Today is voting day in Ohio, for the primaries. Since it's my kiddo's first year to be eligible to vote, it was uber exciting for the two of us. As I stood there before the ballot of my party choice (I actually fit in the voting box this time!), looking at names of people to select for everything from presidential candidates to local court personnel, I had a deja vu moment that made me smirk with thoughts of Moon Pies, pretzels, gummy snacks, popcorn balls, and Easter candy. Now, I know some of my analogies are a stretch, but at least stretching gives my brain a workout, so bear with me on this one!
In some of those offices, we really are left with only the choice of picking the lesser of the evils or ignoring it altogether and walking away. This doesn't exactly make one feel like poll dancing, but it is a fact of life when it comes to politics...and snacking when you're trying to lose those nasty lbs. In my kitchen, we have a "snack cupboard." I realize that some of those spandex-clad personal trainers or labcoat-wearing docs might tell you this is not a good idea when you're trying to watch your weight, but I've always had a snack cupboard, and weight loss has not changed that. It's just one happy little shelf in my cupboard, right next to the canned veggies and below the cereal and oatmeal, where I store all those yummy little things that make me smile between meals. Anyone looking at my snack cupboard would quickly think I'm not on a diet at all, because it isn't like I only have flax seeds, kale chips, and Styrofoam-like rice cakes in there. Nope. My snack cupboard contains real snacks, the kind people actually want to eat. The trick is voting for the right candidate to spend my 200-ish snack calories on.
Today, I voted for purple Peeps. What can I say? I have a weakness for sugar-covered marshmallow chickens with little brown eyes. I like them even more when they are slightly stale, so they are something like giant Lucky Charms crunchy marshmallows. "GASP!" you say. "You have lost all that weight and you're letting yourself have...CANDY!? How dare you?" Here's how I dare: Peeps are 27.8 calories each, less than half the calories of the average apple. Does this make them healthier than an apple? Certainly not. Does this make them worth more than an apple from a nutrition standpoint? Certainly not. But does that yummy Peep take the edge off my sweet tooth? Yup. Does it allow me to feel human at the time of year when we're pummeled with all those Cadbury commercials and threats of jellybeans and chocolate bunnies? Yup.
I know that we should have healthy snacks on hand, and I do. We have apples, low-fat cheese sticks, yogurt, and all those things with words like "Skinny" and "Lean" in their names. But you know what else is in my snack cupboard? I'll happily tell you. Today, left to right, there are the following delectable delights: popcorn balls, crunchy rice rolls, chocolate chip granola bars, Dum-Dums suckers, pretzel sticks, oyster crackers, Rice Krispy treats (the chocolate ones!), gummy snacks (the Star Wars ones!), soft peppermints, Pop Rocks, sesame brittle, and chicken jerky. The key to successfully losing weight while having these "evils" in my house is simply to make sure none of them are over my snack calorie limit (which is about 200-300 per day, depending on how my meals line up), and to be careful that I only eat the portions that fit. I can grab a serving (or even two!) of any of those so-called sinister snacks and still be okay. I have been doing just that since 2014, and by not depriving myself of all terrific treats all the time, I've gotten by without feeling like I'm torturing myself.
Of course I take politics as far more important than calorie-counting, as it is our right and our obligation as citizens of any weight to take advantage of our suffrage. However, in my snack cupboard today, the Peeps were the lesser of the evils, and I was doing a bit of poll dancing as I voted to eat a couple with my afternoon date with my boyfriend. Two Peeps and a cup of Coffee (which equates to about 80 calories) can work wonders for someone who has spent a long, long time on a weight loss journey, and I vote for that!