Monday, January 20, 2014

Telling It Like It Is...

I've been committed to this healthy-living thing for nearly six years now, and I think I need my batteries recharged.  Not that I've thrown in the towel and have gone back to my old ways (did Taco Bell's stock price ever recover once I stopped going there?), but my energy and motivation for preparing meals has really dropped off.  I've been in a bit of a rut when it comes to cooking for a long time now - honestly, it's not my passion, and I just can't seem to get inspired to go to the grocery store very often, much less meal-plan and prepare anything. 

I make quick-fix meals for dinner, like a Boboli pizza, French toast, spaghetti (can you tell that I'm also still in distance-running mode?), or my favorite breakfast combo of Greek yogurt, berries and homemade granola (and yes, I will eat that twice a day).  I do OK with getting enough fresh fruit in my diet, but salads and vegetables have been lacking, and I know this isn't good for my overall health, much less keeping my weight/size down. 

I don't like frozen food, I don't like boxed meals or canned veggies - my taste has changed quite a bit since I started my diet back in 2008, and there's very little processed food that I can stand to eat anymore.  It's pretty much up to me to prepare my meals, unless we go out to eat, but our area of Texas is not known for salads and most veggies in restaurants are breaded and deep-fried...not what I'm looking for.  I realize I sound lazy about cooking right now, but mostly, I've got a bad case of the food doldrums. 

I wish I could afford a week at a weight-loss resort, like the Biggest Loser ranch or some equivalent.  Not that I think a week would garner a ton of weight lost, but I would love to immerse myself in an atmosphere of being uber-healthy and get myself a little more motivated to prepare and eat quality meals more often.  Of course, it would also be nice to have everything made for me, food-wise, for a week - plus the group exercise atmosphere would be fun as well.

After so many years of doing this, the bloom is off the rose, and I can't seem to get excited about feeding myself (or Jeff, but honestly, he travels so much that it's mostly me) a balanced dinner.  I realize that this is not even in the top ten (or even top 100) list of real-world problems, but as someone who worked hard to lose a lot of weight, I also have to work to keep it off...and if I don't put in the effort, it's a real possibility that it could come back with a vengeance.  I don't have a solution at the moment - I'm just putting this out there as a reminder that weight loss and maintenance is always, ALWAYS, something I need to be thinking about.

45 comments:

  1. Interesting post. I can't even imagine not wanting to cook but we are all different and I have to see this through your eyes. I don't have a solution because if you don't want to you don't want to cook. But maybe you could commit yourself to cooking at least 1 meal a week? Maybe it will come back slowly and you will have more fun in preparing your meals.

    I do know what you mean that you have to keep thinking about it. I slowly have gained and right now I have to lose a lot of weight. So I'm thinking about a permanent lifestyle change instead of a fast diet. It's going to take time and patience but i'm ready to do this finally.

    And you know: dealing with overweight is for life. We don't get to take a year off or something, we always have to watch, think and often plan what we do. But you know: so far you are doing pretty well my friend, you are definitely one of my role models.

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    1. Thanks, Fran - and you are right, we don't get to take time off from this...well, unless we want to pay for it.

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  2. As you know, I'm not much for cooking either. When I was in losing mode, I never cooked or prepared meals at home. It worked for my lifestyle (and budget) then. Not that it has to be expensive. Have you considered declaring a 'spa week' at home? You could get one or two meals a day from 'outside' (Jason's Deli's salad bar was/is a favorite go-to for me when I want healthy without any real effort.:) ) Just a thought.

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    1. Good ideas. I never think of doing Jason's Deli as a take-out for their salad bar, but that would be easy.

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  3. Hello Shelley,

    Cheer up!
    You are human!!
    It is normal to be a bit down sometimes. This happens for many things in life, not only for dieting and being healthy.

    I was very much inspired by your story and started following you.
    I am also here to support you!

    How about forgetting about these little problems and plan a day just for you!
    I don't know a massage, a beauty parlor, a day out of your city...
    Have some people taking care of you! Get away from the every day routine.
    And then maybe those batteries will be ready to work again.
    That's what I would definitely do.

    I do hope that you go back to your kitchen soon.
    I am not a great cook and I do not even have a proper kitchen, but now that I am on my weight loss plan, I do enjoy cooking because, as you said, already-made food is often yucky.

    Have a wonderful week!

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  4. I have crockpot Sunday and fix something that will last for at least 4 dinners. I don't like to spend a lot of to me in the kitchen either. Use those crockpot liners to cut down on clean up.

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    1. I agree...the crockpot is definitely a friend in this house :)

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    2. Funny, Jeff offered to "get rid" of my crockpot just yesterday! See, I still need it...if I actually use it. Which, I will. For something - hmmm. Now I need to think.

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  5. You know I love to cook - that it's nearly a hobby for me - but believe it or not, I also get really, really tired of meal planning. Healthy cooking, especially when using fresh ingredients takes work, planning, and lots of prep. That gets old fast, even for someone like me. I do have some tricks that help though: I tend to roast vegetables by the batch so I only have to reheat. This time of year I always have one or more of the following roasted and ready: carrots, broccoli, zucchini, brussels sprouts, green beans. Spring and summer carrots and brussels sprouts are replaced with asparagus and we a lot of salads. My other go-to when I just don't want to cook is a rotisserie chicken. Our local warehouse store sells a giant one for $4.99 and I kid you not, we get between 2 and 4 meals out of it depending on how I use it. My last tip is crockpot. It really doesn't take much to throw some ingredients in there and let it rip. No muss, no fuss and a few hours later you have a decent meal. Plus you could cook something that was only, say, 2 servings when Jeff is away.

    I know your health and well-being are more important to you than anything so I also know you'll figure it out!

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    1. I totally forgot about roasting vegetables! Thanks for the reminder. :)

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  6. I know exactly how you feel. When I get home from school the last thing I want to do is cook. Have you tried making green smoothies to compliment your meals? Instead of fixing veggies for dinner, I will throw a kiwi, spinach, an orange, frozen pineapple, a banana, some coconut water, and some chia seeds in my blender and serve this with a grilled chicken breast or pork chops. Make a quick batch of quinoa and your all set. When my husband was diagnosed with Graves Disease several years ago, I had to change my way of cooking. I also use the crockpot a lot because it really cuts down on the stress of "what's for dinner?"

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    1. I totally forgot about making smoothies! Good suggestion - thank you. :)

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  7. Eating healthy and meal-planning and all of that would probably be really hard for someone who doesn't like to cook. It can be hard sometimes even for me, and I love to cook and especially love figuring out new, healthy recipes (but where I go astray is that I also love to cook unhealthy things!). What if you spent one day preparing food to eat for the entire week, then it's just out of the way?

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    1. Good suggestion, although my brain is going "an ENTIRE day??" - see, I am my own worst enemy!

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    2. I couldn't do that!
      Not because of the entire day cooking, but because I like to ask myself what I feel like eating today or tomorrow.
      I am sure I would be traumatized if I did that.
      Freedom!!
      Even if on a weight loss diet. Planning so much ahead would be like putting me in prison!
      Do you see what I mean?

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  8. Hmmm. If only we lived closer. I could share my excesses in cooking with you. And maybe some of your not caring about food so much would wear off on me. Because lately my food obsession has seemed a little over the top.

    But mostly I just know exactly how you feel when you say " weight loss and maintenance is always, ALWAYS, something I need to be thinking about." And that gets really old sometimes.

    (LOL @ the Taco Bell comment. I don't think McDonalds and Wendy's ever fully recovered from my "lifestyle change.")

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  9. Maybe you could do one of Debby's Spa Weeks that she does at home from time to time. Precook everything to last for 3 or 4 days and make it a priority to pamper yourself with healthy food and activities like you would get at a spa. You could even get a friend to join you! :)

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    1. Debby does her Spa Weeks so well, doesn't she?

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  10. I wish you lived closer, too, like Debby said. I end up getting so bored with what I make since I'm usually the only person who eats it :( Thank you for the reminder, though. My eating has been less than stellar, and while I can "blame" the fact that I'm a woman between homes (who moves in January? What was I thinking??), but the truth is, I've not been thinking as much about maintenance as I should.

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    1. It's so easy to push maintenance aside when life gets more interesting...

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  11. TOTALLY can relate, and it's interesting to see from comments that even those who like to cook struggle with this!

    I tend to do the "suck it up and cook a bunch at once" approach--big pots of soup or tons of roasted vegetables all at once or mammoth scrambles, stir frys etc. But I also get to cheat and pick up Insanely Overpriced takeout from the Whole Foods hot bar when I'm truly unmotivated.

    Good luck getting your cooking mojo back!

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    1. I should try that "suck it up" method. :)

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  12. I find the pictures of the beautiful salads you made in the gorgeous fiesta bowls very inspiring - they always make me want to eat healthfully. You might be surprised - many runners don't need all the carbs they think. A lot of the conventional wisdom is about elite fast runners with low body fat.

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    1. Thanks - I forget about my salads and I should make them more often because you are right, they are pretty - both to look at and to taste.

      I will admit to using distance running as an excuse to eat more carbs, but I do know for me, I also need the carbs. Might be because I'm a slower runner so I'm out there on the course for a longer time? Still, it's something to cut way back on after this Sunday's race, that's for sure.

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  13. Yep, I lost my mojo too for about a month, but I realize I have to plan to make good things to eat, otherwise McDonald's is so easy to drive through!

    You know if I lived near you I would make you food! Hugs!

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    1. You know if you lived near me I totally would subscribe to your meal service!!

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  14. I love to cook, but time is really the issue for me for what I *want* to cook.
    Maybe you could just plan to cook for one meal this week and make it fun and some new recipe. You don't have to go whole hog all at once. Sometimes you just need a spark.

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  15. As others have said, cooking ahead is helpful. Each weekend, I make at least one dinner that I have extras to serve either 1 or 2 nights during the week. Soup, chili, bean burritos, frittatas. All of these freeze remarkably well. And call me weird, but every Sunday night I make myself 5 salads for my lunches...cabbage, carrots, cukes, snap peas, tomatoes, turkey...people don't believe it..but they keep! And these salads are as big as my head.
    I also try to cook 1 new thing a month...I roasted parsnips and carrots together last night and made enough for 3 meals. Yum!

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    1. Your 5 salads idea sounds good - no lettuce, though? Just the cabbage?

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    2. That's the thing, Shelley. I tried every green and only cabbage lasts the 5 days. I have been doing this for 15 years. Yikes. And I make my husband 5 sandwiches on Sunday and freeze them...he is strange one, too and only likes meat and cheese...no mayo or butter...so they freeze like a dream. Taking our lunches for the last 30 years to work has saved us a bundle.

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  16. I think that it is hard to cook for just one (or even two when your husband isn't traveling) all the time - much harder to be inspired. I like the crock pot, too but sometimes that is just too much food and you don't always want to eat the same thing for days at a time.
    Sorry - no help but I do understand that cooking and trying to keep it healthy is a true chore!!

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    1. Thanks, Kim - and yeah, it's just too easy when I'm solo to have yogurt for dinner and call it done.

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  17. I am so burned out on meal planning and cooking but I am still raising a family so I have to continue. If it were just me I would probably live on oatmeal and coffee. I do have sort of a plan. Monday is *meat* am potato type day, Tuesday is Mexican food, wed is some kind of pasta, Thursday is easy peasy day, pizza or pancakes and Friday is something with a bun. Weekends are soup or salad or both with some kind of side and we usually have left overs or eat out. I'm with you on the frozen, boxed processed food, yuck.

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    1. Substitute Greek yogurt for oatmeal and I'm right there, LOL. Good idea on the theme nights - I bet it makes it easier to plan since you've got a starting point.

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  18. I'm boring, I eat the same things a lot of the time. I put a frozen thin sliced chicken breast from Costco in foil with some seasoning and broccoli and throw it in my toaster oven and bake on the convection setting 425 degrees for 40 minutes. That's lunch most days. I throw a sweet potato in too sometimes. I don't like salads in winter either. I've been making a lot of soups and chilli in the crock pot. Love this chicken tortilla soup which I lighten up with non fat sour cream http://www.eatliverun.com/crock-pot-creamy-chicken-tortilla-soup/
    I bake for work and the last thing I feel like doing when I get home is cooking dinner so the crock pot saves me. I really like making things we can eat two nights in a row so I get every other day off.

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    1. I can't imagine cooking after baking all day! Good ideas, and thanks for the soup link - it looks amazing!

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  19. Shelley,

    Thank you for coming by.
    You are not alone.
    I hope you feel better now.
    And tell us about you very soon.

    Wow. I like the idea of sharing meals.
    Imagine if some neighbors are also on a diet and you take turns to cook! Brilliant idea!

    Just one more think: I am single so I know what it is to eat by myself and cook for one person. Just make it festive!
    Use the dishes that are supposed to be for parties, change every time.
    I am planning on getting some flowers to decorate my table at least for the weekend.
    And you know what I do before going to bed? I prepare my table for breakfast!
    It is very nice to wake up and see that everything is nicely set for the first meal of the day.
    Maybe the trick is that you don't remember that you did it the night before and you think: Oh nice, everything is ready!!
    Well, it is just a pleasant way to start the day for me.
    AND I have no excuse to skip breakfast.

    Waiting to hear from you...well to read you ;-)

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    1. You do not want to know where I eat most of my meals! Hint...I can type at the same time. Good to hear you are making your mealtime more official, and festive.

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    2. Ah ah. I also have my Surface very close by, in case of emergency or to watch something interesting.
      Bad habit, but I am not going to talk to myself, am I? lol.
      One rule though, nothing but me and my thoughts on the morning.
      It is not a rule actually, I feel good like that for breakfast: peace and quiet is perfect to start the day.

      Well, at least when we go out, there is no computer. ;-)

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  20. Maybe it is the time of year that makes us get into a rut. I'm there too. Planning is work, but it is really helpful. Something I need to get back to. Pull out some cookbooks and find something new. Perhaps try a new recipe with a few friends.

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  21. Im late to this...because of all the reasons which make me SO SO SO ABLE TO GET THIS.
    We need a reboot at a resort...and a SPLENDA DADDY.

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  22. I love to cook, but even so, it gets old...and I wish for breaks.

    Bite the bullet and plan a few hours once a week in the kitchen. Make your weeks supply of food. Prep your veggies. Do it all at once...look at it as a necessary evil much as I look at Laundry (the bane of my existence). Do it and get it over with! Even though I don't mind cooking...I do a version of this anyway....my fruits and veggies are prepped within an hour of returning from he grocery store....if I buy ice cream or something that needs packaged in smaller sizes for portion control I do it then! (and yes, I portion my ice cream into those wonderful little disposable containers and pop them into the freezer that way)

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