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It's been a LONG time since I've written about my weight struggle. That's because there hasn't been much of a fight to report. For a while there I surrendered to my impulses for whatever I craved. Plus I wasn't getting up early to exercise (and if exercise doesn't happen in the morning, forget it). The result? No surprise. The skinny jeans are back on the shelf and I reach for stuff with elastic waists. You have no idea how hard it is to admit that.

It would be easy to blame the dark mid-winter, lack of Vitamin D, stress at work or family demands. But really, there are no excuses. I eat as a reward and as a punishment. I know what I need to do but I sabotage my efforts gladly for the rush of immediate gratification. That's the life of a food addict.

My path to this place was part Nature: While everyone else in my family got the skinny genes (no pun intended, haha), my grandmother's pudginess skipped a generation and landed squarely on my belly.

And part Nurture: It didn't help that my stick thin Mom constantly asked me if I wanted her "help" to lose weight. "Are you going to eat that?" is a refrain that haunts me like the Jaws theme does an ocean swimmer.

But frankly today it doesn't wash because I am A GROWN-UP! A grown up who needs constant reminding that I have the responsibility to make good choices. I eschew (love that word. Notice it has 'chew' in it) I es-CHEW diets. Been there, done that a million times a la Oprah. The high of initial success is inevitably followed by the depression of defeat. Sorry but my self-esteem just says no!

It was my son who got me back on track again. He asked me (yes, I have a teenager who actually wants to know what I think! It's a miracle!) what ideas I had to help him study for the SATs. Without thinking I told him to start exercising regularly. I recited all the brain benefits of exercise (scientifically proven, thank you very much) and how years ago, I ran three miles a day while I was studying for my licensing boards. It helped so much. He said thanks and immediately started running as soon as he got home from school.

Well, gee whiz. As a mom, how do you think I felt giving out advice I wasn't following myself? Answer: Like a bit of a jerk.

So I started getting on the treadmill again. Then I collected some yoga DVDs from the library and got reconnected with my inner core. I take it really easy and mix it up a lot. Sometimes 15 minutes, usually 20 or 30, once in a while an hour. Sometimes power walking, sometimes yoga, or weight training. The effort has yet to show on my body, but in my spirit the exercise made a difference right away. I just feel better.

On the eating side of the equation I re-read some of my own weight loss journey posts from this blog. There's some good sh*#t in here! Then I read an article about how snacking in America had gotten completely out of hand. We're eating constantly!

Plus I bought Michael Pollan's Food Rules, An Eater's Manual. Tiny, just 139 pages, it's not a diet, just common sense. All I want to do is eat three meals a day (Rule #55), no seconds (Rule #53) and (Rule #11) limit snacking to food that wasn't advertised on television. Good-bye Cheez-Its, hello Apple!

I also really like Rule #2, "Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize." They aren't concrete rules, none of them are. My great-grandmother would not recognize yogurt but she'd appreciate Rule #14, "Eat foods made from ingredients that you can picture in their raw state or growing in nature."

My goal is a sound, healthy mind (and self-esteem) in a sound, healthy body. I'm in my mid-fifties so will I ever be a size 6? No, and it's about time to stop that struggle. In fact I have no idea if my body will change all that much on the outside, as I get back to healthier eating and exercising basics. I just want to be the healthiest 55 year old I can be with the body nature gave me. But let's be real: Would I mind if there is a side benefit of a slimmer profile? Uh, I don't think so!

Bottom line: Today I'm feeling good about my choices and that's food for my self-esteem 馃檪

Photo courtesy of nettsu via Flickr