Monday, June 28, 2010

A bittersweet change

I just made a phone call that broke my heart.

As of about 30 minutes ago, I am officially on a leave of absence from the Ronald McDonald House.

I decided this weekend would be my opportunity to really evaluate my time there. As it has been the past few times, it was pretty much a disaster. And I decided I couldn’t do it anymore.

Recovering alcoholics can’t hang out in bars. The Ronald is my bar. And right now my recovery is too fragile to hang out there.

But the Ronald is also a big part of who I am, and my heart is a little crushed at its loss. I know I’ll stay in touch and maybe even volunteer there sometimes. I’ll probably even fill in every once in a while as a weekend manager. But right now I have to make this decision for me.

It's interesting. I used to look forward to my weekends because of the food. How things have changed.I’ve been fortunate in that even though I’ve had some terrible weekends, food-wise, I haven’t gained any weight from them. But the bigger problem is what it does to my ego and to my emotions. When I walk away from a weekend where I felt out of control, it affects me for the next few days. And I just can’t have these emotional setbacks every month.

In a superficial way, my position was a paid one, so I’ll miss the extra bit of money, too. But I’ll just have to budget a little tighter.

I’m sad. I’m disappointed. But I also feel hope that I am able to make these big decisions for my health. As much as it hurts, I know it’s the right thing to do.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday hodgepodge

“Can you see the difference in yourself?”

That’s one of the questions I’ve gotten the most since I started losing weight. My answer was always the same, “Not really. I mean, my clothes are looser, but I can’t really see it.”\\

I think I have a new answer.

Posting the blog the other day and seeing the picture was eye-opening for me. It was the very first time I could see the difference. In fact, I was more focused on how terrible my hair was than how many chins I had. That’s a change. In case you’re worried, I have alerted my hairdresser with a big S.O.S.

Unfortunately, I haven’t had as much time as I would have liked to try some of the recipes you have sent me. But last night, I tried a simple recipe for a grilled chicken salad with mango and avocado sent to me by Ashley Hauserman from the CICU.

It was a perfect light meal for summer. I just threw together some Romaine, spinach and grilled chicken and then cut up some mango and avocado. I tossed it all together with balsamic vinegar and olive oil along with some kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. So. Good. I’m kind of dreaming about it today. The flavor of the mango and avocado was especially satisfying together. I think this might become a staple in my house.

I also baked some panko-crusted eggplant. That was just OK. I still want to try a few of the eggplant recipes you guys sent. Next time. In the meantime, I’ll keep asking for recipes, so be ready!

I’m substituting at the Ronald this weekend. I’m really hoping for a good weekend, especially after the disaster that was last time. As usual, I’ll give you guys all the gritty details Monday.

Finally, I want to send a big “Go girls!” to my Children’s friends who are participating in the Iron Girl this weekend. I think all of you are such rock stars. If I could swim properly and if it hadn’t been about 20 years since I’ve been on a bike, I might be joining you. Perhaps I’ll take some crash courses for next year. Anyway, I’m rooting for you guys. I can’t wait to hear how well you do You girls are my heroes!

With that, have a wonderful weekend, friends.

P.S. A few of you (especially from Children’s) have let me know that you’re having trouble posting comments. Please keep trying. Sometimes it helps to refresh the comments page a few times. If you can, e-mail me and let me know the error message you're getting.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New lip gloss, here I come

Look closely at this picture. What do you see?
                • I really need to get my hair done
                • Yes, I do have a Donnie Wahlberg poster in my cube
                • I wear this shirt every Tuesday
                • I'm holding a 50-pound marker
                • I'm pretty darn happy
Today, I hit that milestone I had been talking about. I was down 3.8 pounds this week, for a total of 53. For every 25 pounds, Weight Watchers give you a marker to put on your 10 percent keychain. My own reward is a Chanel lip gloss that was too expensive for me to justify unless I earned it.

As for the shirt, it's my weigh-in shirt, so I wear it most Tuesdays. And the Donnie Walhberg poster? Well, a girl has to hold on to her dreams, right?

Thanks to all of you for your love--tough and not--and for your wonderful support these past few months. I'm still going. And I look forward to posting a picture with my 75-pound marker.

I know some of you have also hit some major milestones. If you're comfortable, e-mail me a photo of you showing it off to I'll do some sort of collage. Yay success!

Friday, June 18, 2010

A new challenge--for you

This week ended up better than I thought. I was down another 1.4 pounds this week, despite my missteps last weekend.

Thanks to those of you who wrote me with encouragement or advice. I giggled when so many of you had ideas about disciplining little Quinn. He’s always getting the attention. It's hard to be that cute.

In talking to a friend about my weekend and my feeling out of control around the food, I told her I was afraid I hadn’t changed. That I was going to fight this my whole life. But my friend is wise. She told me that I had changed. How could I tell? I stopped. My binge might have lasted a day, but I stopped it. And that’s something I couldn’t do before. They’d go on weeks, months and even years. So one day was a drop in the bucket. Hopefully as I continue, they’ll be fewer and fewer of those days.

I thought I’d try something new with this blog. If you keep up with me, you know how excited I was about my produce basket a couple of weeks ago. I decided that every other week, I’d post the basket contents and challenge you guys to come up with a few healthy recipes. I’ll pick one or two to make and let you know how they turn out. I think it will help me to stretch my cooking muscles (they are very, very weak) and add some variety into my diet. Plus, maybe you’ll get some new ideas, too.

So with that, I present you the very first Produce Basket Challenge. There are only a couple of rules:

1. Your recipe must contain at least one of the items in the basket.
2. You must include the nutritional information. Also include your name so I can give you a shout out.

Here are this week’s contents:
  • Romaine
  • Cabbage
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • Mangoes
  • Eggplant
  • Cucumbers
  • Corn
  • Oranges
Ready? Go! I can't wait to see what you come up with.

Monday, June 14, 2010

I'm telling y'all it's a sabotage*

I have a 1-year-old kitten. He’s a handful. I sleep with a water bottle next to my bed, because when he wakes me up in the morning by climbing up my blinds (see photo) or scratching on something he shouldn’t, he gets a hydro-shot of discipline.

But it doesn’t really affect him. Because he keeps doing the same thing again and again and again. Who cares about the consequences?

This weekend, I learned that apparently little Quinn and I have a lot in common. I, too, ignored the consequences.

I didn’t want to write today. I wanted to ignore the past few days and pretend it didn’t happen, and I definitely dreaded facing you guys. But that’s not what I’ve promised to do. And that’s not what’s going to help any of us in the long run.

I went to the Ronald, all set with my own food. I started off well, but it quickly turned to disaster. I had what were perhaps my worst food days since I started all this. I won’t go into detail, to save at least a little dignity. But I will say it involved chocolate cake—and not just one piece. And that wasn't all of it.

It’s devastating. I don’t know what came over me. The only thing I can peg is that I’m deliberately sabotaging myself. I’m very close to a major weight loss milestone. Maybe I’m not ready to accept that I actually deserve it.

It’s a hard pill to swallow. I keep talking about how much I have changed. I still believe that to be true. But now I know that this is something I may have to deal with my entire life. Man, that hurts.

So last night, I cried myself to sleep. But this morning, I got up and packed my clothes for the gym.

I have no choice but to keep trying.

*Thanks to the Beastie Boys for the blog title.

P.S. Did you vote today? Vote to help Children's win a $25,000 grant for our Fit and Healthy Families Project.

Friday, June 11, 2010


I hate to state the obvious. But man, we as a society are lazy. L-a-z-y.

I needed a quick lunch today, so I was going to go across the street to Chick-Fil-A for a salad after running a few errands. I could barely squeeze into the parking lot because all the cars in the drive-through line were blocking the way to the spaces. I was perfectly content to park and walk into the restaurant, but it was impossible.

I was frustrated and impatient. Can’t these people just get out of their cars and walk, for goodness’ sake? Lazy, lazy, lazy!

There was a time when I would only pick places to eat if they had a drive-through. After all, those drive-throughs provided the portals to my favorite binge foods. You would’ve had to kill me before I’d walk in and order.

Part of the reason was that I was embarrassed. Much like I did at the grocery store, I’d make excuses for my overeating when driving through fast food establishments. Sometimes I’d order an extra drink to make the server think the food I was ordering was for two. Other times, I’d pretend I was on the phone and ask the “person” on the other end of the line if he wanted sauce. Whatever it took to hide my secrets.

I’m not saying I never use a drive-through anymore. Trust me. But it’s little things like today that make me realize how I’ve changed.

The errands I was running during lunch, by the way, were for preparation purposes. I am heading to the Ronald for my monthly weekend today. And after last time, I learned that I can never go there unprepared. So I bought a few things to allow for healthier choices if none are available. Plus, I called ahead and made sure the house was hash brown casserole-free.

I had a good weigh-in this week. I got rid of 3.2 pounds—a much better feeling after last week’s gain.

I hope you all have a great weekend. And as a challenge, maybe just once in the next few days, if you have to stop and pick up a quick dinner or lunch, forgo the drive-through and walk into the restaurant. I bet you’ll have a much shorter line.

P.S. Children's is one of 10 finalists for the Post Grant for Good Health, which is designed to improve the health of communities across America. The finalist with the most votes will win $25,000, so be sure to vote for Children's “Fit and Healthy Families Project.”

You can vote once a day until July 12. Vote now for our Fit and Healthy Families Project.

Be ready. I will be bugging y'all about this every day.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The freedom of enough

When I was in sixth grade, I came home from school one day to find my mom had taped a newspaper ad on my mirror.

It was a picture of a baby and it said, “Do you remember the last time you were really happy with the way you look?”

It was actually an ad for a plastic surgeon. Now, before you go thinking that my mom was the worst mother this side of Joan Crawford, let me explain.

I was about 11 when my negative thoughts about myself really kicked into high gear. I was never smart enough. Never good enough, pretty enough or thin enough. Never enough. And it broke my mother’s heart to see the daughter she unconditionally loved be so hard on herself. So she put up the newspaper clipping to remind me that at some point in my life I had been free of the chains of negativity and self-hatred.

I recently cleaned out some old boxes and found that ad. I saved it all these years. I remember it sparking a conversation full of honesty and tears between my mother and me. And it has been something I’ve thought of many times since.

Because the truth is that I don’t know when I’ll be smart enough or good enough. Or pretty enough or thin enough. The last time I lost a significant amount of weight, I was obsessed with my crooked teeth. So I got braces. Then I got obsessed with the wonkiness in my right eye. Then it was that my lips were too thin. Never enough.

As I learn more about myself through this journey, the most important thing I’m trying to gain is a love of self. It’s a self that has been blessed with the love of others. But there is definitely a freedom that comes with finding that love within your own soul.

I’m not there yet. But I’m working on it. And I’m hoping that one day I’ll be able to truly look at myself and say:

Yes, I am enough.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Strong and peppery

Again it’s Friday and I don’t have anything super compelling to share. So I’ll tell you a silly little story.

Yesterday I was home with a migraine. I was lying on the couch, just feeling kind of icky overall. At one point I reached over to scratch my arm and was freaked out because I felt something hard. I panicked, thinking I had a tumor or a strange cyst. Then it hit me.

It was a muscle.

I mean, who knew I had those in my arms?

True story.

I’m really loving my produce basket. Wednesday night I made stuffed peppers. They were YUMMY. And thanks to my friend Dinah, last night I tried some grilled romaine lettuce. Definitely a new staple. But for now, here’s my stuffed peppers recipe.

6 large green peppers
1 lb ground turkey (I used super lean ground beef. I’m not a fan of ground turkey.)
2 tbsp chopped onion
1 cup cooked rice
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp garlic salt
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Cut thin slice from stem of each pepper; remove guts and rinse.
  • Cook peppers 5 minutes in enough boiling water to cover, drain.
  • Cook and stir onion and turkey in skillet until beef is light brown; drain.
  • Stir in rice, salt, garlic salt and 1 cup tomato sauce; heat through.
  • Stuff each pepper with beef mixture; stand upright in greased 8x8x12 baking dish.
  • Pour remaining sauce over peppers.
  • Cover and bake 45 minutes.
  • Uncover, bake 15 minutes longer.

Nutritional info
Servings per Recipe: 6

Amount per serving :
  • Calories: 171.1
  • Total Fat: 5.6 g 
  • Cholesterol: 53.3 mg 
  • Sodium: 815.7 mg 
  • Total Carbs: 14.4 g 
  • Dietary Fiber: 1.2 g 
  • Protein: 16.4 g
  • WW Points: 4 per serving

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Get too comfy--gain weight

This week I had my second weight gain since I started Weight Watchers.

I gained .6 pounds this week. The last time I gained weight was after my friend’s wedding and I could pinpoint exactly what caused it. This time, it’s a little fuzzier. My guess is that I’ve gotten a little cocky. And it shows.

So far, the program has been fairly easy for me. I’ve made good choices and those choices have led to weight loss. But lately, I’ve been slacking on my cardio (personal strength training is no substitute for much-needed cardio) and have been neglecting my Weight Watchers points tracking.

Those of us doing Weight Watchers at the Park can recite our beloved leader, Dee’s, many mantras:

If you bite it—write it.

If you drink it—ink it.

If you nibble it—scribble it.

If you lick it—click it.

I’ve not been doing any of these things. I’ve just been eating—and eating healthy—but acting like I don’t need to focus so much on the actual program.

I’m wrong. And now I’m .6 pounds heavier. Maybe that doesn’t sound like a lot. But every little bit does add up. I’ve definitely proven that during the last 10 or so years.

So I’m going to be hard core on my plan from now on. I’ll be tracking. I’ll be upping my cardio. I already had one good workout with the new Children’s Zumba class (SO fun, by the way! Make sure you check Careforce for your campus’ schedule.) and I plan to have a few more this week.

Because the one thing I don’t want is to get to the end of this journey and feel like I just got lucky and skated by. I want to work for what I get. And I will.

P.S. Our produce baskets were delivered today! I'm ridiculously excited about this (just ask any of my co-workers who are sick of me talking about it). I can't wait to go home and try some new recipes. Here's a picture I took of my basket: