Who am I? I’m just a truly amateur foodie and geek. I love food. I love cooking, especially if it’s to feed other people. I will admit I’m not a big baker and prefer to do most of my baking out of a package, or even a box bought at a grocery store (a la a boxed cake), but I do dabble from time to time. I used to make bread in my breadmaker a lot more, but since I’ve been on a lower-carb kick, i’ve been avoiding making bread. Some day, I’ll get back into it again, as a loaf of homemade bread is a great gift!
I have a wiki called The Cyber Pantry wiki, where I keep my recipes, experimentations, family recipes and alterations on found recipes. I may link to recipes from there here. I may post recipes here first, then migrate them over to the wiki. Or I may just talk about anything else, such as favourite restaurants, great buys on fresh foods and so on. Update Aug 10/13: The wiki isn’t getting updated that often any more, as I tend to post directly here. Feel free to browse at your leisure, but this is where you’re going to find my more current culinary adventures.
But who am I, really? I’m a pushing-40 geeky gal living happily with her husband and three furbabies (kitties!), Jack, Doc and Rose (Captain Jack, The Doctor and Rose Tyler — did I mention I’m a geek?). I have a fantastic job/career helping students learn to create media (videos, podcasts, websites, etc.) in a library in a pretty awesome university. I love to cook. I love sci-fi and fantasy novels and movies. My musical tastes are best described as ‘eclectic’, as I can be listening to Metallica one minute, 80s new wave music the next, then Nine Inch Nails, Tori Amos, Loreena McKennitt and then Japanese kodo drumming. I’m all over the place. It’s easier to say that I don’t enjoy country music (new or old) — though I have been known to belt out The Gambler by Kenny Rogers with family members for no reason — or boy bands or ‘top 40’ stuff that’s out now, with only a handful of exceptions. Basically, if it sounds good to me, I like it.
I don’t let other people tell me what I should like and I find it hilarious when someone walks into my office and looks stumped by this bookish, glasses-wearing gal listening to Tool, creating videos with World of Warcraft Fraps captures. People love stopping by my office just to look at my toys on my desk, which include figures from Sleepy Hollow, Doctor Who, Warcraft, Angry Birds, Lord of the Rings, and more. I march to the beat of my own drum, do my own thing and don’t waste time worrying about what other people think of me.
Explaining the shift in focus on the blog from Jan 2013 to May 2013…
In case the picture doesn’t make it clear, I’m a big gal, too. Been struggling with my weight since the age of 12 and let me tell you: diets don’t work. Not even Weight Watchers. Most of them work in that they help you lose weight, but the minute you go back to “normal eating”, bu-bye progress and then some. Am I going to tell people not to diet? Nah. Everyone’s got to do what they’ve got to do. They have to follow their own path. But I’ve found more recently that the only thing that works is making lasting changes. Changes that you are going to stick to. Changes that you won’t be done with in six months after you hit a goal.
I’ve had to change my attitudes in the last few months about food. I’ve had to question my relationship with food. And I’ve had to realize there are no “good” or “bad” foods, necessarily. It’s about moderation and portions. Back in May, I started cutting back on my carbs, sugars and sodium levels. I pretty much stopped eating white bread, rice and pasta. I cut white sugar out and started using Stevia (other sweeteners give me migraines or severe full-body aches/pains) or brown sugar (less refined than white table sugar). I started ensuring that I got 1-2 servings of fruit every day. And I started portioning everything. Snacks, when bought, if they aren’t in appropriate portion sizes, get portioned out into snack bags or plastic containers. When I eat something, I record it.
I record everything that goes in my mouth. I use MyFitnessPal.com not only to record what I eat, but to help me plan my day so that all my nutritional values for the day ‘stay in the green’ and I stay well within my daily goals. I use it online, but also on my phone and tablet.
And as a result, as of August 9/13, I have lost just shy of 48 pounds. I am nearly 1/4 of the way to where I need to be (at the minimum). I told you I was a big girl. I will leave my progress tracker here for good measure:
Created by MyFitnessPal – Free Calorie Counter
I’ve done this just by calorie-counting. I haven’t started exercising yet. Eventually, that will get added in. I’m just not ‘there’ yet. I have officially lost more weight now since May 2013 than I have ever lost on any diet I’ve ever been on and it has not been a huge struggle. I’ve had to change my eating habits and my attitudes toward food. I’ve dealt with the emotional aspects of my eating disorder and know how to cope other than filling the void with food. And most importantly: when I fall off the wagon, I jump right back on with my next meal or the next day. I am bound and determined to make this work.
And it will work this time.
Someone asked me what my motivation was. My response was: “To stay alive longer.” She seemed impressed. I was feeling very sick and knew something had to change or I’d be dead before 45. I was a ticking time bomb and I knew it.
I don’t believe in diet pills. I don’t believe in weight loss surgery. These are not the answers for me. I need to do this naturally. I need to do this myself. And I need to re-educate myself about food.
So if you find yourself struggling too, you’re not alone. It’s so easy to get trapped within your own body and think that there’s no one out there who understands. I understand. Others do, too.
Let me tell you; I understand what it’s like to feel like you’re worthless, that you’re a failure, that everyone hates you because you’re fat and so why bother? I’ve allowed people’s comments about my weight cut me so deeply that I had given up for a long time. I had been made to feel like I was less than human and therefore wasn’t worthy of success. How wrong I was. I learned that this isn’t right. I’m a human being, dammit, and I can do this. I can achieve my dreams and goals, one mouthful at a time. And everyone else who doesn’t like how I look can pound salt — I am more than ‘just a fat girl’.
I am blessed to be surrounded by some wonderful people who love me for me and who don’t judge me based on my size. They don’t care that I’m big, other than worrying about my health. So when I told them all that I’ve begun this new journey, like a squat hobbit who has seen too many second breakfasts, they were all (and still are) very excited for me and very supportive. My amazing husband is one of my biggest supporters and bless him, he’s embraced the new food regime I’ve introduced without a single complaint! What a saint. 🙂
My mom is another one of my biggest supporters and I am thankful that she doesn’t judge me, she only encourages me. I have fully disclosed my starting weight and my goals with her and she has never once judged me for that number. She knows I’m changing it and so she cheers every week when I call her or email her with an update. And if I have a small gain, she doesn’t berate me — she only encourages me to keep trying.
This wasn’t intended to be a diatribe on weight, fat-shaming and determination, but more of an explanation behind the sudden shift between my last post in January 2013 dealing with fatty, high calorie, high carb foods, to this new focus on lower carb, sugar and sodium foods as of May 2013. My hope is that if nothing else, my experiences can help someone else finding themselves in the same boat. It’s possible to re-discipline ourselves. It’s possible to relearn how to eat. And it’s possible to break the emotional attachments to our favourite yet damaging foods. My recommendations for anyone trying something like this are:
- seek out emotional counseling from someone who understands overweight issues;
- seek out professional advice on how to do this safely with your doctor or a registered nutritionist;
- find advocates among your loved ones (friends, family) and speak openly about your needs, so they don’t inadvertently tempt you to fall off the wagon;
- change your habits and relationships with food (don’t fad-diet);
- acknowledge that these changes will be life-long in order to make sure you don’t slip back to old habits and destroy all you have accomplished;
- get comfortable with your kitchen and make sure you have the gear for it (measuring cups & spoons, weigh scale, etc.) and cook as often as you can, rather than ordering in;
- realize that you are in control of what goes into your mouth — you don’t have to eat or not eat something because someone else is expecting it;
- portion everything, including snacks;
- record everything you eat and drink;
- plan your meals at least the day before and stick with it; and
- know that you are worth it and that you deserve respect as a human being — being heavier does not make you less than human.
You can do this. If I can, anyone can. Oh, and if you face professional people giving you flak for your weight, be prepared to fight for your rights to good service. They are there to help you. Remember that. If they’re not helping, then they’re not doing their job. Request to see someone else or be prepared to defend yourself.
I have spent a lifetime of talking to doctors about joint pain and their answer was always, “Lose weight.” I finally stood up for myself and asked a doctor, “How can I lose weight if I can’t move because my knees hurt because I need to lose weight because I can’t move…?” The doctor blinked and said, “Oh my god… you’re right!” Now I have a pain management regimen in place.
This is what I mean about defending yourself. It’s not about giving excuses for your “state”, but about fighting for your right to receive help. Speak up. No one else lives in your body but you, so only you know what you need in the way of help. Tell them and don’t let them brush you off. And if you feel you can’t, find someone to be your advocate until you feel strong enough to do your own defending. Someone you trust. Someone who supports you. Heck, ask your counselor for help if you must.
Anyway, aren’t you glad you asked who I was? 😉 Not everyone will agree with what I just said, and that’s okay. Everyone has to go their own way. If you don’t agree with it, feel free to check out the recipes just the same. I don’t necessarily like all the musicians I listen to but love their music. And that’s okay, too. Enjoy and good luck in your travels. Thanks for stopping by and I hope something here helps someone, even if it’s just a recipe that appeases someone’s hungry masses. 😉