A Whole New Day

Eating Well is a Weighty Issue

White Chocolate Delight

White Chocolate Delight**This is really good and very easy. Not too bad for you either. Has a beautiful texture.

(by Cook Yourself Thin Faster):
6 oz white chocolate (half a bag of white chocolate chips)
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 cups low-fat (2%) Greek Style Yogurt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Chopped strawberries and sweetener of choice (I used a packet of stevia)

Combine white chocolate and cream in microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second intervals until smoothly mixed. Be careful not to burn it. My microwave isn’t very powerful and it took me two intervals, just mix it really well on the second one and the few chips that aren’t melted completely will do so.

Set the chocolate mixture off to the side for 30 minutes until cooled off. DO NOT add to the yogurt hot.

Whisk together the yogurt and vanilla extract. Once the chocolate is cooled off blend that and the yogurt.

Put in your serving dishes and though you can serve immediately this is best if it is allowed to set for about 2 hours.

Top with chopped/sweetened strawberries before serving.

Makes 5 – 6 servings depending on your cup size.

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I am at the beginning of my journey. My health hasn’t done an amazing 180. I haven’t lost 100 pounds. I haven’t even done that great so far. I keep stumbling and getting back up, dusting myself off, and carrying on. Which at this point I am doing the most important thing – NOT GIVING UP.

One thing that has come to surprise me is the amount of resistance I have come to see regarding my decision to follow a more whole/natural foods LIFE STYLE (not diet!!). In the words of Jack LaLanne, “It’s not a diet. It’s a lifestyle.” That is what I am looking for –  not the Grapefruit, South Beach, Atkins, or Cabbage Soup diet. I am not in this just to lose weight. I am in this to gain life. Vibrant healthful life.

This resistance has caused me to do some reflection and I am starting to wonder a little bit about why those closest to me sometimes smirk when they ask me “How’s the diet going?”

  1. Change is hard. Even for those around you. Especially when you do something that complicates the typical routine. Many of our social functions center around sharing a meal. Food is everywhere and thrown into every situation. Dragging new dietary concerns into the mix and not being able to – or wanting to – eat anywhere makes things complicated. But I figure if I have had to roll with the punches through marriages, babies, and all the other huge changes my friends have made then they can deal with me changing my diet.
  2. Removing your own blinders forces people to remove theirs as well. If you draw attention to the crap that you have been eating and the fat on your body it forces people to look at themselves. They don’t like that which leads to point number 3.
  3. Secret Desire for you to fail so you can continue to be fat and eat junk together. They don’t want to change. They don’t want you to change. Right here is comfortable and chicken fingers are good. It isn’t that they are evil. It isn’t that they may even know it. But secretly they want to be fat WITH you not fat beside you.
  4. Assumed Nutritional Genius. Everyone has advice on what you should do and that they have all the answers and you don’t have to pay them because they are so beneficent. Well hey guess what – I know to eat right, exercise, and drink more water.  Everyone does and yet most of us are still fat. If it were as easy as that all of America would cease to be fat and we would be, well, Norway. But controlling all our decisions – good and bad – is this giant baffling thing:  The Human Brain. It is a surprisingly emotional process for me to change what I eat. Which is exactly why I am paying someone to help me with this lifestyle change. Even though they may think it, my Food and Wellness Coach isn’t going to roll her eyes at me and call me stupid and make me feel like an ass. She is going to walk me through my mistake and prop me up and give me the strength to move forward which is exactly what I need right now. Though in many ways I appreciate tough love, right now, honestly, I am a little too delicate for it. While I appreciate everyone’s advice, what I really need is your support. And if you can’t give that then I will accept silence.

My decision has been to try to ignore the critics and the back seat nutritionists. It isn’t always easy and I do a crazy amount of tip toeing around other peoples feelings.

That being said, in the interest of being a bit juvenile, their annoying me is also motivating. In addition to wanting to make myself healthier  the motivating factor of “I’LL SHOW YOU. JUST WAIT AND SEE” kicks in.

I figure the best revenge (I know this sounds petty, but I never claimed to be perfect) is looking super hot, feeling super good, and smacking the smirks off all their faces with my super awesomeness.

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Destinationless Journeys: ITS OKAY!!!!

A lot of my friends and family think I am being ridiculous paying someone to be my health and wellness coach. It is a financial investment but if you look at whom it is truly an investment in (you) and what you are purchasing (experience and advice from an expert) it is a worthwhile purchase. I find it interesting because I doubt anyone would ridicule me for joining Weight Watchers,  Nutri-System, or joining a gym. So I am unsure why it is fair game to ridicule my decision to change my diet to focus more on whole foods and to have a coach to help me through the process.

So I am going to talk about why this is a valid expense for me and perhaps it will make it easier to justify it to yourself if you are in a similar situation. What is most important to remember is that it is your money, your life, your health and your decision what you are going to do with any of those.

First, you spend your entire life being taught how to eat and cook. When you want to change that, for people like myself who use food as comfort, it is kind of traumatizing.  So this isn’t just a diet change, and it isn’t just a “diet” in the usual sense of the word, it is taking away my security blanket. The thing that has given me comfort my entire life.

What is really happening is that just like when a parent has to take away a childs pacifier, I need to find a new and healthier way to sooth myself. Because of all this it gives me great comfort to have someone I can turn to and ask for advice. Someone that doesn’t laugh at my worries, belittle my struggles, try to talk over me, or start talking about themselves.

Second, if I was doing this on my own I would have given up already. I have a tendency to strive for perfection and the second I don’t achieve it I give up.  My coach helps me realize that this is a learning JOURNEY and that if I do it right I will never achieve a destination because I will always be moving forward and learning. Failing to be perfect is not a reason to quit because perfection is not attainable. Celebrate and focus on your wins and never quit moving forward towards your goals.

I am not going to say that is always easy for me. I have a long history of, and come from a long line of, people who beat themselves up for not being perfect. To have someone tell me that it is okay not to be goes against everything I have ever been told.  Talking to my coach makes me realize that you aren’t a failure as long as you are actively trying and being honest with yourself about your efforts. Plus she is tricky. I find my mind changing in tiny subtle ways and though I haven’t lost much weight I haven’t gained any either in the month that we have been working together and that in itself is something for this girl to be happy about.

Third, I want to lose 100 pounds. That doesn’t happen overnight nor should it. I weigh 260 pounds. That’s right. I said it. I never thought I would admit it out loud but that is how much I weigh. I choose to own it. I own the disease that helped me get here. I own every morsel of food I have put in my mouth to comfort myself.  I own every medication I have had to take. I own every horrible thing that has happened over the last six years. Since I own it I can also choose to release it.  Working with Claire has helped me realize that I am not the only person who has traveled a rough road to a health crisis, that I am not alone in my desire to change and most importantly I am not alone in my struggle to do so.

Fourth, I have learned that without health just about nothing else is possible. Each of us needs to make more of an effort to love ourselves. I am discovering that it is OKAY and GOOD to put myself first because if I don’t I am no good to anyone. Me being healthy and capable is the best thing I can do for all the people who love me. Myself included.

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These Many Gifts

If you had asked me ten years ago what the greatest gift was I might have said riches. I might have said love. Honestly I am not sure what I would have said other than it would not be health, which is my answer now.

Many people have pivotal moments in their lives. Perhaps the birth of a child, surviving a car wreck, or meeting the eyes of their future spouse from across a crowded room.  Mine came in May of 2008 and my life changed.

From that moment on my already tumultuous life became a roller coaster of epic proportions. Of having the will but not the strength. Of hating myself. Of hating everyone. Living in a dark world of self-pity, silent desperation and misunderstanding.

Thanks to many people , animals, and the Grace of God, I made it. But the biggest thanks goes to myself and my determination. I gave up once and was thrown back in the pond and I wasn’t doing it again though I was sorely tested.

So all of that has brought me to where I am now. The worst I can say is that I am fat. Not in scooter/special chair territory, but enough so that I don’t want to be fat anymore. I want my outside to reflect how I feel inside. After years of stormy weather the sun is now in my heart and I want to shine. I want to make up for lost time. I want to climb mountains. Or at least walk the easier hiking trails….

And that is why I say health is the greatest gift. A Kia and a Mercedes will both get you to the same place. A Wal-Mart purse and a Coach purse will carry the same things. A meal at Waffle House or at Peddler will both fill your stomach. But without health the will to do any of those things is gone. I would rather be the poorest healthy person than the richest sick person any day.

The second greatest gift is appreciation. Without my trials of the last few years I think I would still be focused more on what I don’t have versus what I do. Not to say I don’t covet – I do. I am human and have human failings. But what I do have is much more important and the things that matter have changed as well.

Every day that I wake up and can actually get out of bed I appreciate.

Every time I walk without back pain I appreciate.

Every time I smell my shampoo instead of cigarette smoke I appreciate.

Every time I think to myself “It is possible with time” I appreciate.

I still want things. I still like “stuff”. I still wish I could go to any store and be able to walk in and buy whatever I want. For years I did that and that’s how I ended out bankrupt. Though I wouldn’t say everyone should do that, Janis Joplin was kind of right when she said that freedom is another word for nothing left to lose.

I have no credit cards now. Everything I have is mine. Bought with cold hard cash. If I can’t afford it I don’t buy it and I wish to hell I would have done that from the time I was 18 but I am a stubborn fool and have to learn my lessons the hard way unfortunately.

The third thing I am thankful for is realization. In America we are inundated with fantasy. There is nothing wrong with escapism in small doses but all we see is the glitter and not the glue holding it in place. All those beautiful Hollywood bodies? They take a lot of work and none of us is going to get one by eating cheesesteaks and Little Debbies. Maybe in our 20’s but definitely not afterwards.

All those big television apartments rented by waitresses? That isn’t reality. Real people can’t live like that and you end out over extended if you try.

In short, you have to make your own reality and be PROUD of it. Own who you are. Why should you be ashamed that your rent or mortgage payment is affordable. That’s something to be proud of.

Why should you be ashamed that your clothes, bag, shoes, whatever was sold by Target and not Prada? You shouldn’t be – that’s what you can afford and you look damned sexy.

The other part of realization is understanding the albatross. What in your life weighs you down? Find it. Excise it. Move on. If you have people or situations in your life that don’t enrich it let them go. It may leave a scar and it may hurt but time wasted is time you will never get back. You are doing them a favor as well.

And the reverse of that is realizing when to hold on . I almost lost someone quite precious to me and I stepped down off my pride and said “I don’t want this to happen”. Every moment that goes by we as people change and though things will never be as they were they will be as they are and if we allow that – that isn’t all that bad.

The last thing I am thankful for is LAUGHTER. I thank God that even in my darkest moments I have been able to laugh. I know I use humor as escapism and I was once told I hide a lot of pain there but I am still glad for it. In the hospital, on the unemployment line, writing bad checks for groceries – I was always able to laugh. It was the cushion that kept me from hitting rock bottom. My life jacket. I always say if it scares you laugh at it and I will say that till the day I die. Nothing makes the big smaller than a joke at its expense.

Much love to all and many hopes for a successful 2012!




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It’s Pantry Time

About a year and a half ago when I first started battling with eating gluten free I remember being completely overwhelmed. Agar Agar? Potato Starch? Xanthan Gum? What?

It required a lot of books and internet research but it slowly became less scary and now I can actually read a recipe and think “I have all the ingredients to make that!”. It is exciting to have a stocked pantry.

I still have a hard time sticking to what I am supposed to do. The strange thing is that I actually feel better – significantly better – when I use “premium fuel”. Also, it tastes good. It just takes trial and error and time.

I read a quote once by Robert Downey Jr when he was talking about his addiction and he says something similar to “It is like I have a gun in my mouth and I like the taste of the metal”. Sometimes I feel that way. I know that this thing I am eating is going to bring me pain and yet I still eat it.

This weekend I am trying something new that was recommended to me. I am doing weekend cooking. I find that during the week it is entirely too easy to be tired and not do what I am supposed to. So instead of fighting my lazy exhaustion exhaustion excuse, me and my stocked up pantry are working to eliminate it’s legitimacy. It is also ideal because I have a three day weekend due to CHRISTMAS (yeay!).

I am going to plan out a a menu. I am going to freeze some little meals or at least get things premade where I just have to do the last couple of prep steps. I have a feeling that this will really help me stay on track.

I also need to make stock this weekend and I have organic cage free chickens to use. I am excited to see if there is a difference in the stock taste. I know there is a huge difference in the taste of organic versus regular beef. I am hoping for a super rich stock.

I am excited to start over and I feel good about my candida cleanse chances this time! Looking forward to my journey next week!

By the way, check out Ricki Heller’s site, www.dietdessetndogs.com, it is a wonderful resource for those who are embarking on any sort of gluten/yeast/dairy/egg/sugar free diet. There are recipes that cover the gambit of combinations – or all – of those categories. She also has a sale going on regarding her e-books (2 for $10.95) and they are really great.

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For Whom the Taco Bell Tolls…

Coming home from work is a dangerous trip. I pass a Burger King that emits a delightful beefy haze, I pass a Taco Bell with its purple neon, a Little Caesars, a greasy diner with great burgers and handcut fries, a pancake place, a Subway, two Chinese restaurants, two Greek/Italian places, a Mexican place, two Waffle Houses, and two grocery stores. If I am really desperate, six gas stations.

My name is Jennifer and I am a junk food addict.

I am going to have to start wearing blinders.

Like a plow horse 😦

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I Wish I were as Resistant to Fat as I am Change

I am not simply trying to lose weight. I am trying to change a lifetime of horrible ingrained dietary teachings.

I love food. Not only that – I love ALL food. I would be just as happy with escargot as I would a burger from NuWay.  I love chili dogs and sushi. I like reading about food, eating food, watching food tv, and cooking food. I have always dreamt of taking a BBQ tour of the south and a food tour of Asia.

To me it is a comforting, delicious, sensual, delightful, friendly thing.

That is making my ass huge.

I keep reminding myself that eating healthily doesn’t mean I will never have a burger again. it also doesn’t mean that the food I will be eating won’t be delicious.

It means that I won’t eat a burger every day or that my idea of burger may change over time.

Hopefully there will even come a time when McDonalds sounds disgusting instead of delicious.

But I have this sense of resistance and almost grief about the whole thing as well as a tiny bit of excitement to see how far and how long I can go. To see improvements and see what jean size I am in, and how great I feel, this time next year.

And then again I am afraid of failure and change. And frankly, I have gotten so used to being sick that I am not real sure how not to be the sick girl. It has kind of been my shield. Maybe that sounds ridiculous but it is the truth. Like if I am no longer sick I will have a whole new bar that I need to reach and I am afraid of failing to reach it.

I guess I have a lot of crap to sort through – LOL.

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