Posts Tagged With: food

Releasing My Inner Swan

swanI received a most beautiful gift in the mail, a pewter swan. The following note was attached, “A gift from one who lives in Swanton, home of the Swanton Swans. Also symbolic of my favorite story and how the ‘ugly duckling’ became a ‘very fine swan indeed!’ As you have done!”

Step back for a second and flash back over the past few years of my life. In January, 2011, if you’ve been following the blog (and if you haven’t…start at the beginning!!), was when I started my weight loss journey into Onederland. By July 2012, after a rocky bit with my inner ear conundrum, I made it to goal.  Honestly, I thought reaching goal and getting my weight down would be a “cure-all” for so many things in my life.

I was confused when it wasn’t.

While a lot of people were very supportive, many people close to me were not.
I’ve come to bristle at the thought of dating anymore. Guys that knew me when I was bigger, complain that I’m “too skinny” and look too different. I’ve been called “boney” and “wasting away”. I’m not. I’m SO not.  Guys that have only known me since I’ve reached goal couldn’t understand the disdain for the way they joked about “fat chicks”. When I explained my situation, they’d say, “But that’s not you, so it’s ok to say that.” No… it’s not. I honestly thought dating would be easier. It’s not, for me.

I’ve had to pull back from the center of friends I’ve always had. There’s nobody in that group that can relate to what has happened to me physically, mentally, emotionally. They think the journey is “done now” and I can “eat normal”. It’s not done and their normal is not my normal.

So I had to dig deeper and tackle those core issues that needed fixing. Like needing other people’s approval. Like needing to be part of a “couple” – you know, being in a relationship and using it like a trophy or a measure of “making it”. Doesn’t matter if it’s bad or good. Well, I’d rather be alone than be with someone that doesn’t treat me with respect or love me for who I fully am. Let’s not forget bad self-esteem. Or needing to be liked by everyone. Being angry at others for flaws in my own self. I did journaling. Lots of journalling, meditating, walking while thinking, talking it out. Lots of positive self talk. Looking in the mirror every morning and saying, “Good morning, Beautiful.” And looking in the mirror at night and saying, “Good Night, Sweetie, pleasant dreams, you ROCK!”   I’m not perfectly fixed, but I’m perfectly flawed like Otep would sing. Cracks in antiques give them character, right? I don’t think we’re ever totally fixed, but I’m working on it and it’s made it easier!

On the up-side, I have found many friends online and in person through the Kim Bensen Weight Loss Center and through this blog.  I have found many kindred souls that have been through the same experiences, the same heartaches, the same victories.

And I have found my voice and my confidence. Albeit, not a roar, but it’s a flame getting bigger all the time. I’m not afraid to ask for what I need, to stand up for myself, to speak up when confronted. But I don’t need the drama of those around me. I’m recognizing the dynamic and the sickening soup that I’ve allowed myself to be cooking in because I felt an obligation imposed on me out of “loyalty”. There are times when we have to look at those close to us and recognize their relationship as being toxic and unhealthy.  So we have to find the courage to pull ourselves up out of the quicksand and climb hard into higher ground. For our health.

I was presented with two career opportunities that required my courage, strength and dedication. But it requires me to say good bye to so much that has been familiar and my safety net. It requires me to relocate into another state. Several states away.  It requires me to rely on a network of newfound friends that are incredibly supportive. It requires me to enter a very corporate job market at “almost 50”, as my Dad pointed out. It requires me to learn more about my profession using my high school education and experience through doing. I never went to college and was mocked by people throughout my life for not going. I’ve learned a LOT by doing it.  It requires me to take a leap of Faith and cannonball into the waters of Life.

A few years back, I don’t think I could have CONSIDERED doing such a thing. It would give me an anxiety attack. I would make excuses about why I could not do it. I would rationalize that it would be impossible to do this.  But after losing 150 pounds, it made me feel like I could DO ANYTHING.

But not everyone around me feels the same enthusiasm as I do. They point out my age. They point out the hard work. They point out that there are people who need me where I am now. They call me selfish. They call me foolish and crazy. And only a couple asked me, “Would it make you happy?” I look into my daughter’s eyes and she is excited and says that I am a role model for her and girls everywhere no matter the size. Tall order.

My story has really started to have that fairy tale kind of feeling. I thought it was Cinderella, but the only time I’m losing my shoe after midnight is when I’m just too tired from pulling too many hours awake, there’s no Prince Charming, no pumpkin car. It really is the story of the Ugly Duckling who became a swan and finally found where she belonged after all.  I even looked up the story by Hans Christian Andersen and I cried as I read it. It was way too bittersweet and familiar to me.

Sometimes where you’re born isn’t where you end up.
Sometimes, those closest to you can hurt you the most.
Sometimes not fitting in is a blessing in disguise, it makes leaving easier.
Sometimes break ups are the best thing that can happen to you.
Sometimes you need to break away from what you’re told to do and find what you WANT to do.
Sometimes the ones that claim to need you the most are avoiding doing for themselves.
Sometimes those late blooms in life are the most spectacular!
Sometimes you have to find the courage and strength to do something big (like get to goal), to show you just how powerful you really are.

And sometimes you have wonderful friends, like my Susan, to remind you of a child’s story that helps you cannonball into the next part of your life so much easier.

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Categories: Weight Loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Ledge and the High Dive

hitting a wallWherever we are in this journey, there are times it feels like we hit a wall.
We may still be overweight. I’m not talking by just a few pounds. But we hit that plateau, stall-point, or we just get bored, we get sloppy in the dieting, or we sabotage ourselves… or even worse… we start rationalizing and saying “I’m ok, I’m happy. This is where my body wants to be and I’m good with it.” It gets tough. You may not be able to quite put a finger on the “why’s”, but it happens to all of us. A friend of mine said, “Pammie, I’m hitting a wall.” And as I talked to her, it made me realize something I had hit something too.

During my travels I was given a bottle of absinthe by a friend. A friend who didn’t know my struggle and love/hate relationship with alcohol. In pride, in fear of appearing weak, I graciously accepted it. Inside me, my stomach wrenched tight to the point of feeling sick. Alcohol is something I try to stay away from for the most part.

I have several reasons for not drinking much – with losing weight, I  lost most of my physical tolerance for it – it don’t take MUCH for it to hit me anymore! I don’t feel very well the next day or two after a night of drinking with my friends. I feel it’s a waste of empty calories for the enjoyment of it. I have a slew of bad memories from my party days, both physical and emotional. I feel it’s just another addiction I substitute when I’m trying not to eat. I have a bad taste in my mouth for drinking, frankly speaking and pardon the pun.

So I put this bottle in a cabinet and made a “bargain” with myself. I told myself that if I lost 10 more pounds under my goal, I’d celebrate it by having a drink of this special stuff. (I am NOT skinny, so this would still be healthy weight loss.) Perhaps I thought I was putting the demon in the cage by putting that bottle in the cabinet.
Yeah, yeah, I know, I can hear you gasping from here. I went against one of my cardinal rules. I gave myself a “food incentive” or “food reward” to dangle in front of the scale. Hey, I’m almost a year after hitting goal. I’m (not so) large and in charge here. I can handle it.

Yeah…about that.

I hit what felt like such a huge wall in the past couple months. I worked incredibly hard going after this little goal. After losing 150 pounds, you’d think that 10 pounds is “no big deal”. I remember in my first weeks of weight loss I could POOP out 10 pounds without even thinking about it. I took my calories down, I put more activity in and I went after it as though I was going after the brass ring of my weight loss. The scale wasn’t moving. As I counseled others in their journeys, I looked at my own advice and got meticulous.  I made sure I was preplanning, I cut out my “bonuses”, I put in even more activity, tried to get more sleep.  Yes I was stressed (and still am) with a lot of stuff going on, but I refuse to let that hold me back. The scale started moving and I was elated. I could do this!

bingeThen as I got closer to a new number on the scale… I’d eat. Maybe not a whole lot to someone else. Sometimes as little as a few hundred calories. An extra helping of a healthy meal. Or a few drinks with friends. Or a bag of popcorn while watching a movie with my daughter on the weekend. It added up. I’d lose 5 pounds and then gain it back, and get frustrated. Not enough to affect my clothing, but this is a bad pattern I knew I had to get under control NOW!
WHY was I doing this? I knew the drill! I teach the drill for crying out loud!
Then this past week it hit me when my friend said, “Pammie, I hit a wall.” And I responded to her saying that she wasn’t in front of a wall, she was on a ledge and she was just scared.  She’s made it feel like a high ledge and it’s more built up in her mind than it really is. jumper ledgeShe needed to walk off the ledge in an act of faith and know that the step was not as scary as she thought. There’s an invisible path to freedom we can’t see until we step off the ledge. It’s excitement and exhilaration, NOT fear… or make it that way. She said to me, “I never lost this much before and I’m scared what’s next.”  So I asked myself WHAT AM I AFRAID OF WITH THIS TEN POUNDS? As I thought about this conversation another analogy came to mind.

boy_on_high_diveThis is where I am. The feeling of being on a high dive at the public pool.
Everyone is watching you. Everyone sees you on the high dive. If you step backwards and climb back down the ladder, everyone sees that you couldn’t do it. You got scared and gave up. You admit defeat. And there’s others in line for the dive that are willing to jump in front of you and show you how it’s done. But you have to do it YOURSELF to get your reward.  HOWEVER, if you go forward…. Running, laughing, jumping and throwing your arms in the air and JUMPING off that high dive who KNOWS what will happen? Maybe the water will be very cold at first. It may take your breath away at first. You may bellyflop and it may almost hurt a little. Or it may feel super refreshing. It may feel like the best euphoria you ever experienced. It may feel like the highest high. It may feel like the biggest victory EVER!!! But you won’t know until you ALLOW yourself to do it. And there’s the reward I gave for myself. And that’s when the epiphany hit…
Well, in my case, I knew what was waiting for me. A bottle. The demon in the cabinet cage loomed over me, watching me, waiting for me. And I think that scared the crap out of me to the point that I was sabotaging myself so that I wouldn’t get those extra pounds off. In fact, I was slowly going up on the scale. My own inner core of my mind knew I was scared of those past memories associated with drinking and it wanted to make sure it wasn’t going to happen. Memories of poor decisions made while drinking. Memories of my kids seeing me while drinking. Memories of losing control. We hate it when we lose control. We like to be in control of our journey.
absintheAnd so… I poured the bottle down the sink. I knew it was the right decision because of the way I felt when I did it. I felt like a rock came off my shoulder. I felt like curtain came away from my thoughts and I could clearly see the path from my own ledge. I had felt trapped on the ledge. I felt in spotlight on the ledge. Vulnerable. Where everyone could see me, that I wasn’t losing anymore. I am on that high dive. And what happens if I can’t do the fantastic swan dive and I have to crawl down the steps? Well…I don’t know, because I’m moving forward.
Well, I still have that inside goal of getting down to 150 pounds. But I took away that double-edged sword of a reward for it.
When you hit your plateau, your stall, when you jump into ONEderland and then everything goes awry… take a look at what you’ve promised yourself. With what you’ve put pressure on yourself. And take it easy on yourself! YES, push yourself to get to goal… but be very careful what you dangle in front of yourself. Ask yourself these questions when you get scared….
1) What is my incentive for losing weight?
2) For who am I losing weight?
3) Is the reward truly “worth it”?
4) Is the incentive enough to keep me at goal or is it a short term goal (such as a reunion, party, wedding, retaliation, trying to make someone jealous?)
5) Will I be truly proud of myself and my intentions?
6) Can I continue the same habits I am using to LOSE weight to be able to STAY at goal weight or is this a fad, harsh diet? Is this healthy eating? Will it cause health issues to keep eating like this?
7) What scares me most?
8) How does that affect or connect to the feelings of fear I’m having right now associated with losing weight? Do I feel my significant other won’t like how I look? Do I feel that I, myself, won’t recognize myself? Am I afraid of what OTHER PEOPLE will say about how I look? Am I afraid of appearing different?

magicIn order for change to be a true change, it WILL BE UNCOMFORTABLE at times. But like always say…turn that sickly feeling in the stomach of fear into excitement and wonderment (or ONEderment). Take control of it and make it work for you.

wide openTake a step off the ledge.

We call create our own limitations in our minds. We have the keys to our cells and it’s up to US to figure out which key unlocks the door.

While helping my friend, I figured out my key. We all need to examine those many keys we hold on that mental key ring and get to the core of what makes us tick, makes us eat, makes us stress…. and then the future’s wide open! I’m slowly going downward on the scale again making up those couple of pounds and headed into new realms. And I’m feeling good about it…no looming anxiety, stalling or binges.

Those are my rambling thoughts for the day! If ya like it, pin it, share it on Facebook, email it to a friend, I’m all about that!

Check out my website at and my facebook page!

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

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

I Survived Skippack Days 2012

Wow…I survived the weekend.

I would venture to say that most of you don’t know what Skippack Days is. Or care. But this is a powerpacked weekend for one of my Dad’s businesses. This is a huge craft fair event that he helps to host in the town. For our family business, it involves a lot of hours, stress, planning and manning my Dad’s retail store which is on the same property.

This was a huge working weekend that for at least the past 7 years has been filled with me stressing out, pigging out, and being in pain for days afterward. I really don’t get to “enjoy” the event because I’m working in the store. Sure, I may get to run out to a crafter tent here and there, but I can’t enjoy the event like the average consumer would. So I pretty much loathe the event. It can be very hectic and it’s a 2 and a half day weekend of being on your feet from very early in the morning until nighttime hours. I always dread this weekend and this year was no exception. It had its stresses, crap and emotion, but this time, it left me ultimately with a smile.

This year was different.

Every other year I almost couldn’t walk because I was in so much pain. Pain from being on my feet all day long. By the end of Skippack Days weekend, for the past years, I would be limping, in hidden tears, stressed, bloody socks, swollen feet, locked up pain in my back and neck and trying to find a reason to call out from work the following Monday. A little tough to do since I have the same boss for almost all my jobs now (my Dad).

This year was very different. The difference? I was 150 pounds less thanks to Xchanges and preplanning. With my new lifestyle I was focused, did not pig out or even cheat once, my stress didn’t unravel my mind, and… my knees do not have any pain, back is painfree and my feet  are only mildly aching.

Preplanning helps NOT only just with my food plans for the day, but for focus in my life. I feel more in control. It’s more than just a “to do” list, it’s an “I CAN Do” list.

My daughter Katie was working there this weekend too. We packed ALL our food, preplanned our days and went into it calm and prepared. Each day, I also prepared the crockpot and turned it on in the morning with that evening’s nutritious meal. Every other year, we’d stop and get take out and overeat because “we worked hard and we deserved it.” Not this year, we saved our money and ate at home, in a healthy controlled way. Here’s what we had planned out and how it turned out:

Friday night dinner: We packed precooked Fiber Gourmet pasta mixed with tuna, low fat cream of chicken soup, spinach and mixed vegetables in a makeshift casserole meal which we warmed up in the microwave at work. Cut up apple for a snack.

Breakfast was a low fat english muffin and scrambled egg sandwich.
Lunch was a large spinach salad with hardboiled egg, tuna, and lots of salad veggies on top. I had a pouch of travel size Raspberry vinegarette dressing. Snacks were cut up celery with low fat peanut butter, raw carrots, a Vitalicous Vitamuffin top (chocolate) and I had ample water and drinks. Yes, I did buy a Box of Joe at the Dunkin’ Donuts and was drinking a lot of coffee that day.
Dinner was waiting in the crockpot at home. It was a chicken and dumplings recipe that I got from the website.
The unexpected nice thing was that Saturday, my two teenage nieces asked if they could come back to my house to stay the night (they were also working the store) because they haven’t been able to get together with Katie for a long time. So I said, “Sure, we can have a pj party.” With having dinner in the crockpot, I knew I had plenty of extra. They LOVED it and as we talked, caught up on what all we’ve been doing, they got to see my website and my recipes. They asked about Xchanges and the recipes on my site. I even had them try the Banana Softserve and they thought it was awesome! They said they were going to try my recipes and that made me feel like I was making a difference in these young ladies’ dietary lives.

Sunday, we started the day with a quiche. I had plenty of shredded mushroom, broccoli, onion and zucchini in it and my nieces never even knew it until I mentioned it hours later. Marybeth, the younger one, looked at me and said, “Really?” She hates most veggies and she ate it up like a champ!
Lunch for me was another slice of quiche, baby carrots,  and a veggie burger from my website. I packed sandwiches made from Peter Pan whipped peanut butter and homemade sugar free blueberry jam for the girls, along with sandwich bags of baby carrots and muffins I had made from a box cake mix (spice cake flavor) mixed with a small can of pure pumpkin puree (no other ingredients like oil, water or egg) and topped with a teaspoon of sugar free chocolate morsels. The nieces thought these were almost impossible to believe they were low fat and delicious.

I had a bean chili from my website waiting in my crockpot, but Katie wanted flatbread pizza instead. I agreed and we each had a couple cups of chopped veggies atop our flatbread with sauce of Classico Lite Alfredo. Bean chili will be Monday night’s dinner. I cleaned up the kitchen and jumped into my Sunday night online chat on I was still energetic and ready to DO. I didn’t need to fall into bed as soon as I got home.

The end of the long weekend is upon me now as the adrenaline is winding down.

Yes, my feet ache just a bit, naturally. But I had the energy and good mood to put together a different dinner without complaining or bitching. And we ate at home, we didn’t just plunk our ass in a restaurant booth and pig out in triumph to be done this long weekend. I’ve done that too many times. I have dinner ready for tomorrow night. I did the online chat. I was calm, cool and collected for most of the weekend.

All I need is a good night’s sleep which I will be doing shortly and I’ll be ready for tomorrow. My body won’t be wrecked for days.

I like this new style of LIVING. It’s moments like these that makes the Xchanges diet, lifestyle change and all that good stuff totally worth while. There truly is no food right now that I need to eat to celebrate anything right now. I’m good. Life is good. I’m tired, but it’s a good tired. It’s the tired of knowing I did a job well-done. Both my job at the Southwest Trading store, my job with Kim Bensen manning the Sunday Night Bootcamp Chat, and my job of preplanning and sticking to my Xchanges for all of a stressful long weekend.

I did it. Not only did I survive Skippack Days…I thrived.

No tears.
No limping.
No bloody socks.
No restaurant or take out money spent.
No exhaustion.
No back pain.
No knee pain.
No self-medicating with food or alcohol afterward.
just a feeling of victory over so many things!

With planning it out, following the plan and getting through, I took the weekend I dreaded most…and MADE it work for me.

Other years I couldn’t have handled my nieces coming over, having dinner and spending time together. I would have been in bed exhausted and very grumpy. I know..I lived it. I was up early the next morning, ready for another long work day, getting food ready in the crockpot and getting the kids up in a planned methodical way and not exhausted. A little tired, but not exhausted and running on fumes. I can’t say it enough, I like the way I feel. It makes maintenance so much easier to WANT to stay here.

I didn’t write this post to brag or rub it in your face where I’m at. I’m trying to tell you that …. if you start NOW…you will get here.Don’t just think about it, don’t say “Someday I should do something about my weight issues.” SOMEDAY is not a day on the calendar…do it TODAY. Start today! It’s so so worth it!

You can do it. You just got to want to.

Categories: Weight Loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

ONEderland Recipe: Pam’s Baked Ricotta French Toast

Oh yum! I had such a relaxing breakfast outside on the porch today overlooking the yard. So peaceful…and yumiful. Requires a little bit of “do-ahead-ness” but soooooo worth it!
Here ya go and enjoy!

Pam’s Baked Ricotta French Toast

4 Kim’s Light bagels, cinnamon flavor
1 cup Fage plain fat free Greek yogurt
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup Whey Low sugar substitute
1 cup Calabro fat free ricotta cheese (I prefer this brand or use another fat free brand)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1 cup Egg Beaters or egg substitute

Lightly spray an 8 x 8 baking dish with nonstick spray. Break up the bagels into at least 8 pieces each and place them evenly in the dish.
In a bowl mix together the remaining ingredients and whisk together until smooth and blended. Pour over the bagel pieces and make sure you push all the pieces into the mixture to get a good “soaking”. Cover and put in fridge overnight.
Next morning, bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for approx 1 hour or until done (knife in center comes out clean). Let rest for about 10 minutes, cut into 4 pcs (4 BIG pieces)
Each serving is:
Xchanges: 1.25 carb, .5 dairy, .5 protein
or 226 calories

Top with a tablespoon of Sugar Free pancake syrup and some REAL bacon bits (not that Baco’s crap) or fruit, or jam and it’s super yummy! (you’ll have to add those extra calories in for any toppings)

Feel free to pin this to your Pinterest, add to your Facebook wall, email it  or share it anyway you want! We gots lots of buttons down there!! Low cal, low fat cooking is not hard…I’ll help ya! Check out my Facebook page and see ya in ONEderland!

Categories: Cooking, Recipe, Weight Loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Coming Out of the Closet MORE

Back in October last year, I wrote a blogpost called Coming Out of the Closet which I talked about my belt. I still have my belt. I still encourage people not to hold onto bigger clothing … get rid of them. You don’t want that safety net. I have only 2 pieces of clothing to remind me of when I was larger. One is a workshirt in a size 3x. I need to hold onto that for a few reasons.

But the other is my belt. I bought that belt back in January of 2011 when I was determined to make a go of it with the Xchanges program with Kim Bensen. I bought a belt from Lane Bryant in a size 20. Here is the link for the actual belt. They still offer it at Lane Bryant: I bought it for over $25. I bought this belt on purpose. It had holes the whole way down the length. I wanted that. I had a purpose. I wanted to mark my progress in weight loss with this belt. I spent more money on that belt than for 1 month of membership at Kim Bensen’s online weight loss support program.

I wanted so badly to be able to wrap this belt around me more than once. Every so often, I would show people this belt and say, “I’m going to get it to wrap around my back.”  I had to say it outloud. Make it sound real. Because the concept was so unreal to me. I’ve told both Jenn and Penny up at Kim Bensen’s Weight Loss Center I was going to do that. Beyond the 150 pound loss, another one of my goals is to get this belt to slip under the belt loop of my jeans that’s in the center of my back. I can almost do this. It’s ALMOST there. Honestly, that’s just “gravy”…pardon the pun. I’ve hit the big goal and that’s awesome. But there will be toning up that I need to do and I just may get that belt under the belt loop…we’ll see.  But I’m getting off track. It’s been a big weekend..

My point here is…CHECK OUT MY BELT! No, really, my point is… my belt keeps me in check. I wore this belt up to Kim Bensen’s Center this weekend. I attended the Saturday morning meeting for my “big reveal” and wow…what an awesome feeling as so many online friends attended the chat (Kim said over 70??) and new friends came from as far as New Jersey to share this huge moment with me and my kids. Overwhelming in a way. I’m sitting here in the quiet, absorbing it all. My daughter is with her father this week, my son went out for the evening and the house is quiet. In the quiet, I looked down at my belt and thought… Just HOW MUCH of you isn’t being used anymore, dear friend?

I brought out my tape measure and it reminded me I haven’t done my measurements in a while…that will be another blog post. But I measured just how much of this belt I wasn’t using anymore. Seventeen inches.  17 INCHES! Almost a foot and a half! When I first bought this belt, I could only put it on the first couple of holes…and now there’s almost a foot and a half that I’m not using.

This belt keeps it real. I won’t give up this belt. This belt is no safety net. This belt is almost ready to fall apart in spots (thanks for quality there, Lane Bryant!) but it shows me the pain and the struggle and just how far I’ve come. A belt is not going to cover me if I get sloppy and gain this back. It’s not a pair of pants, or a dress, it’s just a belt. It’s a reminder. When I want that extra WHATEVER because “hey, I reached goal, why not”…. here’s why not…because I’ve come THIS far:

Categories: Weight Loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Look Beyond Food During Lent…and Always

All the fish sales at the grocery store for this week reminded me that Lent starts.  Being raised in a Christian household, I remember Lent well and the typical way of “celebrating” — it never really sat well with me.

It’s all about penitence and sacrifice by giving up something. It’s all about being a martyr and giving up chocolate, or booze,  or something that only affects us personally.  That’s the bare bones, bottom line. Yes, I do understand the theology and religion behind it, but that’s not my real point here. I have a friend who jokingly says every year, “Oh, it’s Lent, I have to give up watercress sandwiches.” He never eats them in the first place, so there is no sacrifice. And he’s agnostic, so he’s just poking fun at religion and faith, which I don’t find amusing. Or you have the person who says, “Oh, I need to give up something, but it CAN’T be wine, because I need that weekly glass of mine. It CAN’T be chocolate because I really don’t eat that much anyway and I need that or I’ll kill someone. And it CAN’T be meat because I hate fish and vegetables make me gag.” Blah blah blah. Then where’s the sacrifice?

Why does it usually have to be about food and why does it have to be about giving up something?

Why can’t it be about DOING something you wouldn’t ordinarily DO for someone ELSE and do it ANONYMOUSLY?

Oh…. Did I hit a nerve? See, because THERE IN lies the sacrifice. It affects someone else and you won’t get “credit” for it (in this world…but you do where it counts!).

So if you’re going to give up red meat and eat fish on Friday, dig a fat beef or pork roast out of your fridge or freezer and donate it to the local food shelter… not just buy up the salmon on sale at the store. Show some sacrifice here! If you’re going to give up going out and drinking with your buds on Friday night or shopping at the mall, why not use that time to see if you can help out a local charitable organization in some way on the weekend. Or taking a shut in neighbor out grocery shopping. Or volunteering at the convalescence home. Or donating the money you would use on a Friday night to a charitable organization or buying a grocery gift card for that family who’s barely making it? I guess what made me think of this were those people that quietly shopped and helped me while I was flat on my back with vertigo. They did it because they wanted to, they saw a need and offered, there was no “reward” attached.

There’s thousands of ways you can fulfill your Lental obligation that will actually be more meaningful and affective than giving up that Hershey bar. It’s not always about food. This is one more way WHY we have a weight problem… we make EVERYTHING revolve around food in order to make it interesting! It’s not always about ourselves and looking like the victim or the martyr. And it’s not always fun or glamorous…that’s a true sacrifice. Sometimes we have to reach out and make a difference… and expect NOTHING in return — it’s only reward is knowing we did the right thing and finding the satisfaction in that.

Because if you just want to take out the chocolate, the booze and other crap you’re eating, we should be doing that ANYWAY on a daily basis. Not just to get ready for Easter so we can stare down the chocolate bunny and say “Well, I did give up chocolate during Lent…” , dislodge our jaw and devour all the calories in one bunny that some families don’t have in a day because of their economic situation. Nah… go beyond the easy. Reach outside yourself and dig into the real hurt.

Affect someone else in a positive way. Do it anonymously.

THEN you’ve made a difference with sacrifice.

That’s just my take on Lent and the conversations I’ve had with the Creator.

Categories: Cooking, Emotional, Financial, Psychological, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Give Peas a Chance

I remember a scene from my early childhood that forever told my mother I was a “stubborn child” or a bitch as she said it in plain words.  I had to eat boiled cabbage. I hated it. I quietly refused. There was no way it was going to pass my lips. I told her I would throw up if I ate it. Meanwhile, my father was starting to get really angry with me. He said, “I swear if you throw it up, your mother will spoon feed it back into you.” Well I sat there gagging on a half a forkful of cabbage  with all the theatrics of being fed poison. But it wasn’t the first time we went ‘round and ‘round with cabbage and wasn’t the last. But our family didn’t have the luxury of throwing out food from the garden, or any food for that matter, so I ate a variety of all kinds of things… whether I wanted to or not.

Today…. I love cabbage.  Yes, I know and my parents will still remind me about that incident. But honestly, I can’t remember why I hated it so bad. It really wasn’t the actual taste. Was it the texture? The spices? Or maybe I was just exercising my rebellious nature. My grandparents lived through the Depression, so over the years I was exposed to a lot of different styles of cooking, ethnicities and recipe, hence the weight problem. My grandparents made the rule, “You can’t say you don’t like something until you try it three times.” They meant three different sittings and they didn’t want to hear, “But I don’t LIKE it.” After living through the Depression, I learned that even if it was instant concrete, you were grateful to have something to eat and you didn’t complain.

Over the years from Weight Watchers to my online weight loss meetings with Kim Bensen, I see people, sometimes as old or older than myself that remind me of that little kid refusing to eat cabbage. They want to know weight loss recipes, substitutions and all kinds of so-called “secrets” to lose weight, but they seem to be unwilling to compromise their taste buds.

Here’s some:
“I only eat potatoes, beans and corn, I won’t eat any other vegetables, they’re gross.”
“I won’t eat shiritaki noodles, they’re slimy, smell funny and disgusting.”
“I hate sugar free Jell-o.”
“I only drink full sugar soda. Diet soda is bad for you.”
“Zucchini… oh, that’s so gross.”
“Cauliflower? Eww, it has that weird taste.”
“But brown rice is so chewy and weird compared to nice white rice.”
“Oh my God, that looks gross, I’m not eating it.” (without asking what it is or trying it)
“I like my white bread,  those grainiac hippie breads aren’t bread.”
“All those fat free muffins and cakes are like Styrofoam, give me the real deal.”
“Diet cheese slices are so plasticky, eww.”
“If I have to give up beer (or insert alcohol of choice) to lose weight, I’m not doing it.”

Ok, we all have our individual tastes and I can respect that. Some of us have texture issues. I know people who won’t eat a fresh unpeeled peach because of the fuzz. Some think that some artificial sweeteners have an aftertaste. I, for one, cannot handle the Splenda brand aftertaste I get.  But when it comes down to REAL fruits and vegetables, I get a little intolerant of people who limit their taste buds and then complain that there are no good options in order to lose weight. In this past year, I have learned so many new ways to enjoy vegetables and they’ve become a large portion of what I eat. But it’s the GOOD veggies. I have peeled zucchini with a potato peeler to make “noodles”. I have cooked bean sprouts in soup instead of noodles. I have made mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes. And yes, I LOVE, love, LOVE my shiritaki noodles from angel hair to macaroni shaped.

There’s some compromise that needs to be tolerated and learned with your food if you ever expect to come to grips with food issues. Some substitutions are so phenomenally good that you don’t know the difference… others need to be learned. Is it just a texture issue that you have to get used to tasting in your mouth? Or are you that stubborn and your inner child is rebelling so bad that you just don’t want to be told WHAT to eat?

Is your love affair with food so thick that you will choose FOOD over feeling better and losing weight?

I got news for you. If you insist on eating such a limited menu and only the “real deal”… you’re going to end up being a miserable dieter. And you’ll only be a fair-weathered dieter. As soon as your stomach grumbles and that dessert menu comes out, if you’re hungry, you’re going to jump ship into fat filled waters.  I’m not a dieter. No, I am NOT a dieter. I changed my lifestyle of eating and I have not cheated in quite a few months because I have totally diversified my spectrum of foods that I will eat. I don’t sit and crave cake or the icing on top. I can get through the night without eating a quart of ice cream. Do I get hunger pangs at night or when I’m bored? Sure! Who doesn’t? But I’ll airpop some popcorn (no butter or salt), or dip baby carrots or carrot slices or celery chunks into salsa. I have OPTIONS and I will try options that are within my program without making it look like I’m a martyr and sacrificing my happiness and wellbeing in the process. I enjoy trying new recipes, cooking substitutions and low calorie options.

One of my latest passions has been Asian style cuisine. NOW, let’s talk about different! I am lucky enough to have a full Asian grocery store within 10 miles from my home. I can buy things like squid, shark, octopus as cheaply as YOU may buy chicken. Some of you are cringing and gagging. Have you TRIED it? I personally love those things. How about jackfruit or lychee for fruit options? Or sugar-free aloe vera soft drinks? Or mung bean ice cream? I’m like a kid in a candy store as I go through the aisles and look for new options to try. Some are good, some are passable. But it’s all about diversification! I NEVER get bored with my food and I’m not sitting there craving all night long.

Off the top of my head, I can only think of two things that I totally refuse to eat.  Liverwurst and the seedy inside of a tomato. Liverwurst is loaded with fat so I don’t have the need to try and like it.  The gooey seedy gelatinous inside of a tomato isn’t a necessity either.

So that’s not so bad. As for the shiritaki noodles…I eat them many times throughout the week. Is it the same texture as your “real” pasta? NO! It’s a little like gummi worms. Do they smell like seaweed? Yes. The secret is to cut open the bag, rinse them. Dump them in boiling water for five minutes, drain them. And then cook them in whatever you want. No smell, no fishy anything. They have NO taste and only soak up the flavors of whatever you make them with. Don’t like the texture? Don’t know what to tell you.

I had a debate with a friend over the diet soft drink issue. I’m a Tab junkie. You remember Tab from the Coca Cola people, it’s the original diet soda and I still buy it. She said, “I only drink sugar soda because you’ll get sick from diet soda.” Well, I don’t have an aspartame allergy, but I’m pretty sure I’ll become either diabetic or get cavities or gain a ton of weight if I sat and drank the same amount of sugared soda.

Diet cheese slices? I tend to agree that the fat free and diet cheeses aren’t the best. But you know what? My tastes changed. I don’t rely on melted cheese, cheese shreds or cheese slices so much anymore. I’m liking my veggies more. So I can live without a lot of cheese.

It’s all about diversifying the menu, or you WILL be destined to fall off the wagon when the road gets bumpy.  You can stick to your guns and be the stubborn one and refuse to eat this or that. It doesn’t matter to me. As for me? I’m holding onto my carrots on this ride! Think of your food as an investment in your health and diversify that portfolio!

Categories: Binge Eating, Emotional, Growing Up Fat, Weight Loss | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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