Sit. Stay. Cook.

Cook to live. Live to cook.

Hello. I’m Lynn. Thank you for stopping by to visit. This is my first post in what I expect will become a fulfilling adventure. Full-filling. Get it? Because of food? HA! I slay me.

I love to eat. Couple that with poor eating habits and 30+ years later, you get a very fat and very unhappy me.

In the past, I’ve done what many people do: I’d used the first of the year as the marker for change by stating a couple of resolutions and trying to stick to them. And like many people, the resolutions don’t last, because change will only happen when you are ready for it. In the past, I wasn’t ready.

For me, my “new year” started on July 9th, 2009. That date wasn’t any sort of milestone for me; there was no cosmic reason why I chose that date over any other. But it has become a milestone now, as that was the day I decided I was not going to be a fat person any more. I was 236 lbs and that was as fat as I ever would be. And really, that was all it took – me making a conscious decision to eat healthier and as a result, lose weight.

Here’s a sort of “before-and-after” comparison. It’s not really “after” yet because I’m not at my goal, so it’s more of a “before-and-during” comparison:

A comparison.

The photo on the left was taken in May of 2009. The one on the right was May of 2010.

When I began, I knew I didn’t want to feel like I was on a diet, because if I did, I would give up. So I researched healthy eating and cooking and discovered that the Weight Watchers system was the way for me to go. I did my own makeshift version of WW for the first month, to make sure I was going to stick with my plan before spending money on joining. When I saw I was losing weight and wasn’t feeling like I was deprived of anything, I joined the Weight Watchers Online program. Instead of going to meetings, I do everything via their Web site. Better yet for me is the WW iPhone app. I can keep track of what I eat no matter where I am. As a bonus for someone who loves games, trying to stay within my alloted points and still feel like I can eat just about anything is like a game of sorts – do I get cheese on my sandwich, or have an extra glass of wine? Decisions, decisions.

But the best part of all of this has been cooking. I’ve always liked cooking, but for the last year I’ve really began to love it. I make weekly menus and try to incorporate at least one new recipe a week. I read cookbooks and cooking magazines, looking for ways to tweak the recipes to make them WW-friendly and therefore healthier overall.

I’ve learned that WW-friendly doesn’t mean diet food – it means using light butter, cutting back on the olive oil, cooking with ground turkey and skim milk, etc. Instead of using fat to flavor food, use herbs and spices and fruits and vegetables. I get creative with my weekly menus, trying to make sure that I use the whole package of celery throughout the week instead of one or two stalks and letting the rest go bad. And I’ve been experimenting with flavors and ingredients that I never would have thought about before. I never knew “dieting” could be so fun, so exciting and so enjoyable.

Since July 9th, 2009, I’ve lost about 55 lbs. That’s a lot of weight. That’s a large bag of dog food and then some, and if you’ve ever tried to lug one of those you know how much that is. I still have more to lose, but I’m not daunted by that fact the way I would have been a year ago. Losing weight is not impossible, it’s not painful (okay, maybe it is a little painful, especially since I got a recumbent bike and am now incorporating exercise into my life), it’s not about deprivation or starvation or any of that. It’s about change, and being the person you know you are, and finding something to get excited about, and – I know this sounds cliche but it’s really, really true – taking it one day, one meal at a time. If you eat something really decadent, or slip up, or whatever, it’s okay – there’s the next bite, the next meal, the next day. That meant that I DID have a slice of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, I DID have pizza at our office holiday party, I DID have a some of my awesome chocolate peanut butter pie at Christmas. But I did so with an understanding of what eating those items meant for me, and because I have my overall health and well-being in mind, I did so with no guilt whatsoever.

Since it’s been over a year since I started my weight loss adventure, I feel like I might as well try something new. I love cooking, so I would like to share some of those recipes that we try throughout the year with you. Some will be hits, some will be misses, but I guarantee I’ll have a good time making all of them! I’ll try to post photos and notes about our experiences with the recipe, and maybe I’ll include Weight Watchers points (although I hear the WW goons frown on that). I also want to share tips I’ve learned – and continue to learn – along the way, and maybe learn a few from you, too.

I’ve blogged before, but what I am hoping to undertake here is much more audacious than anything else I’ve done in the past. Cooking and learning to live a healthier life is something I really I am really passionate about, and I look forward to sharing that passion with you.

Sit. Stay. Cook.