The Lesson of the Cupcake ~ Striking a Balance

Just days in to my fresh start, I was confronted with my first test in my effort to strike a balance between the foods I long to have as a treat, and the healthful foods I need to have.  The test: a cupcake.

In the past, I’d have adhered strictly to the “avoid it like the plague” mindset ~ which for me, would have been the wrong decision! I know myself fairly well, and if the past was to be an indicator of future behavior, I’d have ended up focusing on what I was forbidden to have all the more and looking at the more healthful fare with a side eye glare for quite awhile.

So this time, I opted to embrace the cupcake.

Yes, it’s a lot of ’empty’ calories. No, it’s not the ideal for weight loss in and of itself. But, for me – it was better to give myself a small indulgence, and adapt the rest of the days’s eating to come in to line with that.

I enjoyed the ‘Strawberry Shortcake’ cupcake – and then enjoyed a quite large, filling, but low calorie salad with a wee bit of chicken for dinner.

I was able to strike a balance between the foods my body needs with the treats I want to enjoy on occasion.

The most amazing aspect of this for me was that I probably enjoyed that salad just as much as the cupcake, because I didn’t feel deprived.

I didn’t go to be hungry or have lingering thoughts of that cupcake — or of other sweets that I’d convince myself would be ‘edible failure’ if I were to consume even in modest amounts from time to time.

I’d have ended up stoking those thoughts of deprivation for days – and then likely caved to the temptation, gorging on far more calories than the avoided item would have possibly contained … and then ultimately quitting, because “I failed anyway!” (silly mindset, but again, it’s what I’ve done previously and would in all probability do again).

Was it the most optimal food choice? I can’t say that it was. However, I can say that for me, it wasn’t the worst thing I could have done and it helped me see this new eating lifestyle (I’m avoiding diet, because I want this to be a new way of eating for the long haul) doesn’t have to be about deprivation or struggle – it can be one more of balance and weighing my options.

Which, after all, is the point of adopting a new eating lifestyle, isn’t it?

Realistically, I’m not going to go another 60+ years (I plan on living in to my hundreds 😉 ) without consuming another sweet treat.

What I do see as being realistic is striking a balance, and taking accountability for my choices:  if I eat the cupcake from time to time, well, then I will have to balance the rest of the day’s intake to address that choice.

For me, I feel this is a reasonable balance ~ a balance that I believe will enable me to meet my weight and health goals for a lifetime 🙂

My Weight Loss Journey … Beginning Again

Have you ever looked in the mirror and thought, “Gosh, I look great!” and then, afterward, saw a photo of yourself from that same moment or time period and gasped, “The mirror lied!” as the reality came crashing upon you?

This is the point where I am at now, and I want to make a change. I’ve made changes before – lots of times. I’ve lost 40+ pounds and gained it all back (plus some!). The yo-yo dieting has clearly not been beneficial.

I realized that my approach cannot be a temporary deal – I need to make permanent changes. In short, I don’t need a new diet, I need a new eating lifestyle. Food and I need to forge a new, healthier relationship with one another.

For decades, I’ve engaged in this dysfunctional connection wherein I’d turn to food for comfort in times of stress or when a non-so-pleasant memory would pop in to mind. I had begun to turn to it more frequently, to the point where the majority of my eating was based on ‘comfort’ rather than nourishment. I had become the plump poster child for being undernourished yet overfed!

So, here I go. I’m heading down the weight loss path again – but this time I am choosing the path that will lead me to permanent weight loss rather than the well traveled route I’ve taken in the past.

My first steps down this new route include learning more about nutritional needs, exercise, and how to cook in a manner that is much less dependent upon processed foods.  In addition, I need to learn to cope with stress and negative events without turning to food for comfort.

The cooking aspect will definitely be challenging for me. I’ve never been anywhere close to being deemed even a mediocre cook. For goodness sake, I was in my 30’s before I realized that pudding could be made without the help of the fine folks at Jell-O! I grew up on processed foods, and to me they were the norm.

I’ve contemplated subscribing to one of those home delivery services that are pre-portioned and planned out for each meal.  I had the opportunity to try one of the services with a free 1-week trial, and while it was convenient and required little effort on my part to make unique, fresh meals, the price (after the free trial) would have been more than I could justify spending.

So, I am beginning … again.  This time around, I have a good feeling that this will become a lifestyle adaption rather than a ‘diet.’

A few goals:

* Reach my target weight of 130 pounds.  This is higher than the recommended weight for someone of my height and frame, but I’m a realist.  I wasn’t even 113 pounds in high school.  Setting that drastic of a goal would be self-defeating at this point.  My current weight is 165 pounds, so 130 is not unrealistic.  If when I reach 130 I am feeling strong, healthy, and super ambitious, perhaps that 113 number won’t seem as daunting.

* Become physically fit.  I’ve never been the embodiment of physical fitness.  Even as far back as elementary school (when I was rail thin) I cringed when it was time for the annual Presidential Physical Fitness Test. I was always the last one to complete the running.  The chin up challenge was basically me dangling from the bar until my bony little fingers gave way and I fell to the ground beneath me.  Sit ups; oh my word, I flailed from side to side while a classmate kneeled down on my feet.  It was downhill from there.

On a recent weight loss attempt, I did begin jogging.  I didn’t do very well with it, though to be completely honest, my efforts were more in line with finding a cute outfit and complimentary running shoes than in the actual, you know, jogging.

My goal is to focus more on the jogging this time 🙂  I’d also like to begin a Couch25K program, or something similar.  Then, I’d like to move on to a dream scenario of entering (and successfully completing) the Disney Princess Half Marathon.

Baby steps though 🙂

* Approach the weight loss and lifestyle adaptation in a very healthful manner.  No quick fix diets or hocus pocus.  My goal is nutritionally sound meals and eating that will aid in both lowering my elevated cholesterol and giving my body the components it needs to thrive.  The added bonus of awesome skin, nails, and hair will be a nice perk 😉

* No longer see the need to hide from the camera.  I’m in very few of my family’s photos, and as I get older, I think gee, it may be nice if my sons had some photos to share with the future grand and great-grandchildren (other than, hey, that’s your grandma peeking out from behind that sandcastle at the beach!)

In all of this, I think a motivator will be the accountability that I’m ascribing to myself via this blog – if I fail, it’s here for all to see.  A friend pointed out that nothing is ever really gone once posted online – in this instance, I believe that will be a good thing: I can’t hide from it or in hindsight blur my success (or lack thereof 😉 ).

My fresh beginning … starts now.