Sunday, February 6, 2011

In the deep snow of Colorado, no one can hear you eat...or give away schwag

Winter has returned here, with a bit of a vengence.  Here's the dirty little secret...Denver does not usually get the kind of snow you think it does.  Our usual pattern is a couple of inches overnight to make you morning commute a horror, but then because we get so much sun and because the air is so dry--high desert you know, usually the snow melts and evaporates off the street in time for the afternoon commute.  All of the fun benefits of snow with only a small proportion of the inconvenience.

This freaking arctic air has given us a taste of the Midwest and East Coast type of snow.  Once it snows, it stays.  And stays.  And stays.

And I had forgotten how difficult it is to make good choices when I am stuck in my house for too long.  Heck, I have problems making good choices when I'm just in my house for an entire evening, let alone two and a half days.  So weekends are always difficult for me. I've learned to do stuff, get out, and distract myself from just sitting all day and polishing off any carb in my house (if I had the stupidity to allow it through the door in the first place).

Don't get me wrong.  I could clean my house and make it presentable.  I could do my taxes.  I could go through my closet and pull things out that are too big and prepare them for the Goodwill.  But all of that seems like work when I could just snuggle into the couch, pull up my sadly neglected DVR, pet The Beast (i.e. my 7.5 pound kitty), and watch TV all day.  But, more than likely, that leads to constant snacking, the one easy way to defeat the purpose of weight loss surgery.

You see, you can trick your pouch.  If you just slowly snack all day, you can pack in a whole lot of calories without even realizing.  If you snack on soft or airy things like carbs, they will squish through your pouch quickly enough so you have room for more, more, more.

I have done this a few times.  I'm not perfect, despite all the rumors to the contrary.  I did have a weekend where I gave in to the darkness and ate nothing but bread all weekend long.  Seriously, the Babe ate an entire loaf of bread.  It took all weekend to do it, but do it I did.  (This is why yummy artisan bread has to stay at the store or the restaurant and can never come home with me).  What can I say, I'm one of those types that always has to test the boundaries.

But here's what I learned:  I may not get "sick" in the traditional sense (i.e. throwing up), but by Monday I felt like crap.  I had no energy.  I felt bloated and icky.  And all my old cravings that hadn't bothered me too much came back with a vengence and I had to keep talking myself down off the "nothing but carb" ledge for about a week until I was able to purge that out of my system (physical and mental).  And that was HARD.  I had forgotten how strong those cravings can be, and how powerless they can make me feel.  And I had a whole week to be reminded of it.  So yeah, the temporary enjoyment, the freedom of eating whatever I wanted, the comfort of a familiar and beloved food ended up not being worth it.

I'm reminded of all of this because when I'm stuck in my house for any length of time it all comes roaring back.  And I know that I have to make a pre-emptive strike against boredom, old habits, the need for comforting, and lack of structure.

I found a great post by the post-op ladies of Pouch Party, on Top 5 Ways to stay occupied when snowed in (check out the link).  And I decided to create my own:

  1. Try a new Protein-Packed recipe.  Today I'm going to make quinoa porridge, which I've heard lots of post-ops rave about, so I have it for breakfast this week.  I'm also making Buffalo-style chicken in my crock-pot (chicken + Frank's Red Hot sauce + butter = delicious).  This way I'll have good food to eat all week.
  2. Do a workout on the Wii, or using a DVD, or one of the On-Demand workouts.  Smartly, I bought Zumba for the Wii yesterday before the snow started to fly, and I'm ready to try out a full workout on it.
  3. Comb the internet for healthy ideas.  Check on the other blogs I subscribe to, post-surgical chat sites, look for a new workout music mix on iTunes, etc.
  4. Have a game plan (so appropriate for Super Bowl Sunday).  I've planned out my day's eating, and so far so good.  
  5. Mix it up.  I have HD-ADD, which means that I'm easily distracted but when I do manage to concentrate, I REALLY concentrate).  So that means, start cooking, then workout, then watch a 30 minute show on the DVR, then empty the diswasher, then organize my tax receipts, then repeat the whole thing.  It's like circuit training, but for my body and mind.

I've learned that planning is really the secret to being successful for me.  And since it is not in my nature to be a planner, I really have to force myself into it.

What strategies do you all use to avoid falling back into bad habits?  I really need to hear your ideas, so I can add them to my book of tricks.

To encourage you, I am doing my first bloggy give-away!  How about a sampler-pack of some of my favorite healthy treats--from protein bars and powders, to my favorite guilty pleasures (like the soy crisps I always rave about).    I'll throw in some other gifties too--I have a bunch of stuff in mind and will post a photo of the "gift basket" this week (when I organize it and make it pretty).  Don't worry, it'll be good stuff for anyone--not just post-ops.

I'll give you one week to respond, and draw for the winner on Sunday, Feb. 13--just in time for Valentine's day!  Here's how to win:
  • Get an entry for posting your favorite strategies in the comment section (please remember to leave me an e-mail address so I can contact the winner). 
  • Get a bonus entry for each suggested strategy (up to 5 bonus entries, although you can always leave more suggestions).
  • Get another entry for announcing this giveaway on your own blog, and get a bonus entry if you include a link to this post.  Be sure to tell me about it in the comment section so you get your bonus entries (and so I can check out your blog).
  • Get a final bonus entry if you spread it to a social-networking site like Facebook, Twitter, or post it on a message board (one bonus entry for each one, and be sure to tell me about it in the comments to get credit).
Let the games begin!


  1. Nice blog post!
    I posted a message with link on my blog at
    1. give yourself a mani/pedi - it's hard to eat when your nails are wet and you'll look pretty.
    2. go through the photo albums or put stray pics IN the photo album.
    3. Knit - keeps your hands busy and someone warm
    4. Call or skype with a friend or two or 10!
    5. I like to organize when I'm bored - the pantry, the chest of drawers, the hall closet, the bookshelf, etc. (I just did this last weekend and have a box of books and two bags of clothes for donation to the library and Goodwill).
    My email is Lou Anna DG (w/o the spaces).

  2. Okay, I will play.

    Strategies for combating boredom, old behaviors and habits, etc.
    1. The computer is my all-time favorite way to combat boredom, I check email, blogs, and message boards and spend time looking at before/after pictures to remind me of where I want to be.
    2. Read a book. I'm not sure when it happened (sometime after college, jobs, marriage and kids) but taking the time to "read a book" almost seems like a guilty pleasure. So when I do find the time to read I make sure I enjoy it.
    3. Scrapbooking...I need lots of time to scrapbook, so having a whole day with nothing planned is the perfect time to get a few pages done.
    4. Organize my linen closet. Things get stuffed in there without much thought or care and even though no one but me ever sees it I get pleasure out of seeing it organized.
    5. Log my food. I know that keeping track of my food can tend to be a "chore", and I will go days without keeping track. But keeping myself accountable about what I'm putting in my mouth always raises the bar and does a good job of keeping me in line.
    my blog

  3. Hi! I just found your blog tonight, via Ordinary Girl. I look forward to reading! I had VSG 1/11/11. Thus far my strategies include planning meals, packing meals from home, creating a NO BUY list of trigger foods I know I cannot have in the house (I made homemade croutons the other night and had to throw them out after I realized I was not going to rest until I sat and munched on them). Also, I've been trying to keep my blog ( "real" so I will hold myself accountable - hopefully this will result in fewer screw ups. ;)

  4. Sorry for being MIA - I was away from the computer, dilberately all last if I didn't do anything via the itty bitty keyboard on my phone, too bad.

    But that means I missed out on your fab prize.

    And it was a pretty damn fab prize.