Sunday, February 20, 2011

Chocolate = Head Cheese

It is no secret that I struggle with food issues. At the very least, I am an overeater but sometimes I have full-blown binges. My main weakness is chocolate. I eat mainly out of boredom or anger. I have problems with portion control. I've been struggling with this for years, reaching just over 190 pounds after having Sebastian. I actually gained 40 pounds after he was born. I managed to lose 60 of that eventually, and then I stalled. After a year, I recognized that I am a binge eater, and I started working on that. It's been two years and I've made no real progress. It's been a constant up and down ever since. It's a constant cycle of being proud of myself for doing well, then disgusted with myself for stuffing my face.

My most recent episode has really pissed me off. Four weeks ago, I decided to stop losing weight and deliberately gain, with the hope that I would also gain muscle with my weight lifting regimen. The goal with bulking is to gain slowly. My goal for my 12-16 week bulk was 10 pounds (and with luck, 2-3 of that would be muscle). In the first four weeks, I gained 11 pounds. It was my fear that having to eat "so much food" would make me lose control. Having to eat more than I need is a fine line. I should have been focusing on protein but, for many stupid reasons, I didn't. I overate carbs, and not even good carbs. There was a lot of sugar, HFCS, and fat consumption. And I gained weight quickly. But even after getting on the scale and being, once again, totally disgusted with myself, I still did. not. care. Last night, I continued to eat badly. The ice cream is finally gone, but there's always Nutella and a spoon. I still have cookie dough from our fundraiser.

Get rid of it? I could, but that would not stop me from going to buy more junk when the fancy struck. Not having garbage in the house is really only half the problem. Sure, it helps when it's just a passing craving but if I really want something, not having it won't matter. I'll go get it.

But that's not the point of this blog entry. I've addressed it to death in my fitness blog. There is nothing anyone can tell me about food choices that I don't already know. People say, "Oh, you're choosing food with no nutritional value. Eat some protein and fiber." No. Fucking. Shit. Sherlock. It's not as easy as just eat some fucking chicken & broccoli.

So anyway, I'm pretty desperate at this point. Not desperate enough to seek therapy or resort to chemicals to address the problem. I am desperate enough to try alternative techniques, such as meditation and self-hypnosis. Naturally, I asked the same group of people I run to whenever I have a question - my Babycenter spinoff board. I got a few good suggestions: Glenn Harrold, Paul McKenna, Marianne Williamson, and Erick Brown. Also recommended was Emotional Freedom Technique (tapping)*. Tapping involves tapping (duh) on certain points of the body to affect energy flow throughout the body, releasing negative or disruptive energy to alleviate whatever problem one may be having (releasing negativity, anxiety, emotional eating, whatever). I told you I was pretty desperate! I am not really one for hocus pocus. I've tried meditating before but really, it was just an excuse to daydream and take a nap.

But I decided that I need to try all this voodoo with an open mind. So last night when I went to bed, I listened a couple Paul McKenna tracks - the craving busters, both very short exercises. The first one I listened to (actually the second exercise on the CD dealing with cravings) is for dealing with instant cravings, and involves tapping and humming to remove the craving. Really, I didn't see how that was any different from any other distraction technique. Maybe the problem was that I wasn't really craving anything at the time of the exercise. Next time I get a craving, I may have to try it and see if I still roll my eyes. Yay for an open mind!

The second exercise is more for reprogramming to stop eating a particular food. Think of your most tempting food. For me, as I said, it's chocolate. Picture it and image it moving through you. Not digestively, but more like that scene in Poltergeist when Carol Anne's spirit went through her mother's body. And if I gave anything about the movie away right there, I'm sorry. If you haven't seen a very famous, almost 30 year old movie by now, that's your problem. Though, I have never seen Footloose. Please, no spoilers.

Imagine everything about your food - texture, smell, appearance, taste. Now associate it with a specific gesture, something that doesn't occur by accident. Paul suggests squeezing the thumb and pinky finger together. Okay, I can go with that. Then, think of the most disgusting thing you can possibly imagine eating. Think of how it tastes (or might taste) and smell and feel in your mouth. Perform your association gesture and continue thinking of that disgusting food. Finally, imagine eating your trigger food with the the disgusting food, all while performing your association gesture.

It took me a while to come up with something so disgusting, it makes me gag just thinking about it. I was going to go with eggplant, but eating eggplant is something I'd like to try in the future. I had it as a kid and was not impressed, but eating it again is on my sand pail list. Finally, I remembered something I saw in the luncheon meat section of the grocery store. Every time I walk by it, I want to vomit. It was labeled souse, which I have recently (as in this morning) learned is another name for head cheese. Why the fuck it's called head cheese when there is no cheese in it is beyond me. According to Wikipedia:

Head cheese is not acheese but a terrine or meat jelly made with flesh from the head of a calf or pig (sometimes a sheep or cow), and often set in aspic. While the parts used can vary, the brain, eyes and ears are often removed. The tongue, and sometimes even the feet and heart may be included. Head cheese may be flavored withonionblack pepperallspicebay leafsalt, and vinegar. It is usually eaten cold or at room temperature as a luncheon meat. It can also be made from quality trimmings from pork and veal, adding gelatin to the stock as a binder.

Do you see that? Meat jelly. MEAT JELLY!!!! Made with the head parts of a pig. In meat gelatin. Sometimes tongue, feet, and heart are included! Quality trimmings? I'm pretty sure the 99 cent pack of souse at Food Lion is not coming from the quality parts of the pig or calf. It's okay if that doesn't sound appealing because spices are added!!! Spices make everything taste good, right? I will eat hot dogs, but that's totally different!
















I can't even eat Jell-O because the texture bothers me. I can't imagine eating a meat jelly, much less a meat jelly with visible pieces of ick in it. OMG, I wouldn't even eat that if it were covered with Nutella. 

Okay, so back to the exercise. I imagined eating my beloved chocolate with this nasty pig-ass-in-jiggly-goo. And I gagged. I was pretty tired, but I'm pretty sure I heaved and wretched, as well. And I didn't get up in the middle of the night to sneak some chocolate. I haven't craved chocolate at all, so I haven't had a chance to test out the exercise in the real world but pretty much every time "chocolate" pops into my head, so does "head cheese" and I immediately find something else to think about.

Now this is meat I would eat with chocolate!

I don't want to give up chocolate completely. At some point, I would like to be able to enjoy it in small amounts, once in a while (as in, less than moderation). I'm really hoping this doesn't bite me in the ass and I'll never be able to eat chocolate again. For now, I'm going to continue with the association gesture and tapping. If this doesn't work, I'm going to give up because I don't know what else to do.

Oh, there are chocolate chips in my freezer and I don't really want any, but even when I try to force myself to eat them, I just can't. Gag.

*EFT Links:
World Center for EFT
EFT Universe
The Tapping Solution

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dyson vs Shark Navigator

Many years ago, my husband bought me a Dyson for my birthday/Mother's Day. Most women would probably cry and bitch that their husbands got them *gasp* an appliance for such a special occasion but I am not that kind of whiny bitch. For Valentine's Day yesterday, I got a 9:30 PM mumble, "Oh, by the way, Happy Valentine's Day." To which I replied, "Whatthefuckever, douche! I'm going to bed, don't join me." He played online poker and watched American Pickers. Twas a good holiday!

Anyway, I was thrilled with my DC07. It was an "older" model in that the Dyson Animal was just coming out, and the Dyson Ball was still in development. Sam bought it at Home Depot on his boss's credit card (with permission, of course) and paid it off over a couple weeks. I loved it. Seriously. We had the shittiest carpet. It had been there since we moved in in 2000 and who the hell knows when the hell it was actually installed. That Dyson sucked shit up from that disgusting, nasty carpet that I didn't even know could exist. The carpet still looked shitty and we shortly thereafter replaced it with something cheap but not so shitty. Of course, with two puking cats, a dog who just would not be housebroken, and a baby/toddler, the new carpet became pretty shitty. Especially after Sebastian's 45-pound pumpkin exploded on it one morning right after I left for the day.

We eventually replaced the carpet completely due to Sebastian's allergies. Sam installed laminate flooring throughout the entire house. And of course, I ruined that by dropping a barbell on the floor.

I found laminate flooring to be insanely difficult to keep clean. Probably because you could see any and all dirt/sand/cat hair/kitty litter. It's not like carpet, which hides pieces of whatever happens to fall on it. I tried eleventy billion different methods for keeping it clean. I had a dust mop for pushing all the crap into one spot, then I'd suck all that dirt up with the Dyson wand. That was a pain in the ass and more often than not, I just Dysoned the entire floor. But the Dyson was really quite cumbersome. I hated using it, so I didn't vacuum that often. As a result, my floor got gross and drove me nuts. I just couldn't get it clean enough. I would run the Dyson, then the Swiffer Wet Jet and it just wasn't clean.

So I got a Shark Vac Then Steam. (I also got a Shark handheld vac at the same time because my Dirt Devil Kone had long ago bit the dust. I absolutely hated that Kone. It was not easy to use, as it had no handle. Filters were a bitch to find, and shortly after I bought 9 of them from Dirt Devil's web site, the power button quit working. I gave the filters away and threw that brick in the trash.) The steam mop is decent. The vacuum part is weak. I would Dyson, then Shark vac, then steam. Total pain in the ass. The steam mop leaves streaks on the laminate but I can live with that. 

And this was still all too cumbersome. I wanted a different kind of floor cleaner for every day use. I decided I wanted a Rubbermaid Reveal Spray Mop but looked everywhere and couldn't find one. I ended up getting a Libman Freedom Spray Mop because that's all Target had in stock when I decided I wasn't hunting for the Reveal any longer. I haven't used it yet because I used the steam mop recently and haven't had any spot cleaning issues yet. But I will probably use it this weekend. 

I saw the Shark Navigator a few weeks ago at the store and thought I might like it, since I was living with other members of the Shark family. I wanted it, but I couldn't really justify buying it when I had a perfectly good Dyson. Then my mother-in-law's vacuum died. I knew she would like the Dyson, even a second-hand Dyson. I also knew that a new vacuum, even an inexpensive one, wasn't really in her budget, due to a lot of unforeseen expenses that had come up. Since I'd just gotten paid, I figured it was the perfect time to go ahead and buy the Shark. So I did, and I sent the Dyson up to my mother-in-law. And what a cluster that was. We had to take the damn thing apart and ship it in two boxes, otherwise it would have been over $65 to send via the post office (UPS and FedEx were much more expensive). We managed to get it down to about $30 (based on the web site calculator) and after I finally wrestled the boxes to the post office, it cost just under $40. So the calculator on can bite my crank. 

I used the Navigator for the first time today. I love it. It's awesome. And of course, it's purple and matches my other floor cleaning tools (except for my green Libman). My yellow Dyson stood out like a sore thumb, and Sam hadn't thought to buy me a purple one at the time. Home Depot probably only had yellow in stock anyway. Now they have a whole rainbow of Dysons. 

So let me compare the Dyson DC07 and the Shark Navigator in terms of the features I've paid attention to.


The Dyson had 3 attachments (that I remember using) - a crevice tool, an upholstery thingy, and something with a brush. The Navigator also has three - a crevice tool, the brushy thing, and a pet hair attachment. There is no spot on the Navigator to stick the pet hair attachment, so I have to keep it up my ass in the cabinet until I need it. And since my handheld has a pet hair attachment, there's a bit of redundancy. I find the attachment for the Navigator a bit better to use on my bed, but only because my hand gets tired of holding the handheld for a king-size bed covered with two cats worth of shed.

Winner: Dyson

Power Cord:

The Dyson's cord is much longer. I can do just about my entire house from one plug in the bathroom. The only part of the house I cannot do is the spare room and front entrance. Well, I can do the front entrance if I use the wand for the farthest part. With the Navigator, I can only do about a third of the house. Now, you'd think this would be a win for the Dyson, but in all honesty, most of the time I didn't do the front entrance and the spare room because I didn't like stretching the wand and/or moving the plug. Since I'm forced to move the plug with the Navigator in order to do the whole living room, I don't have any excuse to neglect those areas. 

Winner: Navigator


Dyson's claim to fame was that it would never lose suction. And I don't think it really ever did. There were times that I felt it wasn't picking up nearly as well as it should. Granted, I've used the Navigator once but holy shit! That little thing sucked up dirt even the Dyson left behind. And on the one area rug we have, that bitch takes you for a ride. You know how when you walk a big dog, it's really taking you for the walk? That's how the Navigator is on carpet. 

Winner: Navigator


As I said above, the Dyson is very cumbersome. I have a small house, packed full of shit. I have little nooks and crannies everywhere. Every time I vacuumed the bedroom, I'd bang into something, and I would knock the rubber bed frame thingy off. I would very frequently get the base of the Dyson stuck and then knock it out of whack trying to get it unstuck. No such problems with the Navigator. It fit under and around all but the smallest of spaces. 

Winner: Navigator


The Dyson, again, is large and heavy. The Navigator is smaller and lighter, by a great deal. I can easily pick it up one-handed without giving myself a hernia. It's easy to push and turn and doesn't make me feel like I'm doing a workout. Of course, I don't have a Dyson Ball to see how that compares, but that really wasn't the point of this blog. So don't comment on how fucking great the Ball is. This is comparing a specific model that is not the Ball! I'm looking at you, Amy.

Winner: Navigator


This is where the Navigator tends to disappoint. The Dyson has a telescoping wand with a lot of reach. The Navigator has squat, really. The hose detaches. That's about it. It doesn't reach nearly as far as the Dyson's. I don't think the suction through the hose is quite as good either, but in all honesty, it's probably a draw in that respect. I used my Dyson's telescoping wand a lot. Like, every time I vacuumed. With the shorter hose on the Navigator, I find myself bending over or stretching more. I don't care for that.

Winner: Dyson


Obviously, the winner here is going to be the Navigator, at $150ish, compared to the Dyson at $350+ and I think, after using the Shark a grand total of one time, it's crazy to pay an additional $200+ for pretty much the same thing. Both vacuums are bagless and "will never" lose suction. Oh, the Navigator came with extra filters, whereas the Dyson's are washable. I wasn't paying much attention to the filter requirements for the Navigator. But it came with two extras.

Winner: Navigator

So if you're in the market for a new vacuum cleaner, I do highly recommend the Shark Navigator. I give it 4.5 out of 5 hair balls.

Friday, February 11, 2011

February Challenge

Remember last month, I decided that my challenge for this month was to clean my house little by little? Well, that got off to a lousy start. I could use the addition of last minute swim lessons to our schedule and lots of subbing in the after school program as excuses, but to be completely honest, I just wasn't up to it. I hadn't done a thing on my list, as of yesterday. Fortunately, school was cancelled due to snow and I was able to get a significant amount of work done around the house. There are only handful of things left, and I made a list so I could cross off the tasks as I complete them. My house is clean to my satisfaction right now, and it will stay that way.

My other challenge for this month was to give up artificial sweeteners. I don't like natural sweeteners like Stevia, and real sugar, honey, and agave were too "pointy" for my diet. I like to eat my points, not drink them. So I was also giving up coffee and tea because I cannot drink that shit unsweetened. Since I didn't have my coffee, I was eating more than I should have been. It was leading me down Binge Lane, so after five days, I decided to pick my battles, and artificial sweeteners aren't one I'm willing to fight at this point.

So what's up for next month? I have no idea.