Portion Control, Your Sassy Half Friend

I recently stood in the chip aisle at target debating between buying a family size bag of Cheetos and the smaller, but still a horrible decision size bag of Cheetos. To set the scene further: I also had a bag of peanut m&ms in my hands. On this particular

The sweet nectar of life, salt and fat.

The sweet nectar of life, salt and fat.

day in the Target chip aisle I was suffering form the worst and most off-balance hormones that I have experienced in recent memory. I’d wept multiple times for silly reasons. I’d become raging angry at a mosquito. And I’d been starving for 4 days. By that I mean, to my core insatiable hungry. For 4 days. Nothing could fill that gaping maw. It went to my bones, back through generations, a hormonal hunger not seen in eons. No matter how much protein I ate or water I drank I was starving. Which led me to the Target chip aisle. Which led to hormonal gorge fest 2015.

Good news: the hormones are leveling out and I am not hungry (like that any way) anymore. Bad news: I could still easily eat all that food again right now if it was in front of me. Because no matter how healthy I do eat (and enjoy eating), there’s nothing like a freaking Dorito. For that reason, I never buy junk food. Ever. Because I can, as has been previously stated, annihilate a bag of chips, cookies, pretzels, etc. without a second thought. No kidding, the higher order thinking in my brain shuts down and I inhale. I can’t even indulge in it even once in a while because of Portion Control.

Eff that guy, right? He’s there for you, kind of, like “oooh, great job you ate a super food salad and everything was perfectly measured. I’m so proud of you. See? This is how you get a thigh gap!” and you’re forlornly staring into your salad all, “But I don’t want a thigh gap…” and then! When you do find yourself elbow deep in a Doritos bag he’s the one who reminds you “At least you didn’t want a thigh gap” . Thanks so very much. I had no idea that one handful was 9,000 calories. Buzz. Kill.

Portion Control and I go way, way back. I’m pretty sure we’ve been locked in a struggle that predates the Jurassic Era. I’m sure there is some far removed Nancy ancestor whose one job in the community was to count the berries that the women and children had to fight off a saber tooth for. And while she was counting berries she was murmuring some early human version of “one for me, one for you”. Nancy ancestor passed on two genetic traits, I’m sure, one of them being a complicated relationship with food and the other being a hot head. These two traits have only become more concentrated through the generations. I can dominate both a bag of Doritos and my enemies in the Thunderdome.

Oh, yeah.Here’s an example: we went to a grill out at the beginning of summer. At one point during dinner I realized I was standing in front of the Doritos, preventing even the children from eating them. Is that not a thing? Does no other adult do this? No?

One of the kids said, “You’re eating a lot of Doritos.”

To which I said, “Yes.”

He said, “You must be stressed.”

I said, “What are you a therapist?” No, I didn’t, but I did think: “Listen kid, when you grow up, someday you too can shamelessly emotionally eat in front of an 8-year-old.”

Not a few weeks later, we went out to dinner with several couples and I noticed all the gals had only eaten half of their burgers. I asked my friend, “Why aren’t you finishing your burger? It’s delicious.”

She said, “I’m full.”

To which I replied, “Well, I am too but that’s not stopping me from achieving my dreams!”

While eating what the experts say is “the right amount of food” (pshhhhh!) has become less of a struggle the older I’ve become, it’s not easy! Sometimes during periods of stress or hormones it’s like a horror movie. I feel like there’s another presence here. It’s in my house. I notice that the bread has mysteriously moved closer to the front of the fridge. The buttery popcorn that I forgot about falls out of the pantry. A small secret candy bar appears from behind a bag of rice. I hear whispers. Maybe from the attic? Nope. Definitely in the kitchen. The disembodied voice is saying, “eat the pie”. It whispers to me for 30 minutes, a roundelay of “if we don’t have pie just eat some bread or that can of icing you forgot about”. It leaves a trail of cinnamon crumbs to the refrigerator. Am I insane? Do I need a doctor? A priest to rid me of these demons? Now I’m stressed. I’ll have this piece of pie to manage my anxieties.

And then as soon as the fork is down Portion Control starts tsk-ing and saying “You know that’s going directly to your thighs right?”


Eating and food really shouldn’t be this complicated. But sometimes it is. See, right here would be a good place for me to put a positive affirmation quote and say something about how all this has taught me a valuable lesson and now I have it all figured out. Oh, no. Not true. I just personified Portion Control as a sassy half-friend. I have nothing figured out. What I do know though is that most of my friends have this same complicated relationship with food and portion control and I’d rather be eating than afraid to eat. You know, we are all (probably) just doing the best we can to be healthy and not give ourselves stomach cancer from eating too much Red Dye #88. That’s not too, shabby really.

I also figure, if you can find the humor in something difficult it makes it a more manageable load to bear. It’s easy to get pissed ahang-in-theret yourself when you fall off the wagon, don’t see the results you want, eat a bag of Cheetos, etc. Hey, it’s life. These things happen. I say this because as a near professional level negative self talker, it’s just the truth. It’s ok. Portion Control might be laughing at how clumsily you slipped off the wagon and brained yourself on the way down, but, it’s going to be fine if you decide to let it be. Laugh at it, dust yourself off, and climb back up. And give Portion Control a good swift kick in the shins once you’re up there. It will feel really great to watch that guy suffer a little bit.

Damn. That did pretty much end as a motivational poster, didn’t it?


Exercise? I Thought You Said Extra Fries

Uhg. I saw a picture on pinterest the other day that said “Exercise? I thought you said extra fries.” If that ain’t the truth I don’t know what is. If I wasn’t meant to eat salt and potatoes then why the hell are they so delicious? The greatest invention of the modern age was Red Robin’s bottomless fries. Now, I’ve only ever been there once because if I went back that would be my grave. I would eat those fries until I died. I just love food. And by food I do mean all food. I know the popular and right thing is to say I love whole organic farm to table foods blessed by the pope and Dali Lama. Well, I do love those foods. I also love and can annihilate a bag of Doritos before you can say “But think of your heart!”

The other day my friend texted me the picture below and said “I finally understand why you work out so much”. Uh, yeah. Because one fry becomes the whole bottomless bowl. One Dorito becomes the whole bag. Hey, kids, here’s a math problem for you: How many bowls of bottomless fries can Ms. Nancy eat? The answer is obesity because America.

everything is on fire

Diets are the worst. But when your pants don’t fit– that’s also kind of the worst. Last year I lost upwards of 25 lbs and felt awesome. And then I went back to work. Have you ever heard  that roughly 25% of being a teacher is resisting the horrible food that shows up out of nowhere multiple times a week? Yeah, I hadn’t either. But there it is, the teacher’s lounge inexplicably packed with doughnuts and muffins. Randomly. On a Tuesday. When you least expect it. Had I known there would be treats I would have picked up my cheeto chain mail or my +1 muffin defense shield. Or you know, avoided the teacher’s lounge. If that’s not bad enough, then let’s not forget when kids bring you whole homemade apple pies. Yes. I received a whole pie in May.

The question for a teacher who receives a whole home made apple pie then becomes: Do I eat this pie because it’s f*cking May and I need something, some sort of metaphorical arm floatie to get me through the deep end that is the last three weeks of school? Or do I munch on an apple and get a cramp and drown in this train wreck pool metaphor because obviously PIE ALWAYS WINS.

Fun fact: I ate most of a whole pie in May!

You’d think pies and doughnuts and my love of the sweet, sweet nectar of life, potatoes, would surely have unraveled my weight loss from last year. Despite how much this post makes it seem like I have zero self control (False. I have at least 10% self control) I didn’t gain much weight back. Which, you know what? I’ll count that as a win because I had to go to work everyday where doughnuts were just handed out for free all willy nilly! I mean, who just brings free food to people who work with kids all day? Are you insane? Are you trying to kill me? Have you no respect for emotional eaters? We teach 12-year-olds. It’s lucky that we don’t all walk around with a flask and a side satchel full of cheetos and those mini chocolate covered doughnuts.

Luckily, though, I didn’t descend into flask/ doughnut satchel and since getting back on the logging food wagon (Blech. Nobody wants to know how many calories are in a vegan cookie. It’s vegan. Obviously it’s made from plants, the sweat of protesting feminists, and free range macrobiotic chocolate. See nutritional information: zero calories, your daily intake of the strength of a thousand men) three weeks ago my skinny shorts are not only fitting comfortably but loose. The download said

Take that, pie, you sucker!

I’m sorry I said that. Never leave me.

Anyway, my healthy eating/body transformation (oh my god sorry. Body and transformation should never be used together in a sentence.) isn’t over. I’ve wrangled myself some new goals that started on Friday. Let’s rehash it together, shall we?

Dumb bells, check. Yoga mat, check. Dog who thinks  jumping around and swinging shit means play time, check. Begin lifting, not so ba- Oh, Christ I should have started with 5 lb weights. Have I torn my arm off? No. Arm is still attached. Am I sure? Yes, ok, arm is still there. Move on to core work. Small tiny crunch and then yelling to husband in the next room, “If this is what it takes to stay in shape then I DON’T WANT IT.” Continue to exercise/weep intermittently. Try some squat roll back jump up thing, discover that even though I’ve been standing since I was wee I can’t seem to get off the floor. Anger. Punch the floor. How many reps of angry Nancy am I supposed to do? None? Damn it. Husband tries to calm me down, succeeds in demonstrating squat roll back jump up thing which of course only makes me more angry because I AM NOT A TURTLE SO WHY CAN’T I GET OFF MY BACK.

True Life: Fries. All of them. … I never did get off my back with that exercise but the others were marginally more successful. I think I already see a difference. Or, the overworked muscles have been spasming so much that I’ve given myself muscle definition by way of pure undiluted pain. Either way, I’m sure I’ll have a six pack soon (snort) like all those gals on youtube and pinterest who do one thousand squats while smiling and not sweating. If I smile during a work out look again because it’s probably a grimace used to swallow a sob because no matter how much I work out it is never a breeze. But I guess pushing yourself is how you get all those nicely defined muscles. Maybe after that you get the smiling and not sweating? I don’t know how MollyFitness (TM) and Holly Squatsalot are so ripped, and keep a clean house, and even have children, but damn do they seem able to easily crush a can with their abs while applying makeup, smiling, and not sweating. I try really hard not to compare myself to people who have already achieved maximum sweatless fitness. Hell, I try not to compare myself to anybody because I do actually like who I am and what I look like. So I’m not going to. Instead, this will be my mentality: You can always set new goals, which is where I’m at this summer.

Last year I proved to myself that I could change the way I ate. This past school year, despite eating one too many pies, I proved to myself that I can keep the weight off. I also showed myself that if the weight comes back on, even just a bit, all I have to do is realign and get back to what works. It took me until this month to fully realize that, but sometimes you’ve got to live it, you know? Jesus. Sorry. The pinterest quote is really strong with me today.

Last summer I posted a list of things I wanted to achieve before I went back to work. I checked many of those things off so I’m going to do the same again this year. Here goes:

  • Lose those last lbs
  • Tone up with weights, hiit workouts
  • Continue healthy eating
  • blog more about life, food, workouts
  • read at least 12 more books
  • work on the house
  • take time to express gratitude
  • proofread more because half of this list is not properly capitalized

So, before I put up a motivational quote, I’m going to go work out.