The Dreaded D Word

If I had been around when Rubens was painting, I would have been revered as a fabulous model.  Kate Moss?  Well, she would have been the paintbrush. ~Dawn French

I’m on a Diet. According to LIVESTRONG.COM (which is the free on-line program I’m using) 45 million Americans diet each year, spending $33 billion on weight-loss products. That’s a whole lot of people and a whole lot of money.

If you’ve never been a Top Secret Agent, you might think that there’s tons of exercise and tons of money involved in our action packed work. As it turns out, not so much of either, really. I get very little exercise other than going up and down the 4 steps at my TSL multiple times a night.

Indoor exercise like say, jumping jacks, would be out of the question because all the up-ing and down-ing would shake the RV and wake up the sleeping person. (Of course, that’s just a pretend excuse because I wouldn’t do it anyway.)

Walking back and forth and back and forth (TSA’s have to stay on a short leash) is possible, but my car-wrecked knee objects. It’s also moderately creepy for those of us TSA’s who work nights.  There are a surprising number of things at many TSL that aren’t people friendly and can sneak up on you, or at you or under you, in the dark.

Henry VIII has decided that he needs to do his business at 4 a.m. So far we’ve encountered tarantulas, scorpions, mad bulls and happy cows, donkeys, raccoons, armadillos, wasps, hornets, bees, giant beetles, brown spiders that may or may not be reclusive, black spiders, translucent spiders – really spiders of about every color –  brown snakes, green snakes, bats, mean dogs and inebriated strangers and the list goes on… Nothing major, but just enough to be jarring.

So I’m on a no exercise diet. This isn’t my first rodeo or my first dance with the D word. I gave it a try last year. I give it a try every year.  Mostly, my diets have been about 10% effort and 90% wishful thinking.

Having finally given up on a magic pill that lets me eat whatever I want while the pounds melt away, I decided on New’s Years Day – which is the fashionable time for that sort of thing – to try again. I messed around a bit with it during Jan and Feb and March and lost 10 pounds. I made small changes in my eating. I acknowledged that coffee wasn’t meant to be a condiment for my Chocolate Raspberry Creamer.

The older you get, the tougher it is to lose weight, because by then your body and your fat are really good friends. ~ Unknown

I wasn’t so closely bonded to those 10 pounds. We’d just become acquainted during my first year as a TSA. But the other extra 56 pounds and I had been together for 5 or 6 years. This is the year of 5 and 6’s for me. I’m 5’6″, I was born in 1956, I’m 56 years old and as of April 1st, I still had 56 pounds to lose to reach my goal weight.

I’ve been at this place before. The year is coming to an end (and maybe the world, too, on Dec 21st, right?) and I would always wonder how much weight I could have lost by now if I’d just applied myself back in January? This time I shopped around for a plan that made sense with my sedentary life style and very limited budget.  Of course, as soon as I started, all I could think about was food!

You know how it is when you’re in the market for a new car and all of a sudden you see that type of car everywhere, especially if it’s a Honda Accord? I’ve found that same phenomenon is true when I’m on a diet. There’s food everywhere! In my life as a TSA, someone brings us food almost every day – pastries, enchiladas (yesterday), catered dinners with man size portions of steak and shrimp and sausage and potatoes! It’s so generous.

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I find I think about food so much more often when I’m dieting. I do a lot less eating of it and lot more thinking about what I can eat.  It’s a little bit harder during the holidays because there are traditions associated with food. But to be honest, you could say Thanksgiving or Memorial Day or Friday(s) and I would think of food. 😀

My Mother, who was lovely and kind and a fabulous cook, loved people with food. I can hardly remember a time when the bed in the spare bedroom wasn’t covered with homemade noodles (they have to dry, you know) or a lunch or dinner that didn’t include desert. I grew up knowing how to enjoy eating!

I like to eat. I’m not an emotional eater unless you consider every emotion a trigger. I like to eat when I’m happy and sad and mad and scared and tired and energized. I like to eat with people and I like to eat when I’m alone. I just like to eat. I’m an emotionally/socially indiscriminate eater.

My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four. Unless there are three other people. ~ Orson Welles

Motivated by my fear of developing serious heath issues, my inability to comfortably bend over to find Henry’s Kong under the cabinets and being tired of cropping myself out of all the vacation pictures, I re-committed myself on the first day of April (no fooling).

I’m writing about the D word just in case one of you happens to be among the 45 million who are trying to lose a little or a lot of weight. I like the LIVESTRONG program because you decide what you eat. You type in your food and it’s instantly broken down into carbs and proteins and fiber etc… You enter your age and weight and activity level and goal. I had no idea how much too much protein I was eating or how fast I could rip through 1000 calories when my favorite food is pizza.

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I’m not overweight. I’m just nine inches too short. ~ Shelley Winters

I know what they say about how hard those last 5 pounds are to lose. They may be but believe me, the first 60 were no walk in the park either. 😉 I’d like to be done by the end of the year. I may not quite make it, we’ll see. I’ve learned a lot this time around. I can look at almost anything and instantly calculate the calories and nutrition. And I’ve learned (we’ll see, I think I’ve learned) that just like with money, sometimes just enough is better than too much.

The biggest seller is cookbooks and the second is diet books – how not to eat what you’ve just learned how to cook. ~ Andy Rooney

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Confessions of a Closeted Dieter

I’m on a diet. OK, maybe not a diet since everybody says diets are a remarkably unsuccessful way to lose weight. I’m on a quest to be able zip my jeans, sit down and still breath.

This is not my first attempt at breathing while sitting and it’s not my first attempt at dieting changing my eating habits. There are a few obstacles. I’m menopausal and if you aren’t or haven’t been, never mind. I’m remarkably sedentary. It’s one of the perks curses of the job.

I fall back on the excuse explanation that I work late afternoons when it’s really, really hot and nights when it’s really, really dark.

For me, dieting changing the way I eat, isn’t something I talk about because:

1. I might decide not to, in a day or a month and well, then, that’s embarrassing…

2. It invites tons (pun) of advice about diet eating differently and exercise

3. It’s just an a bad topic. If you need to lose weight and aren’t in the mood, nothing is more annoying than hearing someone ramble on about it. If you don’t think you need to lose weight (no matter what you weigh) then you’re either blessed with an incredible metabolism, you’re an overachiever in the area of self-control, you’re into things like being healthy or you’re not a female living in America – any of which makes the topic moot for you.

So, I’ve kept my quest to myself with the exception of telling Heidi and Henry, in the off-chance they should happen to encounter large or small flying objects (you know how dieting changing eating habits can make some people so moody).

I already had LIVESTONG.com (which is free) set up on my laptop. It’s a simple program: enter your activity level and weight goals and you get a suggested calorie count. Eat something. Type it in and it breaks it down into carbs and proteins and fats etc…

We began working with this rig on March 5th. My regular exercise regiment consisted of going up and down the 4 steps of the RV dozens of times each day. When that made me tired, I decided on April 1st – no fooling – that I had to make some changes.

Of course I haven’t said anything to the guys here on the rig. Seriously, only slender women talk to men about their need to lose weight. Mostly, only women who are a size 2, 4, 6, 8 or 10 talk to anyone about their weight! The rest of us pretend like it’s invisible and we’re the only ones who see it.

Once our Company Men decided that we were “family”, they decided to feed us. Sometimes they cook for the whole rig. Sometimes just for themselves and us.

It’s been 2 months to the day since I’ve been faithfully typing my food into LIVESTRONG. These are just some of the meals we’ve been graced with (I haven’t always remembered to take a picture) in the past two months. I’m including partial descriptions since the specific content is sort of unclear in some of these shots.

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Chicken Fried Steak, Black Eyed Peas, Fried Okra, Mashed Potatoes & Gravy

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Breakfast Tacos

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Steak, Potato salad, Scalloped Corn, Green Beans, Peach Cobbler

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Breakfast Burrito – almost forgot to take a picture as you can see!

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Pigs in a Blanket

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Steak and Sausage cookout

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Flintstone Ribs, Sausage, Mashed Potatoes & Green Beans (both w/bacon) 😀

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Steak and Ribs (buried under the huge steaks) and Sausage Cookout

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Chicken Fajitas from the FRAC wagon (even though it wasn’t our site)

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Catfish, Shrimp, Mac and Cheese, Green Beans and Cobbler

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Steak, Shrimp, Mashed Potatoes, Corn (no meat added to corn) 😉

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Fried Chicken, French Fries, Fried Potatoes, Fried Okra from the FRAC Wagon

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Louisiana Crawfish Boil

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Amazing Steak! I’m from Iowa. I know my pork and beef.  The steaks here are so tender, you don’t even need a knife, Scalloped Potatoes, Cobbler etc…

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Shrimp, Steak & Chicken Kabobs, Bacon in the Green Beans, Wild Rice and Banana Split Cake

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Our Directional Driller’s Homemade Jambalaya

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Ribeye Steak, Gigantic Baked Potatoes, Texas Toast & Beans, of course

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Homemade Hot Tamales – and yes, I knew not to eat the husks this time! 😀

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Cajun Meat Pies

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Homemade Crawfish Etouffee (left), homemade Guacamole which Heidi claims was the best in the world, & what was left of the Chorizo and Eggs (on top of the guacamole) when I got up! 😉

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Grilled Pork Steaks, Cajun beans, Potato Salad and Squash (that even I liked)

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Our CM’s batch of his special Cajun Creamy Taco

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Yep. Now you can see why I’m a closeted dieter trying to fit into the clothes in my closet!

No complaints. Not only can we make 3 meals out of every meal, we never buy meat, except for an occasional package of chicken!

And I always say:

If you gain five pounds….it’s water.

If you lose five pounds….it’s weight.

If you gain 15 pounds….it’s Cajun cookin’ y’all!