Why it’s a good idea to weigh yourself every day

Good morning, everyone! Yes, it’s Monday again, and time for the weekly weigh-in. Ready? Here we go!

184.4
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Hmm, let’s see … last week, it was 183.6, so I’m up 0.8 pounds. Should I be concerned?

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Nah, definitely not! And here’s why: even though I only post my WEEKLY weigh-in here on this blog, I’ve been weighing myself DAILY for quite some time. I can tell you from personal experience that it really does make a difference in how you deal with these minor weight fluctuations. And it’s really easy to do, too. I just buy these cheap-y magnetic pads and write my weight on it every morning before breakfast.

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See how it started out at 183.6, then went up a little, down a little, etc.? Chances are excellent that tomorrow, and/or later in the coming week, it’s gonna go down again. Ever heard the old saying, “God writes straight with crooked lines”?*

crooked.jpg

Well, weight loss is kinda the same way! Once you start keeping yourself in a calorie deficit (by whatever method works for you), the weight WILL start going in a downward trend. It’ll take some time, and there’ll be some ups and downs and zigzags along the way ’cause, well, we’re humans, not machines!

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So don’t let those little fluctuations get to you. Just keep doing what you know you should be doing, and have faith* in the process — it’ll work! Just keep at it!

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Have a great week, everyone!

*oh, and even though, as I’ve said before, this isn’t a religious blog, I personally don’t think I would have been able to do this without God’s help, so sue me! I could use the publicity, nyuk nyuk!

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Rhymin’ Weekly Weigh-in: EPISODE 4 (the only good one): A NEW H̷O̷P̷E̷ GOAL!

Good morning, everyone, and Happy Monday! Well, it was exciting last week, huh? Seeing those numbers FINALLY roll over the 50-pound mark, and hitting that major goal, was definitely a big rush. So whaddya say? Is it time to set a NEW goal and generate some MORE excitement? I think so!

sw new goal

But of course, first things first – it IS Monday, after all. Let’s just step on the ol’ scale and see if all that celebrating last week took me back into the ’90s. Hang on …

188.4
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0.6 pounds down, so not too shabby! Especially since we were in charge of providing snacks for the after-church coffee social yesterday, and I gave in to the temptation of buying a can of piroulines.

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The whole point of us bringing in the treats was to give ourselves some lower calorie options, as opposed to the usual Church Donuts. Well — one serving (2 piroulines) is 130 calories, and I’m pretty sure I had WAY more than one serving! So I probably wound up having about twice as many calories just from those as I would have had from that lowly donut!

ironic

Oh well, I did what I always do in those situations:

keep calm

Which is fine — after all, that’s the beauty of counting calories, right? You can eat anything you want, as long as you stay inside that magic number! Just be sure to recalculate your daily calorie needs as you lose weight. If you stop losing and you want to keep losing, you may have to either cut your food calories or raise your activity level.

Anyway, enough diet wisdom! How ’bout that new goal, as promised in the headline?? OK, here goes! My NEW goal — now that I’ve lost 50 pounds before my 60th birthday — is to lose an ADDITIONAL 30 pounds by Christmas (with the option of extending it to Orthodox Christmas, which, in case you didn’t know, is January 7th)!

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Why 30 pounds? Well, for those who pay attention to this blog, or at least check the little widget over on the right, I actually started my weight loss efforts in 2016, a year before starting this blog.

That first year (2016-17), I lost 20 pounds. This year (2017-18) I’ve lost 50 pounds. So, doing the math (carry the one … what? no one? lemme see … hang on …)

OK, OK! Well, anyway, 20 plus 50 = 70, right? And 70 plus 30 is 100, right? SO I figure 100 pounds is a nice round number to shoot for.

So there ya go! A new goal, a new target, a new hope! Have a great week, and remember: —
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Friday Five – Wacky Diet Ideas!

 

 

Happy Friday, everyone! Today I thought it might be fun to look at some diet ideas that:

  • sound like they should work, but don’t in real life;
  • sound like they SHOULDN’T work, but actually HAVE, in real life; and
  • silly ideas that no one I know has tried, but sound like fun.

Ready? Let’s strut some stuff!!

  1. This Should Work. Why Doesn’t It Work? When I was a kid, a friend of my parents — let’s call her “Mrs. Bea Goode” — a school psychologist or something, suggested I try a “simply marvelous!” behavior modification trick she’d picked up somewhere (probably on TV): surround yourself with a whole bunch (“oodles and oodles!”) of all the foods you simply LOVE to snack on — more than you think you’ll ever actually need — and keep them right out in the open, where you can get them any time you want. According to Mrs. Goode, the reason we eat too much is because, way down deep inside our little caveman brains, we’re terrified of being deprived. Once our brain realizes there’s MORE than enough food around, we’ll relax, and not eat so much. And cavemen had it goin’ on, right?
    download
    Well, after a week of scarfing down every last Taco Flavored Dorito and Li’l Debbie Snack Cake my mom had brought home, we decided there was probably a flaw in that idea somewhere, namely that having enough to keep MY little caveman brain satisfied might require taking a second mortgage on the house. So it didn’t last long. But boy howdy, was that a fun week for me!

  2. The Tapeworm Diet. Yeah, people actually did this, and apparently still do it today, the sillies! You swallowed the tapeworm (ugh), which took up residence in your tum-tum and ate all the food you sent down.
    i-25fb0330dba1c3a503b7245a047d6d58-tapeworms
    Moe and Curly did a routine about it in “Punch Drunk” (1934):

    Turns out tapeworms aren’t really that good for your overall health. Who’da thunk it?
    tapewrom

  1. The Twinkie Diet. This is the one that SOUNDS like it should kill you, sorta like the Cigarette Diet.
    cig

    but it actually DID result in weight loss for a guy named Mark Haub, a professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University!
    twinkie1

    According to aworkoutroutine, Professor Haub

    …went from eating 2600 calories per day (his estimated maintenance level) to eating about 1800 calories per day instead. He just so happened to get the majority of those 1800 daily calories from the most junky foods you can think of.

    and those junky foods consisted of

    …Twinkies, Little Debbie cakes, Doritos, [hey, wonder if he knew Mrs. Bea Goode?], Oreos, sugary cereals like Corn Pops and other equally crappy foods that are all highly processed, lacking in nutritional value, loaded with sugar and “bad” carbs, high in “bad” fat, contain trans fat, and possess other similar traits that are common among typical “junk food.”

    And he lost

    …27lbs in 2 months and reduced his body fat percentage from 33.4% to 24.9%.

    Why? Simple – because he ate fewer calories than he burned. That’s how you lose weight. That’s how I’m losing weight.

    Now, nutrition counts, too, so no one (including Mark Haub) is recommending this is a regular way of eating.
    twinkie2
    He did it just to prove a point: calories DO count!

  1. The NBC Diet. Now, this one (and #5) are diets my husband and I came up with, in one of those conversations that just gets sillier and sillier till one of you gets tired and wanders into the kitchen for a snack. But hey — it SOUNDS good! And not too much different, in theory, from Mark Haub’s diet. Here it is (drum roll please!):

    The NBC Diet – Nothin’ But Cheese!
    chez
    Mmm, I could do that, couldn’t you?

  1. After You! And of course, there’s the ever-popular “After You” diet, for couples. First one in the house after getting home from work, church, etc. has to cook supper.
    car
    “After you!”
    “No, YOU get out first!
    “No, YOU!”
    “Hello, police? Our neighbors have been sitting in their car for three days!”

That’s your Friday Five! Have a great weekend! I’ll be back bright and early on Monday, struttin’  my Weekly Weigh-in – let’s see if a weekend of “NBC” results in a gain or a loss!

One Year From Today – The Official Beginning!

Okay (deep sigh) – here we go:

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This is me – today – on my 59th birthday (looking like Gordon Cole’s female tulpa, if you ask me!).

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My current weight is:

235.6

One year from today – September 2, 2018 – God willin’ and the creek don’t rise – I intend to have lost 50 pounds, so my goal weight is (drum roll, please):

185.6

(Oh heck, let’s just round it down to 185, shall we? I’ve always hated fractions.)

fractions.jpg

I’ve always hated fractions.

Of course, I secretly hope to lose way more than that and be in bikini-body shape. But realistically, that probably ain’t gonna happen!

So – here we go! I’m really looking forward to continuing to share my thoughts, struggles, diet reviews & rants, workout issues, and other fun stuff with you over the coming year.

Thanks a ton for reading, and following, my blog!

(And oh, one more thing: if you’ve got any spare change at all, please consider donating some of it to the American Red Cross, to help the good folks in Texas. They need all the help they can get – thank you!)

How about Monday?

I’ve been thinking about which day of the week to do my “official” weigh-in, for purposes of this blog.

In the past, when I was attending Weight Watchers meetings (yeah, I did that too!), it was Saturday morning. I liked that, because then I basically had a whole weekend to pig out before starting fresh Monday morning.

Now, though, I’m tending to pig out a lot less, but when I do, it’s usually Sunday. Can’t resist those church donuts – mmm …

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Since I began this latest version of “My Weight Loss Journey” (and if I ever say it like that again, please feel free to smack me!), I’ve been weighing myself five days a week – Monday through Friday – then averaging those together to enter on My Fitness Pal.

journey

But now I’m thinking, why not make Monday my official Weigh-in Day? Here’s some more or less good reasons:

1. Since I’m no longer working in a crappy little cubicle, in a crappy little office, doing crappy, depressing work, Mondays are no longer the crappiest day of the week for me. I need something to bring back that crappy “I Hate Mondays!” feeling, so my burgeoning legions of readers will sense that I still understand them, as I rocket off into blog stardom. (less good)

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2. Since Sunday tends to be the day I’m most likely to pig out (reminder: church donuts!), Monday is the day my weight is at its highest, so perhaps it’ll give a more accurate picture of my true progress. (slightly more good)

church donuts 1

3. I’m awake anyway, I might as well do something useful. (okay, I’m reaching now)

Hmm. Okay, Monday it is! So here it is, my OFFICIAL weigh-in for the week of August 28, 2017:

237.1 lbs

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That’ll be my official STARTING weight, too, so starting NEXT Monday, I’ll start noting how many pounds I’ve lost, as well.

That’s it for today – thanks for reading! Hope your week goes well. Oh, and if YOU have to go to work in a crappy little cubicle, in a crappy little office, doing crappy, depressing work, do yourself a favor: rent “Office Space” IMMEDIATELY, and show your flair!

flair

Time to get out of the armchair!

I’ve always been a bookworm.

bookworm

When I was in third grade, my teacher, Mrs. Sleeper, told me, in that exasperated tone of voice that only teachers-on-the-edge know how to muster, that if I was ever in California during an earthquake, I’d probably read right through it.

(Which was actually pretty prescient of her, when you realize that we were in Kansas City, Missouri, at the time, and I wouldn’t migrate to California for another 20 years. And that when I experienced my first-ever California earthquake, my first thought, as I sat, trembling, in my car, was, “Um, Mrs. Sleeper? Wrong!!”)

But I digress…

My point is, I am, and always have been, and probably always will be, a couch potato.

couch

And for the past several months, during our long, hard (well, unusually rainy) Southern California winter, my Kindle Unlimited library has been, slowly but surely, filling up to the brim with first-person travel adventures. Specifically, books by people who have walked long distances – like, oh, I dunno, THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL.

And sure, most people have read, or at least seen the movie version of, Bill Bryson’s “A Walk in the Woods.”

bryson walk

However, my first exposure to this genre of travel writing was “The Barefoot Sisters: Southbound” by Lucy and Susan Letcher.

barefoot sis

The charming memories of two young women who decided to hike the Trail BAREFOOT (most of the way) inspired me to get into the whole “barefoot” fad.

(We Baby Boomers tend to jump on a lot of bandwagons, don’t we? I started knitting a few years ago for the same reason. BB’s tend to fetishize everything, which is why you’ll find thousands of websites dedicated to otherwise mundane activities such as letting your hair go grey.)

bandwagon

Anyway, long story short, barefoot walking/running/hiking is fine for some people, and I still have some “barefoot shoes” (basically pumped-up socks with treads) that I enjoy wearing around the house and back yard. But after a few months, I sheepishly gave in to my aching bunions, and bought some shoes that were a little more supportive (and didn’t pick up every #$*& sticker or burr I walked over).

So – back to “foot prisons” for me!

barefoot funny

But I digress…

My point, and I do have one (thanks, Ellen!) is that I love to READ about other people’s adventures. Currently, I have at least 8 books in my Kindle Unlimited Library about hiking the AT, the Pacific Crest Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail.

And I’ve watched “A Walk in the Woods” TWICE on Amazon Prime (my favorite character, both in the book and the movie, being the insufferable Mary Ellen, played with disturbing accuracy by Kristen Schaal).

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But now, I’m actually reached the point where I’m tired of reading about, or watching, other people’s adventures.

I’m ready to get up out of the armchair, turn off the Kindle, go outside and (dare I say it?) actually start putting one of my OWN feet in front of one of my OTHER feet! (Okay, I only have two, but you know what I mean!)

one foot

And I’m pleased to report that I’ve already started doing this, albeit via small, tentative fits and starts. Next time, I’ll tell you about some of my initial efforts.

(And feel free to share some of YOUR efforts, hopes, fits and starts, etc. in the comments! Don’t be afraid to let your dreams go willy-nilly!)

Finally, some specifics!!

Heh … was just rereading my last two posts, and noticed I’d PROMISED, at the end of each one, that I’d delve into the specifics of my plan in the VERY NEXT POST!

Well, wait no more! A pleasure deferred is a pleasure increased, so this post should thrill you to your very marrow!

Here’s the plan (such as it is – I’m still working things out):

  1. I’m using MyFitnessPal to count my calories.
    • It’s definitely NOT perfect (I’ve had to turn off all the social media notifications, because they drive me nuts), but it’s easy to use, and it gives me a good ballpark idea of where I am.
  2. I’m exercising.
    • I’d been doing that, off and on, anyway — but THIS time, I’m not following up every walk or gym session with a visit to KFC or Popeye’s, just because “I earned it!”
  3. Speaking of which, I DO still go to fast food places from time to time. However, I make sure to check the calorie counts first, and make sure they fit in with my daily allowance.
    • For example: last week, I treated myself to one — just one! — piece of KFC Original Recipe chicken — a big, greasy breast, mmm!! — which clocked in at around 320 calories (and I rounded it up to 400 in the calorie counter, just to be safe!) Which sounds like a lot, and it is. But it’s WAY better than when I used to get the Two-Piece Breast and Wing with Mashed Potatoes and Macaroni & Cheese meal, several times a week — doncha think?)
  4. Finally, I’m NOT ditching the “No-S” plan completely.
    • See — it occurred to me that a lot of us treat our diets like religions: there’s only ONE that’s right, and we can never deviate from it or else!
    • But ya know what? I think it’s a great idea to have more than one diet you can use. They should be somewhat compatible, of course — it makes no sense to go from “all carbs” one day to “no carbs” the next, for example.
    • contrasting diets
    • So my “backup” diets are all some variation of calorie counting. The thing about No-S that’s great is, if you’re only having one plate of food at each meal, and only three meals per day, you can just divide your daily calorie allowance by three, and have some really nice meals. My husband is still doing No-S so I try to keep the meals at @500 calories, which gives me an outlet for cooking creatively!
  1. Finally — and this is the most important bullet point of all: DO NOT GET DISTRACTED/DISCOURAGED by diet/fitness advice/articles on the Internet!
    • I can’t stress this point enough. It’s SOOOO easy to find voices on the Net to tell you anything and everything you want to hear. “Dieting is BAD!” “Counting calories is passe!” “You need MORE fat!” etc., etc.
    • All of which may or may not be true, for some people, in other contexts. But for me, with my life experiences*, I know what works for me.

So there ya go — my multi-pronged War On Fat 2017-2018! Stick around, and I’ll let you know how things are working out!

diet

And just for some accountability, here are my starting stats:

As of today, I’m 5 foot 2, and weigh 240.2 pounds**.

(*code word for “I’M OLD DAGNABBIT!!”)

(**and since I’ve already started the diet, I’m pleased to report this is already 3 pounds lost in the past two weeks! Yay for moi!)

 

 

So – now what? My more or less vague plans and intentions

So, now that you know all about me and my dieting/weight loss history, it’s time to focus on the present – and the future.

Now that I’ve I’ve managed to cobble together some weight-loss wisdom, it’s time to put it into practice. Hence, the title of this blog, “50 by 60,” meaning I’ve decided to lose 50 pounds by my 60th birthday – a little more than a year from now.

As of my last weigh-in, the scales stand at 242 pounds. A 50-pound weight loss would put me below 200 pounds – for the first time in at least two decades!

Now I know – and you know – that we’re not supposed to focus on the numbers on the scale. They only represent one metric of health and fitness. There are lots of other numbers which are just as important, if not more so. Like your blood pressure,  for example. Or your bank balance. I’d love to see THAT number change!

scales

Still … I’m a flawed, fallible human being. And even though it may seem superficial and shallow to some, I’ve decided that seeing the numbers on my 10-year-old Weight Watchers decrease to a number starting with a “1” rather than a “2” would make me very, very, VERY happy. (At least for a few minutes.)

So, let’s go! Next post, I’ll dive into the specifics of what I’m doing and why, diet and exercise-wise.

(Meanwhile, if you’re one of the lovely people who’ve “liked” my blog so far, please feel free to post something in the comments – even if only to say hi! But if you’re too shy, that’s fine. I’m glad to know you’re out there, anyway!)

Part 2 of How I Got Here

So there I was, on an unseasonably warm day in March. A *weekday* in March. That’s important, because I was still trying to stick to the “No S Diet Plan” (no snacks, sweets, or seconds, except on days that start with S).

And yet … even though it wasn’t an S day … it was a hot, STICKY day.

Hey – sticky! That starts with S, right?

And that’s all the excuse I needed to grab a Trader Joe’s Mini Vanilla Hold the Cone (80 calories, mmm!).

95434-hold-the-cone-vanilla

Now, it might still have worked out if I’d just said, “OK, this is ONE S day. I’ll get back on track tomorrow.”

And I would have … except the weather refused to cooperate. It just kept staying hot and muggy, day after day after day … and there were still 7 cones left in the box.

Well, when I got down to the last cone, I realized this wasn’t going to work for me any more. I liked the simplicity of the whole No S thing – the idiot-proof rules that I can still recite by heart.

But dagnab it all – I was ready to S my heart out!

So I decided to turn to a method of dieting which I (and many other supposedly diet-savvy folks) had scoffed at for years: good ol’ basic calorie counting.

calories

Sure, I knew it wasn’t perfect. I knew it might be hard to stick to sometimes. I knew it didn’t always take into account the nutritional values of foods. I knew the 3,500 calories in/calories out thing was an estimate at best.

Heck – I’ve been dieting for decades, AND I’m a bookworm, so I know ALL the arguments!

But I knew something else: the one time in my life when I counted calories, in TOPS, wayyyy back in that dusty ol’ building in Belton, Missouri – it had worked!

And something inside told me it was time to try again.

Next time, I’ll tell you some more specific stuff about what I’m doing, how I’m doing it, and whether or not it’s working.

(By the way – thanks for reading! I’m by no means a new blogger (my failed blogs litter the internet, and will undoubtedly prove fascinating to data miners of the future), but it’s been quite a while since I’ve given one this level of attention. Please let me know what you think. See you next time!)

50 by 60 – what it all means

Hi, everyone –

My name is Christine, and this is my new blog about why I’m determined to try to lose 50 pounds by the time I turn 60 next year. “50 by 60” – get it?

Anyway, here’s Part I of my long-winded explanation!

I’m about to turn 59 years old, an age I couldn’t even begin to imagine back in 1975, when I made my first real, serious attempt to lose weight by attending TOPS meetings in Belton, Missouri.

Being an eldest child, the awards appealed to me, and I did lose quite a bit of weight. But when I went away to college the next year, it came roaring back, “with all of its little friends,” as Flora, a Weight Watchers leader I met later in life, would describe this all-too-familiar process.

Fast-forward through the ensuing decades, during which I more or less half-heartedly continued my weight loss efforts, through a myriad of diets (all of which insist on calling themselves “lifestyle changes”) and exercise attempts, resting from time to time in the arms of the newly emerging Body Acceptance movement.

Now, here I am, almost 59 years old, living the dream in sunny Southern California, and tipping the scales at about 240 pounds – about 120 pounds heavier than when I started, all those years ago, in that dusty brick building in Belton.

I can never go back to Belton (er, well, OK, I have been back a few times, but it’s a metaphor, OK? Think “Manderly”!) – and I don’t know if I can ever get back to 120 pounds.

manderly

But you know what? I don’t think it’s impossible. And I’ve got some encouraging recent history to back that up.

First of all, just a little over a year ago, my doctor (well, actually the nurse-practitioner – you know how HMOs are these days!) recommended that I consider getting weight loss surgery. I bristled, still brimming with ideology from the Fat Acceptance movement.

“What? ME? What’s wrong with my weight? Sure, I’m fat. I admit it. I embrace it! But I’m healthy! My blood pressure is perfect (true); my cholesterol is–well, okay, it’s a little high, but it’s GOOD cholesterol (more or less true); and I can walk anywhere I want.”

Okay — NOT true!

But I THOUGHT I could, because you see, during these past few decades, I have done quite a lot of walking, especially since moving to California. I used to work in Downtown Los Angeles, and at least two or three times a week, I’d actually walk from my apartment building to my office, four miles one way.

When the Red Line was built, I moved to the Valley and took the subway to work, but always got off a stop or two before my office building, so I could continue my morning walks.

And I loved it! I got intimately familiar with all the sidewalks, traffic lights, and public restrooms between Union Station and Bunker Hill. (I even got to see the chaos surrounding the O.J. Simpson trial, up close and personal, walking past the Hall of Justice every morning.)

Not only that, but early in my So Cal residency, I even climbed the entirety of a pretty steep switchback trail to the top of a (relatively short) mountain called Echo Mountain, north of Altadena, California. I was fascinated by the fact that there’d once been a railroad (the Mount Lowe Railway) stretching from Downtown all the way up to the top of this mountain, and made myself climb to the top to see the ruins of the old hotel

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So, walking and I – we had a history.

But by the time I saw my nurse-practitioner last year, I’d been “downsized” from my Downtown job, and was living a very sedentary life with my husband in the Valley. With no incentive to go anywhere other than the grocery store, my daily walking dwindled to once a week, if that.

Still, there was no way I was going to have weight loss surgery. I’d known people who’d had it, and had terrible health problems afterwards. Plus, there was just something inside me — maybe the spirits of my pioneer ancestors — that rebelled at the idea of taking the “easy way out.” (Before you start throwing rocks at your screen, I KNOW surgery isn’t “easy”! This was just me being overly paranoid, okay? Hang in there!)

So, no surgery for me. And yet — when I got home, I couldn’t stop thinking about the whole idea of trying, yet again, to lose weight. And I realized that, in spite of all the Fat Acceptance messages I’d absorbed, I really did want to try again, one more time.

A couple of years ago, I had read a book called “The No-S Diet” by an engineer named Reinhard Engels. The basic concept is so simple that (as the author himself pointed out) you really just needed to read the subtitle on the front cover:

“No snacks, seconds, or sweets, except on days that start with S.”

In other words, three meals a day, and that’s it.

I liked the concept because it was simple and easy to remember, and had dabbled with it for a while, but lost interest one hot August weekday when I was craving a giant ice cream sandwich. (spoiler alert: foreshadowing!!)

Now I remembered it, and decided this might be the perfect plan to start a more serious weight-loss effort with. And my husband, bless his heart, agreed to go along with it and try it with me.

Here’s what really made the difference this time: being a good Catholic ( more or less ), I decided to enlisted the Lord in my efforts, making a solemn promise to Him that I would stick with this plan for AT LEAST three months before giving up and/or trying something else. I actually stood in front of the altar (when no one else was there, naturally) and raised my hand, Scarlett O’Hara-like, as I made my pledge:

“As God is my witness, I’ll never snack again, except on Saturdays, Sundays, and ‘special’ days!”

m_neverbehungry

And it worked! The weight loss was slow – maybe a pound a month, if that — but the important thing was that after years of “mindless eating,” I felt in control of what I was eating. I could see exactly what I was consuming, at every meal, and decide whether or not a particular food was worthy of a place on my plate.

Satisfied with how easy it was, I renewed my pledge to God three months later. Everything was fine — until the hot weather struck, early in the spring — and I realized I was at a fork in the road.

(To be continued!)