Monday Morning Blues

Monday Morning Blues

From Chicken Soup for the Dieter's Soul

Monday Morning Blues

Tell me what you eat, and I shall tell you what you are.

Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

My right hand dug deeper into the bag of chocolates, again! There I was, first thing Monday morning, breaking the promise I’d made the night before. I’d promised myself there’d be no more drowning my woes in a pound of chocolates or an entire loaf of hot, crusty bread. But by midmorning I’d consumed half of the bag of chocolates and had begun to devour a loaf of hot sourdough French bread, one slice after another, thickly spread with pure creamery butter.

It was amazing how I rationalized my behavior. I blamed it all on stress. After all, a large conglomerate had gobbled up my employer of twenty years, there’d been a reduction in salary and benefits, and I was subjected to longer work hours. And I continued to overindulge in food, which at the end of the day only made me fatter, not happier.

After six months of helping make the merger a smooth transition, I announced my retirement. After a magnificent retirement send-off, my husband and I purchased a condo where we’d always planned to retire, the central coast of California. Although I was retiring ten years earlier than planned, my husband assured me I had made the right decision. “You can finally do what you’ve always wanted to do, live near the ocean and write full-time.”

I settled into the new community and made many new friends, most of them writers like myself. I thrived on being among my peers. I was overjoyed at the writing opportunities that came my way. Life was good. In the back of my mind lingered the nagging question: why was I still gorging myself with food? I even ignored my doctor’s concern about my weight and reasons for lowering my cholesterol.

I was eating when I was glad and when I was sad; I was running out of excuses. I could no longer zip my favorite black slacks, and to my dismay they did not come in any larger size. That very Sunday evening I vowed to seek help on Monday morning. I’d follow my doctor’s advice and sign up for weight counseling.

My knees shook when I approached the counter to register for weight counseling, but I felt at ease when a gentleman with a smiling face greeted me, “Welcome, I’m one of the weight counselors here. My name is Frank.”

I fought back the tears as I introduced myself and confessed to him how desperate I felt. As I filled out the paperwork, Frank uttered softly, “As of today, desperation and self-loathing are banished from your vocabulary.”

Next, it was time to step on the scales. I didn’t want to look, but I had to face the awful truth; I had gained forty pounds. I felt my cheeks grow hot, I closed my eyes, but that didn’t stop the tears from trickling down my red face.

“You have to think of this as a lifestyle change, not a diet,” Frank said, as he handed me a tissue. “This program is not a quick fix. Once you lose the weight you cannot go back to your old habits, and you won’t want to.”

My lifestyle change entailed banishing my two addictions, chocolate and white bread, from the house. Breakfast would no longer consist of chocolate candy and a cup of coffee. Actually, I’d forgotten I really liked cereal with fresh strawberries for breakfast.

The first week I lost three pounds. “So, during your first week did you have any problems getting used to eating healthy again?” Frank asked. I grumbled that keeping a journal of every morsel I put in my mouth was time-consuming. Frank chuckled and replied, “When you nibble, you gotta scribble. It’s the only way I’ve been able to keep my eighty pounds off for the past fifteen years.”

I never complained again and faithfully wrote in my journal every day. I continued to lose weight, but it was a slow process. Frank's words kept me from getting discouraged. “Remember, set your goal weight at something you can live with. When you look at the weight range for your age, be realistic; don’t beat yourself up because you can’t fit into the size you wore when you were a teenager.”

I learned how to eat healthy; I was no longer a member of the clean-your-plate club. My exercise of choice was walking, and it worked. At the end of six months, I will never forget hearing Frank’s exclamation, “Congratulations! You’ve lost 42.6 pounds! You’ve reached your goal!”

It has been two and a half years, and I am still under my goal weight. I will admit there are days that I struggle, but food is no longer my security blanket. I’ve kept my promise—no more Monday morning blues for me!

Georgia A. Hubley

Roasted Summer Squash Combo


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon crushed garlic

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

2 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into ½-inch-thick slices

2 medium yellow summer squash, cut lengthwise into ½-inch-thick slices

2 red onions, cut crosswise into 1.2-inch-thick slices

Salt, to taste

White pepper, to taste

¼ cup balsamic vinegar, or less, to taste

Preheat oven to 450°. In a small bowl, stir together the olive oil, crushed garlic and rosemary.

Line a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil and arrange vegetables evenly on the foil. Drizzle the oil over the vegetables and toss to coat. Season vegetables to taste with salt and white pepper. Transfer vegetables to the oven and roast for 20 minutes.

Remove vegetables from the oven and drizzle with balsamic vinegar to taste. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

Reprinted from Fitter, Firmer, Faster. ©2006 Andrew Larson, M.D., Ivy Ingram Larson. Health Communications, Inc.

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