Category Archives: Health Issues
My rules (I won’t eat between meals, I won’t take seconds, I’ll strictly-avoid added sugar & I’ll drink at least 2 liters of water a day) serve me pretty well most of the time. They act like a protective shield around my body — keeping temptation away. So I don’t (mostly) have to use will power. Which is good since I don’t have much.
But, I’ve noticed that almost every night at about 8:30 p.m. I find myself rummaging around in the kitchen, looking for something good. A sweet treat. A COOKIE. Ice Cream …. even (pause) … a marshmallow.
8:30 is a witching hour of sorts in my house. That protective shield evaporates. And I’m helpless. I swear, It’s not a pretty thing.
Luckily the grocery shopping happens in mid-afternoon when that shield is up and at it’s most powerful. You should see me in the grocery store. All the bad stuff lines the aisle right inside the door but, I breeze right by. Candy? Nope. Cookies – naw! Chocolate powder? Cake mix? Sugared Cereal? Rice Crispie Treats? …. No, no, no & no! It’s all there, right inside the door. You can’t get to anything else until you pass that.
(whew! just typing it out exhausted me)
I admit it. I have my weak moments. But, I’ve found a way to work around them by limiting my access to tempting treats at home.
What about you? Whatever your goals, are they always strong enough? Or do you get tempted by something you don’t really want to eat anymore? How do the 8:30s (whenever that is) affect you?
Hoo-KAY — God knows that after the 2008 election season I should be used to the robo-troll phenomena. But, their appearance in my Sugar, Sugar post took me by surprise. So just to make it clear: The Eat4Today posts are thought pieces about issues revolving around Eating. Which, for me are pretty much ALL issues.
And I don’t advocate ANYTHING for anyone. What I DO advocate is that IF food is an issue for you, that you think about what you eat and when. I’m no ones nanny. And I’m certainly not going to tell anyone that they should give up all sugar – or anything else. What you eat is your business. And, if you want to talk about it, I’d LOVE to hear from you.
IF food isn’t an issue for you, then feel free to skip these posts.
Everyday is a new day
The thing about my Eat4Today plan is that yesterday doesn’t count. This is a good thing when my eating habits have been weird or out of control. But, it can be exhausting and intimidating too. I’m not working on averages here: I can’t say, “I’ll have this toast and cheese now and make up for it tomorrow”. I can’t say, “I’ve been so goodfor a whole month now — I’m going to have toast and cheese for breakfast as a treat!” …
Nope. Everyday, I wake up – all too often craving that toast and cheese deliciousness.
But today, I had a cup of coffee, shook out my brain and had some oatmeal. This may seem like a small victory to you. There might not even be a very big difference in nutrients or calories between the two choices. The difference is in what it does to the rest of my day: The oatmeal puts me in control — the cheese starts me off with a defeat. I’m guessing that for me, the ritual of fixing & eating oatmeal is a power booster. And for me, that’s important.
Just 4 Today, I won’t eat between meals, I won’t take seconds and I’ll try not to eat anything with added sugar.
A couple of days ago I was reading about new studies that give much more specific information than we’ve ever had about the affects of sugar on our health. The lead story in the April edition of one of my favorite magazines in the world, Nutrition Action Health Letter (Center for Science in the Public Interest.) Sugar Belly: How Much is Too Much Sugar, by Bonnie Liebman. The story isn’t online yet (they wait a month to post their stories.) But, I want to talk about it while I’m still reeling:
The whole thing is pretty shocking. Although to be precise, the studies in this story were all about drinking extra sugar — in soda, tea or fruit juice.
Studies find that people may “compensate” for the calories they get from solid foods by eating less later in the day. But that doesn’t seem to happen when people drink liquid calories.
“In one study, people given jelly beans consumed less at subsequent meals than those who were given the same calories as liquid sugary beverages,” says Malik.
Well, I’m here to tell you that the person they’re describing up there isn’t me. I haven’t had a sugared drink with any regularity since the 1970s. Also, I’ve done my own studies and eating sugar disables the stop button on my appetite. I might have mentioned in the early days of this blog that there was a time in the early eighties when I’d gotten a good grip on my weight. I was feeling good – confident even. I think my weight was pretty stable for some number of years. Then I went to a movie and bought 1/4 pound of malted milk balls. And the next thing I knew, I weighed 50 pounds more.
Readers, I snapped. After that it was a long, long time before I got myself together again. So, in spite of the above disclaimer regarding the limits of the studies, I took this article very much to heart.
I’ll be going into it in more depth once it’s online but here are some of the highlights:
- Calories from fructose (which is found only in added sugars ad fruit) may be more likely than other calories to aim for your waist
- The fructose in most added sugars appears to boost liver, muscle, and visceral fat. Excess fat anywhere in the body increases the risk of insulin resistance and diabetes. B;ut a fatty liver and visceral fat may increase your risk the most.
- “Fructose gets metabolized by the liver very quickly,” says Welsh. “When there is more sugar than the liver can process it converts the sugar to fat. Some of the fat goes into the bloodstream, and that’s why we get elevated triglycerides.” …. What’s more, in Stanhope’s study, the fructose drinkers burned less fat (and more carbohydrate) “The body doesn’t make fat and burn fat at the same time,” she explains.
“The body doesn’t make fat and burn fat at the same time”
Their advise is to “Shoot for 100 calories (6-1/2 teaspoons) a day of added sugars if you’re a woman and 150 calories (9-1/2 teaspoons) a day if you’re a man. Even less may be better for your heart.”
So that’s my plan. Just 4 Today anyway….
A lot has been going on lately — mostly good but, it seems to have temporarily derailed my urge to write. … I’ve kept that inner (positive) dialog going but it’s been one of those “it’s always something” times.
1) Mother in Law showed up in our kitchen choking — face blue. She had tried to remove the obstruction (a marshmallow) herself before coming through the door to our side. So, she was NOT in good shape by the time she got to us. Luckily after a period of extreme panic (doing the Heimlich on a woman already ready to pass out who is un-helpfully wearing a nylon nightgown AND robe is not the smooth process depicted in films and TV) we got the thing out and she is completely recovered. …. Although I don’t believe she’ll ever look at Peeps the same way again!
2) My brother in Law, Christopher Tellefsen was nominated for an Oscar — Best Editor for Moneyball !! Chris has worked on some of my favorite films over the years and (in my totally impartial opinion) this nomination was long overdue and well deserved.
This was 2 days after the Heimlich event and the wild swing of emotions from Crazy-Horrible-Panic to Crazy-Happy-Excitement was unique to my experience. It’s not that I’ve never experienced emotional swings …. but to have two such dramatic extremes of emotion taking place almost simultaneously — well, it totally overset my plan to get Eat4Today going again. It was a full week before I felt like a normal person and by then I was getting ready for
3) A visit with my sister in Falls Church, VA … where we had a wonderful time touring monuments, and historical sites
And so it goes, one thing after another …. Luckily we inherited another dog so walking has become even more urgent. But, aside from that, I’m coming out of another period of inexcusable drift.
It stops now (the drift)
So: imagining that my weight stays stable when I eat between 1400 and 1800 calories. Then, if I eat less than 1400 calories (and/or exercise more) I lose weight. And also, if I eat more than 1800 calories (and/or exercise less) I gain weight.
And I do fine for a long time. I stay within that range. My average exercise keeps up with my calorie needs. All that.
But then comes the odd time. Illness maybe. Or stress-celebration related eating surges (say an extra 200 calories a day).
THEN (I’m just thinking) I learn that I was eating at the 1700-1800 end of my calorie range. And when my eating surged (it pushed me right over my manageable range. And for some weeks or months (I’m just THINKING) I’m eating 1800 -2000 calories a day. For a while.
See how that works? If I regularly ate at the BOTTOM of my range, 1400 -1500 calories a day then adding a couple hundred calories a day for a while wouldn’t hurt. … I WOULD have to cut back though — or I’d find myself exactly where I am. Eventually.
The Hacker’s Diet is all about controlling that oscillation. Someone like me (whose instincts seem to be all off) has to monitor calorie use daily. I HAVE to make those adjustments BEFORE I slide off the right side of this chart:
And that’s what I’m thinking about today. What’s going on with you?