Posts Tagged With: Kim Bensen

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

Emotional Dermatillomania…. Or Picking Our Mental Scabs

blog socially awkwardBeing a teenager is tough. No doubt. Being a fat teenager was extremely hard for me. I was very shy and hated being in rooms full of people I didn’t know. I was not social. It affects some of my behaviors today. There are routines and patterns that have been worn into my head like convoluted hiking paths down to my inner core. blog rocky pathThey are worn down so heavily, so many times, with rocks protruding up to make me stumble as I try to get to my inner most thoughts at times. These familiar paths and patterns hold me back from going forward other times. Take, for instance, the scenario of me being in a room full of people I don’t know. When I was much younger, it could bring on panic attacks for me. I’d hear a whisper, laughter, a “certain” tone of voice, and assume it was a negative attack on me. There were times it was true and I was the butt of some ill-based jokes. But so many times it was MY ASSUMPTION that I was being mocked. It was a Pavlov’s Dog reaction to being exposed to bullying, snide remarks and such as a result of my weight and my attitude that developed along the way.

Those insults and negative behaviors created a very large wound in my self esteem.

scraped kneeLet’s look at what happens when a part of our body gets physically wounded. I’m outside, walking and say I fall and scrape my knee open. Blood rushes to the surface.   As air hits it, over the next few days, it becomes hardened and the wound is encased in a scab. So I’m sitting outside. Bored. Looking at my knee and start picking at it. I wince because it hurts and it’s not quite healed. But I can’t stop picking at it. I flick away the scabs and watch as more blood comes to the surface. I say to my daughter, “Hey, look at this cut, doesn’t this look nasty?” She agrees and I get attention for it. Another day goes by and it has scabbed up again. I’m at work stressing over an issue and subconsciously start picking at the scab. It starts to bleed, a little heavier because I’ve broken new skin with my fingernails.  I clean it up and it starts the healing process over. Now, what if I keep picking and picking and tearing open that scab? Well, the skin around it will inflame and if enough dirt falls into it from my fingernails, it could become infected and then I have an even bigger problem. Now, being adults, you’re going to look at me and say, “Pam, would just stop picking at your damn knee and it will get better!”

You see, that’s what I did with the wound on my self-esteem and my thoughts for many years. There’s probably a thousand little insults I’ve heard in my whole life. If I keep going back over and over in my mind, and pull up all those times I was embarrassed, tormented, made fun of, bullied, stood up, dumped, etc….it’s like ripping the scab off that wound of bad self esteem everytime I do it. I’m never going to get over it and be able to move forward if I keep picking at that scab. I’m going to become a slave to constantly ripping that scab open to avoid getting over it. To give me a reason to be upset. And hey, it gives me attention to have that “injury” and wound to cry about.  To give me a “right” to be righteous about those who judge based on looks and size. I can point the finger and say it’s THEIR fault I feel this way, my father, my mother, my siblings, my ex-boyfriends, my ex-husband, the kids I went to school with, the public school kids on the bus who made fun of my parochial education, strangers in public, teachers that humiliated me, people I didn’t get along with, strangers in the clothing store, people in restaurants I thought were watching what I was eating, and how many other people I could blame!

Bottom line… it’s MY fault I feel bad because I keep thinking about it. I keep pulling up those bad feelings and continuing them.

It’s time to let the past pains scab over and heal. It takes soul-searching, journaling and some good quiet time to come to peace with these things. If you can’t do it on your own or without hurting loved ones, then it’s time to get professional assistance in this. Talk to a third party like a counselor who won’t take it personal when you need to get angry, but has the professional training to guide you in letting it all go.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. You’re never going to be truly happy and successful until you let go of all this ugly scabby damage.

I garden outside in the warm weather. I get scores of scratches, cuts and little wounds, it comes with the territory. But I wrap them up, protect them and then expose them to air and they get better, most times without a scar.

What happens when you pick at a scab repeatedly?

The area becomes scarred, mangled and the skin has scar tissue and is never the same.

That’s what happens when we keep picking at our emotional scabs. We become scarred, hardened, harsher and generally tough to manage. It gets in the way of living and happiness. You see that scar and you remember the injury and it makes you unhappy and the cycle starts again. blog gold appleYou can be the prettiest person, thin and healthy but your negativity can make you very ugly to yourself and others.

I am 48 years old. It doesn’t matter what a group of boys said to me back when I was 16.  I am not that scared lonely girl anymore. Time to let it go.  But what if I still am that scared lonely girl inside? Time to let her go. If repeated bad behaviors have made us feel crappy, lethargic, even suicidal at times…. Then repeated GOOD behaviors should do the opposite. I’m doing that.

We cannot stop people from talking about us, confronting us, trying to include us in their drama, or listening to the silly diary-like statuses on Facebook that annoy the snot out of me. And it annoys me MORE when they come from ME!!! That’s when I stop myself, unplug from the computer, back the hell away from Facebook and all that social media bullshit and go outside and get some fresh air!

We_Can_Do_It!But we CAN stand up for ourselves. We can be our own bodyguard. We don’t have to wait for a super hero to come along. We are our OWN hero! It’s never too late to stop the cycle. It’s never too late to adopt new patterns. It’s never too late to change. It’s never too late to correct the path on our journey!

It’s time for healing. Trust me, it makes the journey healthier, happier and easier.

rearviewmirror1Like I told my son years ago in the Rear View Mirror post… the rear view mirror is a reference to the past, it is NOT where we are going. If we keep looking in it, we are doomed to crash. However, if we look forward and have a positive attitude, I feel anything is possible! Not JUST weight loss, but with anything we set our minds to!

Now…. Stop picking those scabs, it’s time to heal!

Hey! If this helped you, inspired you, pissed you off, cheered you up, gave you that weird feeling in your stomach that you know it hit you right where it counts…then pin it, share it, email it, share the love!!!

Check out my website at pamkaelin.com  and follow me on Facebook!

Categories: Anger, Dealing with Sabotage, Emotional, Growing Up Fat, Psychological, Relationships, Weight Loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 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!
http://myweigh2onederland.com/2011/11/21/watch-out-im-packin/
http://myweigh2onederland.com/2011/11/15/a-roadtrip-through-onederland/
http://myweigh2onederland.com/2012/05/15/roadtripping-eating-out-and-about/
http://myweigh2onederland.com/2012/05/10/pams-roadtrippin-ever-evolvin-food-packin-list/
http://myweigh2onederland.com/2012/05/09/pams-roadtrip-kisses-in-onederland/

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 pamkaelin.com 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 kimbensen.com  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

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.

FAT DOES NOT TAKE A HOLIDAY.
GAINING WEIGHT DOESN’T TAKE A BREAK.

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

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 http://myweigh2onederland.com/2011/11/20/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

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.

Saturday:
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 kimbensen.com 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 kimbensen.com 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

I Can’t “Go Mama Hamster” etc etc.

I’m having one of “those days” which started with my checking account plummeting into the red and bouncing checks like beach balls at a rave. Thank goodness it’s Friday and I’m at least getting a paycheck to shove in there. While I’m on the online checking bank website, my boss a.k.a. Dad is questioning me about a piece of equipment that got messed up yesterday under my watch. I’m on my failing iPhone that needs replacing, texting my son that I’m about ready to go “Mama Hamster” on him and eat him whole because of a situation… I wasn’t joking. At the same time, my father is confirming that I will, indeed, be at my other job at his store to be on hand for the dance party the store is hosting with dueling DJ’s, dueling bartenders (non-alcoholic drinks)… I can tell already this is going to be a long, grueling day from Hell and the last thing I want to do is be dancing tonight.

Oh, sign me up, Dad. I’m just so in the mood to work 8 hours selling industrial metals, make sure the landscaping is getting done and then… go sell jewelry and DANCE in my spare time with customers for another 6 hours. No, I’m not selling dances for a dime, but I’m seriously considering it to pay for a replacement iPhone!

I have 8 levels of Dante’s Inferno breaking loose all around me and the more I’m discussing it with my father, I can feel my eyes welling up and my voice starting to crack. I’m stressed. My personal, business and private worlds are all on a collision course to smack right into my face…and my stomach.

I’m tired already just thinking about it.

And I need to eat something.

What?

Did I just say that?

No, I just need to chew something, what do I have here?

I have a 14 hr work day today which means I have ALL MY FOOD packed WITH me for the day. I’m a stress eater. I’m like a Labrador Retriever with a weekend’s bowl of chow in front of me. If it’s there and visible…I just might eat it. So I took the insulated bag, put it in my car. My lunch and any daytime snacks are OUT IN THE CAR, not at my fingertips.

Yes, even with this garbage breaking loose, I’m able to step back and say, “Hey, you know, it’s just not healthy for this food to be sitting this close to me.” I’m not looking for a pat on the back. I want you to recognize those days and those circumstances in your own lives.

It’s easy to eat my whole day’s worth of calories right here and now and sit here with a stomach ache, crying about my messed up checkbook, broken equipment, bitchy customers, long work hours etc. etc. yadda. Yadda freaking. Yadda. Then 5:00 is going to roll around when I’m at the jewelry store and I’m going to get hungry again. I won’t have my allotted food and I’ll end up hitting the convenience store up the street or one of the bistro’s in town…which are NOT… good options (sorry guys, but you’re not!) So the choice is mine.

I can get my “food bowl” put away and out of view and at least get ONE aspect of this stupid day under control.  I did that. And I texted my girlfriend in Jersey that always makes me feel better.Then I put some of my favorite dance music in my ear (Deadmau5) and it helped ease the stress. Figured out the checkbook, got the bank and those nasty overdraft charges taken care of…and now it’s just a matter of keeping a smile and controlling what I can. I can’t control these insane working hours

I still have my dinner intact for over at my other job.

I haven’t eaten my son in a fit of fury… because quite frankly it would be consuming far too many calories and Xchanges.

And I’m starting to smile.

So later, I will maybe even feel like dancing. And I bet I will. And I might even post pics on the Facebook page for the blog to prove my point.

See?  It’s all about taking control of a crappy day and turning it around. We just gotta WANT to take control instead of letting it take control of us.

There are so many things we can’t control…I’ve been through every emotion today and I haven’t had a period in 7 years… but there are some thing we can.

Focus on the things we CAN control and the rest will follow.

And please… don’t email me the caloric content of a young man… I don’t want to have to factor it in my day.

Categories: Anger, Binge Eating, Emotional, Psychological, Weight Loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ONEderland Recipe: Easy & Filling Pam’s “Not Rice” Pudding

This is truly one of the filling easy desserts or snacks that’s so easy to make it will blow your mind!

Now, people have this phobia about the shirataki noodles and there are 2 kinds.

To know a little about shirataki noodles, here is the Wikipedia info on the 2 most common types: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shirataki_noodles

I prefer to use the yam based, zero calorie form (NOT the tofu based one). I can’t eat a lot of soy products because I’m a cancer survivor, so I don’t use the tofu based shirataki much at all – that’s more of an American product. But back to the REAL shirataki from Asia. It’s not a weird marketing trick or scam. The noodles come from the root of an Asian plant called konjac. The Asian culture has used this for OVER 2000 YEARS to stretch their food.  I’ve done the research and the purpose of today’s blog is not to teach you about how shirataki noodles are made, but to maybe dispel a myth or two and get your prejudice away from them. They are NOT artificial. They are NOT a scam. They ARE pure fiber and natural and a great way to get some volume in your eating and feel full without adding calories! The “problem” or issue you want to avoid is eating this alone. It has no calories. There is no nutritional value other than fiber. You NEED to eat something WITH this noodle, it’s not meant to be eaten alone.

That being said – these are a great item to put with food and not just typical stir fry. I can show you one of my favorite snacks or dessert item that keeps me fuller longer.

Unlike the typical long “noodle” you’re used to seeing, I can buy these as what they call “rice” or it looks like little pearls.

This is where I buy it: http://www.miraclenoodle.com/p-3-miracle-rice.aspx

I call this Rice Pudding, but it’s more the consistency of a tapioca…call it what ya want, I call it:

Here’s Pam’s Not Rice Pudding

1 bag Miracle Rice shirataki “pearls” 8 oz
6 oz Chobani apple cinnamon greek yogurt 0% (fat free)
cinnamon to taste

Simply rinse the shirataki

First thing you want to do with ANY of the shirtaki noodles is rinse them in a colander really well. When you first open the bag there is a fishy smell. Get over it, Princess. Rinse them off. Some people will boil them for a few minutes in fresh water and then rinse them again. I just rinse them off in the sink, in a colander under running water for a few minutes. Let them drain. I even pat them with a paper towel to get off any excess moisture.

Here’s the “hard” part, pour the shirataki into a bowl, put the yogurt on top and stir.

Pour into a container, sprinkle with cinnamon and refrigerator for a few hours for the tastes to mingle, get married and to soak up the flavor. You can eat it right away, but I always like to wait and I like to eat it cold. Great on a summer day or anytime!

This has uberly yumiful written all over it!

This is one huge serving
Calories: 140 calories
Xchanges: 1.75 dairy

Let’s go over some myths I’ve busted for you today:

1) Shirataki is not foul tasting. Rinse it. It has NO taste until you combine it with other food products.

2) Shirataki is not meant to be eaten alone. It’s a food stretcher.

3) There are no “hidden calories” or a labeling scam, it truly is zero calorie.

4) It’s not just for stir frys, I just showed you how to use it as a dessert!

5) True shirataki is not tofu or soy based. It comes from the root of an Asian plant.

So…expand your mind, diversify your food and look at what great new products you can find!

Now…if you’ll excuse me, I have to go place another order for my pearl shaped shirataki… LOVE this stuff!!

Hey, share this recipe! Pin it, put it on your Facebook wall, email it to your friends…help people open their minds about food!

I didn’t lose 150 pounds by eating the same foods day in, day out, I found ways to make my diet exciting…and you can too!

Join me on my Facebook page and connect with other blog readers!

Categories: Cooking, Recipe, Weight Loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 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

I Got the POWER!

Hey, you can’t get me down for long. People email me at times and ask me for a “butt kickin'”. I know how to give a much needed one to myself too. So I’m wearing my Nike shirt this evening to keep my spirits up and get me back in the heart of ONEderland. Before I put out the blogpost about my binge and not being bulletproof, I had planned on putting out a couple more light-hearted ones, … including this one.  If you’re a member of my blog’s Facebook page I mentioned this a few days ago, and if you’re not a member of that page… why aren’t ya? Get on over there and check it out! I have a blast keeping in touch with blog readers and talking about issues YOU find important in our journey. So without further ado,  I want to tell you…I GOT THE POWER!

I love to make my working out FUN.
I like to inspire.
I love to help motivate!
And boy, do I love a challenge and working toward goals!

With hitting my goal weight, I don’t have something to “work toward” besides staying at my goal weight. I still have to record my weekly weigh in at Kim Bensen’s Weight Loss Center. While I have seen that maintenance can have its own challenges… it just doesn’t have that ZING to keep me inspired to work out on a day to day basis. I mean, it does and it doesn’t… know what I mean?

So I’m going to go on a walk…to Eureka, California!

Ok, let me clarify. I’m going on a virtual walk to Eureka. I wear a pedometer every day to begin with so I can get all my steps in to get and stay healthy. So what I’m going to do is plot a course to Eureka, Ca. and record the number of miles I walk everyday. Once a week or so, I will create a blog post… a new category of blogs in ONEderland called POWER Posts.
Pam’s
Online
Walk to
Eureka
Rally

A “rally” is an organized effort to inspire and renew. That’s exactly what this is for me and I’m virtually bringing you with me. Every week, I’ll tell you how many miles I have down and “where I am.” I will try to find an interesting tidbit that’s relevant to our journey to and through ONEderland to coincide with where I am. Why Eureka? Because I’m in Telford, Pennsylvania. A little town just north of Philadelphia. Basically, I looked at a map, threw a ruler down to see what town was on the west coast in a straight line from Telford… and there was Eureka. Plus, when I finally make it, I’m going to yell, “Eureka!”

So join me as we walk to Eureka. This is going to take me a while but let’s enjoy it together!

I don’t have any fancy-dancy software to do this, I’m just using Google maps, my pedometer and a spreadsheet so I’m sort of winging this myself in a simple redneck kinda way. So strap on your walking shoes and let’s hit the road for Eureka. (Why do I hear the theme from the Beverly Hillbillies playing?)

Hey, let’s get everyone walking to Eureka! If you like what you read share it on your Facebook wall, forward it in your email, show it to a friend, pin it, stick it, whatever you like to do with it! I got all kinds of buttons down there to do with what you will! Let’s get the word out about our POWER… Pam’s Online Walk to Eureka Rally!

Categories: Exercise, POW! Pam's Online Walk Across the USA!, Weight Loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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