Weight – The Obsession & The Resolve

Weight always seems to be an issue – whether you are thin or not.   When I was younger I was always too thin.  I do know it changes you to be one or the other.   When I reached my mid thirties I began to get heavy.  Perhaps it is the foods of today or the activities.  Maybe it is the nature of the animal.  How many slim animals turn heavy as they age?   Because I see slim and healthy older dogs and people I know we don’t have to be this way.

Pete & Me

Pete & Me

When I was thin no one could understand my big energy and appetite. They went together is how it worked.  I was burning those calories recklessly.  I rarely strolled anywhere.  I did however rest a lot because I’d wear myself out.  Unfortunately I wasn’t immune to the trends for women in the 60’s on to be as thin as possible.  I began to think I must be thinner.  I became critical of myself and worked to keep my adolescent thinness.  One thing that stood out from the beginning was my relationship with hunger.

I remember having food dreams.  They were fantastic dreams – colourful and mouth-watering.   They go back as far as I can remember.  I woke up every day hungry and eager to eat.   I seemed to be an anomaly.  No one I knew ever wanted to eat first thing in the morning, nor did they have food dreams.  As a teenager I experimented with hunger.  I would eat a big breakfast and then the smallest lunch possible.  I was hungry at lunch.  CG3EI explored that feeling – not as an adversary but as a researcher.  It was a pattern I kept for many years.  I would enjoy an apple or avocado until every thing was gone – this represented a lunch.  Supper was often a meal I hurried home to have but one that was late enough not to encourage snacks later on.

I don’t have those dreams any more.  I think I stopped having them when I was too busy at university and started to wolf lunches and dinners and even skip breakfast because I’d sleep late after partying or study.  We only had desert when I was growing up.  I say this as ‘snacks’ were unheard of.  Students use snacks as meals.   In the working world snacks are everywhere.  They were at the pub, the office, at parties and at friends homes.  In the past twenty years of trying to keep my weight stable I have had to look at my beloved snacks. CG26 They have ruled me.  Even when the snacks are ‘healthy’ ones.  I love watching TV at night and the commercials are mostly about snacks.

Like my dog I would gladly eat [almost] anything, any time.  I would love to wallow in my calories and enjoy the plumpness.  When I hear how big my ass is or someone says I’ve ruined my dog – I seethed.  It is one thing to let yourself go and another to be admonished for it.  The last time someone said my dog was fat I said. ‘I am so tired of people saying this”.  It stopped them and made them think.  Then we talked about perceptions.  Yes my Vet has said my dog should have a waist.  She has also said my dog is healthy.  I want health for my dog and myself.  My dog loves exercise and helps me.  She also is helping me with my snacks.  This is because I share.  I can’t share something that will hurt her so I must not eat those things either.

It has been over twenty-five years since I have been slim.  In that time I have struggled.   My metabolism is very different from my youth.   I notice the weight when I move my body and try to fit into my regular clothes.  Weight gain is unpleasant because your body no longer seems to be you and your clothes become a big disappointment.  Recently I have begun to look back at my reaction to hunger.   I’m not saying I have found a perfect way to address my weight.  I eat a bit less.  My walks are more frequent and brisker.  I try to resist snacks – even if I make 20 trips to the kitchen and visit the fridge too often.  If I fail I try not to beat myself up and resolve to do better tomorrow.  This goes for me when I eat too late in the day or overfed the dog the chicken scraps.  My weight seems to be stable and that just doesn’t cut it – not for me or my dog.

Hunger should be your body telling you its empty.  Many times I haven’t even felt when I am too full.  I indulge myself when I am even a little hungry.  Now I wonder at my ‘lazy’ attitude.   Yes we can’t be stressing out our bodies but who says a little hunger is a bad thing?  As a migraine sufferer I can’t miss meals.  I am allowing hunger back in.  My dog has shown the way.  She kicks her food bowl when she’s ‘hungry’ – even though I know she’s eaten well.  This made me question my actions.    Yesterday I had corn on the cob and a bagel for lunch and was still hungry at the end.  Today it was a salad and a bagel and I am satisfied.  Perhaps tomorrow it will be a salad and half a bagel.  I know bagels are not diet food but this is better than a burger or pasta for lunch.  Now both of us are experiencing hunger and at least in my dogs’ case I am seeing results.  Perhaps I am too, but being bigger it may take longer.

Corn on the Cob & a Chihuahua’s Attitude

2013 - 6 Dali-cob 017RszdWe had to listen to some crying at the dining room table today.  1st corn of the year – US product.  Very sweet and juicy.  She must use a place-mat or she can’t have it.  That goes for any food that can’t be cut and placed in her bowl.

We will be working on the crying part asap.

This is the look we get when she really wants us to do something – just before she goes into her bullying mode.

2013 - 6 Dali-wantingtogetgoing 002Rszd

Lamb Bone = Dog Bliss

Usually I won’t even think to give my dog a cooked bone.  We had a nice Lamb roast during the holidays and as usual I had a garbage thief.  The same thing happened when Dali discovered corn on the cob.  We see a very determined chihuahua racing for a hiding spot, with a large object clenched in her jaws.   I monitored the lamb bone.  After each sitting I put it into a sandwich bag and over the next 5 days she has had a wonderful time wearing it down and getting the marrow out.  I also gave her strips of dried sweet potato [purchased that way] and this seems to have kept her digestion just fine.  Unfortunately kibble isn’t the favourite for this diva these days.  We play dog bowl curling between the two of us – she kicks it to me and I kick it back, only to take it away for another time.

Lamb Bone

Lamb Bone

Lamb Bone Started

Lamb Bone Started

Note the place-mat – as the bone was greasy and odouriferous  I made her use it even when she wanted to chew while on the sofa.  After each one hour chew fest, I had to wash her face and paws, as she smelled strongly of roast lamb.

Oh many of my Italian and Spanish friends will like this too – so I must share this one. You could use wheat or barley instead for a nuttier taste. I’m sure my grandmother knew how to make such a pudding – the English were very fond of foods from all the countries they invaded – :) For some reason I am polenta challenged but I will check this one out soon. Thanks Laurie.

A Taste of Morning

Indian Pudding is a traditional New England dessert which can be traced back to the 18th century. I developed a  fondness for it when I lived in the Boston area. For some reason, though, it is relatively unknown outside of New England.

Here is a brief history of the dish …

When British settlers moved to this country they brought their Hasty Pudding recipes with them. I’ve never had Hasty Pudding, but apparently it is a dish made from wheat cooked in water or milk until it develops the consistency of a porridge. Wheat was in short supply in New England, so the settlers adapted to the new world by substituting corn meal – which they called Indian flour. Being along a trade route with plentiful molasses and spices, they embellished the dish with these flavorful additions as well as with dried fruits and sometimes nuts … and thankfully, the…

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Squash – Yummy for your dog

Butternut Squash Prep

I haven’t had a dog for a long time.  I remember our dog Pete would eat anything scrapped into his bowl – he had to share that bowl one summer with a Mallard.  That duck was fearless and loved dog food.  They go for protein every time.  My Dob Sarah would even try to eat grapes if you were.   She stole a whole block of Cheddar cheese off the table once.  Dogs are clean-up pets.

When I got my chihuahua I read everything I could about diet and joined a few Chi boards too.  Raw diets are very popular.  I’ve always offered fresh raw meat to my pets.  But I haven’t moved to this diet primarily because I’m lazy and I also take my chihuahua almost everywhere.  I have a small bag of kibble and dry meat in my purse!  At the Vets  I was told she is fat – had no waist.  So over the past few weeks she had been given less human treats and more of these natural treats.  Dali is looking much trimmer.

Dali enjoying some cooked Acorn squash seeds

In the fall especially I get into squash.  I mainly stick to Butternut or Acorn squash as they are what I grew up with and I have a real craving for them.  I read that you can give the seeds to your dog as a treat.  I love the roasted seeds as well so my dog and I often snuggle and munch together or snack on them when I’m cooking.

I have a love-hate relationship with Butternut squash as it stains my hands.  Normally I skin it, gut it and chop it into a steamer.  Rinsing your hands often can help with the bright orange and tight skin on your hands.

Seeding the Butternut Squash

Today I halved it like I do the Acorn squash and am roasting it in a bowl of water.

I cooked the seeds in a cast iron pan on low with a hint of olive oil.  Dali my chi is in heaven. I almost forgot to mention that she loves the flesh as well.  I mix it with other veggies, rice or meat so she can get at it.  When I’m cooking I sometimes offer small pieces straight from the pan or fridge.

Tonight she got banana.  Definitely a sweet tooth.