Posts Tagged ‘dieting’
At a lovely restaurant the other night with friends, I was the only one who ordered (and ate) dessert – chocolate lava cake. I don’t really like alcohol, so for me, as I’ve mentioned in past blogs, chocolate is my last remaining substance-intake-related sin.
If you can even call chocolate a substance…
I prefer “baked love.”
Anyhow, as I was eating my baked love-AHEM-!-chocolate cake, my friend outed her husband. She told us that the reason he wasn’t partaking was because the night before, he had over-indulged in the dessert at a friend’s dinner party, and since that dessert was particularly disgusting, he had eaten platefuls upon platefuls of it until he felt physically sick – a condition that lasted until that morning.
Uhhhhh… excuse me, did I hear that right?
It was disgusting… so he ate it nonstop.
Apparently, yes. My friend explained to us that her husband was so eager to make people feel good (at least when it comes to their cooking), he always ate way more than he would normally when he was offered something he didn’t like, just so the person would never suspect that he didn’t like it and get offended or feel disappointed.
Actually, I can relate, because, while I don’t generally go to the lengths of making myself physically sick in order to ensure my host is happy, I do understand the desire to make a host/server/cook feel appreciated.
But THEN… it came out that in this case – the case of my friend’s husband, eating platefuls of the gross dessert – the host never even saw him eat the dessert! So he literally had no reason to keep shoveling it in his mouth.
I still get it.
Because for me, when I eat something gross, I find I must “top it off” with something delicious. The worst part is that usually, I have eaten most if not all of the gross food/dessert (though maybe not platefuls of it), in the hopes that SOMEHOW it will start tasting yummier the more bites I take.
I mean, come on, it LOOKS delicious!!!
You know what I mean? So finally, when my body revolts and my stomach inflates like a hot air balloon, and a sour liquid starts to erupt in the back of my throat, I realize that I SHOULD actually just stop eating. Period.
But… I find that in the same way I only like a movie with a happy ending, I also only like a MEAL with a happy ending. So, no matter how many calories I already consumed, and no matter how tight my jeans feel across my belly, if I ate something yucky, I feel I MUST go immediately to the closest Urth Caffe and order at least one warm chocolate chip cookie.
(…or whatever close substitute I can get to, if I can’t get to Urth. Which is dangerous, because if I eat another dessert that ALSO tastes gross, I’ll feel even worse and yet STILL need to find that final happy ending bite…)
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
Every Friday, I post an oldie but a goodie blog for your enjoyment. To those of you who just started reading The Grownup Girl recently, enjoy the “new” blog! To those of you who have been with me from the start, but have memories like mine, enjoy the “new” blog!
And to those who were with me from the start and who already read this blog and burned it into your memory, word for word, photogenically, I say:
What are you doing wasting your time dilly-dallying on my website? Get out there and find me a book deal!
If you hate to read, just click on the audio link, below.
Without reservation, I can tell you the quickest and surest way to get me started on a strict diet that I will adhere to no matter what temptations cross my path is for me to hear those magical three little words uttered when I least expect them. Each time it has happened – that is, each time the phrase was uttered to me and subsequently my new diet launched like a racehorse after a shotgun is fired – it came from the mouth of a small child – like a message sent directly to me from an earthly angel. You know what I mean, those big, wondering eyes look up at you with excitement and curiosity, and then without any of the adulterated filters that will come later in life, they blurt:
“Are you pregnant?”
What a nightmare. I can tell you right now, ye who have never been pregnant (don’t need to tell you moms – you grownupgirls already know what I’m saying) – the measure of joy, of being able to tell others that the reason your stomach is enormously fat is because there is a new precious soul growing snugly within, only just barely rivals the amount of anger and fury one experiences, when others suspect your enormous stomach must be the result of a pregnancy because HEAVEN FORBID someone’s stomach looks that bloated and or ginormous without a living, soon-to-be breathing soul taking up space from within.
It’s happened several times to me with adults, too – that is, a clueless adult will ask me how many months I am or some such bullshit, and I have to break it to them that I’m not pregnant, just fat, apparently, thank you very much. As recently as this morning, I attended a bris ceremony, and as I sat down at a packed table to eat my brunch, a man I’ve seen around but don’t know well stood up. “Please,” he offered, as if I needed his chair as well as mine to sit down. “I’m fine,” I smiled back at him. “No worries.”
“It’s okay,” he beamed, continuing up and away from our table. “Anyway, you are eating for two!”
It took me a good second or two to process what he meant. Lucky for him, he had departed by then. If you, dear reader, would like to avoid this & other faux pas, please refer back to my earlier blog where I break down a whole list of Do’s and Don’ts.
But for some reason, it’s when the children start to chime in – maybe it’s their innocence, and my subsequent inability to blame them in my head for being pigheaded, rude and obviously blind – that I suddenly wake up to the fact that if I don’t start and stick to a diet RIGHT NOW, my stomach will go from looking mildly swollen (or “newly pregnant”) to downright round and balloon-like (“5-6 months along”), at which point my hips, butt and face will start to fill in too.
The first time a child graciously helped me start a new diet was about six months ago. Looking straight into my belly (the height her head came to), my neighbor’s eight year old asked sweetly, “Are you pregnant?” Two weeks later my husband and I started the Suzanne Somers Diet, and four months later, I was a lean, mean (just kidding – I’m really nice), dieting machine.
Then I fell off the wagon. Or more accurately, I just felt like, ‘my body looks pretty great now, so why don’t I eat that piece of pizza/cake/cookie/brownie/plate of pasta/you fill in the blank_____ right now since it looks so good/smells so good and I’m really hungry/tired but want to stay up late/I’m bored/I’m with friends who are eating/I’m alone?’
I went from dieting six days a week and cheating once a week (okay, twice), to eating whatever I wanted six days a week and sticking to my diet once a week. I also took a new job three months ago, so with that my gym attendance deflated from the robust 4-5 times a week it had been prior, to the current 1-2 times a week. I had gotten so slim, so in shape that it really didn’t matter, the food, the gym; it didn’t seem to be affecting me at all… until…
“Mommy, you look like you have a baby in your tummy!” were the exact words my four year old exclaimed to me today. Her words tinged, I might add, with the slightest bit of hope and fear, due to the fact that she’s often asked for a little brother but is not quite sure whether it would be exactly the party she hopes it will be if it does happen…
Lucky for you, baby, there is no such life-changing occasion about to present itself in your life (i.e., a new sibling). There is however, a new life-changing event taking place in mine…
Diet starts tomorrow.
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
I’m tired this morning. And a little crazy.
But you went to sleep last night at 10pm! I know you are thinking. How in the world can you feel tired?
Okay, so you schlepped kids around all day yesterday, attended a pool party in the heat, cleaned the house and went to a barmitzvah party in the night.
Okay, so you drank a really strong vodka drink (after you promised yourself you wouldn’t drink, hello?!) and you ate about four pieces of cake (kids, can you say, sugar crash?) and you woke up at five AM this morning.
Wait… did you say FIVE? AM???
Ahhhh… now, we’re getting somewhere.
Was it a child who woke you up? Pee pee in the bed, perhaps? A nightmare, like the other morning when Esther woke up telling you “the car floated away and then I got in the car and it came back!” – ?
Gentle readers, I woke up at 5am this morning, and 5am about 4 days out of last week, and about 4 days the week before, and so on, because this week marks my fifth week.
SEAN T!!!!! WHAT’S UP?!!!!
Sorry. I think I’ve been brainwashed.
But yes, I’m waking up at 5 a handful of days each week, and most other days I’m fitting it in before lunch, and when I say “it” I mean 45 minutes give or take of the hardest ‘boot camp’ style cardio workout I’ve ever done.
About three weeks into it, I realized I needed to change my diet too, or else all these washboard abs I’m surely creating will never see the light of day from beneath the “is there a baby in your tummy?” fat on my stomach.
Thanks, kids. Thanks a lot.
So I’m kicking sugar and alcohol for a while, too, except for a once-in-a-while cheat day, of which this past entire weekend melded together and became just that – a Big Fat Cheat Weekend.
So I’m tired. But I’m pushing through.
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
So recently, I lost a bit more weight (yes, I’m already naturally thin-ish) and I got in pretty awesome shape thanks to the help of an amazing trainer that somehow was convinced by my ex-boss to train me for one month, for free. I’m trying to keep my body looking awesome for as long as possible, but I’m realistic.
Before, I had a trainer coming to me 4 days a week, doing a crazy training session for one hour each time, AND I was still doing cardio & Pilates on my off days. Now, I’m going to the gym most days, doing a cardio class here and there and once or twice a week, as much of a yoga DVD as I can bear before turning it off early and getting annoyed that anyone can really DO some of those crazy poses.
And I’m not in a fight with chocolate right now.
So, yeah, it won’t be long.
But in the meantime, I’ve identified the top most excellent thing that comes with being thinner than usual, and the top completely sucky thing. I know you’re waiting with baited breath, so enough of the introduction already! Here you go:
Being a bit thinner than usual is AWESOME because:
Clothes look better on you.
And being a bit thinner than usual is NOT AWESOME because:
I’m freezing all the time.
Freeeeeezing. All. The. Time.
What is up with that? I go to bed at night with the heat cranked to 75, a down blanket AND a thick silk cover AND a t-shirt, a long-sleeve t-shirt (over the short sleeve), flannel pajama pants, socks AND a wool sweater. In the immortal words of my father the lawyer, “I shit you not.”
So… is it all worth it? The slim, lithe, make-my-clothes-look-hotter thinness?
I’m on the fence. Because I started to notice my neck skin the other day, and it looked a little looser than usual. Was I dehydrated? Aging quickly? Or was my skin slow to realize that it needed to snap back into place where a tiny layer of fat had been?
My aunt will no doubt admonish me for spending any time at all talking or thinking about how I look. After all, it’s the inside that counts!
I think I’ll have this peanut butter and chocolate chip “protein bar” (LOLOLOL) and ponder it…
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
You know that thing, when your boss wants you to work until 11pm every night, and your husband thinks you’re not helping him enough with his business, and your kids hang on your legs as you attempt to move around the house and burst into tears every time you prepare to leave the house without them, and your spiritual teachers talk about how we must study more, more, MORE, if we are ever going to make any progress in our path, and how that extra 10 lbs just kind of clings to your middle because you don’t quite exercise enough or restrict your diet enough or sleep through the night enough to make it finally go AWAY?
You know that thing??
Turns out, I know that thing quite well.
Nothing like being an overachiever to make you feel like you can’t quite get anything right!
It shouldn’t come as a surprise… growing up, my role model was my mother. My mom – sometimes divorced & sometimes re-married throughout my childhood – managed to raise an average of 5 kids (step ones too) who collectively had around forty thousand after-school activities they were beholden to, while successfully navigating a career path that rocketed her from full-time motherdom to President & CEO of her own lobbyist firm.
Not too shabby.
These days, my role models include women I know through the Kabbalah Centre – spiritual versions of the “Do it all Mom.” Karen Berg, Monica Berg Michal Berg & Ruthie Rosenberg… to me, these women are giants. While their ages range from ‘younger than me’ to ‘old enough to be my grandmother,’ they all accomplish the miraculous on a daily basis – raising grounded, caring, motivated and bright children, caring for busy, accomplished husbands, taking time to care for themselves, spending time with friends and tending to their endless students around the globe, who seek their companionship and advice… oh yeah, and also working full time – and by “full time” I mean in jobs that never clock in or out. They are always accountable, always producing, and always stretching to do more, more, more…
Are you as tired as I am after reading that paragraph?
It’s exhausting sometimes, trying to do it all. I miss getting 8 hours of sleep a night. Heck, once upon a million years ago, I used to get TEN hours of sleep! (During college, it’s called “scheduling all your classes to take place in the afternoon.” After college, it’s called “unemployment.” It’s also called “not yet a parent.”)
On the other hand… it’s exhilarating. I LOVE being a mom to three amazing kids, I love my husband, I love to work at a job that is high-pressured and creative, I love to study Kabbalah and live Kabbalah, I love exercising and trying to improve my body, I love to go out, I love to be with friends, I love to try new things, and I love to write and perform.
I know, I know, I’ve exhausted you again, right!?!
So what’s new under the sun…
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
I love The Week magazine. And by “love” I mean, it’s crack.
Pop SAT Quiz: choose the answer with the same relationship as the top example.
1. The Week: Magazines
a. Chocolate: Food
b. Baby Kittens: Spam Emails
c. The Daily Show: Television
d. Crack cocaine: Drugs
e. All of the Above
Where am I going with all of this? In short, arriving at conclusion: I am nothing short of a petulant, cranky jonesing addict when my Week Magazine doesn’t arrive for two weeks straight over the winter holiday (not to mention the 2 weeks they shut down during the summer). How dare they!! Don’t they know that their readers need their crack I MEAN THEIR MAGAZINE more than ever, during the dreary ‘lots of time to read’ holiday break?
I mean, COME ON!
But as my kvetchy Jewish great aunt probably never said but let’s pretend she would have (with a nasally New York accent), “who am I to complain?”
Because… I meant to keep up my GrownupGirl blog while I was on my “break”. I put the word ‘break’ in quotation marks because I was actually working the whole time during my one week out of the office (btwn Christmas & New Year’s), and actually, my job got busier than ever, PLUS I was home with my three kids full time for the week, but anyway, it was a “break” from routine, that’s for sure… (and by ‘break from routine’, yes, I mean I ate about three thousand cookies and hundreds of desserts and drank a good bit too).
[A break, by the way, which was also AMAZING and wonderful because it allowed me to spend so much time with my kids that it spawned an equal number of fantasies that I should ‘chuck it all’ and be a stay-at-home mom as wells as endless fertile opportunity for more fun blogs like this one I wrote (the week before my break, but the first week of their break).]
Anyhoo – bottom line: I’m sorry I left you guys hanging. And by “hanging” I mean devoid of new Grownup Girl Goodness. I meant to keep writing. I actually thought perhaps I’d write more than usual, since I wouldn’t be in the office all day like my usual routine. Turns out, life is MORE hectic, not LESS, when you stay at home with three little kids AND still have to work practically full time from home.
So…. welcome back, world! I’m sorry I left you for a while. And, while I won’t flatter myself to think that The Grownup Girl is as addictive to any of you as the above list is to me (the ‘crack’ bit just in theory, of course, you know – so I’ve heard…) – I imagine it is possible that a few of you stopped by while I was gone and were perhaps just a little disappointed not to see some new stuff.
Here’s to hoping this year will bring us all more joy, abundance, love, health, peace and creativity….
Here’s to a Grownup Girl World!!
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
Readers, brace yourselves.
There appears to be a connection – not just a connection, but a DIRECT CORRELATION – between my intake of desserts and… GASP! – my fat.
More specifically, the fat of my stomach.
How could it be???
I admit, unlike 99% of girls in America, I never EVER had to worry about what I ate because I had the metabolism of a gazelle. (Let’s assume for the sake of this blog, since I’m too lazy to research it, that gazelles have excellent metabolism, k?) I would always eat about twice as much as everyone around me, twice as often, and I always stayed skinny as a string bean.
My stepmother, who is not Jewish and doesn’t understand why people would want to eat a lot ‘just because,” would complain often about how much we ate as kids. But, looking back, I can see her point. We weren’t just “big eaters” – My brother & I? – we literally would have eaten her & my father out of house & home if we had stayed there longer than every other weekend and Tuesday nights.
My eating habits only grew as I went to college and discovered that my ability & desire to eat was matched only by my inability to discriminate amongst all the college buffet extravaganza had to offer. Freakishly, my freshman year roommate was EXACTLY like me, in that she was naturally skinny, never had an eating disorder, and she could and often would eat more than three times her weight at any given sitting.
On a typical evening at Yale Freshman Commons (where the entire Yale freshman class ate), Bika & I would make sure to get there right as the doors opened. We’d jet over to the omelet line, take over the salad bar, sample all the vegetarian options, and THEN we’d get the rest of our food.
Later, around midnight, we’d generally order pizza. And that doesn’t even begin to include the copious amounts of beer and alcohol I consumed on a nightly basis.
Yes, I did ‘gain weight’ in college. But I didn’t really care – I was tall, naturally thin, and I wasn’t trying to be a model or anything. So – not only did it never occur to me to slow down or learn to eat less; I actually never even made the correlation between ‘eating a lot of crap and sugar and food in general,’ with ‘getting fatter.’
I mean, I “knew” that’s what happened, but I never really knew it – if you know what I mean.
Readers, I’m ashamed to say that before I went on my 40 day dessert fast? I was working on a blog about how a chocolate diet could actually WORK.
To help someone lose weight.
I even ran my brilliant idea past my co-workers and had already started dreaming about my runaway success as an author who finally introduced a diet into the market that included CHOCOLATE and WEIGHT LOSS in a single directive.
Then… something small shifted in me, out there in the ocean… and I acknowledged that I needed to stop eating so much chocolate. For emotional, addictive reasons.
And when I did…
I lost my belly fat.
It was amazing.
Until… lately. I’ve been eating desserts again. And while it’s not at the same obsessive clip as during pre-my 40 day dessert fast life… I’ve already noticed a pooch around my middle that was absent the prior month.
Time to go surfing again.
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
Come on, people. This is crazy. And annoying. And… impossible to escape.
The lure of Betsy’s cookies, that is. We thought we were done with this chapter, right? I’m off desserts for 40 days, blah blah blah, Betsy brought cookies to my house over a week ago and last week I was tempted but didn’t eat one, blah blah blah…
But that one freakin cookie that is left? The one – just one! – that has sat in that plastic bag for the entirety of these nine days since she brought them all over, and made it through not one, but two day trips to the beach, one yesterday and one today with my entire family and friends, and you are telling me that my husband and my kids and my friends are eating the hummus sandwiches and the tuna sandwiches and the Z Bars and the chips and the popcorn and the seaweed and the figs and the melon and the grapes and just about every mother f**ing other thing we bought EXCEPT the last homemade chocolate chip cookie that Betsy made us???
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?????
I realize now that I am a chocolate chip/desertaholic. Because no one else seems to care. Seems to mind. Seems to NOTICE, that – HELLO!?? – a CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE IS LITERALLY STARING YOU WHEN YOU OPEN THE SNACK BAG, ITS CRISPY GOLDEN EYE WITH ITS GOOEY CHOCOLATE PUPIL(S) AND ITS FUZZY, CRUMBY LASHES, BATTING AT YOU, SEDUCING YOU, PRACTICALLY OFFERING YOU MONEY JUST TO PICK THE DARN THING UP AND EAT IT???????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Shit. I have a problem.
You know how, when you don’t like your drink or you already drank enough to get a buzz, and you leave some wine or half a beer or a few fingers left in your cup, and as you take your cup back to the bar or the counter or to the trash, that guy or girl comes up to you, and is like, “You’re going to finish that right? You’re not throwing that away, are you?”
That guy/girl. Who cannot BEAR to see an ounce of alcohol not be poured down someone’s throat, if it has already been served to that someone. Maybe you are that guy (or girl). If you are, I say to you: Chill out, dude. It’s just wine/beer/a martini. I had enough. You have your own drink. Go focus on something that matters, like getting our Congress to take its head out of its collective ass.
But now, I realize… I am that guy. Or rather, that (grownup) girl. I cannot fathom how anyone related to me by marriage or blood, or anyone who calls me their friend, could NOT have already eaten that cookie that was swimming around the snack bag for two days and counting.
I really hope at the end of forty days I don’t even notice things like that. Things like – sniff!! – the last Betsy cookie in the bag.
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
[note to my readers: I have no earthly idea why this blog insisted on being double-spaced with a bi-colored font. You may not have even noticed - yet - but it's annoying the hell out of me. Suffice it to say that when I tried to fix it, it re-wrote my entire blog in italics. And by "it," yes, I mean the boogeyman who lives in my computer. Oooh, how I hate him! He may have won this round, but I'll be back. Oh yes, I'll be backkkkkkk.....)
And now, for the actual blog entry:
Betsy left her cookies here - like the title of an old 60's song (a la I love you Alice B Toklas). Has such a sweet, intimate, folksy, inside-jokey-nostalgic-yet-not-sentimental feel to it.
But this is not the title to a 60's song made popular by a Woody Allen movie. No, friends, this is my life, and currently, my obsession.
Those faithful GrownUpGirl readers among you will remember I recently made a 40 day resolution not to eat sugar or desserts? (Or drink wine or beer, but who cares about that, I'm Jewish, remember?) Well, the very first Saturday after I made that resolution I was tested mightily. Betsy came over with her homemade chocolate chip cookies, which included about four different types of chocolate chip cookies (gluten-free, dark chocolate, white chocolate, etc., etc.), and our six or so guests devoured them after lunch, while I holed up in the kitchen, doing dishes.
"What are you doing?" called my husband, no doubt worried his wife had been replaced by some clone robot who actually likes doing dishes so much she gets up and does them without asking for extra help or demanding that he do them because "he's better at it than her."
"I'm fine!" I called back, reassuringly.
"BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin)!" He was not giving up. Where was his wife?!? "We're eating Betsy's cookies now!"
"I know!" I called back, in an I-promise-you-I-was-not-even-faking- it-happy voice, because I was still buzzing a bit from making my ambitious 40 day resolution.
"I'm distracting myself!"
It wasn't until later that night when he asked me again what was wrong with me, and I reminded him about my sugar-free month + 10 days, that Aharon finally let me off the hook.
"Ooohhhh!" He finally concluded, satisfied that I was, indeed, the woman he originally married. I could tell he was more than mildly surprised that I was sticking to my guns.
That was then... and this is...
I'm tired. I'm not particularly hungry, but I feel like stuffing myself with something sweet. Truth be told, I'm mad at my stomach, for pooching out when I want it to be caving in. So, my solution? Stuff it, put more inside, stuff it full but stuff it with delicious, sweet-tasting goodness, so I'm comforted and at the same time that I am punishing my bad, misbehaving stomach.
Hmmmmmm.... need therapy much?
I am going to stick to my guns. I’m writing this blog instead of eating those cookies.
But it doesn't mean it's easy.
Especially not with Betsy's homemade chocolate chip cookies staring me in the face.
Betsy left her cookies here, cookies here, cookies here, Betsy left her cookies here and I'm on a diet.
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
Come on. Drunk on one beer, ok, fine. Well, lame… but fine. But drunk… on one fish? As of last night, I believe I officially hit a new low in the scale of being able to hold one’s alcohol.
It all started with my 40 day resolution to go off refined sugar, with a little asterisk that wine and alcohol would be included in that resolution too, simply because my body doesn’t process wine/alcohol very well. Or at all.
Case in point: last night I skipped a local Kosher wine tasting event at The Cask, where my husband joined three other couples (well – two & a half – the husband half of one of the couples is sober so he skipped it too). Why bother to go – I wasn’t drinking wine, right? So instead I went to a nice event in Hollywood, then met everyone, along with Sober Husband at a restaurant for dinner.
The food was great, the wine flowed (to the drinkers of the table, that is, everyone but me and Sober Husband), and conversation was engaging and entertaining.
At the end of the night, I had to take my nanny home, because – duh, my husband had been drinking wine all night. But as I dropped my husband home, I remarked that it was weird – I hadn’t drank even one sip of wine, but I felt tipsy! Even my mouth and my stomach had that sour feeling I get from drinking wine.
Had a gotten a contact high?
No, dear readers. I had eaten fish. FISH.
Cooked in wine.
I hadn’t even realized the fish was cooked in wine, but when I told my hubby how I felt, he remembered the waiter describing the dish (it was one of the specials), and apparently, it was indeed cooked in wine, or Sherry, or something of a similarly alcoholic nature.
And it made me tipsy.
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)