Bite by Bite

Posted | 10 comments

Bite by Bite

I was with my book club. As a group, we are all mid 40s plus and for our heights and builds on the acceptable range for weight. Yes, each of us would like to drop 10, 15, or 20 pounds, but none of us would qualify as unduly overweight. One of my book club friends, announced that she had dropped 7lbs. As a diabetic, she had received some bad test results from her doctor and decided it was time to get rid of the tummy for the betterment of her health.

We asked what she was doing to lose the weight. Of course, the first step for her was sticking to the dietary recommendations for diabetics. The second thing she did was use a phone app that tracks the calories in what she eats and for her exercise each day. She loves the app because it gives her positive feedback when she has a good day and warns her when she’s a bit off track.

As someone who’s been watching my weight ever since my hips and thighs came in at 12, I was happy for her. Keeping weight in check is a chore for many of us. I’ve tried all the diets, done several cleanses, and every type of exercise there is. I’ve read books, used phone apps, set goals, and participated in group activities. In spite of all this effort, my body has always remained average. I’m average weight, average height, and have an average level of fitness. Average.

Like anyone who has found success my friend was enthusiastic with her methods and the new found app and she was selling it. She loves us and just wants each of us to enjoy the success that she has found. But as she continued to gush about the app, I found myself feeling extremely resistant and agitated. In that moment, I realized that I just want to enjoy my life and not be all twisted up with worry about my daily burn or the number of calories in my bowl or if I’m combining my carbs and proteins in the correct ratios.

You see, it has always been my belief that if I had the perfectly toned and fit body, the rest of my life would just magically fall into place. Intellectually, I know this is rubbish, but in that illogical place that resides within me, I believe this to be true. In this moment; however, I finally acknowledged the lie for what it is. I don’t have to be a certain number on the scale or able to wear a certain size pant to be happy. I don’t have to run a sub 6 min. mile to be amazing. I don’t have to eat uber healthy foods in an uber healthy way to be successful. Even with my tummy and my 10 + min. miles and my occasional entanglement with a coconut covered donut or dish of ice cream, I can have a great life.

Does this mean that I’m going to gorge on copious amounts of crappy food and forgo my walk/runs and yoga and weight sessions? Absolutely not. Does this mean that I won’t ever cut something from my diet or try a fast or cleanse? Of course not. What I will do is be conscience about what I’m doing and make the best choice for me in that moment and honor and respect my choice. And for all my calorie counting, dieting friends out there, I love you and support you. Because at the end of the day each of us has to do what works best for us. For some, it’s a strict routine. For others, it’s accountability. For me, it’s just making the best choice bite by bite while enjoying my life.


  1. Amen. I applaud you for doing your own thing in a sea of people always striving.
    As a woman who is struggling with self-image issues and the dreaded muffin top… I can relate. I know there’s a deep-seated issue there beneath the bulge, and one of these days, maybe I’ll wave the white flag.
    At some point there will be something {most likely a pending marriage} to pry my wider-than-necessary ass off my desk chair and get serious about this weight thing. You might think that the before-bed-scolding I do to myself each night might be incentive enough, but apparently, I’m not done with self-deprecating talk.
    Hmmm. Issues? Y’think??

    • For me, that deep-seated issue is the key. I gained 10 lbs a couple of years ago and when I decided to actively try to loose it, I was shocked at how forcefully my body and mind fought to hold on to it. I mean, come on already, dropping 10 should be no big deal, but all kinds of stuff started to come up. I was really shocked. It was one of the things that forced me to really start dealing with my heart.

  2. You may have heard this, but your closing reminds me so much of when Warren Zevon had his last show with David Letterman. He had done many over the years, sometimes as the band leader and sometimes as a guest. He had been diagnosed with terminal cancer, was not going to do the treatments because he thought they would ruin the quality of his life – he knew he had to do one more album – the Drs. had given him three months but he made it over a year and in time to see his album, The Wind, come out, and the birth of twin Grand kids. He was pretty messed up much of the time with the recording and had to be held up at times. Letterman was asking him some very frank questions – they were good friends and could do that sort of thing. He had asked Warren, from his perspective,did he know something about life and death that Dave didn’t know. Warren said, “Not unless I know how much you’re supposed to enjoy every sandwich.” For those interested in Warren, a very special artist, here is the last show, he performs a few of his best songs, likely the last time in front of an audience – you could tell he was hurting! The other three parts are in the sidebar: VH1’s tribute to Warren: he discusses writing songs and more, opening with, “Keep Me In Your Heart” a choker!

    So yes, Denise, bite by bite while you’re enjoying your life – simple, yet profound!!! Good for you! Thanks. RR

    • Love this story thanks for sharing. I agree with Warren, we should enjoy every bite.

  3. This is always a controversial topic. I have struggled with weight issues my entire life; in high school, I was “disgustingly obese” (literally); post-divorce I reached the point I was clinically underweight. Now I am somewhere comfortably in between, “average,” as you describe it. I long to find peace with this, but I suspect that I never really, truly will. In the meantime, I try to eat reasonably healthy and exercise regularly. Like you, I refuse to count calories or fat grams and believe that life without red wine and chocolate–in moderation, of course–wouldn’t be worth living. Thank you for sharing your experience and moderating this conversation. 🙂

    • You are so right, it’s always controversial. Should it be? I just want to live in world where we love and honor ourselves and each other. Pipe dream? Maybe. It sure would take care of world peace.

  4. I see that in you, totally! You can live your life fully- and enjoy it even more for the good choices that you consistently make. The “bite by bite” phrase reminds me that I can enjoy each and every bite- and stop at any time. Weight issues have become a reality to me recently…after 10 years of denial. That I could gain 5 pounds a year as a school teacher is no surprise; the stress will do it just as much as the lovingly baked goods that show up on my desk, placed there by a glowing-eyed child, and for all the right reasons. Of course, it is the best thing I’ve ever tasted, right? (What isn’t- in a room without windows for 8 – 10 hours a day?) My eating goes far beyond the classroom gifts, however. Sometimes, on days devoid of companionship and connection, I eat to feel “full”. Other days bring the joy of bites from every delectable offering on the dinner table…. Still and still, I deny there is a problem. But, there is- and the problem is me- or more like how I see myself- my emotional need that I try to fill with tasty foods. Thanks for reminding me that it truly is, bite by bite. Good choices for me, too, now….

  5. Oh, it just an ebb and flow with good days and bad. As a fellow emotional eater, I feel your pain. Nothing better then ice cream to get you through a rough patch. And it’s hard not to accept the gift of food, especially when it’s given with such love as you describe.

  6. This is excellent!

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