Although I didn't stick to the 8 week plan as flawlessly as my partner in crime (seriously... I am so impressed by and proud of Nicole!), I followed the plan for the most part. Yes, there were a couple slip ups. But I learned from WW that one bad night doesn't have to be followed by a bad day, and it doesn't undo all the progress you've made. It's life - there are bumps in the road, but you cross them and keep going. I love the quote by Robert Frost: "In three words I can summarize everything I've learned about life: it goes on." And I've found the same is true of this weight loss journey.
So now I've spent the last couple weeks not sugar-free, but more sugar-light. I eat fruits now (and oh, I appreciate them in a whole new way)! I had ketchup with my fries when I went out to eat last weekend. But I would rather put a teaspoon of olive oil and some spices on a salad instead of sugar-loaded dressings. I would rather have coffee with a tablespoon or two of a natural half & half than fill it with the sugary flavored creamers. I see ice cream as a rare, portion-controlled treat rather than a comfort from stress. I will go a few days in a row without any added and/or unnecessary sugars... and that's without even thinking about it!
This week the cold weather and snow flurries hit. It makes me want to snuggle up on the couch in my sweats under lots of blankets and watch Christmas movies. It also brings out my inner Betty Crocker and I feel the need to bake. My kitchen calls to me. So this week, I baked. I found a new chocolate chip cookie recipe that sounded good. I made it a little healthier using whole wheat flour and dark chocolate chips. When the gooey treats were out of the oven, I had a couple warm bites of heaven with my roommate. And then I stopped. I put them in Tupperware and didn't look at them again. Last night, I saw the container on the table and once again passed them without a single bite. I had what I needed. I got what I wanted, and that single serving was enough for me.
So today, these yummy treats were a gift for the office. My coworkers love them! And even now, I pass them on the counter and they don't make my mouth water or my stomach growl the way homemade cookies used to. This is a big accomplishment for me! Old Jen would have easily taken the Tupperware container to my room and munched on countless cookies as a bedtime snack. I left a few cookies at home as a treats for my Roomie, who is spending late nights serving at church and is often rushed for meals and snacks. But I really don't want any more. They were delicious, but I had my fix. I'd rather eat an apple or a banana with some peanut butter! (Seriously, I missed fruit with all of my heart. I will never, ever take "nature's dessert" for granted again.) I feel like this really has become a lifestyle and it has changed what I eat and how I read nutrition labels and ingredient lists. I guess I'm in the "maintenance mode" of this experiment - and I'm only 3.0 pounds from being in maintenance mode of WW too.
What does that mean to me? I've changed my perspective on it a little. I realized it just means I'm going from a "diet," from trying to lose weight, to just keeping up with this healthy lifestyle. It means I've learned the lessons and reached my goals, but that I want to keep making the effort to stay healthy and active and being smart about what I eat to fuel my body with. It means that I refuse to let junk food or emotional eating or laziness control my life. Instead, I'm in control now. It's actually an empowering place to be and I'm excited to enter this new phase!