Couch Panda Presses On

Where's my salt-shaker?
Where’s my salt-shaker?

When I started this blog a few weeks back, I had high hopes. I was going to change one habit each week for 52 weeks until my overeating compulsion was cured.

To my dismay, I’m barely hanging on to the minor changes I have set so far. And the BIG change, the change I am trying to ignore because it’s just too hard, looms over me, miasma-style.

The BIG change is eating AT THE TABLE.

My big comfort, both physical and emotional, is eating supine on the couch, while doing something else (reading, doing crossword puzzles, watching Netflix). It’s my go-to behavior, and always carries with it a huge sigh of anticipatory contentment. Its ill effects (weight-gain, loss of physical conditioning, chronic neck pain, esophageal reflux), don’t hold a candle to that first bite taken with kitchen towel around my neck, shoes kicked off, salt-shaker at the ready, and puzzle-book in hand.

Oh, what to do, what to do? Talk about first-world problems. If only thinking about people who don’t have couches, salt-shakers, kitchen towels, or puzzle books, (let alone food) were sufficient to change my behavior.

Given my lack of progress, I have had a hard time making myself put out another perky blog-post.

But I’ve decided not to dessert. [sic]

I’m going to try to stick out the 52 weeks, and continue to make the changes as I can.

So here’s a report on how the goals are going so far:

  1. Ensure availability of prepped fruits/veggies at all times: 85% success
  2. Include fruit/veg with every meal or snack: 75% success
  3. Prepare thermoses of water with breakfast: 60% success and improving
  4. Eat breakfast at the table: 10% success and going nowhere

And for next week:

Suck it up and eat breakfast at the table. If I’m on the run, a portable smoothie is ok.

Onward and…onward!

Carrot Conceit

Here is a picture of some carrots that came out of my garden this morning. IMG_4374A woman showing these would say: “Here are some carrots I grew this year. Well, I had a lot of help, of course. They’re kind of crooked, because I didn’t get the soil prepared as well as I had hoped. I accidentally pulled out a couple that are too small, because I didn’t thin them soon enough. I think they’ve probably gotten a bit tough and bitter because I picked them too late in the season. And obviously, they need washing!”

A man would say: “Hey, lookit these great carrots I grew!”

Fellow blogger (I shall call her Marcie) just posted a beautiful braid she made from home-grown garlic. The title of her blog-post is: “Clearly there is room for improvement.” I rest my case. (To see her braid, go here): https://thevalliereblog.wordpress.com/2015/07/16/clearly-there-is-room-for-improvement/

I am far from a shrinking violet, and toot my own horn plenty. Yet I, too, often emphasize my failings when I blog. (Actually I find myself charming and funny when I do this.)

But not today! Today I am going to set aside self-put-downs, and share with you my utter delight in my garden this year. It’s the best garden I’ve ever grown, and I am filled with joy every time I step out my door. I’m going to make you look at the pictures as if they were my grandchildren, and I want to hear some “Awwwws”!

Enormous tomatillo, tomato and pepper patch this year!
Enormous tomatillo, tomato and pepper patch this year!

 Keyhole sustainable garden. This is its first year, converted from a square garden with compacted soil.

Keyhole sustainable garden. This is its first year, converted from a square garden with compacted soil.

First attempt at growing artichokes (from seed! in Virginia!)
First attempt at growing artichokes (from seed! in Virginia!)
Cantaloupe sprawling on the right, cover-crop buckwheat on the left, and second planting of pole beans in the middle
Cantaloupe sprawling on the right, cover-crop buckwheat on the left, and second planting of pole beans in the middle.
This nearly-ready beauty is a volunteer!
This nearly-ready beauty is a volunteer! (Note carrot leaves just behind.)
I live in a cozy mixed neighborhood. This is what folks walking down the sidewalk past my house see.
I live in a cozy mixed neighborhood. This is what folks see while walking down the sidewalk past my house.
View into the back garden from the side gate. Hydrangeas held up by a repurposed crib I found on the sidewalk.
View into the back yard from the side gate. Hydrangeas held up by a repurposed crib I found on the sidewalk.
Carrot Selfie!
Carrot Selfie! Note red carrot, which matches my magenta T-shirt!

What’s the difference?

Cucumbers, growing on an old CD rack, are dying. Queen Anne's lace is a weed but it feeds the pollinators.
Cucumbers, growing on an old CD rack, are dying. Queen Anne’s lace is a weed but it feeds the pollinators.

Blogger simplelivingover50.com (I shall call him Tom) is a very different person from me. He’s into power work-outs, measuring his biceps, and eating meat. I suspect he has a secret yen to drag his woman into his cave by the hair to ravish her (only with her consent, of course — Tom is a nice guy.) I want to be lithe and aerobically fit so I can hike, garden and dance. He weighs himself daily. I weigh myself seldom, at random.

Tom’s garden pictures show wide boards creating perfectly rectangular raised beds, with a neat two-inch border around them where the carefully manicured lawn dares not tread. My garden looks like a mash-up of an abandoned tomato patch, some hummocks of compost, and a weedy lawn. Tom is Mr Paleo; I’m Ms Vegan.

My husband Ed and I just returned from a visit to his mom in Iowa. My mother-in-law and I are also quite different.  When you look up “mid-westerner” in the dictionary, you’ll find her picture. Mine is likely in the Brattleboro, Vermont section.

As I ponder my differences with these two people, I realize that we have one very important thing in common: we all have food issues. All three of us are addicted to simple carbohydrates, and we all sometimes eat in secret.

Tom had an event in his car (http://simplelivingover50.com/2015/06/23/the-tale-of-the-scone/) that I completely related to. At my mother-in-law’s house, I walked into the kitchen one evening to find her standing up with her back to me, eating a piece of cake.

At home I don’t have to eat in secret. My husband never makes snarky remarks or nags. If he has any judgmental feelings, he has managed to keep them to himself for 22 years. But when I am in someone else’s home, I maintain a secret stash of goodies to eat in my room after the household has gone to bed.

I feel an affinity with these two folks. We all want to eat better, we all love treats, we all struggle.

But in addition, I think we have a more profound thing in common.

My mother-in-law talks about herself a lot. Tom and I blog, which is a way of talking about ourselves a lot. Each of us wants to be heard, to be understood, to be accepted.

And oh yeah…to be thinner.

Perhaps you do too. I’d love to read your comments. Join me!

Goal for next week:

The “eat breakfast at the table” habit needs more glue, so I am going to make it this week’s goal as well. And I’m reinforcing previous commitments in case I start forgetting:

  • Ensure the availability of prepped fruits/veggies at all times
  • Include fruit/vegetable with every meal or snack
  • Prepare two thermoses of water/tea daily with breakfast
  • Eat breakfast at the table