I really don’t care how well Oprah is doing on Weight Watchers. Good for her and the money she probably is making for the commercial. And I am sick and tired of Marie Osmond’s TV promotion, “I lost 50 pounds on Nutrisystem.” We believe it after all these months so get over it.
National magazines lure desperate dieters with headlines that make losing weight sound as easy as opening a Hershey’s candy bar. We buy the most appealing magazines, read the articles with impressive before and after pictures, and go back to our old habits.
The bottom line is that losing weight is a very personal decision that is challenging 24/7. We have to want it body and soul. We understand that we can overcome occasional hunger pangs and have no problem telling our best friend no thank you when her birthday cake is passed.
Then, without notice, one cookie at a time, the pounds and inches return and the body in the full-length mirror you admired only a week ago is not the same. Be it ever so slight, where did the belly bulge come from?
That’s when we can either recharge the mindset or succumb to defeat and overindulge on the bad foods.
It’s difficult for me to consider any foods as being bad. I enjoy everything about food: the origin, the history, the nutritional value, and of course how it can be prepared in a recipe. For all of those reasons, cutting back is tough. There is only one food in the world that I truly dislike and can’t swallow. Fortunately, anchovies are rare and easy to avoid.
The 20 pounds lost with no effort during an illness this winter felt and looked so good I set my mind to keep it off. You know how that goes. Our favorite foods not only haunt us, but some are hiding in the house. That was my fate with the Christmas fruitcake that I just happened to find while cleaning the cupboards. Gone!
Learning to anticipate dry toast every morning has been major progress. The toast has to be dark, almost burned crisp. Spreading apple butter on the dry toast once a week is a big breakfast treat. When you live in Grand Rapids, Ohio, home of the Apple Butter Fest, the sweet apple spread is a mainstay.
Now, which fitness program to subscribe to? I almost ordered the tape for PiYo, the fitness program that combines pilates and yoga, until I remembered the stack of other tapes in the drawer that were never used. In the meantime, the walking fitness path is by the canal in Grand Rapids. Two 1-pound weights to strap on either the ankles or wrists were a good buy at TJ Maxx last week and should be beneficial to body toning.
Here are some tips for others who might be trying to lose a few pounds before Easter and the annual wardrobe update in spring.
■ Be sure going without favorite foods and eating less is the track you want to be on. Despite Oprah and Marie saying they are never hungry on their disciplined diets, there will be splashes of hunger when you are controlling your own eating plan.
■ If we truly want to achieve our goals, we must walk and work in the yard. The walking paths in area public parks are pleasant places to welcome spring and your new look.
■ This is not the time to enjoy reading a cookbook, to discuss recipes, or watch TV food programs.
■ When eating out, don’t fool yourself that you will only eat half of a full dinner. Instead, order only what you know you should have. That well may mean choosing from the appetizers and salads and not a full meal.
■ Skip the standard yogurt containers and go for a 32-ounce container of plain greek yogurt to divide into 1-cup portions. Add slices of pineapple, cantaloupe, mango, and berries to the cups.
■ Don’t have cookies in the house. You will find them. You will promise yourself to eat just one cookie, but you will translate that to one in each hand.
■ Chances are there may still be Valentine’s Day candy lying around. Get rid of it. The same goes for the Easter candy that is just around the corner.
■ If your friends and family don’t notice you are losing weight, be sure to tell them about your new eating plan. Hopefully, that will inspire compliments. Who doesn’t need encouragement? They may even issue the best one: “You look younger. Are you losing weight?”
■ One final warning: You will fall off the low-calorie, low-fat wagon. Take last Saturday at the DQ Grill & Chill in Paulding, Ohio. Two friends stepped to the counter and ordered chicken strips. Too much fat for me! I will just have coffee. Then the friends explained the chicken strips come with french fries, a beverage, and a small sundae, all for $5. Make that three chicken strip orders!
Mary Alice Powell is a retired Blade food editor. Contact her at: [email protected].