This blog is an accounting of my personal journey to find fitness. All the content on this blog should be read as a biographical piece of literature, not a medical resource. I am a physician, but I am in no way giving medical advice or establishing doctor patient relationships with my readers. I am simply keeping a diary. If you are starting a diet or exercise program or require medical evaluation or advice, please see your own family physician.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Did you miss it??? And.....MEMORIES!

In case you missed it. Check out what I saw on the scale on Tuesday.
FINALLY! 50 pounds gone and under 200!

I woke this morning early. Kids went to school 2hr late. I spent my early hours exercising and getting things ready for the day. Packed my snack and kids lunches and back packs.  Got kids up and myself ready for work. Nanny arrived and I took my little one to school, just the two of us.

My little one is....well....a pistol. She is always speaking her mind. She is always telling you how it is. So last night we're sitting on the sofa. She crawls up in my lap. She says, "Mommy. You're belly is too big. You need to not eat so much."  "Yep." I say, "I'm trying."  Then..."Yeah. I know. You eat really good food and your belly is lots smaller now. Plus you do Tae Kwon Do and that helps your body. It helps mine. BUT, I'M a higher belt than you anyway."  Don't you just love the things kids say.  See even my 5year old knows that eating good food and exercise is good for your body.

 Can I just say my ASS hurts?  All those weighted squats and lunges and such the other day made them sore. And today at TKD we learned a new kick!  A turning hook kick. It's kinda fun and kinda hard and it hurts your ass.  This morning I did the challenge exercises despite my sore ass and they didn't help the soreness any, but they'll help the scale. I did do a lot of stretching today, but alas, my ass is....well...grass?

All the ass pain makes it hard to get around and do what I need to do. Taking the girls up stairs to bed was an experience. on the bright side, sore ass means smaller ass and THAT I'll take. Today I wore my size 12 black pants and they are getting baggy in the ass.

I ate well today. I enjoyed the food today. Especially that blast from the past.........RICE CAKES. OH how long has it been since I tasted one of these!?!?!?  Years and years. Since high school. When my BFF and I were trying to lose weight and not eating we would eat only rice cakes all day. I got to the point that I never wanted to see another one again. In fact when I saw them on the menu as snack today I pretty much turned up my nose and wasn't going to eat them. But, I got them at the store and thought I'd give it a try.

I could just hear Allan's voice in my brain, "Use the plan. Don't try to tinker. People way smarter than you designed this and it works. It has to. Do the math. Do the math, blah blah blah." You know what I mean. Ha ha ha. Soooo. Today I got out the rice cakes and the peanut butter and made my snack.  On the way to TKD I always drink a large glass of water and have a snack. I don't get to eat on class days until about 1:30pm and I'm starved, esp after all the work we do in class. I usually don't have time to eat the snack, except in the car. That's why I always try to pack it ahead of time.

So today. I whipped out one of the rice cakes w/ peanut butter and MAN! That was tasty. I was instantly transported to 1987.  Sitting in my car at lunch w/ BFF talking about boys and eating rice cakes. Holy crap I HATED those things after a while. But today. I tasted it and it was kinda good. Crunchy and with the peanut butter it was yummo. Plus it brought a smile to my face remembering the good ole days. Ha ha. Isn't it funny how food can do that. Transport you right back to where you were the first time you had it. Or what you were doing.

See, those emotional connections to food are a double edged sword. It's amazing how the brain works. It's memories are released by things like taste, smell, sight, sound, touch.  It's like those things are the passwords to your memory data base. Believe me there are smells that can send me right back to memories. Especially of medical school, ewww!  We sure know how music is a memory trigger.  Just think of the song that played at your first junior high dance. See! It's true.  To this day I can see a picture of a newborn and I smell that baby smell.  To this day I see a rack of ribs and I'm transported to anatomy class. I know sick, right? But it's a fact. They look the same. And the memory is tied to whatever emotion you had at the time.

The problem is that our brain is tricky. Sometimes the food or smell of food triggers the emotion and skips the memory step. So when I smell french toast  I feel happy. I want it. I don't always realize that it is because I think of my uncle on summer mornings fixing us kids a special breakfast. 

The trick is to resist the urge to eat when the emotion is triggered. For a long time I didn't want to see French toast and god forbid smell it. It triggered my memory and emotion and I wanted to eat. Now I can think of French toast, even make it for the kids and not lose control and eat it. Why? Because I've made the connection. I've slowed the process down. I can enjoy the memory without the urge to eat.

One theory on how our hunger drive works and why some people are always wanting to eat is that their brain is wired so that they need that input from their senses like taste, smell to open those memories. Over time the emotion imprints with the taste and smell and that leads to over response in the hunger center of the brain causing them to eat even when they should be full. It's like the emotion over rides the input from the stomach trying to tell their brain they are full already.  There are hormones released in the brain that regulate this. Maybe someday this will be a lead on how to help fight obesity.

In the mean time, I'm stuck doing the work the hard way. Craving hits...analyze. Why? Am I really hungry? No....then...why? What am I feeling? Why do I want to eat? It'd be so much easier to take a pill. But, no such luck. Until then I'm stuck thinking of...... well....my ass. If I want it to get smaller, no eating French toast.

What foods do you struggle with avoiding? Have you thought about WHY and the emotions and memories that might be triggered by that food? How do you handle emotional cravings?


  1. Yay, congrats! I hope one day I see a scale reading like that! :-)

  2. What a fascinating theory re: memory and appetite/food. I'm going to dig around to find out more, unless you blog some more. I'm rereading an out of print book of research papers called "Eating Disorders and Obesity," ed. by Christopher G. Fairburn and Kelly D. Brownell. I'm translating it from science into English and blogging about it. It's fascinating, too, and I'm learning a lot. My thinking is that obesity should be treated as a true ED, like AN and BN, or binge eating, compulsive overeating, EDNOS, etc. Why obesity has traditionally been singled out from other EDs puzzles me.

    Your comment section isn't for my theories, though. It's for commenting on your child's good mind and blunt honesty that children have. Aren't they a trip?

    And again, congratulations on that scale! I do hope water weight doesn't mess it up at any point, but women have that bucket to bear. Never weigh yourself during PMS. It's depressing, lol.

  3. Well son of a bitch that is an eye opener on my pizza fixation!! I love love love pizza. I now do remember that when I got to come live with my Mom, one of the things we did for years was every Friday night, we ordered a Pizza Hut Supreme pizza and hung out, eating the pizza and having good times like playing Atari and stuff. I had just been brought out of an abusive situation and I remember thinking now how cool it was to not be walking on egg shells all day! Dang Doc, medical and psychology skills!

  4. Congrats!!!! You've made it to "One-derland!" That's so awesome! Keep up the great work Doctor! You're doing fantastically.

  5. Congratulations on breaking that barrier! You are doing so "onderful" sticking with your plan, tweaking as you go, bolstering you self-efficacy. And, there is nothing like success to keep your confidence high!

  6. Yeah to your tiny hiny!

    Out of the mouths of babes, isn't it amazing how tuned in our children are?

  7. Congrats, Dr. F! You have worked vey hard for this, as anyone who follows your blog knows. Breaking this barrier is a path to more success!

  8. Great post. I am working on my food cravings daily. for the most part I keep them at bay. Most of the time I plan my calories to eat some of the foods that I enjoy, so I do not feel deprived. It is working for me.

    congrats again on the 50 pound weight loss!

  9. FUCK YEAH!!! Under 200, what a milestone. You are motovating me to get my ass in gear and get it sore again! Congrats!

  10. WON (one) DER LAND! WOOOHOOOO!!!!!! There is/has to be SO very very much more to the complicated obesity/overweight situation and rates. I hope and pray much is discovered in the very near future and finally people will have the power to just say no to all these others just getting rich off of us trying to be healthy and fit via this diet and that diet.

  11. love your post today! So true! My mom passed away 1.5 yrs ago. I never realized how many memories of her revolve around food. I am aware of it now and trying to not make it such a big deal to my kids.

  12. SWEEEEEETTTTTT! One-underland!! Way to go!!!

    And holy cow did I enjoy every bite of the rice cakes w/peanut butter! Not sure why but it hit the spot!!

  13. Yesss! Under the big 200. :D

    I have that scale. It is a goody.

  14. Congratulations on the milestone! Onward.

  15. these days I'm struggling with avoiding any yummy food. Actually, I'm not struggling, I'm just heading right for the food and loading it into my freakin mouth. wtf is up with that?

    It's a good question that you pose, though, and it really got me thinking! I don't have a lot of positive food memories. My mom isn't a good cook (really - who can ruin Kraft Mac & Cheese or mached potatoes?), and mealtimes were always stressful because I was a picky eater and would rather not be around the table with my scary family. Even on the rare occasion that we went to a restaurant I'd be completely stressed out and anxious because if I didn't like what I ordered, i would be in trouble for wasting money.

    Now that I've thought that out, it makes sense that I can't handle strict retrictions on my food intake. Discovering how to eat and enjoy food was a great power-up for me as a young adult. Now I need to use that power for good instead of evil! Thanks for making me think that out!

  16. Great post! Polar had some similar info on a recent post too. I have fond memories associated with my grandma and fresh baked bread with real butter... mmmmm, just thinking of it now. She passed in 2001 and all the bread and butter in the world will not bring her back.


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