Cabin Fever – Day Two

Feb 14, 2014

Cabin Fever – Day Two

Man oh man, I don’t know about you but do snow days ever bring out my inner foodie.  For a thousand different reasons…my history, my associations, boredom, procrastination, lack of structure, simply being locked in the same location as the kitchen.  And I don’t even have someone else messing up my food environment.  I am the total instigator of whatever success or missteps I have.

Am I the only one who ends up being preoccupied with when the next “legitimate” mealtime is?  I’m a fairly seasoned veteran of weight management and I still can find it challenging.

Here is when I truly discover that my freezer is not Siberia, the place where I banish all tempting foods as if I will never take them back out, as if my microwave doesn’t cancel out the benefit of them being frozen.  Plus, I like frozen cookies it turns out.

Here is where I really see that what goes into my grocery cart goes into my mouth…eventually.  I am not sure who I told myself was going to eat it when I brought it in.  House elves?

The challenge with snow days for a lot of us is not only how our kitchens are stocked, but the mentality that goes along with them.  There is the “vacation mentality” game, as if anything I ingest on this day simply doesn’t count.  It is a day off from life.

There is the “as long as I already blew it” game (my personal favorite) once I have eaten anything I consider “illegal”.  So why not just quadruple the damage as long as I have gone this far?  My favorite analogy for this came from a client who lost 120 lbs.  She said it is as if I have tripped on the first basements step and I decide that I may just as well hurl myself down to the bottom as long as I have already tripped rather than grab the handrail.

There is the “small pieces” game since I am only ever going to have a few…maybe half the official “serving size” of 1113 Goldfish.  Who can stop on an uneven number anyway?

There is the “I did so much shoveling I must be entitled to this whole box of Oreos” game.  Given how many Oreos I am capable of consuming I would have had to shovel out the whole neighborhood to cancel out the calories.

There is the “Oh, wow, did I still have 11 boxes of Girl Scout cookies in my basement?” game.  Did you know that you can just donate the money and they send the cookies off to the soldiers overseas who probably don’t have a basement to stash them in to stumble innocently upon one day when they are super vulnerable like an accident just waiting to happen?

There is the “my kids wouldn’t have a normal childhood if we didn’t bake chocolate chip cookies” game.  Only now we don’t actually make dough, we just buy it already made and edible in bite size chunks right from the refrigerator.  No pesky delay time while we make the dough.

And then of course, if all else fails, there is always the all purpose “snow days don’t count” game.  The snow itself apparently makes all indiscretions null and void.

So how can I see that train coming and be willing to do something about it before I have taken that first regrettable bite…the regrettable bite that turns out to be the tipping point?  The bite after which I can convince myself that I don’t care, that I will balance this off tomorrow, Monday, as soon as it is not snowing…or any day that is not today?

Especially on Snow Days…

Monica exercises at the first opportunity so she takes this success into her day and sets her intention.  Procrastinating only makes burdensome something that if done at a different time of the day could have been empowering.  Even ten minutes outside with her Bernese Mountain dog can change the course of the day for her.

Josh plays with his kids in the snow.  Turns out, dragging the sled up this wet snow is really hard work!  They built this really huge and amazing snow woman yesterday with this particularly pliable snow.  At least it is good for something.  And once they are outside, no one is preoccupied with snacking.

Sarah deliberately structures her meals on these dangerously unstructured days.  She actually plans them, makes them and figures out by what time she should probably be having them to avoid snacking in between or simply getting too hungry to care.  She kept the divided plates from one of her Weight Watcher periods and finds that this helps keep her portions where she wants them to be.  She creates her own Jenny Craig, so to speak.

Abigail makes it a point to eat before she is really hungry.  She has found that hunger, like pain, can get out ahead of her.  And once it does, the meal she planned won’t necessarily pull it back.  In fact, nothing will.

John gets the most help by going out of his way to eat extra volume of “free foods” and starts the day with a big protein hit (like 30-50 grams) to get full and feel totally done after meals.  By the time he has had his two eggs with 6 extra whites, an ounce of shredded Swiss, a 1/2 cup of sautéed spinach, and the pint of grape tomatoes that happened to be sitting on his counter, he hasn’t even had the equivalent calories of the bagel he would have been picking at (never claiming to have had and entire bagel) and never feeling that he had actually had any breakfast.

Alex makes it a point to eat real meals on a plate.  This way he acknowledges that he ate a real and complete meal and mealtime is now over.  The interesting thing about grazing is that it is never officially ended.  How many times have I had twice as much food as even I would think constitutes a meal, but because I ate it in small increments all through the day, it never felt like enough and it never felt like I was done.

Eileen has found healthy comfort foods for winter.  Cauliflower mashed potatoes, ratatouille with grated parmesan, turkey chili, split pea/escarole and bean/cream of cauliflower or butternut squash soups, roasted root veggies – to name a few of her Winter favorites.  Or how about a baked potato tuna melt or stuffed with broccoli and grated cheddar or even turkey chili poured over it?  I especially love my yam and apple casserole with turkey breakfast sausage – salty, sweet, creamy and chewy.

Molly has learned the hard way not to bake and to avoid creating that association for her kids.  Locking herself in the house with the goodies that she has now invested her time and energy into procuring the ingredients for and producing, whose smell has permeated everyone’s hair and the furniture, whose inviting presence is now under everyone’s nose, whose siren song she can hear even from the shower…well let’s just say there is nowhere to hide.  What she now does is set up a “game” room with projects and ongoing games for everyone.  There is a puzzle in progress, and ongoing game of Scrabble, cards, board games, etc.

Mark plans his food treat for the end of the day so he can hold out knowing it is coming. Delaying gratification works better for him than denying it. Popcorn, hot chocolate, a Skinny Cow, a bar – whatever he knows works for him.

My Personal Avoids:  nut butter jars (eaten with a spoon directly from the jar and called “just picking at a few of the nuts), things in small pieces, especially if they are dry and crunchy (that I can pretend I am just having a few of) and anything eaten directly from a box or the fridge without utensils or a plate.

My personal best strategy:  Make my meals in advance and leave the kitchen to eat.  Leave the kitchen period.

How many of these things did I do yesterday?  Let’s just say, to quote my brother, practice makes progress.







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