Thursday, March 06, 2008

Snow in Texas

Snow is something of a headline news event in Texas. It hits the new and they stay with it for hours. The radar map is shown continually with the meteorologist showing how things are moving, what they think is going to happen and showing at-the-scene reports from out and about showing how the weather is playing havoc with traffic.

We had snowfall here a couple of days ago (up to a couple of inches) but it went away quickly the next morning.

Today it's snowing again, and it's looking like being a lot heavier. They reckon it could get up to four inches thick.

I've taken a couple of photos from my front doorway to show how things are going:

I'm not entirely sure why snow is such a big deal here compared to the UK. One reason could be that it's very flat around here quite a bit, so there is little cover. To add to that there are a large number of bridges and overpasses that have little cover too which ice over very quickly in cold wind when wet, even without snow.

The other problem is that many cars here are automatics with no option to move into a higher gear. my CX-9 has an auto gearbox but has a sequential manual shift mode that allows me to select second gear for setting off, and this helps a great deal. I feel sorry for drivers who can't do that.

Fortunately it's supposed to be clear and warmer on Sunday, so my flight shouldn't be delayed.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Leaving the worst till last

Anyone who knows me at last a little will know that I've been waging a battle with my weight for years now that has to all intents and purposes been something of a stalemate so far. Being the analytical type I'm always on the lookout for new techniques and strategies that might enable me to win that one battle that will put me on the road to victory.

The obvious answer is of course "eat less food", but that's something that is easier said than done. It's the psychology behind it that I need to explore.

One of my biggest problems is that when I eat I feel compelled to clear my plate, and often do so even when I'm beyond the point of being "full" (a big problem in the US where portion sizes are often immense). I've always put this down to being brought up to clear my plate, as many other people will have been too, but I recently discovered another (related) reason that is entirely self-inflicted.

For as long as I can remember, I've been pretty obsessive about saving "the best till last" on my plate. It's actually quite hard to justify when I think about it, but it's something I've always done. I think it has something to do with savouring the best taste to the end, or getting the "bad stuff" out of the way so I can get on with enjoying the "good stuff".

So say I'm eating some chicken tenders and fries (hardly weight-loss food but it's a simple example), my usual strategy will be to start with the scrappy fries and smaller, more battery chicken tender. I'll end up with the biggest and nicest fries and tenders at the end. Now, imagine at that point I feel full already: I'm there with a full belly but the best part of my meal is still left there on the plate. What am I supposed to do? :)

This all came to light when someone pointed out the weird way in which I eat burgers: I always eat the outside first, leaving the middle to eat at the end. I've always though it quite normal, but apparently other people think it's weird. :) It occurred to me that I do that because the middle is the best part because it has the greatest concentration of all of the ingredients.

So, my new plan is to force myself to reverse this tendency and eat the best part of every meal first. I tried this last night at Joe's Crab Shack (somewhere I've not eaten at before) where I ordered a Blackened Mahi Sandwich with fries.

I started out with the nicest looking fry on the plate, and then attacked the sandwich from the site that has the thickest amount of fish, and resolved to not eat around the sides.

The result was that I finished the meal with a number of scrappy fries and part of the sandwich left on the plate. Definitely an improvement. I remember looking down and not feeling particularly fussed about what was left there at all, so it wasn't a major effort on my part to leave what was there.

Of course, I need to work on my food selection too. But for me, this is another battle won. Here's hoping it turns the tide in the war...