Monday, August 10, 2009

It's only a burger: letting go

So, from a healthy living perspective, the summer has been going pretty smoothly. I really haven't lost a step on exercising, and if anything, I've increased my caloric output in outdoor activities. That is not big news for me as I can usually count on making myself get to the gym, and I like my outdoor activities.

The bigger specter of summer has always been food and drink. For me (and I suspect I'm not alone), summer is an incredibly social time of year. This results in lots of precarious eating situations, particularly in restaurants, BBQ's, etc., and I fall for all the usual cliches when it comes to regaining weight with susceptibility to the temptations of Christmas, summer, Thanksgiving, Halloween, blah, blah, blah.

I wanted this summer to be different, and I've worked hard to stick to my all-new-better habits over my previous death-spiral-I-can't-help-myself habits. By and large, I think I've done a pretty good job, and I've been at my goal weight. Granted, this has taken a certain amount of vigilance and focus as the temptations have been real and sometimes terrifyingly seductive.

This is all good news, but I have a little voice in the back of my head that has been quietly telling me that I might be pursuing a bit too much of a hard line. The philosophy of Weight Watchers is that no food is a bad food (yes, I do read the comments on my posts!), and I obviously agree with this. That does not mean I always trust myself as I imagine the mythical slippery slope that I associate with splurge dinners. At the same time, I also recognize that I have to come to peace with indulgences that light my fire.

So last week, after a tough day/week/month, I went to a nice little Belgian restaurant a few blocks away from the office. The waiter approached the table to share his thoughts on the menu, and he announced, "I recommend avoiding the fish." OK. Of course, what he did recommend fell under the category of "sinful, but delicious", including things like a roasted pig's head (yikes), fries with a bacon infused mayonnaise, and four story lamb belly confit (whatever that is). I opted for the cheese burger, for which they are known. It rocked. Hard. So did the fries it came with.

The next day I went back to making pretty good choices again. No harm, no foul.

The trick with maintenance is to know how to find a reasonable balance. As they say, all things in moderation, including moderation.

One other philosophical point of view on maintenance: if I am going to throw it all up in the air, I want it to be worth it. Therefore, no blowing points on crummy bad food. Just good bad food.


  1. I am a WW leader here in CA and wanted you to know that I follow your blog and enjoy sharing your experiences with the members in my meetings.

    I just read a great book "The End of Overeating" by David A. Kessler MD. It is the Weight Watcher Program with an explanation for why it works. Thought you might enjoy reading it if you haven't already.

    Thanks for taking the time to reach out to those of us in the trenches. I love my job!

  2. Hey Dave, were the fries infused or treated in any way? btw comfiture is jelly/jam, so I'd avoid that lamb belly whatever too!

  3. Since we're discussing cravings this week, that philosophy of "if I'm going to splurge it had better be worth it" has come up for sure. Definitely a smart way to think.

  4. My view is there is not "good" food or "bad" food -- just higher point food and lower point food. And with balance between the two - -it will all work out.

  5. I am really impressed that the CEO of Weight Watchers is a member too! I never would have guessed that. It's nice to know that you are going through the same thing the rest of us are!

  6. Hi, I love to read your blog, and I have awarded you an award at my blog!