Dressing for Maggy and Andy’s wedding over five years ago and then again for Sharon and Tony’s just a few weeks I go, I distinctly remember being grateful that I didn’t have to crash diet for either event. For nearly seven years I’ve kept off the forty pounds I lost between 2004 and 2005.
How did I do it? It all started when I hit bottom in 2003. I was sitting in an empty house physically ailing and emotionally spent. We had just moved to a new town, Maggy was off to England for her junior year abroad, and Sharon was starting her freshman year of college. I spent the next nine months finding a new doctor, tending to my ailing body, and healing emotionally.
Only then was I ready to embrace a new lifestyle, to finally shed the weight. There are two ways to do it—exercise more or eat less. From years of personal experience I knew diets didn’t work. As soon as they were over I reverted back to my old ways and the pounds came back with a vengeance. Normal eating coupled with increased exercise was what worked for me.
I used to use food as a vice to satisfy my overworked, exhausted self. After healing I started to see food as a pleasurable way of taking care of myself. I was finally able to ask myself what I really needed to eat to be happy (see video below for what worked for me). I didn’t deprive myself of anything. I simply set boundaries about when and how much I’d eat. This became the new normal. When I reached my weight loss goal I had established a new pleasurable way of eating. All I had to do was cut back on my exercise (bummer : )).
As you contemplate the new year, don’t attempt the newest fad diet. Vow instead to love yourself, take care of yourself, and put yourself first so that you can then truly help others. After that, don’t be surprised if you find yourself living in a new way. If you’re interested in finding out more about this approach, check out my book The Perfect Recipe for Losing Weight and Eating Great.
Black Bean Soup with Cumin and Salsa Verde
2 cans (16 ounces each) black beans, drained
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup prepared salsa verde
1/4 cup packed cilantro leaves, plus extra sprigs for garnish (optional)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Garnish: 1/4 cup light sour cream, cilantro sprigs
Puree all ingredients except garnish in a blender until smooth. Pour into a large saucepan or Dutch oven and bring to a simmer. Simmer, partially covered and stirring frequently, to blend flavors, 4 to 5 minutes. Serve, garnishing with sour cream and optional cilantro sprigs.