Friday, January 2, 2009

Take the Milk Out of the Microwave...So To Speak

And you thought the possum analogy was out there…..

I had a strange dream last night in which I was to demonstrate for an audience of Catholic school students (hunh?) how to make a milk-based soup using a microwave. I felt really stressed because I don’t use a microwave in real life for anything other than reheating food or melting butter, and I was horrified when I saw that milk had been poured directly into the microwave. No container. Just milk in the microwave with the door shut.

The recipe I was using called for heating the milk but not boiling it. That meant I would have to test it several times to make sure it was heating adequately. As the students filed into the classroom, I tried desperately to figure out how I was going to check the milk without it spilling out. Just before I woke up, I decided I’d lift the microwave over on its back every time I needed to open the door.

Still in that half awake dreamy state, I thought about other possible solutions to the microwave problem as I began to wake up fully this morning. If I’d been presented with a problem like that in real life (and it wasn’t a joke and I had to make the best of it), I’d have dumped what milk I could into a proper cooking container and proceeded with the demonstration from there rather than worrying about tipping over the microwave each time.

I read this article called The Top 10 Healthiest Diets in America and I thought about how the milk in the microwave is like a diet program. How many times have you chosen a program you think will work for you, only to find yourself bending and twisting to the diet’s needs rather than your own? A “diet” should be a lifestyle change, I know you hear that a million times, but it’s YOUR LIFE that your changing. So shouldn’t the lifestyle you choose work with you rather than against you?

When I started losing weight in 2005, I read Bob Greene’s book “Get With The Program.” While I eventually joined Weight Watchers, Greene’s ideas laid the groundwork for what would become a life-changing journey for me.

I bend the Weight Watchers rules all the time. While the basic foundations of the program are sound, I often go outside the box to find ideas that work best for me. For instance, I love Dr. Dean Ornish’s book “Eat More, Weigh Less” and Pamela Peeke’s “Body for Life for Women” and have implemented several of their philosophies and strategies into my eating, exercise and mindfulness program. Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s “Eat to Live” has some solid ideas, too, although his recipes are pretty dull and bland.

While I’ve not tried Alyson Mead’s “Write It Off Club,” mostly because I’m not losing weight anymore, I suspect it is something I’d have done if it was offered while I was losing weight (click here to read my review of her book, “Wake Up To Your Weight Loss.” I’d probably have liked using MaryLou’s Weigh, too (click here to read my review).

My point is, as you travel this road of lifestyle change and adjustment, remember that you’re the expert of you. Not the lady who weighs you at Jenny Craig or the words that come off the page in your South Beach Diet book. What feels right to you? What are you willing to change or not change?

Part of what made this last weight loss so successful for me is that I consulted my body and mind every step of the way. I didn’t rigidly follow a set of rules. People have written to me asking me to just tell them what I eat every day and how I exercise every day, thinking if they do exactly what I do, they’ll be successful, too. Sorry, I tell them. It doesn’t work that way. You have to do your own research, follow the program(s) that work best for you. It is the only way to achieve long-term success.

Dump the milk out of the microwave, folks! Make the program work for you, not the other way around.

And if any of you analyze dreams, can you tell me why the heck you think I dreamed about showing Catholic students how to make soup in a microwave?

14 comments:

  1. Can't help you on the dream - you're probably solving some other problem in your life by working through it with the milk. Who knows!

    I concur with your advice about making the program work for you! I've read more non-fiction books on diet, exercise, and health in the past 2 1/2 years (while losing 100 pounds) than ever. Tried things - kept what worked, ditched what didn't. My most successful weight loss occurred during times when I wasn't struggling to conform to a rigid dietary rule/plan, but eating good, whole food and not starving myself. I'd lose weight & marvel because it seemed so effortless.

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  2. Amen sister! Preach on! I completely agree with you. I never liked answering the question "How did you do it?" by saying "W.W." instead I would usually say, 'eating less and exercising more.' And then I would put in parentheses (I didn't have surgery.) because you could see the question in their eyes. I will have to check out some of those books, although I am finding that the way I have trained myself to eat is a little fixed and I am having trouble changing it much. But I continue to tweak!

    And microwave milk soup to Catholic students? Not a clue....

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  3. Perhaps the students represent all the people asking you for diet/healthy eating advice. And, perhaps the fact that they were Catholic means they are followers, spiritual people or innocent seekers, looking for guidance from their religion or God. Goodness knows we all pray second before we get on that scale, right?

    To me, the milk, which is fluid and also represents life, represents the formula for your weight loss (what you are being asked to teach/provide to others) and that it is a fluid in your dream means it is not something that can be prescribed or fit into a neat, one-size-fits-all container that you can hand off to help others.

    You were asked to teach something unable to be taught, which is why the process of the instruction seemed so impossible and frustrating. You want to help, you want to be the answer, but it's not yours to be...

    The microwave simply represents the want of a quick-fix, since it's used to cook foods in a fraction of the time that our ovens and stoves can.

    I'm no expert but do enjoy a good puzzle. Just my two-cents, from a good Catholic girl seeking some of the same answers you've found and have been asked to share.

    Thanks for your Blog!!

    Best,

    Janet

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  4. Interesting dream!

    -DonnaLynn in Hawaii

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  5. What a great post! I have a hard time answering the question "How did you do it" because it was a mishmash of different programs until I figured out what I needed to do for me.

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  6. Great post, I totally agree that each person has to find that plan that works for them.

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  7. Thanks for the thoughtful post and also to Janet for the great interpretation!

    Are you "sure" you can't scoop up the solution and transfer it to us? ;)

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  8. Hey, Janet, your theory makes perfect sense to me. I'm going with it.

    Glad to know ya'll follow other programs and "pinch" your original programs.

    I'm listening to the Eagles right now. I wonder what kind of dreams I'll have tonight, given the CD is Hotel California. hehe

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  9. A good reminder that it is MY life that I am changing....it has to work for ME.

    Thanks

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  10. LOL I missed the part about the milk directly in the microwave without a container being a dream! So I was thinking what is she talking about, how did they get it in there without a container, how are they going to get it out. That can't be very sanitary! I'm such a goof, OK, off to read the rest of your post!!! LOL at me!

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  11. Lynn I love this post and this is just something I'm figuring out myself! I'm learning that I have to do what works for me right now and realize that what works for me or what I'm willing to with today may change tomorrow. I love this philosophy. I also love that you changed WW to suit your needs and you were still successful at it. I think that we all need to learn what our bodies need and will do as we are all different. Great post! :)

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  12. Thanks for the post as well. It does make sense to try and "customize" a plan to fit a person's lifestyle. B/c not every plan fits every person. It's hard not calling it a "diet," b/c should just be an every day thing, not just for a certain amount of time.

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  13. Hey there,
    Just stumbled across your blog. I am amazed at your success. I totally agree that you have to make the diets your own. We aren't "cookie cutter kids" we are all individuals with different desires, likes, dislikes, and what works for me doesn't necessarily work for anyone else!

    I am really enjoying reading "back" in your blog! Thanks for being an inspiration!

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  14. I can't help you on the dream! But I can agree with you about this post. Anytime I have successfully lost weight (this time and once other) I did what worked for me and me alone. I have people continually asking, telling or shoving their thoughts on me about what works and what I should do. I simply tell them all that this works for me, and only me, end of story. So thanks for reinforcing that, in my weaker moments I do think should I join this, join that and than I snap to my senses!!!

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