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It's not just a piece of chocolate

Last night I ate a miniature ice cream bar and as so often, I couldn't help but think about the man who tried to show me how to enjoy the sweet treats of life, so many years ago.

My father-in-law was an incredible man, and more a father to me, than my real father ever was. He welcomed me into his family with open arms, even took my side once in a while, when we were newlyweds and just started to explore the joys, and responsibilities that come with marriage.

Every night after dinner he got up and went to the buffet in the dining room. He turned the key to one of the drawers, and in slow motion, he picked up a piece of chocolate and put it in his mouth. When he turned around he looked like a little boy, he smiled and his eyes sparkled. He never chewed the chocolate, he let it melt in his mouth instead -enjoyed the small bite for as long as he could.

He never took more than just one piece. I didn't understand! 

He often talked about WWII. He had been a soldier and had spent some time as a prisoner of war in a POW-camp far away.

He had to work hard but was treated fairly and had enough to eat. "I missed my coffee and a piece of cake on Sunday," he often said but didn't complain about anything else. He always had a sweet tooth, and he appreciated the luxury of candy and cakes a little bit more when he came back home.

One night my father-in-law got up, got his chocolate and on his way back to the living room he collapsed in the hallway. He had a massive heart attack and passed away that night. He was 78 years old. He died with a piece of chocolate in his mouth and I always thought that was perfect. 

My Father-in-law died many years ago, but the way he ate one piece of chocolate in the evening, is something I never forgot. I have eaten a mountain of chocolate in my lifetime, but I don't think I ever appreciated any of it the way he enjoyed just one piece of his favorite milk chocolate bar.

Last night, I sat on the couch and I got a glimpse of the joy he must have felt. The cold chocolate and the cold ice cream before it melts away -what a taste sensation it is when you really pay attention to it.

I hope one day I will be able to treasure the small things in life the way he did. There is so much to learn and I have just begun. Perhaps aging is not so bad after all IF I can trade youth for a little bit of wisdom.

No changes this week. The scale still shows the same -what is a big win in my books. 

102.5 Lbs lost - Only 37.5 to go! Life is great -but too hot right now

Don't Pray for the Chicken

The other night I went through my newsfeed when I came across a message that stood out. "I had fried chicken tonight, my favorite food. I feel bad about it. Please pray for me," my friend had written and I pressed my lips together and blew up my cheeks -a general warning sign for upcoming sarcasm.

I have read similar requests here throughout my time on MFP and mostly, I quietly dismiss and move on. I am not an expert, but my gut feeling tells me God might have his (or her) plate full already -pun intended. 

Also, to me, it's not clear what I am supposed to pray for. Less fried chicken and more discipline I suppose. Or perhaps the prayer is meant to ask for forgiveness, because after all, isn't it a contradiction to feel guilty of the very food the good man upstairs has provided so generously?

Bad, bad fried chicken! How dare you taste so good?

While I don't understand the prayer request -it really puzzles me- I do understand the guilt feeling all too well. It has been my specialty for many years. Hardly a day went by when I didn't feel guilty about my meals. Either I had -again- eaten too much, or my food choices had been highly questionable. I bet I even felt guilty when I didn't do anything wrong. I questioned everything about my food selections. In my mind, there was ONLY good and bad food and nothing in between. 

Guilt takes the fun out of the journey and like any other bad feeling, it will bring you down. It brought me down for years and the scale went up and up.

Yes, fried chicken might not be the healthiest meal choice, but if you love it so much, then enjoy it once in a while and be grateful and remember, we all are very lucky. A lot of people on this beautiful planet would love to chew on the bones we throw away. 

Bad Food is not existing for me anymore-other than for health reasons.

If you love fried chicken then build your meal around it and make smarter choices for the rest of the day. That's how I look at it. I have a certain amount of calories to PLAY with each day and that's what I do. I have a ball when I plan my meals.

Sometimes I am glad my diary doesn't show the order of which I log my food, because if it would, then the world could see that I plan my Saturday meal around the two glasses of wine, I am going to enjoy in the evening. No questions asked, no judgment allowed -I plan it first thing in the morning with a big grin on my face. My 260-calorie award for a tough workweek. 

Is the wine bad? Am I bad? Neither, I hope. 

I am not sure what happened last week, perhaps I sweat too much. Another 2 1/2 pounds are gone!

102.5 Lbs lost - Only 37.5 to go! Life is fabulous.

The Secret to My weightloss

Years ago, when I quit smoking I expected the worse to happen. After all, mood swings and tantrums are part of the quitting process and I was scared. How would I react if I would finally give up my beloved cigarettes?

I pictured myself laying on the floor, shaking like a leaf, begging for a nicotine fix. I took the risk and quit anyway.

According to my husband and my friends, I was a little bit on the edge for two weeks, but manageable. I still laughed and goofed around, I was still the same person -just smelled better.

Interesting enough, giving up the cigarettes wasn't that hard. Giving up the routines and habits that came with it -well that's another story. I found myself running around like a lost puppy. I didn't know what to do with my hands at times. How could ever enjoy a cup of coffee without smoking?

Cigarettes had been my go-to place when I wanted to be alone. Smoking a cigarette gave me permission to walk away whenever I felt like it. I left restaurants and gatherings, walked outside to smoke and got the me-time I so often need.

To me, the cigarettes had magical powers. They made me happy when I was sad, they comforted me when I felt alone. They made me happier when I was happy and most of all, they helped me to relax.

All of that is of course BALONEY -just the way it is with food. Unhealthy food didn't make me happy, too often it left me with a guilt feeling. Overeating never solved any of my problems, it just gave me a short break from dealing with them. 

Somebody asked me last week what I changed to lose so much weight and I couldn't answer the question at first. I didn't change much, so what's there to say. When I came home that night, I asked my husband the same questions and he laughed out loud. "Honey, we changed EVERYTHING," he said and as so often, he is right.

Giving up certain foods was easy, changing our eating routine and habits, that was the hard part. Today most of our eating routines and habits have either been altered or have been kicked to the curb for good.

We eat smaller portions and use smaller plates. We turn off all the distractions during dinner and even in the office, I sit on a table and eat my lunch, instead of gulping down plates of food, while sitting on the computer. The way I plan meals has changed. I plan in advance for each and every meal -no matter where we go, and if I need help to identify healthy food in a store or restaurant, I ask for help and guidance.

I learned to acknowledge the fact that I have moments when I want to hide behind something -cigarettes or food, you name it. There are times when I am controlled by emotions -good or bad. Instead of eating (or smoking) I am slowly learning to deal with me. 

Giving up certain foods has not killed me, as I first thought it would. Also, our family and friends still love to visit us, no matter what I serve.

Turns out the kids never asked me to cook all their favorite meals when they come to town, that had been my idea entirely. The old rule "Food is love" doesn't apply anymore. Food is food and love is love.

No change in weight last week. I am still celebrating my 100-pound weight loss. I declared it a Holiday in our home and I will drag it out as long as I can.

100.5 lbs lost - Only 39.5 lbs to go!

Finally -The Fat Lady has lost 100 Pounds!

I had waited for this moment and knew how I would react. I would clap my hands like a little girl, would dance through the house and the yard -butt naked of course- and would share my joy with the rest of the world -nothing less would do.

Funny how it works. We picture a situation in our mind over and over and then, when it really happens, we react so differently.

Today in the morning, the scale had shown me the magical number I had so longed to see. Finally, there it was, in bright red I could read 212.

Down from 312, that's a 100-lbs weight loss in 543 days. I don't know how long I stood on the scale but it was quite some time. Getting there had taken me so much longer than I had estimated, and I am still not even close to my goal weight. 

I wrapped a towel around me -because now I can do that- and sat down on the bathtub. Instead of dancing, I felt like a deflated tire, like a football player after a long game with overtime.

I wanted to ask the diet fairy to pinch me. "Am I dreaming or is this for real?"

It is for real and I find it so hard to believe. After years of denial and stagnation, I have gotten my act together and I have changed my lifestyle. Not a diet pill, or a magical juice, a fad diet or surgery have accomplished that. I did it all by myself with the help of my wonderful husband, my kids, my family and the amazing friends by my side.

The moment I had waited for with so much anticipation, became a moment of reflection. So much has changed over the last 1 1/2 year and so much is still the same.

I still eat like a pig, but like a healthy pig, what seems to make all the difference in the world.

The times when I ate blocks of cheese and sleeves of cracker are long gone. Today, one of my proudest possessions is a lunchbox in the size of a small overnight bag. Mason jars with salads, fancy containers with homemade leftover foods and freshly prepared snacks and dressings, are now being transported back and forth to the office almost on a daily base.

The days of my fast food addiction have passed, now I enjoy fresh food and with that, I have renewed my love for cooking.

I got up and started to move and it paid off. While going to the gym is not an option, due to health issues, I found my own way. 

I have lost 100 pounds -now it starts to sink in.

I did what I never thought I could. This time I didn't give up like so many times before, instead, I am going for it. I am still fat but less fat and it feels great.

My blood pressure is normal. I am no longer in jeopardy of type II diabetes and my cholesterol is good. I am off all my medications and my RA factor is under 2 -what is a miracle all by itself. 

I can paint my toenails without cursing, and I can kneel down to pull weeds and get up again, without holding on to things. 

When I wrote the contract with myself and planned my rewards, I thought a short trip for my husband and me would be a perfect celebration, but an hour ago I changed my mind -as so often.

Instead, I bought us two special tickets for "A symphonic celebration of Prince." That night I will walk down to my seat with my head held up high, because I know I will not make the people around me uncomfortable. Now I fit in a theater seat without squeezing myself and others -perhaps that's my biggest reward.

100.5 lbs lost - Only 39.5 lbs to go!

I feel overwhelmed and happy. A heartfelt middle-finger-salute to Menopause and aging. You can't stop me!

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