Sunday, May 17, 2009

A study in depth of field, and more

This photo of green beans on the grill is a study in aperture and depth of field. Taken with the aperture as wide as possible to capture an image in low available light, the camera still clicked off at 1/25th of a second.

With the short range from camera to subject the depth of field is quite narrow, measuring in only a few inches. Depth of field is the distance from the camera the subject will be in focus, at a specified aperture and specified focus distance. In this case, at 24" distance the depth of field was about 4" wide, with the green beans closer than that and farther than that being out of focus.

More importantly, it's a photo of my dinner last night. All of my dinner. I ate roast green beans, by their lonesome, and left behind the baked yam and others goodness I had planned. I ate only green beans because my weight has bumped a few pounds, when I'd rather it was falling.

To put a fine point on it.... I'm fat.

A few years ago I lost about 80 pounds in one year. I've since put half that back on. The impetus to losing it were health issues, and these have not left me entirely. They lurk in the background, waiting to raise their ugly heads once again. At the time, I lost the weight almost solely due to unending daily harassment from someone else in my life. Looking back in retrospect , I think I just lost any desire to eat along with any desire to live life. Food was one of the last true joys in my life, and it was ripped from me.

Now, I once again need to lose weight, but it will be for a different reason. Not from a fatalistic belief theres no point anymore, but from a strong desire to live longer and healthier. I have a reason to live longer, and it revolves around life suddenly being worth living again. Having discovered this, I am now greedy for years upon years of it.

I think a person, to be happy in their life, needs interests and enjoyments. Things, people, pastimes that make them want to get out of bed in the morning. The kind of thing that makes one forget what time it is through shear joy at doing what they are doing. For some it's a hobby, for others a job, and in still others its a devotion to a person or people in their life.

For me, food has always represented a comfort and an enjoyment. From the soul nourishing macaroni and cheese casserole my mother made to a deeply satisfying cheese steak from Joe's, bought as a treat on pay day. Sunday morning sausage gravy over home made biscuits.... burgers on the grill with friends.... sharing a plate of fried everything from Red Lobster with the kids.... Guido's grandma's chicken cutlets, snatched from plate still too hot to touch... these all mark times in life worth living. Food, good food, so much a signpost of the better moments in life has in turn become a reason for those good times. The meal is not to mark the celebration, but instead is the reason itself. Food became one of my reasons to live...I wallowed in the hedonism of gustatory delight. It wasn't the alarm clock that drew me from bed, but the thought of peppered apple smoked bacon cooked crispy on the edges.

Good food is a big part of my life. Now, that has to change.

I have heard the phrase "Train yourself to like healthier foods!" over and over again. What utter bunk... I like the foods I like because they taste good to me. They taste good because of what is in them... meat, cheese, pasta, good bread, butter.... all the flavors and tastes I grew up with. Sure, other foods, healthier foods, have their own wonderful tastes and textures and this should not be glossed over. That said... nothing in the world will replace a properly cooked steak. There is no way to replace a croissant, fresh from the oven and so rich in flavor it needs no butter. These and a hundred other things that make my life rich must now be set aside as I strive to serve another pleasure... life itself.

This morning.... long cooked oatmeal with chunks of apple and a dust of cinnamon. It will never replace a bacon and cheese omelet with buttered biscuits, but it will do.


Old NFO said...

I'm in the same "boat" need to lose 20 lbs, and I HATE giving up all the good things, especially biscuits and cornbread. sigh...

Somerled said...

There is a cost to every opportunity. You'll shoot tighter groups at the range, Carteach0, when you're in better health. Then you can outrun the women you don't want to catch you plus enjoy the extra speed to match the high steppers. :)

Diabetic here--I'm in better shape now than I was 10 years ago. It will work out for you. Best wishes.

PRH....... said...

Good and honest story...speaking of which, I still need to drop about 15 pounds, summer is the prime time. The question being can I keep it off come fall and the Holidays?

William said...

I know. I lost about 80 pounds myself. Mostly due to stress, and a very bad infection I picked up from an autopsy. The temporary kidney failure really sucked, though.

Make the calories count. Don't waste time on food that's not GOOD. And good luck. I, too, need to be at 230-240 for my height. I'm not there, but I'll be there again.

I went to see a dietician. It might be worth the investment in time and money, mine ran me $120.00.

JK said...

In my family, food is an expression of love. The health professional in me wants to stress the importance of diet and exercise. One without the other is unlikely to maintain a healthy weight. I was forced to finish my green beans as a kid, so I don't really like them now...but yours look pretty good.

Christina LMT said...

It's not easy to do it, but you'll find the strength within yourself. I'd have had a much, much more difficult time with my weight loss if I were as good a cook as you, so my hat's off to you for making such a tough decision. I'll be cheering you on all the way!

Asphyxiated Emancipation said...

I could have written that post myself, with regard to the feelings about food.

If I may make a recommendation?
Weightwatchers has worked for me where other things failed. I am doing the online program, and it's made it very easy to track and manage my food intake, as well as gradually helping me to simply make healthier choices(not that I necessarily made "bad" choices, but I was choosing those things too often). I can't say enough good stuff about the program.