The Book “Why We Get Fat” by Gary Taubes, and Weight Loss

My daughter Melissa has introduced me to the Keto diet philosophy, so I am listening to the book she recommended, “Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It” by Gary Taubes on Audible.  Taubes presents exhaustive research and sites study after study to back up his claims.  I find this to be very helpful in convincing me that this diet could work for anyone.

Taubes gets into the nitty gritty of how insulin making us gain weight in chapter 11, and explains things very thoroughly!

The Keto diet reminds me of the Suzanne Sommers diet I tried years ago, which blew my mind because I could eat so much wonderful food and still lose weight.  One night I remember going out to dinner and I had a gorgeous large trout dripping with seasonings and butter, along with a double serving of roasted asparagus, buttered and seasoned to perfection.  I did not have the rolls, the salad or the salad dressing because there were carbohydrates and sugar there and I didn’t want to draw insulin into my blood which would simply take all that fat and store it in my cells.  Instead I ate the meat, veggies, and fats and lost a pound by the next morning.

The Keto diet is all about keeping the insulin in your blood low to keep your fat cells from storing fat so your body can release it instead to be used as fuel.  Low carbohydrate diets are not new, and Taubes cites quotes from ancient times where it was well known that carbohydrates and sugars, which trigger the insulin spike,  were the main culprits in the struggle against obesity.

I have a renewed interest in this type of diet since my daughters are excited about trying it and we are all three working the diet together, supporting each other with texts throughout the day, phone calls sometimes, showing what we each are eating (knowing I am going to have to show my meal to my diet partners makes a big difference in whether I stick to my goals or not)!

Melissa’s husband is trying the Keto diet too.  He has lost an amazing 9 pounds in two weeks without having to go hungry!

When we reach a milestone, we are going to celebrate with something special.  And at our family reunion this summer, we are going to have an awards ceremony for each of us and give prizes for our accomplishments in our weight loss goals!  We are having fun fantasizing about the flower wreaths we will crown each other with and just being recognized for our determination and accomplishment!

We are publicizing this awards ceremony to the family facebook page to invite others to join with us, share information and support, in this health crusade!

Late Nights and Weight Loss (also update on zoom balls)

Late nights and weight loss do not mix.

At least for me, I find the later in the day the less will power I have to ignore the comfort foods that make me feel full and sleepy.  I would go to bed earlier but I have a difficult time going to sleep, even when I take the sleepy medicine the doctor gave me.  That medicine does help me sleep in till noon or later the next day, however!

So, what to do?  For one, I am going to start taking my sleepy medicine several hours before bedtime so maybe when I go to bed early I will feel sleepy.  Another thing, I must be careful not to eat the Zoom Balls (I mentioned in my previous post) in the afternoon after about 2:00 because those may be keeping me awake.  I’m not sure though, because I have had trouble sleeping for over a year now and I just recently started eating the Zoom Balls  (click for video of Rosemary instructing on how to make the zoom balls) from the recipe in Rosemary Gladstar’s book: “Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health“.  If not eating zoom balls or chocolate doesn’t work, I might do some exercises before bed to tire me out.

Report on Zoom Balls:  They work!  They are great and make me feel very energetic and alert.  The taste is not great but the recipe can be altered I imagine, for better taste.  Not tasting great helps me not eat too many though, which I am glad of.  When we made the balls I think we made them a lot smaller than Rosemary does, like four small balls to Rosemary’s one larger one, but I like that because we can take smaller amounts more easily.  The recipe says it makes 60 balls, but I am sure we made around 240 smaller ones.  Anyway, a two thumbs up on how well the zoom balls work for energy!

Belief and Weight Loss

 

Cob and Straw Bale Cottage in Oregon
Belief is key to everything we do.  If I didn’t believe I could build this spiral house I wouldn’t even have tried.

In the book ” The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg, one of the key elements that is important in changing a habit, such as the way one eats, is belief that change is possible.  I can see how that is true.  Nothing is done that is done without belief that it is possible.  A baby would not walk unless he believed walking was possible for him.

The author goes on to say that one of the keys to change for people in Alcoholics Anonymous is belief.  Belief in a higher power and belief that it is possible to make a change.

Believing in my ability to lose weight had never been a problem before.  I have lost weight many times, especially after having a baby and needing to lose the lbs. I had put on while pregnant.  Lately, however, my belief had been faltering as I found myself giving up every day about 5 pm and deciding I didn’t care.  However, in the last few days, learning about habits and how they work, and deciding to change my reactions to the triggers, has bolstered my belief in my ability to lose weight this time.

In the book “The Power of Habit”, the belief that change is possible often took some time for the people in the stories shared.  Then at a tipping point, when the people began to see that the change was real, the belief soared and everything fell into place.  Like a chain reaction, other things fell into place to support the change as well.

For me, changing the habit of eating while watching TV has also caused other changes to naturally occur.  My sister Cheryl and I decided to make some healthy treats that will not only boost our energy, but also be better for us than the milk chocolate and sugary treats we had been eating.  Last night Cheryl and I made “zoom balls” from a recipe in Rosemary Gladstar’s book “Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health” and put our new treats in the refrigerator ready to reach for at the right moment.  Due to this preparation, today as I ran errands, I did not reach for other treats at the store to tide me over.  I know I have zoom balls waiting for me at home, and my belief in this process has helped me wait.

Once I got home I ate my meal and did not need the zoom balls.  Interesting.

I will post about my experiment with zoom balls and weight loss again as I use them.  If anyone has tried zoom balls before I would love to hear from you about your experience.  I will say the recipe called for a lot of nutmeg and in the future I may not use so much.  We toned ours down with more tahini butter and coconut and honey.

Happy healthy eating!

Habits and Weight Loss

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This yarn does come into the story later in this post . . . truly it does!

Recently the women in our household have been listening to a book called, “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg.  We are into it by three CD’s so far and I have learned that habits are formed in a sequence: first is the trigger, next the thing that we do when the trigger happens which becomes a habit, and lastly the reward.  Identifying the trigger is the key to changing our habit.

For example, I one thing I am triggered by is stress.  A stress trigger for me at one time was when I was helping a particular child with their homework and they begin making those irritating whiny noises.  I would reach for sugar and starch and chocolate.  Those sugary treats gave me a pleasure rush and also dulled my senses to the whining.  When I became aware of that trigger , I knew I could either accept that I needed chocolate or sugar when I worked with him, or I could remove myself from the situation temporarily.  For weight loss, the removal of myself from the situation temporarily would be the better habit of course.  This was awhile back and I did not figure out any other solution (but then I hadn’t read this book yet either),

Another trigger for me is laying down in the bedroom and watching TV, or going to the movies.  Being still and watching leaves my hands and mouth bored which ends in me wanting a snack, especially at the movies!  I have such a habit of eating candy or treats I always want something, and lately especially, well buttered popcorn and M&M’s!

According to Duhigg, in order to change a habit, the trigger is identified, then an alternate action is taken instead of the old habit.  The alternate action must be something that can also provide the pleasure reward we seek when being triggered.

I have figured out how to alter my habit at home. Instead of watching TV in the bedroom where the lights are out and our family is all together sharing popcorn on the bed, I have started watching (or listening to a book) on our computer in the living room, where I can spin wool while watching or listening.  Spinning wool is fun to me and I love the yarn I make.  By keeping my hands busy doing something I enjoy, I am altering my habit from one pleasure to another.  Altering the habit of eating fatty treats to something else I enjoy when the known trigger is happening will help me with my weight loss goals.

So, by identifying what is triggering you to eat things you are trying to avoid, or by identifying triggers to other habits you would like to change, you are on the way to finding alternative habits which provide pleasant rewards, to take the place of an unwanted habit.

Give it a try if you like, and let me know how this works for you.  You might also enjoy reading “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg.

Focusing Away Depression

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I awoke today frustrated about how I was feeling.  For the past few days I have been feeling depressed and overwhelmed.  I wanted to call my daughters and whine about it, but I couldn’t find my phone.  I thought about going to see my therapist but remembered I have all the tools I need, I don’t really need my therapist for this; I guess I just wanted to complain to someone.

“I need to focus” I reminded myself.  Focusing is a technique I learned from my teacher Tom Brown Jr. and the basics of which are also described in a book called “Focusing”.

I lay down on my bed to begin the meditation, and there was my phone!  I chuckled to myself because I realized that I simply need to focus instead of relying on the crutch of complaining to my family, and that is why I couldn’t find my phone!

Focusing is like peeling back the layers of emotion, one by one, to see what is going on in that mix of emotions you might be feeling.

I began by asking myself, kindly and gently as a loving mother might, “How are you feeling?” and the first layer popped up.

“I am feeling angry!” came the feeling.  There was roaring and screaming and gnashing of teeth inside me.  I let myself feel it.

“Why?” I asked.

I was surprised that there were so many things I was angry about and they were all swirling around me: Too many things I want to do; Overwhelmed by all of it; Can’t get things done fast enough; Don’t even want to do them; Angry that I have to; People I have been angry with even popped up . . . it was like everything I have ever been angry about was there.  It felt sharply painful in the center of my chest.

“OK, that’s good to know,” I said to myself, reassuringly, trying not to get stuck in this first layer and remember the next step.  Oh yeah . . . “Now, set that first layer aside . . . and aside from that, how am I feeling?”

I let the anger move up and out of me and I felt for the next layer.  “I’m feeling depressed.”

“Why?” I asked.

“Because I feel ineffectual, like there are so many things I feel like I am supposed to do: build my art studio, finish the barn, learn the edible and medicinal plants, work on genealogy, do school with the kids, run errands, make food, lose weight, clean the house, etc. and I have so little energy.  I feel like a failure.”

“OK, that’s good to know,” I tell myself.  “Now, aside from that, how am I feeling?”

I let the second layer move up and out of me and I felt for the third layer.  I felt a glimmer of timid joy.

“Why?” I asked, “Why am I feeling this little bit of joy?”

“I love color,” was the answer.

“Tell me more,” I asked.

“I love making art, I LOVE working with color!” The feeling of joy was getting stronger.  I began blissfully thinking about making a scarf, and began designing it in my mind.  I started thinking about the necklaces, and tunics, I have been designing in my mind the past week or so.

I had stopped working on art after the art fair because I was spending all my time with organizing and working on the household and the building projects and had not made any art since before the fair.

I felt guilty even thinking about making art because of all the other things I felt like I was supposed to do.

Somehow I have to find a balance.

I can stop beating myself up and forcing myself to spend my time entirely on chores.  I can have the fun time in order to balance everything out and be happy.  In fact, the joyous pursuits can be my main focus and everything else can fit into the nooks and crannies around the fun.  Why not?  After all, I came to Oregon to heal my mind and body, and what better way than to live in joy?

I didn’t need to go any further in my layers today, even though I know there are many more amazing layers, because I found my answer.  I feel relieved and happy, looking forward to making art and balancing my life better.

“Tales of Power” a book by Carlos Castenada

When I was a teenager my father and I read the Carlos Castaneda books. Well, he read them all but I read the first few and got turned off by the selfishness of their goals.

After going to Tracker school for a couple years I decided to re-read them from a new perspective. I understood much, much more about Carlos’ experience with Don Juan because Don Juan was a coyote teacher like my teacher Tom Brown Jr. at Tracker school.

“Tales of Power” talks about the necessity of sharing stories that trigger admiration and desire in the listeners. It inspires the listeners to want the skills they are hearing about, the power displayed in the story.

There is a hero’s quest of sorts for the listener or reader of the “Tales of Power”. Hearing of the accomplishments of those who have mastered of the realms of existence opens new doors for the reader, giving them something to strive for; something to seek; a mystery to explore; a possibility to wonder about and be unsure of, which makes the reader all the more fascinated by the possibility of truth in the story.

Tom Brown Junior shared stories of Grandfather Stalking Wolf and other elders from Grandfather’s tribe. We students would listen with rapt attention, hanging on every word. Then Tom would send us out to attempt to do what he had just described. Don Juan did the same with Carlos.

Some people will say the Carlos Castaneda series are fiction. I’ve heard that before. I don’t know whether they are fact or fiction but I do know that I learned a lot from them.

The most important thing I learned by reading the Castaneda series is to stop being offended by other people. We waste a lot of energy taking offense. We waste a lot of energy in self importance. Being caught up in self importance gives others power over us because they can grab that self importance through complements or insults and jerk us around and we waste energy being affected.

It’s the same concept as “act, don’t react”. Often teachers of this sort will poke their students with either compliments or insults to see if they can get a reaction; see if they can grab their student’s self importance or if their student has overcome that trap.

It’s an interesting study to watch yourself and see if you are giving people that power or if you are holding it yourself.

I enjoyed reading “Tales of Power”. It was easy to read, fun, and fascinating. If you like stories that delve into the possibility of other realms and energy, you would probably like this book.

"Tales of Power" a book by Carlos Castenada

When I was a teenager my father and I read the Carlos Castaneda books. Well, he read them all but I read the first few and got turned off by the selfishness of their goals.

After going to Tracker school for a couple years I decided to re-read them from a new perspective. I understood much, much more about Carlos’ experience with Don Juan because Don Juan was a coyote teacher like my teacher Tom Brown Jr. at Tracker school.

“Tales of Power” talks about the necessity of sharing stories that trigger admiration and desire in the listeners. It inspires the listeners to want the skills they are hearing about, the power displayed in the story.

There is a hero’s quest of sorts for the listener or reader of the “Tales of Power”. Hearing of the accomplishments of those who have mastered of the realms of existence opens new doors for the reader, giving them something to strive for; something to seek; a mystery to explore; a possibility to wonder about and be unsure of, which makes the reader all the more fascinated by the possibility of truth in the story.

Tom Brown Junior shared stories of Grandfather Stalking Wolf and other elders from Grandfather’s tribe. We students would listen with rapt attention, hanging on every word. Then Tom would send us out to attempt to do what he had just described. Don Juan did the same with Carlos.

Some people will say the Carlos Castaneda series are fiction. I’ve heard that before. I don’t know whether they are fact or fiction but I do know that I learned a lot from them.

The most important thing I learned by reading the Castaneda series is to stop being offended by other people. We waste a lot of energy taking offense. We waste a lot of energy in self importance. Being caught up in self importance gives others power over us because they can grab that self importance through complements or insults and jerk us around and we waste energy being affected.

It’s the same concept as “act, don’t react”. Often teachers of this sort will poke their students with either compliments or insults to see if they can get a reaction; see if they can grab their student’s self importance or if their student has overcome that trap.

It’s an interesting study to watch yourself and see if you are giving people that power or if you are holding it yourself.

I enjoyed reading “Tales of Power”. It was easy to read, fun, and fascinating. If you like stories that delve into the possibility of other realms and energy, you would probably like this book.