in which Kitteh shrinks away oodles of fluff

Archive for the ‘Sciencery’ Category

N is for Nutrition

Here’s where Bacon falls down. (Sob).

You want to eat foods that give you the MOST nutritional value for your calorie buck.

Yeah, old news. It’s vegetables.

Followed by protein.

Followed by good fats. (And bacon. Nom.)

Then starchy vegetables.

Last comes processed carbs and sugars.



A is for Aggressive

“Aggressive” basically means consider the glycemic index.

The Glycemic Index is an attempt to measure how fast food will break down into sugar and hit the blood stream, thus necessitating an insulin response.

Aggressive foods, like simple sugars and simple carbohydrates, quickly turn to blood glucose, hit the blood sugar, and provoke an immediate insulin response.

So what slows down a food’s digestion and makes it less AGGRESSIVE?

You guessed it. Fat and fiber.

And what are the least aggressive foods for your calorie buck?

  • Nonstarchy vegetables.
  • Protein
  • Good fats

And worst would be starchy carbs and sugars.

Sensing a theme?


Transactional Analysis

It occurs to me (again): when I cheat–no, let’s be specific: when I let LK talk me into eating off plan or skipping a walk or having a nightcap—what I am doing is breaking a promise I have made… to MYSELF. My OTHER self. Not the part who sets limits, or the part who demands indulgence. The real me. Adult Kitteh.

Thinking back all the way to Transactional Analysis (which we studied, of all things, in the gifted program at elementary school)… well, let me crib from Wiki for you:

At any given time, a person experiences and manifests their personality through a mixture of behaviours, thoughts and feelings. Typically, according to TA, there are three ego-states that people consistently use:

  • Parent (“exteropsyche”): a state in which people behave, feel, and think in response to an unconscious mimicking of how their parents (or other parental figures) acted, or how they interpreted their parent’s actions. For example, a person may shout at someone out of frustration because they learned from an influential figure in childhood the lesson that this seemed to be a way of relating that worked.

That would be my harsh inner kitteh, who is pretty disgusted with how badly I mess up all the time and thinks I cannot “do this.”  (And not because of my actual parents–TA is a little too Freudian sometimes for my tastes).

  • Adult (“neopsyche”): a state of the ego which is most like a computer processing information and making predictions absent of major emotions that could affect its operation. Learning to strengthen the Adult is a goal of TA. While a person is in the Adult ego state, he/she is directed towards an objective appraisal of reality.

That would be the one I am talking about, the real me, the Kitteh who knows eating right, moving my body, and losing weight are the ONLY LOGICAL THINGS TO DO.

  • Child (“archaeopsyche”): a state in which people behave, feel and think similarly to how they did in childhood. For example, a person who receives a poor evaluation at work may respond by looking at the floor, and crying or pouting, as they used to when scolded as a child. Conversely, a person who receives a good evaluation may respond with a broad smile and a joyful gesture of thanks. The Child is the source of emotions, creation, recreation, spontaneity and intimacy.

…also the source of tantrums, demands for indulgence, and complete inability to see (or at least recognize) consequences.

in other words…



Mostly TA is about, well, transactions between people – that’s one of the key differences of it versus Freud. But I am really interested in how to use my Parent in a NURTURING way, my Adult effectively to make DECISIONS, and not make Poor Little Kitteh feel un-loved.




I talk facetiously about Little Kitteh all the time, but courtesy of a new-again book, I am starting to think more deeply about what that’s all about. As you know, Little Kitteh is my Inner Brat – in transactional analysis, my inner child, in psychology, my id– my impulsive self, who is in total check in virtually EVERY aspect of my life… EXCEPT my physical health.

I’ve known for a long time that one reason Little Kitteh puts up such resistance to being reined in for food is because she is under lock and key in most (all?) other areas. So that’s not news. 

But I started re-reading a book called The Solution by Laurel Mellin. I read this book ages ago–kinda–I’d say 20 years or more? And I was intrigued but frankly what the book could use is a writing coach. I bet Ms. Mellin is fantastic to work with, but she goes in circles in the book and it was VERY hard to get through. I read it, gave it to my mom to read, and forgot about it–until my mom returned a giant stack of books to me a year or so ago and tossed that into the pile. I put it in the stack of Diet/Food books I would re-read and review on this blog and last weekend started through it again, vowing to read one chapter at at time at MOST and go very slowly to be sure I understood what she was saying. 

The first part of the book introduces her concept: all weight problems have their roots in six causes, for which there are six corresponding “Cures.” The second part of the book… introduces the six cures in more detail, with real life example patients pulled from her practice, but not enough detail to really work with the cures yet. I’m on the first Cure now, but still in this section. Next, (I think?) we go into even more detail about each one, perhaps even enough to use them. To say this is annoying is a vast understatement, but I am very interested in using them this time.

From what I see, we use Journaling and “Feeling Letters” to deal with old baggage and move forward. I did not want to do the work last time–most especially because I was already irritated after reading the book, and because I thought then that I already KNEW what my baggage was (and I was too young and dumb to understand that KNOWING your baggage and DEALING with your baggage are worlds apart)

I will say, I do see myself a lot in the example she uses in the current section. It’s a husband and wife pair, the husband is tightly wound at work, comes home and eats all night and sits on the couch. The wife never had a weight problem until she started staying home with kids and had no more structure in her life. I can identify with both of those factors a whole heaping lot.

And the first thing she asks you to do is to remember the last time you were IN BALANCE with food/eating/movement. So I thought I’d tackle that here:

I was in balance with food last year from about March to July – I was not triggered by food, I was enjoying watching the weight melt off, I was moving comfortably and happily. I remember that feeling with a lot of longing. Before that, I was in the same balanced state for most of the year before I got pregnant with Baby Kitteh No. 1. Before THAT, I would say I was in balance my first year out of college, my sophomore year of college, and my senior year of high school and the summer that followed.

What all of those times have in common:

I was at ease with eating choices. I was either not overweight at all, or I was eating in a way that reduced the amount of weight I carried easily, smoothly, and relatively rapidly, and I reached a state where I weighed significantly less by the end of that period. I liked moving, I felt energized, I slept well. Food was not part of my coping strategy (although that was progressively harder to leave off each time–food was never really my “go to” coping mechanism until well after college, when I was teaching, living alone, and was struggling to figure out the relationship with Mr. Kitteh–we were not yet married). 

Huh, here’s an insight: I’d say that my whole life, I have been thinking there are two modes of living. There’s weight loss mode, where you are trying to lose weight. And there is “not trying to lose weight mode” in which you… can eat whatever you want. Hmm. That would actually translate into “gain weight mode,” wouldn’t it? And it goes right along with the Solution’s concept that one of the roots of weight problems is not setting effective limits for yourself, which is just as much a form of nurturing as giving things to yourself.

Gotta think about that one some more. 

So when was the last time you were in balance with food/weight/movement? How did it feel?


Need another reason to exercise?

science kitteh main

I already told you that I have Complete Proof that exercise is a key to success and maintenance based on Kitteh Observation. But I’ve been seeing several things that intrigue Kitteh lately about genes.

No, not these jeans.

No, not these jeans.

One is this article on “How Exercise Changes Fat and Muscle Cells.” You can read it here and that has links to actual sciencey stuff.

But let Science Kitteh sum up.

You might think of genes in the 1980s way, that stuff is “in your genes” meaning inherited and unchangeable. That’s what Kitteh thought too until recently, but NO.

There’s all this sciencey stuff over the last, oh, quarter century, human genome project and whatnot, and now we know that even when you have a particular gene, it can be expressed or not. As in,  “on” or “off.” At least, scientists know that. And now you do too.

And guess what factors turn good genes on (to burn fat, build muscle, etc.) and bad genes off (no cancer cells here, and BTW keep mah brainz fullly functional, kthanx)?

“Environmental factors.” Like… diet. And exercise.

science kitteh explode

The study linked above says if you exercise, even ONE session, you can actually start rearranging yourself at a cellular level.

And this study talks about the need for enough Omega-3s to stay in fat burning mode. (That is one of Kitteh’s new supps, by the way).

Very interesting, yes?

science kitteh

Remember that Ego Depletion stuff?

Remember this post on ego depletion? If you need more info and refresher, check out this post by a Duke professor (warning: salty language).


I had a kind of epiphany this morning. What’s aggravating is that it is really coming full circle to something I told you back in October (see above). Here’s how it happened:

I was thinking about the fact that I have been ALL OVER THE BOARD the last couple of weeks. I have fasted. I have eaten ice cream. (Not at once, obviously.) I have been a train-wreck of indecision about whether I will join (or even initiate) a lunch order from the office. And this morning, I realized that was because when I have not DECIDED on a course of action (like, I will follow strict Medifast/TSFL rules) I stumble around and make some really bad decisions on the fly. I am not COMMITTED to what I am trying to do, plan-wise. And when I have anything less than laser focused commitment, Little Kitteh can seduce me away with her oh-so-tempting routine, which she has to a science, that goes like this:


“We’ll start tomorrow, after you figure out exactly what you want to do.”

seduction kitteh


“Meanwhile, you should go on and order lunch/have Italian dinner of carby goodness and cheese, because after all, you will be strict tomorrow.”

seduction 2


“And your new plan will doubtless take off any damage I am doing, right away.”

seduction cheeseburger


ARG!  What’s truly maddening is that it is hard enough to say no to her when I am sporting a major DETERMINED groove. When I am wondering what would work better/best/etc., I am toast.

So I was thinking about that, this morning, and my exact thought was, this won’t get better until you MAKE THAT DECISION, once and for all, and do NOT revisit it.

And then it hit me. That’s DECISION FATIGUE and EGO DEPLETION, you nitwit.

The website I linked to above suggests that a cheat day is a good solution for ego depletion–based on the idea you can just “wait just a few days” makes it easier to say no. For me, physiologically, that does not seem to be true. The opposite, in fact. A cheat day starts the whole carb craving thing all over again (although I do enjoy having one meal a week or so that is higher in calories/fat–but that would not help me when what I want is ice cream,  you know?)

I think the answer is a little different. And unlike what I wrote before, I don’t think it is the Noms themselves that do the trick (although that is helpful, fewer decisions mean less fatigue and more brainpower for better choices). No, I think it all comes down to DECIDING that you are going to stick to The Plan (whatever that is). The “and stick to it” is easy (okitsreallyhardsometimesbuteasiER) if you have made a commitment.

Right now, I am “toying with” (and I have to note that “toying” is exactly what I have been doing!) these options–going to set them out for all to see, and make a DECISION tonight. This is not a “delay and eat more” thing, this is taking the time to make a reasoned decision, and committing to it, 110% plus. Here are the options:

Food Plan Options – the issue here is that having heard about all the benefits of fasting, I can’t NOT do it. But HOW to do it?

Option 1: Continue with Noms, but try to maximize fasting window at night — basically compact my noms a bit so that I don’t eat after dinner at all, and fast until breakfast, then delay breakfast bar slightly to achieve a minimum window of fasted time (if so, what’s the goal? There is an IF plan that calls for fasting 16 hours, compacting food into 8, which is not really possible and eat all the Noms, but I could shoot for 12 hours, 8 to 8, and see how that helps my progress and health.

Option 2: Take a break from Noms. Try the Eat Stop Eat plan, which calls for eating “normally” four or five days a week, and fasting 1 or 2 days a week. I’d be lying if I said taking a Nom break wasn’t appealing, as is ‘eating normally.” Flaw is, I can’t eat “normally” without triggering the hell out of myself, foodwise. So I guess I’d be eating “normally for a Paleo type diet.”

Option 3: Stick with Noms, as is, but fast one day a week, building up to 2 days. Concern: that kind of IF is not really meant to go with low calorie diets like Noms. I wonder if I would rebound and be more starving after?


Exercise Plan Options (because I am going to do this deciding thing ONCE, danggit, and stick with it):

Option 1: kettlebells, three times a week. Simple, neat, effective (I hear).

Option 2: WAtP videos – they worked before, and really add to my cardio-fitness, which I need for my July vacation. Also simple, also easy. Can do the 1 mile at work on break.

Option 3: T-Tapp – really startlingly helpful when I have done it before, harder than the other two to execute but with a lot of other health benefits.

Option 4: some combination of the above. Problem: T-Tapp, the one I am most inclined to combine with something, is really big on only doing T-Tapp and having your rest days. Similarly, The Swing people are all “less is more.” I may say screw it and do (for example) Swings on Sun/Tues/Thurs, T-Tapp on MWF. (and no, I do not delude myself that I will hit every one, but I will hit more than if I do NOT have a plan. AND I need to be in a get up at the same time every day mode, and without a plan, I will sleep in on the non-exercise day!)
There you have it. Decisions, decisions. PLEASE share your thoughts below, I would love some advice.







There’s just no way to recap all the thinking, praying, reading, writing and talking I’ve been offline about where I am on this journey and what steps are next.

In fact, I keep avoiding the whole blogging thing because there is So.Much.Stuff.

But I think I am kind of stuck until I tell “you” this and move on, for goodness’ sake. Only… where to start? I keep coming back to that. So I will begin with the end and tell you where I am now and what I am doing. Then next week I will try to make time to tell you WHY I am here.

After being bonked over the head five separate times in the last six months or so, from different sources, with the idea of fasting (each of which could be its own post) I was at the point where I felt that I was being CALLED to fast, LED to fast, TOLD to fast… despite the fact that “it cannot be good for you.”

Then I had a rare chance for a face-to-face chat with one of my besties (all of whom have had the bad grace to live farrrr away from me). She’s a VERY sciencey type, whose opinions I put right up there as Troof. And the subject of fasting came up (again, RANDOMLY, so strange–and in the abstract, not about ME fasting) and she leaned across the table and said so earnestly, “have you heard the latest about fasting?” I was SURE she was about to tell me how bad it was for you. After all, everyone knows about starvation mode and Slowing The Metabolism, and so on and so forth. And she’s a sicencey type. Very practical.

Instead, she proceeded to tell me the following, in layman’s terms which I will now dumb down even further because that’s about the only way I can remember it:

Your body is always in one of two states: fasted or fed. Now, we kittehs know all about INSULIN’S role in those two states. But she told me that in FED mode, our bodies are in “MAKE NEW” mode — we are churning out new cells, we are creating, we are busy making MORE of us. By contrast, in FASTED mode, and due to a difference in hormone whose name I forgot, we are in …..

here, I was expecting her to say “hold on to it” mode – you can’t lose weight for long in this mode, right?

…HOUSEKEEPING MODE. That is, when it is fasted, instead of MAKING NEW CELLS, your body checks the cells it has and (using body fat for energy) goes in and cleans ’em up. Cell made in the fed state with defective DNA? Ousted. Cancer cell developed? Kill it. Dead cells still gumming up the works? Get rid of ’em.

Net Result? Studies showing that by fasting once a week for 24 hours, or 48 hours every two weeks, you can HALF your risk for things like cancer, dementia, etc. etc. Not to mention losing weight.

So normally, human beans should have some hours out of every 24 in a fasted state, because they are asleep, right?  But our modern life (late night nibbling and “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”) has kind of squeezed that down to nothing.

And I got to thinking about when I am most successful with the packets: when I have a nice long fast between the evening one and the morning one.

And now I think I have a recipe to GET INTO fat burning mode (ketosis) quickly and STAY there (via packets and time management).

Bottom line: completed first fast yesterday! Feeling good (and very motivated not to STOP the fat burning by having too much at once/too many carbs!)

More on this next post!