Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Crazy Cycle of Off Plan Eating, and Easy Chili

Last night, I was so frustrated over a bunch of random stuff that is going on in my life that I actually got in the car, drove a mile to the store, and bought a pint of ice cream. I came home and ate it. It was good, but didn't fix anything. Ah well.

Do you ever let a piece of chocolate or a bag of chips ruin your *whole week*? I used to get in this circle where I'd be going along doing fine, eating right, etc etc and then BOOM I'd cave and have a piece of cake or whatever and then, because of that, I'd feel defeated and ruined and destroyed and hopeless and order a whole pizza, make a batch of cookies and drink a bottle of Coke. Why? Because OMG I ate a piece of cake and now since I am not perfect and ruined EVERYTHING I may as well just eat the world and start over again tomorrow. Or Monday. Or on the first of the month. Cause I gotta get this out of my system and since I had a piece of cake I may as well eat ALL the things I've been craving like lasagna and chips and fudge and Philly cheese steaks. Right? Right??? Somehow, we so easily forget that the cake was only 300 calories. It was not life and death and can't even make you gain a pound of fat. It's just a piece of cake and doesn't need to explode into a 5,000 calorie binge.

Today I'm just plugging along eating my healthy stuff. Not caught in a cycle of despair. Just mopping the floor, doing the laundry, biking, drinking my green tea, planning a veggie-rich healthy dinner. No reason to get in that nutty cycle anymore. See the cake... or the ice cream... for what it is, and move on. Let it go. No need to be perfect.

Last night I made a very simple chili for the family. I have several chili recipes, and they all have lots of ingredients and take a lot of work and taste great. But my kids sometimes whine about the vegetable chunks: one kid hates tomato chunks, another doesn't like it when I add celery, and they all hate zucchini in their chili. So last night I remembered how, 22 years ago as a newlywed, my first husband taught me to make chili. This was back before I had any idea how to cook, and was serving up steaming pots of Ramen to my hardworking farmer husband and my three stepchildren for dinner. Needless to say, he suggested I learn to cook something else. "How about a pot roast? Or some chili?" he suggested. "I don't know how to make that kind of thing!" I said. That's when he told me:

"Just go buy a big piece of meat and put some water and onion soup over it in the roaster pan and cook it a long time"


"Just cook some ground beef and add a can of beans and tomato sauce and chili powder and cook it awhile."

Okay. Simple is best, sometimes. (He also got me a cookbook for our very first Christmas together).

So last night I simplified my complicated chili recipes (but not quite as simple as my first attempt at chili) and did this:

Browned a pound of grass fed lean beef with half an onion (chopped), half a green pepper (chopped), and 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
Added a bunch of chili powder (maybe 3-4Tbsp) and about a teaspoon of cumin

At this point one kid came in and said "can you PLEASE not put in chunks of tomato??" I had already opened a can of diced fire roasted tomatoes, but I complied by tossing them in the blender before adding it to the chili. Then I added a can of pinto beans and a can of kidney beans (drained) and some salt and a squirt of ketchup and simmered for 20 minutes.

That's it! Super-fast chili, and to my surprise ALL my kids liked it. One even said "I don't usually like chili but this is really good!"

Not sure what I am making tonight, but I think a nice big salad with hard boiled eggs and avocado and bacon on it is in my future. A birthday cake is, too, next week, for one of my boys. I bet it will be chocolate, and I bet I will really enjoy my piece! I'll just bike twice that day.

Enjoy your Thursday!


~Lori~ said...

My kids dont like chunks in their chili either. If you want to add more vitamins, add the zucchini and other veggies to the blender too. My recipe calls for a large can of diced tomatoes. I put it in my magic bullet blender with the jalapeno and blend away. Glad everyone enjoyed it!

Anonymous said...

Have you ever considered eating leaner meats and foregoing high fat foods such as nuts and cheese and whole milk for making yogurt while you are trying to lose weight? Maybe use a low fat ground turkey for your chili perhaps?

Many of the items you mention might work for someone in a maintenance phase, but I don’t see them as helping you achieve a goal of weight loss.

Dinahsoar said...

Hey sounds like you are really getting a handle on things.
And the chili you made for you kids was still nutritious. Good quality protein, tomatoes, 2 kinds of beans. You can always try to get more veggies into them by offering dip and some veggie sticks...or a salad if they like salad...or cabbage via cole slaw. So what if it has mayo. Mayo is oil and eggs with a bit of vinegar and salt. Good quality mayo is good for us. Yes, mayo is calorie dense, but cabbage is almost no calories, so it's a good balance.

Lori's idea of hiding the veggies by blending is a great one.

Lyn said...


The beef I use is very lean, and I only use low fat cheese when I eat cheese. Nuts are a good source of healthy omega-3s (as is pastured meat and milk) so as long as they are eaten in moderation and fit into my calorie budget, they are a healthy choice.

Margaret said...

Hi Lyn,

Just wanted to let you know that I enjoy your blog and I'm rooting for you. Your chili sounds great!


Taryl said...

Unlike the above poster, I give you massive kudos for using full fat, real food. It is healthier for your body to not have the fat stripped out of everything, not to mention fat is crucial for satiety, cellular repair, neurological health, you name it. Big props there :)

As for slashing my tires when I get a flat, dietarily speaking, I don't do it, no. I've never done it on this journey, in fact, and I knew I had to get past that to actually lose weight. I had to commit to every single choice being a new start, an opportunity to do better, and cumulative to my overall goal. That put the breaks on the 'I ate cake and now I'm a failure, PASS THE CHEETOS!' mindset, you know? I don't think I could have succeeded at ninety pounds, let alone keeping it off, if I had viewed myself as a failure for being imperfect on my diet.

That is probably the key to my success. I refuse to quit, phone it in, give up, or backslide. I have off meals and even the occasional wild eating stress binge, sure. But I always get back on the horse as soon as I have the opportunity. It's one of the few places I won't go - self recrimination or giving up over a hiccup.

Getting productive and back on plan is excellent work and keep it up, Lyn! Don't get depressed or despair over failure, just do better the very next chance you get. Hugs!

Lindsey said...

I am almost finished the book When Food is Love by Geneen Roth. It speaks of the OMG I blew it syndrome you speak of here. When we eat something we aren't supposed to sometimes we do throw everything to the wind, but we choose whether our mistakes defeat us or become opportunities to learn and grow when we can observe how our bodies feel after eating said junk food.

Anonymous said...

Fat is not the enemy. This is not the 90's. Low fat went out the window with big hair. Scientists now know we need fat for our bodies to function correctly. Of course the right kind of fat is important: olive oil coconut oil salmon nuts seeds avocado and non commercial meats are a good start. Your neurons are coated in fat and your brain will suffer if you don't get enough.


susan said...

Lyn, it sounds like you are becoming balanced in your eating. I love your attitude in "bouncing back" from the ice cream and moving on!! Wonderful.

timothy said...

lolol i can so relate, to the kids! i hate big chunks of anything, hate onions (but love garlic)hate peppers, hate celery, hate most vegetables as a matter of fact! i've come to the conclusion my tastes wont change no matter what i do just not sure where that leaves me. but clever you, you found a way to make it work! YOU ARE A ROCKSTAR! xoxoxoxo

Lyn said...

Thanks susan, my whole goal with the eating is to find a balanced, healthy way to eat in a 'normal' fashion while getting fit and losing weight.

LHA said...

Congratulations! You ate something that is usually not on your healthy menu, you didn't overreact, and you are moving past it today. I can't tell you how many years it took me to learn that. It is just ice cream (or cake or french fries) and it is just another food. Once I accepted that I could lose weight and still not deprive myself of 100% of any type of food, I began a whole new phase of my eating life!! Those foods have lost their control over me because I recognize them for what they are, just another food, just another choice. They are not EVIL nor can one serving totally destroy me!!! It's a whole new world........

Julia Stambor said...

Putting veggies into a blender and sneak them past those picky eaters is a great idea. Speaking of blenders, I, too, have been an ice cream fiend whenever stress arose. What I do now is keep some frozen fruit in the freezer (berries are best), and whenever the ice cream munchies strike, I put a handful of that into the blender with some cold water and two or three measuring spoons of protein powder. The protein makes it thick, the fruit makes it cold, and it tastes exactly like an ice cream smoothie you´d get at an ice cream parlor- except there´s no caloric damage (done that way, you get the experience of ice cream for about 200 calories). If it´s feeling full I´m after, I just take a bit more fruit and add water. Only caveat is you have to rinse your blender fast before the last droplets dry on.

donner said...

i always appreciate how honest you are in your blog. you didn't have to reveal that you got a pint of ice cream, and you prob knew you'd get reaction to that, and yet you said it. and that is pretty brave, I have to admit. good luck and keep plugging along.

Karen said...

I'm confused about the pint of ice cream. Doesn't processed sugar cause your joints to ache?

Lyn said...


it sure does. I pay for it every time. Stress eating doesn't always weigh consequences beforehand, though.

Karen said...

Well best wishes in taking charge of stress eating. Never easy but it makes the problems easier to face in my experience. Karen P

Diary Of A Food Fighter said...

I really can relate to this post. I definately was a "might as well eat it all" type of eater, but by lowering my unrealistic expectations of myself, I have finally been able to eat in a much more "normal" way. I agree with lots of the other readers - so awesome that you could write about the slip and move on. So healthy!!

i should be full said...

Thank you for this post! I am living the crazy cycle of off plan eating right now. I've been stuck in it for a week and it is swallowing me whole! I am feeling overwhelmed and just reading your post is helping me to remember that I'm not alone. Also, it helps to hear someone else say the thing that my diseased brain makes me think even though they don't make sense. It helps to give me some perspective. I'm new to your blog but I will be back. Thank you!