My body has changed. I have, too.

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I met with a dietitian at work.

For a story, that is — about mindful eating, purposeful choices … eating with intention. But like any writer, I capture little pieces of the journey for myself along the way.

Everything she was saying made perfect sense … and the story/conversation did not go in the direction I’d anticipated. I had the idea of doing an “Eating Well at the Holidays!”-style piece that would probably include tips like “load up half your plate with vegetables first!” and “eat a light snack so you’re less likely to nosh on apps!”

I opened our conversation this way with Wendy, who is so reassuring and non-judgmental.

“I was thinking back to my Weight Watcher days,” I said, “and remembering how, anytime I was headed for a party, I would try to eat all my boring food beforehand so I was less likely to eat all the delicious things.”

Wendy was nonplussed. Neutral. “And how did that work for you?”

“Well, at the time? It worked great. I was so regimented and basically ate when I absolutely had to,” I said. “I lost tons of weight. But now …”

But now.

But now, I don’t want to live my life counting cauliflower crackers and berating myself for grabbing a cookie in the break room.

But now, I care less about fitting into size-10 pants than being able to run after my kids.

But now, I don’t want to worry about every photo someone is snapping from a sideline, wondering if I look “fat.”

But now, “weight” is not a dirty word. I don’t cringe when my son pokes at my soft belly (which, he believes, makes an excellent pillow). We talk about bodies, how everyone has a body, and all bodies are OK. I really do believe this. I want my daughter and son to know this. And yet …

The altar of thin is so deeply-rooted, and I am human.

But I am exhausted.

There is so much more to life.

And you know what? It makes me angry, too. Diet culture, impossible beauty standards for women, obsession and worshiping “thin” bodies while vilifying larger bodies … this is all a total mess. I mean, how much time do we have?

So yeah, I guess I am angry.

I have been thin — a size 4. A size so impossibly small that I was even tinier than my middle-school self. I liked being thin, because everyone else liked me being thin. I felt like I’d “won.” I’d done something seemingly impossible. Everyone was so impressed!

It came at a cost. I justified it. I was tiny for our wedding in 2013, and small going into my pregnancy with Oliver. But “thin” is not a direct path to “healthy,” and I was physically and emotionally all over the place. “Thin” didn’t protect me from preeclampsia, which ultimately forced Ollie’s premature delivery and set off a series of health concerns for me.

I’m not a doctor. I know I need to exercise regularly, eat well more often than not, try to get adequate rest, etc. etc. etc. I’m not denying those facts. I am taking care of other health issues and working to be in better shape — for myself and my loved ones.

But this? This is something else. Something more. This is body image. Perceptions. Bias. This is about #goals and diet culture and the collective obsession with thin, particularly female thinness, which is what is so insidious.

Because here is a thing I know: today, after two babies in two years, I am heavier than I’ve ever been.

I’m also happier.

I appreciate my body. It’s been through so much. It’s done amazing things. It grew humans. That’s cliche, I know, but it’s true: women are amazing.

So I cut myself slack. Parenthood has taught me that there is beauty in the trying — that showing up and working hard is sometimes enough. I have to show up for myself, too.

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After talking with Wendy, I looked up the concepts we were discussing: intuitive eating, which has to do with physical vs. emotional hunger, accepting our bodies, and making peace with food. It has nothing to do with restricting calorie intake or figuring out ways to reach an “ideal.” I found Isabel Foxen Duke (great name, btw), particularly this post, and Health At Every Size.

It addresses everything I’ve felt since having children, but didn’t know how to express: I want to feel healthy and be physically healthy, but not at the expense of my emotional health.

And restricting food? Creating impossible limits on what I’m eating, and when, and why? Constantly “getting back on the wagon,” then “falling off the wagon,” and dealing with the guilt associated with “failure”? Entering a cycle of self-loathing because I dared to eat a scone in front of my coworkers? That impacts my emotional health.

I’m … tired. And really just done with it.

A few weeks after learning about intuitive eating from Wendy, I’m still in the research phase. Just reading about all these people who have changed their outlooks (and lives) has been reassuring. I like what I’m finding, and want to dig deep to move in this direction: eating and living well for its inherent benefits, not because I need to conform to outside expectations of my body.

Life is too short. We all want to find what makes us feel well … mentally and physically.

So I’m setting off.

I’m going to try.

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Learning to share the funnel cake

Funnel cake

I see you over there, eyeballin’ my funnel cake.

It looks fantastic, right? The ultimate in fried pleasure. Perfectly golden on the outside, crispy on the edges, but still doughy in the center.

Warm from the fryer, the grease soaking through my paper plate.

Covered in powdered sugar, which is just beginning to form the most finger-licking crust.

Few things in life provide as much joy as a really good funnel cake — and they’re not all created equal, friends. The ones at our local baseball stadium? Lackluster. The creations at our county fair? AMAZING.

I know I should share one with my sister, a fellow funnel cake lover, or my husband — but, you know, I’m greedy. I can’t help myself. Though I have no problem stealing food off others’ plates (rude, I know), I don’t like to share dessert.

Ever.

As I continue seeking healthy eating and try to keep the weight off, though, I’m in the habit of avoiding sugar . . . until I get to an event. It’s harder to say no when deep-fried goodness is all around you, perfuming the air, and everyone has a corn dog or fried Oreo or funnel cake in their messy hands. I’m pretty strong, but I’m not that strong.

Where once I would have hogged a funnel cake all to myself, though, I keep working on balance — and know devouring an entire one alone is probably not wise.

So I shared. I shared on Sunday.

Spencer and I split one while my sister and brother-in-law had another, and the results? Pretty great. Successful. I ate my fill of fried goodness while feeling (somewhat) less guilty, and we all left feeling coated in powdered sugar in the best possible way.

The key to staying on track — with Weight Watchers, yes, but in general — is not to restrict yourself completely from foods you love. As our mothers always told us, All things in moderation. This has been the lasting strategy that keeps me from returning to old, unhealthy habits, and is one I plan to continue indefinitely.

Some goodies are “trigger foods,” though — and a year ago? I would not have had the funnel cake. At all. It’s a gateway food, and it would have been too easy for me to return to bad habits and eating whatever struck my fancy as often as I liked — a routine that brought me to my heaviest weight ever with health troubles that kicked off my mission to drop the pounds.

But I’m no dieting saint. I don’t have all the answers. All I know is that, for me, the occasional half of a funnel cake has to be okay — and as along as I wake up tomorrow still staying the course and choosing health, I’m doing all right.

For me, food once brought guilt: guilt of eating too much; eating “bad things”; snacking too much or too little; making the “wrong choices” and not doing anything about it.

I feel farther removed from the woman I once was 35 pounds ago, but I’m concentrating on not falling into habits that brought me there in the first place. Weight loss is great, sure, but how I live now is really about living. Reaching a sustainable level. Getting into habits that will serve me well for the rest of my life.

Even if I haven’t been tracking as religiously as I used to, I can see the fruits of that discipline in everything I do. Fresh produce, smaller portions, lean protein — and far less sweets.

Aside from the occasional funnel cake, of course.

It’s really not optional.


Stress management (sans pie)

It’s all too much sometimes.

It is. We all know it is. Those days when the phone won’t stop ringing, emails flood in, a hundred and one people are competing for something they needed from you yesterday . . . we’ve all had them — and will again. (And again.)

Though I try to keep myself on a pretty even keel, harried days are unavoidable. We all get stressed. As we’ve dealt with endless paperwork, financial decisions and the logistics of planning our move the last few months, I’ve been struggling to not panic and, you know, move forward with all of my hair.

Coupled with work, family, a traumatic accident in the extended family, trying to maintain friendships but realizing some friendships will naturally ebb and flow . . . along with, you know, day-to-day stuff like paying bills, feeding ourselves and making sure the car has gas? Well, it’s a process.

I’m still figuring things out. So many things. But what I have learned about stress management, thanks in no small part to my weight loss journey?

I can figure it out without pie.

I’ve always been an emotional eater, and it’s natural to want to reward myself with food. Celebrating? Have cake! Had a rough day? More cake! Need a little pick-me-up to get through a big work project? Candy! Bored with TV re-runs? Chips!

These are all behaviors I didn’t realize I had until . . . well, until I started paying attention. And I only started paying attention when I was more than 30 pounds overweight — and I decided to stop living in the neighboring lands of denial and “someday” (“Someday I’ll eat healthier, someday I’ll lose weight . . .”).

So much of my eating was done absentmindedly, and that’s what worried me most. My portions were out of control. I wasn’t even thinking about what I was eating; I was just popping crackers while cooking dinner, or helping myself to a third muffin because it was there.

That was the simplest explanation for so many of my eating habits: because it was there.

Now that I’m sharing digs — and a kitchen — with my husband, also conscious of his eating, it’s easier to control what comes in and out of our home. I’ve mentioned my mantra before — You can’t eat what you don’t have — and find myself going back to basics a bit lately. You can’t eat the good stuff, like fresh fruit and vegetables, if you don’t have the good stuff. Conversely, you can’t while the evening away with a bag of Oreos if you don’t have Oreos to tempt you.

You dig?


Weight loss - May 2014

It’s been almost six months since I hit my goal weight and became a lifetime Weight Watchers member, and I’m proud to have maintained my weight within a pound since January. But what you don’t always consider at the beginning of the journey? The “journey” has no end. It’s cliche because it’s true: good health is not a destination; it’s a way of life. It requires diligence and dedication. I’m not “dieting,” friends — I have a new diet. This is what I eat now. I can’t slip back into old habits after hitting some “magic” number.

And as life has gotten interesting, I’ve had to develop new coping mechanisms.

Before I share my own tips for dealing with stress without sinking into a pile of banana pudding, my previous go-to, I want to stress that I love y’all and would never want to make anyone feel badly about their lives or choices. As my favorite WW Leader would say? You do you, boo.

But if you see some of yourself in my words and are making changes, here are a few of my ways to deal with challenges in a healthier way:


Stress without pie


Talking it out. Despite being an active blogger, columnist and all-around oversharer, I often find myself feeling rather . . . guarded. Private. I’m not one to offload my issues, even to those I love and trust, so when I finally break down and talk about something? It’s big. And usually a relief. If I call my sister instead of helping myself to a crescent roll, I’ve made a step forward.

Pinterest. Really. It chews up time, gives me inspiration (healthy recipes! home decor! pretty places!) and generally keeps my mind busy. If I’m really stressed at work, I use my break to mindlessly scroll through pretty pictures at Panera while sipping coffee until I feel better. And usually? I do.

Baking. This may sound counter-intuitive, but I’m a stress baker. The careful blending of flour and butter and vanilla is nothing short of therapy. I love channeling my nervous or sad energy into the creating rather than dwelling. Baked goods are my love language, but I don’t let them linger too long; Spence and I may enjoy a cupcake or two, but the rest get carted off to our respective offices. Here’s a life maxim you probably know, but just in case: coworkers like free food. So now you’re suddenly popular, friends. Try it: it’s fun.

Reading. No surprise to bookworms, right? Distraction can be key during times of stress. And what’s better at helping one decompress than losing yourself in a good novel? When I keep my hands busy with a book, they’re not rifling through a bag of potato chips.

Cleaning. Since crazy times often equal messy houses, I try to stay on top of clutter by choosing one “project” to work on after dinner when I’ve had a long day. Spencer and I will occasionally email about this ahead of time — “Tonight, let’s go through the mail” — and it gives a focus to our evenings. Though I love unwinding with “The Mindy Project” as much as the next gal (and still do), having a cleaning project helps keep me from snacking at night. And then the apartment looks way better, so.

Snacking healthier. If my gut reaction is still to snack when feeling harried (which it is — hard to unlearn), I try to have choices on hand I can feel good about eating. I like the crunch and time-intensive enjoyment of celery with hummus or a ripe apple, but I’m also a huge fan of unsalted almonds, individual cottage cheese cups, grapes, low-fat pudding snacks, Triscuits and string cheese.

Getting your significant other on board. Piggybacking on my previous point, getting your loved ones to understand your stress tactics — like not have a chocolate cake in the house — can help. We have an agreement to divide up sweets and other goodies to take to work before they linger too long on our counters. (See also: stress baking.)

But sometimes cookies do help. And you know what? That’s totally fine. Am I a patron saint of healthy eaters who refrains from dessert like a sour-faced martyr? Absolutely not. I eat what I enjoy, and I enjoy what I eat — while being mindful of my overall goals. Foregoing cake today does not mean foregoing cake forever; it means I’ll choose to enjoy dessert when I’m in a clear frame of mind, not when I’m emotional and wanting to devour something just for the sake of devouring it. I drink something — water, hot tea, diet green tea, coffee — instead.

That sounds super boring, I know. Trust me. And if you told me I’d be “sipping water” instead of slicing pie a few years back, my eyeroll would have knocked you into a previous century. But I have changed, and I’m proud of how I’ve taken control of my eating — and my life.

I can’t tell you the difference it’s made.

I really feel like me. A calmer, happier me.


End goal

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Post Weight Watchers treat (frozen yogurt!)


My weight loss goal is in sight.

And that scares me a little.

I’ve started talking with the Weight Watchers crew about my end goal: where I really see myself. How much more do I want to lose? How am I going to know when to stop?

With 23.2 pounds lost and just 1.2 until I hit my personal goal, I have so many conflicting emotions about the next step. At this point, I really believe I’ve changed my eating habits — smaller portions; lots of fresh fruit and vegetables; way fewer sweets — and know I can’t go back to the way things used to be. Weight Watchers has retrained my brain, y’all; I can’t un-know what I’ve learned about eating better.

And, more importantly, feeling better. I didn’t realize how low I’d gotten — physically and emotionally — until I started really examining what I was doing. Since joining the program, my energy levels and confidence have soared. Instead of dreading photos, clothes shopping and running into acquaintances, I feel happy and buoyant and light. By modifying my habits and getting serious about what (and how much) I’m consuming, I’ve changed.

But how do I stop?

After losing 10 percent of my weight, I chose a new personal goal: I wanted to slim down to 150 lbs. At only 5’2″, that number was still 9 pounds more than the “high” end of the healthy BMI weight range for my height — so I’m still considered overweight. (Boo.)

All along, though, I’ve thought the “magic” number for my height — 141 pounds, depending on whom you consult — seemed unrealistic. I haven’t been that slim since high school, and I couldn’t picture myself more than 30 pounds lighter. Afraid of setting myself up for failure, I ignored that number. I couldn’t do 141, I reasoned, but maybe I could do 150. No problem.

Now at 151.2, I’m within sight of that goal. I can feel it. But now I’m wondering if I shouldn’t, for the first time in my post-college life, try to get back within that “healthy” range. It would feel great to be there, emotionally and physically, but I worry 141 is not a number I can sustain — not in the long term. Maybe I could drop another 10 pounds, but should I?

I don’t know.

I already have my lovely wedding dress that is currently two sizes too big. At least half of my work wardrobe is unwearable, and I’m not exactly in a financial position to buy all new clothes. Cry me a river, I know, but it is frustrating in its own way. I’m back to not having anything to wear not because my clothes are too tight, but because they’re too loose.

A better problem to have, yes — especially for health reasons. But frustrating.

Losing another 10 pounds would mean I’ve officially dropped three dress sizes, and absolutely nothing I own — or like — will fit. I feel like I woke up one day to discover all my favorite clothes had become unwearable . . . including my favorite jeans. Because I’m in such a flux right now, I have no idea what size pants to even buy. I’m left wearing and washing the same few pairs I bought on clearance at Kohl’s for the summer, though I know I’ll have to break down and invest in new duds soon.

It’s weird.

Weight is . . . well, a sensitive subject. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. And I’m not sure there’s an easy solution to this — just my general mental wandering over whether or not it’s time to quit. I’ll admit that it’s addictive, seeing that scale move . . . and I just hope I won’t lose momentum once I’m not actively dropping the pounds anymore.

I’ll just have to recommit, this time with renewed purpose: staying healthy. Maintaining.

Both leading up to the wedding and far, far beyond.


Party food: navigating the table without guilt


You know, I love a good party. Like most folks, an opportunity to socialize and eat and give presents and generally enjoying the camaraderie of hey, we’re all here and enjoying the sunshine! is enough to get me out of the house. Though I have my socially-awkward moments, I really do enjoy a good get-together. So pass the spinach dip!

(Is it low-fat?)

Since going on my healthy-eating crusade, I’ve worked hard to identify the “danger zones” that propel me into overeating, snacking . . . or generally wolfing down food that simply ain’t so good for me.

Unsurprisingly, I kept coming back to parties — those hotbeds of deliciousness.

When we’re out with friends, we are often focus on chatting. Meals play a large part in the get-togethers we enjoy with others, yes, but food isn’t always the main focus. I usually find myself mindlessly biting into cream-cheese-stuffed celery, or downing pita chips and hummus like we’re approaching some kind of a hummus drought. I’m talking and laughing, probably taking photos.

What I’m not doing? Paying attention to what I’m consuming.

Personally, I’ve started following a few “rules” to get through these functions without overindulging. (Minus the cake, because: cake.) Now more than 16 lbs. down, I’m working to not slip back into old habits. With wedding showers, weddings, birthdays and more on the horizon, it’s important I keep it together.

So what I’m sharing is absolutely nothing new and, of course, I am no expert. But here are my party tips:


How to eat and have fun at a party
without that savory side of guilt


Be last in line. Whether it’s a work potluck or bridal shower, I make sure I’m one of the last people to get food. Because I’m always worried about holding people up, getting in line first means I’m more likely to make quick decisions and pile my plate with whatever is in reach. I just want to keep things moving. If I wait until the end, I don’t feel pressured to make a plate quickly — and I can focus on loading up on healthier items and tracking my portions. Plus, if other guests have already taken all of a particular dish? Well, less to tempt me. (And there are always vegetables left.)

Don’t hover. Everyone knows the best way to keep from eating a whole bag of potato chips is not to have the whole bag handy. It’s easy for me to hover around the snack table — c’mon, it’s the best place to be! — but I’m usually talking there, mindlessly dipping carrots into ranch dressing . . . and I’m not paying attention to how much I’m eating. Make a small plate with your favorites and walk away.


Fruit


If you want it, bring it. If you’re worried about a lack of healthy options at a get-together, offer to bring a fruit and vegetable tray and/or low-fat dip. You could even go a step further by stowing a small piece of candy in your bag for when you want something sweet, but don’t want to nosh on a cupcake. If you can’t eat what you don’t have, then make sure you have it.

Don’t go hungry. Just as we’re told to never grocery shop hungry, don’t go to a party with a screamin’-empty stomach. Have a small meal or healthy snack to tide you over. Eat a banana or apple. You’ll be less likely to go crazy at the party table, and maybe you’ll even save room for dessert. And speaking of which . . .

Eat that cake, but watch your portions. Y’all know I’m going to eat cake, and it’s not realistic to swear off all sweets. So though I do have dessert, I make sure I’m not being served the thickest slice in the lot. I used to be really timid with others, afraid of offending someone by not taking what they’d offered, but now I just politely explain that I’m eating healthy and I’d like something smaller, or I’m just going to skip it altogether. Everyone understand and has been awesome.

Though I may eventually reach for the taco dip, I feel more in control — and empowered — when I think about my long-term goals and actual hunger cues. Do I really want those chips, or am I just feeling left out? Am I hungry or just looking for something to do? Answering these questions isn’t always easy, but I force myself. I force myself to be honest.

But eh, yes — I totally want some taco dip.


A healthy burger?

A better burger


When I transitioned to a healthier diet this year, I figured I’d never touch a cheeseburger again.

It was just one of many misconceptions I had before joining Weight Watchers — and figuring out how to balance the delicious, oh-my-God-I-need-“real”-food urges I have with building flavorful, better-for-me meals.

After stumbling across WW’s recipe for pepperoni pizza burgers online, I almost wept with relief. Red meat! Pepperoni! A real bun! And it was only 8 points? Well, then.

Spence and I made these last night and added a few of our favorite spices (like crushed red pepper and black pepper), plus added yellow peppers because . . . well, you don’t need a reason to add peppers, do you? Grilling the tomatoes, as instructed, lends some of the “pizza” quality to the recipe, though it’s really like a delicious Italian-style burger.

I’m leaving the recipe as-is, so as not to alter the Points content for anyone following Weight Watchers, but we lightened it up further with turkey pepperoni instead of regular. And we totally splurged with potato rolls instead of light wheat ones. And it was so good.

Mmm, burgers. I’ve missed you so. And we’ll never be parted again.


Pepperoni Pizza Burgers

Recipe from Weight Watchers


Ingredients:
4 sprays cooking spray
1 pound uncooked 93% lean ground beef
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, optional
2 medium plum tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 1/2 oz Parmesan cheese, thinly sliced
4 light hamburger rolls or buns, toasted
1 oz pepperoni, thinly sliced
4 leaf/leaves basil

Instructions:
Coat a large griddle, outdoor grill rack or stovetop grill pan with cooking spray; preheat to medium-high.

In a large bowl, combine beef, salt, garlic powder, oregano and crushed red pepper; divide mixture into four balls and then gently press each one into a 4-inch patty.

Place sliced tomatoes on grill; cook until grill marks appear, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from grill; set aside.

Off heat, recoat griddle or grill pan with cooking spray. Place burgers on hot griddle or grill; cook 5 minutes per side for medium (or to desired degree of doneness). Sprinkle each burger with 1/4 of cheese about 2 minutes before fully finished cooking on second side; cook until cheese melts.

Serve each burger on a toasted bun, topped with 1 basil leaf and 1/4 ounce pepperoni. Yields 1 burger per serving.


Scale and non-scale victories

Blackberries and yogurt


I had my 12-week weigh-in this week — and I’m officially down 14.4 lbs. Aside from the blinking number on that scale, this loss has translated into . . .

• Losing almost two dress sizes, resulting in the acquisition of all-new pants;
• Wearing my skinny jeans with startling regularity (and buying another pair);
• Buying jeans in a size I haven’t worn since my sophomore year in college;
• Lookin’ awesome in the maid of honor dress I ordered for my sister’s wedding;
• And generally feeling great.

Continuing with my weight loss goals has been both harder and easier than I expected. I’m still gung-ho on Weight Watchers, utilizing all the tips and tools they offer — and I’m definitely in a rhythm. I don’t have to think about Points values and “good” foods and portion control . . . I just know it. And do it. Though I still reach for desserts at office parties and family gatherings, I’ve learned the necessarily skills to simply dial it back. To take control of my eating — something I didn’t realize was so out of control until I got a reality check.

Though I don’t have any full-body shots to share (and am not sure I’d be brave enough even if I did!), I think you can start to see the weight loss in my face. And I’m smiling pretty often these days!


December 2012

April - us


Also, that red coat is super loose now — and it barely zipped back then. Progress!

That’s how I’m really measuring the journey . . . by the difference in my clothes. I feel like I can “shop” in my own closet now, digging out pieces I haven’t been able to wear for years (or ever), and it feels so encouraging to realize that for every new item I must buy (like those aforementioned jeans), an older item can be re-entered into the rotation.

And as for my habits? The biggest changes have been . . .

Eating breakfast. Where once I scarfed down a granola bar and sipped a Diet Coke as my morning “meal,” I now take the time to eat low-fat Greek yogurt (I love the 100 calorie Yoplait varieties) with my own added blackberries, strawberries or banana slices, and often drink hot tea in the morning. On the weekends, I eat low-sugar oatmeal and fruit. I also eat a mid-morning snack — like low-fat mozzarella or cottage cheese — to tide me over until lunchtime, which brings me to . . .

Eating lunch at my desk. If you asked me what my single biggest hang-up regarding joining a weight loss program would be back in January, I’d have unequivocally shouted “HAVING TO EAT AT MY DESK.” Before January, I went out to lunch every. single. day. And no, I’m not exaggerating. Friends teased me about my constant runs to Panera, Noodles & Co. and Einstein Bros. Bagels, places that have probably shuttered in my absence. I supported the local lunch economy single-handledly, y’all.

But now? I make myself a healthy sandwich (bagel thin, lean turkey, fat-free mustard, low-fat Swiss cheese), eat Progresso Light soups or pop open healthy leftovers from last night’s dinner. If I go out to eat, it’s typically on a Friday — and it’s a real treat. I wait until someone is free to go with me, then make it a combination social outing/lunch treat. And yes, my wallet and check book — and wedding budget — are thanking me.

• Watching the sweets. This has been tough, but I’ve managed to enjoy small, simple portions of desserts rather than the big ol’ honking slice of something I’d preferred to have before. In the past week I have chowed down on my mom’s birthday cake, a friend’s Smith Island Cake and chocolate chip cookies, though, so really: it’s all about moderation. I’m still eating what I like — I’m just eating less of what I like.

In another three months, I plan to be on the same healthy track I am now . . . and if I lose another dress size, I will officially be the thinnest I’ve ever, ever been in my adult life.

That’s not my focus, though — my focus is all those “non-scale victories,” as our Weight Watchers leader will proclaim. It’s the happiness. The pride. The energy. And the conversation topics! Who would have ever thought I’d have something to contribute to chats about healthy eating?

I’m loving it.