Project Revamp: How I Narrowly Avoided OMG Mac n’ Cheese

Abby attended a barbecue this week and was tempted by all manner of deliciousness. Did she come out on top?

Fresh on the heels of a great trip last week, and ready to change my eating habits one restaurant entrée at a time, I feel like I’m in the revAMp groove.

I attended a barbecue on Sunday that was no simple backyard affair—we’re talking industrial-sized meat smoker, people. The impressive spread was a gauntlet of customized temptation, including a crock pot of something called “OMG Mac n’ Cheese.” After careful inspection, I ended up with a plate full of fruit, vegetables, and the most incredible grilled chicken. Unfortunately, the cherry cola-braised pulled pork didn’t make the cut.

As I sat there eating my chicken while guests around me scarfed all manner of saucy, cheesy goodness, I realized something: I was truly satisfied with my meal. A simple statement, yes, but the truth of it encouraged me. It wasn’t just my brain saying, “That cheese looks delicious, but it is bad for you, so you shouldn’t want it.” I’ve been telling that brain to shut up for years. No, this new perspective is much more honest. I’m starting to think more about how certain foods will make me feel and whether or not something is a worthwhile splurge. In the end, OMG Mac would have done a lot more harm than good.

This may sound like some great triumph, but in the spirit of full disclosure: Immediately after this meal, someone came around with pieces of cake, and I wanted nothing more than to shove them my mouth by the fistful. Instead, I watched my brother-in-law eat a piece and pouted about it a little.

Baby steps.

Something that I’ve alluded to in these posts but haven’t really elaborated on is my desire to be a baker. I would love nothing more than to spend my days in a haze of flour, sugar and butter. In my dream life, I own a bakery that serves fluffy confections and decadent desserts, and I know all my regular customers by their favorite cupcake flavor. This is clearly not the life for someone who has sworn off the sweet and gooey, so I’m not doing much baking while I revAMp. Maybe I’ll eventually develop the will/desire to whip up a batch of frosting without licking my fingers and the bowl (and the spoon). Probably not.

I guess this week has been a realization that the true challenge begins at the end of this process, when I’m no longer contractually obligated to avoid certain foods. Then the responsibility for making good choices and incorporating indulgences that are worth it will be mine; fingers crossed that I’ll have the same perspective I had about the OMG Mac n’ Cheese on a much larger scale.

Until then, I’m glad I have these rules to keep my on the straight and narrow. Without them, that cake would have gone in four bites. Maybe three.

>> How’s your diet faring during summer barbecue season, Be Wellers? Have any tips for our resident revAMper? Share your advice in the comments!


Abby McKenna, a management-training consultant living in Bryn Mawr, loves to bake and travels a lot for work. In June she signed a contract to revamp her health, fitness and eating habits in six weeks. She blogs every Thursday about her progress—and all the ups, downs, and in-betweens—right here on Be Well Philly. Catch up on the series here.