Week 3: Maximum Potential Damage: The Real Story | Working Mother

No Excuses

Or the epic tale of how wife, mom of two and Working Mother Editorial Director Jennifer Owens regained her sense of health, both for herself and her family.

Week 3: Maximum Potential Damage: The Real Story

I don't know how it is in your office, but food always seems to find a home in ours. When I'm trying to eat right, the candy and cupcakes aren't a problem (even the awesome-looking homemade donuts offered up by a parent at the last game of the soccer season this weekend).

No, what gets me is the so-called healthy snack. "Oooo, I'd love to have some granola bars - just as an emergency snack," I think to myself as the box of Kind Bars inexplicably arrives in the mail. "This will be perfect for a day when I forget my lunch or need a little something extra."

Elizabeth DeRobertis, RD, a senior dietitian who specializes in weight management at The Scarsdale Medical Group, has me preparing for my day's food everyday now. On a typical day, I pack my yogurt for the morning, a turkey sandwich made on 100-calorie bread, an apple, maybe a 100-calorie pack of almonds. That's been working really well - I've lost 3 pounds in two weeks! I've even started trying to map out the week's meals for my husband and me and the kids as a way to better plan ahead. (The husband is particularly pleased with that planning help since he ends up making dinners during the week as well.)

On a particularly stressful day at work, the urge to run downstairs to grab a HUGE cookie at the bakery in our lobby (in our lobby!) flared particularly bright, but I stilled my feet. Instead, I thought, “Wait! I have those Kind Bars. I'll just have one of those instead."

That would've been a great thought had I stopped at just one. Instead, I ended up inhaling four of them in one afternoon.

That was my stress trigger talking -- and when I told Elizabeth what had happened, she reminded me of her philosophy of removing the maximum potential damage that surrounds you (e.g. buy single servings of snacks to help you keep track of your portions). Elizabeth was right, but I still couldn't bring myself to get rid of those bars - what if I neeeeeeded them?

I don't need them – they were a crutch for those afternoons when work and family come crashing in at the same time. Beyond losing weight, that's my real goal: To give up the food crutch. It's not going to be easy; it's been propping me up for decades. But for now, no more hoarding snacks in my office cabinet -- at least not for the moment!