Tag Archives: food issues

I’m Worth It – Part 3 – What I’ve Learned So Far

Hello Jaw Line - it's nice to meet you...  It's been a few years!!

Hello Jaw Line – it’s nice to meet you… It’s been a few years!!

OK – so not the best title… too long.  But I am 2 1/2 months into this process and thought that some of you out there might be interested in my progress.  I am down 25 lbs.!!  Wow!!  That’s a pretty big turkey!  Just to remind you – I’ve been off sugar, wheat and dairy.  Here is what I’ve learned so far.

  • You absolutely cannot undertake a process to overhaul yourself without the unwavering support and loyalty of your biggest fan (that would be Left Brain).  When I’ve been discouraged, he’s there to listen.  When I’m celebrating, he there’s applauding.  When I’m trying out new recipes that might be kind of yucky, he eats thankfully.  I don’t think I’ve gotten one negative vibe from him during this whole process.
  • Surround yourself with a good team.  Besides your partner (who is the most important person), find the right team.  My nutritionist Krissy is awesome – she is encouraging, down to earth, and provides me with lots of new inspiration and ideas when I visit her (find her at http://eatplaylivenutrition.ca.)   I have also been seeing a hypnotist; because I figured that there had to be subconscious reasons why I continued to lapse into the same old bad habits and I wanted to unlock that.
  • I like kale!  Who knew?!  But there are some tricks to kale…  My first kale salad was an exercise in mastication…  As I was building up my jaw muscles, I looked over at Left Brain and he was patiently chewing; and chewing; and chewing….  I read somewhere once that you’re supposed to chew every mouthful 25 times.  Have you ever tried it?  I did – once.  It’s gross…  Not doing it….  You need to chop up the pieces really small so that the vinaigrette can soak in…  And kale chips are great!  But don’t use baby kale – the leaves are too delicate to stand up to baking at 400…
  • Being over 50 is living in a new eco-system.  Things that you could get away with in your 30’s and 40’s just ain’t happening anymore.  So – have a moment of silence for your dearly departed tolerance for alcohol, or sugar, or wheat or whatever… and move on.  I can only surmise that this state of being will only get worse the older I get.  Something to look forward to!
  • Shopping is fun when you have a myriad of choices.  It’s also fun to fit back into stuff that you really liked at one time.  I have a whole collection of golf clothes from LoudMouth – really fun colours and patterns that I haven’t been able to wear in about 2 years.  We’re going to California in a couple of weeks to golf, and I’m looking forward to wearing my new “old” wardrobe!
  • Some people are seemingly threatened when you decide to improve yourself.  If you hear the words, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but…”, guaranteed – you’re not going to like what comes next!  Run!  Run away from these people – they are dealing with their own s–t – which has nothing to do with your s–t!
  • Like Cortez, who burned all of his ships after reaching the New World, I am getting rid of all of my “big lady” clothes.  In the same way that I have made this journey public, by ridding myself of the seeming security blanket of a bigger wardrobe that I can slip into, should I slip back into my old ways – I’m getting rid of the possibility.  I will concentrate on how great I feel!
  • If somebody tells you that they can eat or drink whatever they want with no consequences, you need to stop being friends with this person.  Because they suck….  Even if the above were true, they should have the bloody good sense to keep that little tidbit to themselves…  And it’s bulls–t…  Enough said.
  • I have become slightly OCD, with regard to eating on time.  I absolutely have to have my snacks, and if I don’t, I eat like a ravenous wolf at dinner, and beyond.  DON’T skip your snacks – it will bite you in the ass in the end.
  • Now this might horrify all oenophiles out there (better spell check that one…), but I got through the entire holiday season by imbibing…. red wine spritzers.  Now hold on – before you recoil in horror and immediately shut down this website… they’re actually pretty good.  Use lemon or grapefruit Perrier, and lots of limes.  They taste like a non-sweet sangria.  Why bother, you say?  Well – if you’re strong enough to just not drink at all – then good for you – and bugger off….  This was a good compromise.  And just as a general rule, no drinking during the week – unless there’s something going on….  I try to stick to the “No Drinking At Home” rule – which actually hasn’t been that hard.  Left Brain is not drinking wine anymore – he was over served about a year ago and that was that…  He drinks beer – which I hate – so no problem.
  • So – has this been hard?  YES!  At the beginning – but I’m Worth It!

I’m Worth It (Part 2)

Ahhh - the good life!!

Ahhh – the good life!!

It was a dark and stormy Friday… but only over me.  I went to see my nutritionist and AFTER DOING EVERYTHING RIGHT, AND GOING TO BED HUNGRY EVERY NIGHT!!!!, I did not lose ANY weight for the week!  F**k!!!  I have been off sugar, wheat and dairy for 5 weeks now.  I am happy to admit that I feel a hundred times better – the pooch under my belly button feels SO much smaller.  But COME ON!!!!

During that week, I went to spinning class twice, ashtanga yoga three times, and got “walked”* by one of my besties.  OK – I will admit that during that week, I consumed 4 glasses of wine (and okay – one martini – because I was feeling especially cheeky and cocky that night…)  And I don’t even want to tell you how much my alcohol consumption has dropped – but it’s at least by half (if not more….)

Left Brain was working at home that day – I went in to his office to commiserate.  He immediately went into the “you have to look at the long game – think how much better you feel – blah blah blah…”  Of course he’s right – but I just wanted to be pissed off and mad for awhile.  And yes – to have a moment (or a couple of hours) silence, for my dearly departed tolerance for alcohol…

But here’s the good news…. In the past, I would have thrown up my hands and said “F**k it!”  If I’m going to be miserable and deprive myself and still not get results, I might as well do what I want.  Except doing what I wanted led to 30 pounds of misery – and not feeling like myself.  I realize I’m moaning and this is definitely a first world problem.  So – I put my head down, prepared a healthy dinner, and decided that damn it!!  I’m Worth It!  So I will keep trucking along, and do my best and feel better in the morning.  (And I really did feel better in the morning – the scale showed a 2 lb. drop!!!  Go figure….)

* Note to Self:  “Self!  Consider walking with friends who are slower and in worse shape than you…”  Her dog is getting older and didn’t want to do the long jaunt that morning, so I got walked… I should have been wearing a leash!

The Anxiety of all the Newness….

So, this past week, I checked in with Henry – I am making a conscious effort not to call him too much – he’s told me that I’m being annoying…

We had deposited a significant amount of money into his account so that he could purchase his books.  Then we had to wade through the bank’s policies regarding how much he could take out in one day or one week…  We will be getting him a credit card to deal with such contingencies in future.  However, we did ask him for an accounting of the books thus far.  It turns out that he didn’t need quite the amount he had originally asked for.  In fact, he only needed about half the amount.  Now – most people would think they had been scammed…  But Henry does not have these artifices – he doesn’t know how to lie and if he tries, his face becomes so contorted that he gives himself away in a nanosecond!  But by his reckoning, the money was already there, so why mess with that?  (Take a moment to think this over, if you like…  a sip of coffee or bathroom break…)  I know that that logic made perfect sense to Henry, and indeed, probably to any teenager/young adult.  He was flabbergasted that we would expect the overage back!

So, then on to the next phase of our conversation, which was – he was spending cash on purchasing meals on campus.  This after a significant investment in a food plan – which is mandatory when you live in residence.  After a confused and panicked exchange of words, in which I directed him to get a little more information about where he could use his student card to swipe for meals, we hung up.  After which I received this text….



Now – I’m no Svengali or mind reader, but I think he was upset!  So I called him back (obviously before Henry’s recommended time period).  He was extremely upset and sounded on the verge of tears.  I calmed him – let him know he was not going to starve; that we would work out an acceptable allowance; that he would have enough money to get by; that we were all figuring out this new situation and we would work it out.  News flash…  There is a happy ending…


Top 10 Survival Tips

If you can survive it here, you can survive it anywhere!!!

If you can survive it here, you can survive it anywhere!!!

My grandfather used to say that travel was a “damned expensive way to be inconvenienced…”  No truer words were ever spoken, but travel can be enjoyable.  The list below is a reference for myself – and if it helps some of you… then great!

1.  ADJUST YOUR EXPECTATIONS – If you think you’re going to go, go, go…. stop, stop, stop and think!!!  The extra stimuli, strange surroundings, new people are all overwhelming and hard for an autistic person to deal with on a daily basis, but especially in a new and strange place.  On our trip, I scheduled one event per day – if we managed more than that, BONUS!!

2.  ALWAYS HAVE A PLAN B – I can’t state this enough!  It’s part of that Adaptible & Flexible thing – and that’s YOU being flexible – not expecting your child to be!  In a perfect world, it would be great to just go to an event without an “event” – but not always possible – so have a backup plan…

3.  FIND ‘HENRY-FRIENDLY’ RESTAURANTS – This is a double-edged sword however.  Make sure you like the restaurant as well – because you will likely be eating there multiple times!  One night when Henry suggested McDonald’s, I asked him if we could “try” the Italian restaurant a block down.  When making my reservation, I warned them that only plain spaghetti would do – and hopefully, that wouldn’t offend the delicate sensibilities of the genius at work in the kitchen….  We ate there 3 times – fortunately, it was excellent….


5.  HAVE AN ITINERARY – Two reasons; 1.  It calmed Henry to know what we were doing from day to day; and 2.  If I had missed anything, he could offer suggestions.  I also scheduled one free day in case we wanted to do something again.  But just a tip on San Francisco – I had loosely thought that we would ride the cable cars on Saturday….  bad idea….  the lineup for the cable car was over an hour long – should have done this during the week….

6.  BE EARLY FOR EVERYTHING!!! – Now I don’t know if this is a particular autistic thing, or an OCD thing of Henry’s, but he’s NEVER late!!!  I’d rather be early and waiting around, rather than cutting it close, and both of us whirling into an anxious spin!!!

7.  PACK SNACKS – Because of Henry’s particular food issues, it would have been helpful to have some crackers and bananas in the backpack, just in case.  This would have circumvented some seriously “hangry” moments.

8.  BOOK A HOTEL WITH A POOL – This is a great thing when you have those ‘dead’ times – it also completely tires out your kid…  So, Henry toddles off to the pool one late afternoon, while I proceed to the outdoor courtyard with a book and a cheeky glass of Pinot.  He’s having a grand old time until another guest has the audacity (!!!) to also come in to use the pool!  Since the other guests were not deterred by “The Old Stinkeye” treatment, he came back to our room….  Still, mission accomplished!

9.  KITCHENETTE – Or better yet, a condo.  When the kids were younger, a condo was non-negotiable.  Relying on restaurants for all meals is a drag – and let’s face it – we’re not talking gourmet tastes here…  Being able to make plain pasta, have some staples and stuff for sandwiches for me for our outings would have been extremely helpful!

10.  BRING PROPHYLACTICS – Bahahahahaha!!!  (See Adaptible & Flexible???  Part 3….)  Perhaps not – certainly this is in my future before he departs for college.  More of a life lesson, n’est pa??

In the end, the only important thing, is that we both have fabulous memories from this trip, and seeing a huge grin on his face was worth any amount of inconvenience….

Look at that smile!!

Look at that smile!!


Adaptable & Flexible??? Part 3…

So – it’s Thursday and I feel that we’re in a pretty good routine now.  We have located an Italian restaurant nearby that doesn’t mind bringing plain (and I mean plain) pasta for Henry (as well as 3 Cokes/meal….)  We know where the McDonald’s is (where blessedly there is a fabulous bakery/sandwich place that uses authentic sourdough bread – for me, of course!!) – there is a Fivebucks in the lobby for me…  a little market across the street for snackies and bananas (our reliable fallback) – and a very interesting trip to the CVS the other day!!!!  Let me explain…..

We were on our way back from another outing, when I ducked into the pharm for some supplies – seeing the grocery aisle, I quickly and astutely thought, “Staples for Henry…”  We grab a basket, fill it with cereal, bananas, Oreos, granola bars (for me), and pop.  Whilst looking for eyedrops, Henry comes across the prophylactic aisle.  Now, as much as I like to be prepared for anything….

Girl Guide... Cub Scouts... whatever - always prepared!

Girl Guide… Cub Scouts… whatever – always prepared!

I really don’t see the need for this trip….  And he was drawn to the Optic Blue – do they glow in the dark or what?  Upon reflection, this could come in handy….  but not today.  When he points out that he’s leaving for college in the fall and will need them (maybe), I tell him I’ll load him up on whatever colour he wants!!!

So – back to the food….

World famous pancakes!

World famous pancakes!

Today we stood in line for this place – he was dubious, but totally worth it!  Next post will be Survival Guide for Eating in a Foreign City While on Vacation with Henry….  (maybe I’ll work on that title….)

Adaptable & Flexible??? Part 2…

I’ve never been to San Francisco, so like Henry, was really excited about this trip.  There is so much to see and do and it’s a great walking city – one of the things that Henry is very good at…. with me trailing behind him…. (I have reminded him that his legs are at least a foot longer than mine, but to no avail!  I’m old and lazy, apparently…)

So we land and pick up our luggage in a short time.  I lead Henry outside to grab a limo – I figure the setup is like Toronto’s – limos in a line like cabs to take you in comfort where you want to go. All of the drivers are holding signs – amazingly, none of them say, “Christie, where would you like to go?”  So we walk down to the line of yellow cabs, with Henry trailing behind, saying, “You have no idea what you’re doing, do you?”  Well, kind of….sort of….

At hotel and unpacked – Henry is a good roommate – he likes things put away and NEVER loses anything!!!  Brian and I think he’s got his first nickel ratholed away!!!  At this point, he’s starving.  Right!  Off we go to the Embarcadero.  There is a huge refurbished building with a market in it – there’s beautiful cheese shops, organic hippie stuff, delis with delicious looking salads, gluten free bakeries (no go there!), but nothing for the chicken nugget/pizza man…. (I’m reminded of the GREAT CHICKEN NUGGET CAPER – see earlier blog, Food, Glorious Food!!)  At this point, I’m thinking just a croissant to hold him over – we find a bakery with lovely macaroons in every colour, but NO croissants!  What the hell?!!!  We’re now desperate…  He’s got the same look on his face he used to get as a little guy when he was frustrated….

Xmas03 3

Eureka!!  We find a hamburger joint as we’re leaving…  We order chicken fingers with fries (they’re hand dipped and real chicken – not sure whether he’ll like them or not – they’re back up…) and a hamburger, plain.  Oh – and a glass of rose for me…  It finally comes, he’s eaten half the hamburger, puts it down and it falls ON THE FLOOR!!!!  Oh my freaking God!  I’m halfway between wanting to laugh and scream – he’s got a look on his face like he’s about to cry…  I immediately spring into action…. SUPER MOM!!!! to the rescue.  Tell him to eat “my” fries and chicken fingers, while I go and order another hamburger…. (oh – and another rose…. I never said I was perfect….)

Perhaps an outfit for a Friday night??!!

Perhaps an outfit for a Friday night??!!


Adaptable & Flexible???

Geared up for our trip!!

Geared up for our trip!!

It is June 30th, and Henry and I are going on his “GRAD TRIP”!!!!  His brother went on a trip with a bunch of his friends to a music festival in Nashville, Tenn.  So, we thought that Henry should be given the same opportunity….  I asked him where he’d like to go… “Paris,” he answered.  “Great idea,” said I….  “But no… Where else?”   “London, England,” he said.  Again, with a laugh, I answered, “No…. How about somewhere in North America?”  Keeping in mind economy and the fact that Left Brain has not been to Paris….  I think that the next time I go, I’d like to be there in a more romantic capacity….  Perhaps next year for our 25th anniversary??  So, after much thought, he came up with San Francisco.  The next trial balloon he floated was perhaps going with a couple of friends?  Uh…. no.

So here we are at the airport, with an hour to spare before boarding.  It has gone smoothly and he is calm.  Henry, like me, likes to be early for everything….  He comes by this OCD characteristic honestly – it’s not just his anxiety or autism….

Not so calm now....

Not so calm now….

This is when they have started to call the flight…  I’ve explained to him the order of sequence of people getting on the flight…  Notice the line of people to the left of Henry!  He says he’s paranoid that we’re going to miss our flight (even though we’re 30 feet from the departure gate!)  I’m calm….  I tell him, “We’re good – don’t worry.”

We get on the flight and we’re settled.  Then we don’t take off for an additional 45 minutes because of some mechanical issue, and I can see his anxiety starting to ramp up.  Once we’re aloft, the pilot tells us that there’s some unsettled weather over the midwest and there might be some “chop”.  Fabulous!  I can deal, but he’s holding my hand like we’re going down on the Titanic….

Then comes the whole ordering of lunch.  Now – let’s face it….  Airline food isn’t exactly gourmet (not that that’s the standard my son is used to – more like Pizza Pizza on a daily basis…)  But I’m hoping that the bland pizza that they have might pass muster….  I knew that food was going to be an issue on this trip.  Many friends spent time giving me restaurant recommendations for this trip.  I listened politely, but knew that I would have to find out where the McDonald’s was, or a Pizza Hut….  So, tragedy of tragedies, the pizza does not “look” like his regular pizza – the pepperoni slices are too big – he’s put off.  It’s also too hot for him to pick up…  So I’m sawing it into little pieces, and encouraging him to take a bite, because most of the pizza we’re going to see this week will not look like Pizza Pizza’s….  One bite, and he’s done…  Good God….

Air Canada's pizza does not look like this....

Air Canada’s pizza does not look like this….