The brink of a new year is a time of reflection for most people and I am just like everyone else. The new year is a chance to reflect on the past and think about what to do differently or, better yet, keep the same in the new year.

When I look back, I stretch the reflection to the end of 2015 when I began my weight loss journey. I always saw it as a journey, not a diet. I knew that to lose 150 pounds I would have to drastically change my lifestyle. The last year of this journey has not had any action forward. Am I dejected? Occasionally. Am I disappointed? Sure. But, I also see the tremendous value in holding steady and focusing on the positive. I have maintained a 100 pound weight loss for a year! There is no shame in that, for sure! In fact, it should be celebrated! I may have celebrated with ice cream. Certainly not every day – but I lived my life and I enjoyed it! Learning to maintain a weight loss of any amount is just as important, and sometimes more difficult than the actual weight loss process. I bring this up because tomorrow there will be a HUGE influx of people starting their diets and trying to get in shape.

Don’t be fooled by the diet mentality. Last year I realized (I don’t know why it took until last year to realize this) the majority of people looking to lose weight often start with this approach. In this entire journey of mine, I’ve never considered myself on a diet. I absolutely changed my lifestyle. I was (and still am) committed to changing the way I eat. Yes, I cut back on the indulgences. But, the MOST important piece is mindset. I know that the changes I made are for the better and will help me keep the weight off in the long run. It’s important to enjoy life and not feel deprived. For me, really good ice cream is an indulgence I enjoy and embrace!

At Jiffy Treat in Bloomington, Indiana with Abby and my sister.

In 2018, my oldest daughter and I toured colleges. In almost every city, we found THE local place to have ice cream. And, we indulged. Could we have shared? Sure. Did we? Nope. Am I sorry? Not at all. Every ice cream moment was special and unique. In Oxford, Ohio we ate Graeter’s. In Bloomington, Indiana it was Jiffy Treat. In Madison, Wisconsin — Babcock, of course! Ice cream indulgences were not limited to time with Abby — it’s a family affair.

My dad and daughters at Scoops in Kenosha.

On a weekend adventure with my mom and sister we had Kilwin’s, in Naperville, Illinois while my dad and daughters indulged at Scoops in Kenosha, Wisconsin! Maybe the appeal of ice cream is tied to my roots in the Dairy State, but truly it doesn’t matter. As I reflect on each ice cream cone I ate, I can see the moments of my life that go with it.

But don’t interpret this as celebrating with food. Yes, I allow myself indulgences because that’s part of living my life. It’s not because I “earned” it. That’s an important distinction. I used to eat because I “could” or “wanted” to. Often my thought process was eating something “bad” as a reward for something else or that I needed to soothe myself after a tough day. That’s the mentality that caused my weight to balloon to over 300 pounds in the first place.

My year of ice cream represents conscious decision-making with food on very specific occasions.

Looking ahead to 2019, I expect there will be many more ice cream moments. I have a big birthday in a couple weeks. My youngest will celebrate her Bat Mitzvah in two months (and turn 13). My oldest will graduate from high school, turn 18 and go to college. And, that’s the stuff I know about!

As I embark on a fresh new year, I’m committed to turning up the heat to get the rest of the weight off. Will I continue to eat ice cream? You bet! And, I’ll savor every bite!

What was your favorite indulgence in 2018 and why?