The incredible shrinking woman: weight in

Hey, I'd never try to tell you what to do. I live by the expression "If you can't be a good example then you'll just have to be a horrible warning."

Hey, I’d never try to tell you what to do. I live by the expression “If you can’t be a good example then you’ll just have to be a horrible warning.” Here instead are some examples of how I steered clear of the nagging, self-defeating inner voices that would’ve normally driven me straight to the drive-thru.

• I just wiped out a buffet table half an hour ago; how can I still be hungry? The most important thing I’ve learned is that a rumbling tummy may be calling for water, not food. So, when I can’t resist a trip to the kitchen, I grab some aqua first to see if that drowns out the hunger pangs.

• Nobody knows the troubles I’ve seen… My gal-pal Annemarie joined Weight Watchers three weeks after I did. Though I was prepared to go it alone, having a partner helped. She understood the triumphant feeling of losing one-eighth of a pound, the unexpected grief of saying goodbye to a lifetime of clothes that no longer fit, and the importance of calculating the number of Weight Watchers “points” in a margarita.

• I’m so sleepy—I’ll just rest my head in this bowl of cookie dough. It’s amazing what you learn about yourself when you start paying attention. When I’m overtired, I eat. And eat. And eat. So, if I have to settle for a snack over a nap, I grab a handful of baby carrots, acknowledging that at least I have the willpower to choose a healthy treat over a bad one.

• I’ll take every piece of chocolate you have in the store—now! There are times of the month when visions of sugar-coated everything will not stop dancing in my head. So when I want to indulge my taste buds but keep control of the calories, I opt for a couple of Hershey’s Kisses or arrowroot cookies over the family pack of doughnuts. This way I can enjoy the sweet fix without having the guilty sugary hangover.

• I feel so mad/sad/glad. When I’m overcome by an emotion, I work it out at the gym. Feel like smacking someone? Try kick boxing. Overjoyed that you finished your taxes? Celebrate by dancing. For every emotion there’s a physical activity that allows us to overcome or indulge in it. I alternate between running, dance classes and Pilates. If variety is the spice of life, I intend to be one hot mama.

• I could do this for a couple of days, but the rest of my life? No doubt about it, the whole thing is daunting, especially if you want to shed 20, 40 or 100 pounds and keep them off. I decided to take my weight-loss journey in baby steps, committing myself to losing five pounds at a time. I still have the piece of paper I used to track my progress. Whenever I start doubting myself, I dig it out and revel in those little marks that spell out “I can do this!”