Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Compassion and Fat Loss

Here is the "After" photo
that goes with the "Before" seen above.

Yesterday I read about the eight year old boy who was placed in foster care because his weight had reached 200 pounds.  His mother had sought medical help for the boy's breathing problems, and it was later determined that it would be in the boy's best interest to remove him from his home.

I don't know what the eight year old was eating, or what foods were made available to him by his mother, but I do know what it's like to be eight years old, and completely unable to get full or satisfied for very long.

Ever since I can remember, I have eaten more food more quickly than anyone around me.  Some of my earliest clear memories are from my fourth birthday when I happened to have the mumps.  I vividly remember the bowl of alphabet soup that I ate instead of a special dinner followed by cake and ice cream. For the first time in my young life I was indifferent to food.  For one brief shining moment I was free of the compulsion to eat until I was more than stuffed on bread and sweets.  By the way, that is what I constantly craved, bread, cookies, chips, and cake.  I vividly recall climbing up on the kitchen counter to reach the cupboard that held the Wonder Bread.  I can still see myself tearing away the crusts and balling the bread up in my fist before cramming it in my mouth.  If I wasn't so afraid of getting caught, I would have eaten the whole loaf on several occasions.

I was good at not getting caught.  Imagine if you will, becoming a thief in your own home at six years old.  I craved time alone so that I could sneak food.  By age six I was trying to slow down and eat less.  I was beginning to be embarrassed by my behavior.  Why was I done with dinner  when everyone else was just getting started?  Why was I the only one who wanted seconds... always?

I was officially put on a diet by a medical doctor wen I was eight years old, just like the boy in the news story.  The doctor was a fit, handsome young man with a kind smile.  I remember him very well.  I think moments of deep shame take on a special vivid clarity that lasts and lasts, especially for children.  He looked me in the eye, smiled and said,

"How would you like to count calories?'

And so it began, my long miserable career as a failure at dieting.  My misery didn't end until I finally discovered that there were foods I could eat that didn't make me insane with hunger.  I could eat these foods until I was satisfied, and not gain weight.  What was even better was the fact that if I took part in exercise that I enjoyed and that made me feel good, not too much, but a little under an hour most days of the week, I could actually lose weight without succumbing to a binge every other day.

The vital point is that until I found the foods that didn't trigger my binges, there was no stopping me. Only constant, jail-like vigilance would have kept me from overeating.  Probably the worst thing was that trying to eat moderate amounts of things like whole grain bread, cereals, rice,  pasta, and bananas made me insane with hunger.

Today, most of my menu consists of leafy and fibrous vegetables, high quality protein, and pure fats like olive oil, and butter from grass fed cows.  I can eat fruit, plain yogurt, and cheese if I'm careful as well.  I have some cream in my coffee too.  There's probably only a handful of medical doctors who would approve of the way I eat.  I shudder when I think of what the standard American diet might have been doing to that boy's appetite.

If he was anything like me, he felt desperate and ravenous all the time.  Am I being a drama queen?  Probably, but that may be what's needed.  I'm crying so hard i can hardly see my keyboard right now.

Ok, better now.  I will close with this.  Now that I am at normal weight people who have never had a weight problem will sometimes make statements that surprise me.  They usually boil down to, "Those people just eat too much, and they hardly move!"  This comes from educated, generous, community minded people who I respect, and when I hear this my heart breaks.  They simply don't understand the horrible urge to overeat combined with the fatigue and body shame that keeps us sedentary.

How many medical doctors do you know who have overcome obesity themselves?  How many P.E. teachers?  How many nutrition educators?  How many celebrity trainers?  (Here I do know a few, Jillian Michaels and Jim Karas are two I can name right now.)

I had to accept myself and my limitations before I could transform.  It all started with compassion.  To the mom and the eight year old boy who are at the center of this story, may I offer my compassion.  I am working on solutions too.  They just take a lot more time.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Catherine's Thanksgiving Survival Guide

This is so typical of me but, if you look at the banner right above this, you'll notice that it only shows the "Before" picture. Funny, yet awkward.  Here's the "After."

A Great Thanksgiving Starts Today

Argh, yesterday was not a great day for fat loss, or maybe I should say weight loss.  Van and Colin and I drove to Merced to have lunch with Van's sister and her husband.  We had a delicious Indian buffet (the Indian restaurant in Sonora burned and never re-opened).  I knew to avoid the naan, but I made a mistake that you'll want to avoid if you're eating away from home on T-Day.

Hey, That Orange Stuff Looks Like a Vegetable

So there was this very bright red/orange dish on the buffet, and when I looked at it I thought,

"Oh look, beets,  or maybe very bright carrots."  So I put a nice big scoop on my plate along with some other mixed veg, chicken, and lamb.  I went easy on the sauce, and I thought I was cool.  I sat down across from Colin, and he was happily munching away on the red/orange stuff.  He smiled and said, "This is really good!"  I said, "What is it, carrots?"  He replied,

"Oh no, it's sweet rice- try it."

Sweet rice.  Sugar and carbs, and from the looks of it, butter or ghee, or something that made it nice and shiny.  Did I eat it?  Oh yes I did.  You know I did.  That's me, living on the culinary edge.  It wasn't that big a deal, but it led to some weirdness which I'll relate:  kind of a food issue cascade.  Here's how it went.

1. Ate freak out mystery food, and overate at lunch, at 11:30 AM.
2. Resolved not to eat the rest of the day to make up for freak out mystery food
3. Ate nothing then found Quest bar in my car on my way to 5:30 yoga class, ate half.
4. Ate other half on the way home.
5. Resolved to eat nothing else.
6. Ravenous at 8PM, ate 2 pieces of El Pollo Loco, a salad, and about 3oz. of cheese.

Woke up this morning so bloated I couldn't get my rings off.

The Point, The Takeaway, and The Moral of the Story Is:

At least know what you're eating before you put it on your plate.  It's Thanksgiving, no one will judge what you eat, but for heaven's sake it's going in your mouth- make an informed decision.  This is a time for eating the very best.  Go for real quality and satisfaction.  Don't settle for less than what's best for you.  If it's truly an anything goes meal- fine, but make that choice before you start filling your plate.
So have a plan.

I have set some boundaries for my day, and for the holiday meal.

Imagine that you're single and you're going on a date with someone who is outrageously attractive and desirable.  Yes, you want to have fun but you don't want to wreck the budding relationship, and end up full of regret the next day, because you threw caution to the wind and went too far.  Don't be a food hussy.  Be discerning, a lady, wear something nice too: no elastic.

Don't Try for Absurd Levels of Self Denial

Within your reasonable boundaries arrange for some real eating pleasure.  Some traditional foods are good for you as well as being tasty.  I've got turkey, green beans, sweet potato, two very good glasses wine, and even a sugar free pumpkin cheesecake that I'm making myself on the menu.  (There are major advantages to being the head cook!  Don't worry, there will be real pumpkin pie and cornbread stuffing on the table, I just don't choose to eat them.)

I've Got a High Volume Healthy Breakfast Planned

I'll share my secret weapon breakfast with you:
2 Organic Eggs on a bed of sautéed spinach, mushrooms, onion, and cabbage with 2T salsa.  You will be full, and full of energy if you start the day with this.  Um, if you don't normally eat a lot of vegetables and fiber, maybe go easy on the amount, especially if you have guests.

At any rate, some people have the abdominal fortitude to seriously restrict their eating before the event meal, but I'm not one of them.  And please, drink a lot of water all through the day.  There is a great deal of sodium in the traditional holiday dishes, and you don't want to be thrown into a funk the day after over what amounts to water weight.

Bottom Line

I have already planned my eating for the day and my calorie count comes in at:
This is a little higher than maintenance, so I'll be making sure to move during the day- extra walks for me, Tippy, and anyone who wants to join me.
I have a plan.  It's full of enjoyment, including the 49er/Raven's game:  The Harbaugh Bowl should be exciting.  I'm looking forward to laughter, fun, pictures, gratitude, and yes, food.  I will survive, and so will you.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Dieting Is Like Marriage...

Dieting is like marriage.  It works just fine until somebody cheats.

So I've been pursuing figure transformation  for almost four years now, and one thing I can say from experience is that:

Diets Do Work.

 How do I know this?  Let me count the ways.

Atkins, South Beach, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Dukan Diet,  Sugar Addicts, Slow Carb, Low Fat, High Volume,  Low Glycemic, Beverly Hills Diet, and the beat goes on.

Every one of them, every single one, worked... until I Cheated.

Sometimes I only lost five pounds, sometimes as much as twenty, but sooner or later I gave in to temptation.  It started with fantasizing, then a little fooling around with a little taste here or there.  Perhaps I'd let go with a full on cheat, but then I'd hide the evidence, sleep it off and promise to be good in the morning.  Some relationships were good.  There are times even today when I think I could give up sugar and flour and chocolate for ever, if I could just keep eating bacon.  (Uncured nitrite free bacon of course)

But then I start to think about what I want instead, then to crave it, then to seek it out.  Then finally, alone in the dark, I give in to the fleeting pleasure, the lasting guilt, and another diet bites the dust.

This is Catherine writing, so I promise not to leave you without hope, or a solution.  Forgive me for stealing imagery from Occupy Wall Street, but I have been able to become a member of:

The Five Percent   (As opposed to the 1%, or the 99%- make sense?)

Who are the five percent?  We're people who have been able to lose a significant amount of weight and keep it off for more than a year.  Now I'll be honest, I read a lot of conflicting evidence about whether the ciche' about 95% of dieters gaining all the weight back is legit, but just for the sake of drama let's pretend it's true.  Even if the odds of long term success are only one in twenty, that's better than Vegas baby so lets get in the game shall we?  Allow me to do my best to help you stack the odds.

Be a Fat Loss Vixen

How dare any diet try to tie you down and claim that it's the only way to change your body for good?  Of course a good diet is like a good man: healthy, authentic, interesting, and satisfying.  (Oh dear, I could follow this analogy into dangerous waters, so I'll just let you use your imagination.)  But you don't have to marry one menu and promise to eat that way forever.  I advocate serial monogamy for eating plans.  Let me explain.

How to Keep the Wholesome Foods From Getting Boring

For me, any diet that works even short term has been able to satisfy my appetite for fewer calories than I burn.  Yes, this is classic calories in calories out,  energy balance focused, deficit eating- but look closer.  At different times different foods are satisfying.  I think all of us who have struggled with our weight understand that certain foods are incredibly hard for us to eat in moderation, so during fat loss phases we eliminate or manage them.  (If you know that you have trigger foods I totally understand if you don't want to touch them at all.)  But now it's time to think about how we manage the "good" foods, the "Legal Foods," the foods that are "On the Plan."  From day to day, week to week, and on over time, we do need to remain faithful to the quantity and quality of our eating, but who says we can't play with the composition a little bit?

To be more specific, the Atkins diet does work for me, but I have a hard time sticking with it for more than about ten days.  So I simply transition into an eating plan that brings fruit and yogurt, yes fat free yogurt, back to the menu.  I'll use less olive oil on my salads in order to make room for the calories in the fruit and the oat bran I want to eat.  I can also keep an eye on my calories during the week so I can have a variety meal on the weekend.  Does this make sense?  When one set of healthy foods gets dull, switch it for a different set of healthy foods.

The key is to make sure you don't squeeze your calorie allowance so hard that you have a blowout the minute you have two bites of banana.  Hyper-vigilance over every calorie and macro nutrient is no way to live.  Engaged awareness on the other hand is the effort that's required to change over time.

Know yourself.  Trust yourself.  Diets do work until you cheat.  So be honest with yourself and find out how far you can go and which foods are worth the risk, and then... take it.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Three More Weeks of Transformation

In exactly three more weeks, I'll be at the finish line for Turbulence Training Transformation Contest #12..

It's been an interesting journey from obese, to overweight, to normal, and on into the place that I like to call aspirational.  You all know that I spend a lot of time agitating my brain over what the ideal body is in this mixed up world.  Just last night I was watching Anderson Cooper's report on the Ridiculist that covered Adriana Lima's pre Victoria's Secret Show diet.  Here's a quote from E's website:

 Adriana Lima wants us all to know she doesn't stick to her pre-show liquid diet and twice-daily workouts routine year-round.
"Everybody is talking about my crazy diet," she told me backstage this morning as she got glammed for tonight's catwalk.
The supermodel and hot mom recently admitted she sticks to liquids only nine days before the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show and stops drinking water for 12 hours before she hits the runway to drop the most weight.
But she defended the drastic measures, comparing herself to an athlete in training:

"I know it's very intense but...I just have an athlete's mind and I appreciate doing this thing," she told me. "It's not that I do crazy diets throughout the year. I just do it for this particular thing. After this show, I become normal again!"

Read more: http://www.eonline.com/news/hwood_party_girl/adriana_lima_defends_liquid_diet_double/274140#ixzz1dPEV1adg

Personally, I'm a bigger fan of the Frederick's catalogs look.   What Adriana represents is the outer edge of beauty.  The challenge for us Beauty Builders is to find our ideal somewhere on this side of that outrageous extreme.  When I look at modern ideals of beauty in the media, my heart sinks a little, because I know that even if I had the abdominal fortitude to try a nine day fast drinking nothing but protein shakes and doing two workouts a day, I simply wouldn't get there, not only because I don't have that kind of capacity for self imposed hunger and pain, but because I really don't think that look is beautiful.

What a relief.  I just have to turn back to what I decided almost a year ago.  Beauty is the visible manifestation of well being.  So that means that with a focus on what we can do, and how we feel, we can let go of frustration and become more vital outside of the kitchen and the gym.  I really should be grateful to the Victoria's Secret Angels.  By pushing the standard of beauty to such an outrageous extreme, they demonstrate how absurd it is.  Now I can smile, and shake my head, and return to the serious and yet playful pursuit of genuine well being.

Suddenly three 45 minute resistance and metabolic training sessions a week seem a small amount of time and energy to spend, and an average of around 1350 calories a day for somebody who's only 5'1" seems like enough for a feast.  So here is the challenge to myself, and anyone who wants to join me for the next three weeks.  Let's stand up for a sensible plan of eating and moving, and see what it can do.

I'll begin.
Today's Workout is:  TT Resistance Evil C

A Full Body Warm- Up Followed By:
1A) Kettle bell Snatch (10-15) per side
2A) Dumb Bell Romanian Deadlift- (10)
2B) Triple Stop Push Up (To one less than failure)
3A) One- Leg Squat (6-10/side)
3B) Renegade Row with 1 sec pause at top (10/side)
4. Triple shoulder raise (10 per move)
5 A) DB incline curl
5 B) DB 1-arm overhead triceps extension (10/side)
5A)  Db Hammer curl- alternating 10/side
Up to three sets of each - oh boy.  Really, I actually love this workout.  Makes me feel pumped and powerful, especially those hammer curls at the end.

Today's Menu:
2 organic eggs,  on a bed of spinach with peach mango salsa (Yum) 2 strips uncured nitrite free bacon.
Large romaine lettuce salad with olive oil dressing, 4 oz chicken breast, I cup cauliflower with 1t butter
4 oz pork chop with romaine lettuce salad w/olive oil dressing,  1 cup cauliflower, 1/2 cup cooked carrot, 2T salsa
snacks- 1 apple, 1 pear
Sugar free jello
2 T half and half for coffee.

Sunday night is a celebration meal, and I will post my menu for Thanksgiving soon as well.

Let's see how effective a sensible plan can be- especially if I'm faithful to it.

To get the total fitness plan I'm following, 
Click Here!
(Yes, this is an affiliate link.)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Celebrate Thanksgiving without Sacrificing Fat Loss

American Thanksgiving is a little more than two  weeks away, so this is a very good time to make some plans for enjoying it to the fullest without regret.  Is this possible?  Of course it is.  Fat loss, like romance, begins in the mind, at least it always has for me.  So here are some ways to think about this holiday that will enhance its meaning and enjoyment beyond what happens at the dinner table.

Thanksgiving is another Word for Gratitude

Please forgive me for stating the obvious, and then hitting the bold button, but gratitude has been like a life preserver that holds me up above envy and self pity.  Ever since I can remember, my hunger at special occasion meals has outstripped what's appropriate for someone my size.  I'm not saying that my family judged what I ate at the holidays, but ever since I was a teenager I regarded this time of year with concern.  Would I lose control and devour a fruitcake out in the garage again this year?  Would I end up in tears because all of my clothes were too tight on Christmas morning?

For the past three years, the answer to both of those questions has been "no" because of a little bit of planning and a whole lot of gratitude.  I've said before that it is so easy to look around and imagine that everyone else in your family, your circle of friends, ok everybody else in the country, is eating and drinking whatever they want from October 31st on, and that you're the only person within miles that's put up any boundaries between what is and isn't on the menu.  This isn't true.  Even if it was, there are ways of thinking that will bring peace and enjoyment to the choices you make.

Of course you'll be expressing gratitude for the big blessings of, love, life, and liberty, but by bringing your attention to your smaller personal choices, you can gently keep your eating in check.

 Here's how.  Focus your attention and thanks on what you can have within your healthy boundaries, instead of longing for what's on someone else's plate.  Think now about what dishes are special and delicious, and that still work with your goals.  As a specific example, I am confident that I can eat 1700 calories worth of food and drink on any given day without gaining fat, as long as I'm physically active.  With a little planning and creativity, I can have an abundantly delicious Thanksgiving dinner without going over that amount.

Get this, I just googled "700 Calorie Thanksgiving Menu," and got 536,000 results.  The resources for making a great meal are definitely out there. Not only that, but you will get such a rush of self love as you turn out the light on Thanksgiving night when you stay true to your plans.  Trust me, the feeling is golden, and you can have it if you make a plan and follow it.

You may not be able to eat as much as most of the other people at the table, but here is anther way to feel good about your choices.  I used to think in terms of what I was sacrificing in order to lose fat.  Lately I've realized that "Sacrifice" is the wrong word and the wrong concept for what I'm doing.

It Isn't a Sacrifice.  It's a Trade.

Imagine that you're kid with a bag full of marbles.
 You may have agates, and swirls, and shooters aplenty,  but your friend has a simple marble that's crystal clear.  Your friend picks a fancy marble from your bag, but it's no sacrifice to give it up as far as you're concerned.  You've had that marble and plenty like it in the past.  You trade gladly because the simple clear marble is just what's been missing from your bag.

This Thanksgiving make the trade.

Haven't you had enough of over indulgent foods in excessive amounts?  Make some choices based on what will feel special and festive without hurting your well being. If you're reading this, that means you have time to think and plan a little now.  Your time will be a small trade for a lasting reward.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Happy, Healthy, and dare I say- Hot for the Holidays

Recently I had a client share with me that she has great success sticking to her eating and exercise program when she has a specific event to shoot for, but she loses her resolve and slowly gains fat back when it's passed.  Her dilemma got me thinking about the holiday season, and the fact that this is the time of year when so many of us experience weight re-gain, and it occurred to me that we could find a way to think about the holidays that would support our goals.

When it comes to the Holiday Season, the Barriers to Change and Maintenance Get Higher.

Let's take a look at two barriers to making and keeping positive changes right now.

The Holidays are a time when we think of others, and when we make an extra effort to make them happy.  You don't have to be a mom to have plenty of people to please this time of year.  Family, lovers, friends, co-workers, and the community all want a piece of you- those demanding, oblivious, hard to please... oops. I mean, you're a good person and you want to do your part for the people and the community you care about.

This Leads to Barrier Number one: Stress

I promise, I wouldn't bring up the obvious without offering a solution, and here it is.  If you already exercise regularly you must not stop, and if you don't you simply must add some movement you enjoy to your busy, scary, over packed and overwhelming schedule.  Um, no really I didn't mean it that way- there is room-really.

In all seriousness though, if you're reading this you mean business, so I'll be honest.  This will be my third holiday season in a fit healthy body, and the basis of my ongoing success is regular moderate exercise that incorporates enough intensity and progression to keep me in the maintenance zone.
I happen to be participating in the 12 Turbulence Training Transformation Contest right now, so I am going for progression in the gym, and a reasonable calorie deficit in the kitchen as well. If I was in maintenance mode right now that would mean three scheduled resistance/interval workouts per week, with at least a half an hour of enjoyable physical activity on three other days.  Yes gardening and housework count if you do them with the awareness that the point is to keep moving.  Yoga, dance, swimming, dog walking, these are all ideal activities.  You've got to pick one, or several, and do them.

Why:   It works.  The time you spend moving will make you feel better, sleep better when you do get to bed, and it will ease stress.  Last year I wrote about self-selected intensity and a study that showed that it reliably reduced anxiety.  The fabulous news is that self-selected intensity means working as hard as you want to.  Yes, whether you go to the gym, the park, or walking in the neighborhood, you get to decide how much effort you put in.  But you must move.

Barrier Number Two: Extraordinary Culinary Temptation

Look at the picture from my last post if you want a visual.  The sweets, the drinks, the party platters, and the heavy meals are lining up for your approval.  Worse, the people who made them are lining up for your approval.  Add to that the fact that indulgence will briefly quiet the anxiety you're currently experiencing over all the people you have to please this time of year.  Not only that, but you remember your misspent youth, and you think it would be fun to party up, raise your glass like Ke$ha and Pink and get a little tipsy at your holiday open house.

Oh, right, that's me again, not you.  Sorry.

Don't worry, I won't leave you hanging without an answer.  Here it is again, the same old answer.  Have a plan.  Get out a calendar and have a look at it right now.  There are 58 days between now and January 2nd.  I'll round that number up to 60, you'll see why in a minute.  I have learned from my experience that you can reach new figure goals, or maintain your current figure, if you stick to your standard plan 90% of the time.  That leaves six days when you can have more calories and let in some pure pleasure food or drink.  Please be aware that these pure pleasure foods do not include binge or trigger foods.  If you're lucky enough to have no idea what I mean by this I'm genuinely happy for you.  If however, you know that Christmas cookies will send you on a three day sugar bender, I am asking you to admit that and avoid them.

I hear you- you're saying how Catherine how do I do that?  You need a planned substitute.  You need something you enjoy to take the place of treats that could put you into a food trance.  (Food trance- when you eat something and your free will gets hijacked until the entire plate, bag, or platter is gone, and you're left wondering what the heck happened)

Now is the time, in these weeks before Thanksgiving (in the US), to figure out what you'll eat, and how much on your special days.  Maybe these foods won't even be sweets or typical holiday foods.  Maybe they'll be special because they contain finer ingredients, or because they're especially appealing to the eye.  You choose!  It's your body, your time, your celebration.  You get to decide.  What a gift you'll be giving yourself by planning a beautiful season.

P.S.  Remember the client who said she needed an event to help her stick to her resolve?  Why not use your planned celebrations as goals and events themselves?  Make feeling and looking wonderful on these days part of what makes them special.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Chased Out of the House by the Great Pumpkin

"On Monday October 31st, I took my son Colin to the Halloween carnival at his school.  All the kids dress up and play games to win candy, and the highlight of the party is something called The Cakewalk.  Parents bake and bring indulgent treats and display them on a big table.  The game runs all evening, and in each round about ten children go up on the stage in the Gym, and walk in a circle until the music stops.  When it stops, each child is standing on a number, and if their number is called, they get to choose anything they would like from the table.  Musical snacks you could call it.

Every year there is some kind of treat on that table that really stands out.  It could be a tower of cupcakes or a gingerbread haunted house.  This year, it was the Great Pumpkin.  It was big, round, and covered in creamy orange frosting.  The stem was curved and green, and the eyes, nose, and grinning mouth were black icing.  It was a beautiful and awful tribute to to holiday overindulgence, and as the music played I whispered inside my head:

"Please don't let my kid win."

He won.

 I was happy for him.  Truly.  Now it would be my job to guard and protect The Great Pumpkin: to see it safely home without smearing the icing, and to display it proudly on the big cake plate that usually sits empty on the kitchen counter.

My son and my husband are blessed with one of the greatest gifts that modern life can offer: an indifference  to sweets.  It's not that they don't like them, they do, but that cake sat on the counter, untouched, inviolate, un-cut  all through the evening and all through the day yesterday.

Good heavens, was that cake going to sit on the counter for ever?  The cake that was smiling, grinning, leering at me every time I walked by?  It seemed to call out to me,

"Come here girlie.  Go get that knife.  Cut me.  Eat me!  You know you want to.  I'm special, and there's never been another cake like me.  Eating me won't count.  Colin won me in a game so you have an obligation to show your pride and approval by eating me now!"

I wanted to eat that cake, and I would have, if it hadn't been for the pledge.

I had posted my goal, and a promise not to cheat, on the refrigerator.  The penalty for cheating?  I would have to pay Colin $100.00.  Ok, so now that I read that in black and white I have to wonder if using my son as the food police is such a good idea...  I just asked him and he said, "Mom, I love  helping you. " That eases my guilt a bit.

Back to last night.  I wasn't even in the same room with the cake, but it kept calling me and calling me, until I walked into the kitchen and fell on my knees in front of the horrible grinning orange head.  A head so large my husband had to cut off the stem to get to to fit under the glass of the cake plate.  I cried out like a cat in labor,

"I waaant caaaake!"

Van rushed in from the family room and said,  "If you want cake, have some!"  My son rushed in from his bedroom and said,  "You owe me a hundred dollars!"

I ran to the hall closet, grabbed my jacket, and rushed out the door saying, "I'm sorry... it's not you guys' fault,  it's me.  Tippy the dog followed me out into the dusk.  The moon was up, and there were just a few pink clouds still hanging in the western sky.  The night was quiet and almost warm, and as I walked I thought about how silly it all was.  The farther I got from the cake, the more my anger and self pity eased.  This time of year I feel like all the world is enjoying candy and cake, and I envy them.  Boy do I envy them.  By the time I reached the road and Tippy and I turned back toward the house, I knew that my promise to myself (and the hundred dollars) was safe.  When I got back to the house, Van had hidden the cake in that mysterious place where he hides foods that put my psyche in a twist.

Turns out I really am still a child at the holidays.  I get scared on Halloween, and even though I know I'm old enough to face my fears, feel my feelings, and let them pass through me, sometimes it's better to just run away, and let somebody who loves me hide the cake.

So this holiday season if a giant marshmallow turkey starts leering at you, take a page out of my book.  Grab your coat, or your purse, or your keys, and run.

 Let someone else hide the turkey.