Stories from my Sketchbook . . .
I think I fed my spirit pretty well with this sketch—and not a calorie ingested . . .
I admit I used to be very afraid of butter. I have always preferred butter to other ‘low fat’ alternatives but I am also a child of the ‘fat is bad’ generation (and have been varying-degrees-of-overweight most of my adult life) so butter has always felt taboo for me. Well, I am here to tell you my friends—I am a bone fide convert. Staunch advocates of low-fat eating had best look away now!!
Until recently I couldn’t even tell you the last time I had a packet of butter in my house. Seriously. No idea. However, a month ago I began a new eating plan (just as all the yummy treats are starting to appear for the festive season—way to go Sal!) and quite suddenly, and very unexpectedly, I found all my previous ingrained beliefs about food and dieting (and full fat versus low fat) started to crumble around me. Butter has become my new best friend.
I admit when I came across the dietdoctor.com website my first thought was—‘I wonder what they’re trying to sell?’ Imagine my surprise then to find that they didn’t appear to be trying to sell me anything at all, except perhaps a different way of looking at the food I eat. There were no advertisements, no product placements and they even stated that they accepted no industry money for their research either. So far so good. It turned out that the site was run by an international team of doctors, clinicians and research scientists whose whole concern seemed to be an attempt to address the staggering rise of obesity, diabetes and heart disease rates all around the world today.
The more I read, the more interested I became . . .
I had heard about low-carb-high-fat (LCHF) diets before (wasn’t that what Atkins was all about?) but I had never tried one. (I’d tried virtually everything else but not that.) I was highly skeptical. (How could high fat food possibly be good for me? It goes against everything I have ever been taught.) But I like to think I have an open mind (about most things at least) so I read everything on the site and I watched all the videos, and the more I read and the more I watched the harder it became to come up with excuses not to try it. It all seemed to make perfect sense to me. Could everything I thought I knew about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ food be so completely wrong?
Anyway, long story short, I decided I needed to give it a go. I am not diabetic, nor on any medication and I didn’t have a lot of weight to lose but the possible health implications of continuing to eat the way I was eating were enough to give me pause. I decided to give myself over to the LCHF eating plan (full on, no cheating!) for one month to see what would happen. No sugar, no grains, no fruit. This was going to be interesting.
The first week was by far the hardest. Everything they said might happen, did. I had a searing headache for the first three days. I had heart palpitations. My muscles ached. I had waves of nauseating hunger (don’t look at the lolly jar—don’t look at the lolly jar!) and I almost had an anxiety attack the first time I fried my hamburger in a pan swimming in butter! But I persevered and then, towards the end of that first week, I started to realise I actually felt pretty good. I was no longer getting hungry between meals. I was sleeping better. I wasn’t missing the bread, or the fruit, or the sugar at all, and all the butter (and cheese . . . and cream . . . ) I was eating was actually really delicious . . .
Suffice to say, a month later I feel great. Not only am I actually enjoying my food more (my girls are beside themselves with all the lovely smells that come out of the kitchen these days—yes folks, Sally has actually been cooking!) I am eating plenty of it—and Bonus!—I have also dropped nearly 6 kilos by doing it. The proof is in the pudding (or lack of it). I am a believer.
But you shouldn’t take my word for it. If anyone out there is interested in losing weight, or is diabetic (or pre-diabetic) this is a great site for information if nothing else. All I urge is that you go onto the site with an open mind. And here’s a small tip—there is a huge amount of free information on the site, but there’s even more information on the member pages (videos, films, presentations, etc). Membership is only $9.00 a month, but you also get your first month free. So sign up, read and watch everything on the member pages and if you still believe the whole concept is bat-crap crazy you can pull out before your first membership fee is due and the experience will have cost you nothing.
Go on. I dare you. www.dietdoctor.com. What have you got to lose?
It’s a hard life being a dog. Or, to clarify, it’s a hard life being a dog in my household. My three little girls are fed, watered, washed, brushed, walked, played with, fussed over and loved to within an inch of their lives on a daily basis, and frankly (but don’t tell them this) I wouldn’t have it any other way. But sometimes, just sometimes, I do feel they can be a tiny bit inclined to take advantage of my good nature . . .
Anyone who has ever raised a dog knows that dogs like their routines. Routines are comforting. Routines are safe. Dogs like to know what to expect and when to expect it. (An early morning walk, breakfast, mum goes to work, sleep, mum comes home, ten minutes of over-the-top silliness followed by an afternoon walk and play at the park, dinner, and then more sleep. Perfect.) Of course, day to day (human) life means it is not always possible (even if we wished it) to do exactly the same thing at exactly the same time every single day but even so we usually manage to rock along at a fairly steady momentum at my place. So you would think, wouldn’t you, that my girls might allow me just a little bit of slack on the odd occasion when something goes a tiny bit awry . . .
There they were, all sitting in a row patiently awaiting their breakfast (well,okay—Molly was squeaking under her breath and stamping her feet but that’s about as patient as she gets) and I went to the freezer and . . . oh-oh . . . no chicken necks. Sigh. I knew right away I was in trouble.
Okay then. Deep breath. Smiling brightly and looking down at their eager little faces—”So girls. Why don’t we try something different for breakfast today? Who’d like a ‘lolly’ instead?” (Lollies are in fact doggie-chicken-sticks and I am usually all but knocked over in the rush when I offer them as a treat.)
I was met with blank stares.
“Come on! You love lollies. Here Molly, you have this one.” (There was method in my madness. Molly can always be relied upon to never turn down food of any description. She’s rotund, but she knows she’s fabulous so she cares not a whit.) Sure enough she took the proffered treat and disappeared into her basket. Two more to go . . .
“Here Maudie, you have one too.” Maudie obediently took the lolly from me . . . and then very carefully laid it at her feet. She gazed back up at me.
“Mabel?” Mabel sniffed the end of her chicken stick daintily and then turned her head disdainfully away.
And then Molly reappeared, “Hey mum, that was great. Thanks for the lolly. Now where’s my chicken neck?” Sigh.
Now I love my dogs dearly and fully acknowledge they run my life, but I was also not about to make an early morning, pre-work dash to supermarket to buy them chicken necks when there was a perfectly delicious alternative being offered. I stood my ground. (Buddy Hackett’s mom would have been proud.) But—wow. Those eyes. Three sets of what-have-we-done-wrong-and-why-won’t-you feed-us eyes watched every morsel of my own breakfast disappear into my mouth. They followed me silently into the bathroom and watched me brush my teeth and they continued to watch from the bed as I dressed for work. Not a grumble, not a whimper, not a sigh was uttered. Just those eyes. You’d think after decades of owning dogs I’d be immune but—nope. I got out of the house as quickly as I could . . .
Needless to say, by the time I got home all was forgiven. I was met at the gate by the usual over-excited onslaught and then we went to the park to play. When it was time for dinner I had a brainwave—“Hey, what say you all have chicken necks for dinner (well of course I picked some up on the way home) because you didn’t get one for breakfast?”
I swear I saw their faces fall. Does that mean we’re not going to get our regular dinner . . .
Stories from my Sketchbook . . .
Why is it, do you think, that the moment I decide—and I am talking the instant the decision is made—that I am (absolutely, definitely, starting right now) going to lose those extra couple of kilos which have somehow sneakily (re)appeared on my already ample backside since this time last year . . . that, suddenly, inexorably, all I can manage to think about is what I am going to eat next . . .
Stories from my Sketchbook . . .
I love bread. In fact, I never really met a bread I didn’t like—brown, white, rye, seeded, ciabatta, damper, focaccia, roti, soda, multigrain, pumpernickel, (banana—not sure that counts as a real bread but . . . yum)—the list goes on and on and on. . .
And, although I do agree with James Garfield that bread needs something to go with it, for me it’s not peanut butter. For me it is cheese (any kind of cheese) and ham . . . and chutney . . . and pickles . . . or . . . if it’s toasted, pâté. I could, seriously, live on toast and pâté . . . and red wine . . .
Well—when I say I could live on it, I probably actually couldn’t. My digestive system seems to have much more to say about what I can, and can’t, eat (and drink) these days. Sigh.
Sometimes getting older sucks . . .
Have you ever woken up one morning, with no previous indication that there might be anything amiss, and suddenly find yourself inexplicably caught up in the throes of some kind of hypnotic trance, unable to do anything else all that day except eat and eat and eat (and eat . . . and eat . . . and eat . . . )
This happened to me last weekend and it caught me totally off guard. Friday night I was fine. After dinner (Penne Pesto Pasta—yum) I cuddled up on the couch alongside my girls (in my trakky-daks and fluffy slippers—me, not the girls) with a nice glass of red (possibly two) and watched ‘Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince’ on the telly. We were all comfortable, warm and fed. All was right with my world. Or so I thought . . .
On Saturday morning I woke around 5.00am and my very first thought (and I still remember it vividly) was ‘I might go down to the bakers later and buy myself a sticky-bun’. Say what? Where did that come from? I can’t tell you the last time I ate a sticky-bun. And why a sticky-bun for God’s sake? I can think of at least three more things right this very second which I would usually prefer to eat in order to sate any unexpected cravings (chocolate, cheese, more chocolate . . . )
And why was I having any kind of food cravings at 5.00am anyway? I am not a big breakfast eater and usually have to force myself to eat something in the morning. As it turned out the ‘why’ was irrelevant—all I could think about for the next couple of hours was that I going to get me that sticky-bun. And, in the end, I did. In fact I got two—and inhaled them both.
So that should have been the end of it—right? I had eaten the sticky-bun(s)—I had completed the task—it was time to move on.
But—No. It actually all went rapidly downhill from there and I, who have spent years and years diligently (although perhaps ‘diligently’ is somewhat of an overstatement) attempted to practice the art of not eating, seemed utterly unable to control myself. I ate everything edible I could find in the house—that is everything that did not, in any way, shape or form, constitute a ‘proper’ meal. (I was so not interested in eating a supernutrient-full-of-veggie-goodness ‘proper’ meal. I wanted Caramello Koalas—or salt and vinegar crisps—or two large loaves of French bread dripping with garlic butter . . . Blissful sighs)
But this is not my first time around this particular block. Although it has not reared its ugly head in a long time, this seemingly-out-of-the-blue-food-frenzy is not entirely unknown to me, and I was pretty sure I remembered how it was going to play out. I would grumpily blob myself down on the couch and berate myself all day with ‘For-God’s-Sake-Sally-Stop-Eating!’ reprimands, and constantly remind myself of all the good work I was undoing—all the while stuffing my face with whatever sugar-fat-salt laden delicacy I had hold of at the time. And, that is exactly what happened.
As you can imagine, on Sunday I felt absolutely crapulous (I just knew that word would come in handy). I was nursing a deadly sugar hangover (not to mention a severe case of ‘buyer’s remorse’—those sticky-buns had a lot to answer for) and trying to fathom what had brought it all on. There had been no obvious triggers. Nobody had upset me, there had been no major dramas, I hadn’t been fretting about anything—at least consciously.
Subconsciously, of course, is anybody’s guess. Who really knows what goes on in our little heads when we are not paying full attention. We think we have got it all sorted. We practice the things that are supposed to be good for us. We exercise daily, we meditate, we nurture relationships, we nourish our bodies with good and healthy food—and then while we are sleeping some mean, nasty, delinquent part of our brain slides over to the good, stable, responsible side, knocks it unconscious and issues orders for us to start eating the planet. It’s all a bit underhand and totally unfair if you ask me.
But you know—it’s done, and there is no point bitching about it any more. I seem to have weathered the storm without too much damage and this week I have had no recurring desire to overload on—well, anything really. I appear to be back in control.
But we all know appearances can be deceiving and I guess I shouldn’t get too cocky. If this could all sneak up on me so unawares this time it could easily do so again. I’m think perhaps I am going to have to watch my back for a while yet . . . and perhaps drive past the bakers really, really fast . . .