Welcome to the World of Dieting

Sort it all out to be successful: Overview and Q and A's.

Diet Reviews

Read about the different diets: The good and the bad!

Exercise Reviews

Best, worst and the tolerable.

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Tools and tips that make diet and exercise easier.

Before and Afters

Pictures of before, in progress, and afters. Get inspired!

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Fall Must Stand for "Fall Off the Wagon"



Soooo... last time I posted I explained how I got chubby (re-chubby) and talked about doing a 5 day detox. So how did it go? Dreadful of course. I didn't even make it 2 days! However... I kinda have a good excuse why the detox went bust. Try: tingling/numbness in my hands and feet, dizziness, chest pain, heart palpitations, and high blood pressure. All of this hit me at once and scared the crap out of me. I raced to the doctor who did a series of blood test. I sat at home waiting on the results, convinced I was dying. Needless to say, the diet detox went right out the window. I figured if I was fixin' to croak then I was going to go out sucking on Cracker Barrel's Cinnamon Streusel French Toast Breakfast.




The results of the test showed that I had a significant Vitamin D deficiency. A Vitamin D deficiency? Are you serious? How in the world could a Vitamin D deficiency make you feel this bad?! I started taking maximum D (over-the-counter at the pharmacy and recommended by the doctor) and waited. And waited. It actually took several weeks for me to feel half decent again. Trust me, I won't be getting low on that vitamin again anytime soon. The bad news is that all that drama has left me even chubbier. I literally feel like the Stay Puff marshmallow man. Now that I feel better I am determined to get back on track. Today is day one.... you gotta start somewhere right?




That brings me to a current pic. At first I was just going to post a pic of me in my Halloween costume. Then I realized that I was wearing all black (including black tights) which is (kinda) slimming. Although this is good in some situations, it wouldn't be really accurate when trying to show weight gain. I then realized I would have to do the stupid phone pic shot in the mirror thing. Dang it. That truly is SCARY :(


I. Hate. Body. Shots.... Especially those taken in ugly concrete wall bathrooms with florescent lighting. So here is my front and side shot. If you are thinking "thats not too bad" you may want to meander back to my last post where I showed you my skinny shot. I am at least 20-25 pounds heavier. Thats a small human. If you are still thinking "so what... its not that bad" then let me share something with you. I know how to dress to look less chubby. It comes with practice. However, every now and then a situation arises where I have to dress in something non-flattering. I am going to share one of those pics with you to prove a point. Here goes... wait for it.....




Yes, that is me looking like an overgrown lumberjack. Granted it was redneck round-up day at work (don't ask)... but that is still no excuse to look so burly. Crap. Time to get to work. So... I started eating right today and plan to get back to exercising too. Next time I will (maybe) weigh in (depending on how fluffy I feel), describe my diet plan in detail and (hopefully) celebrate staying on a diet during this season of fatness. No more pumpkin spice lattes or Cinnamon Streusel French Toast. At least not for a while. I'll have to find a new drug. Anyone know if they make caramel flavored carrot sticks? *sigh*


Vitamin D pic was found at this site for Vitamin D deficiency treatment.
Yummy, yummy french toast pic was found at the Cracker Barrel site. Love me some Cracker Barrel, yes I do......

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I'm Back, I Can't Weigh and a New Blog (Kinda)


Hello everyone. Yes, its me.... I'm back! Where did I go? Well..... thats kinda a long story. I guess I was basically hanging out in the land of skinniness until I finally got evicted. A few (hundred?) doughnuts later and I am now back in chubbyville. So lets get down to business.  First, I am not sure what is worst: the fact that I have not posted on this blog in almost 3 years (yes, that is not a typo) or the fact that I am writing my own "welcome back" post at 2am during another random bout of insomnia (you would have thought the no bake, chewy, gooey, oatmeal fudge dollops I was shoving in my mouth right before bed would have ensured a good sugar induced coma). Anyway, the fact is that I slipped and I am now back ready to fight the good fight.


So what happened exactly? I'm not sure, but the one thing I do know is that I got skinny. Not like the "Lets call the hospital" skinny but more like the "I bet that girl hasn't seen a cupcake in ages" and "If you turned sideways you'd look like a zipper" skinny. (Yes, someone actually said that to me and in retrospect I now wonder if they were insinuating that my head is large??) Want proof I got skinny? Check out Exhibit A above (I'm the old one on the left). Ooooohhh.... those were the days!

So whats the long part of the story? Try major stress at work, several health problems, the death of my beloved Gma, and a long, drawn out remodel of our entire (new, tiny) living space. And so I basically hollered "Bring on the Bon-bons" and found myself blowing up like a pufferfish. Crap. Welcome back. Or as Shrek would say "Join the club, we have jackets." Crap.




So now I am chubby AGAIN and I can't weigh. Its a mental thing and sure, I admit its a little strange. Especially coming from someone who weighed every single day for YEARS. The reason I can't weigh is because I'm puffy and I know that the number is just going to piss me off. Somewhere deep, deep inside me I realize I need that number in order to assess the damage and formulate a plan but I think I want to detox a little first before facing the cold, hard truth. So....... I am going to take 5 days before I weigh to eat light, eat clean and drown my fat cells with fat-busting H2O. Until then I guess I will just have to gauge my progress by degrees of fluffiness and trust me, right now I am pretty damn fluffy.



And finally, lets talk about my new blog format. One day, several months ago, it occurred to me that I use to have a blog (yes, this one). When I logged on I saw that the "ancient scroll" format (that reminded me of pirates and treasure chests) had lost all of its details and my posts now looked like they were sitting on hot mustard. So I upgraded to a new, more modern template. This move was good in theory, but apparently you have to have a PhD in HTML to actually make the template function right. So for now some of my links don't work, my comments are squished up like rush hour traffic, my "read more" links are cut off and my tags are highlighted in bright red like they are a xmas present from me to you. Yep, no more ancient pirate blog for me. In a word: DENIED.

I am working through these issues so please be patient. If any of you are better at html than me please feel free to share. There must be some (well hidden) secret to fixing these issues. If you help me I will be your new best friend and possibly even ship you a huge bag of Cheetos (Lord Knows I don't need them). Okay.... its nappy time. I am getting sleepy again. Guess those fudgy oatmeal dollops are finally doing their job. I will be back later this week to tell you how the detox is going and to maybe post a current pic. Till then...... peace out!

Cute welcome back card can be found at this Etsy shop

Bathroom scale clip art (which I of course modified in Photoshop) can be found here

Crazy cute robot HTML clipart resides here






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Who You Gonna Call? Plateau Busters!

It has been a few weeks and I am sure you are wondering if my KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) plan for busting through my plateau worked. In the words of Napoleon Dynamite, “Heck Yeah!”.... I lost 3.6 pounds! Yes! I am more excited than the time I found a huge bag of Twizzlers hiding in the bottom of my purse. Factoring in this weight loss, I have now lost around 52 pounds!

Losing this weight has been great, but I have recently run into a little problem called THE HOLIDAYS. Trying to lose weight during THE HOLIDAYS is like trying to tie your shoes with mittens on. You may be able to do it but only with great effort, concentration & a good dose of frustration. I don’t know why family + great food = dimpled thighs, and in my case you can add in a bulging belly and jello neck. Don’t get me wrong, I love the spirit of THE HOLIDAYS but hate the 10 pounds I usually gain. When Thanksgiving came around this year I decided this was the year I would do things a little differently. There was NO WAY I was gaining 10 pounds. The only thing worse than losing weight is losing the same pounds all over again and there was NO WAY I was going to lose any of those 50 pounds all over again!


 I knew I needed a game plan and this is what I did:

1) Ate what I wanted for my Thanksgiving meal. Right about now I know you are wondering how in the world this factors into a weight loss plan for THE HOLIDAYS. But notice I said “meal”, as in one! Every other Thanksgiving “meal” has actually lasted 3-5 days. This time I ate what I wanted (pie, cupcakes, turkey, sweet potato casserole, rolls, dressing, after dinner Mai Tai’s…..etc…..etc) for the ONE meal. I then sent most of the leftovers home with others and told myself the “unhealthy” leftovers were off limits (easier said than done, but I only caved once when I went into the kitchen late at night and somehow tripped and fell into a piece of pumpkin pie). For the most part, I was back eating right by the next day. This strategy worked so well that I plan to use it for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day & New Year’s Eve (3 holiday’s = 3 meals, not 12!).


2) Exercised more. Thanksgiving morning I was at the gym doing a hard core boot camp and the day after Thanksgiving I did a 2 hour “turkey burn” (cycle class). I only went up one pound during the days surrounding Thanksgiving & I was back to my original weight 3 days after my big meal. I know the extra exercise helped.

 

3) Remembered. Remembered what exactly? Well, I remembered why I was trying to lose weight in the first place (my health, confidence, appearance). I  remembered how good being skinny feels (and trust me, there is no greater high than looking in the mirror and LOVING what you see). I  also remembered to stay focused (I suffer from weight loss induced ADD. I often wander off the weight loss path faster than you can say “cheez its”). Most importantly I remembered how I looked and felt 52 pounds ago. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING will ever make me go back to being that person.



Hopefully these tips will help you during this time of food & festivities. I still have 25-39 pounds to lose. I plan to trudge through THE HOLIDAYS and then focus everything I have into losing the rest of the weight so I will look fabulous for summer. In January I will post new before and after pictures along with a look at what a difference 50 pounds makes! Till then try hard to keep the spirit of Christmas in your heart (not on your ass!)

Yummy Thanksgiving picture was obtained from Hornblower Holidays.   Funny scale picture was obtained from NJweightdoctor.com.  Workout picture was obtained from a really cool site called "I need motivation" which has a lot of great workout tips. Check it out here.

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October really was a scary month

I usually love fall. October through December has always been one of my favorite times of year. But not this October. Pumpkins, fall leaves, and a fat ass. This October literally sucked. Yep, “plateauville” was where I lived. If location is everything, then my location sucked! When I did my weekly weigh in on November 1st, I was only .4 pounds less than what I weighed on October 1st (Yes, that is point 4!). That means I did not even lose a ½ pound in the entire month of October. Hmmmm….. I still followed the same program, ate lettuce like a rabbit, and exercised like I loved it yet I was rewarded with NOTHING. Trust me; the dreaded plateau is more frustrating than the last bite of pound cake falling off your fork. 



The only good news is that this lovely plateau has cured me of my scale obsession. I decided to give up my daily weigh in when I weighed the same for the umpteenth day in a row and suddenly felt the urge to set my scale on fire. Yep, no more doses of daily scale for me. Anyway…. I am now determined to bust through this plateau and emerge victorious on the other side. So I decided to research plateaus in the hopes that I would find a solution to my problem. I spent hours online taking notes and writing down tips (Note to self: Run in the opposite direction whenever you see a forum titled “How long was your longest plateau?”….. Seeing people answering “years” almost made me puke up a carrot stick). More good news? This plateau sofa/daybed by designer Adrian McDermott is awesome. Much better than a real plateau! (Yes, I googled "plateau images").


It is amazing how much good (change up activity or diet) and bad (lower calories below 1200) advice there is out there for busting a plateau! I sifted through all the info and decided on a KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) plan for my plateau. The plan is to:

 1) Drink more water. Sounds easy enough. Although I was already drinking 7-8 glasses a day, I read that really active people need to drink even more water. So I am upping my water intake to at least 11-12 glasses per day. I have already started this step and although the increased trips to the bathroom are annoying, I must admit the crystal clear water in the toilet AFTER I use it is amazing. Makes me feel downright healthy! (I know…way more information than you needed).


2) Carb Cycling. I decided I needed to mix up my diet a bit to get the weight loss going again. I read a lot about carb cycling and have decided to modify what I found out to fit my needs. My goal is to lower my carb intake overall by cycling low, moderate & higher carb days. I usually eat all the carbs I want within my calorie range so this is a big step for me! I know I can’t just do low carb (I love carbs too much!) but I know I can cycle in some low carb days knowing carbs will be back on the menu soon.

 

3) HIIT: High Intensity Interval Training. I decided I need to switch up my workout too, so my fat arse might get “shocked” into losing weight again. I already work out a lot (1-2 hours/day, 6 days a week) so I did not feel like it would help to add more cardio. Also, I already do a wide variety (cycle, treadmill, kickboxing, Zumba, cardio dance, step, etc) of workouts so I decided to look for something I had not tried. I am going to try some interval training since it is suppose to burn more fat and calories in a shorter amount of time. I am going to lower my cardio days to 3-4 days a week and add 3 days of interval training. This interval training will consist of running on the treadmill for 20-40 minutes, doing slower intervals for 90 seconds then running hard for 30 seconds.


This plateau better not last much longer cause I am a girl on a mission and I am not really good with being patient. I have GOALS and if I am willing to work hard then I expect to see the results. I know I am not the best at posting on this blog consistently but I promise I will post again within 2 weeks to let you know if this plan worked. If this plateau last years some of you will have to come visit me at the loony bin. I'll be the one playing checkers with myself as I shove donut, after lovely donut into my crazy face. *Sigh* Dare to dream.......


Pumpkin picture was obtained from ninitalk 

Fabulous plateau sofa was designed by Adrian McDermott & was featured on Home Tone

Diet Cartoon was done by Brian Zaikowski and can be seen at his website Bztoons

Artistic running photo was taken by Bill Phelps and was featured on the Real Simple website

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Scale Obsessed, Psychic Dreams & a Reality Check

I will get to my weight loss since I last posted but first I must admit that I am scale obsessed. There I said it. Scale obsessed. I KNOW that I should only weigh once a week. I KNOW that the body changes in ways not determined by weight. I KNOW a person's weight fluctuates throughout the week. Yet I feel the need to put my chubby brown ass on the scale EVERY morning. As I step onto the small, square torture trap I know that it can only give me one outcome that will make me happy: significant weight loss. How stupid am I? It is not going to make me happy every day. I KNOW that, but I feel drawn to it. Its my drug. Those rare days I actually step on it and it shows me that weight loss I feel euphoric and it is almost worth all the times it failed me. Almost. Now that I have admitted my problem, maybe someone out there can plan an intervention. I will sit on a couch and cry as my friends & family read me touching letters about why they are confiscating my scale. It will be fabulous.


Now onto the weight loss news. I have lost another 3.5 pounds. That is kinda great. Notice I said "kinda". The problem with my weight loss is that those pounds were lost LAST month. In October, I have only lost .2 pounds. That is kinda pitiful! Probably lost that breaking a nail or picking a zit. It is obvious to me that I have been slacking and need a reality check. I have now lost 47.5 pounds, now is not the time to get lazy! I am almost about to reach the big 50. It is easy to trick yourself into thinking that you are still doing everything right but the reality is I must be slacking somewhere. 


So I sat down yesterday to analyze what might be going on. It can't be my exercise routine. I still workout every day 1-2 hours (except Fridays). I vary my workouts using a mix of cycle class, Zumba, kickboxing, step class, running on treadmill, elliptical, cardio dance, and strength/toning exercises. Surely 10-12 hours of intense workouts per week is enough to evaporate a pound of fat or two! So if exercise is not the problem than it must be my diet. That really sucks. As a recovering eataholic, eating right is the hardest part for me. The reality? I have not been logging what I eat every day. Therefore I do not really know my calorie intake. Therefore I can't be sure I am eating the right amount. Therefore I am an idiot. 



I guess deep down inside I really knew what I was doing wrong. How do I know this? Because I was having those weird truthful dreams. I might be able to lie to myself when I am awake but the truth comes out at night. Let me tell you about the dream I had last night. If it wasn't so pitiful, it might actually be funny. In my dream I was at some kind of party. The party had a ton of fabulous foods displayed buffet style. Everyone was dressed fancy and having a good time. In this dream I kept getting up to get food (surprise... surprise). Yet every time I got food something would happen so I couldn't actually eat it.  Once the plate disappeared when I went to get silverware, another time I waited in line so long the food melted (don't ask) & still another time my mom pouted when she saw my plate and I ended up giving it to her. 


The final time I was at the buffet filling my plate I noticed that something was going on around me, that people were applauding. Curious, I stopped piling food on my plate to see what was happening. Two beautiful, slender girls were winning an award for best dancers. They were so pretty that everyone in the room was captivated. The guy was making a big deal about how hard they had worked and how fabulous it was that they had won. One was a stunning blond, the other a beautiful black girl. At that moment the black girl looked at me, smiled an apologetic smile and pointed at my feet. As I looked down I saw that while I had been staring at them I had tilted my plate and all my food had fallen to the floor. Then I woke up. Creepy huh?

 

So now I am "back on the wagon". I'm tired of the trickling weight loss, tired of the crazy dreams (trust me I was exhausted from trying to get a crumb all night long) and tired of working so hard at the gym only to fail on the scale. I am going to write down everything that passes through my lips. I am going to drink water till I float away. I am going to embrace fruits and vegetables like they are a long lost friend. Yummy Mai Tai, we can be no more. Although we only met occasionally, it is clear now you were sabotaging me. Maybe we can visit again in a skinnier time and place, but for now you must stay away. Tell your friends grilled stuffed burrito, vanilla wafers and Cherry Garcia that they have been given the boot. Till we meet again...... Arrivederci!


Cool scale pic (notice it tells you what to eat, not what you weigh) was obtained from Pleaseenjoy.com

Treadmill clipart was obtained from Promote Health & Wellness
Buffet pic was obtained from a cool weight loss blog: Out of Control Fat Roll

Yummy looking Mai Tai pic came from the Sunset site.



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I'm Overweight, isn't that Great?!

Being overweight is wonderful, I feel grand! No... I did not take a hit to the head and basically I still have all (or at least most) of my marbles. Let me explain why I feel this way. Last Sunday I got on my Wii Fit to weigh like I always do. As the little ticker line ran up the BMI scale I waited for the usual "That's obese" announcement. Imagine my surprise when the bouncy little scale (see pic) instead declared in a chirpy voice "That's overweight". My mouth literally dropped open. Overweight? Well dang! Overweight?! Seriously? Why thats almost like calling me sexy (well at least it is to someone who has been "obese" for years!). Overweight can mean so many things. Heck, I have seen skinny people call themselves "overweight" (even though I could literally hang my purse on their protruding collarbone). Obese, however, usually only means one thing: Rotund. Maybe I am overanalyzing this, but all I know is: I'm proud to officially be overweight!


I slipped into the overweight category because I have lost 7 more pounds since I last posted. That makes a total of 42 pounds! I set a new goal for myself around the middle of August. I decided I would lose 20 more pounds by my birthday in December. That is only 5 pounds per month. Since setting that goal I have lost a little over 7 pounds! That means I only have 12.4 pounds left to lose by December. Hopefully, if things still are going this well, I will be able to exceed that and lose even more. The weight seems to be coming off much more quickly. This is probably because I have decided that hunger is my friend. Yes, you can lose weight and NEVER feel hungry. But in my experience it will take you a lot longer than if you allow yourself to feel that occasional "empty" feeling. 


Before I became fully (and by fully, I mean obsessively) dedicated to my weight loss I could NOT allow myself to eat small meals, skip meals or snacks, only eat light for supper, etc. Feeling hungry or unsatisfied always seemed to make me overeat. Now, however, I finally want to be skinny more than I want the food. That means I sometimes only eat 2 meals a day, eat a protein bar instead of a meal or just eat high fiber cereal for supper. Not all the time mind you, but sometimes. I can now sit and watch someone else eat dessert without even wanting a bite. That is not to say I don't occasionally eat what I want. I do. But I always compensate for it by exercising more or eating less the next meal and/or day. Weight loss is a mind set and it has taken me almost 8 months to reach this stage. If you are struggling with weight loss, keep trying! With persistence it will get easier! 



You may have guessed by now that I am a sucker for weight loss tools. You may remember me paying around $250 for a GoWear Fit (See earlier post). I have spent quite a bit on exercise and/or fitness (gym membership, treadmill, exercise ball, resistance bands, hand weights and my GoWear Fit) but I still use them all religiously (well... except the exercise ball. Not sure why but my fat arse kept rolling off and landing on the floor). Anyway, I recently saw the Shape Up shoes by Sketchers (when I was speed walking the mall... yes, I am one of those kooky mall walkers). I researched the shoes and read reviews. These shoes are suppose to promote weight loss, strengthen the back, firm calf and buttock muscles, reduce cellulite and tone your thighs, increase cardiovascular health, improve posture and reduce stress on knee/ankle joints. Basically your whole damn life will improve if you just buy these shoes. 


So I did. They cost me a whopping $110 (w/tax) and had to be shipped to me since I have sasquatch feet and they didn't carry my size in the store. They kinda look dorky but so does having a fat ass. I was really excited about the possibility to tone while walking since I am on my feet a lot during the day. I have had these shoes for 3 days now. I am so sore! The shoe was designed to simulate walking on sand (you know how that wears you out!). Therefore, you are only suppose to wear them for 20-45 minutes and build up to all day wear overtime. Whatever! I am on a mission to get this fat off my ass so I have worn them for most of the last 3 days. My calves, butt and thighs ache! Hopefully that means something is shrinking under all that dimpled skin! To early to tell, but I will keep you posted on my progress with these platform shoes. I will let you know if they do anything besides deplete my bank account. Next week (ok... next TIME... whenever that will be....) I am going to post about more goals, my ongoing beautification process, more milestones, more weight loss tips and of course update how the shape up shoes are working out. Till then dream about Twinkies but don't eat them!

Wii Fit scale picture was obtained from here. Sketchers Shape Up shoe picture was obtained here. Gift picture came from this blog.


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5 More Gone & Blog Away Big Sista!

In my last post I told you that my sister (The Chubby Artist's Chubby Sister) would be sharing her tips on cooking low-fat fabulous food. During my recent visit to Atlanta I grazed (or inhaled if you prefer) super yummy food every day and still came home skinnier. I have asked her to post about some of the fabulous food she made. But first some good news: the shrinkage continues! I have lost an additional 5 pounds! For several months the weight seemed to be dribbling off. Progress seemed slow even though I thought I was doing everything right. At the rate I was going, I might have reached goal by my retirement party (and I'm in my 30's).  I know that slow weight loss is easier to maintain but really.... what good is skinny jeans gonna do me if they don't fit me until I am 90? Yep,  faster, more consistent weight loss beats "drip drip" weight loss any day. Enjoy my sister's post below (my comments will be in orange). Next time I plan to post in more detail what I have done to increase my weight loss (Hint: I have actually felt hunger for the first time in years, and it was neither cute, fuzzy or orange!)


Congratulations to you on the BIG 25! (Thanks, its 35 now!) I am slowly trying to catch up with you sister. So now that I have my treadmill (see previous post) and I ordered a Schwinn recumbent exercise bike that finally got delivered (one more weight loss tool to add to the pile)…I hoped to get busy with my exercise and give you some competition. Now, I am not working out two times a day and climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro just for kicks and giggles, like my sister (your such a drama queen :), but I was aiming to work out for an hour an day, alternating between the Schwinn and the treadmill each day, 7 days a week. However, as usual, I only manage to actually workout 3 days and last week not a single day.

So I have decided to try to be more honest with myself and evaluate both my exercising and my eating habits. I cannot lie… I have a keen palate that demands fabulous gourmet foods… which are usually found at fancy and highfalutin restaurants around Atlanta (yes I am a member of Zagat… I am fat remember ..... You must be crappin in high cotton cause I don't even know what Zagat is..). Some of my favorites are Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion (http://www.roysrestaurant.com/) … where I completely loose myself in their decadent chocolate soufflé or Canoe (http://www.canoe-atl.com/), where I could eat troughs of their Cimino Farms African Squash Soup…. I am drooling... So the food is hedonistically delicious, immensely fattening (see previous post of my sister’s infamous visit) and will squeeze the hell out of your wallet…….


(Picture is of the Roasted Romanos & Tomatoes with Tapenade). So even though I absolutely and completely hate to cook (standing on your feet in front of a hot steamy stove. The essence of burning meat in your nose. The whir of the incompetent stove vent whining in your ear. The periodic chirping of the smoke detector warning you that you suck in the kitchen and you should stop whatever it is that you are doing. Chop, dice, stir, mince, reduce, whisk, preheat, discard, spread, garnish and dash….and where the hell is the garlic salt….who moved the @#$% garlic salt?!), my love of good food has caused my bank account to shrink and my waistband to expand…. so I decided to cook. I have tried just about every lowfat recipe in the world and let me tell you there is nothing quite like eating a meal that tastes like cardboard with a dirty sock sprinkled on top. Though I try to tell my mouth to just swallow, “it’s good for me…it’s what my body needs”, my mouth rebels shouting “so is a teeth cleaning, and a mammogram, and a colon check, but you don’t see me sprinting out the door for one of those either”. Then it hit me, what if I could cook the delicious foods I like so much at my fancy restaurants, right in my own home…. I could control the fat content, the freshness of the food and the cleanliness of the food (I always wonder how many of those people in the restaurant kitchen also read the little sign posted in the restroom by the mirror and ACTUALLY washed their hands before returning to work ick... and let me reiterate....ick).

 


This presented a couple of problems since my kitchen reflects my ineptitude at cooking. I had ketchup, mustard and some reduced fat shredded Mexican cheese, a half of a leftover pizza, one pickle, three packs of “hot” sauce from Taco bell in my fridge (I beat you, I have 8 packets of fire sauce), 8 cans of Pam spray (wow, how did I manage that), pepper, salt, and a bottle of Rum in the pantry. I owned no mixing bowls, no electric mixer, one really good Henckles knife and a plastic chopping board I got at the Dollar Tree…..pathetic. So as is my neurotic (spendaholic?) pattern, I went shopping at Sur La Table and began my journey as a Gourmet Chef! Thank God my husband not only likes to cook, but is a REALLY good cook and we made this transformation a team effort. I have discovered that good cooking tools make all the difference in the world! (Picture of Balsamic-Marinated Pork Chops & Grilled Peaches).




We bought a zester, a Henckles paring knife, a bamboo chopping board and a glass chopping board (for raw fish), a handheld electric mixer, an electric ice cream maker, a new hard-anodized sauteé pan, a new hard-anodized griddle pan (which by the way, cannot go in the dish washer), a seasoned cast-iron grilling pan, several gourmet cookbooks and several gourmet cookbook magazines (yeah, when we do it, we do it right! It was money I would have spent eating out anyway) and then we began…. OMG... just read the t-shirt.....

I have had the most fun ever! My husband took on the roll of the sous chef, chopping all the necessary ingredients and following the directions that I called out (yep, that made me the head chef J ). We put all the chopped ingredients in little glass ramekins (dang fancy pants... what the hell is a ramekin?), poured a glass of wine and the cooking began! So, my husband and I have now made our cooking routine our time for talking about our day and spending some quality time together and it really is fun and the food tastes better than what I was ordering at the restaurant (Sister, I think you could even get your husband to chop up stuff dream on...)! And as a bonus buy….this week even though I didn’t exercise, eating our own gourmet foods…. I lost 1.4 lbs!

 

So I thought I would share some of my favorite recipes that I found in my gourmet cookbook magazines recipes will be in the sidebar on the right (you will be shocked how many lowfat or no fat recipes you will find in these magazines…don’t let the fact that they say “gourmet” in the title fool you…they are chocked full of great healthy ideas…one caveat caveat? seriously?….buy the necessary tools, they will make a world of difference).  I hope you enjoy this meal as much as I did! The meal consist of Balsamic-Marinated Pork Chops & Grilled Peaches (although every recipe I tried was amazing, this is definitely my very favorite yes, it was heavenly) and Roasted Romanos & Tomatoes with Tapenade (Although I was a little skittish over the anchovy in this recipe, I included it and the tapenade was amazing... hands down the best tapenade I have ever eaten!). You can make this while the pork chops are marinating. A Romano bean is an Italian string bean and you can substitute any kind of green beans for the Romano beans in your recipe, we substituted regular green beans. For dessert (oh yes, there must be dessert!) we pulled out the new ice cream maker and using this recipe that a dear friend of mine shared we made the most ridiculously yummy (and yes lowfat) sherbet ever! Just let it mix in the ice cream mixer while you eat your delicious pork chops and roasted green beans and it will be ready by dessert time!

My husband and I are going to try to alter Roy’s chocolate soufflé recipe they sent us in the mail (I guess they were missing us) and see if it will work with reduced fat ingredients and we are going to begin making our own sushi…I will keep you up to date. Until next time, keep thinking skinny thoughts. (picture is of homemade Cantaloupe Sherbet).


Balsamic-Marinated Pork Chops & Grilled Peaches Recipe and Picture was obtained from “Clean Eating” Magazine July/August 2009 p. 38 www.cleaneatingmag.com

Roasted Romanos & Tomatoes with Tapende Recipe and Picture was obtained from “Fine Cooking” Magazine June/July 2009 p. 40 www.finecooking.com

Weight Watcher's Hungry Monster Picture was obtained here

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Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire & Another 5 Bites the Dust!

Ok, I vaguely remember promising to post more. I am not sure what has happened to me this summer (must be the heat) but I seem to be having issues getting it together. Back in May, when I made that promise to post more, I must have had my fingers crossed! I really did not mean to lie, but it seems like everyday I have a million things to do (not to mention dealing with the continuous joy of eating right and exercising)! I know I do better when I blog about my efforts so once again I am going to try to get back on track (you trust me... don't you?) and hopefully blog weekly instead of monthly (hopefully is the operative word here). So let me tell you what's up. If you look right you will see a picture of fabulous Atlanta. Fabulously fun, fabulously feisty and fabulously fattening! I made two trips down there in the past few weeks to stay with my sister (known as the chubby artist's chubby sister) and her hubby (the doughy deputy). 



Now you will probably remember from my last visit to Atlanta (see previous April 14 post) that when the chubby artist, my chubby sister and the doughy deputy get together all food hell breaks loose. Not sure why, but every time I get around these two I start eating like its gonna be my last meal. "Let us show you the finest that Atlanta has to offer" they whisper delicately in my ear. "Yes" I whisper back, as if in a trance, then go forth to dine on food so fine it makes you want to cry (by the 3rd bite my eyes are usually misty). Look at these seemingly innocent faces (yes, this is a holiday photo from Christmas... I was too lazy to search for another one). Two fun and spirited people who helped me gain 5 pounds in 3 days when I hung out with them during spring break. I had planned two trips down there this summer and this time around I was determined not to gain any weight during the visit. I headed down there a few weeks ago and I am not going to lie, I was nervous! I felt like a recovering drug addict hanging with my drug dealers "just for fun."



How did the visit go? Excellent of course! You didn't think I would make the same mistake twice did you? I managed (through blood, sweat & an impressive burst of willpower) to lose weight during both visits! I think I deserve a medal or at least a low-fat twinkie. This was definitely a huge accomplishment. My sister and her hubby were great. All I had to do to achieve these results was sweetly explain that I could not deal with having to gain and lose the same weight over & over again and seek their assurance that I would have the opportunity to eat healthy and exercise. I might also have mentioned that there might be a black eye in someone's future if I gained even an ounce. Regardless of the reason, they really went above and beyond, cooking wonderfully yummy low-fat meals and taking me to the Silver Comet trail for evening speed walks. 



Now for the best news: since I posted last I have lost another 5 pounds! That makes a total of 30 pounds gone! Although I am really happy with my progress, I still think losing weight is like having dust in your eye (uncomfortable, annoying, and extra work). However, I love wearing a smaller size, having more energy and having people comment on my shrinkage. I actually enjoy exercise more than I thought I ever could and am still working on the joy of eating healthy (there is joy in not eating a molten chocolate cake isn't there?). I also try to stay focused on smaller goals so I will not lose my motivation. If I lose 4 more pounds I will have reached a new weight level and 7.5 more pounds and I will be 1/2 way to my final goal of losing 75 pounds. Everyday is an ongoing struggle but I just remind myself of my end goal: a healthy, confident, energetic, slender me rockin' a pair of tight, hip-hugging faded jeans. Its gonna be great.... molten chocolate cake be damned.

Next week: I will be posting a blog entry written by my sister (the chubby artist's chubby sister). The low-fat food they fed me in Atlanta was so fabulous and creative that I asked her to be a guest writer to share some recipes & tips with you. How do I know it will be posted next week (and not next month)? Because she has already written it and sent me the pictures! Must be nice to be organized.....

Atlanta pic was obtained from this website
Medal clipart obtained from Clipartheaven.com

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Bring It On!

Lets just go ahead and start with the good news: I lost another 2-1/2 pounds! I am so excited and proud. That means I have lost a total of 25 pounds and am now a third of the way to my goal! 

I would like to claim that my weird pose in this picture is due to the pride I feel at reaching this goal but unfortunately it is not true. The real reason I look like an awkward, deranged peacock is because I was listening to the directions of the photographer (a 19 year-old kid who wears his hat sideways). "Push back your shoulders" he said, "and put your hand on your hip." "Like this?" I asked hesitantly (since the pose did not feel natural). "Yeah perfect" he said as he shot this stupid looking picture. 

Oh well. The purpose of the picture is to show you a before and after shot so you can (hopefully) see a difference. This is the after picture, and even though I still have quite a way to go, I still think I look better then I did 25 pounds ago!





Here is another after photo. Who is that supermodel lounging on the stairs? Yep, thats me. Thank goodness I didn't listen to the photographer in this pose ("put one leg up on the top stair" he said. Thankfully I resisted. I am sure I would have looked like Captain Morgan from those rum commercials). 

Not only have I lost 25 pounds, but I have also went down between 1-2 pants sizes (depending on the brand). I feel more energetic (except when it comes to housework.... not sure what is going on in that area) and I actually really like to exercise. I am still doing 6 days of exercising for at least a 1 hour duration. I kickbox, zumba, cardio dance and I have also recently added step classes. 

I... oh... we need to paint the porch.... (sorry got distracted)... I still struggle a bit in the food area, but for the most part do pretty well with the occasional doughnut thrown in for good measure. Now for the good part. Here are the before pictures. Try not to dry heave (my unfortunate initial reaction). 






So this is not even the best before picture (trust me that one is coming). But I chose this one because of the belly/boob area (not sure which one is sticking out farther!). To me you can see a real difference in these areas when you compare the before and after shot. 

Also If you are having a hard time seeing a difference, look at the size of my head as compared to my body. Isn't it funny how the size of your head stays the same even as your butt grows wider? 

In the before picture I look like my head was shrunk by a witch doctor, it is not remotely proportioned! But if you look at the after, I no longer look like I have a small, oblong cantaloupe for a head! Maybe I am over analyzing this a bit. Oh well, on to the next photo (its a doozie).




Only one word describes this picture. Wow. And I mean "Wow". Not only do I look like Jabba the Hutt in a wig, but I also look like I have been drugged. I think I was in a cheese fries, pizza, doughnut hole, grilled stuffed burrito coma! 

I was desperately in need of a major intervention. Thank goodness I woke up and smelled the low fat cheese. I will never look like this again. I am determined to conquer this weight loss thing and reach my goal. I already feel so much better about myself and I am only a third of the way there. Imagine how great it is going to feel when I reach that final goal! 

Two final end thoughts.... first, what the heck is that growing under my original chin? And second, if you are the size of a house (or at least a subcompact car) and you are trying to look good, never (ever) choose a green, fuzzy sweater that makes you look like a moss covered mountain. Period. Exclamation point.



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Guess Who's Back, Best Mothers Day's Present, and The Big 12

Goodness. It seems like I haven't posted in a while (probably because I haven't). My apologies. I have been working on the DISSERTATION (it needs all caps since it is large and in charge) and have made a lot of progress in the last few months. Let me tell you, its been great spending all my time on the DISSERTATION. I mean really, who needs to do fun stuff? Not this chubby girl! I would much rather sit around squinting at the computer screen surrounded by stacks of papers than to go out with friends, watch t.v. or blog. Yep, writing the world's longest paper rocks! 

In reality, I would like to believe that absence makes the heart grow fonder but with my luck all my dieting peeps have run for the hills. Plus, you know that whenever someone who has a diet blog does not post for a while everyone always figures that they went off the deep end. I am sure everyone has been picturing me sprawled like a beached whale on the couch cursing skinny jeans as I shove cupcake #5 in my mouth. Well, I am happy to report that I have avoided the curse of the cupcakes. I am back (from the oh so fun destination known as DISSERTATION hell), and I truly plan to up my "diet" game and post more often. So lets talk.....


I had a great mother's day weekend. I really enjoyed the beautiful roses, the handmade teapot, the funny cards, the gift card to Chili's (step away from the molten chocolate cake), my sister (who I had not seen in a month) telling me I looked skinnier and the fabulous Greek dinner my husband bought me. All great! But the icing on my Mother's Day cake (sugar-free and low-fat of course) was the 3 pounds I lost this week! Yes, I am still working this lifestyle change and boy did it pay off this week. That make 22-1/2 pounds lost so far! I am so happy. I really kicked up my effort this week and I see that it paid off. Another added bonus was that at least 8 different people came up to me this week and told me I looked thinner. Excellent! I plan to post before and after pictures here when I reach 25 pounds lost so you can decide for yourself if there is a difference. You are gonna love my before picture, try not to cringe.

Unfortunately, my joy this week is a far cry from how I was feeling last week. I squeezed out a little time last week to weigh and saw that I had only lost 1/2 pound. I was bummed. My weight loss seemed to have slowed to a trickle and I was feeling a bit irritated. The way I see it, the fat girl already had her cake (and trust me she ate it too). It is now time for the skinny girl to shine. Time for skinny jeans, one chin, hip bones (what the hell, lets go ahead and throw in cheekbones too) and that perfect little black dress. So as I was sitting pondering this I thought about the Biggest Loser contestant Nicole Brewer and the 87 pounds she lost in 12 weeks. It has taken me almost 5 months to lose just over 20 pounds. This averages out to around a pound a week. Although this is a decent rate, I can't help but wish I could lose a wee bit faster. Its not like I expect to wake up skinny but really, is 2 pounds a week too much to ask? 


So I decided to challenge myself for 12 weeks (I'm calling it the big 12). Let me say right now that I DO NOT expect to lose a crazy amount of weight during this time (although it would be nice), I instead am just hoping to increase my weight loss. I figure if it doesn't work I will at least still (hopefully) have my pound a week for an additional 12 pounds lost. If things go as planned and I can increase my average to 2 pounds per week that would be 24 pounds gone! To do this I have increased my exercise and made some changes in diet. I also need a backup plan so I am once again calling on my friend Yoda to work his magic. It has been a while since I called on him, but I really need some major Force this time! As you can see, I allowed him to bring a friend. Yep, surely between the two of them they can work some accelerated weight loss magic! 


I am hopeful so far with the results from my first week of effort. Hopefully week two will be successful too. If so I will make sure to tell you next week what seems to be working. In the meantime, I am going to be saving my money for some Spanx (I am diggin that Hide and Sleek Bodysuit). Everyone should have an emergency failure plan. I found mine for only $88. A slender looking body is a human right. I'm sure I saw that written somewhere.....


Fabulous hiney-reduction spandex (known as Spanx) can be found at Spanx.com

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Deja Vu, Bad Dreams and a Weight Loss Phenomenon


Ok. So I have been missing in action for a while. I really did not realize that it had been so long since I last posted (well, until my sister e-mailed me with "um... did you really last post on your blog in March?!"). I'm sorry I haven't posted, but I have been busy experiencing deja vu. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines deja vu as "something overly or unpleasantly familiar". Based on that definition, I guess you could say that losing the same 5 pounds all over again qualifies as deja vu. 

So here is how my nightmare began. I decided (in all my infinite wisdom) to go stay in Atlanta for a few days with my sister. No kids, no hubby, no exercise routine, and apparently.... no self-control. In those few days I treated myself (approx. 27 times) to fine dining, tasty treats and sweet, sultry beverages. Imagine my surprise when I returned home to find out I had gained almost 5 pounds? How the hell does one manage to gain 5 pounds in 3 days? (Answer: fresh strawberry cobbler, creamy shrimp and grits, turkey, cranberry, and stuffing sandwich on a homemade croissant.... oh and did I mention the grilled pork chops with brandy-glazed apples?). 


I was mad and disgusted with myself. I decided there was no way I was blogging until I got those 5 pounds back off. I mean really, what would I have blogged about? The fact that the chubby artist was now chubbier? Or (big surprise) the fact that the chubby artist loves food and has a tendency to stuff her face? So for the past few weeks I have been losing those 5 crappy pounds. The good news (if there is any) is that they are finally gone and I can now move on to new territory. I am focusing all my energy and effort on losing 6 pounds. That will put me at 25 pounds lost (and place me a third of the way toward my goal). Ultimately, I would like to lose 2 pounds a week to reach my goal in 3 weeks. But with my luck it will probably take 3 months (especially if I have the pleasure of losing some of the pounds over & over again..... sorry, I'm a little bitter). Ok. Ok. Confession? Check. Goal? Check. Now lets discuss some bad dreams.


As you know from previous posts, I have been exercising like I have mad cow's disease (frequent, frantic and to the point of complete exhaustion). I am sore ALL of the time. There is never a time when something on me does not hurt. Every night I lay my throbbing, sore, achy body down and try to get some sleep. Unfortunately, my stupid body has major issues (remember when it tried to save me from starvation mode even though I have enough butt for two people?) and has therefore decided to translate the pain into bad dreams. So every night I now toss and turn, unconsciously inserting my aching arms and legs into some strangely bizarre dream. My favorite bad dream (so far) occurred two nights ago. In this dream I was running through the woods (where the Ewoks live) being chased by stormtroopers. I felt nervous and anxious all night as I hid among the large ferns hoping they would not find me. Of course in the dream my aching arms, legs and neck were a result of all the running and crouching. I was truly Princess Leia (without the buns and the skinny body). Of course this new side effect is leaving me completely exhausted. *Sigh* Starvation mode, deja vu weight loss and bad dreams. Isn't weight loss fun?


And finally lets end with a weight loss phenomenon. I know I've had a lot to say today but I have missed blogging and am on a roll (so bear with me). Anyway, I have been researching a lot of weight loss stories lately (chubby girl + desperation + dissertation = the ultimate fat researcher). In some of the most successful stories where a formally fat person is now skinny, the formally fat (now skinny) person would explain that they changed their diet, increased their exercise routine and "the weight just fell off". Um.... what is this weight loss phenomenon and where can I get some? In what alternative universe does the weight "just fall off"? I know this is not a myth and does seem to occur with a few "chosen" people such as Nicole Brewer from The Biggest Loser (who lost 87 pounds in 12 weeks at home, not on the ranch with trainers)!  Seriously? In 14 weeks I have only lost 19 pounds (some of which I got to lose twice). She literally lost a middle schooler in 12 weeks while I have only lost a really fat chihuahua. I know 19 pounds is a pretty nice accomplishment, I know the slower you lose it the better chance you have of keeping it off, and I know that jealously is not attractive. But why can't I obtain my really fabulous body in 12 weeks too? Patience may be a virtue but instant gratification is also pretty damn sweet and satisfying. Or at least I imagine it is. 

Fat people are harder to kidnap t-shirt can be found at Fat Guy Shirts
7% Fat Free t-shirt can be found at Uncle Frog's Gifts & Apparel
Stormtrooper picture (and info) can be found at this website
Nicole Brewer pics and interview can be found at People's TV Watch

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My Body Likes Food.... Who Knew?

Ok, so apparently my body really likes food. You would think this was common sense but I always seem to find things out the hard way. I mean come on, my booty definitely did not get this large because I passed on the "good" food (and by "good" I don't mean healthy good). In my overly enthusiastic obsession to lose weight I forgot that fact and my big girl body rebelled! It figured out that I was planning to make it survive on carrot sticks and grilled chicken. The mutiny was on! My body literally said to me "No way, no how, sister! You built this body on chicken wings and an apple or two is not gonna cut it!"


So last week when my weight loss stalled again, I had to decide what to do. The majority of the information I found made me believe I was not eating enough (especially since I have been exercising like I am already skinny). So what did I do? Yep, I threw down. See that yummy little beauty above? I ate that. The Zaxby's Wings and Things. Beyond yummy. Oh, and that is not all. I am just getting started. I also had pizza and Reese's Pieces. I was scarfing those suckers down like ET was my best friend. Right about now you are probably wondering if I finally went off the deep end (but no, I was already there). Believe it or not though, this was part of my weight loss plan. I still ate right the rest of the time and exercised like crazy. Call it an experiment. A tasty, satisfying experiment. So what was the result of my experiment? I lost 3 pounds! 3 big fat pounds AND I got to eat yummy food. Life.... is..... good. 




Ok. There is one of two things happening here:
#1) Chubby girl + insane exercise + "lifestyle change" = eat more to lose (or) #2) I am queen of the "see saw" dieters. If this is true I guess I am going to have to be satisfied with a good weight loss every two or three weeks while I maintain (stay the crappy same) the rest of the time. Technically, I am still losing pretty good even if it is sporadic. I was never that great at math but I do realize 4 weeks of losing a pound equals 4 pounds lost while 2 weeks of staying the same, 1 week of a 1 pound loss and 1 week of a 3 pound loss also equals 4 pounds lost.






One final thing: Guess who jogged? Yep, I am a jogger (well, kinda). They say you need to shake things up every now and then. So, even though I have been doing kickboxing, Zumba, stepping on my step thingy and hopping on the occasional elliptical machine, I felt I needed to try something new. I decided to attempt to jog at the park. I did a jog/speed walk combo for over 4 miles! And no I did not wear an outfit like this chick on the left.... can we say welcome to the 70's? I mean seriously, how do you jog with an atomic wedgie (you know she's got one).


Zaxby's mouth-watering pictures and menu can be found here

Reese's Pieces pictures and order information (yes, you can buy them in bulk..... not that you need to) can be found here and here

70's chick clipart came from Clip Art Heaven

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