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Eating Practice: Post Hurricane Sandy, Election, and Nor’easter Edition

Posted Nov 11 2012 9:47am

Saturday, November 3, 2012 – 198.4

New Jersey can’t catch a break. Now the weather forecast says we might have a Nor’easter – New England slang for a freakin’ big snowstorm – early next week.

Maybe I’ll hang on to those extra batteries I was going to return.

As to eats for the day – one that was spent working remotely while trying to clean up the mess of tangled cords and other impromptu setups to deal with the loss of power and cold, I had an avocado with a Greek yogurt and maybe 8 tablespoons of Tostitos salsa. I know I will get dinged for this, but I am playing a game of ‘chicken’ with the contents of the fridge. Some things we threw out straight away. Some, like ketchup and mustard, we kept without second thought. But what about Greek yogurt?

I took the chance. It looked and smelled OK and as I write this 24 hours later, I feel fine.

Later in the day I went riskier. We had prosciutto. We had put it on ice on day 3 and had kept the fridge closed most of the time, but it wasn’t a sure thing. I cooked maybe 7 ounces of it in the microwave for about 3 minutes along with some Dubliner cheese and ate that for dinner – then I had 4 pieces of the Lindt chocolate and went to bed. I feel OK so far.

My daily calorie budget is 1,533 and I was at 1,422 – close enough.

Sunday, November 4, 2012 – 196.8

Some ketones in the urine. Let’s see if I can keep it up. I have a blood test on the 11th and would like to be in full-blown ketosis for it.

I could not believe just how much I appreciated a warm shower – I should endeavor to always appreciate it as much as I did this morning. After days in the cold, it was a gift from the Gods – a true blessing.

I went to return 6 extra power cords at Lowe’s and there was a generator for sale! Some people were hovering about it, but noncommittal. After seeing my kids freeze for 4 days, I figured I’ll buy it and either find some way to get it to heat the house or return it. If I had left it there, someone else would have swooped it up before me. We were lucky Sandy occurred when the temperatures only went down to the 40s outside. If this was a snowstorm that knocked us out, we need heat.

Last night my daughter was lamenting growing up. She’s 13 and we make her manage her own money. She needs to manage it and make her own decisions. She was crying as she told me about her friends whose Mom and Dad bought them cameras and iPhones. I told her: “What we’re teaching you is the power to think. You need to make smart decisions on what you buy. What is going to happen to your friends when they grow up and their Mom and Dad don’t pay for everything? You’ll have the skills to manage that – they won’t. She had wanted to buy an iPod Touch and spend $200 of her birthday money on it. I asked her how much that would leave her with. I also asked her to remember the sewing machine that she wanted so bad in the spring that she never used anymore and was still paying me back for.

I told her to sleep on it, and if she wanted to buy it, I would take her $200 and order it for her. This morning I asked her about it and she said she wanted more time to think about it: “I’m afraid I won’t use it like the sewing machine.”

Oh my God: I can’t believe I seem to have some parenting skills!

We went shopping and the stores were surprisingly empty and mostly stocked, except for some items like bread. A siphon was nowhere to be had, however, so I got on Amazon. My generator strategy is that we keep our cars filled with gas and if the generator needs gas, we siphon it out. This way, I don’t have to store gas in the garage, which makes me nervous.

Sadly, the day got away from me. I felt a sudden exhaustion as all whirlwind of events I am trying to manage I suppose.

For eats I had some store-bought roast bird with a LOT of mayo, then cheese with a LOT of mayo on lettuce. I then crashed with a Ritter sport chocolate bar – the whole thing. It was dark chocolate, but I’m sure it had more carbs than I would have liked.

Lastly, I had some seltzer with the Mio water flavoring. Right now, Splenda products are comfort food – and I guess I needed a little comfort and an early get-to-bed – I crashed before 8pm.

Monday, November 5, 2012 – 199.6

I bet it’s the liter of seltzer that’s part of this weight – some of that will be off by the afternoon. Still no power at work, so I’m working at home. The schools are open and the little one was happy to get back to school – the older one – not so much.

I bought the last heavy cream in the store yesterday – another indulgent low carb treat as a comfort food. I am drinking this with my coffee without restraint – it’s my therapy.

I worked from home on a particular project of great complexity and tedium from 5 am to about noon. Then got to work on answering some emails on other projects. I also went about the house resetting clocks – with all the excitement, we had completely overlooked the fact that daylight savings time had come over the weekend.

As it was the very rare case of my wife and I working from home together, we decided to go to lunch at Ruby Tuesdays. I like the place because of their well-stocked salad bar. We ordered fish tacos and Quesadillas, which we would bring home for the kids, and ate 2 heaping plates of salad each – mine was mostly bacon, ham, cheese, and bleu cheese dressing. I allowed a few tomatoes and onions to slip in there.

I had no idea of the calorie nor carb count, but I assumed the calories high and the carbs low. It was 3pm when I first ate – except for the heavy cream which I had a lot of. Might this be my single meal of the day?

Well, not exactly. because of Hurricane Sandy and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, today was Halloween in New Jersey. Kinda lame, but the kids did seem happy to have their day dressed as witches and goblins.

The younger one, dressed as a candy corn, came back with her goodies and as she was eating too much, my wife said: did you have your dinner yet?”

I said: “Kids are allowed to eat candy for dinner one night per year.”

My wife said: “What are you teaching your children?”

“Eating candy for one night a year isn’t a bad thing.” I said. My daughter – always quick to my defense and munching a candy bar, agreed.

I joined my daughter in ‘candy for dinner’ (diet? What diet?). Regarding Halloween candy, I am always particular to the non-chocolate variety because I never have them except this time of the year. I had a small box of Nerds, Skittles, and Gummy Vampires. I also had some cookies that were lying about and maybe 8 ounces of milk.

Halloween comes once a year – and never on November 5th – an event I thought necessitated a celebration with Nerds and Skittles.

Damned if I know what my carb / protein / calorie / fat breakdown is for the day.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012 – 199.6

Down a smidgen from the day before. That’s nice. It’s election day in the US – that’s not so nice. Do I have to pretend that either of these gentlemen are really that different from one another and choose one over the other? It’s like the Mac vs. PC argument: at the end of the day, they’re both computers.

In my estimation, the last noble president worthy of my vote was Dwight D. Eisenhower who warned the nation of the ‘military-industrial complex’ – his words, not mine.

Work was surreal after not being in for a week, busy, and cold. I only ate around 4pm – a can of tuna and mayo. I also had a Dunkin Donuts coffee.

I had a chat about politics with a colleague who I feel comfortable enough to discuss these things. I mentioned that I liked Chris Christie, New Jersey’s governor, and would consider voting for him as president.

“Yeah – but he’s a fat slob.”

We’ve had these conversations before about weight – I even showed him my fat pictures. We’ve debated if weight is a character flaw or something more complex. He tends to lean instinctively toward the ‘character flaw’ argument – which I regularly eviscerate him on. It’s good-natured savagery. He’s not that different than a lot of people who’ve never had a weight problem.  It’s good practice to point out the flaws in other people’s thinking. Not particularly polite, but fun if you are with a person you can do this with comfortably.

“Yep!” I say in a loud voice: “If only he would put down the fork and jog a little bit he would be a better Governor – right?”

He knew what he did, and admitted as much: “You’re going to start, aren’t you?”

“You look at me and see a reasonably thin person. But I’m a spy. I identify with being grossly overweight – I always have and always will. I’m one of them.”

I continued: “You think that fat people are lazy and sit in front of the TV every night eating cupcakes perched on their fat stomachs with a streak of crumbs from the box to their mouths. It might be true for some, but there are a lot of fat people who are sharp, hard-working, and always on the go – they’re just fat. They aren’t lazy at all and they don’t particularly eat all that much. Your generalization makes you possibly judge the character of a person wrong, which is not in your best interest.”

Or something like that. This is an ongoing conversation, we enjoy debating one another and verbal sparring, and perhaps we both learn something from it.

At home I gobbled down nearly a bag of pork rinds with butter, some salsa, and also stole some fries from the kids and 2 bites of a chicken sandwich. The non-chocolate Halloween candy is getting a bit thin, so I had some nerds and skittles and gummies.

I didn’t vote. It was like a choice between eating a live frog or a live lizard – I choose to eat neither, thank you.  I will perform my civic duty when I am given a choice between people worthy of the task.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 – 200.0

I have lost my way on my diet I must admit. It is all part of the practice – recognizing this, and bring oneself back, gently and without recrimination. I am tired and stressed. I haven’t been keeping up on my book of goals and to-dos. I am trying to get back into an old groove and put the chaos of the past week behind me, but with a long list of things still to be attended to.

Today I will bring myself back to center. I will do this by picking up some roast beef on the way to work. This had become less of a meal and more of a symbol for ketogenic low carb for me. There’s a ritualistic aspect to it, like the ritual of packing a cigarette against the pack before smoking it, or praying with rosary beads if a Catholic.

I’m not in a bad place – I’m in a very good place, in fact. At the beginning of the end. This is where you nip it in the bud – not 6 months from now when I’ve gained 50 lbs. And while things might not have gone exactly as plan, because I don’t have a fetish for perfection, I will keep the weight off, lose more, and still had the joy of a few boxes of Nerds on Halloween.

It is this sentence that you should note more than anything I have written in the almost 6 years of this blog. This is the central point: you fail and you bring your self back. And you do it over and over and over. Everyone will fail – not everyone knows how to not give up. That can be learned through practice. The trick is not to wait 10 years between failures, but 10 minutes, 10 hours, or maybe 10 days.

So I did the roast beef and butter, then some yogurt and some chicken breast with mayo. That – and the bottom of the bag of pork rinds was the day’s food. I stepped over piles of Halloween candy to get to bed, but it didn’t bother me – much.

I did want to weigh the remainders of the roast beef and butter for the day to determine what I ate, but my wife and I are playing the ‘Where’s my New Home?’ game in the kitchen. She has recently reorganized the kitchen (during the blackout she had nothing else to do) and the scale got shoved in a drawer. Once I found it, I put it back on the counter, without saying a word. As I went to weigh my food, I found it missing from the spot. I found it back in the drawer and took it out, weighed my food, then put it back on the counter.

I wonder how long we’ll play the game and who will eventually give in first. We both can be stubborn.

Weighing food to determine the quantity is one helpful ritual to get back on track. The other simple trick is to document:

Calories: 1,849
Fat: 16og
Carbs: 13g
Protein: 81g

A perfect start.

Thursday, November 08, 2012 – 199.4. Blood glucose: 126

Sometimes you get a sudden rush as the retained water leaves your body, but I didn’t feel that urge to urinate so much yesterday. Therefore, I am not surprised that the weight only went down slightly – but that’s OK – 200 is a psychological number for me. It’s good to be on the left side of it. My goal weight clothes fit me, albeit snugly. I’m in an OK place and a familiar routine that I can do standing on my head – I just need a few more days of practice for it to become automatic.

I was hungry in the morning and had 2 tubs of the yogurt before noon. At noon, I went for a Dunkin Donuts coffee – a bad habit I’ve picked up again – mostly from a cost standpoint – that daily coffee begins to add up.

In the evening my wife cooked up some ground pork with hot pepper to go over rice. It was quite good and low carb and I had at least 4 ounces of the stuff though I didn’t weigh. I also had a ham and American cheese roll-up that I put in the microwave and cooked for 90 seconds. This was surprisingly good – bringing out the flavors of both.

Although my scale had not been moved from ‘my place’, I just didn’t feel like weighing stuff and eyballed it. I also read an interesting article about people in NYC getting fat after Hurricane Sandy .

Calories: 1,929
Fat: 136g
Carbs: 24g
Protein: 140g

Friday, November 9, 2012 – 197.4. Blood glucose: 108

First ketones this morning – about what I expected. Morning blood glucose down almost 20 points and down 2 pound – it’s beginning to work.

Unfortunately, a sadness consumed me earlier in the day – prehaps most notable because of how infrequently I felt this way lately. Perhaps with Sandy I didn’t have the time, perhaps it’s just my to-do list has gotten too long. Perhaps I’ve been reading the news too much.

Perhaps there no real explanation and it just needs to be weathered through.

I decided to console myself by buying heavy cream for work. Coffee with cream is a comfort food – and boy, did I comfort myself – I went through an entire half-pint of the stuff – 828 calories of the stuff, according to my Loseit! app.

I had a busy day and the work made me feel better. I only remembered to eat at 4pm – before that I had subsisted on cream only as food. I had a yogurt at that point, and a little later, more of the roast beef and butter, maybe 2.5 ounces of the butter and 3 ounces of the roast beef.

I have been getting pooped earlier in the evening in the past few weeks. I have NOT been taking my vitamin with any regularity. Perhaps I remember to take my metformin every other day. Again, I can look for suspects, or I can just say I’m pooped – and grab some Zs when I can.

This was one of those times. When I cam home from work, the kids were at a movies and the wife was at yoga. I went to bed and mindlessly surfed a bit until my eyes grew heavy and was nearly asleep when the kids came home.

I went downstairs and the kids came in with a big tub of popcorn with perhaps a 1/4 cup of popcorn left. As I talked to them I casually took a nibble…then another.

Then before I knew it, I was off to the races. Looking back, perhaps it was because I had been almost asleep and my brain was ready to shut down that the lower functions overpowered the higher ones and I seemed to watch helplessly as I had a hot dog on a potato roll, then another. Then a croissant smeared with a huge block of cream cheese. I had eaten so fast that I felt like I was going to puke, but I still persevered and finished off the gut-stretching with some slice pineapple.

Unbeknownst even to myself, I only remembered the next day that I had maybe 5 breakfast sausages that my wife had brought home as takeout from the supermarket as well as a Halloween ‘Fun-size’ bag of Skittles!

I think it is important to note how I felt about this. ‘Detached’ would be the best word. Yes – I had *just* gotten into ketosis. I was on my way – and now I fucked it up. But it was as an observer that I thought this. I wasn’t emotionally attached to the eating. I just told myself that I would start again fresh tomorrow and go to bed.

Calories: 2,834
Fat: 198g
Carbs: 159g
Net Carbs: 153
Protein: 89g

Saturday, November 10 – 197.4. Blood glucose: 118

As I gained NOTHING to my surprise  I realized I had spent one of the  occasional ‘Get out of jail free’ cards that low carb dieting hands you. This sort of thing is the basis of low carb ‘cycling’, which posits that you can have a weekly meal of carbs without a negative effect – and even a positive one. I am far too erratic to schedule these things, so my carb cycling occurs on its own schedule.

I think the past few weeks have prohibited creating a new normal. I still have a long to-do list from Sandy – having gotten a generator, I want to have a plan in place for the *next* 100-year storm, but I also want to take some time and look at what’s crept back into my life, what routines I’ve unconsciously fallen into, and sculpt a new me to some small extent.

A few examples are:

  • Maybe 2 weeks ago, my daughter picked up a Mio ‘water flavor enhancer’ and I, sensation slut that I am, have been using it to sweeten seltzer. Bad idea. I have found that giving up artificial sweeteners made my dieting easier – and it was only when I began this that I began to stumble. Still, from an experimental standpoint, it was a good test, and further proves my hypothesis that artificial sweeteners screw up dieting by increasing cravings – at least for me.
  • I tried cutting back on coffee, only to drink more weak coffee, and ending up drinking even more coffee. If it provided the ‘kick’ that kept me humming, I might not question this, as it appears that I can drink any amount with few ill effects except for some heartburn, but I can drink a pot of the stuff and go to bed. It ain’t providing any benefit and is just an addiction at this point.
  • I wrote the book I was talking about – 130 pages. I then printed the whole thing out, had it bound, and waited a week, then sat down and read through it. I was mortified. There was a book in there somewhere – I just couldn’t find it. I’ve at least proven to myself I can write a book that sucks – but I would like to shoot higher than that. It needs a major rewrite – which I have been avoiding.

These are the types of internal audits I’d like to spend some time on this weekend, and put together a new normal for next week.

As I am in the habit of lately, I made a long list of the things I needed to do, filling 2 pages of an 8.5 x 11 pad. There were plenty of things to do, like bringing back $150 of unneeded items bought during the Hurricane Sandy frenzy. My wife chided me: “Did you really need 10 cans of SPAM!?!”

“Sure,  honey – I love SPAM!”

“Get me the receipt – I’ll return them.”

“You never know when you’ll need 10 cans of SPAM – what if company comes over?”

I am a complete nudge to deal with most times – I am amazed my wife still puts up with me after all these years.

As I returned a bunch of stuff to 3 different stores, I saw a common sight on the road: electric company bucket trucks from states as far away as Ohio, Georgia and Illinois. Guys – if any of you read this blog – thanks.

In between chores and running about I had a yogurt, then some pork short ribs. I also had Virginia ham and american cheese, with the cheese wrapped in the ham and heated for 2 minutes in the microwave – a wonderful quick hot meal.

In the evening I ate sparsely. Some sausages with low carb ketchup, some bacon and 2 squares of the Lindt chocolate. Without trying, I ate much, much less than the day before.

I resisted the urge to sweeten the seltzer with the remains of the Mio sweetener.

I read in bed after quite an active day. My Fitbit told me I went up 33 flights of stairs.

Calories: 1,354
Fat: 77g
Carbs: 23g
Net Carbs: 20g
Protein: 116g

Sunday, November 11, 2012 – 198.0 Blood glucose: 104

I’m not in a bad place for next week. Hopefully, no more hurricanes or snowstorms for a bit.

To be continued…

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