Saturday, December 30, 2006

more on the weight loss quest

I've had the loveliest little holiday vacation this year. Last year we went to Key West after Christmas and stayed through New Year's Day, but I have to admit that I'm enjoying this year more. I've liked having a lot of time to enjoy at home and relax. We have been able to spend time with family and friends and enjoy a holiday at home. Besides, I don't have to deal with my winter-white body in a bathing suit this year.

One nice luxury is having the time to get lost in a book. I got Eat, Pray, Love for Christmas this year and devoured the book in two days. It really is beautiful: the language, the descriptions of the people and places, and most of all, the food. The book is a memoir of the author's travels in Italy, India, and Indonesia while on a spiritual journey.

It sounds superficial and silly to say this, but the weight loss this time around has been a little bit more of a spiritual journey for me. Like Gilbert, I am trying to figure out how to have pleasure and beauty and discipline and spirituality all at the same time. And I insist that my food be beautiful along the way. I love the kind of food that Gilbert described in the Italy section: Simply prepared, beautiful food made from fresh ingredients.

My eating habits have really changed over the years, but I'm still a picky eater. The difference is that instead of hating vegetables and refusing to try new things, now I'm too picky to eat bad, or even mediocre food. A lot of the recipes that they share in Weight Watchers meetings call for fake foods: fat-free this, sugar-free that. And I refuse to lose weight by trying to survive on Smart Ones and Lean Cuisines. I want food that is real.

One thing I do love about Weight Watchers is that their actual recipe books are wonderful. I have yet to make something from one of those books that hasn't gotten rave reviews from me and anyone I share it with. And I have to thank Chef Kathleen for teaching me how to love vegetables. Since I first saw her television show, her recipes have taught me to like fennel, asparagus, broccoli, even beets! I was still thinking of cooked vegetables as the mushy, salty stuff from cans that we had to eat once in a while at my meat-and-potatoes household. My mother's parents are both from Italy, but because my father was even more of a picky eater than me, it took until adulthood for me to learn to love real Italian food. My mom rarely made anything that my dad wouldn't eat, and I picked up my skittishness about "weird" food from him.

Now that I have learned to like everything from falafel to sushi, the hard part for me is balancing my love of good food with my desire to fit into jeans in a smaller size (or two). Add to that a few more parties in the tail end of the holiday party season and you can see why this is on my mind.

I could easily lose the weight if I was willing to lock myself away from friends, family, and any events involving food. I could subsist on frozen entrees and Pumpkin Fluff (a Weight Watchers favorite made from canned pumpkin and fat-free Cool Whip). But I want to do this in a way that makes me happy and fits the kind of life I want to live. That's what I mean when I'm saying that I see it this time as a spiritual quest. I'm not just trying to lose weight this time around, I want to figure out how to live my life in a way that makes me happy. I figure that is the only way to do this for the long haul. I don't want to be trying to recover from a relapse again in a year or two, I want to keep this going forever.


1 comment:

  1. Jen, I don't think it's silly or superficial at all for this weight loss to be a spiritual journey for you. This time around you are seeing there is more to the whole package than just pounds. There is satisfaction and joy; living in a way that makes you happy for the long haul seems eminently sane and very balanced. Great post, great insights - as always :)

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"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07