You’ll have to imagine a nice, current picture of me being here for now, because I don’t have one that I like enough to put here yet. (I actually don’t have very many of myself at all- I’m the family photographer, so I usually get to be the one hiding behind the camera!) I’m working on it though, and I’ll try to get some soon. In the meantime, here’s a funny one you can look at:
The Short Story
Hey there! I’m Abby, and I’m so glad you stopped by! So, what can I say about me? Well, most of all, I love to learn, and share what I’ve learned. (I’m a retired homeschool mom- it comes with the territory!) These days I’ve been learning, all over again, again how much I really love to cook, and eat what I cook, and create recipes, and share my recipes. I’ve been doing all of these things for just about as long as I can remember, and I really don’t know that I could do life any other way. So when I had to make some changes in my lifestyle (very bad report card from my doc, resulting in some very strong suggestions from her, but you can read more about that in “The Long Story” below, if you want) I decided I’d keep doing the things I’ve always loved doing, just in a healthier way. To my great surprise, I’ve found lots of ways to make healthy changes without giving up loving the way my cooking tastes and makes me feel, and since I’ve never been very good at keeping quiet- much to the chagrin of some who shall remain nameless, in order to protect myself– I started sharing my new, healthier, but still really tasty and filling, recipes and ideas with family and friends who are also trying to make changes. Because I’m absolutely horrendous at emailing I decided to just put all of my stuff in one place, where anyone who wants it can find it easily. Side benefit is that I’ll be able to find it now too! Great organization tool, this blog thing is.
So, I hope you enjoy what you find here. Be sure to let me know in the comments section after each post what you think, and please, share your ideas with me too! If I’ve learned anything on this journey, it’s that we do this better when we do it together!
The Long Story (A.K.A. The Weight Loss Saga- Thus Far)
I’m Abby, or Abbynormal, as I have often been thusly informed. This is ok with me- I’m pretty sure I don’t really want to be normalnormal! Not that I’ve ever actually tried.
Anyway, I’m a former homeschool mom, forced into retirement because my entire class had the audacity to up and graduate, then go on to big and better things. So now I’m just trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. This has been going on since my youngest, Ashelyn, left for college- way back in 2008. I suppose this means I’m actually making a second career of not knowing what I want to be when I grow up.
To fill my time in the interim, (you’ve got to do something, right?) I’ve been spending a LOT of time watching cooking shows and reading cookbooks, as well as tons of money, (please don’t tell my husband- I’m hoping he hasn’t noticed yet) energy, and butter experimenting with a little bit of everything I’ve seen and read about. For the most part, I think I’ve been successful, at least if you can judge by how happy the dramatic expansion of my cooking skills and culinary repertoire has made my family and friends. And being a consummate people pleaser, this has made me really happy… except for the fact that it also made me really fat. Or I guess I should say fattER because, let’s face it, it’s not as if I was skinny to begin with, at least not since before I produced my very own personal two built in homeschool projects. Bless their hearts!!
So when, after a few (well, ok, several) years of concocting copious culinary creations (see, I absorbed a lot during my homeschooling years- I’ve got that alliteration thing down pat!) my doc told me that if my blood sugar level numbers increased at all I’d need to begin using medication immediately, it brought the whole “cooking anything and everything that looked, smelled, or tasted good, and offered a new culinary challenge to conquer” thing to a very rapid and loudly screeching halt. Because there is absolutely no way to express the breadth, width, and depth of my fear of needles- which is, if I’m not mistaken, the required vehicle for delivering most of these kinds of chemical fixer-uppers. Have I mentioned that I actually kicked a nurse, and made her fall over, when I was five? I feel absolutely horrible, and it only happened once, but she was about to give me an allergy shot and I totally panicked.
So (in case you haven’t picked up on this) I’ve always really loved to cook… and eat… and it’s always made me really happy to make all of my various people happy in doing so… but not nearly enough to continue, not if it meant going down a path that led to the kinds of health issues I was facing. So, I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do, but I did know what I wasn’t going to do: I wasn’t going there! Not that day, not today, not ever. Not as long as there is any other option!
Of course there was, and is. There have always been options, I just never liked them. But this news meant I’d have to consider making some seriously drastic changes, even though I’d tried the options before, and failed miserably… every single time. I was completely terrified I wouldn’t be able to stick with it- again. I mean, this time, it had to be for the rest of my life, not just until I could fit into a previously possible pants size- not this time around.
And I really wanted the rest of my life to be long, but all I could think of was, “This means years of really boring, tasteless, and unsatisfying meals.” I’d tasted all of the “diet” foods before and hated them.
Oh, and I also figured this also meant no more snacks or desserts. Ever. Not a happy concept for me at all, because frankly, I’ve never suffered “dieting” or “diet food” very well in the past, and I wasn’t at all sure I’d be able to do it now, regardless of the fear that was motivating me.
Quite the little quandary I’d put myself into. But I sucked it up and took my doc’s advice. I joined Weight Watchers. Now, I’m not going to sugar coat (ha ha- you’ll have to excuse me- I amuse myself sometimes) the truth here- I had to swallow a lot of pride, just to walk through that door! People had been suggesting the “program” to me for years, but I always said I didn’t need “a program,” that I’d just do it on my own- when I was ready. Reminds me a lot of my kids when they were toddlers- “no, Mommy, do it myself!” (Insert indignant huffing sounds and vigorous stomping of little feet.) I was a very, very, scared, humbled, unhappy camper. I got over it though- that very first meeting was fun and inspiring and I left feeling encouraged and empowered like I never had before. The best part was, I wasn’t going to have to do it alone- I had lots of new tools at my disposal, the support of my leader and fellow members, and most importantly, Allie and I were doing it together! Joining Weight Watchers was one of the very best decisions I ever made. (Although, just to be sure, I didn’t tell anyone in my family about it until I’d lost about twenty or so pounds- I still had just a smidge of that stubborn streak left about this issue.)
In some ways this has been so much easier than I’d thought it would be- the support and love that Allie, the rest of my family, and my friends have shown has made such a difference- it’s really the thing that’s made this doable!
In other ways, it hasn’t been so easy- on anyone! Let’s just say there were a few (oh, how should I put this?) interesting meals in the beginning. I went out and bought a lot of cookbooks, just full of “healthy” recipes. I made some of them. And bless my family’s hearts- they were so patient- they ate whatever my latest attempt was, regardless of how dry, tasteless, and boring it turned out to be.
(I would put a picture here, so you could see of one of those horrendous meals, but pictures weren’t taken of any of them. For good reason.)
No matter how bad the meal was, they (my poor guinea pigs) never once complained. But, to be completely honest, I was in a dead panic because I knew if I didn’t figure out how to make something that was tasty and satisfying, and very soon, I’d be much more likely to give up- again. So I started looking through my “regular” (aka loaded with butter, and everything else that tastes amazing) recipes, to see if I could still make any of the things I’d always loved, with alterations to fit my new standards. I tried a few, and they turned out fairly well- and my little anxiety stricken heart began to be encouraged. And then, as the shell-shock began to subside, I started looking beyond the normal things I’d always bought at the grocery store, and, lo and behold- I found lots of new foods and ingredients I’d never even noticed before!
Using some of the techniques I’d learned from cooking shows and “regular” cookbooks, along with a some new tricks I learned, I figured out how to transform these new things into snacks, meals and even (dare I say it?) desserts that I actually loved and enjoyed! I still have to be careful about portion size, of course, but one thing I finally realized was that it’s really the first two or three bites of something decadent that I enjoy the most anyway. So portion size isn’t nearly as big of an issue for me that it once was.
Not that I never wish I could get away with having a huge slice of birthday cake, slathered with butter cream frosting!! (Insert dreamy look and long sigh) I still do. But not as often, and when I do, I just have my husband and Allie tie me up in a straitjacket and lock me in my padded….. just kidding, they wouldn’t, and we don’t really have a room like that. But they will hide stuff for me when I ask them to!
So now it’s been almost 18 months since I started in on this new phase of my 2nd career and I have to say, I’m really excited about continuing to expand my culinary skills and repertoire of healthy and tasty dishes! I’ve come such a long way since that day in July of 2013- I’ve lost (as of about a week ago) 90 pounds, dropped 5 clothing sizes, and I’m loving learning from, and sharing what I’ve learned with, others who are on the same journey- taking it one day, meal, workout, etc., at a time, heading in the direction of being healthier, and loving the way we’re figuring out how to do it!
Which is why I’ve finally decided to do a blog- I’ve had requests to do this in the past so I could share some of the recipes I’ve developed and other information that’s helped me, but for an old fogy this is more than a little daunting. However, I’ve finally taken a good look at myself, and faced the reality that I just really stink at email. What with holding onto email addresses, (apparently my mom was right– if my head weren’t screwed on, I would lose it… however, if you tell her I said so, I will deny it) and remembering exactly what it is I’m supposed to send to which person, etc., it’s just been a monumental failure! But, I’ve caught on to other social media forms, (much to the consternation of some members of my family) so maybe I can do this too. I hope blogging will allow me to share with family and friends who, like me, aren’t willing to settle for anything less than having their cake & sprinkles too!!
Many thank to all who encourage and share with me, and who allow me to encourage and share with you- I know we can do this together!!