Going through Weight Watchers Leader Training required digging around to find a before picture to share. Looking at it brought up lots of emotions (sadness, regret, embarrassment) and caused me to do some serious thinking about the habits that caused my weight gain.
Looking back twenty years it’s very clear to see what I was doing and not doing, but at the time I didn’t see the connections and was in serious denial. And since I was eating the way I’d been taught, I didn’t really know anything else.
Here is my list of less-than-healthy habits, bad choices, and incredible food and nutrition ignorance that led to me pack on the pounds…
Unhealthy Eating Habits Before Weight Watchers
- Large sweet coffee drinks with a jumbo muffin, bagel or scone for breakfast
- Morning meetings with donuts
- Jumbo Costco muffins by the dozens, individually wrapped and at the ready in the freezer
- Enormous lunches out several times a week at Chinese buffets, burrito joints, and fast-food places where I always got the large fries
- Lots of pizza or Chinese takeout and beer devoured in front of the television on Friday nights
- Saturday night fancy restaurant dinners with appetizers, entrees, desserts, wine and after-dinner drinks
- Happy hours with nacho platters, quesadillas, chicken wings, mozzarella sticks, and baked potato skins
- Sunday donut runs alternated with extravagant buffet brunches
- Frequent trips to the wine country with lots of tasting followed by gourmet multi-course dinners
- Haagen-Dazs bars and pints of Ben & Jerry’s in the freezer for evening treats
- Visits to Mom & Dad where food was the focus and I ate until I hurt, often changing into sweats for the ride home
- Eating dinner while discussing what to have on the pizza we would order a couple hours later
- Frequent work pot-lucks
- Platters of homemade fettucini Alfredo and jumbo shrimp
- Burgers, fries, and chocolate shakes at Max’s Diner and racks of ribs at Tony Romas
- Carrot cake, cheesecake, and warm chocolate brownie sundaes…
The only regular exercise I got consisted of strolling my dog around the block after work or dinner. I played some tennis in during junior high and high school, but that was a distant memory. My jobs during those years were sedentary.
Food was my major source of comfort, entertainment, and fun. I ate and drank what I wanted when I wanted it, regardless of whether I was hungry or not. Portions were huge. It was unrestrained gluttony, pure and simple.
Taking this trip down memory lane makes me realize just how much my eating habits have changed through the years. Just looking at the entire list at once makes my stomach hurt.
In fact, I celebrated reaching my goal weight by going out to Max’s Diner for a large cheeseburger, french fries and a large old-fashioned chocolate milkshake. Not a good idea! After months of lighter, healthier eating, this return to excess eating left me feeling sick and bloated for hours.
Fast forward 20 years… I still indulge every now and again, but in a much more controlled way (most of the time) Research shows eating the foods you love and splurging every once in a while is key to lasting weight loss success. But day-to-day my choices include lots more fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, healthy fats and small amounts of nonfat and low fat dairy.
And as a result I look and feel better inside and out.
How have your eating habits changed through the years? What’s different now?