Still Stronger Than the Cookie: January 2021

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

I have struggled with my weight from childhood. In my adult life I have lost large amounts of weight at least three times and quickly gained it back. In June of 2020, I had a wake up call that started me on this journey toward health and weight loss. I wrote about it in the first post in this series, The Cookie Diary.

Over the last several months I have written one post a month to share the journey and my progress. I am not an expert, but am sharing my personal experience in the hopes that others will benefit. Although after the first month on my own, I have been following a specific program. I am not writing to promote that program or any other, because one size does not fit all.

I will say that I have learned a lot, and for the first time I feel that I can maintain the weight loss that I have worked so hard to achieve. I still think maintenance may be harder than the actual weight loss. However, this time around I have been pretty much eating normal foods, just less, and of course minus cake with frosting and cookies. I have continued for the most part on 1200 calories a day. I could eat cake with frosting, but that would eat up a large number of daily calories, so not doing that.

I have made slow and steady progress, much slower than some people would like. It is understandable to want to lose weight quickly, but I have averaged about 7 pounds a month. When I started back in June, it was not with the thought of losing as much as I have-45 pounds to date. I have taken this journey in 10 pound segments, the thought of losing 50 pounds or more would have been overwhelming. As of this writing, my final goal is only ten pounds away. Yay!

Stronger Than the Cookie?

After months of leaning on my daughter’s statement, “Mom! You are stronger than the cookie!” and months of focusing on healthier eating and intentional weight loss, I decided it was time, finally, to see if I was indeed “stronger than the cookie.” Not by eating them, but by making them and giving them away without eating any. One day it may be time to see if I can “eat just one.” But I am not ready to put myself through that challenge yet.

What was the challenge in making cookies for other people? Well, first, asking permission. I reached out to a friend and asked, “Do you mind if I make some cookies for the boys?” Another challenge, it may have been the first time in my life I made cookies to give away without sampling. Not one cookie, not one finger swipe of creamed butter and sugar crossed my lips. I wasn’t sure if I could do it.

I made two separate batches of cookies and did not eat any, but I was hungry while I was making them (I chose an alternate snack) and all the way through both batches I wasn’t sure I would succeed until the last crumb was swept away, the last bowl washed and dried.

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels

Cakes are a little bit easier, one isn’t likely to take a slice of cake out of the middle and frosting glue it back together before giving it away! No, I would not do that with a cake really, just talking about human temptation here and the ability to overcome it.

Cake with lots of frosting is one of my favorite food groups. I would always make the sacrificial bid to have a corner piece of cake, or cake with frosting flowers. But I have made my favorite chocolate cake recipe for church suppers and funerals countless times, knowing there would be a serving spoon or two of frosting that didn’t need to go on the cake.

Stress Eating

I have been an emotional eater for as long as I can remember. It has been one of the huge successes of my weight loss experience to stop using food for comfort and coping. Everyone’s life has stress, conflict and a host of problems. I am no exception. We were in the early days of COVID, we just didn’t realize it, when I began my journey to health. I am grateful to my coaches, my plan and my own resolve that I was able to negotiate the stresses without turning to food.

I have built in flexibility of my diet, but still keeping to 1200 calories a day, still slowly working my way toward my goal. But there were two days that caught my attention that I want to share.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Have a Plan in Place for Crisis Management

COVID hit our house, the first recognizable symptoms hit me on December 21st. I was very fortunate, in that my symptoms were mild, and in the beginning my husband’s were too. It certainly took the Merry out of Christmas, although our plans were modest. We bemoaned the fact that COVID ruined our vacation as we cancelled our reservations, but we thought we were just okay.

But then COVID really hit him and most of his underlying health issues. Less than twenty-four hours after his symptoms kicked in, I called the ambulance. Actually the doctor’s office did that for me. The Emergency Room discharged him that evening. I picked him up, he had something light to eat and went to sleep. Everything went downhill from there.

When I made the second ambulance call a few days later, the look on his face as they loaded him into the ambulance all but broke me; I hugged the doorjamb as I watched the ambulance take him to the hospital. And I did not just cry, I howled and of course I prayed. I decided that I was going to have ice cream for dessert, just a Dixie cup. I don’t think I used the words, “I deserve it, I need it, or this will make me feel better.” It was a deliberate choice of comfort food.

I know that doesn’t make me a bad or careless person, I am just sharing. They admitted him and I went to church the next day to do the service, because I hadn’t thought to ask for backup. After church I had a fast food lunch, carefully chosen, because I had to come home and get his glasses and dentures and take them to the hospital.

On the way home from the hospital I realized I was tired and very hungry and I got coffee and a toasted, buttery bagel from Duncan. It was delicious! That day I was definitely over my 1200 calories, but compromised by having scrambled eggs for supper.

Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

The next day I was ravenous, and that is when I knew it was stress and not genuine hunger. It was okay. It was reasonable. But all of the weeks and months of work, this was the hardest, and caught me by surprise.

Let me interrupt myself to say, that thankfully, my husband is home and recovering. I try to keep personal details of other family members to a minimum.

I share this story to say, have a crisis plan. Have some alternate choices, rely on your skills and knowledge and give yourself some grace. It is possible to get through a crisis without a weight gain, maybe not as realistic to expect to lose weight during a crisis, unless you are someone who cannot eat when things are going badly. I am 70 years old and that has only happened to me twice in my life and both times it was before 1971.

Something happened this afternoon, that sent me back to this post, that I wasn’t sure if I was going to share the post or delete it. I understand how easy it is to regain weight. Friends brought us some delicious food as a gift, and I may get away without cooking for the next four meals. But there were sweet, mini cornbread loaves included.

When it was snack time, I meant to reach for the string cheese, or an apple, but it was quicker grab the mini-loaf. In my defense, I cut it in half, so 120 calories instead of 240. I cut the half in half, thinking, I can do this a 60 calorie snack. It was sweet. It was an appetizer, I ate the other piece. That is how it can start.

So, a few suggestions before closing. If you are thinking of starting a weight loss program, research it well, talk to friends who have used the programs you are looking at, talk to your doctor.

Avoid fad diets.

Learn the difference between nutrient dense foods and foods with empty calories. I love donuts and there was a time in my life I could make a breakfast of three (yup) on my way to work. Empty. Calories.

Do your best to keep a wide variety of “go to” snack foods. If you are going shopping, and going to be out several hours, consider packing a bag lunch. It is hard to find a filling fast food sandwich that is under 500 calories.

Phone a Friend: This option can be helpful in a variety of situations. Know who will support your efforts and who is likely to try to sabotage them. I have been blessed with support from family and friends and many friends in the blogging community, in addition to my program coaches and my family doctor.

Have a plan and stick to it but on the days that you get overwhelmed, and go off your program, forgive yourself and get back on board, the next meal if possible.

One additional thought, that I know is going to continue to be important for me, and it may help you. Distinguish between special treats and daily snacks. There was a time I ate unmeasured ice cream every night until it was gone. That was how I got rid of it.

My cornbread mini-loaf half was a wake up call. I am close to my goal, I am stronger than the cookie, but very human and today the cornbread was stronger than me. Not because I ate the pieces I did, but because the taste of them makes me want more. But I will not.

Not holding back the tide,

Michele

Copyright 2021 Michele Somerville, The Beach Girl Chronicles and https://msomervillesite.WordPress.com

Linking up with Esme’s Senior Salon and Everyday Gyann’s #Monday Musings

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.

28 thoughts on “Still Stronger Than the Cookie: January 2021

  1. This is a very powerful post in many ways. But I just want to say that good nutrition is the most important thing we have (in my opinion) when it comes to staying healthy in our later years. I’ve learnt so much about nutrition over the last few years due to my cousin being diagnosed with cancer. It’s incredible what our body can do, and the best way we can honour it is not by eating donuts (those delicious but empty calories), but by eating a rainbow of fresh fruit and vegetables. The sweetness of fresh fruit and vegetables is all we need – and if we deny ourselves the donuts for long enough, eventually they will become much less important in our lives, and they will not taste as good as they used to. Keep up the good work, love your body and feed it appropriately, so it will love you in return.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Cheryl, for those life affirming words. I hope your cousin is well. I am working toward t hat day when I am totally satisfied with the sweetness of fresh fruit. I am not a great fruit eater, but I have branched out. And although I jokingly, but honestly confess my decades of bad habits, I do so for a couple of reasons. My hope is that if someone reads these posts who have struggled with weight and trying to be healthy, I want to convey that it isn’t easy but it is doable. because I haven’t lost my taste for those things that are not healthy for me, it is not unlike an alcoholic who continues to be an alcoholic, one day at a time. Although being said, I know that I am fortunate to have had the success at this stage of life. And it shows that it is not impossible, but it takes work. Thanks so much for your encouraging support. And I know you speak from your own experience as well as what you have learned with your cousin. Blessings, Michele

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hello Michele, my cousin is taking chemotherapy at the moment. He was given one to two years to live about 2.5 years ago. He’s doing ok but is still getting new tumors. I’m terribly worried but I do try to stay positive, and I tell him that I love him as often as possible. We all have struggles in life, but it’s thanks to our blogs that we realise that we’re not alone in our struggles. If we work hard and are disciplined, we can achieve almost anything – easier said than done, though! I’m so impressed at what you’ve achieved, you should be proud.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you for sharing about your cousin. I am sorry to hear about the new tumors, I don’t blame you for being worried, but wonderful that he has made it past the two year mark. I am so glad that you tell him you love him, that, my friend, is good medicine. Good for you. Thank you for your encouraging words and the sound nutrition advice. Blessings, Michele

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  2. First, I am so sorry that you and your dear husband had to deal with the COVID scare. I am glad he is at home and recovering.

    Good for you,. Michele. I like how you broke down your weight loss journey into smaller steps. I agree that when we look at a big undertaking, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and give up. One step at a time. Or in your case, 10 pounds at a time.

    I think you hit the nail on the head when you said you need to know the difference between a special treat and a daily snack. Even one 500 calorie ice cream cone will not affect your weight much at all (3500 extra calories = 1 pound) but eating that ice cream cone every night for 2 weeks is trouble.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Laurie. I a quite sure I came close to losing him. He is doing well, but COVID can have many long term affects and we are living it, but thankful. And you are so right about that ice cream cone. I love ice cream, but I also love my size 12 clothes. I actually put a large sweater back on the rack and bought the medium.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Michele, I’m sorry to hear you and your husband had to deal with covid-19. Your suggestions are sensible. Diet or not, we need to be kind to ourselves when a crisis happens. Your awareness brings you back to the healthy nutritional path. You’re stronger than the cookie. Thank yuo for sharing your story. #weekendcoffeeshare

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Natalie. He is a pretty tough cookie, pretty sure I came close to losing him. He got good care and has some resource of strength. that allowed him to bounce back. I am already thinking about strategies for summer. Such wonderful summer fruits are available and I don’t like any of them! Such an ingrate, but I do think I can compensate by leaning more into vegies at that time, and perhaps I can find a way to over come my dislike of some fruits or find ways to make them palatable. (I promise, dipping them in melted chocolate won’t be the answer, pretty sure it wouldn’t help anyway, lol. Thank you for your encouraging, affirming words.

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  4. Hi again, Michele, I added the comment again, yet I don’t see it so I switched servers (Chrome). The spam thing happens to me, too, sometimes. Random? I copy/pasted from a file. No problem at all.

    Hi Michele, You know I love your writing and I am delayed reading, since I want to make sure I savour and absorb your words.

    Your childhood photo is adorable. I can already see the twinkle in your eyes. You knew who you were and you will make a difference. (My interpretation)

    Ha, ha “one size does not fit all.” True words on many levels. Wow, 45 pounds to date. 2-5 pounds is a big deal especially when you keep it off.

    You recently shared with me how COVID hit your house. Darn! My heart goes out to you and your husband with all you went through. I can’t get through you post without tears. Nowadays, a very scary thing to have a loved one go to the hospital. I worked with a hygienist here in Victoria who was one of the first cases in B.C. To make a long story short, she and her husband did not think they would ever see each other again. This is about real people. Not statistics.

    I think I have mentioned to you before how I have been a roller coaster weight struggle all of my life. Then, a few things changed. I still go back to your initial wise words, Michele “one size does not fit all.” I appreciate your candid sharing of your journey. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for resending this to me, I appreciate it. our dedication to reading and commenting and taking the opportunity seriously are exemplary! I am so thankful for our friendship, as that is what I feel it has become, so I thank God for you. I am sorry to hear about your co-worker. I definitely understand. Roger is improving greatly, but he has ongoing issues from COVID and no one knows how long they will last. Nothing seems life threatening at the moment so that is very good. And we both think the world of our family doctor. She listens with her head and heart; medical knowledge plus compassion But you are right, real people, not statistics. Well, off to do dishes and go back over sermon notes, but I didn’t want to wait until tomorrow to respond to your thoughtful note. Best and blessings, Michele

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Michele, your words are so honest and heartfelt! You articulated what many of us go through and your insights are very true. It’s so important to note the difference between what we ‘want’ to eat as opposed to what we ‘need’ to eat. Thanks for sharing your story and I clearly remember your first ‘you are stronger than the cookie’ post, well done on being so close to your goal. Visiting from Natalie’s weekend coffee share.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much for those kind and affirming words. that wanting vs needing is an important distinction. I think after all these months. I am still learning to rethink what food is for! Enjoying the Coffee Share. Blessings, Michele

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hello, this was all so well said. Thanks for sharing. Oh, I clicked on around some and found that your Contact link above is broken. This has happened to me a few times when I was updating or changing things only to leave one link that goes no where. I’ve always appreciated when someone let me know and hope I’ve been helpful to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Gary, thanks for taking the time to read this post and comment and thank you for he information on my contact link. I have frequently had a problem with it, but I will take a look and try to reset it. Best and blessings, Michele

      Liked by 1 person

  7. MIchele, it was wonderful to met you and share a coffee today. I was sorry to hear about your husband ending in hospital with covid and being so ill. I don’t know whether he’s taking high dose vitamin C around 1000mg range. I have an autoimmune disease with lung complications and I caught pneumonia a few years ago, and it was nasty. The lung specialist told me my lungs wouldn’t cope with round 2. Olive Leaf extract is also helpful.
    I haven’t bothered with dieting for a very long time, although I try to exercise and I take my baking to our Church life group so I end up with an elegant sufficiency.
    BTW I like your idea of having a crisis plan. I have two teenagers and I think I’ve got one in place, but then two avenues of complication open up and they catch me off guard.
    Best wishes & God Bless,
    Rowena

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    1. I love your phrase “an elegant sufficiency” wonderful. Thank you for your god wishes and for taking the time to read and comment. Hoping you are able to stay well. I like the idea of “Church life groups” we don’t have any at present, but there are always informal groups and groups that have been together for a long time. Praying you stay well and well away from COVID. Blessings, Michele

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      1. My brother used to use that phrase as a smart Aleck kid. LIfe groups have been particularly important for me during coiv as my involvement in other groups has dropped off in particular. We went onlne via zoom while we were in lock down and could go into smaller breakaway rooms, which worked really well.
        One of my close life group friends likes the idea of doing life together too and it’s not just about the small group session either. We pretty much live that, which is really good. Makes such a difference.

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  8. Congratulations on getting close to your weight loss goal! For me, when I was pregnant I followed an eating plan to make sure I was eating enough food — but also healthy food that benefits both for me and the baby. The plan called for eating between 60-100 g of protein per day, 7 servings of fruits/veggies, 1000 mg of calcium, I believe 5-6 servings of carbs, and one serving of sweets. Following this eating plan was doable and I did not count any calories at all. It was the healthiest I’ve ever been and I continue to follow this plan even though I am not pregnant anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sticking with a plan that works for you is an important part of staying healthy. Often people like myself who lose weight and start gaining right away, likely anyhow, go right back to old eating patterns, they haven’t learned anything. I can eat chocolate cake with lots of frosting if I Want to, but I am learning not to want. When I put occasional treats back into my regimen, that won’t be on the list. I tell myself I have had that way to much, time to leave it in the past. Tonight, I planned for and am looking forward to a chocolate ice cream dixie cup and grateful that now, finally it will be enough. Thanks very much for reading the post and taking the time o comment. Blessings, Michele

      Like

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