Project Louise: Eat Like A Teenager? Not Anymore

A mere snack for Louise’s son, but more than she can handle anymore. (O’Dea via Wikimedia Commons)

By Louise Kennedy
Guest contributor

Ah, school vacation week. Or, as I like to call it, National Eat Like a Teenager Week.

This started last year, when my son and I took a road trip to Dayton, Ohio.  (Not that one needs a reason to choose such a dream destination, but I grew up there. Thanks for asking.) It quickly became clear that as long as I was taking him to Dayton, I really couldn’t fail to introduce him to one of my childhood haunts, Vic Cassano’s Pizza King. And, of course, if I was actually at Vic Cassano’s Pizza King, there was simply no way I was not going to eat the pizza.

All this was before Project Louise, but I was still trying to eat more or less sensibly. But I really, really wanted that pizza. And thus National Eat Like a Teenager Week was born.

So now here we are again, and once again I’m on a road trip with my son – only to the Cape this time, so I’m safe from Signore Cassano … for now. But I’ve still been tempted, most recently this morning, to abandon all restraint and eat as if I were a 16-year-old boy, with the metabolism to match.

Only here’s the thing: I can’t.

At breakfast today, for example, I ordered the Potato Cake and Salmon Benny (yup, eggs Benedict), with a side of black and white pudding.  Completely delicious. And I couldn’t even finish half of it.

Which is actually fabulous news. As is the fact that his French fries the other day didn’t strike me as completely irresistible. I had a few, then stopped – not out of guilt, but because I didn’t want any more. This is essentially unprecedented.

So what has happened? I think, to my shock, I have actually developed the healthy eating habits I was aiming for. And what that means is that I seem not to want the foods I craved before – or at least not to want them in quantity. Just by steering clear of them for a few months, I seem truly to have weakened their hold on me.  This feels like a huge win.

Now, if I can just work the same switch with my activity level. That feels much harder to me – I know people who say they crave exercise, but I have sadly not yet joined their ranks. I guess that’s what the next three months are for.

And one other task, which I’m working on during this vacation because it doesn’t feel like work. My coach, Allison Rimm, pointed out recently that this project has drifted a bit toward focusing only on the physical side of the equation: diet and exercise. But, as she gently reminded me, Project Louise is supposed to be bigger than that: By the end of this year, I am hoping to “be at home with myself,” to be living a whole, happy and meaningful life that aligns with my vision and my sense of purpose.

A tall order, to be sure, but Allison has given me some tools to work on that. I’m spending a fair amount of time on it this week, and I’ll return on Monday – rested, relaxed and not overstuffed! – to share what I’ve learned.

Meanwhile, it’s time to go play with my kid.

Readers, do you find yourself changing habits lately – for good or ill? And do you have any tips for developing the exercise habit?

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