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Lose Weight: The Gratitude Diet

I worship food. Is my verb too strong? I’m heading home from my vacation and I’m thinking about what makes a getaway great. For me, it means enjoying new restaurants, napping in the afternoons, reading a great book, and spending time with my husband—who rarely gets crabby on vacation. This holiday caught me in the middle of a one-month diet to lose five pounds. Restraint was added to the itinerary. I’m doing Weight Watchers, and believe me … it’s not easy fitting in gluttony and staying under twenty-five points a day.

I make sure I have my bag of minicarrots, and my secret weapon for when I’m craving something sweet: Pearson’s Caramel Nips. To and from the airport I travel with a baggie of All-Bran mixed with Grape Nuts, and hit up Starbucks for a kid’s size skim milk and spoon. I’m nothing, if not prepared. I’ve developed a system over the years adapted from my sister-in-law Cass, who became half her size by eating half of her food, smoking a cigarette and using her plate as an ashtray. I’m not a smoker, so my portion control requires simply pushing half aside— it works for me.

I introduce the topic of worship as it relates to food. Maybe now you expect me to segue to worship as it relates to prayer—nope, I’m not going there. Here’s where I’m headed: Count Your Blessings. Prayables writer, Heidi Haller tells a story about attending a conference where she and others were given an assignment to write down what they were grateful for. Her fellow attendees jotted down the usual stuff; family, job, house, pet, etc. Pens were laid down after a few minutes. Heidi was on page three or four when she looked up and saw she was the only one still writing. Her list held seemingly inconsequential items that she recognized as being worthy of gratitude: coffee, soap to wash her face, comfortable shoes, an umbrella, etc.

Heidi’s experience showed me to go beyond the obvious. There’s no shame in counting food and restaurants as blessings. I bless the ingredients, the preparation, the chef, and my taste buds. I bless the most marvelous trout prepared with raisins and capers at Café Centro. I bless the piano player who sang standards while we dined, including Bobby Darin’s “Beyond the Sea.” I bless the butterscotch-pineapple muffin from the best breakfast place in the state of Florida: Deli Inn Diner. I bless the reggio cheese sprinkled on top of the melt-in-your-mouth spinach from Palm Beach Grill. I bless the pizziola sauce on my veal scallopini from Carmine’s La Trattoria.

Worship, transitive verb: extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to an object of esteem. Yes, this definition of worship applies. 

Be blessed and pray with this prayer from Prayables:

“Weighty Request”

The needle sticks at a number
too high for my liking.
I just can’t do this without You.
Please, help me today to avoid temptation.

Help me to eat mindfully,
to approach activity with enthusiasm,
to remember what I’m doing is a blessing,
not a punishment.

You, who make all things possible,
make possible the potential
I seek for myself.
May I live up to Your vision.

—Lori Strawn