MONIQUE BATSON — Small adjustments can go a long way in weight loss

Published 12:06 am Friday, February 3, 2023

Regardless of what I may be there for, the one thing I’m most afraid of in any physician’s office is the scale. When it comes time to step on, I’ll all but take off my shoes to soften the blow.

So I was rather surprised Wednesday to learn that, for the first time in my life, I am no longer considered overweight.

When I say “in my life,” I’m not exaggerating. When I was 6 years old, I was in a dance recital that involved polka-dot bikinis and beach balls. I was a better beach ball than tap dancer.

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By third grade, my mother started treating me like a Gremlin. If I stayed the night with friends, their parents were advised not to let me eat too much or snack after bedtime.

In middle school, she’d start fad diets and convince me to join, only for us to learn a person cannot live on cabbage soup and grapefruit for long.

And by high school, I crossed the 200-pound mark. Mom would store junk food in her closet to deter my brother and myself from eating it too quickly. Instead, I’d come home from school and sit in her closet to devour Little Debbie cakes like I was the star in a commercial for poor life decisions.

When I was 22, I went with two co-workers to a Weight Watchers meeting. And before I realized it, I had lost 80 pounds. What was more miraculous is I lost it eating almost exclusively fast food. This was before I had children, so I had no one to worry about but myself. My refrigerator contained only Lean Cuisine dinners, bags of salad and a stash of Taco Bell sauce packets.

In 2003, when I was 30 pounds from the goal weight set for myself, I learned I would be having my first child. And I took that “eating for two” thing seriously. I ate for both of us and anyone else around. The day he was born, I weighed exactly what I did when I started Weight Watchers.

And while I lost a large amount of it, I repeated the same process with my second child in 2006. I had gained 60 pounds with both pregnancies. (I can’t help if my unborn son wanted four packets of Ramen noodles every day. Have you ever argued with a child?)

After my youngest child was born, I was less motivated to lose the baby weight. He was no longer a baby once I put effort into it. And from then on, my weight fluctuated.

It has always been diet controlled. I am not a fan of exercise. If you see me running, I suggest you run, too, because something bad is coming at you.

When the pandemic hit, I was forced indoors— with the refrigerator. I caught the COVID-15 well before COVID-19.

And last year, I was forced to lose the weight or purchase a new wardrobe.

While no longer in Weight Watchers, there are still a great deal of tips they shared that I used to lose the excess weight and maintain where I am currently:

  • Pay close attention to serving sizes. It’s easy to look at the back of a cereal box, see the amount of calories and feel good. Chances are, your bowl of cereal is enough to feed three people.
  • My favorite part of any Mexican restaurant is the chips and salsa. One serving of chips is 12, and that’s slightly depressing. If you take the 12 and break them into two or three pieces each, you have your own plate of chips that will last a while.
  • Nothing adds calories to a salad like Ranch dressing. The serving size is usually two tablespoons (again, sad). Put your salad dressing in a separate container and dip your fork in it before getting salad. You’ll find two tablespoons might be too much.
  • Try adding lemon juice to Ranch. It blends perfectly while thinning the dressing, allowing you to pour it on your salad and cover more ground.
  • We’ve all heard the “don’t let your food touch on your plate” trick. But looking at a plate with hardly anything on it doesn’t feel much like a meal. Instead, use a smaller plate. By having a full plate, your brain is more likely to be convinced you’re eating more than enough.
  • Don’t skip the salad that comes with dinner, but eat it first and take your time. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know your stomach is full.
  • Yes, you have to drink the water. There’s no way around it. Crystal Light is your friend.
  • Snacking while cooking is the silent stressor. You’d be surprised how many calories you can consume just tasting as you go.
  • You don’t have to live a carb-free life, but limiting the amount of “white” food you consume helps drastically.
  • Whoever created Splenda deserves a Lifetime Achievement Award. And while I know there are conflicting opinions about artificial sweetener, I promise you the health risks I faced being morbidly obese were a bit more concerning. Now I can have “sugar” in my coffee and tea without regret or a bitter aftertaste.

Monique Batson is Port Arthur Newsmedia editor. She can be reached at