Vacation is just living life

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For several weeks I was planning on writing today’s Foodie column about calamari. Just so you know, this column is not about calamari although calamari probably has some contribution to its content (you will understand this soon).

Becoming “The Foodie” is an ironic twist for me because for the last 18 months I have been on a journey of a lifetime. I “struggled” with my weight for at least 40 years until I took responsibility for it. We all have excuses, reasons why we are the way we are and act the way we act but the simple fact is, if you eat healthy portions of good food, move your body more and try to minimize stressors that control you, you will eventually become healthier, look better and perhaps even lengthen your life.

It may be simple but it is not easy.

This column is not about weight loss, the answers to all of those burning questions we have about diet and exercise. It is about my own experience with just living my life.

As the months have passed something really special happened, quietly creeping first into my subconscious then into the daylight. Food made the beautiful transition from the thing that drove me to a thing that brings pure joy. There was a time when I would plan my day around food. What was I going to eat today? Where was I going to eat? Did I have enough cash for the drive-through or would I have to go to the cash machine. Are you going to finish that? I have to clean my plate.

Now I not only understand portion control, I can visualize the correct amount of food before I put any on my plate or begin eating at a restaurant. I have changed how I value food. Here is an example to highlight my new thinking. I want a rack of lamb at a restaurant. It is a whopping $32. In the past I would do everything but lick the plate to get my “money’s worth.” Now I eat a few ribs (meat suckers, as my friend calls them) picking up the bone and enjoying each bite, taste the side accompaniment and call it a meal. I usually bring some home or share with fellow diners. And guess what? That was worth $32 to me. It is no longer about the quantity but the actual food that I enjoy. Who knew?

Another big part of the changes I have made is changing my environment. My cupboards and refrigerator have been streamlined and I have smaller containers to store food. This helps when I bring food to work.

Now, back to my message of the day. I returned home recently from a wonderful, relaxing vacation with my husband. We spent 10 days in the Florida sunshine eating and drinking and playing golf. We went on walks (though I must admit my husband was much more devoted to the effort), spent time reading and shopping and dining at our favorite restaurants. We ate calamari just about everywhere and drank great wine.

When I got home I weighed myself. I gained seven pounds in ten days. And yet, no one died, the world did not end and I did not go into a tailspin. I did not binge eat thinking that I was a failure giving up and not worrying about the consequences.

No, I just kept living.

Eating like this is the rest of my life. It does not end when I reach any goal (which I do not have, by the way, I figure I will know when I get there) nor does it change my accomplishment of shedding 63 pounds (a little less this week ;o).

No, food and weight are not evil. I am not bad because I gained weight (I’ve already lost half of it in four days). Food is wonderful, brings happiness to all around me and gives me something joyful to talk to you about every week.

I’m just going to keep living, writing and enjoying all that we have.

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Have a yummy week!

NEXT WEEK: Is it the Calamari or is it the Dip?

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Confessions of a Culinary Con Artist

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It’s true.  I’m a con artist.  I guess it wouldn’t be so bad if I could successfully con other people but the actual victim here is me.  It started long ago but took on a life of its own in this millennium.  Let me tell you, I can talk a good game.  I can say all the right things and get my dietary support staff to buy in with excitement and enthusiasm.

Here’s how the con works.  I reach the end of my rope.  I join/ subscribe/ purchase the latest greatest diet craze.  I create a plan.  I write it down and I create a fancy spreadsheet to quantify my progress and predict the date of completion and success.  I pay hundreds of dollars (the best one was hypnosis for $1,800 in four EASY payments!) then eat to my heart’s content until the first appointment/meetings begin/book arrives.

I am a model citizen at the beginning.  I can say all the right things to the Weight Watchers leader so she anticipates my weigh in every week.  Usually by week four she is already talking to me about reaching goal and becoming a leader myself.  I can film a video with the director of the hypnosis center so compelling that he cannot wait to use it in his advertisements.  I can charm a personal trainer by using buzz words like commitment, lifetime and endorphin.

But I hit my con artist brick wall this past fall.  I started working with a nutritionist in July.  I poured my heart out.  I shared my failures with her.  She took my before picture and gave me great stuff to read.  She cared about me, I mean, really cared about me.  I even admitted to her in August that I am capable of saying all the right things and am good at starting but not very good at follow through.  It was the first time I ever said that out loud and I think it is because it is the first time I began to see the con for what it was.

Con: –noun

4. a confidence game or swindle.

5. a lie, exaggeration, or glib self-serving talk

Eventually, as I missed appointments and slid back to my old ways, I began for the first time to understand my tactics and how destructive they were.  I was embarrassed to go back because I saw something in her eyes which was different than I had ever seen in anyone who was “helping” me before.  She was really, sincerely disappointed.  She really believed in me and the disappointment I saw was like a wet glove being slapped on my face.  That one single look, which she may not even know crossed her face, was the jolt I needed.  I stopped the con cold turkey in January.

Things are different now.  When the con stopped I didn’t eat like crazy until I developed a plan.  There is no fancy spreadsheet although I do keep track of what I eat every day making sure my body is fueled with protein.  I have no date of completion because that would assume I am dead.  This is not a diet.  I will never diet again (that, in and of itself, is entirely freeing!) but simply eat like a healthy person every day.

Would you like to read more about my journey?

Have a yummy week!

Jude

Twitter: @JudeTheFoodie