Fat & Broken .. but Functional?

Beer or Wine? Mmmm!?!

There has been a big movement decrying fat shaming in recent years and that’s a good thing. It’s sadly typical of the screwed-up society we live in, that men are more “tolerated” for being fat than women. That doesn’t mean we don’t feel the pain sometimes too.

And I do.

These days, we are encouraged to accept ourselves for who we, and as we are. That too is a good thing.

But what if I can’t?

Sometimes I catch a glimpse of my reflection in a store window. Or maybe it’s a pic (Please, God, don’t let them post that online!) on a friend’s phone. And I’m shocked. For the most part I don’t actively notice such things. I carry on with my life, making my best effort to not think about my condition. But, every now and then, I see myself with horrifying clarity. And I am just that … horrified. For some short period of time, I am devastated. Is that really me? How could I have let this happen?

I grew up in a time and place where the definition of good parenting was a little different than it is today. Negative comparisons with our peers was often considered a good motivational strategy. And indeed, for some, it was. Regardless of its impact on my emotional development, I was sometimes motivated to change. Even today, I “happily” berate myself, in the hope of triggering some action.

And … sometimes … it works.

I guess I’m broken. Aren’t we all! Should I go and get it fixed? I don’t think so, it’s not serious enough for that.
Unless it’s the cause of me being fat in the first place!?!
No, that would be a nice excuse but I know that’s not it. Or at least it’s not all of the problem.
But is it okay to use this childhood affliction to motivate adult weight loss?

Occasionally,so long as it’s not bringing me down, I think it is. And, every now & again, I will use a good self-berating session to challenge myself to get back on track.

Such a pity it doesn’t work all the time.

Sometimes, I’ll instead just challenge myself to deciding between whether I’ll have a pint or a glass of wine!!! 🙂

5 Ways to Prevent Weight Rebound

5 Ways to Prevent Weight Rebound

Vanilla Cinnamon Pancake made with eggs & cream cheese!

If you just can’t take another day of dieting, try these 5 things see if they help avoid a rebound. And that horrible feeling that comes when we step on that lying, cheating scale the morning after falling off the wagon!

I’ve been struggling the past couple of months & these little tricks have helped keep me treading water. I hope they continue to work ’til spring finally decides to arrive.

  1. Eat more fat. I tend to choose fattier cuts of meat & add more pan-fried foods to my diet. Topping my greens with butter helps too. Keto & low-carb adherents will know the value of a fat bomb. Little treats that we can stuff into our faces without fear of disrupting that venerable state of ketosis. Who cares if fat has the most calories. If it stops us going through another self-destruct phase, it’s worth it. And we just might be lucky enough to carry on losing a little while we seek comfort in eating more fat. If that doesn’t work, and …
  2. When I feel like I just can’t carry on … then I don’t! Whatever diet I’m on, I try doing the opposite. On a low-carb diet? Go all carbs for a day. Or three. Sounds like heresy but it can work. If I feel guilty about it, I can make healthy choices, like broccoli, sprouts, or cabbage. Flavorful additions like garlic & onion don’t even count, right! I stir-fry these in my favorite fat. And eat ’til I’m ready to burst. This is my “Vaguely Vegetarian” routine. I try not to eat a slab of meat on such days. Maybe a tiny few bacon bits. Just for the flavor! Sometimes, I go all starch with my choices, like home-fried potatoes. A day or two eating nothing but fried potatoes or fried rice (but, sadly, not bread for me) can soothe the soul. Yes, I may see a blip on the scale next morning but likely not on subsequent mornings. Once the liver & muscle tissue is loaded with the stored form of glucose, & the necessary water that accompanies that, it’s difficult to add much more. And it usually flies off again, once I go back to low-carb. If the first two suggestions are scary, why not …
  3. Go with the creep. But cautiously. Dessert can often be a lure for those of us on a low-carb or keto regimen. And those fat bombs don’t always work for us. In fact, they’re sickening sometimes. But adding some berries doesn’t add a huge amount to the glycemic load. So I make my own ice cream! I add heavy whipping cream to a cup of frozen berries & blend. I mostly add some dark chocolate (70% is about as dark as I can tolerate & still enjoy) for chocolate chip ice cream. Very delicious & quite addictive but it can keep me going during difficult times.
  4. Pattern disruption can help too. My problem time is in the evening. On the couch. Can you relate? Skinny people tell me to just get off the couch but this is not always easy to do. Sometimes, I need help from the nuttier parts of my mind. Early in the day, when I’m most motivated & strong, I’ll place something on the couch. Maybe a suitcase, to remind me of an upcoming trip that I want to look good for. Or simply to take up all the room on the seat so I can’t sit! When it gets near my crash & relax time, that suitcase reminds me of how enthusiastic I felt that morning. And it helps me focus on finding something else to do. Somewhere else to be. Leaving a suitcase on my couch isn’t a long-term solution, but it can help me do some different things. And pattern disruption, even when not directly related to food, can often help develop some new, sometimes more positive, patterns. A new pattern might include …
  5. Going for therapy! While it may well help, I’m not suggesting that we all go book an appointment with our favorite therapist. Instead, I try shinrin-yoku! This is “forest bathing”, Japanese style. It sounds like a mystical thing but it was only studied & given this name in the 80s. It is a practice of communing with nature, gently ambling through the forest. Regardless of diet & weight loss challenges, it proved to be of great benefit for our general health & well-being. I like water therapy too. I like to spend a little time by the ocean, a lake, or a stream. Though at this time of year, in my neck of the woods, the blackflies & noseeums do their best to suggest I go elsewhere! And that’s okay too. Because I might visit my favorite coffee shop (for coffee only!), the local library, or take a walk in the mall. I may even just sit on the porch & say hello to the neighbors. And their dogs. I just added riding a loop of the local transit system to my list. It doesn’t matter what we do, just getting up & going out is the thing. Interacting with nature & humanity, even just a little, can do wonders for the soul. And we can but hope that the body comes along for the ride!

If you have any suggestions on strategies that have worked for you, & that might help keep me on the straight & narrow … please pass them along in the comments section. The comments link is just under the post title.

Get Fat Like the Cat!

Get Fat Like the Cat!The Fat Cat

At the weekend, our pet store was sold out of the grain-free cat food so we picked up a small bag of the regular stuff, to tide us over. That word “regular” is potentially one of the most dangerous words in the modern North American vernacular. We talk about regular sugar, for example, as opposed to sweeteners. It lends an air of acceptability and normality to things that might not necessarily be acceptable, nor normal, given our genetic inheritance.

As kids growing up in the countryside, our pets were free to move between the house and the great outdoors. We fed them table scraps and all sorts of foods that might be frowned upon by pet lovers today. Indeed, our parents weren’t impressed with our food disposal techniques back then either! However, given freedom of choice, animals are a little smarter than humans. It wasn’t unusual to find dead birds, rabbits and mice at our back door. These pets still knew how to eat a more natural diet, and they went hunting when they’d had enough of human junk food.

Now, as city dwellers, we feed our house-confined pets from bags of processed food bits. Yes, they have pretty pictures of salmon fillets and prime cuts of chicken on the bag, but some pet foods are heavily biased towards grain. Eating such foods, our cat got fat. No, our little kitten was obese! So we switched to the grain-free foods and … wonder of wonders … out kitty slimmed down a bit. She is still overweight. But I think it’s fair to say that she’s no longer at the kitty BMI level of obese.

We typically feed our kitty twice a day, morning and evening. Like all hungry pets, she nibbles enthusiastically when her bowl is first filled. But then she saunters off to lazily perform her morning ablutions. She’ll wander back and forth to the bowl for an occasional nibble so that her morning bowl probably survives ’til about lunch time. Her evening bowl usually has some few leftover pieces that will survive ’til the following morning.

I noticed that her morning bowl of this new bag of grain-based food was gone within the first hour!

Is it possible that cats can’t have just one cookie either!?!

And isn’t it funny how we like to feed our pets a healthier diet than we sometimes feed ourselves! 🙂

Eat More Fat!

Eat More Fat!yougurt copy

With advice from just about all of our governments, certainly in the west, & our medical communities, we have spent several decades now trying to reduce our fat intake. During that time, I think we may even have achieved that goal, but western populations continued to get fatter. Higher fat diets, though now far more prevalent, are still considered unhealthy by the majority. You don’t need to go any further than the dairy case in the supermarket to see which philosophy is leading in the popular opinion stakes. The low & reduced fat milks predominate. Low fat & 0% fat yogurts occupy most of the shelf space. This, still current, reality was more harshly brought to my attention when I joined a couple of Facebook groups over the recent holiday. I joined some Instant Pot® communities so I could learn more about my new toy. Then I realized there were probably groups out there for my much older T-fal Actifry® too. There were!

In both communities, you’ll find that supermarket pattern mimicked. The tone of many comments suggest that eating low-fat is just a given thing. Obvious & matter of course. An indisputable & irrefutable fact that goes unquestioned. Many people are trying to avoid the fat. Indeed, the Actifry was designed for that very purpose. When I first opened my Actifry, I threw away the little green spoon that suggest that I limit my fat! On the Instant Pot® groups, I shared my yogurt success with the 10% fat cream. The silence was deafening! And as other conversations resumed, most went back to talking about low fat ingredients again. Though there were some using, almost with guilt, that positively decadent whole milk!

I find it very difficult to lose weight without adding fat to my diet. While I’m still struggling with getting back on track after the holidays, fat is still very much a favored part of my diet. I can only diet well when I up the fat intake. Eating a good diet, for me, means that I’m not putting on still more weight during times of stress. And fat is equally useful when I’m trying to lose weight. Why is fat so important?

Consider the mainstream dietary regimen of choice during past decades, the recommendations all centered around eating less and moving more. That basically means eat a low-fat, low-calorie diet. Fat has more calories per gram than protein or carbohydrate, so it sounds like the obvious macronutrient to target. Protein is touted as the best macronutrient for satiety, so who needs fat? While all these are true, reducing fat in my diet has never worked well for me. Most often, it was because I couldn’t stick with the low-fat diet that remained.

Adding fat to my diet helps me stay the course better, & for longer. Will it get me to where I want to be? We’ll see.

Now I am not implying that I simply added a big dose of fat to the diet that was already making me fatter. Though even that might have helped displace some of the more truly fattening foods I was eating! The deadly combination, for me, is fat combined with sugar & processed starches. Though I can do a good job of gaining weight eating products advertised as low-fat, or zero-fat, too.

We’ll take a look at some of those fats that I consider good another time but for now, I’m off to enjoy some more of my 10% fat yogurt!

 

 

 

I Love Yogurt … Who Knew!

I Love Yogurt … Who Knew!instant pot yogurt

I made my first batch of yogurt in my new Instant Pot® & it was so ridiculously good, I just can’t believe it! Check out the pic of that spoon standing upright in it. It is firm, with a really smooth texture, and it tastes so creamy that it’s hard to believe that it doesn’t contain any added flavouring. It is just the Natrel® 10%, with a couple of tablespoons of plain Balkan yougurt, a 6% fat version, as a starter. It may be the best yogurt I’ve ever tasted. I have taste-tested it with some skinny people, and even they like it!

This was done with what is known in Instant Pot® circles as the “No Boil” or “Cold Start” method of yogurt making. For this method apparently, the primary ingredient, the milk or cream, must be of the ultra-filtered or UHT pasteurised variety. Without boiling, the potential for bad bugs to flourish is higher in regular milks. The No Boil process, on the other hand, is the simplest thing I’ve ever done. Toss the milk in the pot. Add the couple of tablespoons of starter yogurt and blend this with the milk. Put the lid on & press the Yogurt button. The pot does its thing for 8 hours. You then remove the pot liner & stick it in the fridge to set. For this little effort, I just can’t believe the result.

Not everything has turned out so wonderfully well, on the first attempt, in my new pot. But this one is a winner. And, along with this yogurt being so good, it ticks many of the boxes I want ticked from a dietary standpoint too. It is deliciously higher in fat than most store bought versions. The 10% cream does have a few additives but I’ve regularly consumed far more processed products than this. Though I’m not lactose intolerant, it being lactose free should cut down a bit on the carb content. And it’s a very neat way to get some protein when you’re more in the mood for dessert than dinner. I’ll be adding some fruit & a little shaved dark chocolate to a big bowl of this for something positively decadent.

For taste, this outcome is a gourmand’s delight. Now I must see if I can replicate the amazing result, but with less expensive ingredients! Along the way, I will have to test drive the boil & cool method with regular milk (full fat, of course!) too.

Watch this space, I’m sure I’ll have some entertaining disasters to add to the list of Instant Pot® success stories along the way! 🙂

Natrel® is a registered trademark of Agropur, Instant Pot® is a trademark of Instant Brands Inc.