#92: Surprised by Success

#92: Surprised by Success

Here’s the thing about spending a mid-November vacation in Hilton Head, South Carolina; they serve hush puppies there. This, in itself, is not that unusual. You can probably find those delightful little morsels of fried cornmeal batter in most seafood restaurants. But South Carolinians are not satisfied with a simple, crispity, crunchity morsel of cornmeal batter. They like to serve their hushpuppies – with HONEY BUTTER. A fried bit of batter, dipped in butter. It’s both evil and genius.

Here’s the thing about celebrating Thanksgiving in the deep south; there will be a vast array of starches. If a vegetable is listed on the menu, you can be sure any nutritional value not boiled out of it will drown under the weight of sauce, cheese, and/or breadcrumbs.

I have recently enjoyed a hush puppy vacation, followed by properly southern Thanksgiving. Therefore, I was anticipating my next Weight Watchers weigh-in with all of the dread usually reserved for root canals.  Make that two root canals, please, with a side of cranberry sauce!

It’s no secret that I do not have much faith in my ability to stick to any sort of weight loss plan. I‘ve tried most of them multiple times, with impressive successes, right until the seemingly inevitable point when I sabotage myself. The number of times I have lost the same 20 pounds is ridiculous. I don’t really have anything revolutionary to say about dieting of the yo-yo variety. I have no “tips” or “tricks” or secrets to share on that front.

But for a solid week, I ate some hush puppies, occasionally accompanied by fried shrimp. I followed that with a week of eating turkey and cranberries and squash casserole. Due to those enjoyments, I’ve been playing guessing games with myself – maybe I only gained 4 pounds? Maybe just 2. No, that can’t be right! Most likely it was 6 pounds. At least 6 pounds in two butter-dipped weeks. That sounds about right. Those were my thoughts as I stepped on the scale.

Imagine my surprise when the Weight Watcher Lady smiled as she recorded my weight. Not a comforting, “There, there, next week will be better!” smile. It wasn’t a smile of understanding, or commiseration, or pity.

It was a smile of a Weight Watcher Lady who was looking at someone who, post-vacation and post-Thanksgiving and against all odds, had lost 4 pounds. LOST 4 pounds. LOST. FOUR. POUNDS.

I thought the all-caps repetition would help it sink in, but no. I still can’t quite believe it.

Trudy, the main Weight Watcher Lady who leads our meetings, likes to begin each one by announcing our successes. It sounds cheesy, but the members of my class seem to truly enjoy clapping and cheering for one another. Today’s first success story was mine; I have lost 26.3 pounds in three months. Trudy made her usual request, “Share with us something that has been working for you, to enable you to be so successful.”

It is truly a rare moment when I have nothing to say, but this was definitely one of those moments. The meeting had to proceed without my input. I was too shocked to speak.

I’ve thought about it for a few hours now, and while it’s not a tip or a trick or a secret, I’m sure part of the reason for my recent success was that I did not eat all the hush puppies South Carolina had to offer. I actually enjoyed some grilled fish, believe it or not, with a side of lemon. And Thanksgiving’s squash casserole was accompanied, not by countless spoonfuls of my beloved canned cranberry sauce, but by a homemade cranberry relish I made with fresh oranges and a light dusting of sugar. I have been making uncharacteristic choices like this for 12 weeks now – not at every opportunity, mind you, but at enough opportunities for it to count.

I can’t remember her exact words, but Trudy said something to this effect, “You need to be able to own your own success.” I’m sure a key factor in owning is to start with believing. I’ve been successful. I am successful and I have the data to prove it. I have enjoyed some success, along with grilled fish with lemon.

This is something to be proud of, to be sure.

I’m going to try to figure out how to do that.

Wish me luck!

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