Saturday, January 08, 2011

Rainman Buys Groceries and Mouring the Death of My Metabolism

Yesterday was chock full of horrifying self realizations.  I'll start with the one that prompted the other.  After a prolonged illness in which I had high hopes it would make a full recovery, I finally accepted the fact that, indeed, my metabolism is officially dead.

I've always had a cast iron stomach and could eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted and in the quantities that I wanted without any real consequences.  I know, I was very fortunate and I foolishly took full advantage of that blessing by faithfully indulging in my three favorite food groups: chips, salsa and snack cakes.

Earlier this week after a midnight rendezvous with a bag of Tostitos with lime and a jumbo sized jar of Pace Picante Sauce (New York City??!!), my stomach, or rather my colon, roused me at 4 a.m. and held my full attention until late afternoon.

I was in denial for a couple of days until yesterday when I faced the fact that I have to make some changes to my eating habits.  I've been steadily gaining weight over the past 4 or 5 years but I've basically ignored it, hoping in vain that I would catch a good stomach virus that would take care of it.  Now I see that this trend is the new norm and if I don't do something about it pretty soon, I will have to be buried in a piano box.

I also need to do something about my sedentary lifestyle but I'm putting that one off until after we move to Houston.  I'd hate to foolishly rush into an exercise program only to later regret it.  Ahem.

I've never had to diet before so I consulted the wisdom of a few friends, including my good buddy Google.  This wasn't as helpful as I had hoped because everybody has a different opinion and what worked for one didn't work for another.  Some had great luck with Atkins, others are all about Weight Watchers, one friend did well with Nutrisystem, several have lost weight just by watching what they eat and exercising, etc.  The only one that really caught my attention was a conversation we had about the guy who did the Twinkie Diet.  I could get on board with that.

I've decided I'm going to try the watching what I eat thing first.  Since I have no willpower or self discipline whatsoever, I'm not sure how this is going to work out but I'm giving it a shot.  Once that decision was made, all that was left to do was go to the grocery store to get all of my new healthy foods.

I decided to forgo my neighborhood Winn Dixie and headed for Albertson's instead.  Their prices are higher but their produce is better and I had a feeling I would be buying a lot of it.

Imagine my disappointment when I came upon the greenest bananas I've ever seen.  I like my bananas a little under-ripe but these were so green they almost looked fake.

The other horrifying self-realization thing happened in the check out line of the grocery store and totally caught me by surprise.  As I was taking all of my items out of my cart and placing them on the little conveyor belt thing, I became aware that I had been unconsciously sorting them into groups.  All of the frozen foods were together, the produce was in its own pile, the refrigerated foods were grouped together and the canned goods were neatly arranged on the belt.  Of course, all of this was kept separate from the cleaning products I had picked up as well.

I was stunned by own OCDness! I'm aware that I do have some minor OCD tendencies, but they're not nearly as bad as they used to be and are hardly noticeable.  But this...this was like being slapped in the face by a habitual hand washer.  Right there in the checkout line, between People magazine and the Altoids, I had transformed into Rainman.

I was still trying to process this when I saw the cashier about to put a bottle of lemon juice into a bag with my produce items.  Fortunately I was able to snatch the bottle from his hand and shove a baggie of onions in his face just in time.

We both stared at each other, wide eyed and confused, until we were saved by the bag boy who asked if I wanted my milk in a bag.  Which, by the way, I think is one of the stupidest questions ever.  Why would I not want my milk in a bag?

I continued to assess the severity of my newly discovered mental illness as the now terrified cashier carefully lifted each item off the belt, rang it up, then looked at me for approval before placing it in a bag.

I loaded up my car with a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat this and light that.

This is the picture I was going to show you as proof of my seriousness about eating healthier.  Isn't it beautiful?  I just love all the colors and textures.

But I decided I should probably show you the real picture since self-deprecating honesty is my milieu.

Baby steps.

By the time I got all of the groceries put away, I was starving.  With so many new choices, it was hard to decide what to try first!

I'm a little embarrassed to show you what I ate for dinner because I'm aware that it might look a little odd.  I have my grandfather (the Lithuanian one, not the Lebanese one) to blame for that.  That man would eat just about anything as long as it hadn't been microwaved.  He said that microwaved foods gave him diarrhea but I think he was just afraid of the microwave since my grandmother was known to sneak him some nuked stuff now and then without any ill effects.

One of Grandpa's favorite "light" meals was to empty a package of Tom's peanuts into a container of cottage cheese, mix it up and sprinkle it with hot sauce.  Gross, am I right?  For a snack, he would sometimes slather pumpernickel bread with sour cream and a little bit of salt.  I have to admit, that's just tasty.  Since it's hardly a meal, I added some tomatoes and cucumbers and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Until 20 minutes later when I was starving again.

Then I dove into my platter of fresh broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and light veggie dip.  That held me over for another 20 minutes.

At this rate, eating healthy will consume my life.  Who has time to fix themselves a light meal every 20 minutes?  I should add that going hungry really isn't an option for me because as soon as my blood sugar drops, I get a migraine.  So basically I can either graze like a cow 24/7 or be strung out on pain pills all the time. 

Maybe I should take up meth.  I've heard it can be very slimming.


Mayn said...

Dad showed up on New Years Day with a bag of shelled pistachio's and a jar of Barbara's bread and butter pickles. He tried to convince me to mix the two together for an appetizer. I refused.
All you need on that sandwich is a little prosciutto, goat cheese and some purple onion and it will be perfect! Don't forget the salt and vinegar kettle chips to enhance the flavor of the sandwich!

Mayn said...

HA! You totally pulled a mom!! Why didn't you just tell the checker what items to put in each sack like mom does?! Good grief...any good OCD-er knows that you let the sacker do his/her job and wait till you get to the car to rearrange the items into the bags they should be in...DUH!

Shannon Green said...

Oooohhh salt and vinegar kettle chips. I hope those come in a diet version.

I was NOT as bad as mom! I had a temporary lapse of judgment over one item. I still have nightmares of going to the dollar store with mom and watching her snatch stuff out of the cashier's hand and put in bag she wanted it in. I expected her walk around behind the counter and elbow the girl out of the way so she could ring herself up and do it right.

Wendy said...

I do not have OCD, but I am a former grocery store employee and we were taught, all those eons ago, how to bag like items with like items. Baggers these days are not taught that, IMHO. I group my purchases in like catagories so I don't have to cringe when they put the onions (not that I would purchase such a vile product!) with my butter. It's all in the teaching....
On another note, I did the South Beach Diet with my son a number of years ago. He lost 80+ pounds and changed his habits. I lost around 20, and still know the basic concept. It doesn't mean I follow it, but I may have to again shortly. My pants don't fit anymore and I am headed to my primary care to probably have the same surgery you did... Ugghhh, getting old SUCKS !

Shannon Green said...

Ya know, Wendy, I really felt like I was being helpful by sorting my groceries...right up until the lemon juice incident.

If you have to have the same surgery I did, I hope yours goes as well as mine. It was the easiest surgery I've ever had and everything is functioning normally now!

Plus...I still have a whole bottle of Demerol that I didn't even need so that's like a bonus.