Home Alone with A LOT of Candy!

I am a “recovering heavyweight.” I have spent a lot of my life battling my weight. I’ve kept my weight lower for about 23 years, and I’m happy – very happy – about that.

I could give myself a break for my size in this pic because I'm holding my days-old infant. There is no break though since three months later I weighed more than I did the day this picture was taken!

I could give myself a break for my size in this pic because I’m holding my days-old infant. There is no break though since three months later I weighed more than I did the day this picture was taken!

I also recognize that keeping my weight down takes attention, effort and never letting down my guard. Yup! Heavyweight doesn’t go into remission, but it can be managed.

No matter how long I’ve successfully managed my weight, I’m not silly enough to think it will stay down on autopilot. I know that there are situations that will always challenge me and certain default behaviors that will come back if given the chance. A long time ago I identified two eating habits that needed to go if pounds were to go, and stay, off of me. I liked big servings and I liked to clean my plate. If the food was especially tasty I liked really big servings and I didn’t just want to clean my plate, I wanted to make sure there was none left over in the pot or pan too. My other “heavy habit” was non-stop-nibbling. I was always looking for some little bite-sized tidbit to pop into my mouth.

The too-big, too-much, plate-cleaning behavior was easier for me to change. Counting, tracking, eating slower (although I’m still a faster eater than most people) and letting go of the compulsive need to eat every bite on my plate, no matter how full I felt, were all conscious actions I used to reduce the amount of food I ate in a single meal. After years of practice of downsizing portions I’ve arrived at a place where it it easier to eat less than more. Even yesterday when there was still more of Paula Deen’s corn casserole and the famous (infamous?) green bean casserole I ate the reasonable servings of each and had only a momentary urge to go back to get more. I listened to my full belly that said, “stop now while I’m full and happy. Please don’t stuff me until it hurts!”

We celebrated Easter at my home in CT. It’s beautiful, right on the water on Long Island Sound. It’s closer for my daughters with children (one in CT and one in PA) and my sister and her husband live next door and my brother is nearby too, so it’s a logical place for any family get together. IMG_2851There was a total of 15 people in this house yesterday for Easter. By 3:00 pm there was just me. Two of my daughters and my husband went back to Maine but I won’t leave until tomorrow. We started the day with Easter baskets for the kids, then later in the morning we had an Easter egg hunt. IMG_2883IMG_2890IMG_2879I tried to keep candy purchases to a minimum but I bought too much anyway and then my sister bought too much too! The kids aren’t candy fiends. After one or two pieces they’re done. They’re off playing and the thought of their baskets with candy are the last things on their mind. WIsh I could say the same thing about me!

Yes, eating too much at a single meal is pretty much a thing of the past, but non-stop-nibbling is a habit that I couldn’t put to rest. I had to learn how to work with it in the same way “we can’t stop the waves from washing up on the shore, but we can learn to surf!” I keep a steady supply of baby carrots in the fridge and frozen grapes in the freezer. Screen Shot 2014-04-21 at 6.59.22 AMThey’re just right when the urge to nibble strikes. On the Weight Watchers plan I don’t need to count or track fruit or vegetables because they don’t have a points value That makes them a perfect choice to “nibble surfing” because I can just eat them – I don’t have to worry about tracking them and I don’t need to feel guilty* about not tracking. So what’s my problem?

Candy! photo 3Candy is my problem. I’m not like my grandchildren who eat a little bit of candy and are done. I like to nibble and man, do I have a lot of candy sitting in my cupboard and looking totally nibbly! Nobody is here but me. I don’t care if people see me nibbling or not. I overcame my habit of closet eating** years ago. I just like to nibble and I might stick my hand into the bags of candy instead of the bag of carrots or the container of grapes.

I’m considering my choices. I could throw away the leftover candy. I could try to give it away. I know my brother would take some of it but probably not all of it. I didn’t try to give it to my daughters knowing they didn’t want it. I could hide it or put it where it’s really hard to reach. I could also leave it right where it is and put some of my other strategies into motion to keep this candy “loser-friendly.” I have my anchor. http://soonerorlighter.bangordailynews.com/2014/04/14/home/185/ IMG_3949
I have a good supply of carrots and grapes!

For now, I’m just going to walk past the candy cupboard and head for the fridge. When the carrots and grapes are gone I’ll need another strategy or better yet, when the supply of carrots and grapes get low I’ll get more!

* Guilt is more fattening than anything! Guilt eats at us and we eat more out of guilt. If you feel guilty about food choices, repeat after me, “food choices are not an indication of moral character! WHat I eat makes me neither good nor bad!”

** Closet eating doesn’t negate the calories. You might think if nobody sees them they don’t count, but you have an internal calorie counter and it’s always counting whether there are witnesses to your indiscretion of not!

Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is the general manager of Weight Watchers of Maine. She is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. Her experience with her own weight management journey and raising girls has given her insight into the struggles families face with weight, healthy body image, food and physical activity. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news for more than ten years and appears monthly as a guest on FOX network morning program Good Day Maine.