#Stronger Than the Cookie~ The Journey Continues

It is September 16, 2020 and I am happy to share that I am three months “Stronger than the Cookie, stronger than cake slathered in icing and chocolate candy from the checkout.” If you want to know why this is sharing and not bragging, let me tell you. No where in that statement does it say I no longer desire those things. That might qualify as brag worthy; no, I am simply happy to share it because I am amazed and grateful. It is slow going but 3 months in, I am 20 pounds lighter and still determined.

I wish it was more, but it is true that the older you get, along with other factors, your body works very hard to maintain your weight and losing it is more difficult. Yet avoiding the “near occasion” of things covered in frosting does help.

I am pretty sure I have previously confessed to being a picky eater, from childhood. I am still a picky eater, though I have grown up some. Let me explain. I like Navel oranges, not other kinds. I prefer Macintosh apples and I think that Delicious apples are not. In fact that is what I call them “Not delicious.”

I like to decorate food with strawberries, especially cakes. If there is enough whipped topping I can eat some strawberries, but even a vat of melted chocolate to dip the strawberries in, is not enough enticement for me. I will eat strawberries if there is a sufficient amount of syrup on top of a Belgian Waffle, and strawberry jam is just fine. See what I mean? Picky. Not proud, just confessing.

Boarding School

I went to a boarding school from seventh grade through tenth grade. It wasn’t a luxury school, the nuns saw to our good behavior and we washed dishes, set the tables, and took turns going into the kitchen to bring out the serving bowls and platters. My favorite part? Bread, butter and dessert with every dinner, and dessert with every lunch. And, Sister Mary’s Candy Corner every afternoon. Sister Mary had a large, locked, grey metal cabinet in the corner of the dining room and it was filled with candy, all manner of candy bars. Every day after school, we could buy as much candy as we wanted for a quarter a piece. It is not Sister Mary’s fault that I didn’t have any will power. It is lucky for me that Sister Mary does not live here!

These are the habits I am working very hard to unlearn. And it is happening, bit by bit. One year ago I went on a very special vacation. I stayed in a rental unit with a kitchen, so I could prepare some meals to balance the restaurant meals I wanted to eat (Pizza and seafood). I used frozen dinners, I did not want to spent an unnecessary minute cooking when I could be doing other things, like writing, walking on the beach, drinking in the view etc.

But I also planned my snacks, and they were of the ice cream, pop tart, and sugary variety. This year as I return, ice cream and cookies are not on the shopping list. Instead, I will be taking along low-moisture part skim mozzarella string cheese, unsweetened applesauce, oranges or some apples, some green vegetables and peanut butter. I am committed to this because I still want to eat pizza and seafood.

You might wonder what is so special about pizza, when you can get it pretty much anywhere? It is a good question, with a sentimental answer. The pizza place in question is less than one block from the former hotel, bar and restaurant that my parents owned, and where we lived. It’s not my mother’s pizza. But there is something about the location, the atmosphere and the food that is enough to draw me in: pizza with toppings and sentiment.

Say “Cheese!”

I have to add a cheese story here. When I talk about following an eating plan that fits my life, I like cheese. My husband and I typically have a cheese snack every night. I suppose it can get boring because often times I choose Colby Jack Cheese. it works for me, a one ounce square, though I often want more.

Today I had some errands to run and it was kind of a “keep moving day.'” Before leaving the house I grabbed two servings of string cheese, and ate them in the car on the way to my destination. That was to help me avoid making a serious mistake of the cookie variety. If you get too hungry, it can be easy to make poor decisions. Driving down the road listening to the radio, and nibbling on string cheese, I remember thinking, “This is delicious!” When did that happen? I know that for me, the more I eat foods with a high sugar content, the more I want them and only them. Is it possible that sugar and empty carbohydrates, dulls our receptivity to other foods?

Whether it is every day eating, or eating on vacation, having a plan is crucial. I generally gain about 5 pounds on vacation, but this time potato chips will not be on the menu. I still need to think through carbs, because anything bread, or breaded still appeals to me. Soft bread; fresh out of the oven bread, thick bagels, rolls on a restaurant table with honey butter all require deep thought, but I still operate on autopilot on occasion.

I am working with a program, but like before, I am not writing to promote a program, simply sharing the journey. I hope some of this makes you laugh, while I cringe in the confessional. But I hope it also helps you to see what is possible. I am 70 years old (still shocked by that) and I am not too old to learn, or to change, or to get healthy.

Learning Goals

I love water, if we are talking about my favorite Canal, or beach, or the ocean. But drinking water? I would still rather have mine sweet: hot coffee or iced tea. Still working on that learning curve. Water would be better, but it is seldom my first choice.

The Cape Cod Canal on a beautiful fall day

I eat too fast. While I have done a reasonably good job about being mindful of what I eat, of my food choices, once I have made the decision, I often forget to savor the food. I have even noticed this with ice cream. My treat of choice during these past three months has been an occasional soft ice cream cone. Yet each time, when I finished, I wondered why I bothered, it was gone so fast.

Those are two reasons why this is a journey, and a marathon. For most people who need to lose weight, we want it off fast; I do too, but I want to do this right. For me more than ever, this is not a diet, it is re-forming my eating habits and food choices.

I have been working intentionally to chose foods for every day that I can live with, not special foods to help me lose weight. I find myself eating fewer prepackaged foods and choosing to snack rather than to graze. I know that there are some foods I will put back into my diet when I have achieved my goals, but I will be choosy.

For instance, I miss my nightly Colby Jack Cheese fix, right now I have it several nights, but not every night. I like peanut butter and sometimes if I am hungry, a tablespoon of peanut butter is enough to push away the hungries. I do not know if I will be able to return to my favorite “fluffernutters” or not. (Marshmallow Fluff and peanut butter sandwiches, preferably on soft bread with a cold glass of milk)

Ice cream twice a month, but not nightly. The rest will reveal itself as I continue to work at this. I have met my first goal of twenty pounds, and have pushed that goal back by ten more pounds. Because we shrink as we age, I am 3 inches shorter than I was in my thirties, and that pushes my ideal weight well below a number that I am interested in achieving. But I am not thinking thin, just thinking healthy. When I get to my next goal of ten more pounds, I will move it down by ten pound degrees and do another reset.

My doctor is happy with my progress and determination. I love the fact that my size 2x jeans are baggy and that I have a new (on sale of course) size 14 dress in my closet that fits. I get hungry in between meals, but not ravenous.

Photo by Engin Akyurt from Pexels

Lessons learned

I travel a lot by myself, first for school, and also conferences and other work related events. I have joked for years that I know the location of every fast food restaurant along any normal itinerary. I get tired driving and my “go to fix” for that has generally been fast food chocolate chip cookies. You know what I am talking about right? Especially when they give them to you hot out of the oven and you don’t burn your tongue, but you end up licking melted chocolate off of your fingers? Now I am learning to pack a lunch and some extra snacks. It is working.

I am taking this journey to health seriously and one step at a time, maybe two. I am not altruistic. Do not think for a minute I want to learn to make healthy choices and not lose weight. I want to lose the weight, but I am serious about the health. I am learning, sometimes with every meal what works for me and what does not. Right now that is enough.

When I get to the place where I feel like I have this, I need to invest some serious time in learning about (1) sugar addictions and (2) fats, oil, cholesterol. I think those things will help me make more informed decisions. Now, I am making good choices, but not necessarily understanding why they are good. But for right now, I am also working on not getting overwhelmed. I am focusing on mindful eating, thoughtful choices and maybe the next dress can be a size 12. One meal at a time, one step at a time.

#Stronger Than the Cookie

Not holding back the tide,

Michele

Copyright 2020 Michele Somerville, The Beach Girl Chronicles and https://msomervillesite.WordPress.com

Published by msomerville2014

About: Michele Somerville is a wife, mother, stepmother, grandmother, sister, aunt, cousin and friend. She lives with her husband and their dog Sheba. Sheba is their fourth rescue dog in 30 years. She is a retired ordained United Methodist Elder and serves two churches part-time in North Central Pennsylvania. She obtained her Bachelors’ Degree in 1999 from Mansfield University and her Master of Divinity in 2004 and Doctor of Ministry in 2016, both from Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, New York. My Doctor of Ministry Thesis was:” Prophetic Words of Grace: Biblical Storytelling in the Local Church.” Michele began writing and performing character monologues for worship in 2008. She began by asking the question about nameless characters in the Bible, “What would they say if they could speak for themselves?” and then using her theological education and experience of the human condition to attempt an answer that is both academic and creative. Much of what you will read here are memories from growing up in a tourist town, in a bar, in the 1960’s, shaggy dog stories about our rescue dogs, life in a small town, and stories of faith and hope. Throughout her life she has lived in many states, including small towns, large towns and cities. She lived in Rota, Spain, for nine challenging months. Despite all the places she have lived since moving away from home in 1970,Michele is at the heart of all things Jack and Maggie’s daughter, and a beach girl from Onset, Massachusetts.

13 thoughts on “#Stronger Than the Cookie~ The Journey Continues

  1. Good for you, Michele! You know I am with you on the no-sugar train. Not willingly but right there with you. My treat of choice this summer has been ice cream too, but I choose hand-dipped rather than the soft serve. I think you are right – sugar is an addiction, just like alcohol or smoking can be. The more sugar I eat, the more I want to eat.

    I can’t believe that when my kids were young, I used to make a sugary dessert for every dinner! That was a habit I had to unlearn. Now I eat a few grapes or strawberries in season, and I am good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Laurie. I will tell you that I am doing NOOM, but I am serious about not wanting to write to promote a specific program. I like NOOM and feel hopeful about what I am learning. As of today, I am not at a weight I have not seen since 2009,more to go and then there is that Sugar addiction to learn about at tackle. I am not a big fruit fan, as I have said, but I have made friends with grapes and oranges and apples and some vegies. For years I had health coaches through my insurance talk about making a commitment to eat more, that 5 fruit/veg a day thing but I never could do it. But it is happening. I will probably keep writing these once a month for a while, until I run out of things to say. I wrote to the folks at Plimouth Plantation to request permission to use some of their photos of the Mayflower II, so that post is still just waiting to be edited. Huge work commitment in the next 30 days so I am going to read as much as I can but skip link parties for a few weeks.

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  2. I was so glad to read your continuing story of the battle with the cookie. Kudos to You! 20 pounds takes a lot of work and sacrifice! I admire your journey and the way you are doing it, trying to reframe your thinking. I always wonder if I could ever get to a point where I didn’t want ice cream or carbs and I doubt it. iI do know that the less I have them, the less I crave them. And cheese? I was born to eat cheese and my family had it at every meal. My grandfather was a cheesemaker. I love my cheese. Fortunately, I do like part skim string cheese which is a somewhat better option. Like you, the key is to give in, but not every day! Keep going, you are doing a great job!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Michele. It is certainly a journey and one about making choices. I am pretty sure I will never get to the place where I don’t want carbs, but am determined to tackle this sugar thing. DOwn 2 more pounds since i wrote the post, and lots more to go, but just taking this 10 pounds at a time. I miss my colby jack cheese and want to get back to having it nightly, but not yet, and as you say, the string cheese is a helpful option. I am doing NOOM and liking it, the first month was on my own but then I wanted something to follow. My plan is to continue to document the “cookie-less” journey once a month. Cookies may come back, but in the current mode, of making choices, trying to choose wisely, I do not want to spend my calorie allowance on choclate anything. Heading home sometime next month and I want all the fried and broiled seafood I can get! See what I mean, Choices. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on this post. Administratively, this is a busier time than Christmas (you know, pastors’ busy season, lol) so I am not getting much writing down in t he process of meeting deadlines. Blessings for the journey, Michele

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations on the weight loss and healthy changes! I’m starting on this–a recent hospitalization reinforced the need to lose weight and eat healthier. It’s encouraging to know that you do start enjoying the healthy snacks after you get used to them. I know what you mean about chocolate chip cookies warm from the oven–I love Chick-Fil-A’s, but haven’t had any in months. I need some ideas for non-sweet snacks. I usually have some chips mid-afternoon, but need to change that. Not a great fan of cheese unless it’s in or on something else. I did get some granola. I’m told nuts are good in moderation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know from reading my post I am a picky eater. I miss out on all the good summer fruit, because I don’t like it. I am trying to fill in though with seedless green grapes, navel oranges and apples, but not eating an apple every day. Those choices work for me and help to fill in the gaps. So much depends on taste and nutrition. if there is anyway I can encourage you or be a prayer partner for you in this I am willing. Blessings, Michele

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well done, Michelle. There are some good alternatives to sugar like jaggery and palm sugar – I need a little sweet in my coffee and tea.
    I’m certain sugar addiction is something that doesn’t get the attention it deserves and that food manufacturers are make sure it stays that way.

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