There Is NO Perfect Day…just some thoughts…

There is no perfect day.

There is only TODAY.

Yesterday, April 15, 2013, was my daughter’s 14th birthday. Her happy day was overshadowed by, of course, the bombings at the Boston Marathon as well as some personal things going on in our lives. She texted me on her way home from school and said, “Worst bday evah :(”

I texted back, “There is no perfect birthday. There is no perfect day. It is what you make it. Let’s end it on a good note.” We were planning on going out to her favorite Asian restaurant, Eastern Dragon in Quakertown for sushi dinner and birthday shopping. When she got home, she apologized. She made the statement, “I just wish I could have a perfect birthday.” I smiled and inside my heart broke a little. I wanted to tell her about a bad birthday I had. My ex-husband, her father, told me my birthday came at an inconvenient time. I wanted to tell her about how many times my birthday was overshadowed by Christmas and forgotten about or just lumped in as part of another holiday. Instead, I said, “As crappy as the day seems, all the bad helps you appreciate all the good.”

After she went to bed, I sat outside in the cool spring air in the dark thinking. I was thinking about my own journey to and through ONEderland. I thought about the emails I get as a result of the blog and my website I thought about the people that I work with through Kim Bensen Enterprises in their weight loss journeys. And, I thought about the people who get a few steps in on their journey and stop. I was thinking about the excuses people give me for why they give up.

Some people get very upset that the road in their journey is not a perfectly paved, smooth road. It’s never the perfect day to start or to keep going. But it seems to be the perfect day to stop…always.

They have to plan out their food.
They can only have certain foods to succeed.
Their family doesn’t understand.
They feel it’s hard and/or frustrating.
They feel like it’s a hassle.
They don’t want to exercise or get in activity.
They don’t want to be accountable.

They feel they could succeed if for instance, I moved in with them, planned out the food for their day, did their grocery shopping, threw out the bad foods in their house, cooked their meals, exercised with them, gave them daily affirmations to motivate them, spoon-fed their meals to them so they wouldn’t eat other foods, smacked their hands when they go to eat something they shouldn’t.

That’s not a perfect way to lose weight. That’s just trading dependency on junk food and laziness to the dependency of having someone else do all the work for you.

There is no victory in losing weight that way.

Maybe they don’t realize all the heartbreak, pain, food cravings I worked through, core issues I had to dig down into, miles I walked in sun, rain, snow and wind, insults and sabotage I endured, books I read, recipes that flopped and tasted horrible, negativity from naysayers and cliques. It’s not all sunshine and sugar-free lollipops on this journey. Some days outright SUCK. Sometimes my attitude STINKS. But…. Then there are many many days that are outright triumphant and framed in gold as a result of my decisions.

It makes all that time of planning, exercising, not giving into cravings, the pain from stretched muscles and all that WORTH it.

My days are not perfect. But they are full of so much more smiles.
My days are not pain free… but I don’t have a constant stabbing pain in my knees and feet from standing, I am not groggy from sleep apnea, my arthritis is not screaming at me to eat pain relievers like candy, etc.
I have friends that do not understand why I can’t sit in the bar and eat wings and drink beer like I used to,  they’ve taken it personal and I’ve had to realize this is THEIR problem.
Not everyone likes me. I’ve had friends, family, and people I’ve met through this journey call me anal, obsessive, picky eater, a goodie goodie, “so perfect”, abrasive, egotistical and a lot of negative adjectives. This is a reflection of THEM and their dissatisfaction with themselves. It used to affect me when someone didn’t like me. I wanted to feel accepted, approved and “part of the gang”.  On the flipside, the people that I’ve come to know and become REAL friends with have been fulfilling in their relationship with me. I’ve come to know some powerful women and men who have taken life by the balls and refuse to back down with what we’re handed.

I now BANG MY OWN DRUM. I don’t care how big or how little the group of “who likes Pam” is. The most important thing is…DO I LIKE MYSELF? And do I surround myself with people I like or with people I seek approval and validation?

…and that’s what you need to do too.

Let your journey take you down NEW paths that you have to clear out with the machete of your pure will, motivation and determination!

How liberating!

In THAT is such a sweet victory… taking a “crappy day” and turning it into a journey of better days. And I so appreciate my victories more when they are not easy. You know you worked HARD to get there.

This is such a gorgeous age of technology, but it’s made us lazy. You have at your disposal such tools out there. There are weight loss programs, websites of recipes, apps and programs to help you with fitness, chats and meeting rooms online, we’re wired in, hooked on and plugged into the world…for good or bad.

But they do NOTHING if you’re expecting them to come out of the computer and re-do your body. It just doesn’t work that way.

Take control.
Get up.
Activate yourself.

There is no perfect day.
There is only today.
What are YOU doing TODAY?
And how are you making it a better TOMORROW?

Categories: Weight Loss | Leave a comment

Getting “Unstuck” in the Journey

Ever get in your car and go to work, the store, on an errand and it feels like the car is driving itself. It knows where it’s going because you’ve done this a million rutstimes before. You’re not even thinking about it. It’s as if your car is on auto-pilot, or on rails or in a rut in the road that just TAKES you to where you’re going. It’s a habit. Not a bad habit, but a habit nonetheless.

My friend Kim Bensen was talking tonight in an online meeting today about habits and it made me think of my journey. Habits have both hindered and helped me.

lostMy journey isn’t too different from driving in a car day after day. I had tried to lose weight in what seemed like a million times before and it always ended the same way in the same place. Nowhere.  I’d stop for one reason or another. It was so many reasons….
– it was a fad diet that I couldn’t sustain, and I’ve been on many
– I gave into the peer pressure of hearing people say I couldn’t do it
– I was losing it for approval of other people such as a significant other, or my parents, or my kids
– I’d reward myself with food and end up binging
– I would sabotage myself
– I’d plateau and give up
– and so many other reasons….

stuck in mudBut it was the same paths that led to the same endings in the journey. It was like my car got stuck in the mud of dieting. I was in those same ruts that led me to “that place” of giving up. I’d gun the engine, get frustrated and panic, and spin my tires deeper and deeper into those same habits until I couldn’t climb out and would just… give up.

The only way to get out of the ruts and mud is to throw something different onto that path to climb out. You have to stop panicking, calmly get with your program and think your way out and onto a NEW path. I had to figure out that the old paths weren’t getting me there. My car was so accustomed to those old paths that I did the same triggers, sabotages and routines over and over expecting a different result.

blog bike ridingIt was time for  a new path. A fresh one. One where my tires have never gone before. I admit, at first it’s scary when you do something new. I don’t mean just a new diet. I’m talking about changing the BEHAVIORS while you’re dieting. I’m talking about the inside work, getting to the core, thinking it through. I journalled. I talked it out with friends who were also in my weight loss group. I read self-help books. I looked at my current habits and how they were feeding into the weight gain.
Some of them were:
first-ten-pounds-ribbon– Expecting other people to notice and  validate my weight loss and disappointed when they didn’t…so I’d give up.
– Revolving my special events, Friday nights, holidays, social times around FOOD instead of around people.
– Tracking my food after I ate it and scolding myself and beating myself up for the AFTER effect of eating
Rewarding myself with food when I had a good weigh in
– Relying on restaurants and outside sources to cater to my food needs when I was on the road and so frustrated when they couldn’t that I’d have an excuse to give up
– Relying on other people to keep me on my program and blaming them when I’d fall off the wagon
dunce– Talking negatively to myself and calling it “just kidding”, referring to myself as “Fat ass”, “The fat lady”, and other derogatory terms on a daily basis.
– Letting tradition and other people dictate my plans for holidays which would involve food
– Letting the demons from the past, voices from the past and present from OTHER people convince me that I couldn’t do this.

These kept me in the ruts. It was time to throw some solid stones in the ruts and climb out. It was time for a new beginning of a new path. My new habits that I learned were:
– Finding a plan that was easy for me to sustain and was also healthy. I choose Options by Kim Bensen and have been doing it since January, 2011 and I don’t see doing anything else. It’s easy. It’s healthy.
Preplanning my day’s food so that I was prepared.

– Knowing how to adapt if my plans change for the day. A good soldier knows how to adapt and let’s face it. This is a war at times!keep calm Keep calm and carry on. We will make a mistake, but we are beautifully human. Nothing good comes of anger, losing control or giving up. Keep calm and carry on.

Positive self talk. Catching myself when I said ANYTHING derogatory even if I disguised it as a “joke”. I tell myself to stop it and look in the mirror. Yes, look hellosweetiein the mirror and say something NICE to myself. It’s a habit I do every day now. Start the day with “Hello, Sweetie.” A salutation with a term of endearment. End the day with a good night hug, a blown kiss in the mirror, an affirmation.  Someone else might look at it and say I have a big ego, I’m “cocky” or whatever. I look at it this way. I AM MY OWN BEST FRIEND. If I give up on myself, there is nobody else in that corner. NOBODY. The rest of my friends are the cherry on life’s sundae….(yeah, there I go with food references)..but I HAVE TO LIKE MYSELF FIRST. How are we to keep friends, relationships, etc… if we can’t even have a good one with ourselves?

–  Which leads me into the WHY’s of weight loss and DOING IT FOR ME. Not some guy. Not my kids. Not my weight loss leader. Not my parents. Not that guy from high school that never asked me out. Not ANYTHING OR ANYONE else except me. My ex-husband, during an argument, made me realize I was losing weight for attention and approval. Looking back on it, he was right. I realized I had to only have my OWN approval and acceptance. Except for my weight loss group, I had very little support around me. But I did it. You can too.

green_monstercartton4Stop blaming the demons from the past. Stop looking in the rear view mirror like I wrote about over a year ago.  Most times, we can’t help what happens in our past. BUT, this is the present. Today. We CAN change today. We just have to WANT TO and stop playing the stupid blame game. Take ownership, grab control of our life and change it.

NO MORE FOOD REWARDS. When I was over 300 pounds, I said to someone, ‘Once I hit the 100 pounds lost mark I’m going to sit down to a big plate of onion rings from Red Robin and gorge myself.” And she looked at me and said, “Why would you do that? After all that hard work? If you had enough money, RedRobin-OnionStackwould you spray paint graffiti on the Mona Lisa…just because simply –  you could?” She was right. The more I thought about it, she was SO right. I looked at her in that moment of clarity and I would have kissed her if I could, but I was looking in the mirror. I was having a journaling self talk session with myself and that epiphany came from it. It was at that moment I said NO MORE FOOD REWARDS. I still haven’t eaten a Red Robin onion ring in 2 years and that was my “thing”, my food of all foods.

– Packing food when I hit the road. I don’t care if it’s for the weekend or an afternoon shopping. I usually have food in the car and at the very least water. Or I know where I can eat that will be safe. And all else fails…I hit a local grocery store and keep it simple. Check out my blogs on road tripping… it’s easier than you think!

Most of all, I want you to realize how awesome and powerful you really are!wonder woman You are Wonder Woman. You are Iron Man. You are the beautiful love-child when they got together! You CAN do this! You gotta believe in the power of YOU. I want you to high-five yourself and laugh outloud and greet yourself when you look in the mirror. You’re a rockstar! Don’t think that other people are ANY better than YOU!

Take your journey on some new paths and you’ll end up in new territory and THAT’S when you end up in ONEderland!
I’m all about sharin’ the love! Feel free to share it, pin it, poke it, throw it to the wind and see who catches it! But feel free to share this with anyone that needs some encouragement. Catch me online at where I have all kinds of stuff including my recipes and videos and check out my Facebook page And please, I encourage you to check out my friend Kim’s site and program at  It really changed my life for the better and we’d love to see you there sometime!

Categories: Anger, Binge Eating, Dealing with Sabotage, Emotional, Growing Up Fat, Psychological, Relationships, Roadtrips and Vacations, Support, Victory, Weight Loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Accepting My Reality … on MY Terms

I will never forget a cold wintery night in January of 1984. I don’t remember the exact date but… as usual… I had a lot going on.  I was 3 months pregnant, one step away from being homeless again and living with my unemployed, cheating boyfriend. Yay, me. I was coming bus windowhome from work and was riding the public bus (by the way, that pic is NOT what I looked like..but hey, that’s how I felt I looked) . It wasn’t the best of times, but in my mind it wasn’t the worst of times either. I was reminding myself that because I was tired and a little depressed at my life. I tried to think of the things going RIGHT instead of the many things I was doing wrong. I weakly smiled as the bus came to a stop. I got off at the intersection of Main and 1229_RememberWhen 1.epsBroad Streets in Lansdale, Pennsylvania right in front of the Hotel Tremont (yes, that is a pic of how it looked)…when there WAS a hotel there. I remember walking down the steps from the bus and there was black ice waiting for me and I was the first passenger getting off. I stepped onto it and immediately fell down to the ground.

I heard a crunch.

I knew it wasn’t good, but I never IMAGINED what was to follow.

My boyfriend was waiting for me and helped me up. I said something was wrong with my foot and I tried walking on it. Bad move. I looked down and my foot was pointing out to the side in an ugly unnatural angle from my body.

My life went from “eh, not the greatest” to…”You’ve GOT to be kidding me.”

I ended up in the hospital…with no insurance, not working, pregnant and about to have my whole ankle reconstructed with crutchscrews. I did a real job on it because of being stubborn and trying to walk on it. Long story short, after a long week and a half in the hospital, (and oh GOD, I hate hospitals!), I had a long road ahead of me.  My doctor sat with me in the hospital and gave me a warning. He told me the damage was pretty bad and he could fix it…but I’d always have a walker or at least a cane for the rest of my life.

I remember looking at him and saying that wasn’t acceptable. He snickered. I said, “No, you don’t understand. I’m going to be a mother. I don’t have TIME to use a walker or cane!” He patted me and told I needed to accept my reality.

I was saying “Ain’t nobody got time for that” long before that video came out!

I knew my reality.
Nobody else could do it for me. I knew what I had to do. And I wasn’t taking no for an answer.

After my operation and a few sessions of physical therapy, I got my crutches and made decisions. I moved back in with my parents. Boyfriend gone. And I got ready to take on delivering a baby and going forward as a single mother. By myself, on my crutches. 300 pounds, pregnant…and a bum ankle.

My son, Mike was born that June while I was still on crutches (that, my friends, is a whole other story for another time). I soon graduated to a walker and a cane for getting around. I practiced walking constantly. I went to a follow-up appointment. Dr. Spellman told me not to get too sure of myself and to be prepared to use that cane from now on. Again, I told him that was unacceptable.

While my own son was learning to walk around 7 months old, I was finally walking almost limp-free without a cane, walker or crutches. I did it.  I went back to that doctor’s office one afternoon with my toddler son in tow and wanted to show that doctor I did it. Of course, he didn’t have time (it wasn’t an appointment) and I was asked to leave. (yeah, I got loud)  It didn’t matter that 700-00284690I couldn’t show him, I knew it. But I triumphed. I didn’t care how many diplomas, certificates or other paper he had on his wall. For as far as I was concerned, they were as useless as toilet paper in his opinion on my ability to walk. I didn’t care WHO told me I wasn’t going to walk unaided. I was walking…and even more.

Today, my leg isn’t perfect. I still have the scars on each side and it occasionally gives me problems when I over do it. I work with it. I don’t mope about it. I now wear an embolism stocking to keep swelling down. It’s no biggie, it’s just something to keep going forward with less problems. I keep it in mind, but for the most part it doesn’t hold me back.

I’m reminded of all this because it’s been 6 months since I hit my weight loss goal.  I still find it hard to believe and say that at times. People tried telling me that I could never do it. Medical people tried telling me that the odds were against me. I didn’t care. Time was ticking for me. I needed to fix myself. I wasn’t taking NO for an answer anymore. Family told me I’d never do it. rhino unicornMy stubborn kicked in once again.  I still have the memories and scar tissue of what it was like to live fat. The painful memories, the physical scars such as stretch marks.  I will always have that. I can either dwell in those memories or go forward. I keep them in mind, but they don’t hold me back. I push forward… through the DIScomfort zones, into new territories, new horizons. I have my daily precautions of my new life… I plan out my food in my plan… I always will. Just like I wear my stocking for my ankle. (a stocking every day beats a cane everyday!)

I still have my screws from my ankle. Every so often I dig them out when I need inspiration.scar and screws

They said I couldn’t….and I did.  It wasn’t the first time, …it won’t be the last!

Sometimes we let others’ opinions get in the way of our goals. We don’t value our own opinion for one reason or another. We need to realize that the most important voice we need to believe is within OURSELVES. We accept THEIR reality for us instead of creating our own.

There’s a bunch of reasons we trust others – because they’re older, more educated, have that paper on the wall that says THEY should know, etc.  What would WE know? We DO know at times, we just don’t realize it.  We need to have more faith in our OWN decisions.

I want you to pursue your weight loss goals with the same tenacity. Don’t let others people’s opinions… no matter how “smart” they want you to believe they are…affect you. YOU believe you can do this and you WILL! Now go preplan and ROCK this day!!!

And that last picture IS what my ankle looks like today…with the screws that were used to reconstruct it. I have a long scar on each side of my ankle. It reminds me where I came from. How bad my life was ‘screwed’ up…and I came back and KICKED ITS ASS.

You can too.

Hey, if this post helped you out, share it with a friend, pin it, post it in Facebook, tweet, chirp…do what you do!

Categories: Dealing with Sabotage, Emotional, Growing Up Fat, Psychological, Support, Victory, Weight Loss | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Cleaning Out The Emotional Pantry

One of the biggest trends and buzz words that I’ve seen in the dieting world in the past couple years is the concept of “clean eating”. Now… everyone seems to clean eatinghave their own conception of it and I’m not sure there’s a clear definition of it. But BASICALLY it’s taking food down to NON-processed, natural, healthy, whole food. Getting away from the JUNK, the ARTIFICIAL and the vitamin LEACHING, over processed, chemical-laced, nutrient-stripped and “hidden ingredient” added GARBAGE. And going clean and lean.

It’s a pretty good concept and there’s tons of info out there on it regarding food and how to do it.

Now, there’s several types of hunger out there. Physical hunger, head hunger and EMOTIONAL hunger.

The physical hunger we feed with real food. When we feed our physical hunger with good, clean, wholesome food in amounts that our bodies REQUIRE (as opposed to crave), we can see positive results with our bodies. We see pounds reducing, muscles toning and strengthening, illnesses minimizing, minds thinking clearer.

Head hunger is a little trickier. I’m not going to go into this much because this deserves its own topic another time. But it’s when we’re not really physically hungry but we THINK we are. Such as in boredom, routines, bad habits (such as always having popcorn to watch a movie, or always eating dessert with dinner, or a commercial comes on television and we look for food).

But let’s look at something we don’t talk about often. EMOTIONAL hunger. That craving for approval or compliments. That starving we have for a better life or happiness. That nagging feeling deep inside us for the relationship or job we either don’t have or it’s not quite what we want. Money problems. Anxieties. Depression. Not being able to stick up for ourselves.  Lack of self-esteem.  A horrible secret we’re hiding from the world. There’s many, many causes of this insatiable hunger.

clean pantryWe tend to feed that emotional hunger with excessive worry, negative thoughts, sabotage. And even after we’ve gone back for seconds and thirds at the buffet of beating ourselves up, we put ourselves in situations, conversations and relationships that reinforce this negative behavior at times. We stockpile a catalog of insults, past memories of pain, and reels and reels of mental video that we play over and over when we want to feel kicked. We engage people that we know are going to upset us and we allow them to make us feel less than worthy.

Why on earth do we do this?  We all have our issues. I found it comes down to this…

Even if you’re following the greatest diet in the world for your food on a daily basis – you gotta clean out that mind pantry of the mental junk food! That’s how I look at it.

It’s those over-processed memories of insults that we play over and over. It’s the artificial intentions and reading into how people look at us, talk to us, their tone, etc. It’s how we double-dip ourselves into bad relationships that we KNOW are bad, but it’s SOMEONE and it’s SOME attention. It’s the nutrient-stripped situations we purposely put ourselves into that put us in a bad frame of mind that “make” us….

bingeGo eat.

You know how it happens. Let’s look at the most recent events. Christmas. For some people, it can be one of the most stressful holidays. Oh, trust me, there’s some people I don’t even want to look at on Christmas let alone any other calendar day. But on Christmas, everyone plays nice. You’re the jerk if you don’t. So you have to put on the smile. Then there’s the relative who verbally pokes at you or insults you. You hold it in. You smile. You’re asked why you’re still single. Or why you’re not pregnant yet. Or where’s your unemployed spouse and why do you think they can’t find a job? Or what about that kid of yours in rehab, how did that happen? You smile, you repress it. You hold it together. Then you go home and you’re dislodging your jaw in front of the refrigerator and pouring the contents down your throat. You’re sobbing because you can’t stop eating. And why are you eating non-stop? I’m not even sure why I do it when I binge.

When I binge on crunchy food during stressful times, I sometimes think it’s because I want to drown out those horrible insults I’m hearing over and over inside my head. But you know what…your mind will play them longer than you can eat. I’ve eaten myself to the point of vomiting, while sobbing and unable to stop. All because I allowed someone to upset me.

Yes…I ALLOWED them to upset me. We ALLOW others’ drama and stress to affect us. Drama is contagious. Nothing says lovin’ like freaking out. It’s how we show people we care. Or at least that’s how they perceive it at times. I have seen it whether  it’s co-workers, family or friends and they’re engaging me in debate. Their voices are going higher and louder and the emotions are escalating. If I’m keeping my cool, I’ve had it screamed at me, “You don’t even care or you’d be as upset as I am.” Well, I learned a long time ago that nothing good comes from anger or being upset.

focusYou can’t think. You can’t focus. You get so wrapped up in the OMG moment that you go straight to worse case scenario in your brain. And it’s not worth it.

Let’s clean out the mental pantry.

FIRST – Throw away all the negative self-talk and name calling that you do to yourself. It’s junk food for your esteem, pure and simple.

SECOND – Stop purposely throwing yourself into situations where people are going to upset you. On holidays, I visit those houses where I HAVE to, for a short amount of time. It doesn’t have to be hours on end. Just enough to say I visited and it’s done. And then I don’t dwell on the negativity that did transpire. Stick up for yourself. Learn to SAY NO. Give yourself permission to be nice to YOURSELF. Make YOURSELF a priority.

THIRD –  Journaling – when we come out of the “high” or “drunkenness” of a emotional binge, step back.  Start a journal entry with “I ate today because…” and just start writing. Get it out. Write until you just can’t write anymore and don’t correct your grammar. Just let the heart pour out. SEE it on paper. You think it’s IMG_0454easy? Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t. When it’s particularly painful, it can be hard to write those words out. It’s admitting those core things that upset us and seeing those words on paper such as “I really hate my spouse when they…” or “I just wish I’d never wake up so I could get away from all this”. Just because we don’t SAY these things out loud in the “real world” doesn’t mean we’re not thinking them. And our THOUGHTS feed our EMOTIONS and manifest in how we treat our bodies. Journaling cleans out the emotional pantry. It’s those rancid thoughts that have been left to sit on the shelf and go bad past their expiration. Journaling throws these thoughts into a sort of trashcan. You don’t have to go back and read it later. You can burn it, like I know some people do. Or just put it away. It doesn’t even have to be a fancy journal. Even your computer or a scrap of a tablet.

FOURTH – Start looking in the mirror and talking to yourself with positive self-talk. YES, it feels silly and YES it works!

FIFTH – Keep in mind that not everyone is going to like you. Everyone has a free will and has their own opinions. It doesn’t mean they are right or wrong but they are different. It’s what makes this world diverse and wonderful. If everyone was the same…it’d be rather boring, don’t you think? Accept that some people just won’t like you and they will try to make you feel bad. Don’t matter.

paminmirrorSIXTH – No matter what, be your own best friend. Treat yourself in the same way that you would treat your BFF. Be nice. Compliment yourself. Pep talk yourself. (Again, look in the mirror) Be in your corner. Don’t do things to impress others so much as YOURSELF. Don’t diet to make someone ELSE proud…do it to make YOURSELF proud!

SEVENTH – Fill your mental pantry with the beautiful memories of everything. No matter how bad a situation is, there’s ALWAYS something good that came as a result. Focus on the positives, or the humor of a situation. Believe me, I can find humor in almost ANYTHING and I’ve had a LOT of stuff happen to me! Stockpile the nice words and compliments that are given to you along the way.

Stop living in the past memories of pain with the long overdue expiration dates. They’re DONE. Today is worth living NOW.

Stop dwelling in the OMG of a situation and live in the WOW of now.

When you get to the core of WHY you binge or starve, I have found that it’s so much easier to stay on your program, lose your weight and stay at your goal weight. Attack the core issues of your eating! It’s like operating on the tumor that’s giving you a headache instead of just taking aspirin all the time to take away the pain.

That’s my pep talk today… go clean out those pantries and start tomorrow anew!

Categories: Anger, Binge Eating, Dealing with Sabotage, Emotional, Psychological, Support, Weight Loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Preplanning Your Mind for the Holidays Part 1

Decorations and trees have been in the stores since Halloween. Christmas music has been playing in the stores since Thanksgiving. The holiday is HERE!

Kim Bensen has taught me the valuable lesson of preplanning daily menus and preplanning big days such as holidays.

But let’s step back just a second. Before we can preplan our food, we need to preplan our MINDS. We need to get on-board, on program, and enthusiastic about our choices before it’s shoved in our faces.

The holiday is all about sensory overload and all five senses are included.

Sight: Lights, decorations, trees, costumes, huge lighted displays galore, crazy decorated cookies and foods you don’t see any other time of the year!
ChristmasVacay-543x320Sound: Christmas and holiday music is everywhere, the sounds of laughter, Christmas carols, concerts, parties, etc.
Smell: Pine & balsam, snow (yes kinda like rain, snowfall has a beautiful smell outside), flowers and ALL THOSE COOKIES, dinners, foods!,
Taste: Of course taste and food are involved. There’s peppermint, chocolate, cookies, turkeys and hams, seafood dinners, decadent desserts, libations and all sorts of tasty treats.
Touch: Pretty papers, bows, cards, ornaments, presents and gifts.

The holiday just throws our senses into a WOW state! It’s no wonder we feel like a little kid, a little crazy and nutty, a little silly.

What’s one of the things we think about when we think about Christmas?

crazy-christmasPresents and gifts.
(I know you may be saying “food” but we’ll get to that in a bit…)

In this digital day and age, so much is centered around the gifts. So while we’re in the middle of the frenzy of the holidays – shopping, and all that. We want to give OURSELVES a gift. We want to give up the diet for the season. We want to be “nice” and make it easier on ourselves. Because, hey, who wants to think about the diet or the preplanning during the holiday? We want a break. We want that little gift.

It’s NOT a gift.

It’s the first step of sabotage to ourselves.

It’s the “gift” that’s an illusion. It’s the yummy poison that makes us a slave to our food addictions even more. Before we know it, we’ve packed on 10 pounds or more over the holiday and wonder where the heck it came from.

I’ll tell ya where it came from… it was that “gift” you gave to yourself.

It’s really so much easier to stay true to our plan whether it’s Xchanges by Kim Bensen, Weight Watchers, counting calories, carbs or WHATEVER we’re doing. If you go off NOW… you may not come back right away if at all.


When we stay true and preplan – it makes it ONE less sense to make sense of during that sensory overload… make sense?

But seriously… when we ‘plan’ to go off program, we’re only ‘planning’ for failure.

So how do we preplan our head during this crazy time?

On the days leading up to Christmas – KNOW that you’re going to stay OP (on program). VOW to stay on program. Not “try”. DO.

If you’re going to the mall shopping, do some extra laps around the mall, park farther away (like you have a choice sometimes?), take steps instead of the escalator or elevator.

Do things to keep your hands busy – writing out holiday cards, decorating the tree, cleaning and decorating the house, outside decorating.

If you MUST make cookies – some of us just love to cook – keep only a small portion and give away the rest to a church, daycare, hospital, local food bank, someone who doesn’t have time to cook (like me…only kidding), a neighbor, etc.

Remember ONE thing… our holiday doesn’t have to be centered around FOOD. Let’s start switching up our holiday traditions. Who says you MUST have a big Christmas dinner? Why not find something ELSE to do with your time? Yup, I can see your faces looking at me like “Are you kidding me? We ALWAYS do this.” Well time to switch it up.

There’s plenty to do on Christmas day besides sit around and look at food. Not EVERYONE celebrates Christmas or celebrates it in the same way we do!

There are concerts and events you can attend.
For some movies like Les Miserables… it’s the opening day! Go see a movie!
Go walk through a botanical gardens like Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania
Go for a hike
Go volunteer at a veterans’ hospital, convalesence home, or other non-profit.
Help with a non-profit that drops off meals for less fortunate
christmas houseDriving around and looking at Christmas lights – some houses REALLY do it up!
Caroling (walking and singing burns calories!)
Got snow? Go outside and play in it, make a snowman, have a snowball fight, PLAY!
Go skiiing, snowboarding, camping etc
Schedule a trip out of town if you can. A good reason to visit family in another part of the country.

And if you are forced to either cook for the family or spend time around a dinner how about:

–        Go out to eat (no clean up, no left overs,)

–        Take up someone’s invitation and eat at someone else’s house and not take any leftovers

–        Plan foods that are both on-program and yummy (or a portion of the foods that YOU want)

–         If going to someone else’s place, take a dish that you can eat and share and is on program!

In the past day, I tripped across a way to help keep me OP. Maybe you’ve heard of the “Elf on the Shelf”. Basically, it’s this elf that’s used to keep kids in line. You tell them that the elf can see them and tells Santa everything they do. I took this a step midge in the fridgefurther. I have a ceramic elf (yes, he’s an ELF, not a gnome) and put him in my fridge with a sign that says, “Pam, have you PREplanned what you’re looking in here for?” To be honest, it’s really made me rethink my nibble more than once. So he’s my “Midge in the Fridge”. I’m going to the thrift shop to get more. I’m putting a Pixie in my Pantry, an Elf on the Shelf (of the cupboard), a Faun in the Freezer (with the icecream), ANYWHERE there’s nibble food… I’m putting an elf with a sign!

Stay tuned for my next installment on this topic…
this is just the beginning on PREPLANNING THE MIND!!!

Categories: Weight Loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Biggest Weight Loss Tip

paminmirrorToday’s blog post is guaranteed to do one of the following:
Make you think
Piss you off
Motivate you
Change your mind
Or confirm what you’re already doing

….and I’m good with that.

There’s a scary vibe out there in weight loss and it’s a recurring theme for me. And people don’t like to hear it.

Who are you losing weight for?
And if you’re at maintenance… who are you maintaining for?

Here’s the common list of answers I hear:

My boy/girlfriend, spouse, significant other
to be more attractive to GET a significant other I haven’t met yet
to get back at all those people who made fun of me
for my family or my kids
to be accepted or approved by the “in” crowd
so I don’t disappoint my mentor/role model who got me here
for you, Pam – because I want you to be proud of me.

And every now and again, I hear the golden nugget..the response I’m looking for
When someone looks at me and says, “Me, of course.

People come and go in our lives.
Let me repeat that….


Oh, I’ve had people get in my face in regard to this issue. They get loud, mad and nasty when I go over this topic. I’ve had talks interrupted when I tried to get into this topic.  It touches a nerve. It’s too close to the bone.  Some people don’t want to confront this issue. Why don’t they want to address this???

Because here’s the consequences of that thinking:

What happens when that significant other leaves you in some way…either through life or via death? Are you going to stop and gain it all back?
What about those people who you are trying to retaliate for all that torture from the past? Do you think they really care? Do they really devote the daily attention YOU give THEM? Stop it.
Quite honestly, I won’t be around forever. I will leave this world at some point. What happens if I get hit by a bus tomorrow? Are you going to stop and gain your weight back? NO, of COURSE NOT! (You aren’t, right?)

The only one we are guaranteed to be stuck with forever, the only one that we have to impress for the rest of our lives is OURSELVES. Even when we are totally ALONE, we still have to be around OURSELVES! And the only ones we should care about who approves and acknowledges our weight losses is OURSELVES!

Remember that.

You ARE worthy.
You ARE that important.
It is NOT selfish.

My first video on YouTube addressed this very subject and it’s worth watching if you’ve never seen it before (and it’s worth a re-watch if you have)

It’s a painful lesson, but it’s the most valuable lesson I can ever share with you. It’s what got me to goal, it’s what keeps me at goal. Accountability is great. I love talking to you, being friends with you and knowing you. But you have to lose this for YOU, my friend. You’re a beautiful person that deserves this!

That’s your thought for the day.

You HAVE the power.
You just gotta BELIEVE in yourself!

Change your mind, change your life!
If you liked what you read – feel free to share it about via Facebook, Pinterest and all those lovely ways including email and such. Join me on the Facebook page so we can motivate each other on a daily basis!

Categories: Emotional, Weight Loss | 1 Comment

Thanksgiving…My Way.

Well, here it is again. Thanksgiving. A lot has changed since the last time I wrote about Thanksgiving in my blogpost last year called Taking the Gobble Out of Thanksgiving

In fact, I look back at it in wonder and think… really, has it only been a year? I wrote a line in there that said my life is filled with craziness and busy-ness. (chuckle)… yes, now more than ever it seems. (sigh)

It also seems that here in America, we have this NEED to devote whole days around food. Especially Thanksgiving. While other holidays like Christmas have a central theme that food plays into, Thanksgiving is simply a food-fest. There’s no other purpose! This is supposed to be a feast of gratitude and I guess it started out as a harvest celebration in the early days of America.

Quite frankly, the only way most of us are “harvesting” is by standing in line at the check-out at the grocery store after we’ve knocked over 3 old ladies, a soccer mom and some guy in a motorized scooter on our way to get the biggest, fattest turkey they’ve put on sale.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve cashed in at the store all those free rewards to get my free turkey breast too. But this year, I really am playing it differently. I’m going to kick back and defrag, recharge, relax, organize, write and get into what I want to do. And it’s going to feel exhilaratingly nice…hopefully.

People can’t handle it when you want to get away from the food on Thanksgiving. Something must be “wrong” with you. Are you ok, are you feeling well, are you depressed, what’s wrong, we’re worried about you, you mustn’t be alone, you must come to dinner, you must be around people. I realize it’s all done with the best of intentions, but… I am going to truly enjoy the quiet.

It made me think, once again, about we turn a whole day into an event centered around food as though it’s a sport or this huge competition. We spend the days before Thanksgiving gathering our ingredients like the coach of this inanimate team who’s out to score the ultimate culinary touchdown. Some people will order foods through the Internet and on shopping channels. They acquire that “gotta have” ingredient to make the day memorable. They spend hours prepping and cooking and creating.  In my case, I spend the day making the kitchen look like it’s been in a food fight only to sit down with the family and have it be basically annihilated within about ten minutes. Then there’s round two with seconds, or thirds or more. Then there’s the dessert tray with Grandma’s pies and those interesting little cookies that Auntie Jane will never disclose how they’re made although we beg her year after year and ice cream. In some houses there’s cocktails, glasses of wine, beer and other beverages. It makes me almost sick to the stomach to think about it…because I’ve eaten myself privately sick other years. Gone back for seconds when nobody’s looking, shoved an extra roll in my mouth when I went to the buffet table when nobody else was standing there.

There’s no RULE that says I have to participate in this. It’s one of the few days of the year I don’t have to work and I should be able to enjoy it the way I see fit. My daughter is with her father, my son has some odd jobs to attend to and I don’t have a “better half” to impress with my culinary skills.

My son and I will do what we want to do and cap it off with a modest dinner out at the Asian buffet he likes so he can get his crab leg addiction fed.

I eat turkey throughout the year. I eat crustless pumpkin pie throughout the year. I don’t devote certain foods to one day a year or one season a year. Maybe that’s how I can take the gobble out of my Thanksgiving pretty easily. If we have a food issue, let’s not feel obligated to court that vampire. There’s no crime in finding something different to do for the day that makes us feel relaxed or alive. A concert. A movie. A walk through a botanical garden (we did that for Christmas last year). A project we haven’t had time to get into. Time for US. There’s nothing wrong with that.

I do realize it’s inescapable for some of us. There’s many ways to minimize damage when you must be exposed to “the dinner” (read my blog from last year for some tips). But just remember… there’s no rule or law that says we must participate in this.

My mother almost insisted I spend Thanksgiving with them this year. Now, you have to understand. I live 2 doors down the street from my parents and I work with my parents almost every day of the year. I see them every day. One day is NOT going to kill them that I have time to myself. I found my voice this year and said, “No. I really don’t want to be around the food all day and I have things I want to do.” It felt…. good. Let me tell ya, my mother asked me more than once or twice and it was becoming a sore subject for the past month. But I stuck to my guns. She said, “You need to be around people.” When I looked her in the eye and said, “Mom, I’m around people every every day. I need a break.” She finally got it. She didn’t like it. But she realized I’m not Howard Hughes (I sure as crap don’t have his money) and I’m not sitting in the dark growing my nails to ungodly lengths and getting crazy. I simply need some refueling that doesn’t involve food.

Last year, at Thanksgiving, I wasn’t at goal yet. I prepped food and took it with me to someone else’s house and weighed and measured everything. If I was doing a big dinner… I would still be doing that. It never STOPS. These habits you are forging now to LOSE weight do not instantly stop once you reach goal. Please remember that. Goal is simply a turn down another street in our journey. It’s NOT the final stop. Do I feel it’s easier? Yes. Not everyone feels that way. But the more you stick to your guns now while you’re losing weight and make those habits rock solid, it’s easier. Our diet, our lifestyle is NOT a punishment. On Thanksgiving, this day of thanks and gratefulness… be thankful you took the time to get your health back. It’s worth it.

Find your voice. Be brave. Write your own story, don’t let the world control you. Don’t let anyone tell you what you MUST eat on a particular day of the year. Don’t let the world bully you. Be happy in your journey. When you lose weight, you tend to find YOURSELF… your voice, your style, your personality. Not everyone will like it, but you aren’t put on this planet to please everyone…just yourself.

Categories: Cooking, Dealing with Sabotage, Emotional, Psychological, Support, Victory, Weight Loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

So What IS ONEderland?

If you would have asked me what “ONEderland” was a year ago, I would have had the usual response that any weight loss veteran can recite by rote. I’ve heard it on almost every diet plan, in any support group I was in…

It’s getting on the scale and having a weight that starts with a 1 in the 100’s. Such as 199 after spending so much time in TWOterville (a weight in the 200’s).

Believe me, after spending the majority of my lifetime in the 200’s and quite a few years in the 300’s, ONEderland seemed a far off land. It was a fantasy land that made just as much sense as Alice and the looking glass, Mad Hatters, White Rabbits and crazy Queens running around wanting to decapitate people. However, I noticed something along the way.  The closer I came to actually DOING THIS and knowing in my heart that this time, it was for REAL, I came to another conclusion.

ONEderland is so much more. It’s about becoming ONE. It’s about looking in the mirror and actually liking myself. I’m not talking about looks. I’m not talking about thinking that I’m pretty. I’m talking about being able to look myself in the eye without feeling repulsed, angry, afraid, condemning, and so many other negative emotions. It’s about feeling complete, whole and ONE with yourself. All those negative emotions took on separate voices of their own so that they all screamed inside my head like a chaotic rhapsody of anguish every day. What a way to live! It made me feel miserable and beaten down. In turn, I didn’t like the personality I had become. I wondered why anyone would like me and I was finding less and less reasons the more I listened to those voices. Although throughout my life, I endured being insulted and ridiculed because of my weight, I took on those voices and magnified them.

I’m convinced this was the source of my self-sabotage at times. If I allowed myself to succeed…these voices would be out of a job! I know it sounds crazy, but we do things for crazy reasons in this world! But hear me out…  I wouldn’t have a reason to be angry, or someone to blame if I failed again, or to stay miserable. I was stuck in a rut of dispair because it was EASY. It was an excuse not to change. Changing can be hard. Staying fat is hard. As my mentor, Kim Bensen says frequently, “Choose your hard.”

In January of 2011, was finally ready to choose and change my “hard”.

Let me give you my interpretation of change. If it’s hard, painful, you feel like crying, you feel like you just can’t go on, the road back to where you’ve been seems just as long as the road to where you’re going… then you’re doing it right. Keep going. It’s like being in a Divine Vagina and it’s giving birth to you. You don’t know what’s out there, but there’s a light at the end of that tunnel. It hurts. You wonder why you’re doing it. You want to give up but you can’t. You got to know what’s at the other end. I’ll tell you what’s at the other end. It’s called your new life. I’m still in the process of finding that out. I’m still in the midst of this transformation of my life

Yes! It’s scary…but it’s not a reason to not do it.

Yes! It’s exciting!

Yes! It feels crazy at times…but so is life!

Yes! It’s so worth it!

ONEderland is my personal “lost and found” box.

I lost 150 pounds. I lost feelings of inadequacy. I lost that negative person inside of me that felt she couldn’t accomplish anything. I lost some of my fear of life.

In return, I’m given the gifts of finding so many things about my new self. I’m finding out who I really am, unchained. I’m finding my voice (which is sometimes surprising even to myself). I’m finding a body that just wants to go do things. I’m finding my new personality. Yes, I’ll make mistakes along the way. I’m not perfect. But I’m a bit like a toddler with a new life. I’ll learn.

It’s been an interesting journey so far…and it’s JUST beginning!


Categories: Weight Loss | 2 Comments

(Not Quite 50) Shades of Labels

Most people hate to grocery shop with me, especially when I say, “I just have to pick up a few things.” In my kids’ opinion, it turns into an epic quest for just the right ingredients and I look like Sherlock Holmes investigating a crime while I’m scrutinizing labels, asking questions out loud and trying to figure things out. It’s led me to be a more informed grocery shopper on this journey and it has led to some interesting discoveries.

This week, during Hurricane Sandy, I stayed with my Mom overnight. We luckily didn’t lose our power, so she was watching the Foot Network a lot (ahhhhhh!) and one of the cooks was making cinnamon buns. It made me remember the recipe I made for years using refrigerator biscuit dough and I knew I could make a low fat version. I just posted this recipe, “Pam’s Apple Cinnamon Buns” on my website within the past day but found out some interesting information in the making of this recipe for the website….

In our town, there’s still some residual electrical outages and hurricane cleanup from our “dear friend”, Sandy that rolled through very rudely and uninvited. My favorite grocery store, Landis’ Supermarket, has been very busy keeping up to our area since other grocery stores are still running on generators… let’s give them a big WOO HOO and THANK YOU!

In the midst of all this chaos, I wanted my refrigerator biscuit dough. While other people were scarfing up loaves of bread, dozens of eggs and gallons of milk like there was a French Toast Contest in town ready to begin, I just needed my dough. I had food put aside from the weekend before the storm, I had 20 gallons of water in containers in my basement and more in my freezers. I just wanted the dough. Nothing else I needed, just wanted. Yup, I wanted cinnamon buns, but I wasn’t going to compromise on my eating program.

In the refrigerated section, I did what was expected of me. I automatically picked up the Pillsbury Reduced Fat Croissant Dough in a tube because, well, it said “low fat”. Because I don’t really like working with all the perforations on the dough, I saw the “Croissant Recipe Creations Seamless Dough Sheet” stuff which is just a baking sheet of the dough. Something made me compare the nutritionals on both of them.

If you look at the really long named dough sheet one, there are 6 servings at 120 calories each and 5 grams of fat in each serving. I multiplied 6 servings to the 120 calories and there’s 720 calories in the whole tube of dough. 5 grams of fat multiplied by the 6 servings is 30 grams of fat in the whole tube.

(I actually made a little worksheet in the store while I did this and have a pic of it here in the blog)

Then I looked at the nicely labeled “reduced fat” one. There are 8 servings in this tube at 90 calories each. (doesn’t that just sound so much better right away?) So 8 multiplied by 90 is 720 calories in the whole tube (sounds familiar). Then I multipled the 4 grams of fat to the 8 servings and there’s 32 grams of fat in the whole tube. What seems off about this?

They are both the same price.
Sounds like they are both the same product aimed at two markets; the dieters and non-dieters. Yet our “reduced fat” version has 2 extra mystery grams of fat per tube in there!!!

Actually I think it’s the same exact product and I’m writing Pillsbury just to clarify that for me. The redeeming factor here is that they are the same price to the consumer. But it can be confusing to the average person just looking to buy something. And I use coupons, sometimes the diet version of an item cannot be used with a coupon for the “normal” one. I’m not saying that with THIS particular product, but I’ve seen it with other products.

THIS is why it takes me longer in the grocery store. Labels can get very confusing with the way they market to their consumers. What are they aiming at…. The diet crowd, the cheaper crowd, the “I want to treat myself” crowd…there’s a bunch of variables.

When you’re buying processed foods, always read your labels! ALWAYS! I try to always take the time, in the long run it really pays off. GRANTED, during a life and death crisis…and I am NOT making light of Hurricane Sandy at all since we were in its path…I understand. But we make excuses why we couldn’t make that extra few minutes of time to read the labels. Then we get mad at the scale when it’s not making sense. TAKE the extra time to read. No, it’s not super interesting or sexy like reading “50 Shades of Grey”… wow…if only. BUT, it’s worth it and you’ll feel sexy SMART…honest! Trust me!

As a side note, I am very grateful that our area,

At least nobody was hurt, this is from my parents’ property.

while it has sustained some damage and some annoying tree & electrical issues, we were pretty lucky. Quite a few areas got hit pretty bad. Please keep in your prayers, positive thoughts and any help you can give to someone who didn’t fare as well.

I always encourage people to help out on a local level where they can, but if you are not from the area, and would like to help those on the East Coast who got hit, here is a link to the American Red Cross’s site.

Categories: Cooking, Cooking, Weight Loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lose the Safety Net…Go For the Fish Nets!

I’m constantly telling people, “Change your mind, change your life.”

I firmly believe that weight loss is not JUST the mechanics of counting out calories and getting in our exercise. It’s also the behavior modifications and changing our mind to think in different ways. It all works together like a well oiled machine. Remember the post I wrote about “Weighing Our Words” and “Weighing Our Words Again”? I talked about how our brain and our mouth TALKS about food.

Well, let’s talk about another head game we play. It’s time to clean out our closets. I mean that in a very real double-entendre.


Stop holding onto your bigger clothes. It’s great to go shopping in your closet and wear all those clothes again on the way down in your journey. But once you’re done with them and they’re too big…get rid of them.  One of the scariest things I did was donate any clothing that was 2 sizes bigger than what I was wearing. When I got down to a size 16 jeans, anything 20 and larger hit the charities. Now that I’m in 7’s and 8’s, I don’t hold onto anything larger than a 10. It was scary but it was liberating. I didn’t have that “cushion”, I got rid of the safety net. It made it very real.

Holding onto clothing only encourages the “what if” thinking.
What if we can’t do this?
What if we gain weight?
What if I have nothing to wear?

When a tightrope walker trains they use a safety net. But when the circus opens for the big night and the show is on… the safety net is gone. It’s GO TIME. They go out on the rope with confidence, grace and of course they take precautions…but they go out with success on the mind. They’re not screaming “what if I fall” as they walk across that line. NO…they’re thinking about making it to the other side!

This is the way you have to view your weight loss journey. Stop hoarding clothes in your closet that are 3,  4 and more sizes too big. GET RID OF THEM. Charities are always looking for good used clothing. Give your clothing to someone who can use it. Sell it on Ebay. Give it to a consignment shop. BUT get rid of it.
Yes, it’s scary.  You know that feeling you get in your stomach where you’re so scared you don’t know whether to go forward or backward? KEEP GOING FORWARD! Yes, it’s liberating.
Yes… it will make a difference in your mind and get rid of those chains of the past failures!

…keep going forward!

Hey, check out my website at and be sure to hook up with the Facebook page for the blog. Pass this along, share it, pin it, email it…help someone change their mind and change their life!

Categories: Weight Loss | Leave a comment

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