Indulgences (or eating what I want to eat)

I am very accomplished at following directions and rules. If you want something done and tell me that the way to accomplish it is done a specific way, I’m your go-to person. I will get it done. WeightWatchers (https://www.weightwatchers.com/us/) tells me how to lose weight – and they are spot on. It works. Period.

My challenge as I move forward on this journey is that I want to eat what I want to eat and that desire is getting stronger. I’ve moved through my version of resentment over what I feel are my designated food options and discovered that I truly don’t like how that feels. I also don’t want to be resigned that because my body is a certain way I shouldn’t deserve to eat joyfully whatever it is that I want to eat. I definitely see those foods that give me the most joy as my indulgences and I know that if I don’t eat them I will successfully lose weight, but I’m done with giving them up. There must be a better view of how I’m looking at this dilemma. The reality is that one way or another I am going to eat whatever it is that I want to eat. My solution now needs to be how can I do just that and continue to lose and then maintain my weight.

Thinking outside the box is not my typical first choice. That seems a bit strange seeing that I can excel at singing on stage and that is definitely considered a creative art. My creativity lies in my ability to express feelings musically with SOMEONE ELSE’S blueprint.

AHA! I just figured something out!! I don’t have to do this all by myself. People have different strengths and I can use their support to give me the blueprint and then I can make it my own. WeightWatchers is definitely my foundational blueprint, it always will be, but now I need more insight on how to add my joyful foods to my everyday existence.

My WeightWatchers leader and personal coach, Joanie C., guided me to discover my approach to pizza. I LOVE pizza. Making my own knock-off version of pizza does not satisfy me and definitely doesn’t give me joy. Here’s my pizza blueprint:

  1. Order a cheese pie for delivery
  2. Serve out ONE slice and cut it into 3 smaller slices
  3. Put the rest of the pizza in the refrigerator to cool down
  4. Eat the pizza with a side salad and glass of red wine
  5. Take the leftover pizza out of the refrigerator and vacuum seal each piece separately
  6. Put leftover pizza in the freezer.

Now for ice cream. In my WeightWatchers meeting room I listened to a fellow member talk about the amazing ice cream sundae she had made with 1/2 cup of ice cream, cut-up fruit, and fat-free whipped topping. She said it filled up her bowl and completely satisfied her. That sounded perfect to me, so I tried it. WOW! It came out to 4 SmartPoints and it joyfully hit the spot. I didn’t feel deprived so there was no side of resentment.

Then there are waffles. My husband, Mark, and I go out to our favorite diner regularly and I always wistfully look through the pancake and waffle section of the menu. I know they are delicious but I absolutely will NOT spend the quantity of SmartPoints I would need to use to eat them. Sigh. Enter Mudhustler from WeightWatchers Connect. (He’s also on FaceBook and Instagram. https://www.facebook.com/mudhustler/   https://www.instagram.com/mudhustler_official/?hl=en) And, enter the Big Ass Waffle!

Perfection – at 4 SmartPoints including the sugar-free syrup. Joyful.

Thank you to my blueprint creators. I’m using your creativity as part of expressing my own creativity in living my healthy life.

Snow Day!

I am a public school teacher. I am a 10-month employee. I have built-in vacations throughout the school year. And, I have snow days from time to time. Today is a snow day! Usually “the call” comes between 4:30 and 5:00 AM, today’s call came early last night. That is a definite treat. No matter how the unexpected (or sometimes anticipated) day off comes I always feel excited – like 9-year-old, clap your hands, and jump up and down excited. When the call comes in the morning it’s sometimes hard for me to fall back asleep. When the extremely rare night before call comes there’s time to prepare for the celebration.

In my past I would have loaded up on comfort foods, grabbed a good book and movie, slept in late, and stayed in my PJs all day. It would basically be a day of eating and not moving very much where I’d end up feeling a bit achy and sluggish.

My new snow day reality is a bit different. I still feel all the excitement, I hit up the grocery store for provisions, and I sleep a bit longer than I would on a normal work day BUT my food choices have surprisingly adapted to my personal health goals and I seem to be no longer capable of sitting still for long periods of time. When on earth did this happen to me?!

My grocery basket last night included bananas, celery & carrots, blue cheese, Frank’s Hot Sauce, BOCA crumbles, Halo Top ice cream, PB2, Quest bars, and a bottle of Diet Mountain Dew. Did I need everything I bought? Nope. But, I wanted options for making food on this snowy day. I’m seriously contemplating making Skinny Buffalo Chicken Strips (http://www.skinnytaste.com/skinny-buffalo-chicken-strips/) and Low Fat Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing (http://www.skinnytaste.com/low-fat-creamy-blue-cheese-dressing/) from http://www.skinnytaste.com – hence the celery & carrots, blue cheese, and hot sauce. The BOCA Veggie Ground Crumbles I like to have on hand for one of our favorite Weight Watchers recipes of Pasta with “Meat” Sauce (7 SmartPoints). I had my typical breakfast of a Shakeology protein shake with banana, but I did add a little something special with an Eggo Nutri-Grain Low Fat Whole Grain Waffle spread with PB2. As for the Halo Top ice cream, Quest bars, and Diet Mountain Dew? Total splurges of comfort. Will I eat them any or all of them today? Yes to the diet soda (and, yes, I know it’s really not good for me) but probably no to the other items. Right now I’m splurging on having a second cup of coffee with half-n-half – I’m methodical in measuring out 1 tablespoon for each of my cups of coffee.

I slept an extra 2 hours from my regular work day wake-up time of 5:00 AM. That felt wonderful! I also stayed in my PJs and leisurely prepared and ate my breakfast. Then, instead of heading for the couch and my warm blanket, I tidied up a bit and changed into my yoga clothes for my daily practice with Yoga with Adriene (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFKE7WVJfvaHW5q283SxchA). I feel awesome! When I’ve been sitting too long my Fitbit will buzz to remind me to get up and move, which I will do. I also see some serious shoveling in my near future. Of course I will mix this all in with reading (YOGA: Mastering the Basics – Sandra Anderson/Rolf Sovik, PsyD) and watching some Netflix (The Crown). All-in-all a lovely day.

I still have the excitement for snow days, but now I physically and mentally feel great after the day has ended.

Celebrate!

celebration cake

Hello, my name is Merrette and I celebrate with food. Special occasions and events scream, “Eat me!” to me. Seriously. I’m even a little excited just writing about it. Birthdays, weddings, goody days, holidays, family gatherings, post concerts and recitals, the first day of summer vacation, spring break, after an important task has been completed, visiting my childhood home – and so on, and so on.

I think very fondly on all that celebratory food. I love cake – or maybe mostly the frosting – and don’t even get me started on ice cream. Then there’s all the good old comfort foods from growing up, some of which I can only get when I’m back home. All those thoughts make me smile.

Then reality hits and I feel guilty for finding so much enjoyment in those foods. They certainly don’t help me realize my goals of healthy eating. And when did I begin to focus all those events on food?

Although I don’t know when it happened I believe I know why it happened. On the inside I feel shy and awkward, I always have. Some find this very surprising considering I sang opera professionally over a period of 10 years, but it is true. It has always felt easier to pretend to be someone else. When I was young I was painfully shy, I basically just wanted to disappear. Talking to people was definitely not my idea of a good time – not because of the people (mostly) but because I had no idea what to say or do. To this day I need to remind myself of proper social interaction, and it doesn’t come easily. What has always come easily is eating. Food is my friend and occupies me when I’m not sure of how I should be interacting with people. After all, if your mouth is full you really shouldn’t be talking.

Hmmm. I guess it’s time for me to rethink my approach to eating when I’m celebrating. There are so many layers to it – the food itself, the quantity of food, the event, and the socialization associated with the whole shebang. The socializing is the part that scares me the most, but I can now see that my fear triggers me to eat – that’s no good and it really doesn’t make that much sense. Whether I feel it or not it’s time for me to fake it ’til I make it.