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So That or Because?

Monday, March 26, 2012

I was at Costco today, and had to maneuver around the crowds at the sample purveyors. One was for a frozen eclair. I actually wanted to get to the shelf behind the crowd, and one woman in the line asked me if I was waiting for a sample. I told her, No, I'm not much on samples because I feel guilty if I don't buy the item being sold. She said that if she were as thin as I am she'd eat the whole box.

Actually when I first joined WW to lose weight all those years ago, I had the same goal: get me to my target weight so that I could then eat whatever I wanted. Once I passed the "maintenance period" that WW used to have, I realized that I am thin not SO THAT I can eat those things, but BECAUSE I DON'T eat them.

Let me never forget that, no matter what temptation is presented to me!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DESERTJULZ 6/3/2012 4:41PM

    I prefer the giveaways at Trader Joes to those at Costco!

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WVAWACKADOO 4/4/2012 6:04PM

    Thanks for sharing...I am fortunate, that most of the free stuff given out at the Kroger doesn't appeal to me...but hey, if it was all baked goods...I'd be "Grazin" & that is how I put my weight on. I love that SP lets us know that we can eat anything, but it is really helpful to use Mindful Eating...that slows me down & I end up making better choices...Take care...

JANEY emoticon

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67CAMARO_SS 3/28/2012 1:31PM

    You're such an inspiration Nell! Thanks for sharing your thoughts & life-wisdom.... once again :)
I do have to chuckle at so many people in line for free giveaways in a lot of places. Usually - it's simply not worth it.
June :)

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SIMPLY-EVA 3/28/2012 9:17AM

  That was awesome! Im going to share it with my WW buddy. We are both struggling with the rules and tracking but this puts it all into perspective.



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FISHINGLADY66 3/27/2012 10:01PM

    You have changed your lifestyle and I'm sure you are much healthier because of it. emoticon

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BANKER-CHUCK 3/27/2012 1:51PM

    You are a very wise person. You have learned your lessons well about weight and health management.

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KMIRANDA2000 3/26/2012 7:48PM

    Amen sista!

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MEADSBAY 3/26/2012 3:57PM

    Some wise words here, my friend!

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TAMPATINK67 3/26/2012 1:15PM


Wisdom... I really appreciate your comments Nell - you succeeded at the goal of loosing the weight AND have conquered the maintenance... Something very few do. Your practical, straight forward "common sense" approach is fabulous. Rational, non-emotional.

Just the facts Mam. Just the facts!

Thank you for continuing to blog on Spark and share your key learnings!

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Biological Imperative?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I hear a lot about some people being genetically programmed to overeat, that it is their destiny. They just sigh and eat everything in sight because that is their biological fate. But if your husband slept with every available woman because men are biologically programmed to mate constantly to propogate the species, your wouldn't tolerate that excuse for a minute. (I hope!)

Fortunately we don't need to cave to any genetic imperative to eat beyond the food necessary to maintain health. There are many who have found ways to defeat the initial call of the Cheetos. Or the Reeses. And they DO call! My biology is not my destiny. I have trained myself and now my training is my destiny, as long as I keep up my training regime every day.

Take that genes!! I win!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KALISWALKER 3/27/2012 11:00AM

    Good point!

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SIMPLY-EVA 3/1/2012 3:13PM

  I love this! That is such a great point and no, I sure would not stand for it. emoticon

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67CAMARO_SS 2/29/2012 6:04AM

    Yup---Strength Training for the brain!!!
And chuckling out loud at PJCHILI'S comment about breaking out in fat, too funny, but good perspective.
So many excuses out there...right? But on to a better destiny we go!
June :)

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PJCHILIS 2/26/2012 7:18AM

    I know what you mean. I have fantasies abount rolling around in a big coconut cream pie. I take a few bites a year of it and then know I have to behave myself.

I find it easiest not to bring home things that I shouldn't eat.

I try to think about the inappropiate foods as allergy foods. In a way they are, I'd break out with fat.

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TAMPATINK67 2/23/2012 9:00PM

    Thanks Nell - your wisdom is so valuable to those of us working on reaching that healthy weight....

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KALISWALKER 2/23/2012 6:12PM

    Right on!

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 2/23/2012 1:50PM

    Free will is a wonderful thing.

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    Good blog! We all can DO it...

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FISHINGLADY66 2/22/2012 6:35PM

    Great Blog Nell. I love it. You are so right. Training is the way to go.

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Put it off until Tomorrow

Sunday, February 19, 2012

I have been reading a book called "The End Of Overeating" by David Kessler. He discusses the propensity of overweight people to eat large amounts of food that have a combination of fat, carb and salt. He is trying to figure out why some people need to eat the glorious trio to excess.

Now, I lost my weight a long time ago, and have kept it off for many years. I still love those same foods that so many people insist on eating to excess. But I have a different approach. I don't think it's because I like it any less (I LOVE it!) or that I have any more "willpower" than other people. I just put it off until tomorrow.

Ever notice how easy it is to put off starting a plan, or cleaning the closet, or starting your taxes, until tomorrow? I do that for food. Just because I can't have 6 oz of steak or two potatoes, doesn't mean I can't have the same meal tomorrow if I want. I get to eat THREE times a day! That's TWENTY-ONE times a week! I don't have to eat it all in one sitting.

Now, it's true that in the Weight Watchers I attended all those years ago, we were taught to take any craved food and make it in a legal way. That took a lot of creativity (and no one has ever said that overweight people aren't creative--we certainly are!), but it has paid off over the years. I now crave oven fried potatoes. I don't remember what regular fries taste like. I love lowfat milk: I can no longer tolerate the feel of high fat coating my mouth. I prefer my homemade ice milk to ice cream. It took time but it DID happen. I LOVE my own cooking better than any restaurant now.

Mental gymnastics? Maybe, but it works. One of the advantages of being the cook in the house is that I get to decide what we will have for dinner, so we have what I want. I measure out my allowed portion and clean my plate. I can have it tomorrow and the day after that again if I want.

It takes the pressure off the moment to know that I can eat my favorite meals any day I choose.

Some things are better put off until tomorrow.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KALISWALKER 2/19/2012 10:09PM

    "The End Of Overeating" by David Kessler - yes I listened to the audio book and still have it. It was shocking to hear about corporate America and the food industry.

Do you need an ice cream maker to make homemade ice milk?

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FISHINGLADY66 2/19/2012 8:12PM

    Great Blog Nell. I love your strategy. Thanks for the motivation.

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BANKER-CHUCK 2/19/2012 2:30PM

    Great Blog. I use many of your tactics but do fall off plan. Sometimes for several months. Food is very addictive and it does not take much to fall off the wagon. When I am home I am good at preparing my own food. But when I am away from home it really becomes very difficult.
It is all a matter of training and playing the substitution game with food. I like your oven-fries idea.
I am happy for you being able to stick with your weight-loss/maintaining plan. It is a lifelong plan.

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TAMPATINK67 2/19/2012 12:55PM

    Nell - you rock!

First, I have the carb, fat, salt monster living inside me too. Sweets have never been my thing, but the combination of the evil triad was my addiction. I didn't want the baked potato - unless it had butter and sour cream. Did I want plain bread - nope, but add garlic butter and I couldn't stop. And I never met a French fry or potato chip I didn't love

What a freeing idea: I'm saying no for today, because I want to achieve my health goals... But I can always say yes tomorrow IF I want...

Talk about declaring independence! emoticon

Comment edited on: 2/19/2012 12:56:04 PM

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BRENMICH 2/19/2012 12:35PM

    Very good blog. We cook most of the time at home. We don't eat out very often so leftovers we do have from time to time or I just make enough for that meal. I really liked the message about putting off tomorrow. So very true. Thanks for sharing. emoticon

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MEADSBAY 2/19/2012 11:23AM

    I read that book a few months ago- I don't binge or eat anything in excess- but he sure made it easy to understand the obesity epidemic, didn't he? The cards are stacked against us.
Like you, I cook 99% of the time and cook MY way-the healthy way.

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JILLSMYTH 2/19/2012 9:29AM

  Great thought!

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CHUM48 2/19/2012 9:14AM

    Awesome Thank you for your insight! It's great to know that on this road we travel together others have gone before and succeed and are now encouraging the rest of us up the hill. Thanks again!

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Children, parents, meals and discipline

Saturday, February 04, 2012

There is a wonderful article today in the Wall Street Journal's Review section about "Why French Parents are Superior". We can all debate that, of course, but one of the points that struck me is that children are taught from birth the concept of delayed gratification. The example they gave was food and meals. Here in America people graze all day long. Hungry? Bored? Eat something. In France you eat 3 times a day, and children have a snack at about 4 or 4:30. Period. Nothing in between. My husband's first wife was French, and my step son, whom I have known since he was a teen, never ate between meals. He would be bouncing on his feet moaning "hurry up" while I was making dinner, but it never occurred to him to snack. He is pushing 50 now and has two kids of his own, and he has raised them the same way. Just that one aspect of "delayed gratification" has worked its way into all his life. We all have heard about French women not being fat and have examined their food for the "secret", but no one ever mentioned that the culture doesn't involve snacking. I love the story I read about Euro-Disney when it first opened. Disney had designed their food vendors the same way we see them here, but in France, the vendors were empty between meals and overwhelmed at meal times. They actually had to "educate" people to eat like Americans when at the park just so there would be the capacity to feed them.

I was raised not to snack, but I let that "after school snack" get WAY out of hand, and got fat. When I got to Weight Watchers in 1970, snacks weren't part of the meal plan; maybe you broke lunch into two parts an hour or so apart, but the emphasis was in getting to the next meal without snacking. It's the old "delayed gratification" thing.

To this day I do not snack. There is no "snack food" in my house. I have three planned meals each day, and I make sure to eat enough at each one (according to my plan) to get me through to the next. That's how I raised my own kids, although it was primarily because I couldn't afford to give them food outside of meals. I had no idea I was teaching them to accept delayed gratification, but I guess I was.

Maybe that's why I have no trouble putting off purchases until (or if) I can afford them. I can wait until everyone gets here on Christmas afternoon to open gifts. I had no idea that waiting until meals to eat would have such a big (although unattributed) affect.

If you can get your hands on the Feb 4 Wall Street Journal (they charge for online or I'd link it), it's very interesting.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VADAVICTORIA 2/11/2012 9:41AM
7473816.html - here's the link!

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DARLENEK04 2/9/2012 6:04PM

  I found this interesting....I hear a lot of arguments both
ways, but for me, I eat 3 meals a day.


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SIMPLY-EVA 2/7/2012 1:51PM

  I wish this is something that I had been taught growing up. I grew up as the youngest child and my sibs were pretty much grown. We spent a lot of time at church and snacks were always available to keep me occupied while mom was busy in meetings. I in turn always turn to food in times of stress or boredom. Its a hard habit to break. These days I chew a lot of gum in hopes that keeping my mouth busy will keep me from putting other things into it. Yup, Ive got a lot to learn and a long way to go but Im finally "getting it".


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    Very intersting perspective. Thanks for sharing.

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    What a new thought, Nell!
I know tht I do better at losing weight when I have "3 squares", but I never knew why!
This is a life-changing thought!

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BANKER-CHUCK 2/4/2012 11:08PM

    After reading numerous articles in Spark and other outside material I don't agree with the French schedule of eating. While trying to lose weight I eat 3 main meals and 2 to 3 smaller ones. As a diabetic, type 2, it is suggested I eat every 3 to 4 hours. Over the last 1.5 years I lost over 60 lbs. However I did fall off the wagon and reintroduced foods back into my diet. Mainly backed good, ice know the bad stuff.

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FISHINGLADY66 2/4/2012 8:17PM

    Great Blog Nell.

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FREELADY 2/4/2012 7:16PM

    Wow, great blog. So fascinating.

Most libraries have a computer with a subscription service where you can read the article. Thanks for pointing it out to us!

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KALISWALKER 2/4/2012 7:15PM

    I enjoyed your blogged. Delayed gratification is also important with personal finances - saving to buy something, rather than running up the credit card.

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CATLADY52 2/4/2012 7:00PM

    That's a very interesting concept. emoticon
More people ought to try the French Way.

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    Snacking always ends up going right into the next meal for me. I totally understand why snacking should not be taught to children.
Thanks for the insight.

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Stress in Retirement

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I know, it sounds impossible. When I first stopped working I was terrified: What would I do with my time? What would get me out of bed in the morning? What would shape my life, give me purpose? Well, like most retirees, it wasn't long before I wondered when I ever found the time to work. Life was slower, I had control over what I would do most days.

But then, the activities took on a life of their own. Which isn't a bad thing. I LOVE going to 6 or 7 stores a week to buy food because I love to cook and spend a couple of hours every night making food better than any (well, most) restaurant. I was available to help out my kids more than ever before, and be part of my grandchildren's lives.

When my husband had a few strokes, then broke his leg (which still hasn't healed), I was able to take good care of him here at home. Which made a dreadful situation much better.

Now my mother needs my help. She is having trouble managing her affairs so I will be taking over. It's an easy task by itself, but I will essentially be working for her. I want her to be happy, but since retiring I'm kind of used to doing things my way in my time. "Do you REALLY need to shop at that many stores just for food?" Well by now, yes.

All these things that I started doing to "fill up time" all those years ago have become my comfort, express my creativity. The stress comes in having to curtail what others see as frivolous so that I can help Mom.

I can get through about anything if I have the time to cook and eat well. The only practical stress reliever I have is cooking, which seems to be irrelevant to many people in this day of take out and ready made food.

I have maintained my loss for a long time by cooking, and took it to a whole new level after retiring. My mother doesn't like to eat, doesn't understand why I like to eat, and has little patience for interests in which she doesn't share. I'll manage but it is going to be a second very stressful year in a row.

Funny, even in stress, it's all about the food.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TNEWELL26 2/4/2012 11:19AM

    Nell best wishes. I too know the comfort of cooking. When I am cooking my family healthy food it is relaxing and rewarding. Best of luck dealing with the stress.

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JITZUROE 2/3/2012 1:43PM

    You are right about the food factor. It always pops up in our life somewhere, eh? I love that you have used cooking as a method of therapy for life. You clearly show love by cooking and feeding good stuff to great people.
My uncle is the same way as your mother about food- almost aloof. It used to make me mad, but now I can see why he can disappear for hours on a nature walk. Clearly, his mind and mine are in different realms. But as long as your mom feels how much you care for her (by helping to care for her now), I am sure she is happy. You certainly DO have a full plate though; amazing wife to your hubbie,amazing chef, and amazing daughter!!!

Is this where I spill the beans that I was at a research hospital this past week and mapped out Trader Joes BEFORE we started our 100 mile drive to the hospital since I am so spoiled with good food myself!? Ha!!!

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KALISWALKER 2/2/2012 12:55AM

    Wow I can relate to retirement and being so busy now. I retired in October. Yes I am doing things my way in my time too!

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KANOE10 2/1/2012 7:49AM

    Keep cooking Nell and do what you love to do..that makes you happy. You are being such a strong person taking care of your mother..and helping your husband..But be sure to make time for you..even if others don't understand or it does not matter to them.
I love to cook also. It brings me great pleasure to find new dishes! Hope you have a good day..and find time to cook something wonderful.

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67CAMARO_SS 2/1/2012 6:18AM

    Nell, we never know how strong we really are -until we have to be. Or so they say....
It's hard work - just being strong & being there for others. Us chicks are really good at it too. But it does wear one out, doesn't it? Take all the advice into consideration, & fit it in where you're able. I'm pretty sure you're gonna get thru each day somehow, so it may as well be with your smile intact & a sense of pride. That sounds like a good plan anyway - but I know its tough to follow thru on it some days. Keep trying to "remain yourself." It will only help you with all the stuff life is throwing at you.
Keep sparking friend -
June :)

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PJCHILIS 2/1/2012 5:23AM

    I guess before you retire there isn't time for everything to go to hell, but there sure is then. Family, health and everything. I totally understand where you are coming from.

Make time for yourself. Watch your health. Be sure to have your mammograms. I thought I was home free and I wasn't. They have digitals now that catch everything sooner. If you feel depressed, ask for something. I waited too long.

Life is better now. Live life to the fullest. Peg

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FISHINGLADY66 1/31/2012 8:59PM

    I understand and I agree with you Nell. emoticon

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BANKER-CHUCK 1/31/2012 7:48PM

    I retired 6 years ago. and I had many of the same "retirement" fears as you. After 2 years of retirement I bought my street bike, joined 3 different motorcycle organizations. Motorcycles really helped keep me occupied with club functions and long road-trips. My mother has been in good health up until a couple of years ago it has been declining. Mostly age related but she is so far self-sufficient, still drives short distance. She is now 91 years and the age is starting to take its toll and has reduced her abilities to get around as well with walking outside.
My worry is the day she will be unable to be totally self-sufficient and require more care.

I feel for you and know what you are going through. Take care and do as much as you can to enjoy life.

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DARLENEK04 1/31/2012 7:03PM


More than ever, you need to keep that time of shopping,
cooking and eating because it brings you joy.
You have dealt with a lot in the last year, and while I
know your mother is important to you, if you don't care
for your needs/wants, then you will not be able to care
and do for others.

I know it is hard for them to understand that this brings
you so much enjoyment, but your health has to be your
priority, and everything else falls into place.

It will keep you will keep you happier. In
the long run, that will allow you to deal with everything else
in your life.

Is your mother still living at home? her home, I should say??

Blessings and keep us posted....

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TAMPATINK67 1/31/2012 6:37PM

    It is and needs to remain about your health... Sounds like everyone is adjusting to the changes to the best of their abilities!

Cook on Lady Nell!


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