Why did I leave the fair hungry?

I can’t deny that I have a sweet tooth. If you read my blogs you know I like cake for breakfast. You know that until I became the mother of a precocious 5-year-old daughter I took off my unwanted pounds with a diet that consisted of 2 doughnuts and a cup of black coffee in the morning and a junior hot fudge sundae at noon and nothing else for the rest of the day.

I was raised eating nourishing food and I liked it. My mother fed us lots of vegetables with our meals and we usually ate fruit for snacks and dessert. When I left home at 17 after graduating from high school, I was on my own. That allowed me the freedom to feed myself the food I thought I should have been able to eat more often as a kid.

This photo was taken before my high school commencement ceremony. After I graduated I got into a car and drove off to a live on my own and start my job as a pattern makers model for Jones New York.

This photo was taken before my high school commencement ceremony. After I graduated I got into a car and drove off to a live on my own and start my job as a pattern makers model for Jones New York.

Eventually my eating habits caught up with me and being pregnant exacerbated them. I had weight I wanted gone and with my daughter watching and questioning me, the doughnut/coffee/sundae wouldn’t be how I’d remove the pounds.

Going to Weight Watchers to lose weight put me back in touch with the way I grew up eating. Sweets were a treat, but most of my food was the kind that was naturally lower in calories and mostly unprocessed. I liked it and the more I ate that way, the more that became the kind of food I preferred.

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I was going to say “craved” instead of “preferred,” but I didn’t want to use that word. It has a negative, powerless connotation, as though it controlled me. Cravings and being controlled by food has never been a problem for me. I admit I love food and choose to eat it, but it’s never a matter of a craving for which I’m powerless to handle. I took responsibility for overeating and fully understood the consequences; the consequences just weren’t important at the moment.

I enjoy nicely prepared vegetables. I love them in salads or roasted and served as side dishes or even be the main dish prepared in a casserole. I like small amounts of strong cheeses, like blue and gorgonzola and creamy goat cheese, but I don’t like mountains of melted cheese. I am not fond of grease or fat. I am not overly concerned about eating a low-fat diet but I definitely don’t like to see food swimming in grease or a lot of fat on meat.

I like whole grains. I’d rather have whole wheat bread than white. I prefer multi grains pizza crusts made with a variety of whole grain, and whole wheat pasta now tastes better to me than semolina. I like cookies made with oatmeal better than white flour. In general, I think whole grains add substance and flavor to my meals. They seem more satisfying to me.

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I’ve relearned to eat and love nutritious foods, but there is a problem with that. I went to the Fryeburg Fair. I wanted to see the animals and the crafts and the stuff – some nice, some funny, some just ridiculous – for sale. I also wanted to eat my fill of the food. In fact, I thought the food was the most important part of the fair. It’s been quite a few years since I’ve been to the fair and I was excited to see what delicious foods would be available for my eating pleasure.

First thing I did was buy a large oatmeal cookie with cranberries and white chocolate. It was pretty good and I thought it was just an appetizer for all the delicacies that would follow. I figured in an hour or so of walking around the fairgrounds I would be ready to get down to the serious business of eating fair food.

The fries smelled greasy as though cooked in old oil that wasn’t hot enough. The sausage with grilled onions and peppers looked super oily. The fried dough looked thick and doughy, flavorless and just gross. I could imagine the greasy-feeling-on-the-roof-of-your-mouth it would leave. The fudge just didn’t interest me and neither did anything else I saw. I went from food booth to food booth searching for something that appealed. I realized my tastes and preferences have changed.

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Here I was at the Fryeburg Fair ready to eat whatever I saw that look good or smelled good or both and nothing looked especially appealing. Nothing. I went home having eaten only one cookie at the Fryeburg Fair. That’s unheard of and I didn’t feel deprived because I didn’t indulge. I didn’t feel proud because I resisted temptation. It wasn’t about temptation; it was about food surrounding me and nothing I wanted to eat. I was hungry, but not hungry enough to eat at the fair.

 

Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.