Posts Tagged ‘food’

This past January my friend Di and I had plans for a lunch.

Winter in New England can be very cold. So everyone has to bundle up.

Kind of weird because it seems like the entire Northeast female population is wearing the same fluffy black coat. The ones that can make a person sort of look like a sausage about to burst out of its waxy looking casing.

Both of us have gained weight. Both of us are little women. Like five feet tall.

We hop into my car, try to get situated so we can belt ourselves in and be on our merry way.

Well, there we were. Twisting, turning and almost grunting trying to get comfortable. Picture, if you will, worm larvae. The puffy jackets don’t help.

We came to this stunning conclusion.

Having extra pounds is just downright uncomfortable.

That is really what it comes down to, isn’t it?

I am uncomfortable.

Not body shaming myself or anyone else. I don’t think we should all look like anorexic models. I don’t want to go on crazy diets. Just want to be at the normal, healthy weight I’m supposed to be.

I’m not comfortable in my clothes because they no longer fit properly. I have clothes I cannot wear. I’m not comfortable passing a mirror (clad or not), catching a glimpse and gasping out loud, “Good God!” I’m not comfortable looking at photographs that show the obvious gain.

A lot of people who are overweight are uncomfortable.

In bathing suits. Shopping for clothes. Always leaning toward the stretchy pants. Self conscious.

I recently saw a posting on a page for a reunion at my high school.

A woman said she ran into another gal (did not name her) and asked if she was going to attend the reunion.

The reply was, “No, not looking like this.”

The woman had gained a lot of weight since high school. So she was going to miss this fabulous opportunity to meet with old friends.

Because she was uncomfortable with herself.

I felt really bad when I read that. I think she absolutely should have gone to the reunion. No one cares about her weight gain.

But I understood how she felt.

I weigh more than I ever have in my life. Except for pregnancies.

Never really bounced up and down with weight but in later years I always picked up a few extra pounds on summer home visits. Usually I dropped those within the first two weeks of my return. Getting busy and back to a routine. Shed the suckers without blinking an eye.

This past summer was no different. There was the usual flurry of activity that happens. Graduation party, birthday parties and nights out at restaurants. Eating all of my favorite foods. The veal parms and the fried clams. Steamers dripping with butter and Casserta’s Pizza. Four road trips with food on the fly.

So I picked up the usual few pounds.

When we returned back home, after seeing the kid off to university, I figured I would drop the additional weight.

It didn’t happen this time.

I returned to a different house and country with no set or usual routine. I had an empty nest. Husband working all day. I didn’t know anyone.

Days and weeks passed. I didn’t lose a pound.

Then on November 6th I quit smoking.

Went home for the Christmas holidays. I don’t know a soul who actually loses weight during that time. I was no exception.

So, what to do?

I figure if I can quit smoking I can do anything.

Have to give a shout out to my brother. He inspired me in a few different ways over the holidays.

So when I arrived back home from the airport on February 7th I hopped on the scale. Hopped right off and documented that number which was at an all time high. It’s probably not even the real number. I call it the air travel weight. Lots of bread and junk.

But I documented it just the same.

I used the Fitbit app on my phone. Like I used an app for smoking cessation.

It’s me that is going to do the hard work but I like to see graphs, progress and encouraging messages.

It comes down to this. It’s all about what I eat. And how much.

I do walk at least an hour a day. But that is because I want to be outside and doing something.

My point is that even if I never left the house or lifted a finger I should be able to lose weight. By being aware of every morsel that I eat.

It can be frustrating. Sometimes it seems there is no rhyme or reason to a gain, loss or plateau during the process.

But today when I stepped on the scale it was a solid ten pound (and a few ounces) loss. Finally the scales have tipped in my favor. I have fifteen more to lose.

Some of you reading this might also be feeling a bit uncomfortable.

You can find comfort.

And you can start today.

Hop on the scale. Write down that number. Get a Fitbit. Set a goal. Challenge a friend. Track your progress. Reward yourself. Document everything that goes into your mouth.

You will absolutely get results.

That’s all there is to it.

You can do this.

Be comfortable.













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My dear friend, Nancy and I were discussing a “cleanse.” No, not of the spirit. But of the body.

She was telling me about a liver cleanse that is supposed to assist you in losing weight. Who’s not interested in dropping six pounds?

I was totally listening. But I do have to say the first thing that popped into my mind is this. Our livers would be totally cleansed if we stopped going to Nancy’s house every Friday evening.

Back to topic. Apparently you have to experience a bit o’ hunger for a few days during the juice/broth fast. In essence, a liquid diet.

So, being the curious sort, I did a little surfing of the web. Because that’s where one can find all the answers. And sure, as with any fad diet, you will lose a few pounds AND keep it off. If you return to a fruit and vegetable centered diet. Why not just start off with a fruit and vegetable centered diet first and see how that goes?

I am not sure that coffee enemas and broth for three days would ever be for me. Although, to be fair, I do have three cups of coffee each morning.

But the program might be for others. I am, as always, speaking my mind. And my thoughts.

My thought is this. I am no expert. But I have been around trainers talking carbs, fats, whey protein shakes, etc. I have observed friends wrestling with the South Beach Diet. Or at least wrestling with the slicing, dicing and cutting of the numerous veggies. I have seen people hepped up on the Atkins’ Diet. And way into the controlled meal plans of Jenny Craig.

And most of those folks have gained back the weight they lost at the beginning of their diet.

If you want to lose weight then write down EVERYTHING you put in your mouth. And don’t forget the BLTs. Not our favorite bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich but bites, licks and tastes! That’s from Weight Watchers. Hat tip to them.

Quick fixes are quick but they don’t fix. You need to know what you are putting into your body. We think we already know that but if you keep a log of everything for a few days you might be surprised.

Cooking a red sauce and tasting a spoonful. A cup of coffee with milk and heaps of sugar. The small handful of M&Ms at the hairdresser’s while waiting for a shearing. Licking the spatula after making the icing. Eating the leftover food on your child’s plate. Those little things don’t count, right?

Wrong. Every little thing adds up. But no one realizes it until they actually write it down. And no one knows better than me that if you didn’t document it then it didn’t happen.

Someone asks you, “What did you eat today?” You replay the day and think in terms of meals. I had breakfast, lunch and dinner. Or I had one meal. And our brain quickly skims the last eighteen hours to figure out whether it was a healthy breakfast, lunch or dinner. But the gray matter is not tallying the BLTs for you. It’s like not noticing the horrid images on cigarette packages. Subconsciously erased.

You just have to know what you are eating, study it and then make changes. It doesn’t cost a dime.

Doesn’t have to hurt or be horrible. Just a little tweaking. More fruits and vegetables. A little less meat, fat, and bread.

I don't agree but I do start a lot of sentences with, "For the love of God....."

I don’t agree but I do start a lot of sentences with, “For the love of God…..”

People can give up many things in their lives. But the one thing you cannot give up is eating. Because you will die. We will always need food. So it’s not like we can swear off it and then stay away from people who do eat. Or not frequent food establishments because of what goes on in there.

Maybe a little less of this. This is the correct pronunciation.

Maybe a little less of this. This is the correct pronunciation.

Just small changes.

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I receive an Agriturismo newsletter from Italy in my email every month or so. Basically a taunting, “You could be here!” type of thing.

Well, not really. It’s more of an invite, “Why don’t you come see what you are missing?”

Agriturismo is basically two Italian words melded into one. Agriculture and tourism for you English speakers. Sort of like the word melt and weld=meld.

In a nutshell? It is a vacation in a rural farmhouse while enjoying locally grown food and wine. Sigh. Utterly peaceful except for the odd fox trying to get into a hen-house and making a racket.  They are all over Italy. Not the odd fox. I am referring to the agriturismos.

Outside Bologna

Outside Bologna

I was fortunate enough to have this experience more than once. That is why the love affair between Italy and me will never end.

But that is not even the reason for this posting. At the end of the newsletter there was a quote that caught my eye. I am not even researching to see if it is accurate. I like it that much.

Lorenzo the Magnificent once said, “Whoever wants to be happy, let him be so: of tomorrow there’s no knowing”.

Lorenzo (in the 1440s) had it going on!

And I would like to add something besides “Thanks, Lorenzo, for the art!”

Yes, let people be happy. Allow them their joy. Keep your negativity to yourself.

But what I might add is this. Every day we have a choice. Like Lorenzo said “Whoever WANTS to be happy…” We can be happy or not.

I look at it like this. If you have your health, a roof over your head and a meal in your belly then you have way more than most folks in the world. You should be happy about that. If you can’t be happy and want to spend the day being negative? Guess what? You’ve wasted a day of your life feeling badly or making others feel badly. If you don’t want to be happy then don’t regret the wasted days.

But do allow others to be happy.

Of tomorrow there’s no knowing.

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What do I miss about America? I have a few months under my belt of this overseas living so I suppose I sort of have a running list in my head.

This is not to say I do not like living here in Kuala Lumpur. I am really, really enjoying it. But home will always be home. And America, for all of her faults and foibles (she is human after all) is mine. Love her! And miss some things about her. It’s normal.

You can get just about any item or product you want or need here. You just have to search for it and it might cost you. I miss not having to search for it and it not costing me more than it should. In a week, I can hit 3-4 different grocery stores. Meat, vegetables, fruits and staples store. And I have never liked grocery shopping!

I miss inventory. Here there is little to no inventory in some of the stores. There are no back rooms. You know those rooms. When you find a shoe on the rack and ask if they have a size six in the back. And there is no back. In a lot of cases what is on display is what you get. And if they don’t have it they just tell you, “No have.” Sometimes the folks just shoot out the famous line, “Outta stock.”

Sizing can also be an issue at local stores. Never a problem in big, ole America. I was recently browsing at a nearby shop and noticed a cute pair of navy cargo shorts. They sort of looked a bit tiny in the rear end so I halfheartedly grabbed a pair sized “large.” Please note I am not Norwegian, German, Polish or any of those countries that make big, tall girls. I am lots smaller. But not Asian smaller. I am a white, middle aged Irish American woman packing an extra ten pounds on a small frame. The “large” did not make it past my knee! I am not kidding. I yelled out to my daughter to grab the “extra large” size. Wow, never really wanted to utter those words out loud. Especially in a women’s store. I double checked to make sure I wasn’t in the children’s section. Really. The “extra large” did not make it past my mid thigh. Apparently my thigh is more than extra large. Reminds me of Thanksgiving. Can you pass me the extra, extra large turkey thigh? No, no, not the white meat! Big thigh. Big sigh.

Which leads me to the other white meat. Pork is not always readily available. Due to the religion of the country. But you can definitely find it. And sometimes even eat it unknowingly at Chinese restaurants when you order chicken fried rice. Hmmm, doesn’t taste like chicken. That’s weird because doesn’t everything taste like chicken?

I am not even the biggest pork eater but there are some things that I love and can never be substituted. Prosciutto, pepperoni and bacon. That’s just the way it is. One could convince themselves (for health or religious reasons) that turkey bacon or turkey anything cuts it. But that would never be true. I’m of Irish descent. I know. My people eat black pudding, for Heaven’s sake. So, Domino’s Pizza and Papa John’s can taste just a tad different here with the substitute pepperoni. And I do miss my BLT sandwiches.

Miss the U.S. weather a bit. The heat here is consistent. It is always 88 degrees and sticky. It might rain for a bit every day or every other day. But that is the only change. Make up on one’s face can last up to three minutes. And that is the three minutes from when you actually apply it to the time you make it out of the bathroom. It doesn’t even get windy. Southern California could be pretty consistent but when it’s dry and 73 degrees no one’s complaining about it. All my Facebook friends are posting beautiful photos of New England foliage, pumpkins, Halloween and talking about brisk weather, apple picking and raking leaves. I miss that season.

Next posting will be about all the wonderful things I am grateful for and the things I will miss when I leave Malaysia. The list will be long.

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Just in case you were wondering, I am really enjoying my new environment. I have a nice group of women friends. We help and support each other every day. So I am mostly joyful. Had NO idea what to expect before moving but I have been pleasantly surprised. Sure, there are frustrating moments. But like everything else- those pass. It’s all good.

I have been taking some photos here in Kuala Lumpur. A way of documenting my new experiences. Whose idea was it to give me one of these smart phones? Could Alexander Graham Bell ever imagined we would be taking pictures with telephones?

Anyway, as promised, I am sharing them with you. Not all of them at once. But bit by bit.

Below are photos of Awwa and her moveable feast.

Awwa, is a Chinese woman with impeccable English. She drives her trucks (two) into the neighborhood laden with meats, vegetables, fruits, junk food, freshly baked bread, milk, eggs, cleaning supplies, shampoo, and fresh seafood. Everything! Even cigarettes, wine and beer! I can hardly remember my first name but ALWAYS remember the days her trucks will be visiting.

I have visited many grocery stores since I arrived. So she’s not my main supplier. But she’s reliable and gets me the good stuff.

Now, Awwa might charge a little more than the grocery stores. After all, a gal has to make a living. And she is charging for convenience. Bringing the store to you. She certainly is a blessing if you can’t get out or have just run out of milk. Awwa does business mostly the old fashioned way. Throws your items on a scale, scratches it down in pencil and presents you with a bill. Cash only.

If you don’t have the money she will catch you next week. Always willing to advise the best way to prepare, cook and present. Her helper will carry your purchases to your door. She is pleasant and remembers everyone’s name. LOVE her!

This is the lovely woman, Awwa, who drives her trucks into the neighborhood each Monday and Thursday. There is nothing she can’t find for you.

Shopping at the truck. Pen, paper, mad math skills, scale and cash money are all that is needed.

Freezer contains chicken, beef and loads of other things. She arrives with live crabs and all sorts of seafood.

Ready for checkout!

Anything at all!

Into every lil thing!

Why leave the neighborhood?

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