Have you ever seen a police movie where the police officer tells the bad guy, “Just step away from the vehicle.” Every time I see one of those shows I am reminded of a funny thing I heard one of the many, many, many times I was a Weight Watchers member. I had rejoined for the 30th time, and since it was my first week (again) on the program, I actually stayed for the meeting. The leader was giving a talk and she kept saying, “Just step away from the food.” I remember sitting there with my thighs hanging over the sides of the chair thinking, “How do you step away from the food when you love it so much?” Even though that was the only meeting I attended during that particular membership, the phrase has stuck in my head all these years.
When I finally got scared and frustrated enough to lose my weight I didn’t use Weight Watchers to lose weight, but I did use that phrase. “Just step away from the food, Diane.” (Note: WW is great!)
You see, I was always lingering near food. I spent a lot of my day in the kitchen preparing food, organizing food, and eating food. I loved buying food for myself. I’d stand in the candy aisle of the grocery store trying to decide which package called my name the loudest at that moment. Sometimes I’d buy the Rolos and the Hershey’s miniatures, rationalizing that because I bought two bags, I might could share a few pieces with the family. But I didn’t usually share. I usually stashed them away and ate both bags.
As a morbidly obese 300 pound woman, I couldn’t seem to step away from the food. When I started my journey, learning to step away was important for me. The hard part was that I couldn’t just turn my back on cooking, shopping for food, or eating. I really needed to change how I did those things.
Just because I wanted to lose weight didn’t mean that I could stop cooking for the family. On the contrary, I actually needed to cook more, because I didn’t want to continue eating out 3 to 4 nights a week, which had been our habit. We still ate out, but I needed to learn to cook healthy, nutritious foods that fit within my plan. So I made the conscious decision to step away from fried foods, high fat entrees, and making cakes several times a week. I began cooking more, and modifying our favorite recipes in a way that made everyone happy.
It was hard to step away from the candy aisle, the cookie displays, and the full fat chips. I still remember longingly looking at the big bags of candy, and packages of Oreos on the end cap displays, just wishing I could eat it all. But I resisted. If I really wanted a sweet treat, I bought something small, and shared it with the girls. I stepped away from buying large amounts of food just for me.
Obviously I couldn’t stop eating anymore than I could stop breathing. So stepping away from eating wasn’t an option. But stepping away from eating enormous quantities of unhealthy food was an option, and was a requirement for me to gain control over my food choices.
These changes didn’t happen overnight, but they did happen. Every time I stepped away from a bad food choice, I felt like I was one step closer to my goal. Even if I didn’t lose a pound that week, just remembering all the good choices I had made reaffirmed that I was finally on the right path.
Have you found things that you need to step away from? What has worked for you? What hasn’t?
I realize that I went “fast” over these three areas: cooking, shopping and eating. I really want to explore them further on another day! Diane