Working at Home vs Eating at Work

I have this conundrum. I have the flexibility to work from home a LOT with my job. However, I eat better when I go into the office! I only live about a mile and half from the office, but it’s not the commute that stops me, it’s the having to get showered and dressed and made up and…of course, the makeup is optional where I work, but the showering and clothes are not.

So I always have the draw to stay home in my pajamas if I don’t have any meetings I need to attend in person, but I know that for lunch I’ll pretty much be stuck with a tuna sandwich. Whereas if I go into the office I can have a tasty salad with a wide variety of fresh ingredients that I’d never buy for the house. That’s one of the benefits of the salad bar at the office cafeteria – they can offer a wide variety of veggies in the salad bar that I don’t buy for the home because I can’t get through them before they go bad.

This post brought to you by my lunchtime tuna sandwich.

This morning’s weight: 185. Yesterday: 188. Day before: 187. (I’m going to keep posting these so that everyone can see what a normal fluctuation can look like.)

Business Travel Weight Management Tools

A while back I did a series of guest posts over at Travels With Pain  all about weight management skills I use while traveling, you can find them here:

Part 1, Vacationing

Part 2, Business Travel

Today I am traveling for business again. I find that I need to have some good weight management days after an indulgent weekend, but I had to get up early this morning to catch a flight. So I’m practicing my travel weight management skills, which requires an extra level of vigilance. Here’s how I’m handling today:

  • Before I left for the airport I had a filling breakfast of oatmeal with a sprinkle of brown sugar (my favorite).
  • At the airport I made sure to always use the stairs.
  • On the plane I asked for ice water when the stewardess came around, and declined the peanuts.

I knew I had to go straight from the rental car lot to my meetings without any time for lunch, so I decided my best option was to grab something at the airport and eat it before heading down to claim my suitcase. I’m extremely familiar with the Southwest terminal at LAX – I’d estimate I’ve through there around 50 times a year for the last few years. I know they have the typical fast food dangers – McDonalds, fast Mexican food, a frozen yogurt place, a pub-style restaurant. None of those were going to be supportive, but I also knew there is a deli, so I grabbed a Greek salad, a bottle of water (for my afternoon meeting) and a banana (for a midday snack).

If you travel enough you begin to realize that the pre-made salads available in US airports are exactly the same at every airport. It’s terribly boring, but it’s also familiar and predictable, so I already know that the Greek salad has around 470 calories, including the dressing. I threw out the dressing because it is almost all oil, which dropped my salad down to around 300 calories – lettuce, cucumbers, onions, feta cheese and olives. Almost all the calories are in the cheese and olives.  This is a totally reasonable tally for my lunch.

Plan for the rest of the day:

Tonight I plan to hit the hotel gym (the fitness room at Embassy Suites is possibly the most boring, depressing gym in hotel history but I’ll cope) for 30 minutes of HIIT on the elliptical machine, maybe some strength training, and then I’ll get a soup and salad for dinner at Mimi’s – there’s one that shares the parking lot with my hotel when I’m here.

Overall, it looks like it’s going to be a great weight management day,  even though I’m traveling! Feels pretty good.

I seem to have lost my taste for meat lately

I’m not a vegetarian, never have been. Although, apparently I look like a vegetarian because I usually have to explain to coworkers (repeatedly) that I’m not vegetarian. And while I think it’s an interesting sociological point that if you are particular about food in any way you are immediately assumed to be vegetarian, that’s not what this post is about.

Well, mostly not. I do find it somewhat interesting that the obvious mental association most people have for “is meticulous/particular about food” equates to “must be vegetarian” and not “cares what kind of crap they put in their body”. I sort of wonder why in a country where most of the commercially available food is absolute junk, people would even wonder for a second why somebody might want to be particular about the food they consume. But I tend to write it off as simply the case that most people actually run on autopilot and believe the lie that convenience trumps all. “I don’t have time to eat healthy! I have to lower my standards to eat garbage because I’m so very, very busy!” is an incredibly persistent message that the food industry has been magnificently successful at communicating. It helps that it preys on two natural instincts humans already have by default – laziness and gluttony.

But I digress. What I actually meant to mention today is that I’ve noticed lately that I’ve lost my taste for meat. It hasn’t tasted good to me for several weeks now. It doesn’t taste bad, it just doesn’t appeal to me. It’s interesting to me because I’ve definitely had the reverse – I’ve had phases where certain foods were AMAZING and all I wanted to eat for a while. When I first went off of the VLCD I was all about the oatmeal with brown sugar. I would eat it for breakfast, then I’d come home sometimes and eat it for dinner. Couldn’t get enough. Just loved everything about it – the texture, the flavor, the way I could use oatmeal to deliver just a touch of crunchy brown sugary goodness, in the name of health, right to my tongue. Yum!

I’ve never had any kind of moral objection to meat (well, ok, there was a phase in high school where I went vegetarian for a few weeks – maybe months? – but it didn’t last). Meat’s never been something I craved in particular – I may be the only person who could honestly take or leave bacon. I don’t share the current fad for bacon. It’s ok, I’ll eat it, but I don’t lust after it and I certainly would never wear a shirt proclaiming its awesomeness. If bacon is the gateway meat, well, I’ll just linger here in the doorway then.

If I were in charge of cooking in my house we’d probably eat very little meat, as my lack of interest in it means that I never really learned how to choose, prepare or cook it. I tend to consider it more of a flavoring or a garnish in my cooking – a spice, really, to be used sparingly. I’m extremely conscious of the fact that an animal had to die for me to consume meat, so I’m also wary of buying more than I will use or screwing up a meat dish due to my inexperience and having to throw it away (effectively meaning that the animal that died for my meal died for nothing…a situation I am exceedingly uncomfortable with). I would say my relationship to eating meat has been somewhat complex. I had to think about it for a while when I first met my husband and learned that he hunts (but only for food – he always eats what he kills). Eventually what I came to was that I actually would prefer to eat food he has hunted, as the animal had a life in the wild, free from feedlots or commercial slaughter operations, and therefore is likely to have led a happier life before coming to my plate. It took me a while, but I did finally get around to that understanding.

Anyway, all of this is to say that lately, I seem to have picked up an aversion to meat. I suspect that it is a phase, or that it’s a sign to me that I need to make an effort to ensure that the meat I do consume is coming from a more humane source. I certainly have passed through other food phases without any lingering effects. I wasn’t eating all that much meat to begin with, and I don’t intend to go off it entirely, I just think that maybe for a little while I’ll need to look into my relationship with meat and re-examine my beliefs. Or it could just be that I don’t enjoy it all that much right now – taste buds do change and evolve over our lifetimes.

In the meantime, I’m totally happy to find protein from other sources – yogurt, cheese, nuts, tofu, etc.

Quick Dinner

Last night I was on my own for dinner and didn’t want to spend too much time on it so I did one of my quick meals. I put a can of water-based soup (in this case, chicken noodle) in a pan on the stove, then I grabbed all of the bags of frozen veggies in the fridge and put a little bit of each one in the pan with the soup – chopped spinach, peas and corn. I was mightily tempted by the lima beans, but I suspect that they require longer cooking than the others and I was in a hurry so I left them out. I threw in some Worcestershire sauce and some spices and when it was hot, it was ready!

Chicken noodle soup is 70 cal/serving, with 2.5 servings in the can, so approximately 175 calories there. I put in maybe a cup of spinach (negligible calories) and probably 2 tables spoons each of corn and peas, so that was a very filling meal for less than 250 calories.

Water-based soup in a can is a great meal for weight management. And chopped spinach in a bag – brilliant! Obviously I’d prefer a homemade soup, but sometimes you don’t have a whole chicken and several hours on hand, and doctoring up a pre-made base is easy.