Dining Out, Low-Carb Diet

Low-Carb Dining at HuHot Mongolian Grill

Every girl needs a little pampering every once and a while. Today was my day to do a couple of things for myself. First, I got my hair colored with a few burgondy low-lights, treated myself with a new dress (on sale) for formal night at the upcoming Low-Carb Cruise, and finally had time to sit down for some lunch.

Slight Problem #1: Deciding Where to Go

All this running around left me pretty darn hungry. I was in a shopping area where I had plenty of restaurant choices, so I did a search for restaurants near me on my phone and On The Border popped up. Ooooooh! Chips and salsa sounded pretty darn good at this point and I was so tempted to go. A couple chips won’t be so bad… Then I had a moment of clarity and remembered how a couple of chips usually turn into a lot of chips (like 2 baskets, no kidding) plus half the rice and beans on my plate. Last time I went for Mexican, I checked my blood sugar 2 hours later, knowing it probably was going to be high. I didn’t expect to be in the 230s. So I discarded that great idea. As I continued to scroll the the options on my phone, Ultimate Buffet came up. Even though it’s a Chinese buffet, I figured that I could have shrimp & crab legs with butter and can be perfectly happy. Unfortunately, they were closed for their dinner reset. Finally, I came upon HuHot Mongolian Grill, still Chinese, and I can pick my ingredients. Yes, HuHot would definitely do the trick and it’s a place that I can stay on track with my low-carb lifestyle.

Slight Problem #2: What to Eat at the Mongolian Grill

IMG_0238Since I no longer drink diet coke, which has always been my go-to soda until a month or two ago, I ordered an unsweetened iced-tea with a lemon and helped myself at the buffet. I picked mostly meat (shaved beef & pork), added some cabbage, onions, and mushrooms, and decided to go with oil-based sauces (garlic, chili-oil, sesame oil, and a touch of green curry sauce made with coconut milk). The mix tasted delicious and I was glad I picked HuHot for my meal and to take a break from shopping.

*** For full disclosure, half way through my meal I added a little bit of rice to my plate, maybe 2-3 tbsp worth, but to be honest, it tasted kind of bland and next time I’ll just tell them that I don’t want any at the table, unless I have others who want rice accompanying me.

So Exactly What Was the Carb Count?

Well, I don’t really know. I can give you an educated guess, but other than the little bit of rice (about 10g of carbs) and maybe 2-3g carbs from the onions, mushrooms, and cabbage, I would say it had around 13g of carbs for the entire meal. Either way, it was a hell of a lot better than going to a Mexican place, which I find a lot more difficult to stay on track at, since chips and salsa are still trigger foods for me.

Finally, I’ll leave you with something warm and fuzzy…

4-up on 4-14-17 at 17.34 #3

… his name is Trouble and he approves of my new hair color!!!

Dining Out, Low-Carb Diet

Low-Carb Dining at Applebees

IMG_0236Hubby suggested dinner at Applebees tonight. Eating out low-carb has become fairly easy for me at most places. I usually get a meat and a salad or a vegetable, and then I replace my starch with a second veggie.

Today I had the Shrimp ‘N Parmesan Sirloin with broccoli and the garlic green beans as my 2 sides. My meal was satisfying and hours later, I’m still comfortable and could’ve actually done with less.

Here’s the carb breakdown:

  • Shrimp & Parmesan Sirloin, 8g
  • Garlicky Green Beans, 11g
  • Steamed Broccoli, 6g
  • Total Carbs for Meal = 24g (OOOPS!)

Well, that really didn’t come out as well as I was hoping. As you can tell, even as a seasoned low-carber, I’m not perfect. It’s still lower-carb, but due to my blood sugar issues, my goal is to stay below 4g of carbs at each meal and I actually had 6x that amount tonight. So I’m really glad that I checked. Thank you readers for pulling me out of complacency!

Lesson learned for next time: 

So, next time I will look up the carb counts before I order, not after, like I just did. I’m also going to try going halfsies with hubby or pack leftovers for lunch the next day. Wow, I’m still trying to get over the carb count of garlicky green beans. I really didn’t expect that.

To stick closer to 4 carbs, next time I’ll order:

  • 8 oz Sirloin, 2g
  • Steamed Broccoli, 6g
  • Extra butter for Broccoli, 0g
  • Total Carbs for Meal = 8g (split in half, 4g)

I’ll enjoy 1/2 of the meal at the restaurant and pack the leftovers for lunch. Alternatively, I can split my meal with hubby and let him have his starch for the second side. A 4oz. serving of protein is actually more appropriate anyway, so I’ll give that a try.

I’d like to hear from you what low-carb meals you like to order at Applebees.




Diabetes, Food Addiction, Hypertension, Low-Carb Cruise, Low-Carb Diet, Nutrition, People Pleasing

A Year of Putting Myself First

20160519_170133000_iOSFood addiction, pre-diabetes, hypertension, people pleasing… sound familiar?  This is the kind of stuff I’ve been struggling with for years – some of these conditions I have had since childhood.

In the past 2 years I entered an eating disorder recovery center for several months, where I was officially diagnosed with a binge-eating disorder. After “graduating” I did a few more months of therapy, saw a nutritionist, and spent some time in OA.

While in recovery, I learned a lot of new skills to deal with life, emotions, people, and how to take time to take care of myself. Unfortunately, somehow the busyness of life took over again and old habits snuck back in…

Putting Myself First Again

For the next 12 months, I want to practice putting myself first again. This is not at all a selfish goal. For most of my life I wanted to make sure everyone around me was taken care of and ignored my own needs. I had a hard time saying no to others, even if I didn’t want to do, whatever it was they wanted. Food always made everything better, but only for a short time. Never mind that my way of dealing with negative emotions, stress, or life in general made me gain weight, got me depressed, and eventually ran my blood pressure and glucose levels up. In treatment I learned to be more assertive, feel my emotions without needing food, and how to take time for myself without feeling guilty. My goal is to build on these new skills, strengthen my recovery in the coming year, and share the practical things I’m doing to get peace back in my life with you by my side.

Make Life Amazing Again

In the coming year you will see posts about how to handle difficult situations as an introvert, how to get pre-diabetes and, hopefully, high blood pressure back in check, what to do when tempted to go on a full-blown binge, and finally how to relax in the evenings and weekends with feeding your soul and not so much your stomach.

In the meantime, you can read some of my older posts below. I’ve written about how a low-carb lifestyle has helped with my binges, even before I entered official treatment.

Now Your Turn…

Along the way, I’d love to hear about your stories, your struggles, your victories. How do you practice self-care to bring a few moments of sanity in your life? Is there a specific topic you’d like me to cover? Do you have any questions?

You can comment below or send me a private message via my contact page.

*** Remember, I can only share my own experience and cannot give you professional advice. I’ll leave that to the specialists. ***




Binge Eating Disorder Treatment, Food Addiction

The Thing about Mindfulness and Binging

Your stomach is beginning to rumble. It’s snack time. With anticipation, you warm up your precious donut in the microwave for 10 seconds to give it the fresh out of the oven taste. You walk back to the office, look down to the small paper plate you’re holding. The only evidence you have that it ever existed, are a few gooey drops of glaze, 2 sticky fingers, and an over-sweet film inside your mouth. Damn! The image of the donut spins around in your head until you cave in and grab another… and another…

Checking Out With Distractions

This is the perfect example of how distractions can make us miss out on not only tasting our favorite foods, or food in general, life seems to pass us by when we are trying to do multiple things at a time. We don’t really focus on anything. Instead, we are getting constant glimpses of the tape of things that we still need to do scrolling at high speed through our mind. “Still need to do the dishes. Gotta prep my lunch for tomorrow. I want to finish reading this great book, but first I need to do the laundry. Oh, did this guy just get voted through on The Voice?”

We go a hundred miles a minute, even if we’re sitting at the dinner table. We’re literally checked out. I’m saying “we”, because this may not only be your experience, but this has also been my “normal” for a very long time. We are going through the motion of eating and the only way we know that we’re full is when our stomachs can’t handle another single bite of food. At the end of a meal, we feel full (miserably full), and we know that we won’t be hungry for a while. Wrong!!! Half an hour later, we are going on a scavenger hunt for ANYTHING EDIBLE that could fill the void in our chest. How can this be?

We Are Humans

I know, it’ obvious, but sometimes we need a reminder. With so much technology, expectations, and stresses in our modern lives, we have to remember that we are humans and not robots. When it comes to eating, we’re meant to enjoy our meals. Food is nourishment for our body and our soul. All our senses need to be involved. I remember that in my early recovery, I was actually yearning to taste my food, smell it, experience it. Lifting a fork to my mouth while checking my e-mail left me waking up from my amnesia only when my fork hit the bottom of my empty bowl. I wanted to eat like the French: slow, mindful, and with a feeling of bliss. Yeah, not ever gonna happen, I thought. Again, I was wrong…

This Annoying, Yet Powerful, Thing Called Mindfulness

Yes, I’ve read the books: eat mindfully and your eating problems might disappear. If I could only remember those tricks I read about when I was feeling starved. The only thing I wanted to do then was eat and get rid of the uncomfortable feelings of being hungry or thinking I was hungry – quickly. Then treatment started.

At first it was a nice routine to take a few moments before a meal to quiet my mind, to become aware of all the sounds in the room, to notice the aromas surrounding me, to let all my thoughts go and feel calm. I became hyper-aware of everything when I did my mindful moments, but let’s face it, who has time for all this mumbo-jumbo? I had a busy life, a job, a blossoming writing career…

Well, turns out that when I have my mindful moment and focus on my meal, I need much less food to feel satisfied and… you won’t believe this… I will push the plate away from me when done. The amazing thing is that when I take time to listen to my body, it will tell me what it needs and when to stop. Mind you, this didn’t happen over night and took lots of practice, but from meal 1 at the evening program, I noticed progress. Yes, I did continue eating until my plate was empty at first, but the staff challenged me to leave a bite behind at each meal. In time, the leftover bites were getting bigger, as I began to trust my body. Can it be annoying to take time and delay my meal for a few moments? Yes. Is it worth it? Most definitely!

Try It Yourself

See what mindfulness can do for your eating behaviors. I bet you will enjoy the experience.

  • Eliminate all distractions as you prepare to eat.
  • Serve your meal on a real plate and use real utensils to make the setting comfortable. You may even play some relaxing music in the background.
  • Sit down and plant your feet on the floor to ground yourself.
  • Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.
  • Quiet your mind by letting all thoughts drift off into the distance. You may think of a relaxing beach, a nice scenery, or have a short conversation with your higher power to get yourself in a relaxed state and to be in the present.
  • Set your intention for this meal, e.g. set down your fork between bites to slow down, be aware of the aroma, taste, texture of your food, to listen for satiety cues – whatever it is you want to experience. Remember to enjoy your meal.
  • Half way through your meal try to stop and check in with your body where you are on the fullness scale. Continue eating if you’re still hungry, or get ready to finish in the next few bites.
  • When you’re done, push away the plate or put / throw away leftovers.

So what do you think? Did you notice a difference? What was your experience? Leave me a comment below. I want to hear from you.

Just a last note: If you were struggling, it’s okay. If you had a single positive experience, that’s already an improvement to before. Why don’t you write it down in a little journal? Keep practicing and make notes of your yay! moments. You’ll be surprised on how fast they add up!!!

Lot’s of love and don’t give up!


Binge Eating Disorder Treatment, Food Addiction

Eating Disorder Center – My First Day

help-66609_640I made my decision. I had to get treatment for my binge eating disorder. Now.  Backing out was not an option. The eating disorder center in my city offered an evening program that I could attend 3 nights a week for 4 hours after work. I had no idea what to expect.

The Interview

Nervous about what I was about to get myself into, I sent an e-mail to the treatment center I had found out about in my internet search the night before. The next day I received a very friendly e-mail that I should schedule an interview with them. They also attached a packet for me to fill out and to bring with me. The following Thursday, I was standing in front of an office building not knowing what to expect. Would they accept me? Was I even bad enough? I knew that I had a problem, but wasn’t sure what would qualify me for treatment. I wasn’t anorexic or bulimic. I just ate a lot, lots of times, and I couldn’t stop once I got started. I knew I needed help. But would it be bad enough?

When I entered the building, I found the suite of the Eating Disorder Center of Denver right away. Session was on that day, so when I walked in, I saw a couple of very skinny girls heating up their dinners and getting called into a room to get weighed. Woah!!! Was I in the right place?

A very cheerful therapist welcomed me into her office and we talked for an hour about my binging, the program, and went over the insurance paperwork. I felt at ease and had no trouble opening up to her. Finally, she said: “You are high-functioning with your eating disorder.” I still didn’t know if that was a good or bad thing, or if I would even get accepted. She continued, “I think we can help you get better.” I was so excited, because I knew that an inpatient treatment center would’ve been out of the question for me. Only celebrities could afford that! I had a job and a life, after all. At that point, the outpatient program was my only hope and I was going to do whatever it took to get better. “Can you start next Wednesday?” the therapist asked.

Treatment in Session

Again, I had no idea what to expect on my first evening of treatment. I was excited about finally getting help, but I was also nervous as hell. Tucking my uneasiness away, I entered the center. As I walked in, I met a few more therapists and other patients that were in the program. Everyone was super nice and welcoming. Since we were supposed to eat dinner as group, I brought leftovers with me, and heated them up. Again, I felt very much out of place, because I was the only “big” girl and at 43, most of them could be my daughters of what I could tell.

A therapist called me into an office to get my starting weight and I filled out a form to “check-in”. One of the therapists then went over the form with me, which documented how I was feeling that evening, if I ate all my meals that day, had any cravings, and what my goals were. I learned that this was a ritual we did 2 of the 3 sessions each week. Mondays was “confession night”, as we called it and we had to fill out a different sheet and share how we fared throughout the week – good and bad.

My First Meal

Dinner was enjoyable. We had a “mindful moment”, a moment before dinner where we focused on relaxing, being in the moment, and our intentions for the meal. Mine usually was to eat slow (instead of gulping) and taste my food while also paying attention to my fullness signals. I noticed how some of the girls struggled to eat their food. Not me! I was beginning to doubt that I made the right decision to get treatment at this center. I was totally opposite from them, but I hung in there. After dinner, we had to answer some questions again about how we felt, our hunger levels before and after the meal, if we had any eating disorder behaviors, or if we practiced any new skills. It was a little awkward.

I Was Wrong

After a short break, we transitioned into a class to learn personal interaction skills. That’s when I realized that I was wrong with my earlier judgement. It didn’t matter if the others were there because of their bulimia, anorexia, binge-eating disorder, or something in-between. We all were dealing with the same crap in our heads, the insecurities, the fear of confrontations, not dealing with our feelings. My mind was officially blown, as it was many times during my treatment (which I will talk about in future posts). We had the same disease, it just manifested differently, depending on how we were coping with difficult situations.

Art Therapy? Really?

Finally, our last class that day was art therapy. Okay. I consider myself an artsy person. I always loved crafts, writing, needlepoint, etc. I had no idea of what it had to do with eating disorder treatment. Were we supposed to draw food? Our therapist walked into the room and she totally looked her job – colorful clothes and very relaxed.

Before the session started, she asked us to make our mark on a sheet of paper hanging on the wall. “Draw how you feel.” Huh? I just put a heart on it, because I love hearts. To my horror, we had to talk about it, our feelings, and what we needed from the group that night. I had no idea what to say, so I just spouted something out. I guess, I did okay.

I think our assignment was to draw something that made us feel good using any medium we wanted. I drew a happy worm with dots crawling on grass with sunshine and a few clouds in the sky with smelly markers. It was fun, but when I saw everyone’s artwork and we had to talk about it, I felt like mine looked like 3rd grader art compared to theirs. “This sucks! Mine looks like scribbles…” I was so hard on myself and my perfectionism reared its ugly head. Apparently negative self-talk was frowned upon. I learned that the hard way… The therapist asked me pointed questions about why I felt that way and I realized that I actually did feel good when I was drawing it and that should’ve been all that mattered. That’s why they call art “therapy” and we found another area in me that needed some work.

What made me want to continue

Even though I was the only binge-eating disorder patient in the group at the time, I realized that just in one evening I learned so much about myself that I knew that this program was the right fit for me. I didn’t even have a one-on-one with my therapist or a session with my dietitian yet. I’ve read hundreds of self-help books in my life, but just this one night convinced me that I needed to do this if I ever wanted to be free from my cravings and binges again.

If you want to be notified when I write future posts about my experience in an eating-disorder treatment center and my recovery, just click the blue follow-me button on the upper right of this page.

And as always, feel free to leave comments below. Are you currently struggling? Are (or have you been) in recovery yourself? What’s on your mind? I love to hear from you!