.  The overeating and sugar explosion resulted in a very cranky, depressed Teri who still has not completely recovered, though faring much better.  Sleep has still been fine, and exercise has been great.  Yesterday I took Bowser for a walk.  Today I biked 14 miles, and after the party I took Bowser for a mile walk.

2. I am having a lot of technological drama this weekend.  I’m trying not to dwell on it too much because I know I’m only attracting more to myself that way.  I finally completed my first vlog, but I’m still struggling to upload it to letsvlog.com.  Brian helped me with conversion — first getting it to be the right size, and then the right file format — and now I’m still trying to get the site to accept it.  As of this moment, I have just deleted the video (that the site was still “converting”), and am attempting to upload again.  I must admit these difficulties have lessened my excitement with this new venture.  But I do think I’m video-genic, so worse comes to worse, I may try youtube next.  I’d really like to start with the smaller vlog community, though, before I open myself up to the whole world.

3. People.  Ah, people.  I was completely awkward at the party last night.  Full blown introvertedness, though I tried to fight it/hide it.  It was a great party with a lot of people, but I was feeling extremely self-conscious and unsure of myself with all the new people, and my uncomfortablesness came to an unpleasant climax when I lived out one of my most awkward/drawn out goodbye — Brian confirmed it even made him uncomfortable.  Maybe I need to just give a blunt “Bye” and spin right around from now on because I think I’ve gone way out to the opposite extreme now.  The party today was fine.  It was family.  I was a little uneasy with the one new person there, but I got over it fairly quickly until the ladies began talking about engagement rings.  I think I masked my uneasiness well, but I didn’t even know what I was supposed to think and feel.  The thing is, though a part of me wants the traditional things, like a ring, another part of me thinks it goes against everything I am.  I don’t wear a lot of jewelry and would never want to spend that much money on any one item, and I certainly wouldn’t want to insist that Brian shell out so much for me.  Finally, I abhor the notion that my future decisions and happiness depend entirely on my partner.  (Why should deciding to get married be just the guy’s job?)   But I could go on and on about that sort of thing.  So, I’m moving on again.

4. This is still good.  Being present.  No, I’m not in a perfect state of awareness all the time, but I’m a lot more aware than I used to be.  And I have moments of meditative bliss.  Today I found the perfect tree to hug on my walk — the tree was actually leaning in as if about to give a hug! — and wrapping my arms around the massive trunk felt fantastic.  Bowser was really patient about the whole thing, too, even when I went to hug a second tree.  The trees are still more alive; the birds are alive.  I’m more in touch with myself.  Unfortunately, that means I’m also in touch with my inner unpleasant feelings, like the dread of going back to work, and my nervous emotional reactions to people and situations.  And speaking of touch, I’ve become much more observant of how often I touch my skin, especially my face.  I think it’s mainly a nervous thing, and I’ve noticed that I’m doing it a lot more now, as my break comes to an end.  I’m wondering if my skin issues are correlated to the amount of contact I have with my skin.  I still think stress is a factor, too.

5.  I don’t have much to say for this last one.  Just that I’m ready for a change and want a simpler life.  I’m willing to work hard; I just want to be able to play hard, too.  I admit that I miss my regular work routine, and I’m ready to return to work, if only for that part.  I keep trying to calm my nervous stomach and tell it that from now on I will not be as stressed, but my body doesn’t want to believe me yet.  It may take time.

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Date Night

"DVD Player" courtesy of dan/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“DVD Player” courtesy of dan/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

Stayed in tonight and watched a semi-recent release —  Crazy, Stupid, Love — and I loved it.  I’m a softy romantic, but I’m also highly critical of a movie — preferring an interesting plot, good acting, and witty dialog to a cliche crowd-pleaser.  This one was perfect.  It was more on the comedy side than the mushy romance, and I was holding my stomach, rocking, and laughing hysterically quite a few times throughout the flick.  But the best evidence of all that it was a quality movie is that Brian actually watched it with me, instead of distractedly fiddling around on his laptop.  (He said he was just going to watch a little, but I think I caught him watching most of the movie.)

Other highlights of the evening include some bitter, bitter, bitter 90% dark chocolate and a quick dive back into sugar: rainbow sherbet (with only natural coloring) and bites of Brian’s cheesecake — which I attacked mercilessly, reminding me of why I’ve cut out most of the sugary foods from my diet. . .

An honorable mention goes to tonight’s dinner (prepared by master chef Brian) which consisted of a stir fry of mixed veggies, brown rice, and chunks of marinated tofu, cooked in Soyaki sauce AND THEN the most delicious homemade fries, spritzed with olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute. (SO amazing.)

Fantastic night — looking forward to the next one!

Temptation

 "Cookies" by Suat Eman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Cookies” by Suat Eman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Well, I was doing fairly awesome on being healthy, and then temptation hit.   Not with the vegetarian part.  Up until today, I’d been ok with that.  It’s not like people leave cheeseburgers or chili cheese dogs lying around at work to tempt you — though, the party today had some smoked salmon that almost broke me, and the jalapeno cheese dip may have had some bacon . . .

But, no, the tricky part was the sweets because those can sit out there on the teacher’s lounge table day-after-day-after-day, hour-after-hour-after-hour.  And that, I could not resist.  My recent pristine healthy eating went right out the window this past week.   Every time I’d go down the stairs to check my mailbox, I’d pick something up: a dark chocolate Frango Mint here, a Hershey Kiss cookie there . . .  little pick-me-ups before I faced my next class.  Couldn’t really hurt, right?

And then there were the gifts from the kids.  It started with a double-decker box of assorted chocolates from one of my tutoring students.  When I bit into the first chocolate, my eyes lit up like matching fireplaces.  I was a sugar-aholic getting the first taste of what I’d been missing, and as my tongue swept across my bottom lip, I quivered with excitement.  Frightening.  Then, when I’d gotten close to finishing off that first box, the barrage hit.  My Spanish students bombarded me: boxes of chocolate of various sizes and assortments, little chocolate Santas, fruit cake, homemade candy, etc.   Thankfully, I’ve managed thus far to convince myself to stick to one box at a time, but heaven help me if anyone breaks the seal on any of the other boxes . . .

But I had a sense of impending doom when the cookies came home from Brian’s cookie exchange.  There they were — easily accessible sugary goodness of all types, just sitting there on my kitchen counter – unwrapped, uneaten, and oh, so inviting.   I knew I was in trouble when Brian suggested we bring them to the party the next day, and I shrieked in a very Gollum-like fashion: “What?  Those cookies??  They’re MINE! MINE”  I ran to the exchange box and immediately began sorting through them: “We can bring these, but these are for me. . . . hmmm, and these. .  .  and these. . .  and these. . . (pause). . .  these too.” Mind you, this is the same person who less than a week ago insisted the whole cookie exchange idea was ridiculous and didn’t want any of the cookies in the house.  Because I knew better.

The only thing that saved me was my sudden turn in health this morning.  As I’ve said earlier, I don’t get sick.  So, today, when I woke up with a hacking cough and a congested chest I was a mix of dumbfoundedness, humbleness, and unconcealed frustration.  How could I feel sick?  I’ve been doing so well, right?  Right?  Oh wait.  The cookies.  Oh yeah.  The chocolate.  Oh no.  I knew the cookies had to go.  At first I decided I would still keep some for myself, but when I struggled to choose any, I knew I had to give them all up.  I piled them all up on our translucent red flower-shaped tray and lovingly tucked them all away in plastic wrap.

Of course, I knew it wasn’t goodbye forever.  I had 2 or 3 of the best kinds while at the party.  And I didn’t miss them much when I tried the mini dark chocolate and mini chocolate peanut butter ice cream bars that were sitting there staring up at me ever-so sweetly.  (Hack, hack.  Paid for that one immediately.)  I desperately tried to minimize the damage, drinking Echinacea tea through one side of my mouth while stuffin’ sweets into the other.  Believe it or not, that didn’t balance out quite as well as I’d hoped. . .

But anyway, I fear the worst is yet to come: Christmas Eve Dinner with Brian’s family.  I can sidestep the ham and turkey, but I doubt all the scrumptious casseroles and dips will be meat-free.  And it doesn’t help that the hostess is a fan-tas-tic baker who fills an entire side of the kitchen with her sweet concoctions.   This hearty once-carnivore may be sorely tempted to satisfy her need for fat by diving into that sweet side of the kitchen.

But I’ll just continue to take one moment at a time, one sweet at a time.  At least I know I’m not invincible.  I say this, as I rub some Shaklee Mentholated Multi-Purpose Cream across my chest and nurse cup-after-cup of my Chamomile Tea. [Microwave: beep  (pause) Microwave: beep  (pause)  Microwave: beep (pause) Brian: “Uh, Teri, Your tea is done.”(pause) Microwave: beep  (pause) Microwave: beep  (pause) Brian: “Tea is done.” Me: “Oh, mmm, yeah, uh huh, honey.” Microwave: beep . . . (pause). . . ]

So, if I falter, I will face the consequences.   I just hope that knowledge will be enough . . .

Makin’ Cookies

"Gingerbread Christmas Tree" by nuchylee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Gingerbread Christmas Tree” by nuchylee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I haven’t baked in quite a while.  And I am certainly no expert.   But if anything, I am more suited to baking than Brian.  He is the cook.  I am the baker.  I insist on following the quantities, ingredients, and directions exactly.  Brian likes to experiment.

Last night we made 7 dozen cookies for Brian’s cookie exchange at work.  “Are you crazy?” I asked him. And:  “What do I get out of this?”  “Cookies!” he exclaimed. “Many different types!”  “And this is a good thing?” I asked him, arching my eyebrow (or if I could actually arch one eyebrow, because that would be so awesome).  “You KNOW I will eat them all in a day or two!” I cried.  “All my work for nothing!”

But he had agreed to make the cookies, and he wanted to make a good impression in his new job.  And I, not having baked in a while and having a bit of an itch to do so, and also knowing that this was one area where I had more expertise than Brian in the kitchen and could show off a bit, AND also having absolutely no desire to start grading and planning for the week at that moment — which perhaps was the most important incentive of all — thus eagerly dug into the task.

First we had to figure out what in the heck we were doing.  I spent minutes upon minutes slowly pouring the dry sugar cookie mix into the egg and butter combo: pour, mix, pour, mix, pour, mix . . .  Then I took the ball and set it on the cutting board.  (A little pat here, a little pat there.)  Then it was time to roll the dough with a rolling pin.  Except . . . we have no rolling pin.  We considered the possibilities.  A beer bottle?  An unopened deodorant?  We settled on a nearly empty spray can of whipped cream, but the dough was fairly unwieldy.  Plus we realized we didn’t feel like cookie-cuttering 84 cookie shapes, no matter what kind of dough we were dealing with.  So we started with cookie balls.  Then we started to flatten them a bit.   And we turned on the oven to 25 degrees below suggested (since my oven has burnt many a chocolate chip cookie in the past).

Then we became a machine.  One of us melting the butter and mixing it with the egg, while the other began to mix the previous batch.  Later, breaking the dough into balls and getting them on the parchment-papered-pan and popping them in the oven, just after removing the previous cookies from their pans.   I remember having starting in horror as Brian tossed cookies upon cookies on top of each other in a greater and greater pile.

Last, but not least, we had to ice and sugar-sprinkle the cookies.  Thanks to Trader Joe’s, we had everything we needed in the one box (outside of the egg and butter): mix, frosting, and variously colored sprinkles.   I carefully partitioned the frosting across the cookies, and it seemed there was barely enough.  So, I assumed the sugar sprinkles would be just as exact.  I’m still not sure what the sprinkle plan was supposed to be.  I thought I was dealing with just red and green, but then I started opening new colors: blue and pink. Did each mix box include 4 different-colored sugar sprinkles?  I quite equally, exactly portioned out the sprinkles onto each cookie of the set of a dozen – until there unfortunately were more sprinkles than cookie. . . .  I hope nobody chokes on all that sugar!

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I’m still waiting to find out the result of the cookie swap.  As soon as Brian came home, I pumped him for information; it turns out that some of his co-workers FORGOT about the whole thing, so they are postponing the swap until tomorrow.  I guess I’ll have to wait to find out if our cookies were any good (we didn’t have any spares to taste!), and I’m interested to find out what crazy cookie concoctions his coworkers created!

Body Update

"Sports Jump" by Ambro/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Sports Jump” by Ambro/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ve made some big changes this year, and I’ve already gone through a lot in 2012.  I’ve been thinking a lot, going back through my memories and blogs (and more reminiscing is to come, I assure you).

With the improvements I’m making to myself, I keep wanting to push things just that one step further.

Here is what has happened so far:

EXERCISE

1. I picked yoga back up in the fall.

2. In the fall I also began stopping by my parents’ to use their elliptical once a week (now sometimes twice).

3. Lately I’ve tried to walk/bike/dance/something another day each week.

DIET

4. In the fall I cut back on snacks filled with preservatives.

5. I also began buying more organic fruits and vegetables.

6. Two weeks ago I started giving up meat.  This has encouraged me to consume more vegetables.

7. 7 days ago I gave up ice cream.  3 days ago I started giving it up again.  (Work in progress.)

8.  Lately I’ve limited sweets mainly to dark chocolate, veering off a bit when I’m out with company.  This has encouraged me to consume more fruit.

MENTAL/SPIRITUAL CHANGE

9. I picked up meditation but lost it when the 21-Day Meditation Challenge ended.  (Now I just try to meditate briefly here-and-there in the moment.)

10. In the past week I’ve been paying particular attention to my emotions, my intentions, and whether I’m emitting positive or negative energy.

NEWEST

11. I am refocusing on the consistency of my supplementation.  I’m taking my multivitamin, Nutriferon — when I feel I need an immune boost, GLA complex for hormone regulation, Vivix for overall health and well-being, and now Moodlift Complex “for a positive mental outlook.”

12. I’ve also decided to avoid any and all medication (except in emergency cases).

I feel like I’m experimenting on my body, but in a positive way.  With each change, I observe my body’s reaction.  With any setbacks, again, I observe what’s going on inside.  It’s been an interesting ride, and I look forward to experiencing the results!

Crankypants

ID-10070010

“Frustrated Teenager” by imagerymajestic/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Today all day I was Crankypants.  And it wasn’t just one thing bugging me and setting the whole thing off, or anything.  I was just . . . OFF.  I’d get through one bout of agitation, only to be thrown into a tizzy by the slightest new frustration.

Such as. . . .

Being unable to find my keys (which – believe it or not – is not normally a problem for me), being unable to find my glasses (this IS normally a problem for me, but it doesn’t usually get to the point that I’m about to give up and leave the house without them), retracing steps multiple times and forgetting what I’m doing, obsessing over all of the errands I need to fit in and what the best order to complete them in is, being stuck behind a Sunday driver (and it isn’t Sunday), nearly snapping at a student who said he was “done” when I had explained in a previous lesson that writers are never “done” – they can always revise an old project or begin a new one, forgetting stamps and tape at home for the newsletters that I’d planned to send out after my writing workshop, getting a phonecall in the middle of dealing with a confusing e-mail from a new on-line class, and being in the same room with a super chipper fiancé while I’m dealing with my own personal cantankerousness.

I mentally went through my checklist of possible causes of my sudden moodiness:

  • Lack of sleep?   Very likely.  I haven’t been getting the full 8 hours or so each night this week.
  • Fatigue? Most definitely.
  • PMS? Past that time of the month.
  • Bad/insufficient diet? Not this morning.  I had a strawberry smoothie with Cinch protein.  It could have been the ice cream last night, though.  I had it pretty close to bed, and I already felt a shift in mood 5 minutes after my last bite.  I also haven’t taken my vitamins regularly this past week.
  • Overwhelmed? Also possible.  I’ve had a packed week, and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to get any easier.  I already lost my “Teri Saturday”, which used to be the only day I didn’t have any work.

It must have been a combination of those possibilities.  I guess that it’s a good sign that this moodiness is strange to me.  It must be happening less frequently!  But whatever it was today, I just COULD NOT shake it.  At this moment, I feel a bit better, but I also feel about ready to plop into bed.  Sleep has thus far been the best cure for this condition, so it’s time to rest this baby up!

Attack of the Sugar Monster

“Sweet” by Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

I may have mentioned this before . . .  but I am a sugar-aholic.  Maybe it’s a junk-food-a-holic.  And I think it’s more serious than I believe it to be.  Alcoholics can’t stop after one drink.  I can’t stop after one cup of ice cream or one handful of chips. Sometimes it has turned into the whole pint or the whole bag of chips, and often it comes very close.

And I KNOW this can’t be good for me.  But the part of your brain that should tell you to stop just doesn’t seem to work for me.  The only thing that stops me is that sickening feeling my body finally gets when I’ve finally pushed it way too far.

I thought I could keep it under control by sticking to chocolate.  Dark chocolate.  It’s supposed to be really good for you and have some nutritional benefits.   And I figured I’d be safe if I stayed away from the milk chocolate.   But my stomach started having some minor issues with the dark chocolate — and I panicked.

“I can’t eat ANY CHOCOLATE??” I cried.  “Am I allergic?”  If I couldn’t have chocolate, what was the point of my plan?  If chocolate gave me problems, why deny myself anything else?

So, then ice cream came back into the picture.  Because of my lactose intolerance and the knowledge that ice cream has virtually no nutritional value, I’d been easing my way out of that vice.  But, when my carefully planned sweet indulgence fell through, my mind demanded: “Bring on the ice cream!”

So, now here I am, recovering from a holiday weekend of overeating and yesterday’s downing of nearly an entire pint of brownie explosion ice cream (I think I left like 10 bites), and I’m trying to figure out where to go from here.

At least my breakfast is always healthy.  It’s either a smoothie or my Ezekial cereal.  Lunch is usually ok, too.  It’s those evenings and weekends when I usually lose it.  I guess it’s about conscious decision-making again.  And maybe portioning my servings out into a separate bowl.  Whatever the plan, I’m determined that this monster will not become my nightmare.

If you have any ideas, please let me know!

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