Every Darn Day

A friend recently paid me a compliment.  She congratulated me on “figuring things out” regarding eating, exercise and weight maintenance.  While I am appreciative of how she perceives my existence, it has nagged at me.

Before I lost weight, I distinctly remember having friends or acquaintances who slimmed down, and thinking that they had broken through to the “other side.”  You know, the side where you just have it figured out, where you magically are able to balance what you eat with how much you exercise, where you know when to stop eating and where you’re not tempted by sweets and treats.  I remember being quite envious of their newfound enlightenment and wondered if or when my time would arrive.  (Trust me, I begged and pleaded with my own brain to figure it out.)

The fact of the matter is there is no “other side.”  There is no magical enlightenment that happens that allows me to effortlessly make sound decisions.  Even though I have maintained my weight loss for nearly 3 years, it’s still requires effort.  It requires effort every day… every single day… every single darn day.

But what’s the alternative?  The alternative is to be somewhere I’ve already been, and somewhere that I’ll hopefully never return.  Thanks to a friend who traveled this same road 13 years earlier, from nearly the beginning, I had the understanding that this is a life-long journey.  If weight loss and maintenance has an end point (i.e. a goal weight), limited success is possible, but life-long success is unlikely.

The point of this post is that I know and accept that this will require work every day of my life.  Though I do it for myself, I also do it for these munchkins, two of three pictured here.

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Yes, some days, weeks or months might be harder, some will be easier.  And in a twisted way, I enjoy it.  I enjoy learning new things, challenging myself and talking with friends about our collective journey.

Is it work?  Yes.

Is it worth it?  Absolutely!

I wouldn’t change a thing.

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Weight Watchers Works

Not that I didn’t already know that.  A new study published by the Annals of Internal Medicine reviewed various commercial diets.  Their results found that, according to their standards, two plans worked:  Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig.

The only real problem that I have with their study is calling Weight Watchers a diet.  It’s a LIFESTYLE.  Really.

Today Show coverage of the story.

A Tiny Tin

I have a friend who makes a dangerously delicious Christmas treat.  Its addictive qualities those of Doritos or Oreos.  Last year, she was kind enough to bring my family a large tin.  (I’m pretty sure I ate more than my fair share.)

The topic of her signature treat came up in conversation a few weeks back and I jokingly asked her to keep it far, far away from me this year.  Taking to heart my blog title, she brought me “just a dot, not a lot.”  What a thoughtful friend!

In the end, it was the perfect amount.  Not too much, not too little and most importantly no deprivation.  Hats off to moderation!

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Handy Apple Chart

With all of the varieties available, shopping for apples can sometimes be overwhelming, especially when you need apples for a certain purpose.  Today, while grocery shopping, my store was doing an “apple tasting” and handing out these charts.  Handy!

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Apples are now in season.  In addition to tasting delicious, buying in-season produce is an easy way to save at the check-out, since supply and demand tells us that what’s more abundant is usually priced lower.

Especially in the fall, I eat at least one apple a day.  My favorite varieties for snacking are:  Honeycrisp, Jazz and Pink Lady.  (I sampled the Cameo apples at the grocery and they were pretty good, too!)

Note: Of course, for Weight Watchers followers, fresh fruit is 0P+.

 

A little *is* a lot!

Recently, I’ve heard several people putting themselves ever-so-slightly down.  Comments like, “I’ve been good all summer and I’ve only lost 7 pounds.”  The comments have come in various forms, but the gist is the same: whatever weight they’ve lost isn’t enough or isn’t fast enough.

So why the picture of popcorn kernels?  Simple.  That bag of bulk kernels is heavy.  Like, really heavy.  If I had to lug that around with me all the time, I would definitely feel encumbered and it would make me grouchy.  (Actually, I did carry that bag around with me this morning and it was a burden.)

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How much does that bag weigh, you ask?  Seven pounds.  Seven really heavy pounds.

I took that bag of popcorn with me to my Weight Watchers meeting this morning as a “show and tell.”  When a woman received accolades for passing the 15 pound lost mark, she lamented that it took her a year to do so.  That was the perfect timing to bring out the kernels.  When she held the bag and realized that she had lost more than TWO of them, hopefully she realized what an accomplishment that is!

As the bag was passed around, the comments were: wow, oh my!, that has to be more than 7 pounds… and so on.  Nope!  It’s “only” 7 pounds.  And 7 pounds clearly a significant amount of weight on your body.

Remember that this is a journey and there’s no hurry to make it to the destination.  Whether it be 7 pounds, 5 pounds, 3 pounds or even one single pound.  That is a lot!  And just as importantly, it’s movement in the right direction.  Instead of being down about how little it is or how long it’s taking you, be proud that you’re making positive changes and moving forward!

Now please excuse me while I go sit down with the kids and a bowl of delicious stove-top-popped gourmet, white hulless popcorn to watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.  And if you’re curious, a 1/4 of kernels, popped in 1 tsp of coconut oil, makes a about 6 cups of popcorn.  Drizzle it with 1 tsp of melted butter and the whole treat is only 5P+!

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Go Blue!

In case you hadn’t yet heard, blueberries are (right now) at their peak. That means (right now) is the time to invest a (very little) effort, so that you’ll be able to enjoy these delicious and nutritious berries for months to come.

Freezing blueberries is a great way to preserve them. Frozen blueberries are quite versatile. They can be eaten straight out of the freezer for a cold treat. They can be thrown into a blender for smoothies. They can even be used for baking. (Think: homemade pancakes.)

By looking around, you may be able to purchase larger quantities of peak blueberries.  For example, my grocery sells 5-pound boxes and the farm stand that I frequent currently has 10-pound boxes.  So far this year, I’ve frozen 10 pounds, which equaled about two gallon zip-top bags.  (I plan to freeze another 10 pounds this weekend.)

You can either wash the berries before freezing, or you can wash after freezing but before using. I choose to wash them before freezing, because 1) I like to get the “work” over with and 2) I’m afraid that adding another step later would deter me from grabbing them as often.

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How to Freeze Blueberries:

  1. Rinse them in a colander and gently shake away excess water
  2. Spread onto a kitchen towel; discard any stems or damaged fruit
  3. (Optional) Cover with a second kitchen towel for a few minutes to absorb water from the tops
  4. Allow to air dry 15 – 30 minutes, until mostly dry
  5. Transfer to parchment-lined, rimmed baking trays and place into freezer
  6. After fruit is firm (not necessarily frozen solid), move to a zip-top freezer bag
  7. Put in freezer to enjoy later

That’s all there is to it!  It really is *that* easy.

Here are a few tips:

  • Set a timer to check the freezer beginning at around 30 minutes; leaving the berries in too long may cause them to shrivel a bit
  • Stand the zip-top bag up in the colander to keep it from tipping as it’s filled
  • Form a funnel with the parchment paper, to quickly transfer frozen berries to the bag
  • If you have a deep freezer, your blueberries will stay beautiful well into the winter… maybe even until spring

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Go Blue!

 

 

A little help from my friends

Since the beginning of summer, I’ve managed to gain a few pounds, which has put me at the top of my new “comfortable” range. It’s time to get back to business before ‘a few’ pounds turns into ‘a few too many.’

Today was the day that our daughter has been looking forward to for the past couple of weeks. Her friend’s 5th birthday party.  Given that birthday cake with frosting is one my favorite splurges (and a major weakness), I decided it was wise to enlist some willpower help from two of my friends who would be at the party.

In the morning, the group text went something like this:

  • Me: Can’t wait to see you at the b-day party this afternoon. Keep me honest… no birthday cake for me.
  • Friend 1:  You got it.  See you in a bit.
  • Friend 2:  I sure will.

Just putting that out there solidified my willpower.  There was no additional reinforcement necessary, though we did joke about it at the party.

Instead of being filled with a double-layer, frosted treat, my plate looked like this.  Willpower tasted better than any birthday cake would have.

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Sometimes you just need a little help from your fiends.  Thanks, girls!