So Much to Say

Remember a while back when I told you about the story I was working on about women and alcohol? It’s out. It’s in the November issue of Shape magazine, on newsstands now. I think you should read it, and I’m not going to rehash the story here. But there are some things I wanted to write down about how it affected me personally.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know I have always struggled mightily with my weight and alcohol. I actually saw the two as connected very closely. When I was doing Weight Watchers, I was always keenly aware of how many points a food had in relation to say a glass of wine. As in: I want a snack, but do I want it as much as a glass of wine? Even when I wasn’t technically dieting, I was always skimping on food calories to make room for wine calories.

Anyway, during the course of talking to a bunch of doctors and experts about women and alcohol, I had two insights about my own life. First of all it, it became crystal clear that alcohol–even as little as one or two glasses of wine–was routinely disrupting my sleep and increasing my feelings of anxiety. And secondly, when one of the experts told me that women often mistake hunger for the urge to drink, it was instantly obviously that that happens to me.

By the time I was halfway finished the story, back on July 1, I had made a pact with myself to follow the low risk drinking guidelines. That’s no more than 7 drinks in a week or 3 drinks on any single day. Additionally, I decided that I would not drink any alcohol at all at least 2 days a week. But I knew a second pact was in order if I was going to succeed in cutting my drinking back that much–I would have to stop restricting my food and commit to eating when I was hungry. No more skimpy lunches. No more glasses of wine instead of a snack when I was making dinner. Especially in the beginning, I just let myself eat literally whatever the hell I wanted because I know that willpower is a limited resources and that it would take a lot of it to change my long-entrenched drinking habits. On many occasions I ate a second breakfast after yoga or an ice cream cone in the middle of the afternoon.

Five months later, I have to appreciate that my weight has been remarkably steady and I have hit my goals for low-risk drinking almost every week. As a result, I feel great. For the most part, I’m sleeping better, I’m more focused, and I’m less anxious. I hope you will pick up the magazine, give it a read, and let me know what you think.

The first issue of Edible Philly came out last week. I put a lot of work into it and I was really pleased with the way it came out. It was one of the most satisfying and fun projects I’ve worked on in years and I’m so excited that editing Edible Philly will be a mainstay of my work from now on. Find a copy near you (if you live in Southeastern PA) by liking our facebook page. Several posts there list places where the magazine has been distributed. You can read more about the project in this recent Citypaper story.

Also, since I’ve last checked in here, Best Food Writing 2013 was published and I am proud to tell you I was featured in it! I was so excited, in fact, that I threw myself a party to celebrate the achievement. Being included in Best Food Writing is something I’ve aspired to since I first started writing about food full time 9 years ago. I read every piece in this year’s collection, and I’m humbled to be spotlighted in the book’s pages. It’s full of thoughtful, funny, entertaining writing that food lovers will especially enjoy. Pick it up!

I’ve got another side project percolating that has been cutting into my blogging time, but I will fill you in on that soon enough. For now, I hope you are gearing up for a delicious Thanksgiving. I’ll be spending the holiday in LA this year (and I have a lot of cool restaurant reservations!) so make sure you are following me on twitter and instagram for the high-calorie highlights while I’m on the road.

One Response to So Much to Say

  1. Susan November 24, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

    Congrats on your inclusion in the Best Food Writing compilation, Joy – such an amazing accomplishment. Sounds like you’ve been quite busy lately — always great to hear for a freelancer. : )

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