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.