Thursday, August 23, 2012

I'm still standing...yeah, yeah, yeah.

If you're as old as I am, you know that the title of this post is a song lyric.  If you're a young wipper snapper, you should look it up and get a good edumacation on music.  :P

I'm still here, faithful three readers.  I am down 15 lbs since embarking on my new gluten free, very-low-carb lifestyle.  I get bored, I get restless, I drink beer and wake up feeling ick, but I survive and what I'm doing is working.

I am also exploring some interesting career topics at the mome that I want to share with you.  Despite all evidence to the contrary, I can write a sentence that contains real words and punctuation and grammar and the like.  I have written a pretty durn good review of the field of biomarkers in prostate cancer (maybe I'll let y'all read it someday) and it has prompted me to think a bit about writing in general.  I have an inner monologue in my head at ALL TIMES.  There's always something going on in there, and I've often thought that getting it out on paper might be fun/meaningful/cathartic.  I am almost at that moment in my career where I need to "put up or shut up," to use a fun American crass phrase (I almost wrote the one that has to do with a toilet, ha ha).  I need to decide whether I want to be a research professor, a teaching professor, or one that tries to do both and probably ends up being mediocre at both.  OR, I need to decide to do something different all together.  Science writing. . .technical writing. . .editing. . .these are attractive ideas.

Am I good enough?  Would I miss the bench too much?  What is the right answer?  I wish someone would just tell me so that I can move on.

To try to sort this out, I took a gig doing some copy editing for a company that edits science manuscripts before submission to peer-reviewed journals.  The first one was great, I think I made the manuscript better with my edits and I liked it.  The second one is torture.  It's on a topic I'm not super-familiar with, the writing is atrocious (one of my comments is on the order of: "you need to start over and re-write this section").  Will I like doing this long-term?  I don't know.  But at least I have something on my resume and I'm getting some experience.

That's what's goin' on, folks.  Not super exciting.  I'm also working on a "food babe-"style review of a few topics for the blog.  Genetically modified organisms, are "chemicals" bad and what does insulin really DO in the body.  Any ideas for new posts, hit me up on the comments.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Sick of obsessing about what I'm eating....again.

This is a cycle I get into every few years.  When I did WeightWatchers, I was obsessed with what I was eating - how could I get the fullest for the fewest number of Points?  I ate mostly fake foods because, after all, chemicals are lower calorie than real food in many cases.  It was almost a game to me.  OK I am hungry and need a snack.  What can I eat that will leave me enough points to eat a big dinner and finally feel satisfied?  If I eat this 100 cal pack of snickerdoodles that has more ingredients than a homemade turkey dinner, it will only "cost" me 2 points and I can still eat an extra serving of Kraft Mac n Cheese for dinner.  But - that 100 cal pack didn't fill me up at all.  So while I was making said Kraft Mac n Cheese, I also ate whatever was sitting around in my kitchen.  And it usually wasn't carrot sticks.  Thus began the daily obsessive balancing act:  eating and eating and eating fake foods in a binge-and-restrict manner until I accidentally lost some weight by taking advanced step classes and causing my metabolism to completely and utterly crash.

So now I am eating mostly Paleo, definitely low carb, gluten-free and no processed foods.  Am I happier about what I am eating?  Kinda.  I wish I could say that I love to sit down to eat because its so yummy to eat nothing but fruits, veggies, yogurt, cheese, lean meats, nuts.  But it's not - it's frickin' downright boring.  If I eat one more frickin' salad and *insert salad topping here like chicken salad, hard-boiled egg, avocado, etc.* I will vomit.  If I enter my meal plan into my current favorite calorie-tracking website ( and see that I'm over calories or carbs or sugar ONE MORE TIME I will scream.

Should it be this hard to simply eat?

That is the question I would love to examine.  Do I need more cookbooks?  No.  I have approximately 50 cookbooks on my kitchen and living room shelves.  Cooking from the farmer's market, The Anti-Inflammation Diet and Cookbook,  The Mayo Clinic Heart Healthy Cookbook, The essential/ultimate/critical/you will die without it Diabetic Cookbook, etc., etc., etc. [Sidebar:  I cannot remember the exact titles of these books so I haven't put them in quotations - I am paraphrasing their titles, please don't quote me!]   I have tried them all and I get bored of them all.  Why?  What am I doing wrong?  Do others feel this way, too?

Food is fuel.

That's really all it is.  Every meal does not have to be a smorgasbord of delight.  Is spinach good for me?  Yes.  Do I find it revolting?  No.  So eat it.  Shut up and eat it.  Plan things that I really love into my routine, and sometimes - many times - just eat because its time to fuel my body with calories to allow me to move on.

This is what I'm currently working on.  Food is fuel.  To be really cliche:  Food is not love, therapy, emotion, friend, neighbor or hobby.  It is fuel.  COOKING is a hobby.  But every meal cannot be that way - sometimes a meal just has to be fuel.

One of my favorite sciencey blog writers, Peter Attia, MD writes:
If you find yourself feeling frustrated at how difficult it is to get from consciously eating well tounconsciously eating well, remember that you are on a journey.  If you are consistent and patient, if you remind yourself that you are embarking on a journey to change your life and not a short-term fix to look good in a bathing suit next month, you will embrace the right mindset to find the ‘sweet’ spot of unconsciously correct eating.
 This resonates with me.

Give me your thoughts, my 3 readers.  Is food just fuel or can it be hobby and enjoyment?