Emerald Specter 110: Reprogramming the Eating Machine

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I’m fat.

Don’t say “oh you’re not” or “you can’t be” or whatever. I’m fat. I feel fat, I look fat (to me if to no-one else), and I want to make that stop being a thing.

I have done it before, and I can do it again.

Back when I lived in North Dakota, I decided to stop being fat one day and my wife joined my quest to get healthier. We were walking, being more active in general, and we were eating way better than we had been. If you look at some of the archives of this website, you’ll even find examples of how good I was feeling about the whole process.

Then I moved to Portland, Oregon and things just seemed to fall apart.

Portland is not at fault, mind you. I am. I went from being a rural mail carrier to a supervisor, which added a level of stress that saw my weight balloon up and my eating habits that I’ve developed so carefully to melt away. Walking also almost completely stopped, and if you’ve read my last column, walking has become a problem for me now.

In North Dakota I lost 91 pounds. In Portland, over the course of the last three years, I’ve gained just shy of 100. That is not a thing that makes me very happy.

This time I am going to have to do most of the work through food and that means I need to reprogram the eating machine that is me. Since I have impulse control issues, portion control issues, and a nasty habit of searching for sweets all the time, this is going to be interesting to see.

I’ve already started the process with my attempts to make better choices.

Starting with breakfast, I’m trying to eat less sugary things. I had ordered a bag of dehydrated marshmallows because I saw Lucky Charm Frosted Flakes at the grocery store one day. While I do have a couple of bowls of marshmallows left, I am thinking that they don’t get to be part of this new process and will get to be thrown in the trash.

Instead of cereals, though I will have a few now and then, I’ve started leaning more towards what my wife and I call “Jarmelettes.” We put diced peppers, diced ham (or sausage), some shredded cheese, and between 2 and 3 eggs into a short wide mouthed jar and microwave them (I’ve talked about this in a previous post). I have also started having toast now and then and I’m hoping my breakfast woes are all but a memory.

Moving on to lunches and suppers, I am still in a rut with my wife where we end up having pizza rolls, Tombstone pepperoni pizzas (my guilty pleasure), or eating fast (junk) food a lot instead of making food at home. I am not a big fan of the fast food and as long as we’re going out I am trying to steer her more towards sitting down (where the possibility of eating better options is an option) rather than just default to easy. Now that Christmas is over, this should be achievable.

I need to get back to eating more salads. I need to eat more balanced meals. My lunches are already mostly made at home but I want to get suppers to the point where we were at before we moved: preplanned and sometimes even preprepped.

This cannot be achieved alone.

Without going completely on healthy eating, I do need to move more than I do. I cannot go for the multiples of miles walks I used to because my hip just won’t have it. Simply getting up and moving around more often should be helpful and I am determined to start doing some Tai Chi in order to ease some of the ailments I’m currently suffering.

It works for old people, why can’t it work for me, too?

Sorry this column isn’t as meaty as the last one, I just need to get things out there in the aether to start moving in the right directions.