Since I was a child, I have been challenged by food and weight. It’s genetic and environmental. My maternal grandmother’s kitchen was the social center of the home and the family. She happened to be quite thin, but some of us have traits from my maternal grandfather’s gene pool, which would not be described as thin. A similar gene pool is also found on the side of my paternal grandmother, so it came from both directions.
In recent years, I became complacent about food and weight, knowing I was not where I wanted to be, but not making change a priority. In late September, after seeing a few photos of myself in D.C., feeling a bit out of sorts and uncomfortable in my clothes, getting a question from my father about my health, and a motivating friend, I decided to focus on a healthy weight. I am now almost halfway to my selected goal weight, using Weight Watchers online tools and a NordicTrak. They are both awesome. As a technology person, Weight Watchers online is the perfect tool for me. I am a veteran Weight Watchers member and believer, having regularly attended meetings two previous times in my life. In 1998-1999, I reached goal weight by losing 35 pounds. WW veterans sometimes tire of attending meetings, so the online Plan Manager works great for me. I started WW this time almost 6 pounds higher than in 1998 – no wonder I was uncomfortable!
I enjoy food, especially excellent food. My mom is a fantastic cook and so was her mother. I sometimes envy people that only eat because they know their bodies need it to survive, not necessarily because they enjoy eating. That’s not me. Unfortunately for my points target, I adore bread, cheese, chocolate, and wine. I joke that these could be my personal 4 food groups. The second week of WW online, I calculated the points of Ghirardelli 60% cacao chocolate chips – 16 chips=2 points. They are great mixed in with Dannon Light and Fit Key Lime yogurt, also 2 points.
Farrell’s ice cream parlour was a favorite location for children’s birthday parties in my early years. It was a great place, especially the ice cream zoo that staff held above their heads, running around the restaurant, all the while a siren was blaring. They had an old fashioned candy store with licorice, jawbreakers, everything you could imagine at that time. I remember a number of birthday parties where I would eat so much ice cream that I would get physically sick when I got home. In current time, people might think I was lactose-intolerant, but I don’t seem to have any issues with dairy, except for a great fondness of cheese. I just didn’t hear my body telling me I had enough ice cream.
I was an active youngster, always running around the neighborhood with friends, but always roly-poly. I spent almost the entire summer between seventh and eighth grades at the YMCA’s olympic sized outdoor pool. I burned enough calories to drop a couple of swimsuit sizes. This was good for my health and my swim/dive coach was quite impressed. High school athletics kept my weight reasonable; but, of course, I was a teenage girl – never satisfied. I never had and still don’t have any type of eating disorder, but I do enjoy fabulous food. When and where I grew up, junk food was the norm. The food pyramid was the opposite shape it is today and McDonald’s wasn’t considered evil. Healthy food (vegetables, whole grains, etc.) was still called health food and it was difficult to find. My mother comes from a meat and potatoes family. We ate home cooking, along with Taco Bell, McDonald’s, and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Hostess and Nabisco were key food brands at our house. In retrospect, we didn’t eat enough vegetables and ate too many Oreos, too much fast food, and generally ate too large portions.
In my late teens, I remember my friend and I would get a box of Cap’n Crunch with Crunchberries, Tab, and perhaps some Ho Hos, and watch movies on the weekend. Toasted Italian Cheese at Carbone’s and Italian Fries by Tim were common social event food choices. If I had attended college somewhere other than the University of Minnesota, where walking to/from class is a day’s worth of aerobic activity, I might have been much more obese. Once I graduated, vanity kept my weight more or less under control.
One of the best WW concepts is to select truly favorite foods for indulgence and don’t deprive or deny yourself those foods. One or two bites is usually enough to satisfy. I found that true again yesterday, when my sister and I went to a coffee benefit for a local food shelter. One of the best cake businesses in town had tiny samples. My sister said they were awesome, so I tried both the pumpkin and the lime-coconut. They were awesome and I was satisifed. When presented with pumpkin brownies at a different booth, it was no challenge to walk away from them.