SKINNY THOUGHTS - Great advice from reader helped keep holiday pounds off


WHEW! The holiday season is over. It was a tough three months, but I survived! I sure hope you all did, too.

The holidays are so bittersweet even for people in good health, I'm sure. It is such a cheerful time of the year, filled with cheerful people, trying to stuff cheerful sugar bombs down your throat. I loved spending time with my family, but I'm oh so glad I will not be getting cookies, cakes and sweets handed to me like it's the cool thing to do these days.

Bless my mother, she is the best. It is a yearly tradition for my siblings and me to get together with her to have a baking day filled with laughter, recipes gone wrong, injuries, yelling, more laughter and a huge mess.

Despite of the process we go through, the day always ends with beautiful platters filled with sweets ready to be delivered to the ones we love the most. With a vow to never speak of the exact mistakes made that day in the baking process, she sends us on our way to deliver these goodies.

Due to one thing or another, we haven't carried on that tradition for the past couple of years.

This year, though, she did it all on her own - complete with a plate of sweets ready to be picked apart at our Christmas dinner. She also had platters ready to be given to the ones she loves the most, her children. She even carried on her own mother's tradition and made peanut brittle.

I have to admit, though, after ambushing the sugar bomb plate while waiting for Christmas dinner I was REALLY tempted to throw the treats she gave us to take home out the window while riding off into the sunset like some chick forgetting about her past in a cheesy movie. But I couldn't do that to my mom. Instead, I brought them home, ate one goody, and tried to keep myself busy so I wouldn't be tempted to eat the rest. Luckily, my in-laws came over and feasted on most of the treats I was afraid of.

With the glorious days of cheer, laughter and sugar behind us, it's time to look towards the future: the New Year. I've not only refrained from gaining more weight, but I've managed to lose the weight I gained last month! And here is the funny thing - I still haven't started a traditional exercise routine.

Over the past month I've been following some great advice given to me by a faithful reader. She said every time you realize you're looking for something to eat, ask yourself, "Are you hungry?" If the answer is yes, continue to search for something healthy. If the answer is no, ask yourself, "What is eating you?" By doing this, you will learn what triggers your excessive eating habits.

With that said, I definitely did not follow that process during Christmas week, but I will use it from now on.

I've also been keeping myself busy by cleaning my house more often. This is a win-win situation because not only are you "exercising," you are also keeping up a clean house! It always feels good to be in clean, clutter-free space.

Another change I've made is wearing my bathrobe and slippers less. I realized that when I'm wearing those, it is an immediate trigger of laziness. I've thought of another motto with this change, Laziness Kills. It kills your drive for life. I've spent a lot more time keeping myself busy rather than sitting on the couch watching TV at night.

With the New Year I'm really hoping to land a new job. I've tried to keep this aspect of my life out of this column due to the embarrassment of failure, but it needs to be said as it relates to the way I look at life and the process to keep going.

Just as I was nave in thinking I'd start this monthly column last year and be able to fit right back into my skinny jeans within a month's time, I was nave in thinking that I'd be able to bounce back into the world of employment after my 10 month service with AmeriCorps came to an end in July.

I've lost count of the many applications I've filled out, interviews I've been to, and rejection notifications I've received. Depression has knocked on my door a couple of times, and this certainly does not help my weight loss journey.

But I'm a fighter, and for those of you who might relate to my struggles, I want to remind you that hope is still not lost. Let's begin the New Year right. Take off those bathrobes, put on your boxing gloves, and fight for life. Happy New Year!

Heather Usko is a Prescott-based writer whose columns are about her quest to get down to a healthy weight. She can be reached


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