Thursday, April 30, 2009

Fat Boy...

And I'm not talking about the Harley!! I mean me and others like me. I am a Fat Boy. Been a fat boy most of my life from the time I started school and the teacher made me sit still and be quiet. I got the "sit still" part down pretty good and rather quickly, but the "be quiet" part not so much!! LOL As a kid my parents and grandparents taught me to try things. Meaning food! "Don't turn your nose up before you try it!" they would chide. So I tried it. I tried everything that came in front of me until I got old enough to understand that there are some things I just ain't puttin' in my face!

Between my dad and my grandfather I developed some seriously bad-for-me tastes. Heavy cream on cereal ( especially oatmeal!) I love grilled meat, and baked goods, pies, cakes, cookies and breads. I like to eat junkfood like nobody's business, and I am paying the price now in my mid-life. I learned not only to eat the stuff that tasted good, but to eat it in great volume. It was the worst thing I could have learned. My grandfather used to tell us, "Take all you want, but eat all you take, don't waste food!" I'm sure that much of that comes from growing up in the 1930's during The Great Depression, but it also came from growing up poor in general. My parents and grandparents always made huge meals, pot roasts and pastas and stews and soups, in quantities big enough to feed a small army. When I was around my cousins and uncles it was a matter of pride who could get the biggest portion and finish it... Not the brightest bulbs on the tree, I guess.

Cut to my teen years, and I have a job and money in my pocket. Now I can get the stuff that mom didn't have money to buy very often. I could stop at McDonald's any time I wanted to, and I often did. Then I discovered the places in the city that served the stuff that truly clogged the arteries, Garbage Plates! From Nick's and Mark's and The Princess. I found the nectar of the gods! To me anyway, as well as the steak subs and the meatball subs and the long simmered sausage and sauce from the from the great Italian restaurants in Rochester. Pasta galore and pizza from every joint in the city. I am happy to say that I'm not now nor have I ever been a big fan of chicken wings, but I have many other vices!

Not only was I an eater, but I found out very young that I was a power eater! I could pound back the food like nobody's business. I was 6 years old when I won my first food related bet. I was at a restaurant with my parents for some celebration or other and some of their friends were there. I wanted Spaghetti & Meatballs for dinner, and when dad asked how big the child's portion was, the waitress indicated a size that seemed way too small for my normal intake, so we opted for the adult portion. When it arrived it was huge! A pile of pasta at least 4 inches deep on a plate the size of a serving platter, covered in red sauce and with 6 gigantic meatballs arranged around the plate. My eyes lit up like spotlights! As I reached for the Parmesan, one of dad's buddies commented that I wouldn't be able to eat half of that pile. Dad laughed and so did I, so he bet me a dessert that I couldn't eat more than half. I ate the whole damn thing! In less than 30 minutes I had that huge platter of pasta tucked away in my belly. And then I had dessert! In school it became a source of pride the quantities of food I could eat. I would save my allowance so that I could get doubles and sometimes triples of my favorite lunch items. Pizza, sloppy joes, ravioli, toasted cheese w/ tomato soup. ( what was it about those toasted cheese sammiches? MAN, they were tasty!!) Tuna boats!! Did you ever have a tuna boat? They are simply a tuna sammich made in a hot dog roll. Simple and tasty and easy to handle, one day I ate 18 of them. I ended up in the nurses office. It was some time before I tried eating tuna again, and from that day forward it always gives me indigestion for a few hours. The canned corn that the school served? Swimming in butter and salty!! I loved that stuff and I used to get soup bowls of it. My personal "best" was eating 15 slices of school pizza when I was in 8th grade. My friends even bought me some when I ran out of money to see how many I could eat. Eating contests at McDonald's? You bet. A Friday night after a football game, and a bet .... One week it was cheeseburgers. 29 of them. Big Macs? 16 was my limit on them. French fries? 10 large orders ( what is a "regular" now. ) Each week it was something different, and I would take on the champ from the school that we had played the football game against. What was the food? As long as it was made at Micky D's, BK or Pizza Hut I was in for the challenge. I never lost in 6 years. 12 Whoppers, 32 BK regular burgers, 18 Quarter Pounders with cheese, 2-1/2 large pepperoni pizzas. 12 personal pan pizzas, 8 pounds of lasagna, or fettuchini, or spaghetti. I was never cowed, but I ate like one to be sure!

Now I pay that price for these poor habits and practices. No, believe it or not, I don't have diabetes or high cholesterol. I have the great good fortune to have good genes. Somehow I have a nice normal cholesterol level. My "good" cholesterol isn't as high as it should be, but still and all, the doc say that my arteries aren't clogging with plaque like some people. Along with the terrible habits, my fore bearers also gave me some good ones. I like veggies. Broccoli, Brussel spouts and cauliflower, I love 'em. I like squash and carrots and beans, green beans, lima beans, butter beans, and kidney beans. Black-eyed peas and snow peas and sweet peas. Sweet corn, and tomatoes, cucumbers and sweet peppers, hot peppers, jalapenos and habenaros too. Black olives, greek olives, and figs. Apples, oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit. Grapes! Concords and green grapes too. I like my meat lean. I can't stand a fatty cut of meat. My dad and my grandpa used to eat the fatty stuff, and grandpa was the giblets fiend in the family. I never developed a taste for that stuff thankfully. He could have all the gizzards he wanted, I didn't like them in the least.

Old habits die hard. I quit smoking, 4 times now. The last time was nearly 2 years ago, and I'm glad to be done with it. As long as it lasts. I still have the urge, but I keep on fighting it. Now I have to change my eating habits. This is harder by far because you don't need to smoke to live, but you do need to eat! I have tried many, many ways of changing my eating habits, but there are a few things that seem to foil me over and over.

I love food. I have no other love in my life right now. The cupcakes and ho-hos never turn me down! Lay's is right, you can't eat just one! When I am traveling I always seem to end up in a drive through. I hate to waste food, so I eat the whole thing. Have you ever ordered the nachos at Applebee's? HUGE. Slowly I am working on changing my habits. No more big bowls of cereal for breakfast. No more 3 egg ham & cheese omelets. No more 4 slices of toast with peanut butter. No more 3 potatoes worth of hash browns. No more dozen pancakes with butter and syrup. My average breakfast now is a piece of fruit, a grapefruit or an apple and a small glass of juice. orange juice, maybe pineapple or cranberry. That's it. 6 days a week that is my breakfast. One day, usually Sunday, I may have something different.

I have eliminated soda-pop. No more Coke, Mt. Dew or Dr. Pepper. Diet or otherwise. The diet is even worse than the regular! I drink tea. I know the caffeine may not be the best for me, but it's calorie free and sugar free. I don't add sugar so it's the best I can do. Green teas and black teas.
I have dropped snacking to a bare minimum. I have one cookie or cracker product sometime between Breakfast and Lunch. Then I have the same thing between Lunch and dinner. No snacking after dinner. No ice cream, no cookies, no nuts or fruit. Dinner is the last thing I eat. At least that it the goal. Doesn't always work out, but I try dang hard. I am keeping a running tally of my week, hour by hour I am charting my habits trying to break the cycle.

Lunch is one old fashioned "normal" serving of something. Maybe a tuna sammich, or a wrap. A bowl of soup or a can of Chef Boyardee. Maybe a few crackers and some peanut butter, or some fruit. Fresh fruit or canned fruit in juice. No heavy syrup, lite syrup, or Splenda syrup.

Dinner is one serving of whatever is good that day. I like veggies, sauteed in olive oil. Perhaps a veggie omelet. Lean meat, or perhaps a piece or 2 of chicken. Skinless, but I do like the breaded stuff. Desert is immediately following dinner and it is small and light. If not immediately following, it doesn't get eaten. No dessert some days. After dinner I take a walk. 1/4 mile up hill and down. As the weather gets better, I will be able to ride my bike more often. Right now I ride for a little bit in the afternoon up the driveway and the road.

2 weeks in tomorrow. One inch and 6 pounds gone. I will be working hard at keeping myself from eating when I am bored. When I am lonely, when I am frustrated, when I am pissed. I crave food, but I am working on it!!! Wish me luck!

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