Teri Boggess writes: The big slice of home-baked angel food cake with Mom's seven-minute frosting was worth a regained half pound.
Yes, the cake was for my birthday, but it might just as well have been a celebration of reaching my goal of losing 15 pounds.
I joined The News & Observer's Turning the Scales staff weight-loss blog in January with the goal of doing something for myself. And when I last checked in with an April post headlined "12 pounds lost - and a goal in sight," the progress had surprised me because the weight loss came with minimal effort and during a stressful time.
This week, as I transition to the Dieting Dispatches community blog after my job at The N&O was eliminated, I'm happy to report a weight of 148.5. That, of course, came before Wednesday's birthday lunch, ice cream, dinner, cake and more ice cream.
But such a splurge is OK now and then. It's when the splurge becomes a way of life that trouble happens.
Those last three pounds proved more stubborn than the rest, and my weight yo-yoed a bit. Along the way, however, I learned:
- I stopped losing weight when I altered my snacking habits, and I'd rather snack with small meals throughout the day than sit down to big meals. Since January, almonds, walnuts, pecans and pistachios by the measured handful had been my snack preferences. When life got busy with work and caregiving for ailing family members, I never got around to making a warehouse store expedition to replenish the nut bins. I snacked on, well, too much else. Lesson learned. The nuts returned.
- A sensible bedtime snack keeps me from waking up famished. Limiting the carbohydrates and adding protein helps. A good snack for me is a variation of the Girl Scout recipe "Ants on a Log." That would be celery sticks stuffed with peanut butter and with several raisins lined up on the peanut butter. I prefer sunflower butter to peanut butter. If you try but don't like sunflower butter, buy a different brand - the tastes can vary by brand.
- Being aware of the food I'm about to consume has been the primary reason those first 15 pounds are gone. Restaurant and fast-food meals must be chosen with care and discipline. Carbohydrates - especially breads and sugars - have to be limited. And summer makes fresh vegetables and fruits easier to include on the menu.
With those pounds gone, I can set a new goal.
I talked with my doctor during my annual checkup, and she calculated that my ideal weight should be 141 pounds.
So I have 7.5 pounds to go. To make it an even number, I'm going to aim to lose 10 pounds to reach 138.5.
I was at 134 a decade ago when my weight began creeping up. I'm very happy to be turning back the calendar and taking back control.