Thursday, March 1, 2012

Frustration 101

Frustration and weight loss go hand in hand. Like peas and carrots; pancakes and syrup; Oreos and milk; uh…what was I talking about again? Oh, yeah, yeah, weight loss and frustration.

Today I’d like to talk about my frustration with tracking what I eat. Now, I am a compulsive list maker. Nothing makes me happier than writing down lists of stuff and things; I’m even happier if I can make an Excel spreadsheet to track the things I am listing.

Here is the frustrating part: due to my current lifestyle (read: lazy) I am often faced with eating foods that I have not weighed or measured myself. They still may be healthy choices, but they are not marked with how much the serving size is and there is no nutritional information given. Case in point: because I am not able to get up in time to make and eat breakfast at home, I will often grab something from the café that is on site here at the mill where I currently work. My favorite choice of late is vanilla low-fat yogurt with fresh blueberries. Yummy! I have a box of granola stashed in my desk, and I will add a ¼ cup to the yogurt for extra texture and crunch. The problem is that I can measure and record the nutritional information for the granola, but not the yogurt or berries. The container that they come in is not marked with how much is in the container (1 cup of yogurt, ½ cup berries??); and while I can look up the information on the berries online, I don’t know about the yogurt – what brand is it, etc. So, how much am I eating? How do I fill in the perfect little cells on my Excel spreadsheet with the information it so desires?

The other frustration with this is home-made food. Tuesday night we had tacos for dinner. They are served “family style”, which in our house means you help yourself from the pans on the stovetop. The beans were my sister’s home canned pinto beans; they were not fried or even refried. Just heated up in a saucepan and smashed to smithereens to the same texture. The hamburger was just regular hamburger browned with onions and spices in a non-stick pan. We like to pan fry corn tortillas in vegetable oil, and I use a few drops of bottled taco sauce, some sour cream, and a pinch of shredded Colby cheese to top it off. If I was the dedicated dieter that several people are, I would have at least measured/weighed each item so that I knew exactly how much I was eating. But when I am starving and dukeing it out with two big men and my equally starving sister to be sure I get anything at all, taking the time to do that doesn’t always occur to me. Not to mention that I currently do not have access to a food scale, nor do I have the funds to go purchase one at the moment. By the time it would have taken me to weigh everything while building my first taco, the rest of the food would be gone. Seriously. Although that would mean that I wouldn’t be able to stuff myself to the point of explosion, so maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing. But it’s just not my style, to be honest.

I think I am standing in my own way. The “it’s just not my style” in that last paragraph kinda directs the spotlight on a lot of my problems, doesn’t it? I guess that I really need to change my style, or else my style will be to wear gigantic muumuus and whine about how badly my back hurts all the time. That is not a cool style. I want my style to be pencil skirts and stiletto heels, biking down the Oregon coast or all around Mt. Rainier National Park (not in the pencil skirt and stiletto heels, though. More like a cool sports bra and {gasp} shorts). I want my style to be fun and spontaneous, not pre-planned to death so that I am not caught by surprise in some situation that will make me both physically and psychologically uncomfortable (air planes, amusement parks, anywhere I cannot wear full length pants, at least ¾ sleeves and tennis shoes which pretty much leaves out formal occasions and anywhere where the weather is more than 75 degrees).

I will have to commit to starting small. Get the damn food scale. Don’t eat stuff if I don’t know how much the serving size amounts to, and if I can’t get my hands on the nutritional info.

Any other suggestions?


  1. hello stranger! you came back while i myself was on a massive hiatus! i'm all caught up now, so here are my (kinda lame) suggestions:

    1. grab a monthly calendar and make a plan. one big, bigger picture plan, with lots and lots of other smaller, short-term ones within it. and don't give up.

    2. if you love lists as much as me (i'd colour-code this if i could!) write down the number you're at now, then every pound less than that till you've reached your goal weight/s. cross them off as you go. i also add the 'to go' number to the right of my kilos and half kilos, just so i have another list to cross off. that might be a bit much for a normal person, but you did say you liked lists . . . and don't give up.

    3. don't get too caught up with the perfectly exact numbers (when you're calorie counting) if that's turning you off. when i'm stuck, i just find something that's close-enough, and make sure i overcompensate rather than under-estimate the calories.

    4. move whenever you can. jiggle while you're sitting down. do squats at the computer. get up and shake your body for five minutes. anything to burn calories. incidental stuff really adds up. and don't give up.

    5. if you've gone up a bit, who cares. you can work it off. if you have to add a few weeks to your plan, no big deal. now is not the time to give up on striving for a better life. you're only in your forties! please don't give up.

  2. and one more!

    6. keep thinking of those pencil skirts and stilettos! find the bike you'd like to ride down the oregon coast *swoon*! and focus on one day wearing those [gasp] shorts! what great inspirations!

  3. Hurrah!! Hi there lady! Nice to hear from you. Thanks for the suggestions, and your best advise: DON'T GIVE UP. That goes for you, too, my friend. So very glad to see you are back!