Saturday, February 19, 2011

Is the Chicken Local?

At team camp, we visited the Voler factory yesterday. The visit reminded me of this video:

See, the thing is that with Voler, the chicken is, in fact, local and free range and grass fed, etc.  And if our kits had names, they'd be called Colin and they'd be well-liked among the other kits at the factory--just like in the video.

OK. So let me explain it outside of the metaphor for everyone not in Portlandia. The Voler factory is NOT like what you might think of when you think of a clothing factory. You might think sweat shop-like conditions with foremans and hard hats, billions of sewing machines, low wages, anonymous employees, stereotype, etc. But in fact it was nothing like that. And, yes, Voler is a sponsor, but a damn good sponsor with damn good business practices. So today I'm interrupting my blogging routine of monologues about food, surgeries, and Toddlers in Tiaras to write a prose sonnet, if you will, about Voler.

On our tour, we started in the design department, which was filled with samples of each jersey they've every produced--several Tibco jerseys as well. The Macs were lined up in a U-shape and there were the typical funny posters and trinkets you might find in a design room. They showed the intricacies put into creating a design that could fit a jersey from a size x-small an XX-large. Turns out I'm a small. I've never been a small. I love Voler--just like all the other gals who thought they were mediums in the world.

The print process

Then we moved to the print room, the cutting room, and the sewing room. It seemed they had about 50 employees tops in all the departments total. The president and vice president walked around and talked to the employees in Spanish, knew EVERYONE's names, and introduced us to the heads of the departments. Turns out most of the employees had worked at Voler for 10+ years, some even 20. They had incentive programs, benefits, bonuses, etc. Gerardo showed us how he sews chamois into each pair of shorts and how they sew their signature flat seams on their shorts. Another employee showed us zippers, and another elastic cuffs. They were so fast and efficient and smiling and making jokes. They liked their jobs, their coworkers, and were proud of their products. That was cool because as a half-time corporate world person who walks fast to appear busy--I understand the importance of morale in producing quality.

I mean, besides the Voler clothes being pimp--or really am I just pimp in those hot pink Rudy shades???? Could it be both?--what really stood out to me was the way they treat their employees and how everything was made in the Grover Beach location we were standing in--not shipped in from China or Taiwan. (Well, the chamois was made in Italy...)

My model pose

And how when you buy Voler clothes, you're supporting wholesome business practices, and quality control, and a company that acts like a team rather than a sweat shop.

But maybe I just have a crush on Gerardo. Seriously, you should have seen the love and care he put into each stitch, showing us how he makes sure every seam lines up and there isn't pull/stretch...sigh...I told him he should put labels in the shorts that said, "Sewn with love by Gerardo."

Gerardo sewing a flat seam

So, the point is that after taking my tour, next time I buy cycling clothing--just like with my chicken, I'll ask if it is local.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

She Wore "Lemmon" ...

I leave for Tibco team camp today. It's a 10-hour drive from Tucson so I'm breaking it up into two parts. I gotta say, although I'm excited about this huge step into the beginning of my cycing career--I mean, it's meet the team!!! Get your kit! Practice your killer secret sleuth team dynamics!--I'm also sad to be leaving Tucson. I met a lot of awesome people here and had a bunch of highs and lows as well.

Well, as part of my bid farewell, I rode up Mt. Lemmon as far as I wanted to. I made it 3 miles and decided that was enough. I mean, heck, today was the first day I could ride in the hoods without pain in my side. It was fun to be riding again, but my heart rate in the 80 degree weather was about 180 while pushing about 200 watts. I could still talk but it made me realize a few things: 1) My body was stressed. It was like WTF, Jennifer! I was liking our walks at 85bpm!!! 2) I used to be in f-ing great shape before this. 200 watts was something I could sustain for hours and hours and I didn't respect that before. (I swear, baby--come back to me and I'll treat you so good!) and 3) It's going to be a painful 6 weeks. Oh boy howdy.

It's really quite amazing how your body becomes accustomed to entering the pain cave on a daily basis and then when you take it away from that environment during injury or illness, it quickly learns the new way of resting and resists with all its might when you start dragging it back.


Monday, February 14, 2011

A Response on Food

I received an email from a friend/reader who wanted to talk more about nutrition. The reader said since i've been body conscious since I was 9--it was more like 11--that maybe I could share some of my research/knowledge to drop a few lbs, so he wouldn't have to spend his working hours or free time looking into it. (Isn't that sort of like what a coach does? Hmmm...) The reader is already healthy and super fit and looks way young for their age, but has perhaps fallen into traps. But since I have no formal training in the subject at this point, and am not a doctor, I can only go off of what I've read and my experiences, so this is what I said.

Dear Reader,
Hi Caller--welcome to the program...and thanks for writing.... :)

First tip, don't eat three desserts at XXXXX* house. I'm watching you. (*XXXX=Anonymous location)

I feel like we're in AA meeting--more like an FA meeting-- Food Anonymous. Don't worry your secret dark passenger is safe with me... (I've been watching Dexter--OMG, I love that show. I stay up all night watching it online--not a good idea for weight loss. I know, Dexter? Get with the now! But can you believe the Ice Truck Killer was his brother?!! I cried. I miss the Ice Truck Killer.)
Ok. So I'm in the same boat you are about struggling with diet, but this clean eating approach seems to be the least taxing on the mind and make the most sense from a natural perspective. The more I read about it, the more interested I get. I guess I had a hunch about these things all along (like drinking beer, drinking diet coke, eating fake sugar and loads of desserts was bad) but when someone confirms it for me in a way that also incorporates health, performance, and hot body image, I tend to listen more.

What THEY say, is that nutrition makes up about 80% of your performance, whether you are an athlete, model, etc. (I like to think that then training equals another 70% for a total of 150% (who makes the rules for how large of a percentage you can have?) so eating well, and putting clean fuels in your body is like the difference between feeding a race horse a bunch of sugar cubes and little water versus whole grains, etc.

I think the problem is that we tend to make excuses for ourselves saying, what's one beer? What's two beers? I'll have a piece of cake, etc. etc. And then these excuses add up and it seems like every other day or every day we're putting some junk in our bodies. So how to stop that? For me, it's diving into the details to be convinced that everything you put into your body has consequence--some little, some big, some positive, some negative.
So instead of just avoiding the basics--saturated fat and high fructose corn syrup--and then eating more greens, etc.--easy--I've been researching more about the other stuff I put into my body on top of the good stuff. And I found a lot of my food has sugar in it. Almost everything else I eat besides the obvious fresh stuff. ANd i wouldn't be surprised if I just ate loads of candy, but I couldn't believe how everything has sugar in it. Look in your pantry. So next I wanted to know more about sugar and its effects on your body.
Everything I read talks about how sugar spikes insulin and raises cortisol levels (the stress hormone), and as an athlete cortisol equals SLOW. It talks about all the systems it taxes and you just gotta think that if your body is being taxed on a regular basis, it's probably not able to perform at its best. here's an article about it: --there are tons. I haven't completed my research. And i'm not a doctor. But this is an Food Anonymous meeting--we're not experts here. Just sharing our experiences. But any doctors should weigh in--like moseto.

I think about all the sugar we pump in while racing and training and wonder if there are healthier alternatives? Like juice with some natural electrolytes (I think these are salt and potassium concentrates or something), or raw bars (ingredients dates and nuts), and other things that pull from natural sugars. They say it's hard to avoid sugars, but choose some that are less refined or in their natural state--such as agave syrup, honey, maple syrup--all taken straight from the plant without processing, organic sugar in the raw if you need sugar.

With this in mind I started to look at the stuff in my cabinets that I like to eat mindlessly. gluten-free healthy granola, organic multi-grain cereal, bread, banana chips, etc.  The second ingredient in the cereals was Evaporated Cane Juice. What? I thought these were healthy and organic? Sugar was even in the canned black beans from the store. It was in all the bread, everything. So what do I eat?

Well, a big part of this clean eating, is making your own food from scratch. Beans--instead of canned, buy the bagged dry beans and cook them in advance. Choose quinoa and brown rice over breads/pastas. Ezekiel sprouted bread made from barley and other grains that are less processed than refined flour. ANd fill up on apples. Tons of apples. I eat about 4 a day actually. The pectin creates a gel in your stomach and keeps you full.

But I knew this stuff--everyone knows this really. But the biggest difference is trying to combine a protein and carb in every meal. Lately, I've been having 3 meals and 3 snacks--maybe 4 snacks. I eat when I'm hungry or every few hours instead of grazing all day on cereal/snacks or having huge meals then fasting.

I haven't been thinking as much about the calories anymore because I know i'm putting good stuff in my body. It's relaxing. I look at the crappy food for what it is...crappy food. And honestly after reading all the negative reviews on stuff I didn't really think of as "harmful," it's less tempting to eat bad stuff. For example, I almost put creamy balsamic vinegar dressing on my salad, and then saw it had a slew of ingredients, including sugar (maybe High fructose corn syrup). Instead I put a dollop of organic plain yogurt (which has pectin in it) and some balsamic vinegar and an avocado to keep it moist. It was good.

But you also have to really plan ahead and have snacks available. I find if I know I'm going to eat in 2 or 3 hours I dont' ahve an urge to fill my plate so high because I know more food is coming. It's a nice feeling.

Here's an example of my meals yesterday. There are a lot more great "eating clean" type recipes. I just haven't had the time to get my grocery lists and make stuff--Dexter is really time consuming. You know how incorporating new recipes into a lifestyle can take time.


1 cup cooked 7 grain oats (Montana Bread Company)
1 cup plain fat free yogurt
1 apple chopped really small
a few almonds for crunch
Apple with peanut butter (the kind with only peanuts)

Salad with veggies with avocado and nuts (would have liked chicken breast)
1/2 sprouted grain bagel w/peanut butter (carb+protein)

Energy Bar made with only dates and nuts

Kale salad with pine nuts, feta, tomatoes, olive oil, red peppers
baked sweet potato fries (cooked with salt/pepper and olive oil)
plain yogurt mixed with blueberries and an apple with some cinnamon

Anyway, we'll see how this goes. But I know just like with any change, it's going to be hard. I think it's just important to make a trend of eating clean. Also, check out this podcast that inspired me. Here's the podcast I downloaded it for free on itunes and listened to it on a ride. If you can get past the "chick" stuff, she actually says stuff that is interesting. I'm not sure if I buy her theory on sugar clumping up in the body because sugar gets dumped into a vat of HCL, but Dr. Internet does confirm that sugar may be harmful.  And people might say, oh only in large quantities! but if most everything you eat a day contains sugar, isn't that large quantities?

Drink water. Drink water. Drink 120oz a day! I've been doing to try to speed up my belly recovery, and it seems to help. And you probably drink too much beer. Just sayin'...
Hope that helps.

Sincerely Yours Forever,

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Eating Clean

In other news--I rode an hour yesterday continuously with minimal pain. Sweet!

Ok, back to the blog. A recent hobby of mine is finding and downloading free podcasts on iTunes. After I had listened to all the free This American Life's, Ricky Gervais, and dabbled in a few NPR podcasts, I started looking for some on diet and nutrition.

I already know a ton about nutrition--as I have a history of counting calories since 1995ish in high school--my poor brain. I know how many calories are in a pound, how many calories are in a gram of fat, protein, carbs, etc. I have read almost every book about metabolism and every other pitch out there. Even with all that, I have still always been attracted to the eat clean angle. Perhaps because it is pure and it's really how you're supposed to eat. Plus, every time I drink a diet coke, I have a feeling a guilt like I KNOW this is not good for me. (I don't feel that way when I eat cake though--chaw chaw chaw--so bring on the Valentine's CAKE!) Maybe I feel that way because diet coke burns going down your throat if you haven't had one in a while? But it's so good. I'll go to a bar and order a diet coke--it's like going on a binger. "Awww man, I had 8 diet cokes tonight. I'm wasted! PARTY!"  Everyone thinks I'm drunk anyway, so it's not like I'm just sitting in the corner sipping my diet coke and wishing I was at home watching Dexter--my newest fling. I'm cheers-ing with my diet coke! Yeah! Next round of sodas are on me!

Anyway, I digress. End diet coke fantasy.

So I ran across this Tosca Reno podcast about how she was 40 and took on a challenge from Robert Kennedy (he owns Oxygen magazine and other fitness mags)--part of it was eating clean. I had seen her before in some fitness magazines, but I liked reading about her because she's over 40 and so I thought about my mom and her struggles to stay fit. I mean, she was the one who got me into sports in the first place. She used to drop me on 3 mile runs and I would cry and say, "You're trying to beat me on purpose!" Then the next summer I'd drop her and she would cry and say, "Jenny, why do you always have to go fast?!" Maybe in an upcoming blog I'll write about how I thought it would be a good idea to ride rental mountain bikes up Haleakala and after a few miles she cussed at me so loudly that the families in the rental vans would rubberneck as they drove by. I would push her just enough where she was cussing BUT still riding. A few minutes more and she would have thrown her bike off the side of the volcano.

Anyway, I digress again... the eat clean principles are:
  1. Eat 6 meals a day--I already do this. Does cake count as a meal though?
  2. Drink at least 2 liters of water a day--I already do this.
  3. Cut out all processed foods, including sugar--Diet Coke doesn't have sugar....what? you think it's processed?!!!??!!!
  4. Mix complex carb with lean protein in every meal--Not a new principle for me. I just don't do it.
  5. Buy a bunch of Clean Eating books--Don't need to! I have then Intertrons! Mwahahaha. There are tons of eating clean blogs.
So, will I be doing this? Can I cut out diet coke? Should I cut out diet coke? Is restriction good for my personality? No. But even so, I can make changes and see how it goes.

Speaking of clean eating, here is a muffin recipe. People have been asking for it cause the muffins are good for snacks on the bike. I originally got it from and I modified it to fit the needs of a vegan-tarian way back when and have kept the changes cause it's better. OH but it has sugar and stuff and doesn't really follow the rules. But I guess writing it down doesn't mean I'm eating it.

Green Muffins That Taste Good

1 and 1/4 cups wheat bran (I use Bob’s Red Mill Miller's Wheat Bran)
1 and 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour (I use King Arthur brand)
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed (flaxseed meal)
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
2/3 cup dried blueberries (or dried cherries or cranberries or raisins)
Chocolate CHIPS!!! As many as you'd like.
1 tablespoon roasted walnut oil OR some type of oil
1 and 1/3 cups unsweetened applesauce
1 or 2 large very ripe banana, peeled and broken apart
2-3 heaping handfuls of fresh spinach (I use pre-washed bagged spinach leaves)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line the cups of a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners, or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk the bran, flour, flaxseed meal, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and brown sugar until blended; stir in the dried fruit, nuts, and chocolate chips.
Place the oil, applesauce , banana, and chopped spinach into the blender. Blend at medium speed until smooth, then pour over the dry ingredients. Stir gently just until moistened.

Spoon the batter into the prepared cups. Bake for about 18-20 minutes until just set. Cool. Makes 12 muffins.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I am taking on the schedule of 30 minutes in the morning, 30 minutes in the evening (abort if there is pain). So this sunny morning, I went for my first ride. Since it feels most comfortable the higher my body, I've decided to think of this setback as an OPPORTUNITY to work on my mad hands-free skillz. I can do most of the 30 minutes without hands! Pro! I can even pedal around corners hands free!

I'm so pro, it's sick! Boo yah!

Oh and I've moved on from the Lilith Fair to Junior Boys:

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


All was on the upswing...until it wasn't.

I walked 14 miles, one day, rode 30 minutes another, etc. etc. I was positive and just kept working at it. The Ricky Gervais podcasts helped. Brilliant! Amasing! as he might say. I also read the first chapters of several books on Amazon--read the first chapter for free!

(Oh and speaking of products, Google cancelled my advertising campaign. Apparently, there have been invalid clicks. There's no detail--just form letters. Ok. So now you'll just have to come to my blog for the great posts rather than the GREAT ads. But really, how many times can you read about hernia repairs when all we really wanted were ads about Pajama Jeans and Tajazzles.)

So, on Saturday the process continued and I hiked 7 miles (roundtrip) to bring a bottle of tequilla to the Tequilla Tree at Single Speed Arizona--all the while enjoying my podcasts. Then I went home and went for a ride with my roommate. We spun easy and I felt good so I decided to commit to a loop. Bad idea. After 49 minutes exactly I started to have pain--like worse than I had had. So, I just sat up and rode home as slow as I could. It ended up being a little over an hour and 20 miles. More than I had gone. It felt so good before that. I was euphoric! I didn't do anything crazy and my watts stayed low and my hands up high, etc.

Since then my stomach has hurt when I sit. But it's more pain in my back. I'm worried that all this pain in the left might actually be my kidneys so I've been drinking a ton of water...starting today.

Anyway, since then I've also had really really low moments--you know the crying, the curling up in bed, hating the bike, wanting to quit it all so I didn't have any pressure to heal. I wanted to go back to my other job, I wanted to take the safe route, and quit trying to accomplish tasks of such epic proportion. I was tired of having to call Regence every day to see if my application had been processed after 45 days. I was tired of waking up with a new pain and wondering what I'll have to deal with next. Depressed about watching my body become soft as if all my hard work was just disappearing a day at a time. My mood was up, down, up, down, and honestly, I hadn't felt so depressed in so long. This huge opportunity for me, one that I had earned and worked hard for, just taken. it felt unfair and hopeless. Dramatic? Sure. But it's how I felt. I was just tired of being strong.

But today, after having a terrible day with bad pain in my back, internet researching, water drinking, etc. and general fatigue, I decided to get up and go on a spin. And during the 37-minute sunset spin, I listened to some music that reminded me of 1996 when I was in Kentucky training for my junior year of my high school running career. I trained harder that summer than I had ever trained. Running 50+ miles a week on hills, watching my diet (probably obsessively since I didn't eat anything past 4:00 p.m. and did hours of step aerobics in the evening if I did). I worked on a tobacco farm with my brother during the day and then would come home exhausted but still go run into the sunset because I was determined.

Everything I did that summer was about trying to be a better runner. I felt like deep inside I knew I could do it. Before that summer I was the 5th or 6th runner on the varsity squad and I was determined to be the best possible. All the sacrifice and workouts, which seemed huge to me at the time, paid off. I had a breakthrough and was the best runner on the team that year. I made it to state and placed in the top 20. I medaled in the mile in track at state and qualified for three events. That was a huge deal to me because our state was all divisions so it was the cream of the crop of Indiana. After that summer I got calls from colleges, Brown, Purdue, IU, and Eastern Kentucky where I ended up going because of the scholarship opportunities.

Anyway, when I trained in the summer of '96, I remember listening to Sarah McLachlan's "Fumbling towards Ecstasy" album over and over and over again. So, on my sunset ride tonight, when I listened to songs from that album today (I had one of the songs in my head for some reason), it brought me back to that summer. I felt an overwhelming sense of strength and release on the ride as I was just flopping over the pedals. I thought about why all of this was impacting me so much when after all it was just bicycling. But I realized that it's the process of all of it that feels so impactful. It's the process of sacrificing so much to chase something with an unknown outcome. It's the discipline and drive that goes into every day where you make hundreds of decisions to try to improve yourself, never letting yourself say, I think I'll just sit around today and maybe tomorrow. Or maybe I'll take up that offer to go camping for a few days. Every conscious action revolves around your ultimate goal without rest. And when you do rest, it is planned and an intentional part of improvement.

So when your life is consumed by this fight for something big, when the process is delayed, or taken away, the feeling of hopelessness and loss is HUGE. And that's why I feel so terrible and i can't say, well it's "just cycling" because I have made it who I am, so that's like saying, well it's just my life.

And that's why for the past couple of days, defeat has been creeping in. I have been snubbing the bike, saying what's the point--it only brings me pain. Woopie. I get to flop at 70 watts for a few minutes. Blech, take me to my safe place. My boyfriend said my bike situation was like if I were a commercial farmer who was limited to growing a lima bean science project in a pot on a kitchen counter.

But today on the bike, I felt better mentally. The music took me back to my place of strength and I felt motivated in that instant to keep pressing, feel the process, and find the mental toughness to pick myself up again--even if I am suffocating in my girdle as I type this. I think every day, I have to just look to find this place and keep having the hope that it will pass. You can say that it will pass, but when you get knocked down enough with problem after problem, it's easy to let that hopelessness creep in. I realized that this is all part of that other side of training of great athletes--the one about taking a beating and getting up again, pushing through a different type of pain.

I'll end with my favorite pep talk. It nailed my feelings and I felt comforted, so I want to thank my friend for this:

"I'm sorry this is so hard on you. I know how hard you have been working towards it, how much has been put aside and/or sacrificed for cycling. To have this setback has got to feel like that sacrifice was wasted, and that has got to feel beyond shitty. The only comfort I can offer is that it is a setback from your goals, not a nullification of your efforts. You will achieve your goals, it will just take longer than you wanted. Doesn't it always?"

And here were my 1996 favorites. Yes, I'm admitting that I listened to Sarah McLachlan. I know I'm supposed to be all cool and stuff--well, at least in my mind--but now you know why these songs hold a dear place in my heart.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


In between my walks and work, I've discovered a new show called Portlandia.

I can't get this song out of my head..."The Dream of the 90s is Aliiiive"

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Walking and Eating and Eating and Eating Some More

I had a small breakthrough the other day when I could ride my bicycle, hold the bars, and experience no pain for 10 minutes. Albeit I had a strong tailwind--I realized this when I turned around--it was still an awesome moment. Soon after my euphoria quickly disappeared when I started to feel stiffness and twinges of pain in my lower left gut.

This has been a pattern for the last couple days. I can go a few more minutes but honestly, I don't want to push it. What's the point of completing 20 minutes versus 22 minutes in recovery zone, especially if there's a chance that I'll hurt myself.

So instead I've taken up walking. My speed is about 3.2 miles/hour. Today I walked 5 miles--totally comfortable, no stiffness, no pain. I'll still dabble on the bike just to keep my legs moving and because I like wearing Lycra...

I think that if I didn't have so many HUGE things coming up for me--like the beginning of my FIRST season as a professional cyclist--I wouldn't worry about not being able to ride the bike. But right now I have to put those mainly self-imposed pressures aside, I have to realign my goals, and not dwell on how good of shape I was in before this surgery.

When I look at my severely swollen belly and wince in pain as the muscles stretch to accommodate all the fluid, the thought creeps in "Maybe I shouldn't have had this surgery right now..." I've really been working on not giving these thoughts my energy, as it's completely pointless to worry about what's going to happen next week or what happened in the past. But damn, it's still really hard, and although I'm generally pretty positive, I want to be honest and admit that I have really tough moments, too. For me the tough moments are usually followed by moments after I've just eaten dinner and then soon after eat seven Girl Scout Samoas and a half a bar of chocolate and wonder what I might eat next.

Yep, with all the required down time, my past eating problems are creeping in as well. The ones where food consumes my thoughts and I wake up and start calculating what I'm going eat all day. Exercise usually helps with this--I eat to fuel my body. I eat when I'm not hungry to prepare my body for a ride, etc. I pay little attention to the thoughts that I might be eating too much when I burn 3000 calories a day. I eat based on a plan to fuel myself not based on my hunger because often I'm not hungry until 3 days later and at that time I haven't given my body enough protein to rebuild my muscles, so how can I trust that it knows what it wants, especially when I'm making it perform in ways that aren't natural? Um, I really don't think our bodies were designed to exercise 25 hours a week and or digest 4-5,000 calories daily. Maybe I'm wrong, but I remember some scientific study about if you want to live longer, eat less to preserve your systems. I think it's sort of like if you exercise regularly, you end up building the strength of your heart so that it only needs to pump 40 beats per minute. It seems it would break down faster if it was constantly required to pump 80 beats per minute. But like I said, I'm no doctor. These are just musings.

Anyway, now that my primary exercise is walking, my food obsessions have arisen once again, but this time, I'm taking some time to figure it out at a deeper level. I've come a long way since high school and college when I either puked or ran 10 miles in the middle of the night with my precious but also enabling roommate to compensate for my overeating or negative body image. I'm so FAR from that time and that feels really good. But I still have issues, as do many many many many athletes and non-athletes. You really don't have to be starving or puking or putting yourself in danger to have food compulsions or obsessions. But oh wouldn't it be nice to be one of those people that without even thinking about it, 90% of the time just eats till satisfaction? How freeing would that be?

Of course, I know where my obsessions stem from, but that doesn't solve my problems.  My coach recommended some good books about getting to the root of compulsive eating behavior--Geneen Roth's books--one which is called "Breaking Free from Compulsive Eating." It's really interesting because it talks a lot about trusting your body. She gave some examples about looking at your watch to see if it's time to eat (I do that.) or eating at specific times during the day instead of just waiting until you're hungry. Or feeling disappointed if you miss a meal. (It feels like either an accomplishment or gives me anxiety if I miss a meal.) Anyway, the point is that really, these food thoughts shouldn't consume me so much. I'm trying to learn how to eat until satisfaction rather than eating until I've filled an emotional void, until I find something better to do, or until I've reached my caloric goal.

It's a process, just like anything else. We'll see where it takes me.