Essential Calories

Or Disclaimer to Nonessential Calories

Just so you know. I don’t believe maintaining an ideal weight is as easy as substituting chocolate for vanilla. Ah, if it only were.

Truth be told, I do believe it is as simple as burning more calories than we consume. Simple but far from easy.

I have achieved only partial success. Since my decision to change my lifestyle instead of dieting I have not gained, with one exception. Two years ago I was within fifteen pounds of my goal. Then my allergies flared up and required that I take steroids. Steroids have no understanding of the rules. They made me ravenous and I gained ten pounds.

Those ten pounds have been stubborn. I haven’t gained since then; but I haven’t lost.

I am not deterred from what I believe to be the best plan for me. I strive to be active and eat healthy foods. I sort through a lot of fads. I am seeking the closest to the natural diet that was enjoyed millennia ago without being ridiculous. I am looking for balance.

I have my nonessential calories that I avoid so I can eat the essential calories that make me happy and less likely to binge (if I am not on steroids).

There are other essential calories besides chocolate included in my menu.

These essential calories are more likely to receive the approval of the dieticians of the world. Green leafy vegetables. All vegetables with wonderful colors. Whole grains. Food that doesn’t come in a box.

Food that actually tastes great and is satisfying while meeting my nutritional needs.

Foods that are followed by a small portion of my brownie recipe that uses whole grains and healthy sweeteners or dark M & M’s.

Fortunately, I am not looking for a bikini figure. Some of you are smiling at the notion of me in a bikini. Never has happened. Never will. And I am stingy with my use of the word never.


Nonessential Calories

I’ve always struggled with my weight. As a college student my busy schedule and lack of a car kept me from gaining weight.

I tried to gain; but I stayed so skinny I heard lame jokes like you should sue your legs for nonsupport.

After I had my first child I still wasn’t heavy. But I didn’t go back to the bird legs.

Then I had twins. After my daughters were born the doctor encouraged me to get back down to my pre-pregnancy weight. But I never did. Instead with three young children to care for, my life style and metabolism completely changed. As a result pounds slowly increased. I was uncomfortable and self-conscious.

A divorce upset my life and stole my appetite. I lost 35 pounds in a short time. Unfortunately, as I adjusted to my new life I gained it back.

I was in my middle age years and I was slowly gaining no matter what I tried. I  longed for my college days when no matter what I tried I couldn’t gain weight. Now I couldn’t lose weight no matter how hard I tried.

Then I was in a car wreck. A car lost control and caused mine to flip over. Folks helped get me out and following first aid protocol laid me on the ground. I was heavy and I looked like a beached whale in a picture someone took.

I had a fractured vertebrae. I took narcotic drugs for three months. The drugs took away my appetite and I lost weight. But when I quit taking drugs it all came back.

I was in my sixties by then and losing weight wasn’t getting easier. In fact it seemed like I was gaining 5 pounds every year. I knew if I continued on that track I would be in real trouble health wise. Something had to be done. Something had to change.

Diets that worked for others didn’t work for me

Diet shakes that were meant to replace a meal did not satisfy like a meal. They were a great accompaniment for hamburger and fries.

I tried the cabbage soup diet. The result of that diet was that I can’t stand cooked celery.

I tried substituting cauliflower for potatoes. I love to eat cauliflower but I want butter or cheese sauce on top with a side of mashed potatoes and gravy-along with a steak!

And that has been my problem. I will eat healthy food that probably would set me up to lose weight. But it doesn’t satisfy and sooner or later (usually sooner) I add calories that defeat my purpose.

I realized that I didn’t need another diet that didn’t work for me. I needed to make life style changes. I had to keep track of my weight, calories and level of exercise. And my new regimen had to be doable.

I liked both hard boiled eggs and grapefruit. But I could only stick to that restrictive diet so long. I had to have meat and potatoes along with broccoli and green beans. I realized I was happy to give up vanilla ice cream – if I could have dark chocolate.

That was my aha moment. Chocolate was vital to the success of my life style change. Chocolate, for me, is essential for keeping my satisfaction meter in the safe zone.

For me, vanilla ice cream is nonessential. In fact, if you serve me vanilla ice cream I will consume the calories and then at some point, I will eat chocolate – too much chocolate.

Vanilla ice cream is basically nonessential calories that sabotage my plan to consume less.

Any food, especially high calorie food, that does not give me satiety will lead to additional eating until I do feel satisfied. In my experience, it is harder to be satisfied once I have eaten nonessential calories. I suspect this more psychological than physiological. I don’t know of any studies of nonessential calories.

But I don’t need a study. This works for me.

And you don’t need a study.

Either you are saying, what a bunch of nonessential hogwash. In that case this probably isn’t work for you.

Or you are saying, Exactly. That is what I go through with every diet I try. This might work for you. Give it a shot.

Once you identify your nonessential calories, you are empowered to say no to foods that will weigh you down – not lift you up.


Aging can be a big Prezzure Point.

To be honest, most of my life I haven’t let it be. And recently it has been just plain fun.

Quite by accident I discovered that if I tell someone I will be 70 my next birthday, they say really nice things. Like, “You don’t look a day over 55.”

Okay, what can they say? I know that most people are not going to say, “Goodness, you look old for your age.”

So, I don’t totally believe what they say. Still . . . they might be a little bit right. Just in case they are, here are a few secrets to my youthfulness:

I quit counting at 21. I had reached the legal age for drinking and voting. There was no real reason to age further so I decided to quit at 21!

I never quit looking forward to the future. I retired from being director of the Arkansas Valley Pregnancy Center. But I didn’t retire from life. God brought new opportunities and I embraced them.

I never quit growing as an individual. God called me to network marketing/MLM. That is personal development on steroids. I love who I am as a result. I love that there is more to come.

Those address the mindset of not aging. There are some more tangible factors as well.

I have great genes. My mother and her sisters have all lived past 90.

I have great health. I have made enough good life style choices to not have totally wasted my body. I am doing better as I learn more.

I have great products helping my body. When you take products that work at the cellular level to restore your body’s natural design it can’t be bad.