As a small child, I had weight issues which got worse with pre-teen development and a lack of exercise. Over the years, I tried dietetic versions of pizza, candy, soda and other snack foods that most kids like to eat with almost no results.
My grandmother contacted Weight Watchers after pulling the plug on a 30-year smoking habit. She was also diagnosed with high blood pressure and was looking for a supportive environment to overcome the obstacles she was facing.
Every day she would recall the heart-wrenching testimonials of the members, some of which she grew very fond of and would use as an inspiration to stay with the program.
Since her house was my hangout after school, she began to try some healthy snack alternatives that didn’t taste like science experiments. This was a coup as we are talking the 1970s and sugar alternatives had a bitter saccharin aftertaste. One of my favorites was a low-calorie shake mixed with pineapple and frozen to resemble fudge pops.
Long before food art became mainstream, she even made salads fun. Instead of the boring, syrupy canned cocktail that was basically tasteless, she would build compote with lettuce leaves as a base, and then came a scoop of cottage cheese (which I’ve always liked), fresh fruit and a small dollop of whipped topping or salad dressing. Not only was the visual fun to look at but was healthy way to get in fruits and vegetables either as an afternoon snack or before taking on the main course.
This renewed sense of self, gave me the confidence to go out and have fun. I was never any good at riding a bike but loved to skate. As luck would have it, skating rinks became more popular than ever in most major cities and the disco era of music brought new ways to make it similar to dancing. Skating for two hours a day, three to five days a week average brought results similar to taking a high-impact aerobics class twice a week.
Though easier said than done as my grandmother was a full-time housewife and I am a full-time worker and part-time student today with little time to plan and cook meticulously on an ongoing basis. However, when I find things going too far south (particularly lower-body gravity), I find creative ways to integrate my fruits and vegetable in with a quick staple. Or I stock up on the Weight Watchers Smart Ones frozen meals and desserts.