So far 2012 has not been a banner year for me lo-co wise.  For weeks now, I’ve been out of lo-co control.  The good habits I’d built have flown the coop in the face of these events:

  • On Jan 2 my boss called to say that as of February 1st, I had to go on a ‘temporary leave’ while funding issues got resolved. The stress begins.
  • In mid-Jan I had LASIK, and though I can’t complain (it went incredibly well) it has not been an easy journey:
    1. I felt forced into it because the only contact lens that fits my apparently oh-so-oddly-shaped eye was discontinued.
    2. That huge bill arrived right as my job ended, which was, um, NOT the plan.
    3. The stress persists: every morning I’m a little afraid to open my eyes. Every morning. (Yes, I get this is irrational. Can’t seem to stop it though. Sigh.)
  • I finally worked up the courage to meet with an Integrated Health Medicine ‘doctor’ and it went to hell in a handbasket in under a minute.
    1. He stated – without a look at any medical info – that my problem is not cholesterol but inflammation, and that I should: a) find something else to blog about, and b) have him do a TON of blood tests to get at the root cause of said inflammation.
    2. His credibility fell further (I know – not possible, right?) when I asked whether his dog was always in his office because I’m allergic to dogs. His reply? Allergies aren’t real – that my issue was due to an immunosuppressant deficiency that he could fix as well. I sneezed my way out of there as fast as I could.
  • Then last week we visited 6 colleges. And while we had a great deal of fun family time, this was peppered with continual reminders that college is, oh, $50k+ per year.  Not to mention the screaming matches about where to park – which is NOT the way to introduce your kid to your alma mater.  I’m just saying.

The result of all this has been an acute, long-lasting and embarrassing case of  STRESS EATING. I’ve stopped preparing dinner. And have eaten at Wendy’s so often in the past several weeks, that to count – which I will not do – I’d need to use toes.

It’s bad enough that I’m not cooking – and eating at Wendy’s.  What’s even more suprising (and yet, I’m doing it) is that I’ve somehow managed to give up the good lo-co habits that TAKE NO EFFORT.

  • In recent weeks I’ve stopped taking my daily Centrum Cardio vitamin (I ran out…which is true, but how dog-ate-my-homework of me, right?)
  • And I’ve stopped taking Metamucil.  Which is LAME because the giant orange container sits right out on my counter – next to the coffee machine.  And somehow, I manage not to notice it so I keep forgetting to mix and chug.

So far in 2012 I’ve been feeling totally out of control. Actually worse: control-less.

Want to see what control-less looks like?

It looks like this. Yes, that’s candy. And no, I did not buy just a few of those oh-my-goodness-these-are-back-I-must-eat-them-right-now Russell Stover Marshmallow Eggs.

In fact, I’d already bought a few. Like 6 at a time.  On previous visits. For example, in preparation for our college trip. Those other times, I bought them like a normal person – put them in a hand cart and brought them to the register with other items.

But not this time.  This time, without even a hint of shame, I removed the entire CASE from the shelf and carried it up to the cash register.  A case. All the while lying to myself that it wasn’t THAT BAD because it was only 1/2 full.  That I was just taking the case to the register because I didn’t have a hand-cart and it was easier to grab the case.

Oh, the lies.

What’s worse is that Easter isn’t until April. You may remember from, “The Siren Call of Girl Scout Cookies & Easter Candy” that I find these marshmallow eggs along with Thin Mints – which are sure to be just around the corner – completely irresistible.

So I’m at risk for further candy-case purchases.

Luckily this new low seems to have sprung me from my hamburger and sugar-induced coma. Yesterday I bought a new pack of Centrum Cardio vitamins… and also managed to pluck that Metamucil container from its hiding place right out in the open.

I swallowed a vitamin (along with my Fish Oil pills which I, luckily – and for no apparent reason- did not stop taking) then chugged a glass of Metamucil.

Then I did it again today.

I’m hoping I can get back to ‘normal’ before all the marshmallow eggs are gone from that case. If I ration myself to one-egg-a-day, I’ll have 5 days to get it done.  Wish me luck.



Plant ster-what?

Way back when – was it really just months ago? – when my doctor said I needed to lower my cholesterol, she gave me several dietary suggestions.  According to the now-faded yellow-stickie I kept from that appointment, here’s what she suggested I begin to eat daily/near-daily:

  • Psyllium (aka Metamucil) daily – check
  • Oatmeal – check
  • Fish Oil – check
  • Multi-vitamin and/or margarine with plant sterols – Huh?

I dutifully followed her advice on the first three, but had completely forgotten about the plant sterol thing.  Until, that is, I received an email from a company called Corazonas Foods, complimenting my efforts to lower cholesterol without meds, and asking if I would like to try some of their ‘Cholesterol-Lowering Snacks.’

So they sent a box (free of charge – full disclosure!) and after ripping it open, I was sad to find there was not a ‘cholesterol-lowering snack’ in the form of Phish Food ice cream.  (Yes, OK, I know… Duh, right.  But a girl can dream hallucinate, no?)

My husband, however, was thrilled as chips are his food vice.

But first – what on earth are plant sterols and why did my doctor suggest I add them to my diet?  According to the Cleveland Clinic (and many other sources), plant sterols have indeed been proven to help lower cholesterol:

“Plant sterols and stanols are naturally occurring substances found in plants. They are present in small quantities in many fruits, vegetables, vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, cereals and legumes…

Research has shown that plant sterols/stanols included with a heart healthy eating plan may reduce your risk for heart disease. The sterols/stanols work by blocking the absorption of cholesterol in the small intestine. Clinical research trials have documented safety and effectiveness for use by the entire family…

Effectiveness has been shown with dosages of 2 to 3 grams plant stanols per day…   Regular and light margarines are available, both with only trace amounts of trans fatty acids. In order to achieve the needed 2 grams or more of plant stanols per day, a serving size of 2 to 4 tablespoons per day is needed.”

Oh, right!  Now I remember why I didn’t try plant sterols: since I rarely add butter or margarine to anything, my doctor and I agreed it wouldn’t make sense for me to ADD margarine (even with plant sterols) to my diet.

Instead, I was supposed to take Centrum Cardio, which also has plant sterols.

Let’s not ask why I forgot about that.

Well, OK, if you must know – I bought the darn vitamins, but you have to take them TWICE a day and they are VERY BIG and so, well, let’s just say there’s a full vitamin container on my kitchen counter.  But I did just crack it open, and…

Back to Corazonas.  They kindly sent samples (again: for free) of their tortilla chips and snack bars, and even though chips are not my thing, I have to say, they were quite good.  For chips.  I liked the ‘squeeze of lime’ tortilla chips, while my husband preferred the extremely spicy habanero flavor.  So, if you jones for chips/bars instead of ice cream like me, you’re in luck… you can have your chips and get plant sterols too.

Though, you’ll probably also need the big-honking vitamins and/or ‘Heart Smart’ spread to get to the level of plant sterols that are effective.

But hey – if you’re snacking on chips anyway…