Feb 272014
 

I was sick for Valentine’s Day this year and then when I was feeling better Michael got sick! It’s been one thing after another (and then we had to fix our fence–that took all weekend). Part of me was like “whatever, let’s just skip it” but part of me thought it would be nice to celebrate.

VDAY

Last night I got home from the gym to find that cute balloon! Michael got me a card and the balloon and we went out to dinner at Henry’s Tavern in downtown Portland. It’s near Powell’s Bookstore and used to be a brewery. They converted it years ago to a restaurant and it’s a really nice, hip looking place. We had a gift card leftover from Christmas for it, too. (Tip: if you ever buy those gift card packs at Costco, they are a great deal! You pay like $80 for 2 $50 giftcards. It’s a great deal.)

DATENIGHT
It was a really nice date night. It’s been awhile since we got dressed up and went out together. We haven’t eaten out much the last month or so and honestly, it kind of sucks to leave Bella in the crate to go out. (New parents!)

Another cool thing about Henry’s is their vast beer menu. They have so many options and they carry my favorite beer! Boneyard! I ordered a glass of the Hop Venom IPA. It’s a rich, hoppy beer, fruity and not bitter. Love it!

VENOM

This date night comes at a time when I’d vowed to limit my alcohol intake but I stuck with one beer instead of splurging. We split an appetizer of the spinach dip. It was wonderful! One of the better spinach dips I’ve had at a restaurant. The chips were salty and fresh, crunchy and not stale at all like some restaurants can be.

APPETIZER

The portion was just right for two people. For dinner Michael got the steak and bleu cheese salad and said it was outstanding–much better than he was expecting. I ordered the grilled seafood brochette special.

STEAKSALAD
SEAFOOD

My dinner was basically seafood kebobs. There were pieces of grilled salmon, scallops and shrimp with marinated vegetables. Michael ate my mushrooms (gross) and it came with a ginger infused jasmine rice that was outstanding. I couldn’t rave enough about my dish! It was slightly salty but not too salty to be inedible. I loved my dinner! I was happy I made a healthy choice. I ate one kebob and half the rice and the rest is leftover for lunch.

Neither of us had much room for a big dessert, even splitting something. Instead we walked across the street and checked out the desserts at Whole Foods. They had so many things to choose from! It was hard to decide.

DESSERT2

I think we made good choices. Instead of getting a big dessert (I was so tempted!) we got some tartlettes. They were bite size and totally delicious! We got two key lime tartlettes and two salted caramel tartlettes.

DESSERT1
It was the perfect sized dessert! Had a great date night and I was happily surprised by our experience at Henry’s. We’ve been there many times before but it was a long time ago and not very memorable. It was much more memorable this time.

And just really quickly — some good news! Finally! After months of stressful crap going on, it seems as though many things are being resolved and happier times are just within our grasp. I got a new job! Almost, anyways! I recently had an interview for a position within my department for another job–similar to the one I was doing temporarily last year for 6 months. I got word that I passed the first round and now I’m in “background.” Which is weird because I already work here. LOL But whatever! I’m happy I got the job! I have no idea WHERE it will be or WHEN because this next process can take months. Time will tell.

Have a great weekend!

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Oct 222013
 

CRAVINGS-COVER

This may surprise you but my advice on how to deal with cravings is to EAT what you are craving.

That kind of sounds like the opposite of what you should do if you’re trying to lose weight. When it comes to weight loss, the simple equation is eat less and move more. It’s really that simple. It took me a long time to come around to realizing that but once I did it made the process easier. I no longer felt like I was fumbling around trying to figure out what the magical secret was to weight loss. I discovered it and it worked. I COULD lose weight. Eat less, move more.

This is not to say that cravings weren’t the bane of my weight loss journey. Boy were they ever! When you’re used to eating whatever you want, whenever you want, in large portions, the idea of denying cravings is ridiculous. Why would I? I’m craving a big piece of chocolate cheesecake. I’m going to drive to the grocery store at 8pm at night and buy it. In fact, since I’m there, why not buy a few more pieces for tomorrow so I won’t have to come back?

Moderation, moderation, moderation.

The trick with giving in to cravings is to do so in moderation. If there is something I’m craving, I eat it, but sometimes just having a bite or two of whatever it is I am obsessing about it enough. Half the time I give in to the craving and feel like I didn’t really need or want it.

As a former binge eater, resisting the cravings was really hard. I remember many many evenings where I knew I had some kind of dessert in my freezer and my brain would fixate on it. I’d try to distract myself, I would do other things; I did a lot of crafts and scrap-booking as a way of keeping my hands busy. But there would still be that little voice in the back of my head…You have ice cream sandwiches in the freezer…You have ice cream sandwiches in the freezer…you can just have one. One won’t ruin your day for calories…

I bet you understand that! I’d give in and have one and in the early days when I wasn’t quite in control of my food and binges yet, I’d have another, and then another. And then my day was blown. I ate too many calories. I’d feel despondent and hate myself, and regret eating even one.

Then something changed. I LOST WEIGHT. Seeing progress on the scale boosted my mood and my motivation in ways I never expected. Suddenly I didn’t want to sabotage myself! I wanted to be successful. I wanted to keep seeing a smaller number on that scale each week! Finding this motivation helped me resist the binge eating demons. It didn’t come to me immediately and it took work, but once I got there it got easier to resist the donuts at work or the chocolate cake at a potluck.

The point is, for me, if I deny myself something I’m craving I can only hold out for so long. Then it’s days and days of obsession building up in my mind and that leads to a binge.

Know the difference between a CRAVING and a HABIT.

This is something that went hand in hand with my binge eating. It might surprise you but a lot of the bingeing I did was because of a HABIT. I “always” ate ice cream when I watched movies on the couch. I “always” ordered a pizza to be delivered on Friday nights. When I started working at my job a few years ago I gained some weight because of the truly horrible Candy Room in my office. It was actually a room of candy. And I got into the habit of always having some candy after lunch. Or when I was bored. It became so ingrained that I wouldn’t even think about it, it wasn’t even something I wanted some days but habit made me walk into that room and rummage.

Stupid. What a stupid waste of calories. This brought me to another realization: if it doesn’t taste good, spit it out! Don’t just eat something to eat something. So many times I’d be standing in the candy room, trying to decide what to eat and nothing looked appealing; I’d end up eating something I didn’t even want because it was a HABIT.  Sometimes going cold turkey is just what is needed to get some clarity.

When you shouldn’t give in…

You shouldn’t give in to a craving if you are emotionally distressed. This is a big pitfall. Emotional stress, a bad day–emotional eating can lead to binges and then self-loathing. We’ve all gotten stuck in that cycle! This is not the time to experiment with eating your cravings in moderation. With that stress weighing on your mind, it will get harder to think rationally.

Another time you shouldn’t give in to a craving is in the first stages of your weight loss journey. It takes time for good habits to click and become something you can fall back on. The “everything in moderation” didn’t actually work for me for a good six-eight months in the beginning of my weight loss. I didn’t trust myself to stop after a few bites and so I didn’t give in to the cravings. It made me stronger! Give yourself some time to get used to the healthy eating lifestyle. Then slowly reintroduce some of those lavish things. See how you do.

sweet-cravings

Of course everyone is different and not every method always works for everyone. It works for me because I know I will crave some chocolate at the end of the evening. The most satisfying, delicious dinner is not complete in my mind without a dessert. So I leave myself some calories at the end of the day for that dessert! I’m currently eating Hershey’s Kisses as my dessert. At first I was worried about having something like that in the house. In the old days it was a big binge-trigger! A big bag of candy! EAT IT ALL. I’m finding that having to unwrap each individual kiss slows me down. I’m eating less of them and I take my time. And I enjoy my half dozen little chocolates.

What about you? How do you deal with cravings?

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