What I am about to say may not sit well with those of you who struggle with “healthy eating.” I know because I struggled with it – still do. I’m a lover of all things bread, sweet, creamy or chocolate-y. And, in my life, I’ve had to lose weight a few times, such as following child-birth or following stressful times in my life, where I used food as a friend, and invited it over often.
Widowhood brings its own struggles, and now with grown children who are on their own, after struggling with food issues, I find it’s time to make my own way, my own space and decisions in my best self-interest. With the help of a friend, I’ve discovered some of the fun I can have with food.
Having fatty, sweet foods in the house is not, I found, in my best interests. I can’t keep my grubby fingers off of them. Will power was never one of my strong suits, so I’ve learned that, if I shouldn’t eat it anyway, if I’ll feel guilty about eating it, then don’t buy it. Period.
I’ve discovered the joys of playing with my food. I toy with additions to the salads I prepare for myself. I don’t skimp on the variety, and it’s so much fun! I eat less red meat, and don’t miss it, especially when, on top of a base of dark leafy greens, are gorgeous colors such as red tomatoes, mandarin oranges, as well as fun foods such as black olives, sunflower seeds, artichokes, and feta cheese. When I feel really daring or just really hungry, I’ll even put raisins, sardines or a few pieces of roast turkey or smoked ham on top. A little dressing and I’ve provided a great, filling and completely satisfying meal for myself.
See? I told you it might not sit well with you. A meal for myself often includes one large salad, that provides more than enough to fill me up, but doesn’t add too much the cholesterol and fat that I should be reducing anyway. I’ll often add a whole wheat flatbread with a little pesto on it just for a different texture. It may not seem exciting, but every time I step on the scale, I see the benefits, and feel a wee bit thrilled!
And – I don’t need to skimp when I’m out with friends and family. I still eat what they eat, but in smaller portions, not because I have to, but because I don’t think I could eat a whole steak or potato now. My portions are smaller, but the satisfaction is still there, and I can still eat a piece of cake now and then without feeling the pangs of guilt and regret that I used to experience.
I’ve only been on this plan for a little over a month, and am hoping for longer-term benefits. One goal is to completely eliminate cholesterol medicine. My doctor has already reduced the dosage, so maybe by my next appointment I’ll get some good news. I’ll let you know.
Mary Boscaino is a mother and grandmother, who has taken a break from “employee” status to pursue writing and playing with her grandchildren. Hiking, exploring the outdoors, horseback riding, and exploring her faith are her passions. and she keeps her family history alive through scrapbooking.