Monday, November 3, 2014

Finding my way back to the main trail

This past weekend has proven more challenging than I anticipated.  I'm not sure why I thought it wouldn't trip me up, because I didn't have a clear plan on how I was going to get through the weekend making good and healthy food choices.  I went into the weekend woefully unprepared since I had spent the week previous at school chairing the Scholastic Book Fair.  I did so well bringing my breakfast with me and hitting a local shake shop for a protein shake for lunch.  On Friday, I was busy preparing and hosting a sleepover birthday party for my youngest daughter.  On Saturday, I traded in my old vehicle for my new 2015 Subaru Outback that had just arrived from the factory just a mere 30 minutes after the party-goers had been collected.  It was a perfect set-up for fail.  So pretty though :). 

I got up this morning all prepared to enact "No Crap Monday" and proceeded to get everyone out the door on a half-cup of coffee.  Meanwhile, I'm running lunch to my husband after dropping off the girls at school and getting more and more hungry by the minute.  There is no way I'm going to eat anything in my new car, so at least that took a side trip through a drive-thru out of the equation, but I still managed to hit Quik Trip and grab a small box of 6 doughnuts so that I'd have some "for the girls" when they got home from school.  I was so close to being home and avoiding the damn doughnut.

So, after a doughnut and a piece of leftover quiche in the refrigerator, followed by a frozen homemade waffle with a tablespoon of Nuttzo on it - I'm now full......well, I have logged it into My Fitness Pal and am moving on with my "No Crap After 9:30am Monday."

All the ups and downs of weight maintenance have at least taught me a couple of things.  I may or may not pay attention to it when I'm in the heat of the moment -- thankfully, most of the time I do nowadays.  Two of my biggest challenges are being overly tired and overly hungry.  I'm getting pretty good at stopping myself when I'm craving junk later in the afternoon and identifying it as being tired and either distracting myself or just going to lay down for 15 minutes or so.  I usually avoid the overly hungry state of mind by planning my meals in advance, but after this weekend - this has fallen apart.

I ran across this little article on the web that highlighted five tricks used to beat unhealthy eating habits.  Some I knew about such as using a mint or gum after a meal when you know you've had enough to eat, but yet that little voice inside your head whispers that maybe you need something sweet in addition to your beautifully healthy and spot-on meal.  However, this little tidbit about food psychologists believing that foods we would describe as crispy, like potato chips or french fries, are even more hard-wired to be more attractive to us.  The author goes on to say that millions of years ago, early primates ate lots of insects and plants and if something our ancestors ate was crispy, it was a sign of freshness and meant that it was safe to eat.

Of course the information about the ghrelin hormone and how it is produced when you're hungry is also old news for me, but I guess I didn't realize the mechanics behind it.  Once the hormone is produced, it interacts with the neurotransmitter NPY in the brain and it signals to you that your body's energy levels are low.  NPY lives in the hypothalamus -- there is no amount of willpower that can withstand the signals that the hypothalamus sends to the brain.  It controls energy levels, memory and emotions.  This little graphic created by the University of Sydney outlines the satiety index. 
Something else for me to keep in mind when I get to the point of no return with regard to healthy food choices.  Let's hope the next time this happens is never - or at least somewhere in the distant future!!

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