#Stronger Than the Cookie: Baby Steps Forward

It is Mother’s Day in the United States, May 9, 2021. It has taken one month to lose the last two pounds. I have been hovering over my goal weight of 145, up and down the decimal points, for about a week and a half. One day 145.2, the next day 145.6, back down, back up, but I have stubbornly refused to call it goal until this morning; 145.0! Yipee! I know that water retention, metabolism and other things will keep that needle playing up and down as though it were a zither, but I have to declare it a goal achieved. With gratitude, relief and a tad bit of fear.

The fear may seem senseless, after working so long to achieve this goal, but sometimes it is there, looming like a monster in the dark. But checking under the bed, or behind clothes in the closet will not bring it out into the open. It has to be driven back by persistent, mindful eating and exorcised by talking back to the fear. Just because I failed to maintain a weight loss other times, does not mean I am doomed to gain the weight back this time. Achieving this goal is a cause for celebration, but not a cause for mindless eating.

I am moving ahead cautiously. The next few days I will stick between 1200 and 1300 calories. I know that I can eat anything I want. But I also know that one of the benefits of these last months of discovering a new palette is the subtle taste of sweetness that had been previously masked by the extra sugar of cookies, cake and large servings of rich ice cream.

Picture of cupcakes covered in white icing and coconut, meant to look like snowballs.
Snowballs, covered with frosting and coconut. Yum!

I love cake with frosting, lots of sugary frosting and my favorite moist chocolate cake that I have made for countless church suppers and funeral dinners is my all time favorite. Well, then there are those wonderful cakes with frosting flowers and a little bit of ice cream, give me a corner piece! But, no. I have decided to let them be a thing of the past and to treat them like an old boyfriend who never loved me as much as I loved him. The unrequited love of chocolate cake.

It is not that I will never eat cake again, but I hope I will continue to eat good foods and to make choices that make sense for me. There are some foods I am adding that might not make sense to others. I live in an area with a lot of maple syrup producers. Real maple syrup is more expensive than store brands or even national brands. It has more calories (200 calories vs 100+/- for a serving), but it also has lots more flavor, and no preservatives. Syrup is not a daily food but an occasional food. I chose the real thing, not the watered down version.

I have not sworn off chocolate, but the light flavor of a chocolate Dixie cup ice cream, every few weeks, or occasional homemade brownie bites are enough to satisfy my desire for chocolate. The same thing goes for my much loved cranberry scones. Occasional.

The almost daily foods I want to continue, I have not removed from my diet, only limited them. I love bagels, especially a certain brand and if a bagel and margarine put my breakfast calories at 300, I am fine with that. The same goes for my almost nightly treat of Colby jack cheese.

Picture of the author dressed in blue jeans blue and white striped shirt, standing a restaurant.
At goal, photo by Shane Hicks-Lee (55 pounds #strongerthanthe cookie).

Fresh fruits and vegetables continue to be a priority for me, and savoring food rather than inhaling it will continue to be important. In recent months in this process, I have limited, though not eliminated, highly processed foods, and foods that include sugar (like ice cream cups and brownies). I have also let go of condiments, shaving calories and choosing unadulterated taste over coverups.

All this might strike some as overthinking, yet I know it was mindless, emotional eating that got me to where I was, through much of my adult life.

I know that this side of my goal, I cannot figure out the whole path moving forward. These are baby steps. I plan to write once a month and fill in some details, and experiments, and to let you know how things are going. It is also a way of keeping myself honest and accountable.

Thank you to my family, but also my blogging connections and other close friends who have been so supportive of me in this journey.

With grace, I am #strongerthanthecookie

Not holding back the tide,

Michele

Copyright 2020-2024 Michele Somerville, The Beach Girl Chronicles and https://msomervillesite.WordPress.com

Linking up with Denyse Whelan #Life This Week, Esme’s Senior Salon and Natalie the Explorer’s #Weekend Coffee Share

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.

19 thoughts on “#Stronger Than the Cookie: Baby Steps Forward

  1. Congratulations, Michele! Treating cake “like an old boyfriend who never loved me as much as I loved him” — what a great perspective. I need to take many of these steps. I know, mentally, that if I consume less sugar, my taste buds will adjust eventually. But being willing to take the steps to get there…that’s my problem.

    I’ve just started doing something the last couple of weeks that I’ve had success with before. I started out designating one day a week as a no-sugar day. Except the first time, I got a little woozy–so I had a couple of Hershey’s miniatures with my morning (unsweetened) coffee). Then I increased it to a couple of days a week, etc., with the goal to eventually having more no-sugar days that not. It was going pretty well until a couple of family birthdays in a row and my son coming to visit, etc. I got off-track after that. But I am starting up again with one no-sugar day a week.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think having a plan that works for you is cruicial. It is one reason I have not “revealed” my weight loss plan specifically, but focused on the humanity and struggles that many of us go t hrough. Thanks for taking the time to read and share your experience too. Best and blessings, Michele

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations, Michele. You did it! I love how you describe cake as an old boyfriend who never loved you as much as you loved him! Perfect way to describe it! 🙂

    I did not know real maple syrup has more calories than “fake” maple syrup. I am totally with you on this one. Worth the splurge.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Laurie. Absolutely prefer the flavor of real maple syrup to the watered down versions many of us are used to. Thank you for your encouragement throughout this process and series of posts. Almost 11 months, from Mid-June 2020 to May 9th. Color me grateful!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations! That’s one massive achievement. I love how you’re now noticing and appreciating the natural (and sometimes more subtle) sweetness of certain foods once the heavy synthetic flavours are no longer masking the real stuff. Massive achievement.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Jo, I think one (the loss) and second (the noticing) are equally huge. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment and share t hose affirming and understanding words. Tonight I had m y first ever baked oatmeal and was surprised how good it was. Before this, I would have wanted to cover it up with cool whip or ice cream. Good taste, good flavors.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Anne. I appreciated my friend taking the picture, really tired of selfies, but not fond of having my picture taken either. Thank you for celebrating with me. Best and blessings, and rest! Michele

      Liked by 2 people

  4. How much you have achieved and how you have done it is testament to your mindset and resolve. What a woman. I so understand the ‘fear’ it will all come back. I have had to deal with that since having my mouth reconstructed. In doing what I can to avoid the judgement of the scale (it was getting ridiculous) and seeing the truth of what I look like now (overweight but not unhealthy) is gradually working. I have realised for me, there has been a lot of OLD lies being told and thanks to my husband and two GPs, I am no longer letting them own me.

    You look amazing by the way!! Some new clothes needed I think…I meant that I know what the end result brings..and to look good is to feel good. The photo is great.

    Thanks so much for linking up for Life This Week, reading the post on Knowing by my husband Bernard and for your kind words. He tells me, despite earlier thoughts, that he would like another go at this blog thing sometime this year. Looking forward to seeing your post for Share Your Snaps (optional of course!) next Monday, 17 May 2021. Denyse

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Denise, for taking the time to read the post and not only to comment, but to share part of your own experience. I am honored to be part of the community that meets in #Lifethisweek. The support of the blogging community through his journey of weight loss has been really helpful. I am glad that you have the encouragement and understanding of your husband and the GP’s. Good for Bernard for stepping up! Blessings to you Denyse, Michele

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  5. Congratulations, Michele, on achieving your healthy weight goal! You’ve worked hard for it so keep up your good work. Placing your lovely photo somewhere visible to you is a good daily reminder. Have a wonderful weekend! Thank you for linking with #WeekendCoffeeShare.

    Like

  6. Hi Michele!

    Congratulations on reaching your weight goal. That is such a feat. Losing weight (and maintaining it) is incredibly difficult and requires a change of behavior and eating choices. I totally agree with savoring food instead of inhaling it. I’m guilty of eating fast. I just love food!

    A change of diet is also habit and you get used to it, without missing the older items too much. Try to up the cocoa contents of your chocolate. Much healthier and you’ll get used to dark chocolate too. My favorite is 72%. My husband, however, prefers 85% cocoa.

    We rarely buy food with sugar, but we make our own desserts so we know what’s in it. Because of this, we don’t need as much sugar, so even when we follow a recipe, we cut the sugar part way down and don’t miss it. Also, we made brownies and such without frosting. Sorry! Still tasty, though and I don’t miss it as just the thought of all the extra gooey, sugary decorations make my stomach turn.

    I personally think that the best way to lose weight (for me) is to eat less. Except, I haven’t practiced that yet. We eat a plant-based diet with no processed foods and little sugar already, for health reasons. Not sure if this helps at all with weight loss, though… Keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HI Liesbet, thank you so much for your comment and taking the time to read the post. This has been a journey of love in many ways. I have tried to avoid substitutes to a degree. For instance, before when I worked at losing weight, I would eat sugar free pudding with cool whip, now I cringe at the thought of coolwhip and I would rather have an occasional brownie (homemade, but cut in half, lol) than the highly processed substitutes. Everyone has their own ideas and what works for them. But I have certainly gained lots of wisdom and support from the blogging community. So many of the people I follow are focused on healthy eating and living, exercise, etc. I am trying to build up a range of foods to eat that are healthy, so I don’t get bored, and right now that means eating new things. Where are you on grains? What, in your opinion is healthy? I have switched to making my own bread and prefer whole wheat, but trying not to get carried away, so trying to figure out amounts. Thanks again for your kind, encouraging words. Blessings for the journey.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Michele!

        Quinoa is by far the healthiest “carbohydrate” I know of and we always have a bag in our cupboard. But, it can be pricey. Other than that, we stick to whole wheat rice and pasta, with the occasional white rice, when we don’t have enough time to deal with the brown rice or when we have meals that scream for white rice, like risotto. 🙂 Sweet potatoes are much healthier than regular potatoes and they cook faster. They are also quite filling. One each would be plenty as 1/3 of our meal.

        We’d love to make our own bread, but when you live on the road in a van, this is impossible. We didn’t even have an oven the last six years. On our sailboat, we made our own bread, pizza, snacks… and granola, which my husband has figured out how to make on the stove.

        It is increasingly difficult to find affordable bread without sugar (with honey instead) and many other products are hard to find without sugar as well, like cereal and certain snacks. But, we have discovered what to buy where and make everything else or don’t eat it. 🙂

        I should probably write a blog one day about our food findings and healthy, plant-based diet. This all started seven years ago, after my husband was diagnosed with cancer at age 43 by the way… He now avoids soy, sugar, red meat, and processed foods. So I mostly do as well.

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