LEE ANNE GRACE: Confessions of a health columnist

LEE ANN GRACE

LEE ANN GRACE

Some months I suffer from a major case of writer’s block and search for inspiration. This is one of those months.

• My columns are often what I need to hear to keep me on track. Sometimes I am literally taking each minute at a time to eat and live healthy. Some days I ace it. Others I fail miserably and am in desperate need of a do-over day.

• Most days riding my bike, running, walking or swimming are fun and rewarding. The days I don’t want to go I go anyway because –

1. I don’t want to feel depressed and lethargic.

2. I don’t want to gain weight and have self-esteem issues and a major wardrobe crisis.

3. I don’t want to get out of the habit of exercising.

4. All of the above.

• For several years I had a great fear of finishing last in a race. I’m here to tell you having experienced it that it’s not that bad. In fact, there was a great deal of applause for me. I’m not sure whether or not it was for me or the fact they could finally take down the finish line chute, but in the end, it really didn’t matter.

• I can’t stop at one homemade cookie. It’s either zero, or a dozen for me. Most of the time I make the healthy choice and go for the zero cookies. I really wish I had the self-restraint to eat just one. Sometimes I throw caution to the wind and have good intentions, then have some ‘splaning to do when someone asks where all of the cookies went. I’m pretty disappointed with myself when my pants are tight the next couple of days. Getting back on track immediately is my go-to strategy for these bumps in the road.

• Cheat meals and cheat days do not work for me. The concept of rewarding myself with food for all of the hard work during the week with relaxing on the weekend may seem good in theory, but actually is monumentally disastrous whenever I attempt it. I have discovered a week’s worth of hard work can be wiped out with a day’s worth of poor eating.

• I have several strategies I use to not overeat at holiday parties. I eat a healthy meal before I go; I bring a fruit or veggie tray so I know there will be something there that won’t trigger my sweet tooth; and I stay away from the food table. I try to focus on having meaningful conversations with the people present at the gathering and not on all the delectable treats. When I see something on someone’s plate that catches my eye I think to myself, “This party is not about the food you can eat, but about the people who are here and the conversations to be had.”

During this Thanksgiving season, take time to let those you love know you are thankful for their presence in your life. Readers, I am thankful to have the opportunity to share our journeys to improved health.

Lee Anne Grace is an elementary music teacher for Tupelo Public Schools. After reaching a weight of almost 300 pounds and failing at numerous diets for over 25 years, she has been successful at losing weight and maintaining her weight loss.