Friday, November 13, 2015

NaNoWriMo - Chapter Eight

Just in case you've noticed that I don't use contractions in my NaNoWriMo writing, it's because contractions count as one word so to up the word count, we silly writers don't use them. This is one of the tricks of the trade to reach 50,000 words by the end of the month. Have you ever tried to write 50,000 words either as a story or about one subject? Try it!

Chapter Eight
In Which I Discover My Sin

Do your thoughts ever skip across your mind like a stone across a pond? Recently mine did and it was an enlightening journey. Somehow I got thinking about a woman who joined the Mormon church a few years ago and is a blogger. Her arms are completely covered in tattoo sleeves. She is a wonderful woman, loving, optimistic, faithful, and eternally grateful she found the gospel. But as I thought of her and her tattoos I thought how sad it was that she had defiled her temple.
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. (See 1 Corinthians 3:16-17)
I thought next that, of course, when she had her tattoos done she did not know any better, and I firmly believe in repentance and forgiveness, so she is safe, I can be accepting of her. The next thought, which came from outside myself, was “you’re not better than her because you have defiled your own temple by letting yourself get fat and lazy.” Ooooh, that hurts. The truth hurts, especially when I am guilty as charged.

No one else is to blame for my condition. I ate the food. I sat on the couch. I let it happen. Darn. It would be so nice to be able to blame someone else.

I do not know who said it, but in the back of my scriptures I wrote, “Abandon all hope of a better past. Repent, move forward, and have hope of a glorious future.”

Have you ever thought about overeating as a sin? Probably not, as most people don’t. But if our bodies are temples shouldn’t we treat them as such? Maintaining them in as good of a condition as we can, fueling them with the best we can procure? And avoiding contaminants and detriments? Can I get an Amen on this? Amen!

In the United States we are surrounded by eating temptations. Shopping at regular grocery stores or stores such as Walmart is a minefield of snacks and candy displayed to tempt us with cheap thrills. Actually, almost every store we enter has snacks and treats displayed for purchase. On the other hand fresh produce seems expensive, and where I live, limited in variety. As for eating out, restaurant portions are gargantuan as well as laced with too much fat and chemical flavor enhancers. Sometimes, as a way to save both money and calories, I will get my husband to split a restaurant meal with me. When we do that we feel better, lighter and fully satisfied. Try it, and surprise yourself.

I have not watched broadcast television at home for twenty-five years, but on a few occasions when I have been in a hotel and turned on the TV I have been bombarded with commercials showing all manner of tempting foods. Not to mention drooling over all the delicious, and sometimes exotic, meals on the Food Network, this being our children’s favorite channel to watch when we are staying in a hotel. It seems that we cannot escape seeing food, hearing about food, reading about food in every magazine, or smelling food wafting from the thousands of restaurants and bakeries that surround us. What would our pioneering ancestors think of all this readily available food; and so much of it junk? I believe they would be astonished beyond all measure. (When we eat out, we regularly give thanks for the convenience of restaurants as we pray over the food.)

How long has the simplicity movement been around? A couple of decades or so? I have read a several simplicity books and do not recall anything about food or eating; but maybe my memory is shredded. I do know that we could save a billion calories (by save I really mean eliminate) each year by simplifying our meals. I also know that if towns and cities were more pedestrian friendly we could use a billion calories by walking more. What’s not to like?

Our bodies would love us. God would be so pleased that we are maintaining our temples. We would be healthy, fit, trim, and beautiful. Beautiful in the sense of a strong healthy body, which is the best kind of beautiful there is.

Portion control is another change one thing at a time example. We have become so accustomed to large portions that we don’t realize how much too much we’re eating. Here are some strategies to re-educate ourselves to correct (meaning healthful) portions.

1. Read labels – how many or how much is a portion, and what is the calorie count. Not that we are counting calories (that’s too tedious) but we are looking at how much is recommended. You can always eat less than the recommended amount, in fact, I highly recommend eating less! But we should not eat more. Prepare to be surprised. I love Fig Newtons and was totally shocked to find that a serving size is one cookie. WHAT? Yep, just one cookie. Information like that leads to adjustments in eating habits. We can no longer sit reading a book, mindlessly eating newton after newton. (Did I just give away another of my sins?) And what about ice cream? Do you know what a half cup of ice cream looks like? Tiny, very tiny, but that is a serving size.

With homemade foods, like casseroles or things that are a conglomeration of foods, we can be safe with guesstimates. Think about how much you normally eat and reduce that by half. Fill the rest of your plate with steamed vegetables or fresh vegetable salads. We can never over eat vegetables.

2. Use measuring cups and spoons, and a kitchen scale – until you have a good idea of what portion sizes look like in a bowl or on your plate. It is surprising how small portions should be because we are so conditioned to over or super sized portions. Practicing this at home and becoming accustomed to what the amount looks like leads to success at restaurants. Measure out cold cereal and milk.

Once I met a woman in line at the commissary (military grocery store) in Virginia. She grabbed a few bags of chips from the display, they were the small, one serving size, and said to me, “These are diet chips.” I must have looked skeptical as she went on to explain that she and her husband would share one of these bags, therefore cutting down their intake and a few chips was just enough to satisfy their craving for crunching and salty. Eating it together kept them honest. Sounded good to me, and I think of her whenever I share a small bag of chips with my husband. By the way, she looked slim and fit, a great advertisement for her practice.

3. Use smaller plates and bowls – so our smaller portions don’t appear so lonely and, well, small. This is a very old dieting trick, but it can work. A half cup of ice cream in a tiny bowl or old-fashioned sherbet cup looks great. The same amount in a cereal or soup bowl looks ridiculous, and we instinctively fill the bowl up to look appealing.
The only time to use a bigger plate or bowl is when you’re having a vegetable salad. I have made myself salads the size I would normally serve to my family with dinner, and eaten the whole thing for lunch. Vegetables are so low calorie and so dense with nutrition that we can eat loads without danger of over eating. Just measure the dressing you put on it. That is where the calories are, along with toppings like cheese, bacon bits, sunflower seeds, beans, and things like that. Measure those things, but don’t worry about too eating too much chopped vegetables.

4. Do not drink your calories – sodas, fruit juice, milk and any other drinks, other than water, have calories. Read the labels and put limits on how much you drink. Hydrate with pure water. And do not think that drinking calorie less sodas, or sports drinks is helping. Those chemical cocktails are bad business. Avoid them as if they were poison, because they are.

Those are my main strategies for portion control. Read labels, use measuring tools, use smaller dishes, and do not use up calories on non-nutritious drinks.

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