with Lynne and Leslie
Category Archives: food

I Wish Salad Didn’t Make Me Sad: Eating Better

by SweetMidlife

Happy Saturday! Lynne here.

Leslie and I write a lot about our quests to be healthier and such. We have both had our buff days, where we ran a lot, and now life and age and kids and pie have contributed to us not being buff so much. And it’s more than just how we look: we know that extra weight can contribute to all kinds of health issues, like heart problems (which run in our family), and to diabetes. I was actually diagnosed as being pre-diabetic 5 years ago, and with changing the way I eat, and with working out a heck of a lot, I lost weight, and my numbers went down!

So, 5 years later, I now weigh 10 pounds more than I did at the scary time, and although I haven’t been told that I am facing diabetes again, I can’t play around anymore. I am working on what I eat, in both how much I eat, and stopping when I am no longer hungry, but also WHAT I eat. I have been trying to mindfully eat, but what you are getting full on cake, then that’s no good. I am working on moderation, and in really wanting to up my veggie and fruit consumption, and I have been eating some delicious things. Sometimes this takes time, so an easy option would be a nice bagged salad.

Except that salad makes me sad.

I have had yummy salads in my day. And yes, some of those were packed with creamy, fatty, and candied things, and I can’t do that everyday. But candied things are delicious. And I am sorry, but sometimes regularly-billed salad makes me want to order something fried in retaliation.

I know that this sounds silly. And it’s a mind thing, too. But you remember in the early 90’s when everyone was into baked chicken breast because it was healthy? Then after your 100th chicken breast, you wanted to run for KFC? That is how I feel about salads. When I am looking at a menu for something to order, salads just seem, well, restrictive. And not fun when compared to something with cheese on it.  I guess I have developed a mental block. And even when I buy bagged greens for my family, I probably get through one serving of them before I have had enough, and the bag sits there waiting for my husband to come home. So sad. Sad lonely bagged salad.

We’re both sad, I guess.

But I guess this is okay. Salad is not chasing me down and forcing me to eat it. Which would be weird. And I am not being docked on fitness points. I guess it is good to admit that I am not so into it, which is good because it forces me to expand my horizons, because I can’t not eat my fair share of veggies anymore.

So we’re cool, salad.

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Any of you have go to veggie side dishes? Please share!

 


Lessons From Fancy Dinners That You Can Apply When You Are Back To Your Kraft Mac and Cheese

by SweetMidlife

Hi ya! Lynne here.

The following is the account of one of the best meals of my daggone life. I am not exaggerating. But it is not a foodie review, because I didn’t know half of what I was eating at first. It is just an appreciation of seriously good eats.

Best Friend Maria, her awesome husband Taylor, and my Really Cute Husband AC went to Volt, a restaurant in Frederick, MD run by Bryan Voltaggio of “Top Chef” fame. We have been trying to go here for quite awhile now, and we even had reservations for my birthday in 2014, but my sitter canceled, and this is not a 2 year-old kind of place. No. He would have turned it out. So no.

So fast forward about a year later to last week and the yumminess that ensued.

Here are some pictures. I took a few but Taylor took most of them. Which was so nice of him to offer because that left more seconds for me to eat.

When we got to the bar, I got a drink with a banana dolphin in it! Best Friend Nikki said it looks like a slug coming out of my coconut cup. Dang tasty either way.

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Then we were seated, and the banana dolphin joined us, and we all got the 6-course tasting menu. Now, I have done prix-fixe dinners before, and gone to weddings and banquets, so I have had meals that were done in courses. They bring you something, and you eat it. And then they bring you something else and you eat that. And so on. Shoot, if you get potato skins, then fish and chips, followed by a sundae at Applebee’s, then that would be a 3-course menu. But there is something about getting 6 yummy courses of crazy rich, decadent food and being able to savor each one, and really taste everything. I won’t share all of the courses, but here are some of them.

 

 

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This was the raw scallops course. My husband was adventurous because he doesn’t do raw stuff and he tried it anyway. The rest of us loved it.

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This is parsnip soup. And I actually had it for 2 courses because they brought one that I didn’t care for, and the server saw me kind of eating around it and asked what else I wanted and I asked for another bowl of this. It was smooth and crunchy and I want some now. NOW.

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These are delicious meaty mushrooms that they let me order from another part of the menu because I don’t eat lamb.

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This is the chocolate trio at the end. One was ice cream, the other one was ice cream-like, and the third was like the fanciest candy bar ever.

When we were done, we were stuffed, but not uncomfortably.

And it was like 4 hours later, but we didn’t feel like we had anywhere else to be.

We had amazing conversations with friends who I talk to every day on Facebook but don’t see face to face often.

And phones only came out to take pictures of the food, or to glance to see if children or the people watching them had called.

And I want to live like this all of the time.

Not that I have $95 to spend on dinner daily. That probably won’t happen for a good long while. Or maybe never. And I can’t afford to eat things this rich or decadent all of the time, or spend 4 hours eating dinner every night.

But I can pay more attention to the people who I see every day. Like my husband and my toddler. I can stop thinking about what will be happening when I get up from the table and listen to how my husband’s day was and tell him about mine and listen to the song that my song is singing to the tune of “The Wheels on the Bus” whose lyrics will include something about garbage trucks. It’s better than my internal monologue, which is usually “I am SO tired. Wait, what did your co-worker say? I wish I had cooked these potatoes longer. Is the dishwasher empty, or do I have to unload it before I reload? I hate that? Boy, you cannot have a lollipop. You didn’t eat your fish. Sit down. There’s no good shows on tonight with people singing. What, you have to get up and pack lunch now? Sit back down!”

Yeah.

And we can be more mindful of what we eat. I felt less full eating 6 courses of smaller servings than I do just eating my regular starch/protein/veggie meal every night. Yes, we had 4 hours at Volt, but we ate. And tasted. And put the fork down. And savored. And talked. And ate more. And put the fork down. And we savored. And enjoyed. And were thankful. And I think that we can apply that to your macaroni/baked chicken/broccoli you are having tonight.

Bite.

Taste.

Listen.

Talk.

Enjoy.

Happy People. You can be that every night.

Happy People. You can be that every night.


Mom question: What won’t you eat after your kid?

by SweetMidlife
Would you eat this after your toddler? I did!

Would you eat this after your toddler? I did!

This is Leslie, and like my sister, and a lot of you, I live with a small person with no jobs, bad table manners and a demented joy in painting in his own food. Because he is developing his own palate, there are some things that he loves to eat over and over again, like bananas and yogurt, some things he likes most of the time, like small pieces of hamburger, greens and noodles, and stuff he turns on fickle-like, takes out of his mouth and drops on the floor like “How dare you even?”

A lot of the time, the food left over is not in a state where I’d ever consider eating it – Toddler is teething and he’s a drool monster, so sometimes his cups and plates and forks are a river of yuck. No yummy. But sometimes, as in the case of the above banana, or when he’s eating off my plate and there’s enough left that doesn’t have drool on it…well, I’m still hungry if he’s not.

So my question is…what can you not go for (no can do) when it comes to eating after your kids? Can you eat anything for love but you won’t do that? What is too gross for you?


Revisiting the “Abs Diet,” spaghetti squash, and hopefully my abs

by SweetMidlife
Here we go again!

Here we go again!

This is Leslie, and I’ve been writing about my attempts at good health, weight loss and general prolonged fabulousness for, well, ever. Things have started to turn around, with a brief budging on the scale and some changes in flabbiness in some areas. The workouts have been more consistent, and that helps, but the biggest key to weight loss is what you eat. That sucks, because I would much rather work out three hours a day and still eat pecan pie every night than never have pecan pie. Or pecans. Or pie. I love you, pie.

But I also love not being fat, and it is to that end that I have been trying to stick to eating well. I’ve done everything – Weight Watchers, clean eating, calorie counting and, off and on, Men’s Health’s “The Abs Diet,” which I had amazing success with about, like 8 or so years ago. I think I read about it in “Women’s Health,” and I took to it, because even though it has the word “diet” in it, it’s really more like a lifestyle, but with enough rules to keep my honest. I do better with some rules, because if not the pie takes over.

I admit that when I had the most success with the Abs Diet, I was still running hardcore, working out five or six days a week, and was also in my 30s before the Bad Metabolism set it. And I wasn’t a regular cocktail reviewer, didn’t share food and a home with a husband and a toddler, and just seemed to have more time to plan meals and do stuff. But I broke out the book the other day and realized that a lot of it is in keeping with how I’ve been trying to eat – whole grains, lots of veggies, lean fish and meats, the avoidance of processed stuff.

But, again, there’s rules and a cute little acronym, which tells you of the foods you should focus on, eating at least two of them in each meal and one in each snack. So I ordered the 2012 version, the “New Abs Diet For Women,” plus a cookbook I am still waiting for. It’s basically like the first one, but with some updated testimonies and more women-centric info.

So it goes like this…

Almonds and other nuts

Beans and legumes

Spinach and other green veggies

Dairy (low fat or fat free)

Instant oatmeal

Eggs

Turkey and other lean meats

Peanut butter

Olive oil

Whole grain breads and cereal

Extra-protein (whey) powder

Raspberries and other berries

There are things on this list I always fudged, since I don’t eat turkey or meat, and used lean cuts of fish and tofu for that “T,” and I like real oatmeal instead of the instant stuff and it seems that was only there for the “I.” And now that I’ve been trying to eat clean, I would rather not do protein powder, preferring instead to do ricotta cheese, which is listed as a substitute. If I can do it naturally, I would rather do it.

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Since Mondays are a good day to start things, I started today, with a yogurt parfait (two Power foods, although the toddler who lives here ate half of it), then the end of some Israeli couscous with nuts, avocado and greens in a miso broth with tofu (three Power foods) and half a spaghetti squash with olive oil, Hoppin’ John and avocado with cheese (three Power foods). We haven’t gotten to dinner yet but I hope not to fall to ruin. Much.

 


Forgiveness, or why I keep going back to the worst Dunkin Donuts in the world

by SweetMidlife
So you wanna know? Well,  I'm pulling for you, Dunkin'.

So you wanna know? Well, I’m pulling for you, Dunkin’.

I am Leslie, and I am insane. Because that’s what they call it when you keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. And every time that the Dunkin’ Donuts down the street from me screws up my order – this happens roughly 80 percent of the time – I scowl and grumble and call my husband and scowl and grumble over the phone.

And then the next day I’m right back there again. Like a hopeful caffeine-starved dummy. Because I want them to get better. They have not yet done this. But I’m hopeful.

Also coffee.

The cup above encourages me to Share my Dunkin’ Story, so here you go. It might not be the story you want, but whatever. There are several reasons that this particular Dunkin has become a stop for me approximately four days a week. It’s between my house and daycare, or, as we call it, Baby School. They have a drive-thru so I can get my morning black coffee on the way home and not have to show anyone whatever yoga pant/yogurt-stained tee combo I’m sporting with my smashed ‘fro. The same owners used to own a smaller DD store on my corner, and I like supporting hardworking franchisees, because local business owners are the best.

However, this sitch has got a big ol’ but (oh yeah!)….which is that they are sweetly, reliably awful. I was not kidding when I said that during the busy pre-work hours between 7-9, which is when I am usually driving through, something more than not goes wrong. Most of the time it’s something like missing food from the bag that’s caught before I pull off, which they always immediately rectify with a genuine apology (they ought to throw in another coffee for my trouble, but whatever.) Or there’s a general uncertainty about what I ordered, or the price on the blinky screen is not what they just said to me when they took my money.

About a month ago, I had an empty Dunkin cup in my cup holder from the day before, and when I insisted that my order was missing a coffee, the manager pointed at that cup and said “There’s your second coffee!” and as I went to shake the empty cup at him, the lady behind him was sheepishly handing him the one I’d ordered. And the look on his face was like “Oh, Lord. We screwed up her order yesterday, too.”

“It’s cool, man,” I said. “Not your fault.” It’s not that he was calling me shady. I just really think he didn’t want to believe that they got something else wrong, because y’all know it’s not just me. If they screw up my stuff every other day, imagine what’s happening in every other car.

Even with angry hungry people in line behind me, I have no issue taking a few seconds to read my receipt and check my bag before pulling off, because if I don’t it’s my fault, and mistakes are harder to prove once you leave. And then there’s the truth that busy people are less likely to turn around and go back if, say, they got the wrong donut, unless it’s one they hate, or were overcharged 60 cents. Last week I went to sip my supposedly black coffee and got a mouth full of cream and sugar…and kept drinking as I grumbled because I didn’t have time to go back. And it makes me mad a little to think that maybe they count on that? Again, it CAN’T just be me. The worst was last Thanksgiving, on the way to Orlando with a car full of people and a larger than normal order, half of which was missing. We went back for that one, and the overwhelmed clerk was almost weirdly relieved, like she knew it was wrong but had gotten so much wrong that day, she was just waiting for the returnee. And it was me.

So this is the part where you want to hear that I have gotten out of the car, gone inside and asked to see a manager, to calmly but firmly explain the month’s long pattern of mistakes on the part of the staff. And I want to hear that too. Unfortunately it never happened, sooo yeah I’m an idiot. Of course I register my objections every time I go to the window and say “Dude this is wrong,” but that won’t help as much as parking the car, or going back when the rush is over, and talking to someone. It’s surprising that I haven’t because I am the Queen of “Can I see your manager?” which I usually do in frustration but would likely be more effective if done calmly and not when they’re not busy.

I guess that’s why I haven’t quit my DD, even though they’re lacking. I don’t feel like I’ve given them a chance. And they are so sweet. And they have the coffee.


Some Stuff I Cooked, Part 1: Tasty Trumps Pretty

by SweetMidlife

Howdy! Lynne here. It’s been a minute because I have been having computer issues, which seem to have been resolved for now, so I’m back, y’all!

So, if you have read The Sweet Midlife at all (and if not, welcome!), you would know that while we aren’t a food blog, we have written before about what we eat, sometimes in relation to eating better, or because we were trying new vegetables, or just because we made something good. Well, this past week, I made some stuff and I want to tell you about it.

And I will say this going in. I am not the neatest person. I don’t know how to draw inside the lines. I have horrible handwriting and I always got an S- in elementary school penmanship. That is Satisfactory Minus. Yes. So even though I do a lot of cooking, and most of it tastes really good, it doesn’t always look great, so even though I will post Facebook statuses ABOUT what I cook, I don’t always post pictures OF what I make. Because it sometimes looks like my toddler made it. But this past week, inspired by Valentine’s Day, I got the idea to make some things that I had never made before, and that had the possibility of looking majorly crazy. I made a cake, but I will write about that in a latter post. But I want to tell you now about the first thing I made this week.

Someone on Facebook posted this recipe for boxes made out of chocolate. Kinda like a gingerbread house, but it is made out of freaking chocolate. And filled with candy. Isn’t this is a thing of beauty? This is the one from a site called Oh, Nuts, and not the one I made.

From Ohnuts.com. Not the one I made.

And it looked delicious, and since we were doing our Valentine’s Day celebrations at home, I thought that I would take a stab at it and add to the festiveness. And before I said to myself “You can’t do that, Sloppy”, I shared the picture on our blog Facebook page. And people started saying things like “Hey, if it’s ugly, the worst thing that can happen is that you have a bunch of chocolate to eat.”

And liking those odds, because leftover chocolate, I forged ahead. Even though I tried again to not do it. Because I got scurred. But emboldened by the fact that I told people I was gonna do it, I did it.

So, umm. it looked like this.

20150214_183409It’s lopsided, and some of it broke, and if it was a real structure, it would be condemned. But it made me smile. Because it actually stayed together and stood up on it’s own. All by it’s crooked, yummy self.

So my husband and son and I started eating it. And when we ate off the top, and one of the sides, my man complimented me on how nicely constructed the remaining pieces were. It looked like someone took the back seat out of a van and put it on my table. Or like something you see in a dorm. Behold, Chocolate Futon…

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Don’t you want to sit on it on a Friday night and get sugared up and make parallels between the purple aquarium lights of your friends’ roommates fish tank and “Purple Rain”, which is playing in the background? What? That’s just me? Okay. Because I totally did that in 1992. And no drugs or alcohol were involved! But back to the chocolate. You get it, right?

So, then I tried another one with the rest of the chocolate pieces, because all you have to do is remelt it and start over. And eat more of the leftovers. Yes. And this next one fell apart from the beginning, but it looked like a shelter of some kind, and I made some accessories, and my husband added my son’s brand new drugstore-bought school bus (which is already falling apart, so don’t buy those), and we got Candy Bus Stop.

20150214_193155So, yeah. My journey into candy architecture didn’t look like the original picture. But it tasted good. And more importantly: I DID THAT. I am branching out, doing the thing. Because the only thing worse than an ugly chocolate house is the chocolate house you never made. Because seriously, those things are delicious.

 


“How’d that get in my cart?”: The joy-ish of shopping with your partner

by SweetMidlife
Sometimes we have too much peanut butter. And sometimes, Husband buys excellent hot sauce.

Sometimes we have too much peanut butter. And sometimes, Husband buys excellent hot sauce.

Greetings. My name is Leslie, and I like grocery shopping. If you read this blog, you might notice that we post about food a lot, not only because we’re in the gym working on our fitness just like Fergie, but because we like food, which is why, unlike Fergie, we need to LIVE in the gym working on our fitness.

In my case I think that my weekly-ish visit to the supermarket and to the cool vegetable market down the street is also a function of my control freak-ism. As a single girl, it was about trying to control what I ate, which translated into what I weighed and, unfortunately, how I felt about myself. But now, I’m the primary meal planner for three people, one of whom likes meat and white pasta, two things I don’t eat, and the other of whom expresses his displeasure by wrinkling up his face or turning his head as the spoon’s headed for his lips, or just says “No” in a Hobbit voice and then runs away to play with blocks.

(It’s up to you to guess which one’s my husband and which one’s the Toddler.)

Anyway,  because we should all be healthy, doing the shopping means that I get to control at least the dinner options of the household (Husband gets lunch at work, and I do buy Toddler’s food for Baby School, but iF a cookie or something gets in there I’m not there to police it, and a cookie isn’t gonna kill him.) (Yeah, I said it. Come at me, bro.)

I also do most of the cooking, and I’m the only one who remembers what got shoved in all the little drawers in the refrigerator or that we ALREADY HAVE PEANUT BUTTER OH MY STARS THERE’S THREE JARS OF UNOPENED STUPID PEANUT BUTTER IN THERE BEHIND THE SALAD WE NEVER ATE AND I DON’T EVEN EAT JIF ONLY YOU DO PLEASE EAT IT OR STOP BUYING STUPID PEANUT BUTTER.

It’s stuff like JifGate that make me kind of territorial about the shopping, and I usually do it by myself, during the day, when I don’t have to worry about Husband dropping duplicate items in the cart or Toddler having a random meltdown when he’s not allowed to reach out and shove everything off the olive oil shelf. (That’s never happened, but I don’t want to be the woman sheepishly asking the store manager about the oily pile of glass in Aisle 7.)

When Husband and I do wind up doing a joint trip, it’s usually during the weekend, when I’ve had time to clip coupons, make a list and check the store ad. I can’t organize my closet but I’m a staunch grocery lister. Go figure. So even if he runs off the rails in the meat or hot sauce aisle, I’ve got what I need and I’ve usually budgeted for the week, so a few odd sauces aren’t gonna kill me. It’s the random tandem midweek jaunts that can test my ability to zig and not zag, and that also test my ability to just shut up sometimes.

Husband and I both worked from home yesterday, and decided to hit the local grocery an hour or so before having to pick Toddler up from Baby School. This was supposed to just be a “shopping for tonight’s dinner” trip – I was making chili – so I had already Terminator-scanned the store from the door. I need ground beef for Husband’s portion, beans and tomatoes and such, a bottle of wine for me (not all to be drunk last night, of course) and yogurt for Toddler and me.

Husband was in line for Powerball tickets for last night’s huge jackpot, and you should not be shocked that we didn’t win, because if I had I would not be still sitting here writing this. (#truth) So I did a workman-like job of rounding the aisles and getting what I needed, and was mostly done when I heard my name and saw Husband making his way across the store with a full hand cart. And I swear the control freak in me started panicking, because he likes buying the same stuff over and over, even if we didn’t use half of it the last time he bought it and it’s still in the fridge hello Jif. But he is also a grown man who contributes to the groceries and it’s not fair to be the Food Cop unless it’s something really unhealthy that humans shouldn’t eat.

“Look what I got!” he said excitedly, offering two cartons of real actual juice without artificial things, which are excellent, fruit, the good burgers for the chili because he didn’t know that I already got meat, but which now form the basis of another meal, because why not buy a few days in advance? We’re here, right? And I felt my control freak shutting up. He did good.

(NOTE: I must also add that Husband’s real superpower is farmer’s markets. He finds the best cool little sauces and spreads, including the fish dip I ate all of, and this boss mango chutney he bought from his “hot sauce guy” at the South Florida Fair. Yes, he has a hot sauce guy he sees annually at the fair, to the point where when he didn’t answer his cell, I knew where to find him.)

There was absolutely nothing unhealthy in that cart, and besides the Soap Opera Digest “for me” that is totally for him and the fancy paper goods he gets, that I never do, because I am cheap, it was an excellent trip. He’s grown folk. Chill out Leslie.

So we get to the checkout, and I start seeing the numbers adding up. I had an arbitrary number in my head, and we were past that before I even put all the stuff on the belt. And I started panicking, not because I didn’t have the money to spend, but because IT WASN’T IN MY PLAN. And it wasn’t even a good plan, because we have to buy for the rest of the weekend sometime, so why not last night? I originally pegged it as a quick trip because of time constraints and because I didn’t have my coupons, but it actually took less time because I had an extra pair of adult hands and no tiny shelf-clearer in the cart. And if Husband is picking his own healthy food, he’s going to eat it. And that’s awesome.

I now have a full fridge, and some yummy, healthy things to eat, and I don’t fear badness in there. The multiple peanut butters? That’s another story.


Beans and Cornbread and the End of The Month

by SweetMidlife

Hi there! Lynne here.

My husband and I took this class at church that helps you get out of debt and live on a budget and grow your net worth and such, so that you are helping your bottom line and able to help other people because you have more money to give, while honoring God, who gave you what you got. It’s been cool so far, and we have really been saving money and watching what we spend, which is not easy. I would sometimes prefer to believe that I can get as many Redbox movies, bags of caramel Bugles at the gas station, and organic apple juice at the grocery store as I want without planning for it because it comes out of some magical spring of money that I haven’t thought of yet but surely exists.

Alas, that spring is elusive. Which means we have to do a budget, and stick to it, and know that if we spend more money than we planned on one thing, that money to cover that thing has to come from somewhere else. That sounds so elementary, yet it so hard to grasp if you have not been living that way. And we had not. Nope.

So, one of the places that we have been frequently going over-budget is groceries. This is because it requires lots of planning, and writing stuff down, and we run out of things before we thought we would, and my child consumes a lot of cheese and apple juice. We have been really trying to get a handle on this, so when we get to the end of the month, we find ourselves really trying to make full meals out of what we have in the pantry and freezer, and being careful and mindful of what else we buy. Which we should actually be doing more of during the month, because you are using what you have, and because cheap can be delicious.

Behold, tonight’s dinner!

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It’s beans! Cowboy Beans, to be exact, and I have used this recipe before and it is dang delicious. And since we buy a lot of beans, we had some in the freezer and one can in the pantry, and we had all of the other stuff this calls for, with some improvising (I didn’t have canned tomatoes so I cut up the one fresh one we had left). And I am making cornbread, and we have frozen collard greens and AWWWWW, YEAH. Now, it might smell crazy in here later (the recipe I linked to suggests walking for an hour as a way to spare your loved ones of the gas this might produce), but we have a tasty meal with stuff that was here, plus we are having friends over this weekend, and we can use our budget making yummy stuff for them. I know that budgeting is nothing new, and that our parents and grandparents were aces at stocking and mining the cupboards (my grandparents Streeter actually had the largest collection of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup I have ever seen). But I know that I fight the urge to want to buy and spend and such (mostly on little things) when I don’t need to, and I am working on that. This is a process. So I tip my spoon to you, living-within-your-means-ers. We can do this. We will still live. We still have fun. But we will still have stuff left. Like beans. They are good.


Today’s Overthink: That Dannon Greek Yogurt Commercial

by SweetMidlife

It’s Thursday and this is Lynne!!

Been thinking. I hope that's good.

Been thinking. I hope that’s good.

And I have probably over-thought this post and okay.

So, I have been nursing a cold the past few days, and I have been doing more sitting around than usual, and I have been reading and watching TV and allowing myself to get better while at the same time keeping my kid from jumping off of the bookcase. And more TV. And one of the things that you see a lot of when you watch daytime TV, especially at the beginning of the year, are lots of weight loss commercials. This coincides with people’s New Year resolutions to take better care of themselves, so weight loss and diet food and exercise equipment companies unveil these ads in early January like beer companies do for the Super Bowl. Yes indeed-y.

The one that started a rant for me and thus inspired this post was one for Dannon Light and Fit Greek Nonfat Yogurt. It has “The Power” by Snap! in the background, and in the commercial, a woman in an office sees a guy eating the largest cookie ever made, but because she is eating Dannon Greek yogurt and all of its healthy yummy protein, she has The Power (see what they did there?) to overcome that temptation and not want the cookie. And she takes her spoon from her yogurt, waves it like a wand, and zaps the guy’s cookie and shrinks it. Yay, yogurt spoon! Then another female co-worker comes up with HER Dannon Light and Fit Greek Nonfat Yogurt and uses her magic spoon to shrink the massive donut another guy is eating! And Snap sings, and everybody dance now, since we are in 90’s dance-music territory! And the guys look confused, and the magic spoon-armed ladies laugh and they are powerful and hooray Dannon!!

But something bothered me, and this is where the over-thinking comes in because it’s probably not that deep but here it is….

….They were zapping and shrinking someone else’s food. They were the ones trying to control their weight and feel good about it, but instead of just walking away from temptation and being happy with their yogurt, they saw someone else and derailed that person’s good time because the yogurt ladies couldn’t handle it. The ladies were the ones on the diet, not those other guys.

I get it. I do. I have been on a million and one diets, and started lifestyle changes, and I understand grasping the new knowledge that you get in a new program, and the enthusiasm that you have to have for the changes you need to make to actually stick. And you kind of become an evangelist about cutting carbs, or clean eating, or eating mindfully, or whatever it is you are doing because you want everybody to know how this can change their lives too! And it is good because those people are helped, but also easier if you don’t have to be around donut eaters because no one else is eating donuts either! But it doesn’t work like that.

Because successful change doesn’t happen, in my opinion, just because everyone has adapted to you. It happens when you learn to control your life and make better choices on your own, and then uphold those changes in the face of everybody else’s having not changed. It’s learning how to navigate your life in the midst of the real world. That’s real power. The power to be YOU and do what is best for YOU, a proud yogurt eater among the massive-donut eaters.

At least that’s what I think. But I could be over-thinking this.

 


Fabulous ’15! Five resolutions you can keep!

by SweetMidlife
It's a blank slate. You might as well fill it well.

It’s a blank slate. You might as well fill it well.

 

Leslie here! I greet you on this fine New Year’s Day from the Sweet Midlife’s southern headquarters, over a green smoothie and an episode from Season 4 of “The Wire.” My husband is sitting on the couch next to me under an afghan knitted by my Great-Aunt Martha. Many of those details figure into my New Year’s Resolutions…stop rolling your eyes. Yes, yes, I like you have been super stoked about all the stuff I was gonna do on Jan. 1, involving diet, exercise, job, you name it.

And Jan. 27 I, like you, was like “Screw it. Ice cream and couches rule.”

My sister wrote recently about her resolution to be more loving, and that’s an amazing thing to promise. That’s certainly on my list, but here are five more things I think I can stick to. For real. Stop side-eyeing me. You haven’t read them yet!

1) Be specific about my health goals while being realistic and non-sadistic. That rhymes. Almost like a Johnnie Cochran situation. But there are no gloves to fit into this one, just a middle-aged woman trying to fit into the clothes she was trying to be too skinny to fit into last year (and ain’t that a pip?). Last year I had a very mapped-out goal, to dive into a clean eating program, to work out a specific amount of time, and lose a specific amount of weight. This worked out quite well until a kid came to live with us in March, and to paraphrase Sweet Brown, ain’t nobody have time for making tomato soup from scratch. I beat myself up for my failure to fit my previous resolve into our new life, and got fatter for it. This year, I have decided to be proactive about my eating and working out and not use my fatigue as an excuse, because either I’m gonna do it or I’m not. Won’t get done for me. But I also refuse to use a timeline, and to beat myself up if that arbitrary deadline doesn’t pan out. Instead it’s day by day – I’ve got this smoothie, already told the guys at the gym they’ll see me today, and am going to hit my ab work the minute I get finished typing this. If we get lunch I get a salad or something not fried. I keep that up. I feel good about it. I go to bed and don’t tie my self worth into the choices I made. And then start over tomorrow.

Let's do this! Sweaty and set on change!

Let’s do this! Sweaty and set on change!

2) Call my grandmother more: And my aunties and my uncles, and my goddaughter and cousins and all the people I wonder about but don’t always pick up a phone and talk to.

3) Write everything down – I am not the most organized person in the world (understatement understatement understatement) and making myself write stuff down – my grocery list, the errands I have to run, my blogging and work interview schedule my work out goals – keeps me honest and accountable and not slapping myself in the forehead and going “Acck! I was supposed to blah blah blah!”

4) Finish what I started – meaning the novel I’ve been hovering around for three years in various incarnations. This year. For real. Been too long.

5) Be better to my skin: My consistent skin care regimen for the last 43 years, between a Grand Canyon’s worth of products, has basically been “Black don’t crack.” (Ahem) But my family’s excellent genes don’t mean I shouldn’t wear sunscreen, or daily wash my face with….something, and drink lots of water. I need to not be the first woman in my family to look her age.

I think these are all do-able. Sometimes stuff is hard, the stuff we need to do to survive. But it doesn’t have to be awful, or unpleasant. Let’s do it! Who’s with me?


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