Sunday, April 6, 2014

Cheat days and carbs and Indian food, oh my!

So, I'm down 25 pounds, and people are starting to notice. This is in part because I went to the local thrift store and traded the bigger shirts that were starting to drown me for cuter, smaller, better fitting ones. It's also because 25 pounds of weight loss is just noticeable.

Thank you, person who no longer needed my new favorite shirt!
It's especially apparent in my face. This is most likely due to better thyroid levels since a dosage change, but the overall weight loss helps too.

Admittedly, the better hair of the after photo plays a part...

In the past, this is the point where I start to feel the urge to sabotage. I've never been good at taking a compliment, especially anything related to my physical appearance. Some of that has to do with my "don't get a big head" upbringing, and some of it is just good, old-fashioned neurosis and sometimes low self-esteem. How do you manage to keep up the belief that you're fat and ugly (and somehow safe because of it) when you start to transform yourself and begin looking more and more trim and pretty?  You either have to change your belief or change your body back to fit your belief...and we humans? We HATE changing our beliefs.

For now, I'm trying to sit in this awareness and just keep shuffling along. When what may be sabotage happens, I'm just making a mental note and continuing on my way. I refuse to feel afraid or guilty. I allow myself cheat days, and I haven't really set any guidelines for how often they can happen. When they do, I manage my self-talk. I didn't do something "bad" or "wrong" or "harmful."  It wasn't "stupid" or "dumb" or "disastrous."  It was just a cheat day...and we're moving on.

This is not to say that every cheat day is on the same level as every other... The day I completed week three of my Couch to 5K also happened to be the day of Cate's 14th birthday party.

Look at me all happy from running. What a weirdo!

My kids' birthday parties always include a full meal, and it's always whatever the kid wants me to make (within their party budget). Cate wanted a breakfast buffet, and we went all out: french toast, pancakes, waffles, biscuits and sausage gravy, bacon, scrambled eggs, fruit, juices, and homemade donuts instead of cake. There were carbs EVERYWHERE!


The next morning, I thought about how many small powdered donuts I'd ingested the night before, along with the two plates of various breakfast foods and the two (or three) cups of orange juice, and I realized I had a choice in how to experience that memory. I took a deep breath and said, "Man...that was fun...and I'm a really good cook!"

Moving on.

Last week, Richard and I walked down to Sitara India, which is fast becoming one of our favorite places to spend a date night, and I had this wonderful fusion biryani meal-o-carbs.

And I enjoyed every spicy bite of it!

And even though my carb count was already high from the naan and the rice (and the DEEP FRIED spinach appetizer whose name escapes me), I happily sipped warm chai sweetened with sugar and refused to stop smiling about it.

Now, unlike the birthday party food fest, I took most of the meal home with me, having enjoyed only one plate of it at the restaurant. Like the party, though, this meal was a cheat. And like the party, I look back on it and say, "Well, that was a lot of fun!"

The gift that kept on giving.

Now, I can point out that the green tea in chai has been shown by reputable research to have a protective effect on people with my liver condition. I can say the same for some of the spices in Indian food. But I didn't go to Sitara India for my liver. I went there because it was date night and I wanted Indian food, darn it! And because I had done really, really well all week and knew a cheat day would be all right.

Sabotage is still a possibility, and I'm working on the emotional me over on Sarah...Phenomenally. For now, I'm less worried about what it is when I choose to have a little more fun with a meal. Whether it's sabotage, taking a cheat day, or just a normal part of an otherwise healthy diet, it's okay by me. Obviously, the occasional treat hasn't stopped me from continuing to lose weight. As long as these rendezvous remain infrequent, I'm fine with them. If they get more frequent, I'll decide what to do then.

(Author note: Update on my liver situation: My CT scan showed nodules, so this means there is irreversible damage. However, my doctor says they are "small and slight," so it's possible I can stop the damage from progressing and still reverse the fatty liver altogether. Losing weight is the best fatty liver treatment, so I'm glad for the progress I've made already and looking forward to even more. I'll go back in 6 months for another scan, and we'll see how well I've done then. And even though I didn't go out for Indian food for my liver, I have begun to incorporate near daily chai and curry into my diet to help things along.)