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I am truly blessed to be working at my school. It’s a wonderful environment. And I truly appreciate the many, many student helpers I have on my “Media Crew.” The library wouldn’t run as smoothly without them. I have over 100 student helpers who regularly volunteer in the media center. They adopt their own section of the library, which bears their name – they make sure their section remains nice and in order. They also help decorate the library, process incoming books, and many other behind-the-scenes tasks needed to keep a library running.

On the last day of school, as a small thank you for all they do, I had a party running all day long in the conference room in the library. I laid out chocolates and cookies, nacho chips and salsa, and other refreshments, plus coloring and word searches and holiday videos. For the largest group (my fourth and fifth graders) I had the ever popular BINGO with prizes.

I was so pleasantly surprised to realize that as I laid out the buffet that I felt no temptation to eat any of the treats. I had one cake pop in the morning (given to me by a fellow staffer) and then had a simple lunch. After fifth period, when all my media crew had left for the day, I realized I had treats remaining. I certainly didn’t want to take the treats home with me — I already had a merry bag full of gift treats given me by many students and friends, which I was planning to ration out sensibly over the upcoming vacation. Why add to that with snacks I had bought myself. So, I opened up the conference room to all the students who came in to the media center for the rest of the day (as long as they ate it in the conference room, not in the library). It was so sweet to see high schoolers say “Oooh, can we color?’ and how much fun they had with the simple holiday word searches.

I am truly blessed. May we all enjoy the simple blessings of Christmas, and even enjoy the treats — in sweet moderation.


FOLLOWUP TO YESTERDAY’S POST: The meeting went very well today. People actually stayed an hour past scheduled end because we were getting so much accomplished. Thank goodness there was enough food and beverage for the extra time. Besides the sandwich rings and chips (which I skipped), I also made a big Caesar salad and bowl of fresh fruit. Of course, there were chocolate chip cookies. I had one. And, naturally, there were about a dozen left over at the end of the meeting..

As people were helping me clean up I asked if anyone would like to take the cookies, since I wasn’t going to be eating them. And one lady said that would make her a hero with her nephew.

I turned my back and couldn’t watch as the objects of my temptation left the room. But, I let them go. I didn’t even cry, though I still had regrets. Alas, I couldn’t get anyone to take the bag of potato chips.

And, big accomplishment, I stayed within my calorie goals of the day.

But, still, I wonder where those chocolate chip cookies are now. Thank goodness they are not on my hips :)


“School days, school days Dear old Golden Rule Days. Reading and ‘Riting and ‘Rithmatic …..”  And buffets, and snacks, and brunches, and morning donuts. It’s back-to-school, but not back to the old eating habits. As I type this blog entry, I am proud to say I survived the first two weeks back at school and am still on my journey into my new lifestyle. Of course, I am exhausted, my feet hurt, my knees are aching, and I’m behind on my lesson plans, but that’s normal for the first two weeks. What’s NOT normal for me is that I have not once succumbed to the siren call of the morning donut or the afternoon fast food drive-through.

The first week back was just for teachers (no students). The week is always filled with a variety of meetings: staff, department, PLC, and professional development. And  each one usually features some sort of food. The first morning was the annual welcome back staff meeting, with the traditional breakfast buffet. The night before I was nervous about it. But I planned ahead. I know that pastries and donuts are one of my greatest temptations. I had gone cold-turkey on them when starting my journey. I had gone 30 days without any pastries or anything made from flour. I decided the night before returning to the temptations of the breakfast buffet, that I would break my pastry-fast, but do it on MY terms.

The night before, I opened up a single serving of yellow pound cake from Nutrisystem. I had portion control and knew how much I was eating: a lovely 160 calories. I put the pound cake in a bowl and poured a half cup of blueberries over the cake. I put all in the microwave for one minute. The blueberries became a beautiful chunky syrup that seeped into the pound cake. I topped all with two tablespoons of Redi-whip and sat down to a glorious indulgence. Oh, yum! It was so delicious and so wonderfully sweet from the blueberries.

I went to bed and felt primed to face the buffet the next day.

At the buffet was the usual spread: donuts, cinnamon buns, muffins, scrambled eggs, sausage links, fresh fruit. My planned indulgence from the night before did the trick. I looked at the pastries, figured in my head how many calories just one would be, and realized that if I really wanted pastry again, I could wait until I got home and have my portion-controlled, calorie-controlled dessert. Once I made that decision, it was easy to fill my plate with better choices and mentally calculate the calories as I added each item to the plate. Strawberries, grapes, pineapple, eggs, and two sausage links.

As I joined friends at a table, I ate slowly and enjoyed my fruit and eggs. I saved the indulgence of the sausage links for last. I cut them up into little tiny pieces and ate the first one before the meeting started. I decided to leave the rest of the sausage bits for during the meeting, taking I bit every now and then. ….. Well, that was the plan. As the principal started speaking, a gentleman at our table got up to toss his plate and, being a true gentleman, he picked up the other empty plates from the table, including MINE and all my carefully cut up sausage bits.

And, do you know what I said and did when he picked up my plate?  Absolutely nothing. I can remember from the past when I would have reached out, taken the plate and said, “I’m not done with that.” Instead, on this day, I just gave in to the greater power that was keeping my calorie count down and mentally subtracted those sausage calories from the day. Now that’s progress.

I survived the similar challenges of the first week back. But my greatest victory came the following week, when the students came back. During the summer, you always lose your “teaching muscles.” You forget how to keep mentally sharp. Your feet and legs forget what it feels like to be standing all day. And you forget just how exhausting it is to be in-charge and positive all day. The last thing I want to do when exhausted is go home and fix dinner. So, guess what I did every night after school? I went home and fixed dinner. No matter how exhausted I was, I fixed dinner every night. Not one trip to the drive-through, not one phone call for pizza or Chinese delivery. For me, that’s a major victory.

I’m beginning to think that this time, I’m really on my lifelong journey out of obesity.



Long, long ago, in a previous century, a soft drink company decided to launch a diet drink targeted toward women. Before this, only one other sugarless diet soda had been released. But this new product was from the mighty Coca-Cola. They weren’t 100% sure that the world was ready for a sugarless version of Coke, so they didn’t use the term “Coca-Cola” in the name — just in case the new soda turned out to be a bust.

Coca-Cola introduced the new drink, “TaB”, which helped ladies keep “tabs” on their calorie intake, in 1963. It became an immediate hit. I had my first TAB sometime in the late 1960s. That was the good old days when your diet drinks had sodium cyclamates (before being banned by the FDA as carcinogenic).

I drank TaB because TaB was for “beautiful people,” as their advertising proclaimed. The catchy theme song announced:

TaB, what a beautiful drink.
TaB, for beautiful people.
TaB, you’re beautiful to me.
Sixteen ounces has just one calorie.
TaB, what a beautiful drink.
You’re good and sugar-free.

You can see several decades of classic Tab commercials in the video below. What memories these bring back!

I became a loyal TaB drinker after graduating from college. It was the only soda I would purchase. Back then, I would buy it in 16-ounce bottles and the girly pink carrying case. Later, I bought it in the two-liter bottles and poured it into my own TaB glass with the womanly curves. (I still have that TaB glass!) I showed product loyalty through the Saccharin warning labels, past the introduction of Diet Coke, and remained true to my brand right through the newest recipe re-formulation that added Nutrasweet.

TaB has been my drink of choice for over thirty years. If thirsty, I never bothered with water. I would joyously reach for my beautiful drink for beautiful people. Since I am not a coffee drinker, I start every day with my TaB to get my morning pick-me-up. I end my day with a TaB. In between, I’d reach for my beloved TaB four or six more times. Sometimes more. At 46.5 grams of caffeine per can, I was chugging back 372 grams a day.

I was going through life WIRED!!!!

Some studies indicate that consuming more than 300 mg caffeine per day can give you the “caffeine jitters.” And other nasty side-effects happen with too much caffeine: irritability, sleeplessness, even anxiety.

Often, when I couldn’t get a TaB, I’d go through the intense headaches of caffeine withdrawal. And, boy, would I get crabby.

As part of my new journey, last week, I went semi-cold turkey on my TaB. I have cut back from my 8 per day, down to one. And, yes, was I crabby, irritable, and aching from headaches. But the withdrawal passed pretty quickly.

Now, I have my one TaB in the morning. For now, I’m sticking to that. I’ve had a longer relationship with TaB than any man in my life. I still need to jump-start my day with my beautiful drink.

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