Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I’ve got some favorites to share with y’all. One of which might weirdly be my most favorite thing in the history of my favorite things entries. Here we go.

Buffalo chicken

I randomly bought some Frank’s Buffalo Sauce on a recent trip to the grocery store. I don’t have a very high tolerance for hot stuff, but I do like a little kick sometimes. I have been marinating chicken breasts (I always buy the smaller tenderloins) in the sauce and then lightly breading them with Italian bread crumbs and baking them. So yummy. It tastes like you’re eating something you really shouldn’t—a great guilty pleasure, minus the guilt.

Cardio Fusion close to home
The awesome Kevin “KSmoove” Maddox, who teaches Cardio Fusion at Children’s every Thursday, has started teaching at DWT Studios in Smyrna, right around the corner from my apartment. I’ve been taking Zumba classes at DWT for a while, but having Kevin so close to me is such a treat. It’s by far the hardest class I take, and now I get to do it twice a week. Whee!

My new cookbook

My best friend Rebecca knows me so well. And lucky for me, she is one of craftiest and most creative people I know. For my birthday, she made me a cookbook featuring some of my favorite (and soon-to-be-favorite, I’m sure) recipes from my beloved I’m so excited to have all these recipes at my fingertips. It was a truly thoughtful gift that meant so much to me.

And now, for my most favorite thing, possibly of all time. Are you ready?



Yes, I said cauliflower. Now look, I know that by itself, cauliflower just seems like a plain, colorless vegetable that lacks character and charisma. But in the past week, this seemingly boring food has changed my life. I’m not even kidding.

When low-carb eating was all the rage, I had read about—and even tried—cauliflower as a mashed potato swap. Y’all know I love me some mashed potatoes. But I love them so much I can’t keep them in my house. So learning that cauliflower could be an acceptable substitute? I was thrilled. So I tried them. They were terrible. I never tried them again.

Until last week. My dear friend Laura Cobb and I often swap new food obsessions and recipes. She told me that she makes cauliflower mash every week. Laura’s recipes have never once let me down, so I decided to give them another shot.

Since last Tuesday, I have eaten, um, five bags of frozen cauliflower. Yeah. Beyond obsessed.

I use frozen cauliflower (Bonus? It’s less than $1 a bag.) and steam it right in the microwave (I vent the bag, put a little water right in there and set the whole bag in a Tupperware dish in the microwave so the water doesn’t go everywhere. I cook it about 5 to 6 minutes). Then I drain it, stick it in the food processor with two wedges of light Laughing Cow cheese and some salt and pepper, and process until it is the lovely smooth texture of my beloved mashed potatoes. Except none of the guilt, hardly any of the calories and lots more vitamins than those potatoes could ever give me. To sum it up, I’m having a torrid affair with cauliflowtatoes, and I don’t plan to stop any time soon.

That’s it for November. I hope you all have a very happy Thanksgiving. I plan to concentrate more on my family and friends than I do the food to make it through the holiday without gaining. This week, I lost a pound and am down a total of 130. Feels good to be on the losing end again. 

I am thankful for all of you, my lovely readers! Thanks for keeping me going every day.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Feeling special

Happy Friday, everyone! I don't really have any new pictures of me to add today. But tomorrow is my birthday, and Mary Wynne, our Manager of Creative Services, is my work birthday buddy. She put a tremendous amount of thought and effort into making me feel special. I've felt the warm fuzzies since I walked in the door this morning.

One of the things she did for me was to make an "Everything Erika" poster. She included pictures of people and things I love (Donnie Wahlberg, Ryan Gosling, nail polish, peanut butter and bacon, etc.). I can't think of a single thing she left out. It's truly awesome.
I'm pretty sure my trainer, Jessica, would be uber proud to see Mary included an exercise ball. What are some things that would be on your "Everything" poster?

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Am I broken?

Last week I hit the reset button. But it looks like I'm going to have to hit it again.

I fear I may have reached the dreaded plateau. I've pretty steadily lost weight since starting all this, but it's just not happening right now. Last week I did really well. I felt super in control for the first time in a while. I counted all my points, I worked out extra hard.

And I didn't lose an ounce.

Fast forward to this past weekend. I was at the Ronald. Someone had kindly donated 60 (yes, 60) pounds of Halloween candy. And this wasn't the crappy candy, either. There were no Smarties or Whoppers or Bit O' Honey. We're talking full sized Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Snickers, Twix. Dangerous stuff. Then these lovely ladies cooked a veritable Mexican feast Saturday night. Even more dangerous.

I stepped on the scale Monday morning and was up almost 5 pounds.

Are you kidding me? Why is it so hard to lose and so easy to gain? Sometimes I long for the days where I weighed more than 300 pounds and was losing. It seemed so much easier then. Now, as I get closer to my goal, I have to break myself to lose an ounce, but indulge just a little to gain a lot.

I'm frustrated. All 5 of those pounds didn't stick, but today I had the worst weigh-in since I started all this. I was so happy with myself last week. I felt so great. And now I just feel defeated.

I'm going to power forward. It's what I do. And hopefully I'll have better news next week.

For now, though, don't give up on me. I'm having a hard enough time not giving up on myself.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Strong Sibling Legs

It's Friday! Time for pictures! Whee (I'm in an exclamation point kind of mood today)!

Last Saturday, I joined thousands of my closest friends to participate in the Kids II Strong Legs Run for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. I sweetly convinced (more like threatened with death) my brother, Christopher, to join me, and my friend Carla also did it with us.

As you know, I'm not really a runner, but I ran the downhills and finished in about 44 minutes or so. Christopher, a former high school track star, who hasn't run in about 15 years, ran it in about 29 minutes. Of course he did. Though his best 5k time in high school (that's 3.1 miles, for those who don't know) was 17:20. Seriously. How are we related?

Here are a few pictures from last Saturday. Also, I wrote a blog yesterday, too, so don't miss that. Happy weekend, everyone!

Christopher and me, pre-race

With Carla and Christopher

With Hope and Will after the race

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Scale Schmale

A couple of days ago, I stepped on the scale and got an error message. Apparently, my battery is finally running out. Not bad for two years’ worth of stepping on and off.

My relationship with the scale has always been full of love and hate. Or maybe obsession and ignorance would be better descriptions.

The first time I lost a significant amount of weight was in 1998. I was completely head-over-heels for a guy who was in grad school in Boston. And I’d make it a goal to be skinnier and skinnier with every one of his visits. This was not accomplished through the healthiest of ways. I basically starved myself and would step on the scale dozens of times each day to check my progress.

The scale became my enemy. My successes and failures were based on the number that would blink at me from between my feet.

In 2000, everything changed. He and I fell apart. My mom died. I started eating. That scale haunted me as I watched the numbers go up. I felt powerless over it.

So I sold it at a garage sale. I was free.

But it was a case of feast or famine. I’d already gone through the famine. It was time to feast.

Without the scale, I had no accountability. It wasn’t yelling (in my mind I could hear its voice, like an angry bully) at me that I wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t mocking me with numbers I never thought I’d see again. I ate and stuffed my feelings in blissful ignorance.

I’d go to the doctor. I’d close my eyes when I stood on the scale and tell the nurse not to tell me.

And I’d eat. And eat some more. And my blissful ignorance became defiant bitterness.

Finally, it gave way to a horrifying realization. I had ignored everything so long, I no longer recognized myself.

In January 2010, when I first decided to start my weight loss journey, I wanted to make sure I knew my number before someone at Weight Watchers told me.

So I went to Walmart to buy a scale. I was totally embarrassed. Here I was, more than 300 pounds (I knew that much) buying a scale. Everyone would laugh at me.

Luckily it was cold, so I was wearing a coat. I picked up the scale, took off my coat and cradled it in front of me. Then I got to the checkout lanes, which were all packed with 10-plus people. I stood there with my bundled scale and prayed for the lines to move quickly.

Normally I’m all about chatting with strangers, but when the woman in front of me struck up a conversation, I was horrified.

“Is that a baby under your coat?” she asked me.

“Um, no. It’s a scale.”

“Oh. I thought you might be trying to keep your baby warm.”

Yeah. So, who knew? Hiding it just made it more obvious—just like my eating disorder.

Oh, scale. You and I have been friends and enemies. We’ve currently settled on frenemies. I don’t base my life on what you say. Because sometimes, I just prefer what my other friend—smaller-size jeans—has to tell me.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Flapper fotos

I apologize for using fotos with an F two weeks in a row. I can't help it. I just like alliteration. As promised, here are a few pictures from Halloween. I went out with a couple of my best friends Carla and Heidi, both of whom I've known for more than 20 years (yikes). Fun times.

With Heidi.

With Carla.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

It does matter if it's black or white

Someone asked me if I would write a blog about the “all-or-nothing” mentality. It’s something with which I’m all too familiar. It’s what got me in trouble in the first place, really. And it’s something that still gets to me sometimes.

There is this idea that there are good foods and bad foods. Skinny people and fat people. Being healthy or bingeing. There’s no gray with any of these. Just black and white.

Here’s how my extreme all-or-nothingness would work. I’d order a pizza. I’d eat one slice, then two. Then three. Maybe I was full. But in my head I’d say “Oh, tomorrow I’ll be good.” So I’d finish off the pizza so I wasn’t tempted the next day. Of course, the next day I’d start over with the entire bag of chips or the whole box of cookies.

My years of dieting didn’t help. I’d have a “good” day. Then I’d eat something “bad.” After that I figured I’d already messed up everything, so why not just go completely off the wagon? It was a downward spiral that continued for nearly a decade.

I once had a nutritionist give me the idea to talk about “freeing and nonfreeing” foods. We came up with those terms together. Chips? Cheese and crackers? Nonfreeing. Meal planning, whole grains, lean protein? All freeing.

But in some ways, that was still me thinking in black and white terms.

I’ve learned a lot throughout this journey. And one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to take everything in moderation. I’ve learned not to look at my entire weight loss goal, but take it in tiny bits. I’ve learned not to beat myself up if I’ve overindulged a little. And I’ve learned that sometimes, you just need to treat yourself.

It’s one of the reasons I like Weight Watchers. You can fit all foods into your life. Just maybe not at once. If it’s my birthday, you’d better believe I’m having cake. Sometimes, when I go to the movies, I just want popcorn. Other days, I really need to satisfy a fast food craving.

Life is too short to live in denial. People often comment on my willpower. Trust me, I have no willpower. I have just learned not to forbid myself from anything. It’s what will always get me in trouble. I’ll keep thinking about that forbidden food until I eventually cave and eat way too much.

Now, there are still ways I restrict myself. I don’t keep certain foods in my house because I simply can’t control myself around them. There are no loaves of bread, crackers or chips in my apartment. But that’s not to say I never have those things. I’ve found the happy medium. I don’t buy them, but sometimes I’ll indulge in them—just a little.

Treat yourself. Allow yourself to give in to your cravings, even those you once considered “bad.” I really believe it’s the only way to be successful in losing weight.

Because, truly, how boring can black and white get? We all need a little color in our lives.