Thursday, March 29, 2007

Food for 3/29

I had
1 egg and cheese on a bagel
1 cup of caffeinated coffe
1 egg salad sandwich on rye
1 cranberry juice
1 ready made Indian entree w/ nan bread
2 vodka tonics
1 packet of banana nut oatmeal
two crackers with cream cheese

Ran four miles today

Temptation, and we're not talking about the group

In the Feeling Good Handbook, author David Burns describes temptations to do maladaptive things such as using drugs and alcohol as well as binge eating as a means of regulating one's moods and emotions.

Compulsive eaters are like drug addicts in a sense, constantly seeking a momentary refuge and repreive in habit.

A common habit that people with poor eating habits have (myself included) is to justify their malaptive behavior by using one of the following reasonings.

The first rationalization is called "fortune-telling".

By fortune telling, a person tells himself that in eating an extra slice of pizza or snacking when he is not hungry, he will bring some happiness into his life. It seems so extreme, doesn't it? But think about it for a moment. There is truth to it. I remember binge eating when I lived at my folk's house two years ago. It would be late at night and there was all the food I could imagine eating. I would head to the cupboard to have some cereal or to the fridge for some cheese and salsa to go with my nachos. I was never full, either. I went from a managable 190 pounds to over 200 in six months. I now weigh even more. But in my rush to chomp, chew and bite on something edible, was I missing something in how I felt? I think so. At the time--and I suppose all the time that I head out for a late night snack--I'm anxious, sleepless or preoccupied with something. I nearly always feel rushed. What about you?

The second rationalization is called a "should statement".

A double edged sword of containing ones eating is to prohibit certain foods. When we say, "I wont eat anymore extreme nachos, ever again. I'll be dead and never have eaten another," we're simply making the problem worse. It's an insincere notion to say we wont or can't have another thing that we enjoy. Extreme nachos aren't the problem, afterall. We're the problem. It's the same as the gun debate is. Guns don't shoot people on the street. It's the people who own the guns and don't use them the right way. By making a food forbidden, same as a sex act, it becomes more desirable and our appetite for it harder to sate.

The third rationalization is called "emotional reasoning".

The illusion of any compulsive behavior is that it will make you feel good. If a behavior is compulsive that means it is one that requires repetition, redoing and constant revisiting. If a gambler was truly happy by gambling, wouldn't he only gamble once or twice? He wouldn't need thirty scratch off lottery tickets in one day. The same goes for eating. I've been in a gas station before to pay for the tank of fuel I've pumped and there on display is a Reese's snack. I love peanut butter and chocolate (wow, I sound like a woman) and always will and have every right to. But I'll have eaten or wont have the opportunity to exercise off the 250 calories, carbohydrates and saturated fats contained within the food. Nevertheless, I'll make the rationalization, right there at the register that I'll feel better, I deserve it, and to deny myself the snack is to be cruel to my psyche and my soul. Although it seems hard to acknowledge, the flip side is that being fit and in good shape, attractive and virile is treating oneself well. When I lose the 30 pounds that I've been trying to lose, I'll feel better about myself in a way that compulsive eating never would allow me to. And then the occassional bar will likely be more enjoyable.

Last night, I found myself wanting pizza late at night. Thankfully, I avoided it, though two hours later I had a mild snack on nacho chips. I was able to catch myself before I implied the first or third rationalizations. I've tried the same thing this morning with some success.

I suppose eating is an emotive thing the way that gambling and sex are. But we tend to divorce them from our our psyches and treat them as isolated features of our existence.

But how to deal with these unexamined thoughts? I hope that Burns book will explain more. I'm not too far in. There's a long way to go.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I was sedentary as a rock today. My body is reeling from Sunday's wonderful run and the horrid sleep I had the last two nights. I tried to lay down after work and then get up to run but that wasn't going to happen. It was that sleep that feels like a rock. So, instead, I laid in bed for a while, got up and got some Ambien from one of my hookups! Tonight I'd like to listen to the BBC and fall asleep to the gentle sounds of Britons speaking about things beyond my bedroom. So beyond my room, across big oceans and whole continents. And they speak so softly and unassumingly about them; wars, negotiations, trade agreements, plane crashes. This world is beautiful when BBC is on at late night and into the darkness and euphoria of early morning.

Before I fall asleep, here's what I ate today:

2 cheddar jack /jalapeno bagels with cream cheese
1 egg salad sandwich w/ lettuce tomato and onion
1 cookie
1 decaf
1 tuna fish sandwich
1 can lentil soup
1 green apple.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Feeling Good

I just realized that yesterday's blog never saved. I haven't had any reads on this page yet. It's alright. I'm going to be brief until later, but let me begin with what I've eaten today.

It all begins with insomnia. Despite sleeping maybe five hours on Sunday night and into Monday morning, I slept even less last night. I felt extremely hungry--legitimate hunger--So I helped myself to a grilled cheese sandwich.

So far today I've had:

1 grilled cheese sandwich (monterrey jack)

1 cheddar bagel w/ cream cheese

1 disgusting St. Patrick's day cookie.

1 glass of water.

Last night, I started reading the above book. I'll let you know how it goes. It's a classic in cognitive behavioral therapy. I don't do well with the self-help genre at all. This one is thicker and more intimidating, but so warmly written. The author, a clinical psychologist, seems more like a priest or minister in his optimism than a scientific-minded mental health professional.

The book seems to be primarily about recognizing faulty thought patterns. I think it will be exciting. I want to stick with it.

I didn't work out yesterday and likely wont today. My muscles are still sore from that great run that I had the other day!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Getting Zen while running

I missed Holy Mass tonight because of several reasons, but in a sense my spirituality hit reached a whole know plane today. At quarter to 6, I went for a run through my hometown.

The only way that I can describe the whole event was as if it all happened at once. It was not transcendent either. I wont say that it was an earth shattering experience, but it was one of those events in daily life that contains within it great deal of clarity and insight and most of all patience.

My run began slowly, for I hadn't run outdoors in months. Within the initial mile, I realsed that it is not how fast you run--this is not a race--but how much you enjoy the run that makes all the difference.

Often we exercise out of obligation, as a way of applying a Band-Aid to the wounds we create and aggravate by our own inability to live well. When we splurge on food it is to cover up something within us that we don't want to face. When we face ourselves in the mirror, swollen and wounded, we declare we will fix the problem right away. Five days in a row on a treadmill should make up for two weeks of emotional eating, the kind that comes with an inability to handle stress, depression and boredom. Hit the wieghts to cure the burgeoning waistline. Pilates will suddenly melt away the excessive flesh we have added to our frames, which strain under its weight.

It's a Band-Aid approach, a quick fix solution that never works and never fails to displease. Because of that, we associate the after-work or early morning workout more as an obligation rather than a way to feed the mind, body and soul with the goodness of activity.

By mile two I was embracing my even pace, happy to just go at a comfortable speed, not to strain my thankless legs, which without complaint, work hard to keep me moving each day. THe cold air felt good rushing into my nostrils and the warm air left a trail of steam.

On the third mile, before I stopped to stretch those diligent legs, my left shoulder began to hurt. This body was telling me something that was more clear than anything I've heard in a while: "Drink more water".

It's true. My body wasn't lying. Two cups of cofee and a soda, but no water today. None. How can I run without water. I listened.

The run was pleasing and peaceful and well worth it. I will sleep well tonight knowing that I not only did my best, but enjoyed it.

1 bowl of noodles with tahini sauce
1 bowl of green leafy salad with sesame dressing.
1 Poland Spring bottled water.

Pounding the pavement again

I haven't run outdoors since December, when I set the unrealistic--wholly--goal of running 100 miles in one month. I got 65 miles in and the freezing rain came and all so I couldn't.
Probably the best thing to do is to get dressed right now and go for a run outdoors instead of at the gym. I would like very much to be out in the fresh air today. I wanted to do that this weekend anyway.
Today, I've eaten a 1
1 bowl of pasta-noon
1 small order of baked French fries
1/2 slice of lemon
2 cups of caffeinated coffee (shame on me!)
1/2 can of Coca-Cola

Well, I'm about to suit up for it. I'll stretch two miles into the four-mile run. That should help a little bit.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Damn I'm tired

I don't think I've had one read yet on this thing. That's alright. It'll happen. Anyway, I wanted to work out today at the gym but I couldn't muster the energy. Last night, after our game, I could not sleep. I was worked up and excited for how I played. I think that with our season ending soon--with the exception of our drunken banquet--I'll try to play some hockey up in Troy, New York on Wednesday nights. There's a pick-up game. A lot of college-aged kids who are either good or not good. I'm somewhere in between, but only because the guys at the top are so good and the guys at the bottom not too good. I fit more towards the bottom.

I bought a bottle of wine tonight that I'm about to go share with some friends. My psychologist says that I should lay off for a while, but I think a little wont hurt. I got the cheap stuff: Yellow Tail Shiraz. It's only $6.99 for a bottle. It is supposed to have all these benefits.

Anyway, so far, at 9 p.m., I've eat this today:

1 Dunkin Donuts egg and cheese on a bagel
2 cups caffeinated coffee (I have only drank 3 since the new year).
handful of hot fries with Andy Capp on the bag
crackers with cream cheese
1/2 a bagel with lite cream cheese
1 bowl of pasta twirls with tahini sauce.
1 can ginger ale.

I want to make that it for tonight.