Friday, April 30, 2010

My thighs Are All in My Head

Bitchcakes has a very good posting today about her animosity towards her thighs. Read it here:

Bitchcakes, I can relate. For as far back as I can remember, my thighs and me have been at odds.

I remember standing in front of mirrors when I was in high school and college, pulling back the fat on my thighs in a way so that you couldn't see it from the front and thinking "if only." I have to admit I still do it from time to time and think about whether or not I should shoot the family budget on a little liposuction.

Funny thing is, a few years ago I found a photo of me in a bikini from when I was in my mid-20's. At first I didn't recognize myself. The girl in the photo was HOT. I mean, I couldn't get over the body I had--this girl was thin, muscular and had curves in the right places.

Then I thought, about how back then I was always thinking I needed thinner thighs, bigger boobs (I'm a D cup), or slimmer waist. Yet here I was over 20 years later staring at this picture and wondering what the hell I was thinking.

It all goes to perception. Once I hit my 20's I probably never had 19 inch thighs and never will (unless I submit to the aforementioned liposuction). I'm a naturally busty girl who has the hips, thighs and butt that go along with being naturally busty. I can be thin and healthy for my body type, but I'll never be built like Kate Moss.

So the message to myself is to stop fixating on my thighs, and focus on my overall health. Besides I've got better things to spend a few grand on then my thighs.

A Freak No More

This is a picture of a side-show "fat man" from the early 20th Century. People actually paid to see this "freak" 100 years ago, but he would fit in practically anywhere today. If you saw this guy walking past you in an airport or a mall in sweatpants and a baggy T-shirt, you probably wouldn't even turn your head. There's no longer any shock value to seeing someone weighing 300, 400 or 500 pounds anymore. You can read a little more about him here:
This man actually died at the age of 43, no doubt from his obesity, but it got me thinking about all the other "fat men" and "fat ladies" who participated in circus side-shows in the last century. They'd all be out of work today because they're now normal. It's a very sad comment on our society.

The Flu Diet

Well, I spent the day in bed yesterday with a fever and severe gastro-intestinal issues. I'm still not up to speed today, but for the heck of it, I stepped on the scale this morning. I was two pounds lighter than I was earlier in the week.

I need to get a little work done today, but I'm going down soon for a nap again.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sick Kid, Sick Me?

My daughter has been home since Tuesday with some kind of stomach bug. My poor baby has been lying on the sofa, with a bucket next to her, weak and listless. It makes me want to cry. There's no fever but her poor tummy just doesn't want to tolerate any food beyond Jello and some Ginger-ale.

So this morning I woke up feeling achy, and in a head fog. My tummy is also not all that happy either. I guess I've caught a touch of whatever bug my daughter has been fighting.

All I want to do is go to bed, but I have to read the 23 page complaint filed by the state attorneys generals arguing that the new health care reform bill is unconstitutional then speak with a few constitutional law professors from places like Harvard, Yale, Georgetown and Vanderbilt as to why or why not this law will or will not be held up as constitutional. I'm writing on article on this for one of my clients, and deadlines are deadlines, sick or not.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

OMG!! Has it Really been a Year???

Actually, more than a year since I started blogging. My first post was on April 21, 2009, and here it is April 28, 2010.

I know that a lot of bloggers get frustrated that their blogs aren't instant successes, racking up hundreds of followers immediately, but that isn't my case. I love and cherish each one of my 41 followers and love to read every comments posted.

I blog because I'm a writer, and a writer writes for no other reason than the compulsion to write. I started this blog because I believed I had learned valuable lessons from my own weight loss journey that I could pass on to others, but I also started this blog to keep myself inspired.

Whenever I read about new medical research regarding weight loss, the obesity epidemic among children or the ill effects that processed foods can have on health and weight, it inspires me to continue on my journey.

By posting new information here and commenting on it I pass on the information to my readers. You may be a small group, but if my writing makes even small changes in your own diets and how you feed your family, I believed I scored a success.

It Was Worth "Ruining" my Body

I love and adore my children. However, as any woman who has ever experienced child-birth can tell you, your body is never the same afterwards. Still, when I'm with my children it would never occur to me to think that having a better body was more worthwhile then having them.

I'm all for eating healthy, exercising and having the best body we possibly can, but to be so vain as to deny yourself one of life's greatest joys just to preserve your body is taking it a step too far.

Now, I understand that some people just don't want to have children, and I respect that. Having children is a tremendous responsibility, and not one to take lightly if you feel you're not up to it. Hell, I won't get a dog because I don't want the responsibility.

But, to say you don't want children only to preserve your body, is another matter. I hope Ms. Michaels eventually rethinks her priorities.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Too Fat to Fight?

You know we got a problem when even the US military wants changes to the school lunch program. It turns out that they have to turn away approximately 25% of potential recruits for being too overweight to fight. And, because young adults are raised with bad eating habits, they have to discharge far too many of those who they do initially recruit for being too fat.

You can read about it here:

This report, by a group of retired military officers, says that national security is threatened by the sharp rise in obesity rates for young people over the last 15 years. The group Mission: Readiness contends that weight problems are now the leading medical reason that recruits are rejected, and jeopardizes the military's ability to fill its ranks.

The report says that 27 percent of Americans ages 17 to 24, are too fat to join the military.

The retired officers were on Capitol Hill advocating for passage of a wide-ranging nutrition bill that aims to make the nation's school lunches healthier.

The military getting involved is a powerful symbol. The school lunch program was established in 1946 because during World War II, military leaders had the opposite problem. Too many recruits were rejected because of stunted growth and inadequate nutrition. After the war, it was military leaders who pushed Congress to establish the national school lunch program.

Specifically, the military leaders want Congress to eliminate junk food and high-calorie beverages from schools, put more money into the school lunch program and develop new strategies that help children develop healthier habits.

So, now that the military is on board with this, do you think we could get bipartisan support for improved school lunches?

Support the military--get junk food out of our schools!!!

The Irish and Irish Food

I had a truly wonderful time in Ireland. We drove from Dublin, down to Cashel, to the West Coast then back to Dublin again. One of the first things I noticed is that the Irish are definitely thinner then us. Not that they are stick thin, but you don't see the any really fat or obese people walking around the way you do here.
The Irish, however, aren't all that svelte either, and I was pretty amazed at the number of miracle, fat burning products advertised. My favorite was the band you wrapped around your waist, thighs etc. that burned fat as you slept.
The food itself was wonderful. It's not haute cuisine, but my husband and I were impressed by how flavorful every ingredient was. Because we had a large breakfast every day, we generally skipped sit down lunches in favor of just snacking on bread, cheese and fresh fruit. But no matter where we bought the bread, cheese and fruit, is was first quality. Even if we went into the SPAR, which is kind of an Irish equivalent to 7/11 the apples were fresh and not at all mealy.
And, fruit was abundant everywhere. Fruit was available in every "fast food" place we saw, and it not only looked good but was good.
The bread was also amazing. I usually avoid Croissants here in the states because they're just soggy and greasy, but the Croissants we had for breakfast there, while not as great as those in France, were still light and flaky.
And, I never knew potatoes could taste so good. No wonder the Irish love them. Even a simple boiled potato with no sauce on it was a revelation food-wise.
Someone explained to us that as a rule, food doesn't travel far in Ireland, or the EU in general. They eat what's produced close, and they don't mass produce food and ship it long distances the way we do here. The difference in the approach is what accounts for the difference in food taste. The emphasis is on producing good tasting food, not food that can withstand travel.

Friday, April 23, 2010

I'm BA-A-A-CK!!!

Amazingly, I dodged the volcanic ash and not only made it to Ireland without even a delay, but back as well. I have some thoughts about how the Irish eat, but I'll have to blog about it tomorrow or Monday. Right now I need to finish unpacking, cleaning clothes, sorting the mail, etc.

It's good to be back.

And, sorry Jack, but I never knocked back a Guinness (although my husband quaffed many). I can't stand the taste of beer. I tasted my husband's brew on several occasions but stuck with either tea or wine (although I did have a hard cider in Dingle which was delish).

Friday, April 16, 2010

Gone, but not Forgotten

My husband and I are supposed to fly to Ireland tonight for one of our periodic honeymoon trips (Mom's going to watch the kids). If we actually fly (and despite the volcanic mess in the atmosphere, Irish airports are open), I'll be gone for a week and not blogging.

But I'll be back. Just check back in a week or so.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


SkinnyHollie has a great post on making changes in her household which you can read here:

I'm lucky in that our school district went "healthy" a few years ago so that there's no real junk food in the lunch program (all whole grains, no french fries, locally sourced fruits and veggies, etc), and there are no vending machines with candy and soda on school grounds. So, unlike Hollie, I don't have to make lunch for my kids to take to school, but if you're district is still serving the kind of food chronicled in the School Lunch Project (, it's something you may want to consider.

And, I put my whole family on the "no fast food" diet years ago. None of us needs it. Besides, I've found there's plenty of good, healthy, home-made "fast food" that I can make. And, as I always point out, I burn far more calories making food, then sitting on my butt and going through a drive through.

One thing I've learned about losing weight and keeping it off. It's not a solo project. The whole family has to change it's eating habits, not just you. And, you're not depriving them of anything, you're helping them on the road to good lifetime habits.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

America The Obese

A must read article in this Month's Atlantic:

The author, who underwent bariatric surgery, discusses Americans' weight problem and postures:

"If we are to solve the many problems that obesity is creating for American society, we must first move beyond the stale “willpower versus the food-industrial complex” debate. We need to understand what causes obesity, and what can really address it. And we need to try everything from rezoning fast-food restaurants and restricting food advertising to supporting new treatments and rewriting insurance policies. We won’t summon the collective will to take these steps until we recognize that our attitudes toward obesity are as unhealthy as the condition itself. We don’t want to look at fat people, much less pay for their medical care; we don’t want to be contaminated by them. But if we want fewer fat people in our midst, then we, as a nation, must start by treating them without condescension or contempt, and recognize the real obstacles that stand between them and better health."

Give a Hoot--Don't Pollute

I'm a big fan of the AMC show Mad Men. If you're unfamiliar with the show, it's about a bunch of hard-drinking, smoking, loutish ad men in the early 1960's. The creators of the show go that extra mile to really make it a period piece--not only in terms of style, but attitudes and social norms.

So yesterday, I'm watching a Mad Men rerun from the second season. The suave, philandering anti-hero, Don Draper, takes his family for a picnic in a pretty rural spot. The eat, relax, play checkers, then when it's time to go, Don finishes swilling his beer, crushes the can and throws it into the woods. His Grace Kellyish, dutiful wife starts to pack up the picnic, then lifts the blanket, depositing all the paper plates, cups, etc. onto the ground and just leaves it there.

Now, I remember people doing this in the 1960's. No one thought about cleaning up after themselves in public parks, the woods etc. Then came the 1970's and the anti-pollution message started coming on fast and furious.

Remember Woodsy the Owl and his "Give a Hoot, Don't Pollute" ads? I do.

Then there was the famous commercial with the older Indian man crying over pollution.

The point is that these ad campaigns worked. People did change their attitudes so that by the end of the 1970's it became unthinkable to have a picnic and not clean up your garbage after yourself.

So, when I look at the efforts of both Michelle Obama and Jamie Oliver to get this country on the path to eating right. I have hope. I truly believe that this country is waking up to the fact that we can not continue on the culinary course we've been on. Fast food is not our future.

Can we learn to cook and make our own food again? I think we can. I think we can also learn to love real food, and to reassign over-processed, nutritionally devoid food to it's appropriate place--the garbage bin.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Mama Mia that's a Fattening Pasta!!!!

I tend to not eat pasta in restaurants because I eat so much of it at home. It's a good thing, because although pasta when made right can be a healthy, low cal, energizing meal, in the wrong hands its a caloric disaster.

For example, if you were to partake in an order of the Cheesecake Factory's Bistro Shrimp Pasta, you'd probably be adding a good half pound or so to your waistline. That's because this dish packs a whopping 2,819 calories in one serving!!!

And, don't let the word "healthy" fool you when the sauce is garlic-infused cream. The Olive Garden's Garden Herb Chicken con Broccoli has 960 calories, leaving you with not much wiggle room, calorically, for the rest of the day.

And, don't think you're doing yourself any favors by ordering a kids' portion. The Cheesecake Factory's Kids' Pasta with Alfredo Sauce has 1,803 calories (I'd hate to see how many calories are in the Adult version).

Read about other pasta dishes you may want to avoid here:

So, the moral of the story here is to know before you order.

Take it Or Leave It

Sunday night for dinner I made pork chops on the barbecue for dinner. Nothing fancy. I just sprinkled the pork chops with salt and pepper and threw them on the grill.
Now, I've made pork chops before and my kids always ate them. It's not one of their favorite meals, but they eat them anyway. But something about the flavor the smoke imparted to the pork chops created a problem on Sunday night. My daughter, who had eaten herb crusted pork in school that week and loved it, refused to eat the pork chops. My son also let us know that he didn't like the meat.
My husband and I stood firm, however. We let both kids know that this was the meal and they either ate what was on their plates or they didn't eat. If they chose not to eat, there would be no other food or snacks provided to them until breakfast the next morning. My daughter chose not to eat. My son drenched the pork chop in ketchup and ate it.
I think that too often we obsess so much on kids eating, that we'll just give in to their eating junk. For some insane reasons millions of parents in this country think its better to feed their children processed chicken nuggets or sugar laden yogurt then not to eat at all.
I, however, think parents who do this are doing more harm to their children then good. First, it sets them on the path of having life-long bad eating habits. Second, they're teaching their children to be rude. These children will expect everyone to cater to their tastes. They're not being taught that you either eat what's in front of you, or just sit and be polite.
Needless to say, I won't be grilling pork chops again anytime soon. But, my daughter learned an important lesson, and she survived going without a meal.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Could We Please Get Healthier Movie Snacks?

I'd be happy if they just offered air-popped pop-corn instead of the calorie-laden, chemical filled stuff they currently sell:

As I blogged here: a medium movie theatre pop-corn has 1,200 calories BEFORE you add the butter. That's because of what they pop the corn in. It's a heavy oil laden with fat and chemicals. If they just brought in some air poppers, they can offer a healthier alternative to those of us who care.

Friday, April 9, 2010

It Might be a Good Idea to Skip the Latte

If you decide to have a latte at Krispy Kreme, you better skip the donut--and eating for most of the day. That's because a Krispy Kreme Latte contains a whopping 1050 calories.

And, that's not even the worst coffee drink you can order. Check it out here:

A Cosi Double Oh! Arctic Mocha contains a whopping 1,210 calories.
It all gets back to not drinking your calories. If you love coffee (and I sure do) order a regular coffee with skim milk and forget the fancy drinks.

Three Pounds Down

It's Spring, so a couple of weeks ago I decided to get serious about losing my Winter weight. Additionally, I'm leaving for Ireland next Friday with my husband for one of our periodic "honeymoons" (the kids are going to stay in NJ with my mother), and I want to have a little "wriggle room" to eat a bit more freely.

So for the last two weeks I've upped my raw percentage to about 80% of my weekly food consumption and increased the amount of exercise and movement I've done. There's been a lot of salad in my life these past two weeks, and my juicer has gotten a work-out as well.

The good news is that there's been a definite pay-back for my efforts. I'm down over three pounds in the last two weeks.

Three down, one more week to go.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

No, You Can't Just Get a Shot

The FDA has stated that so called fat dissolving treatments offered by spas are just plain bogus.

Read about it here:

It seems that a number of spas have been offering these "treatments" called names such as lipodissolve, mesotherapy, lipozap, lipotherapy, or injection lipolysis. All involved a series of injections into whatever area you wanted to dissolve the fat (ouch!!).

Well, the bottom line is that the FDA determined that they don't work.

Of course they don't work. Unless you shell out big bucks for liposuction (and go through the recovery period), there's only one way to lose weight--substantially reduce your caloric intake and exercise.

That's right. Losing weight is a tremendous bitch. There just is no easy way to do it. So save your money on treatments and miracle pills, and just eat better, eat less and move.

What Is It with These People???

I simply cannot get over the hysteria people work themselves into just because people are trying to change Americans bad eating habits.

Some back-ground, on Monday at the Easter Egg roll on the White House lawn, the Obama's replaced some of the candy in the kids' goodie bags with fruit (they still got chocolate and Peeps), and set up exercise stations manned by athletes on the lawn as well.

Now, I think these changes, should be lauded, but, of course, there are a number of naysayers. I not only found the hysteria in this post over at Reason laughable, but the comments to the post are even more laughable: Could someone please explain to me hour putting fruit in a kids' goody bag will make eating fruit "mandatory?"

I found this quote in the article particularly hysterical: "Like most obesity eliminationists, Barack and Michelle Obama are willing to fight fat on the beaches, in the lunch rooms, and dining rooms, anywhere and whatever the cost may be, including engendering an eating disorder in their own children ("Malia was getting a little chubby...") because the only thing worse than being a bulimic is being a fat bulimic."

The Obama's are "obesity elimationists?" What's that mean? That they are going to subject obese people to their own Holocaust or something?

This post calling Michelle Obama "The National Nanny" also caught my eye:

These are children aren't they? I find it amusing that instead of honestly criticizing Michelle Obama's efforts, critics resort to using alarmist words like "nanny," "nanny state," "socialism," "paternalism."

So, the bottom line is that all they're doing is just calling names. It's all so childish. I don't know what's worse, the critics who throw these terms around because they don't have any better honest arguments, or the rubes who post comments to these posts who agree with them using even more pathetic arguments and name calling.

Does USDA Mean "Ultra Silly Dietary Agenda?"

Marion Nestle has written an extremely informative post about the history and politics of the school lunch program. You can read it here:

Essentially, the school lunch program was developed to use up surplus agricultural commodities by feeding hungry kids (remember back then kids actually suffered from malnourishment here in the US). So while feeding kids was a side benefit, the real goal was to get rid of agricultural surpluses (driving up prices).

So feeding kids properly was never a goal of the school lunch program, and the problem has only gotten worse as time has progressed. Special interests have intervened to the point were it's impossible to serve kids "real" food, and so schools have to rely on overly processed foods to meet the standards.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Let Them Eat Tarte Tartin

An interesting and provocative piece about Alice Waters:,0,5529397,full.story
I happen to agree with Alice Waters about the need to eat local, organic produce, although I don't take it as "religiously" as she does.
But if that's her thing, that's her thing, and I don't understand why people have a problem with that. She makes great food, and by being so "pure" it does get the point across. Not everyone will, of course, adopt her pureness, but if only a bit rubs off, isn't that a good thing?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tomorrow is National Start Walking Day

OK everyone, get out those walking shoes and start walking. The American Heart Association has designated April 7 as National Start Walking Day--an initiative designed to just encourage Americans to start to move. AHA is challenging every American to walk a mere 30 minutes.

So, let's all get walking!!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Find What You Love and MOVE

Someone commented on my last post that they admired gardens, but didn't like gardening, although they appreciated the calorie burn.

You shouldn't do something just to burn calories (although taking the stairs, etc. is always a good). You should do it because you love it, and the calorie burn is just a good side benefit.

The point is that if you find something that you love to do that involves movement, then you'll do it. Exercising just to burn calories is a recipe for long-term failure because you won't stick with what you don't love.

So, instead of obsessing over what will burn calories faster, just think of how you can find new ways to get off the sofa, chair, etc and just MOVE.

If putting on music and dancing around the house makes you happy, then put on music and dance around the house.

If taking a stroll with your dog twice a day is what you love, then do that.

If taking a hike with a friend thrills you, then take a hike.

If watching TV is your thing, put a treadmill in front of the TV and take a walk as you watch.

If twisting yourself into new positions is what challenges you, become a yogi.

Just get up, start moving and stop eating unhealthy foods.

And the weight will come off and stay off.

It All Began in a Garden

It was a beautiful long weekend. I say "long weekend" because since the kids had Good Friday off from school, I had Good Friday off. I took them on hike on Friday, and did the requisite Easter stuff (dyeing eggs, hiding eggs, finding eggs).

But, I also had my first weekend of doing some substantial work in the yard. The weather was beautiful--warm without being hot and humid with a lot of sun.

I have been "gardening" in a sense for a few weeks now. I had started some seeds a few weeks back for parsley, cilantro, swiss chard and kale. They're about ready to set out in the garden. I've also done some Spring clean-up, and I've of course ventured out to pick some of the earlier daffodils to liven up the house.

This weekend, however, I was outdoors in earnest. While the kids ran around the yard and played on the playground on Friday, I swept through the yard picking up stray twigs and branches that fell onto the lawn. I then spread some fertilizer.

And, my gardening activities had some caloric payback. According to the calorie chart I consulted, spreading fertilizer burns approximately 170 calories an hour. I spent a little more than an hour on this chore (and a lot of it was spent pushing the spreader up and down the hills that make up my year.) Picking up the twigs and branches (which also involved pushing a wheelbarrow) also burned approximately another 200 calories. So, I burned about 370 calories (on top of what I burned hiking), just by spending some time outdoors.

On Saturday, I had an absolutely wonderful power walk then headed off to Tai Chi. After that I spent two hours pruning my rose bushes. I have rather extensive perennial beds, some inherited from the previous owner, and the rest added to and/or extended by me. I absolutely love roses, and although I avoid the fussiest varieties (i.e., Hybrid Teas), I have quite a few Floribundas, grandifloras, climbing, David Austin, Heritage, and modern hybrids. All need to be pruned every year when the forsythia bloom. So this was the weekend to do it.

I have one rather spectacular white flowered climbing rose whose name has been lost. It's a rather aggressive grower, having its own rosy notion of Manifest Destiny in the garden. It takes more time to prune this one bush, then all the others combined. But year after year, my efforts are rewarded with spectacular season-long blooms.

Besides, pruning burns approximately 70 calories every fifteen minutes, so in the hour I spent pruning this climber, I burned 280 calories.

I did a lot of other work this weekend, including hauling compost, spreading compost and weeding, and there's still so much more to do. But it's all worth it. Gardening is probably my favorite calorie burning activity, because of the visual rewards. I love looking out my windows to what my efforts have wrought.

And, my waistline looks so much better for the effort as well.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Let's Get NEAT

As I've said before, its the little movements that add up to more weight loss than big gym work-outs (although those are important too).

Eating Pasture Raised Meat Can Help you Lose Weight.

Pasture raised meat and dairy has fewer calories and fat. It's also nutritionally superior:

Even if you eat a typical amount of beef (66.5 pounds a year), switching to lean grass-fed beef will save you 17,733 calories a year. That means that even if everything else in your diet remains constant, you'll lose about six pounds a year.

I would, of course, recommend also reducing the amount of beef you consume, and adding more fresh fruits and vegetables.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Principal Lost 20 Pounds

I know I seem to be obsessing about Jamie Oliver the last few days, but he is all over the news, and what little I've seen this week about food and health related issues all seems to point back to him. But what intrigued me to post the link to this article:, isn't so much the discussion about Jamie's program, but the part about how the principal of the West Virginia school lost 20 pounds by eating healthy and dining with the kids.

Get that? This principal lost 20 pounds eating Olivers' school lunches. What does that tell you? Eating healthy and eating less processed foods is a path to weight loss. There are no miracles to weight loss, no magic bullets, no secret combinations of food. Just eat less stuff made by corporate America and more made by mother nature.