Monday, August 30, 2010

It's All About Being Kind

I’ve realized something about myself this week.

I am an emotional eater.

It really surprised me to realize that about myself. I had always pictured an “emotional eater” to be a woman with extreme emotional issues, who sat there bawling her eyes out as she polished off an entire half gallon of Haggan Dazs chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. That is certainly not me.

However, I realized that I do eat when I’m anxious or frustrated. Or at the opposite end of the spectrum, when I’m bored.

Like the other night. I was feeling very anxious about the little infection in my finger that could easily become a very scary blood infection. So what did I do? I polished off a half a bag of pretzels and ended up with a stomachache. Yeah, that’s what you call emotional eating.

I’ve read some interesting books by Geneen Roth (her latest being “Women, Food, and God”), and so far I really like some of the advice that she gives in her books.

If I were to take away one profound truth that I’ve learned from her books, it is this: Be kind to yourself.

It sounds really simple, “Be kind to yourself.” But what does being kind to yourself mean?

In my world (and to paraphrase some of the author’s ideas), being kind to myself means:

1) Finding a better outlet than food for anxiety and frustration,
2) When I’m bored, finding something entertaining to do, instead of eating,
3) Eating slowly, without distractions, and really paying attention to & enjoying my food,
4) When I’m eating, stopping every couple of minutes to ask myself “Am I still hungry?”,
5) Stopping the negative self-talk, like “I feel so fat today” or “I can’t believe I can’t fit into those pants any more! I’m getting so fat! I have to go on a diet right away.”

So far, I’ve really been diggin’ on this “being kind to myself” stuff. Here are some of the discoveries I’ve made in the past few days:

--On Saturday afternoon, I had a good-sized bowl of Fannie Mae Mint Meltaways ice cream. (Yummy!) Instead of watching t.v., reading, or listening to music while I was eating it, I sat comfortably and really paid attention to every single spoonful of that ice cream that I ate. Man, what a wonderful experience that was! Really, it was such a treat to really pay attention to what I was eating. And later that night, I felt no need to snack as I had done for almost every night in the past few months. I think I felt like I had been so indulgent (kind to myself) earlier in the day, so I was satisfied with not eating a late-night snack. (Late-night snacking had become a really bad habit for me.)

--Last night, I watched a lot of t.v. and was getting really bored. As I felt myself reaching for a bag of cookies, I stopped and asked myself if I was really hungry. I decided that I wasn’t, that I was just bored. So instead, I challenged Iwanski to a “Crossword Puzzle Competition.” (We compete to see who can finish the crossword puzzle in the daily “Red Eye” newspaper the fastest.) And whatta ya’ know? My “hunger” just disappeared.

--I realized that a lot of times at work, I overindulge on a snack at my desk because I’m anxious, rushing, and not paying attention to what I’m eating. Today, I forced myself to step away from my desk. The result? I calmed down and enjoyed a really delicious snack of popcorn. (At the grocery store, I found these individualized bags of microwave “kettle corn” popcorn at 110 calories a bag—very yummy stuff!)

--I also realized that I often do the same thing during lunchtime at work. I am always rushing from one project to the next, so lunch became yet another project to “finish.” All too often, I ended up with that stuffed, bloated feeling—which made for an uncomfortable afternoon. Today, I really slowed down and savored my food—and I stopped every few minutes to ask myself, “Am I really hungry?” I found this challenging—as I think I’ve been ignoring my body’s hunger signals for far too long—but I did come to realize that I wasn’t really hungry for those last couple bites of my Healthy Choice Asian Potsticker meal (as opposed to the um…Polish? potsticker meal?). So I did the unthinkable—I threw the last little bit away! Wow, that was a first for me. And most importantly, I didn’t throw it away because I was denying myself the food—I threw it away because I was no longer hungry—and being kind to myself means not eating too much and giving myself a stomachache.

--Today, a coworker of mine looked at herself in the bathroom mirror at work and said, while laughing lightly, “I just noticed how fat my belly looks in this outfit.” Now, before I began thinking about this whole “being kind to yourself” idea, I would have laughed and commiserated with her; I probably would have said something like, “I think my belly looks fat no matter what I wear” or something equally as self-critical. Instead, I began to share with her how I’ve been thinking about this stuff lately, and she said, “Hmm…okay…” I think I saw a faint recognition of “This is truth” in her eyes. We women are way, FAR too hard on ourselves, with how we judge our bodies. In fact, it’s now socially acceptable to criticize our bodies…in my personal experience, if you’re with a group of women who are criticizing what they perceive to be their “fat butt” or their “pudgy tummy,” you’re expected to join in by finding fault in your own body. Isn’t that ridiculous?

It’s just been such an awakening for me so far, to really embrace this concept of “being kind to yourself.”

And I know that I’m just at the beginning of this “adventure” away from emotional eating, into self-kindness…I can’t wait to see what discoveries lie ahead!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Blues, Stay Away From Me!

It’s so very tempting to have the Sunday night blues tonight. But you know what? I have so much to look forward to this week.

For example…

--The weekly “Tuesday night Julia Child Meal” with Jonathan. Last week, he and our good friend Liane whipped up another awesome scallop meal—this one with cheese—my God, the Wisconsin girl in me loved that! –and with a yummy veggie side dish and a delectable Orange Bavarian Cream for dessert. (My cholesterol level rose just by looking at this meal!) But it was positively delightful, and I can’t wait to see the tantalizing meal that Jonathan creates this week!

--Big Brother – my one reality show indulgence is getting close to the end, and it’s getting exciting! I can’t wait to see who gets voted out this week.

--Wednesday “kick off day” – At work, I’ve been put in charge of working with a new customer service team during the fall, and Wednesday is our first “kick off day.” It promises to be busy as hell, but I’m ready for it, and eager to prove that our team can do an excellent job in managing the heavy workload. (I actually love being busy at work—just call me a glutton for punishment! It’s certainly better than being bored.)

--Getting rid of this stupid finger infection! I have the feeling that these awesome antibiotics are going to do the job this week, and I’ll be left with a normal finger again!

--Having a glass of wine after I finally get to get off these awesome antibiotics!

--Spending time, as always, with my hubby—my favorite person in the whole world.

This is going to be a great week—I just know it!

Saturday, August 28, 2010


OK, so I’m not going to write about any of those topics I mentioned in my previous blog posting. Instead, I’m going to write about my finger—yes, my finger—and how it almost landed me in the hospital.

For the past several months, I’ve had a patch of extremely dry skin on the middle finger of my right hand. I’ve never had dry skin like this before, and it’s been itchy and irritating as hell. Finally, I asked my sister-in-law Donna (who for some reason always seems to be able to solve most of life’s minor problems) what I should do about it.

“It looks like you have eczema,” she said. “Go to Walgreen’s and buy a tube of their cortisone cream with moisturizers. I had a patch of eczema on my hand and that’s what helped me.”

I did as Donna suggested, and it did seem to help for a little while. Still, that very annoying, persistent itch would not go away, and I couldn’t stop myself from scratching. The skin was extremely irritated and broken.

I noticed that the more stressed out I got at work, the more itchy my finger was. And the more itchy my finger was, the more I scratched it. And the more I scratched it, the more it hurt.

I had a really stressful week at work. My poor little finger was miserable.

Then, on Thursday of this week, I noticed that the knuckle on the bottom of that finger felt “bruised,” and looked a bit red and puffy.

“That’s weird,” I thought—but I figured I must have bumped it on something. (I’m a bit of a clumsy person and tend to bump into things on a regular basis.)

Then on Friday (yesterday), the knuckle was even more red, swollen, and painful. I began to suspect that I had an infection.

I called Iwanski’s other sister, Anna, who’s a nurse, and asked her if I should go to the doctor.

“Absolutely,” she said without hesitation. “You need to get some antibiotics right away.”

“Okay,” I thought. I was starting to get a bit worried, so I called my doctor as she suggested. They squeezed me in for an appointment at 2 PM.

After waiting approximately 20 hours (at least it felt that way) and reading the entire Entertainment Weekly magazine from April 2010, the doctor finally came into the room. He was also followed by another dude, whom he introduced as an intern.

After I explained my symptoms and the doc took a look, he and the intern informed me that I definitely had an infection and that they would be giving me an antibiotic to knock it out.

“There is one caveat,” the doctor said. “Infections in the hands are a very serious thing. Because there isn’t much tissue in the fingers or the hand, infections there can spread really fast.”

“So tonight, I want you to monitor it closely,” he continued, “And if looks or feels worse, don’t hesitate—go to the ER immediately, and they’ll hook you up to an IV.”

The ER? An IV? I was stunned. Who knew that a simple little finger infection could lead to that?

So I did what I was told, and took a couple of the heavy-duty antibiotics that were prescribed to me—and then last night, I looked closely at my hand. Well, it still hurt, and the knuckle was still red and puffy—but it didn’t seem to be any worse. So we wouldn’t have to spend a night in the ER, after all—thank God!

I am so very glad that we live in the era of modern medicine and kick-ass antibiotics that can fight off these types of infections before they turn into something a lot worse.

And I wanted to share this story, just in case anyone reading it has a bit of painful, puffy, red skin on their hand. I guess it’s better to get it checked out instead of possibly ending up in the hospital!

Oh, and also, the doc prescribed a steroid cream to me, for the eczema—so I’m hoping it works. If it does, I guess it will have been worth it to have to deal with this little infection, to get help for that extremely annoying itch.

P.S. I will send a virtual pie to anyone who can tell me where the title of this blog post comes from!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Coming Attractions

It has been a really really busy week at work--especially today (I arrived at work today to find 350 new e-mails in my in-box!) I'm extremely tired. And even though I'd love to have the energy to write a REAL blog today, this is what you're all stuck with instead...Miss Healthypants' list of Bloggy Coming Attractions.

Here's some stuff (see, I can't even come up with a better word than "stuff") that I will write about as soon as I have a little more energy:

Jonathan's brilliant food creation of the week, and his first-ever pair of "short pants" (which the rest of the world calls "shorts")

My four (yes, four!) husbands

A really weird acting audition I went to once

Some things that surprised/shocked me when I was a "newbie" to the city

And much much more!

So y'all please come back soon...ya' hear?

P.S. I promise I will be back commenting on other people's blogs soon, as well...I've been reading and not commenting--bad blogger friend I am!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Damn, I'm Lucky!

Yesterday, I called my good friend Jonathan to see if he’d like to have dinner with me after my free Tuesday night yoga class. (Free yoga = awesome!)

He replied, “Sure! Do you want to go out to dinner, or should I cook?”

Now, I know Jonathan LOVES to cook and is really good at it, too. However, I didn’t want to impose on him.

“It’s up to you, dude,” I replied.

“OK, I’ll cook!” He said, with a smile in his voice. “I’ve been wanting to try this one Julia Child fish recipe, anyway.”

“Great, I’ll stop by after yoga!” I said, knowing that whatever he cooked, it was bound to be good. He’s a wonderful chef who has been on a Julia Child kick for the past few months (check out his Julia Child blog!)—and Iwanski and I have often been the very lucky recipients of his delightful French creations.

So anyway, after an hour of bends and twists and downward dog poses, I stopped by the grocery store for some bagged salad (Miss Healthypants always needs her salad!) and then traipsed over to Jonathan’s apartment, excited to discover the culinary pleasures that awaited me.

And I was hungry. Like, ravenously hungry. Actually, there is no other kind of hunger for me. I tend to go from zero to ravenous in approximately one and a half minutes. (Iwanski is more like a food camel. He can not eat all day, and not even realize it until about 5 PM or so. He thinks it’s a little crazy, how quickly my hunger hits me.)

So being the ravenous crazypants that I am, I walked into Jonathan’s apartment and immediately assessed the situation to see how long it would be until I could stuff some food down my gullet. Well, it turns out that Jonathan still needed to create the sauce for the meal, so I knew it would be a little while before the main course was ready.

Luckily, Miss Healthypants was prepared for such a food emergency. Remember, I had bought bagged lettuce—so while Jonathan stirred and whisked away in the kitchen, I settled down and had myself a big ole’ salad.

While I devoured my salad, I heard lots and lots and LOTS of whisking going on in the kitchen. Never have I heard so much whisking happening, and for so long. My curiosity was getting the better of me.

“What are we having, dude?” I asked. “Did you say you were making fish?”

“No, not fish,” He replied.

“Oh, are we having chicken?” I asked.

“Nope, not chicken. It’s a surprise.” He said with a gleam in his eye.

“Is it beef?” I guessed. “Or pork?”

“Nope, not beef and not pork.”

“Pasta?” I asked.

“No, not pasta,” he smiled.

What the heck? I was all out of guesses. I sat there and thought for a minute.

Then suddenly, this amazing thought came to me. Could it—could it be? Could he be preparing my very favorite type of food in the whole world? The type of food that I consider to be one of God’s greatest gifts to this earth? The type of food that I think is the most succulent, tender, delicious food in the whole world?

“Dude, are you making scallops?” I asked excitedly.

He smiled. “Yep, I’m making scallops,” he replied.

“Really?!” I squealed with delight. “I love scallops so much!”

“I know you do,” he laughed. “That’s why I’m making them.”

Folks, that’s how you know you have a good friend. Not only does he offer to make you a delightful, delectable Julia Child meal—but then he also uses your very favorite type of seafood in the recipe. I was so touched by his thoughtfulness.

And as he lay the plate of scallops in a beurre blanc (white butter) sauce, served over a bed of asparagus with sides of cherry tomatoes and pan roasted, buttery baby Yukon Gold potatoes, right in front of me—well, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.

And the taste? It was out-of-this-world delicious. Even though I had just finished off nearly an entire bag of salad, I wolfed down that entire plate like I hadn’t eaten for days.

And of course, the company was delightful as always, too. Jonathan and I always have a good time together.

Halfway through eating it, he remarked with a devilish grin, “You know, between the two of us, we’re consuming about a stick and a half of butter here.”

How dare he mention that?! But that certainly didn’t stop me from enjoying every bit of it and nearly licking the plate clean.

After dinner, Jonathan asked, “Could we maybe do this once a week?”

I looked at him, surprised. “You want to make dinner for me—for us—every week?”

“Well, sure,” he replied, smiling. “I’d love that.”

“Absolutely!” I replied. Who could pass up an offer like that?

I’m telling you, I feel so lucky to have a friend like Jonathan. He is such a generous and thoughtful person.

And he makes a mean scallop.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Time's Fun

Recently, Iwanski and I did some travels through parts of Illinois and Indiana--which, of course, are the two most exciting states in America. And we also accidentally ended up in Michigan...but more about that later.

Along the way, we took in some fun tourist sites, a lot of Mother Nature's beauty, and also some of her destruction.

We saw some crazy flooding…

We saw some beautiful nature at Starved Rock State Park in Illinois…

And some in Tinley Park, Illinois…

And we accidentally ended up in Michigan after searching for “Oink’s”…

(On the way to the Indiana Dunes State Park, we saw a sign for a business that said it was "five miles ahead, across the street from Oink’s—so I made Iwanski drive five miles to find out what Oinks was. As we got closer and closer to Oink’s, we suddenly saw a Michigan welcome sign. We were accidentally in Michigan!—and all because of Oink’s.)

It was a relaxing, fun, funny time...and I can't believe it's August 13th already!!

Sigh...I would like now to quote a line from the movie Short Circuit (I'm such a nerd; I love that movie!), "Time's fun when you're having flies."

Sunday, August 8, 2010

If Miss Healthypants Was In Charge

Recently, I told Iwanski that if I ran for President, I would issue two new executive orders.

First, and foremost—all fast-food and sit-down restaurants must have a side salad on their menu that costs two dollars or less.

I mean, really, how hard would this be? You put a few lettuce leaves in a bowl, add a couple of cherry tomatoes and maybe some cheese, top it with your dressing of choice—and ta da! You have a side salad. It’s easy and cheap—and it should not cost more than two dollars.

My other executive order would be this:

All public and private bathrooms must have a toilet plunger right next to the toilet. I mean, it has “toilet” right in the name—so wouldn’t it make sense for the plunger to be within close proximity to the toilet itself? It has no other use. What would be so hard about this?

You may be wondering about the origins of this executive order… well, I will tell you a short story to illustrate its importance.

Imagine yourself in a Wendy’s restaurant in rural Illinois. You have just used the toilet (only to go number one), and you flush the toilet—but then you realize in horror, too late, that the person before you has stuffed approximately 5000 sheets of toilet paper in the toilet—and it is now in serious danger of overflowing. As the water rises higher and higher and threatens to start pouring someone else’s toilet paper and poo all over the floor, what do you do? Do you go out, cut in line in front of six other people, and inform the restaurant cashier that the toilet is overflowing? Talk about embarrassing! Or do you hightail it out of there, rush to your car, and take off, wheels-a-blazing, before anyone can blame you for the mishap?

Guess which one Miss Healthypants did? I’m not proud to say that I fled the scene of the crime…and I’m a little ashamed that I did so. But think about it, you might do the same if you only had a split second to decide. (Don’t judge me!)

But the point is, if there was a toilet plunger in the bathroom, right next to the toilet, I could have avoided the whole agonizing moment. And think about the poor woman before me—toilet paper waster though she was—who tried to flush it the first time? She could have also avoided any of the potential embarrassment if there was a plunger nearby.

Also note that this law is to take effect in private homes, as well. No one wants to get caught at a friend’s home with a digestive problem and no plunger to be found!

So what do you think? I would run on the slogan “A Side Salad With Every Plate and A Plunger With Every Pot!” Would you vote for me?