Monday, December 30, 2013

Now Bring Us Some Figgy Pudding


This post was almost called "Now Bring Us Some Piggy Pudding," but I decided that the following lyrical interaction (from one of my favorite Christmas albums of all time, John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together) didn't really qualify it as an official "line from a Christmas song":

All, singing merrily: "Now bring us some figgy pudding, now bring us..."
Miss Piggy, interrupting and indignant: "PIGGY pudding?!!"
Muppet response (if I were really good I'd know who it is--maybe Gonzo?):"No, FIGGY pudding.  It's made with figs."
Miss Piggy: "Oh."
Gonzo: "...and bacon!"
Miss Piggy: "What?"

You'll notice that the words, "Now bring us some piggy pudding" are never really actually uttered, and so I can't swipe it as a legitimate title for my blog post.

I've never actually eaten figgy pudding, so it's not much of an actual temptation to me, but it was obviously a delicious, treasured Christmas treat to lead folks to the infamous, "We won't go until we get some!"  And although I've not had literal figgy pudding, I have certainly eaten my share of delicious-holiday-foods-we-can't-do-without... more than my share, actually, which has been the problem.

This past 4th of July we returned home from what had amounted to a couple of weeks of fun feasting with both sides of our family--with my sister and her family (and my parents) at her lake house in Georgia, followed in the same month by a week up north with iivo's family.  Food, food, and more (delicious!) food was served, and we all ate like little piggies!

I returned home, stepped on my scale, and nearly passed out!  The number that I saw staring back at me was shocking.  Oh, I knew my clothes were especially tight.  I knew my face looked especially bloated. I knew that I'd been steadily gaining around five pounds every summer we'd done this, for years now (and another five-ish every "holiday season," too, if truth be told).  But something about seeing that number--that number that was up in the range of what my husband has weighed... that was larger than anything I'd ever come close to weighing, even when I was pregnant... that was dangerously close to pushing a tenth of a ton (gasp!)...

Well, I freaked out.  My weighing 178 pounds was simply not something I was willing to let continue. (Yes, it took me quite a bit of debating with myself to decide if I was going to post that number.  To some--as it did to me--it will seem shockingly high; to others, who are also larger-than-they-probably-should-be, it may seem discouragingly small.)  But it was my wake-up number, and when I saw it, I began to develop a plan for losing weight.  (This was my wake-up picture, too.  It was taken just before we left Massachusetts for home.  I'm the one on the top left of the picture--to my son's right--wearing a green and blue top and "looking a little chunky," as my kids say now.)

[At this point I should mention that I had made a deal last Christmas with my sister-in-law that our gift to each other this year would be that we would each try to lose 25 pounds.  My July-4th weigh-in was nearly ten pounds MORE than I had weighed at my January-1st weigh-in!  I was moving in the wrong direction!]

The first few pounds--those post-piggy-vacation ones that are really usually "overindulgence pounds" and not real, permanent weight gain--came off rather easily with just a return to eating moderately.  A couple more came off with the introduction of some strategic eliminations--sweet treats, junky snacks, flavored beverages--and eating smaller portions.  But beyond that, I was stuck.  I had tried to lose weight before, several times, without much success on my own.  After six pounds I stalled, and I knew that something more was needed to jump start me into serious weight loss.  I decided to pull out the big guns--a lifetime membership to Jenny Craig that I'd bought on the super-cheap a million years ago when I'd had to lose ten pounds FAST to fit into a bridesmaid dress that I'd outgrown between the fitting and the arrival!  Jenny Craig had had a "lose ten pounds free" promotion, where you just paid for food but got the rest of the benefits thrown in, and I'd jumped on it to lose ten pounds fast and fit back in the dress.  It worked, and after that month, they offered me some ridiculously cheap deal for a "free lifetime membership."  I was newly married, still relatively slim, and pre-children, but I decided to purchase it "just in case I ever need it some day when I'm older and have had kids and have gained a few pounds."  Well, praise the foresight!

I nervously called them, not sure how the, "Um, I bought a lifetime membership about twenty-five years ago that I've never used.  I don't have any paperwork or anything.  You wouldn't happen to have a record of it, would you?" spiel would go over.   Well, hooray for the woman whose job it was to enter all the pre-Internet-days folders into the computer system over the years, because there I was!

I must point out that there's nothing "free" about losing weight with Jenny Craig, even if you don't have to pay for the other parts of the program!  The food is very expensive.  However, it is pretty tasty, surprisingly satisfying, and it works!  I spent a small fortune jump-starting things in this way, but I lost twenty pounds in two months by exercising daily (until I broke my tailbone in late August) and by using the Jenny Craig program.  (My first weigh-in with them was 171.8 on 7/25.  My last weigh-in with them was 151.8 on 10/5.)

At that point we really, truly did run out of money for buying Jenny Craig food, so I went off the program and began to eat all "regular" (i.e. non-Jenny-Craig) food.  Having lost about 25 pounds total, and with the holidays coming up, my goal was no longer weight loss but maintenance.  (I knew I wouldn't succeed in the "lose 25 pounds" deal I'd made with my sister-in-law, since I'd turned it into a "lose 35 pounds" deal for myself by gaining ten pounds after the official starting weigh-in!)  And I knew I wouldn't likely lose weight over the holidays--especially without Jenny Craig and without an ability to work out since the broken tailbone in August.  So, I shifted my official goal to maintenance and told my Jenny Craig counselor I'd check-in for a weigh-in after the holidays.

I am pleased to say that I have pretty much achieved that goal. In fact, this morning I stepped on the scale and weighed in at 150.2.  (Don't think this means that I lost another couple of pounds--those are just the couple of pounds that my clothes weigh when I weigh-in at the Jenny Craig center. No naked, first-morning weigh-ins there! ;)

So, even through the "piggy pudding" of the past three months, I have kept off the pounds I lost!  Come next week, I'd like to start losing again.  My original goal--the "we'll see how I feel once I get there" weight that seems so far off at the start--was to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight (which has long been forgotten but which was somewhere below 140 pounds).  The Jenny Craig lady said, "Well, then how about 139?  That's a nice round number."  And so it is.

139, here I come!  After that?  Well, we'll see how I feel once I get there!

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By the way, my successful maintenance has survived the following food festivities over the past three months:

October
* Halloween candy, which somehow always manages to make its way into our home even though we don't go trick-or-treating

November
* November's two birthdays--my mother's and EL's--complete with the requested banana cream pie and cheesecake, respectfully
* another cheesecake, since the first one was "not quite right"
* The annual traditional pre-Thanksgiving Popeye's feast that my sister-in-law picks up on the way into town (think spicy fried chicken, biscuits, dirty rice, broccoli-grape salad, cole slaw, and--yes, you guessed it--cheesecake!)
* Thanksgiving and its glorious carb-heavy feast--complete with two turkeys, two kinds of potatoes, two kinds of bread, two kinds of stuffing, a gazillion side dishes, and two kinds of pie--pecan and pumpkin, with fresh whipped cream, thank-you-very-much

December
* Iivo's birthday in early December--There was some sort of yummy dessert that I'm not remembering right now. (I only remember that I refused to make a third cheesecake within a month!)
* Christmas treats from my students, EV's students, the kids' friends, and Iivo's co-workers... This is its own line item because it is a huge (and delicious!) category and this year's offerings took up the entire surface of the glass table in the kitchen!
* The annual traditional Christmas Eve dinner, consisting of multiple Chinese dishes, served family-style around the big round table at the local Chinese restaurant (See here for more on how that--and other bizarre--Christmas traditions came to be.)
* The Christmas feast (at my mom's house and prepared exclusively by her this year since we were doing surgery)--ham, warm potato salad, green beans, cranberry salad, rolls, and--again!--two pies with whipped cream
* various "popcorn movie nights," which bear mentioning since there have been lots of them (yay Christmas movies!), since I hardly like to watch a movie without popcorn, and since our popcorn is popped in oil and loaded with lots of real melted butter!  (Jenny Craig suggests a cup of plain air-popped popcorn.  Um, no.)
* a wedding reception, at which I consumed too much tasty food and punch and wedding cake

Yum!!  Three months of feasting!  It was all delicious, I skipped none of it (though I did try to be somewhat moderate) and I managed to keep the weight I've lost off.  Now let's see how I survive the New Year's Eve snacks that will arrive at my house tomorrow night!

1 comment:

Sherry Ayres said...

Laurie, good for you! I hear everything you are saying... I just need something to motivate me. May your New Year be blessed! Sherry