Some people have asked me how I started my weight loss. My first few months in the blog archive explain it all.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

#2 Dining Out

I don't hate to cook, I hate to clean. I hate to clean more than I love to cook. That is my problem. I consider myself a "creative" cook. I make things up or try things I see on cooking shows,I try to invent all new tastes - I switch into my "artistic" mode.

As an artist I let loose of foolish conventions, my grandma told me "a good cook always cleans up after herself" but I laugh in the face of such bondage, "give me room, give me space - see what I can do!" Picture the Swedish chef from the muppet show. That is me, food splatters the cupboards, I spill, slop, chop and spray during my most creative moments every pot will become dirty, every bowl used. I end up with a self-declared masterpiece (we do not have general consensus in the family.)

I try to reign in my creative genius most nights. Last night we were conventional. Grilled chicken breasts, brussel sprouts and red potatoes, there was mess, but it was bearable. Most nights I still cringe at 4:30 and think of the time I am going to spend cooking, and then the time I will have to spend re-cleaning. I am a bit anal about having a clean kitchen which leads to rebellion. In moments of weakness (especially pregnancy) I state: "The kitchen is closed, I am having help prepare dinner. I decide to become a lady of leisure and just like Carol Brady says to Alice "oh Alice that looks good!" I ask Wendy what she has for me, and I give her genuine praise and money. We have a symbiotic relationship. We need each other.

Not any more. . . I have had to do away with my excuses. Could you imagine what Mike would do if he found Alice poisoning Greg and Marsha's food? Kick her to the curb and let her little butcher friend Sam have her for good, is what he would do. Well, Wendy and her little Chihuahua friend were killing me and my family. Here are my ways of kicking the habit to the curb and to convince myself not to eat out and avoid an early death.

#1. I play the Calorie and Fat Card. In order to get the Diva Artist inside of me convinced of old McDonald's back stabbing ways, I ask to see the nutrition information card. Each restaurant has one. A month ago, thinking we were making a healthy choice, we went to Del Taco. Fresh and fatty should be their motto. I could not believe what I was seeing. The things that I could make at home for little or no fat, were PACKED with the thigh dimpling stuff. Hint - 17, 28 or 37 grams or more will kill you - eventually- I could not believe what that store was offering me. I like to keep fat to 2, 4, or 6 grams. I had to get a salad with no dressing, tear off the cheese, half the amount of chicken and top the whole thing with salsa. I might as well have bought a head of iceberg lettuce, poured on the Pace and would have enjoyed it just as much. Ask to see the information, it just might take away your appetite!

#2. If the fat card is not enough to sway me away from the dangerous trip to the King of all burgers, I must ask myself how much money I will spend, and how much I could save. It cost's $30 to feed my family usually at fast food, $60 - $80 at slow food. The more kids I get, (and I am getting quite a collection) the more places I have to put the money. I just ask myself if I would sweep my floor and wipe the counters down for $30. That usually does it for me.

#3. The time card is the last of my tricks. I used to think I was saving time ordering pizza, but by the time the delivery boy leaves his hut and makes it to my house the kids have told me hundreds of times that they are STARVING!!! I have a wonderful whole wheat pizza crust recipe, which is so simple and takes only 20 minutes from start to finish to make a lovely healthier pizza. I can clean a messy kitchen in 10 minutes, so from start to finish, I am still 15 minutes under the delivery boy, and $30 richer. Even the box pasta dinners can be thrown together in minutes, and if you omit the fat, or at least cut it down, you are still healthier than eating out.

#4. My only other temptation for fast food is driving around on errands, and suddenly I hear the whines of children. They are starving!!! Feed them!!! In the past it was so easy to drive up to anywhere that wanted to feed us. Now, I come prepared. I have juice boxes in my purse, granola bars in the van, I try never to leave without fishy crackers. Usually that will quell the hunger until we make it home. One of my sisters keeps a flat of water bottles, and a costco sized box of granola bars in the back of her van. It works!

I now look in the mirror and say, I have fondled my last fry, saluted the shake goodbye, I am a new woman, I am a home-cooking Diva! If you share this challenge then, good luck!


Davis family said...

I absolutely share in this challenge of cooking. I get stuck in a rut and don't feel like cooking the same things over and over. My kids constantly complain about food. It gets old. But I love your ideas, and will definitely try them. I also like planning a menu and posting it on the fridge, so one step out of the nightly craziness is taken care of.

General Wolfe said...

Your cooking is way better than anything Wendy or Mr. McDonald can do!

Another idea is to assign clean up to the kids. You cook they clean. Oh yeah...your husband can help too.

Denise said...

I just found your blog through your comment on Lucy's blog. When I literally laughed out loud, a real belly laugh, about dumpster diving behind the opera house, I told myself I needed to track you down. And I'm glad I did.

Unfortunately, I'm still a fry-fondler, but I'm trying not to be. So thank you for your inspirational words. Your blog is going in my bookmarks!

Kimberly said...

Oh how I need to be challenged like this right now. Thanks!

Rebecca said...

The thing I identify most with in your post is the "out with hungry children" part. I've started trying to remember to take water and healthy snacks. We don't have the income to go out to eat almost ever right now, so it's critical for me to make healthy food.

Love your posts!

Heffalump said...

I hate cleaning up too. I love cooking (mostly because I love eating!) but the cleaning is often a deterrent to making dinner.
I find having a menu helps, and I also find that it doesn't make much extra mess to make twice the food once in a while and freeze the second batch. Then on a busy night, or sometime when I just don't feel like cooking I can just pull a meal out of the freezer and I am all set up. I even get foil pans to use for the frozen meals and then I have even less to clean up.

Yvonne said...

I'm the same way about enjoying cooking but not the clean up. You're absolutely right, home cooked meals are so much better for all of us. Like you said not only the fat content and calories, but the money.

I don't think I have the will power to say I've fondled my last fry or said goodbye to the shake. Maybe one day.

Tara said...

It's just so darn easy to give into the temptations. Again, I appreciate your tips.

Jon does the dishes every night after dinner. I also make terrible messes when I cook so he made up this annoying jingle, "Just Clean Up While You Cook" set to the tune of Just whistle while you work. I can't cook without hearing it run through my head!

Calamity Jane said...

I could have sworn I had a comment that had a reply to all of you, and I could have sworn that I typed in the word verification correctly, but - alas, it got me again. Anyway, I am glad you all left such nice comments, I can't tell you how glad I am that some can relate. I keep thinking that everyone loves to cook and keeps the kitchen clean at the same time. Now I know "I'm not alone..."

Eliza said...

I love your blog! I have tried to lose weight before, but have decided to become HEALTHY now! Thanks for all your posts and inspiration! You are now a favorite!!!!

Lucy said...

So, what's a girl to do when she hates to cook AND clean? Oh...I know. Fast food really is the worst thing for me. I don't even like it that much but I get hungry and lazy and don't really pay that much attention to what I'm eating. I'm the worst at taking my kids to a playland too and ending up with a $1.00 menu item and a big diet coke. do inspire:)

Now for the word verification challenge...

Rebecca said...

Reading the comment about not having willpower made me think about what I was talking about with my husband last night.

I have now lost 7 lbs, and for me this is a lifestyle change. My husband said that he admired my willpower, and I corrected him. I told him that I don't have much willpower, I have commitment. There's a huge difference there. Willpower comes and goes, and deals with the moment. Commitment is steady and deals with the big picture.

I too used to feel that I can't say no to any more fries or cookies, and especially chocolate! It didn't matter that I get violently ill when I eat too much of them.

For the longest time getting sick wasn't enough of a deterrent, but when I made the commitment was the moment everything changed. Have I slipped a couple of times in the last few weeks? Sure! Have I hopped back on the wagon? You bet!

Last night I also told my husband that since I know that there are foods that I can't eat just one of, I have a plan. It came to me instantly.

I was thinking about Christmas. I make these raspberry shortbread cookies, chocolate crinkle cookies and russian teacakes with pecans that no normal person can resist. They are incredibly rich and insanely good. That's why I only make them at Christmas. I know if I eat one, I'll end up inhaling them all. I also don't want to deprive my kids of Christmas cookies. So, here's my plan.

I'll decide how many I'll allow myself. No more than two. Then, I'll put them in a small Tupperware and put them up and away. When, and only when, the last of the batch has been eaten by my family or given away, I'll get my cookies out and enjoy them. That way there will be no more to lose control over.

Sorry to hijack the comments. I've just been thinking about this a lot lately. I used to be the queen of excuses.

Calamity Jane said...

Rebecca, This just may be a Christmas miracle. I wonder if I can do that with spritz cookies, I can't even keep out of the dough. Congrats on the seven pounds, you should be incrediably proud of yourself. Commitment is just the right word. I agree that will power has nothing to do with losing weight.