Welcome to 'Keeping the Bulge at Bay'
This blog is designed to discuss the hardest part of losing weight...keeping it off! To understand my story and what my reasons are for creating this blog, please follow this link to my first post: "The REAL Beginning..." It's raw, real, and honest.
Hope you enjoy reading my posts, and please feel free to leave any feedback you may have!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Gluttony Gut...

I will formally welcome myself back from the brief hiatus I took from the blog! For those of you who do not know, I took some ‘time-off’ from blogging so that I could get married-I guess I need to now update my tag line so I am no longer ‘freshly engaged’ but rather a ‘newlywed’ of 24 days and counting! J

I will post many pictures soon since they have been requested by many, but in the meantime I want to discuss the food related activities that surrounded the BIG DAY!

As someone who consistently battles the bulge and tries to keep that little (big is probably a better term) devil at bay, a wedding and honeymoon (especially when it is your OWN) is a time when one just has to let go and enjoy every second of their time…and that included indulging in anything and everything I wanted-more wedding cake? Yes please! Left over catering food? Sign me up! Carbs-galore in Punta Cana on our honeymoon? Is that even a question!?!?!

In an effort for full disclosure, I was SOOO EXCITED to not think or worry about anything I would be eating for a couple of weeks and was determined to just ‘live it up!’ (This I will discuss in a later post because it made me realize that I may be a bit too strict with myself on a daily basis because it caused me to be way too excited to go rough with my eating for a couple weeks...haha)

Now I certainly lived it up, about 10 lbs worth to be exact! Before you have a heart attack at the craziness that I allowed to happen let me tell you one thing…within 2 days of being home I was already down 5lbs!!…I’ll assume it’s water weight from traveling, or changes in diets, etc. - either way my actual post-wedding/honeymoon gain was about 5 lbs….and I’ll take it for what I allowed myself enjoyed!

In a future blog post I also want to discuss traveling internationally while trying to keep the bulge at bay, but for now I will just touch on it briefly. In a country where you are not supposed to eat a ton of fruit, meat, or raw vegetables due to what they feed/fertilize it with, what seems to essentially be left is carbs-and lots of them. As a self-admitted carb-a-holic, you will not hear me complain one bit, but within a couple of days of being away I started to feel gross-all I freaken wanted was a salad! My body craved something from my ‘normal’ day to day eating habits, and craved it more than Adam and Eve wanted to eat that gosh darn apple! I ordered a salad but within a couple of bites knew I shouldn't be eating it...carbs it was!

With this being said, I know my body inside and out and I KNEW the number wasn’t going to be good when I got back (insert my gluttony gut here). However, I accepted it and enjoyed myself in spite of it because I knew I would be back on track once I returned…now I’m climbing back on the healthy wagon and it certainly is a slippery, tall, ladder.

I find my mind/body craving those high sugar -high carb foods, and I find myself trying to rein it in. Imagine trying to pull the reins back on an out of control horse-you know you have the power to do it and can do it, but it doesn't make the horse not want to go crazy any less. I know I control what goes in my mouth and how much of it goes in there but that doesn't make my mind/body not want them any less right now.

From experience however, I know this feeling will go away-my body needs time to adjust back to what it is used to eating, and in a couple of weeks I’ll be back to that no problem. In the meantime, will power is always stronger than any craving and remembering that will get me through these pesky couple of pounds that need to go away…

How do you all handle times when you are fighting the uphill battle of the bulge? When you have set backs, how do you continue the determination to forge forward?

Until next time…NOT ONLY keeping the bulge at bay but getting some of the extra bulge to vacate the premises ;)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Marriage Mania!

I was advised by an avid reader of my blog to just post something short-an update on my life, etc. Well, the main update is that there is no update... other than that every spare second I have had for the past month or so has been devoted to my wedding which is 11 days away! WOOHOO!! (And I've managed to maintain my weight too-an amazing feat that deserves some sort of award; between bridal showers, bachelorette parties, and late night planning and craft making that leaves no time but to order food in...it truly is a feat worth relishing...relish? ....Hot dog? YUM!)

Any who, I have a TON of pictures to share, from meals I've cooked to meals I've ordered differently while out to cut down on the calories and fat, I have a long list of post ideas that I am planning on putting up after the honeymoon-I promise!

I wish I could post them now but these topics and posts deserve time to be able to describe my cooking habits and tiny tricks I use-but time is something I currently do not have...however, I don't have time for a  wonderful reason-I'm marrying the guy of my DREAMS in 11 days...did I mention ONLY 11 days?!?!? :)

I'm sorry to the readers that expect posts more often or need constant updates to see that others are out there battling the bulge... and are successfully keeping it off the healthy way! I promise I'll be back in full 'posting mode' after the honeymoon (end of Sept.) When I return, I will be committed to hopefully getting at least one post a week (if not to support all of you, writing posts helps to keep me on track too-the blog and expressing the struggles helps me 'stay good' ...as I always say, only we know if we are doing our best at being healthy...)

In the meantime, please feel free to email me! Though I haven't been able to post in quite awhile, people still  email me with questions, ideas, etc....I'm always available via email (maybe except while I'm out of the country in a couple weeks) but other then that feel free to email me... keepingthebulgeatbay@yahoo.com ....I'm here!

Until next time, keeping the bulge at bay...and oh ya, getting HITCHED! :)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Ravishing Recipes!

Once again, it has been what seems like an eternity since I have last posted-sorry! I’m going to go ahead and blame the amount of stuff I’ve been doing lately, like planning my wedding (which is 42 days away-not like I’m counting or anything), my summer Baroque Art class, full-time job, creating my paintings/drawings, etc. sooooo much going on!

Any who, I have been reworking some classic recipes and will post them hopefully next week (in the effort for full disclosure, I have a dress fitting and am a bridesmaid in one of my best friend’s weddings next week so it may not be until the week after haha). But before I release the refined recipes I’ve been working on to showcase some of my healthy eating tips, I want to send you all two of my favorite go-to recipes-one of which is a weekly “go-to” meal. I promise they are healthy and will last a verrrry long time in the frig.

The first is my version of ratatouille! I originated it off of a version that my dad created and I ran long and fast  with it, and may I just say, it is my fiance’s favorite meal I make (allow me to take a big domestic bow right here).

There are two very important steps to this recipe-are you listening? FIRST KEY STEP-do not measure anything-no I’m not crazy… I’m serious! Don’t measure a gosh darn thing that goes into the pot. STEP TWO-let it simmer for at least an hour if possible (or if you like firmer vegetable less time). The reason for an hour is that all of the ingredients get plenty of time to get relaxed, loosen up, and show their true colors and flavors to their fellow veggy friends…now maybe I’m starting to get a ‘lil cray-cray’.

Staying on track [it’s Friday and I’m under tons of stress, what else would someone expect ;) ], those are the main steps, and the rest could not be simpler. I like to make the biggest batches I can at a time because that way we have it for days, but please feel free to adjust according for your living needs, styles, and healthy habits!

Here is what I usually put in:

(Note, yes I will be counting some vegetables but that’s just to give you a ball park ‘guesstimate’ of what I put in, the amounts truly change according to what our garden is ‘spitting out’ at the time.)

(Note # 2-our garden is completely organic so the vegetable size is probably a bit smaller and more regular than some versions in the grocery store or at your local farm market-just adjust it to your tastes…i.e. if you love tons of zuchinni-bulk up on that instead of or in addition to squash…this truly is a fool proof recipe-I PROMISE!)

·         1 or 2 medium squash
·         1o r 2 medium zucchini
·         ½ to 1 whole red or yellow onion (whichever kind you have in the cabinet)
·         ½ to 1 whole Bell pepper (whichever kinds you have available-we use green bells the most because it’s what he have, but we also put in banana peppers (frying peppers) now that they are being ‘spit out’ by the garden)
·         2 cans of diced tomatoes (Italian seasoned version is my favorite
·         1 can of stewed tomatoes (Italian seasoned again)
o   I will be making this and canning my own version once tomatoes start coming like crazy-which I’m praying will be soon-we have 9 tomato plants!
·         A little salt & pepper, and Italian seasoning

Now to how I cook this, pay attention I know this is going to sound hard haha...
  1.  Thinly cut up the zucchini and squash and put in it a pot to start cooking-cover it with a lid
  2. After just a few minutes add the chopped up onion and peppers-cover it with a lid
  3. After a few more minutes add the three cans of tomatoes-cover it with a lid 
            a. Let it simmer for about an hour, stirring every 5-10 minutes (give or take) –simmer with lid on.
  4. One important thing to do is CHECK ON IT during that hour! I don’t like it too ‘soupy’ so if you see it getting too liquidy for your preference, take the lid off and let some of the juice boil out of the pot-then return lid back on.
  5. A few minutes before serving add S&P and a little Italian seasoning for flavor
  6.   ENJOY it as a side dish or (our favorite way of consuming this delectable delight) having a large portion of it over 1 cup of egg noodles with parm cheese on top-yummmmmmy!
Looks amazing, no?!?
And now to my FAMOUS pesto that has gotten RAVE reviews (don't I sound so humble and modest? haha). This, unlike my ratatouille, does require a bit of measuring-but don’t be afraid to play around with it-I surely did. The way I came up with it is by following the recipe below and tweaking it to be heathier…allow me to explain.
Below is the recipe with my added notes to make it healthy…and let me tell you…it worked wonders!
  •  2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
    • Use MORE than 2 cups. I probably used closer to 3 cups. This causes a more intense basil flavor which means you’ll need less pesto to achieve the same flavor-saving calories! Get it fresh from the garden or farmers market-it works much better! 
  •  2 cloves garlic
    •       I've made it with three before...just make sure you don't have to kiss anyone that night ;)
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • Regular S&P work just fine
  •  1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
    • I DID NOT use freshly grated cheese from a block of cheese. I used the kind you get in the bag at the cheese/deli section of the grocery store. It has a stronger flavor then Kraft parm in the bottle but has the same fineness which is needed. I tend to use more than 1/2 cup as well-I prefer a stronger parm flavor than oil flavor. Again, the stronger parm flavor means you will need less to achieve the same expectations-which means less calories consumed!
  •  Combine the basil, and garlic in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add oil and cheese and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
 (Picture is a double batch in large jars)
Pesto is healthy for you (good fats), but too much isn’t good for your waistline. I found that by making the flavors more intense-especially the parm flavor, I ended up using less than half of what I would have used regularly. TRY IT! I promise you won’t be disappointed J
Now that I’ve shared my two favorite garden creations, I will be sharing my healthy alterations and revamps to meals shortly-they are coming out amazing, you will certainly be surprised (I sure as hell was haha).
Please share, what meals do you want to see revamped? What healthy recipes have you created that you want to share with the world of people trying to keep the bulge at bay? Please post them here!
Until next time, keeping the bulge at bay…

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Healthy Hints...

Can you feel the heat?!?  No-not the sweltering heat that has been lingering outside for what seems like months now…nor the basketball team that sadly won the championship (I live near Boston, what do you expect me to say?)…rather, I’m referring to the heat in the…KITCHEN! I’ve been cooking up a STORM of healthy options from our home grown vegetables and I’m compiling a list of my favorite go to meals! Now, you may ask-what exactly constitutes a ‘go-to’ meal?

For me, a go-to meal is something I can either a) make in big batches and keep in the fridge for at least three days to enjoy/freeze in batches to quickly defrost and enjoy at a later date, or b) something I can prep and hopefully cook in less than 30 minutes (preferably 20 to be totally transparent) after work because honestly, who wants to slave away in the kitchen after sitting at a computer and typing for 8 hours-sounds fun, no?

Any who, I’ve decided to do a bit of a challenge both for all of you and for me-I’m going to take some staple meals and revamp them-the healthy way!

The reason I’ve decided to do this is because I constantly get asked –“what do you eat?” And as shocking as it is, this is SUCH a hard question to answer! I always think- ‘Wait…What the hell do I eat…?’ I have so many little tricks and ideas that I have been doing for so long now that I honestly forget that they are ‘special.’ These tricks and tips have just become my norm. But now, I am going to revamp recipes using these tips/tricks and am going to share them with all of you!

First and foremost-I’m going to use my garden as the main resource when I can, then the local farmers market second. After those two resources, I’m going to use your average grocery store-something that most people have access to! I’m going to share everything from a tuna salad you’ll die over, a simple homemade sauce that will keep you satisfied without more pasta, homemade pita chips with a great cream cheese dip, ratatouille that will cost less than 3 dollars for a large batch (if you have a garden-otherwise it will cost about 6 dollars-enough for at least 3 meals for two people though), a healthy homemade pesto, healthy canned pickles, etc.

With this being said, now is when I want YOUR help! There are meals that I either use all the time or have been working on to make them healthier, but I want some challenges from all of you as well! I want to know what are some of your favorite meals and I will rework them in my kitchen-this will give me a way to share the tips that are bouncing around in my head in a constructive way for everyone to utilize. There will be plenty of pictures, and I’m even going to be hopefully putting up a couple cooking videos! (No promises though, I’m not the most tech-savvy individual.)

What would you like to see revamped? (I LOVE a great challenge!) An alfredo sauce? Meat loaf? Potato salad? You name it-I’m willing to try it! In the meantime, I’m going to start posting the recipes I’ve been working on…keep the challenges coming!

Until next time, keeping the bulge at bay! 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Just Another Manic Monday…

Well hello fellow maintainers! It has been awhile since I last posted-sorry…

The reason I haven’t posted in a long time is mostly because of the craziness that summer brings! I’ve been very busy enjoying the wonderful things summer holds-weddings, hikes, gardening, sports, art shows, painting, -you name it, I’ve been doing it! And one thing that I most certainly have been doing is: eating. Cake, cupcakes, pasta, pizza, French fries, s’mores, cheeseburgers…basically, if it has carbs and fat in it, I probably ate it in the past couple of weeks.

Now, normally you’re probably thinking that I would normally make this blog about not being consumed by the bone crushing  guilt that can be felt from even licking an ice cream cone (add a bunch of ice cream cones to the above list too!). And you’re right. Normally I would be talking about trying to get over the guilt and trying to simply enjoy myself without being consumed (pun intended) by the guilt, but ALAS!-this is not the case!

My best friend got married this past weekend and I went into the weekend’s festivities weighing the least I have ever weighed before. I genuinely felt good, felt thin, and most importantly-felt healthy! I went into the weekend with a mind frame set that I was going to allow myself to eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted it. Now don’t get me wrong, this is not a decision that can be made lightly (especially if you’re trying to lose the L-Bs). But I allowed myself to do this because I personally knew I felt good, and I knew I would get back on track the following Monday…and that is exactly what I did!

Allow me to be honest however, when Monday came around I was craving pizza, cookies, and cake more than a junky needs a fix... the Bangles say it best:

It's just another manic Monday,
I wish it was Sunday, 
'Cause that's my fun-day, 
My I-don't-have-to-run day, 
It's just another manic Monday...

Though part of me wishes I could keep eating like that, the power is within us to get back to our ‘normal eating.’ This whole week I have been right back to my health-nut ways without even looking back. I knew I would get back on track (or just simply back to my norm) and therefore I do not have not one ounce of guilt… did you hear me… do I need to say it louder, NOT ONE OUNCE OF GUILT!!! Crazy right?!?

With this being said however, there are weak moments when one should not indulge because they may not feel strong enough to get back on the healthy highway (again if you’re trying to lose, indulging like crazy may make more trouble than it’s worth). But, if you’re maintaining, feeling good, and looking good, there is no reason why you cannot enjoy some treats from the tree of life (wow-this is getting deep!)

Any who, at one point this weekend I actually thought to myself (warning: I may sound crazy-per usual I’m sure…), maybe I’m too comfortable at this size?!? I literally had a hard time comprehending how I was so OK with allowing myself to be entirely free with my eating, and honestly, it made me nervous that I may fall back into old habits (my gut is literally churning right now at the thought of falling back into old habits and being 'too free' with my eating)….BUT, I now know that falling back into bad habits will not be allowed. I have literally trained myself to just go back to eating healthy after I indulge for special occasions, holidays, etc.

This is life-we only get one chance at it and for that reason we must value every moment, and if that means you want to seal off an amazing ‘date day’ with your fiancé by having an ice cream cone-do it! As long as every day doesn’t become a ‘special moment/occasion’ you will be fine (when you’re celebrating the fact that you walked to get the mail by eating a slice of cake, it may be time to re-evaluate this concept)!

Maybe it’s this heat going to my head (if sweating was able to melt fat away, I would be nearly skin and bones at this point) but, life is too short to limit ourselves, our bodies, our hopes, and dreams. Enjoy the moments worth enjoying, and just live your normal healthy life for all the others.

How do you all make sure you get back on track after you choose to indulge? Have you ever experienced a moment when you realized-“Wow, I can do this ‘maintaining thing’... without the guilt!”? 

Until next time, keeping the bulge at bay!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Here Comes the Sun! (Doo Doo Doo Doo)

Since today is June 1st, and in New England it feels like summer has truly begun (yes-calm down, I am aware it doesn't ‘officially’ start for another 3 weeks), I wanted to share some of the transitions that not only the amazing mother nature herself does, but also the transitions that occur in weight maintenance/loss this time of year. No, I’m not referring to the transition into the hardcore jealously some of us might get from skinny people prancing around on the beach in virtual dental floss (me… jealous?…never…); rather, I am referring to the transitions in our diets, lifestyles, and exercises that take place this time of year.

This is the PERFECT time for transformation and to mix things up a bit. This is MY season- it’s warm enough to be outside, but cool enough not to die! And honestly, I’m hell bent on using this weather to the fullest before we’re back to carving pumpkins and picking out Christmas trees!

I love kayaking, hiking, playing volleyball, white water rafting, swimming, gardening, playing Frisbee, etc. These are activities that I have always loved but have not always been able to comfortably do. Think about it, why don’t you try strapping on an additional 110 pounds and going on a hike or trying to garden?…Not the most enjoyable of activities…
Showing Off My (lackluster) Volleyball Skills at my Best Friend's Jack & Jill!
To exemplify this rational, allow me to explain. This time of year I go from a winter/spring DVD work-out type of girl (though I must admit, the DVD’s have a bit of dust on them lately from minimal usage) to being outdoorsy again! This literally feels like a breath of fresh air!

One activity that my fiancé and I have taken on this summer is a 20’ x 20’ garden plot in a local community area. And let me tell you, planting a 400 sq foot garden without one piece of god-damn machinery is more of a work out than ANY DVD could provide [ Just ask my fiancé, my temper and bitchy mood by the end of the day I’m sure was quite a joy to be around ;) ]

Our Lovely Garden-I Promise it's Bigger in Person :)
Besides finding different forms of exercise, there are also foods that literally taste better this time of year. The day before yesterday I made my first summer pasta salad of the season…and boyyyy was it yummmmy! I used regular elbows (would have used wheat elbows if I had them), barely any light mayo, a can of light tuna, peas, celery, and onion (would have used cucumber if we had them as well). I bulk it up on the veggies so it is very hearty and healthy. Also, the less mayo you use the more you can actually taste the natural flavors of the veggies and pasta-and it's good! This is one of my favorite summer dinners ever, and if I had a grill in our little apartment to grill up some healthy ‘burgs or ‘dogs I may have been in heaven!

Any who, this season is about getting to finally do the activities or eat the foods that some of us (especially born and bred New Englanders) don’t get to experience half of the year. Push yourself to do more activities with exercise hidden in them (the anti-gerbil like treadmill type of exercise-my favorite!), eat more locally grown produce from farmer’s markets, grow a garden, try new recipes, and for gosh sake-soak up the sunshine (with sunscreen though please-leathery skin is not cute no matter what size you are!) And if nothing else, remember what the Beatles say: “Here comes the sun (doo doo doo doo), here comes the sun, and I say, it's all right!”

What are some of your favorite activities to do this time of year? What are some of your favorite summer recipes/foods?

And for all you Beatles fans...here's a little 1972 live performance of 'Here Comes the Sun'

Until next time, keeping the bulge at bay!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Loved Ones...Whom Love Food...

There have been several times I have discussed how to handle parties and events filled with delectable delights that make you salivate from the second you enter the room; however, there is a whole other side to being around food that doesn’t always coincide with our healthy intensions. No I am not referring to restaurants, vacations (this will be my next post after I return from the Dominican Republic-leaving on Tuesday!), or even the small temptations that can exist at work. Rather, I am speaking of a situation we cannot escape from and are seemingly surrounded around constantly…the eating habits of our loved ones!

My fiancé and I live together and some of his eating habits/preferences can be drastically different than mine. Now you’re probably wondering, if he doesn't always eat healthy then maybe he has a bit of bulge to contend with…this could not be more incorrect! My fiancé, at his 6’4’’ handsomeness (I’m bias tho haha), currently holds a position that encompasses a great amount of physical labor so he could essentially eat an  elephant and not gain a god damn ounce-I’ll try to keep my jealousy to a minimum… ;)

Anywho, many times when we go grocery shopping I make sure that I get everything I need to continue on the healthy train but ensure that we get him his ‘treats’ as well. Now, his treats tend to include Cape Cod Chips (kill me now they’re so good), a gallon of the ice cream on sale (my poor sweet tooth is dying), pretzels (a salt lovers drug), Cheetos (cheesy yumminess ahhhh), etc.  Basically, take all of the things that I would love to have on a daily basis but can’t have daily because of maintenance and you have the 'treats' that he loves. Sure, an occasional splurge here or there isn’t going to harm me, but generally speaking, these foods can’t be eaten everyday (insert more jealousy here).

I know many of you can relate to this sentiment. We have to watch what we eat around people who don’t have the same problem-how can we effectively handle this? Well, there is not magic potion to solve this dilemma (otherwise I would weigh 125 and be eating chips like it was my job) but there are helpful tricks that can keep us on the right track without leaving our loved feeling like they're on a ‘diet’ or are being ‘deprived of the food they want’, yadda, yadda, yadda –he gets no sympathy from me haha!

People and the way they eat can be very different, but making sure you have support from your loved one is a necessary component to long term success! I'm very lucky, my fiancé is the most supportive person I could have ever asked for. When I tell him not to eat those crispy, kettle cooked, salt and vinegar chips in front of me (because I know I’ll want the entire bag if I even smell them), he always obliges my requests with a smile on his face. Also, if I want it, he will always give me a bite of anything he is eating so that I won’t feel like I’m depriving myself, but he doesn't always do this with a smile on his face haha! (a bite is enough to make me not feel deprived many times). Basically, if you don’t have the support, than maintaining or losing is going to be much more difficult-but not impossible!

Now, support is crucial, but I would say the two things that are most practical and helpful are… (drum roll please)…what he buys, and where he keeps it.

First, what he buys is key to both my success and his happiness, because lets be frank, all guys must have their beer, chips, and ice cream! When he gets ice cream, we make sure it is the kind I despise more than satan-chocolate! I HATE chocolate (but do love Oreos, Butterfingers, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ---insert the drool on my keyboard at these thoughts). Also, when he buys chips we buy him kinds like unsalted (gross!) so even if I have a bite of it, it won’t trigger me to want a whole bag (please look at the post called “Tantilizing Triggers” for more thoughts on trigger foods). It’s easy for us to do this because my fiancé will eat anything, but it’s also easy because he is so supportive that he is willing to help me anyway possible.

Second, we have arranged our pantry in a fashion where his food goes into three certain spots. When I look for snacks I don’t even think about taking my snacks from those ‘sections.’ Having them placed in certain areas helps me from thinking they are free and available for me to consume at my pleasure. It’s as if I mentally place those items in jail. Yes, I may occasionally take the effort to go through security to visit them once in a while-but generally speaking, the effort isn’t worth the pay off because whatever is behind there isn't good for you!

There are a million different ways we can solidly build our environments to make our lifestyle easier for us; but, we need to remember the people we live with don’t always share the same lifestyle. Adapting what you both need to assist one one another is the key for everyone to be happy and healthy!

Me and My Supportive (& Handsome) Hubby-To-Be! :)

What are some tips you use in order to ensure that everyone is happy and healthy under one roof?

Until next time, keeping the bulge at bay!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Hop On... Hop Off...

One thing that is commonly found in everyone’s bathroom, whether they battle the bulge or are splendidly slender, is… a scale! (insert dramatic music here: DUN, DUN, DUN!) Yes, there are the select few individuals who say, “I don’t have a scale because I don’t need to be a slave to a number that could dictate the way I feel about myself; love yourself and create a loving environment...blah, blah, blah...” As tree-loving and granola as that sentiment is, the realistic scenario is that most Americans have a scale somewhere in their bathroom/house (even if it is a 1950’s banana yellow scale with a 10 lb margin of error stuffed in the back of your towel closet).

The thing about a scale is that it can be your best friend and your worst enemy at the same time. It has the power to make you feel like the skinniest girl next to Angelina Jolie (yes, right leg slit dress included), or it can make you feel as though you’re tapping on the door of needing the Biggest Loser trainers. Either way, during maintenance it is tough to know when to use the scale and when to ignore its tantalizing powers!

When I first began the real journey of weight loss, maintenance, I was on the scale as often as I was for weight loss (I hate to admit it, but sometimes it was probably close to every day/every other day). Though I didn’t worry too much about the times when the scale was reflecting numbers a bit more elevated than I may have preferred, I made sure to ‘check on’ my maintenance progress regularly.

After a while however, I found myself getting on the scale less and less. I didn’t need to ‘check on’ my weight as I became more in tune with my body. It’s kind of like being a weight loss psychic…I look into my magic crystal ball and feel like I’m going to weigh, say, 153…and-POOF-153 shows up on the scale! Admittedly there are times my crystal ball needs a little polishing because it is way off, but generally speaking, I’m a pretty good maintenance psychic. I have found that there really is no scale that is as accurate as being in tune with your body.

As I started to become more in tune with my body and my weight, maintenance became more ‘manageable’. This is also when one magical thing happened-my scale started to gather DUST! YES, dust I tell you! I was on the scale so little that it had time to gather dust between uses! Now, it’s at this point you’re probably thinking one of two things; either, A-this girl sounds crazy, or B-this girl is gross because she is PROUD of dust?!? Both of these sentiments are likely true, but allow me to elaborate on why I am so prideful of my grubby scale.

The dust that has gathered on my scale is indicative of many things in the dreaded maintenance stage. It shows that I am able to maintain my weight without leaning on the scale as a crutch. It shows that I know my body well enough that I know when I should be stricter with my eating, and when I can splurge and have Chinese food after a bad day (…insert my fridge with last night’s leftovers from $46.00 worth of Chinese food -I did make healthy Chinese food choices though…my fiancé’s tempting Chinese choices-that’s a topic for a whole other post). But most importantly, it shows that I have physical and mental control (at least for a short time) over my maintenance.

Though I am in tune with my body, there are those times when I use the scale for a bit of ….

This help comes in the form of two things, either a swift kick in the butt to say-OK Rachel, you’ve felt fluffy, flabby, and bulgy the past few days-use the number on the scale to get you back on track. Or, OK Rachel, you’ve felt like America’s Next Top Model, hop your slim little self onto that scale and see that itty-bitty number to keep you cruising on the healthy train [tickets for the healthy train can be purchased at your local grocery's produce section ;) ]

With this being said however, I try my freaken hardest to not to get on the scale if it is going to make me feel …

If I know getting on the scale is only going to make me feel worse-I avoid it at all costs! If you know the scale will make you feel like S#!* then you don’t need to get on it-you just need to get back on track! This is the key to maintenance. Allow the dust to gather on that beast for a bit and hop back on when you’re ready. You know your body better than a scale does…trust in yourself, not in a machine dictated by a spring controlled mechanism. (Check out the following link to see the silly little lever and spring inside a scale that we allow to control our lives...it's pretty eye opening A Scale's Innards)

So all in all, when you come over to my apartment and the rest of my bathroom is clean…please don’t mind the dust on my scale.
My Dusty Scale! (Can you feel my pride?!?)
What little things in life remind you that you can do this…with or without the scale? Mine is dust, what is yours?

Until next time…keeping the bulge at bay!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Bites of Boredom!

Boredom. Or more like, boooooooredooooom! I am the first to admit that I want to eat when I’m bored; or more accurately said-I want to eat when I’m bored, tired, sad, nervous, happy, etc. etc. etc. However, boredom is the worst, and trying to not eat when you have absolutely nothing else to do can be excruciatingly difficult!

Some people may say, ‘just work out when you’re bored.’ This is good advice, however, for someone like me where working out is comparable to donating blood (the effects of the action are good but it can be oh so painful and agonizing to actually do), working out to keep myself from being bored is likely the last thing I would do…ever! Instead of keeping your hands busy with treadmill buttons or loose weights, we all have to find an activity that helps us keep our hands busy and our mouths shut!

My chosen "dietary task" if you will, that keep both my hands and mind occupied is: painting! (it's art-of course I have to emphasize it with color...) Acrylic painting is a passion of mine that I have long loved and worked extremely hard at. However, this passion has dual purposes. First, it lets me relax and express the budding artist I have inside me yearning to break free (did I make that sound artsy enough?), and second, it keeps me from mindlessly eating while watching my favorite primetime Bravo or Food Network show (side note: for any fellow foodie, not eating while watching the Food Network is nearly impossible-light popcorn is a great solution to this-healthy and filling).

As said above, painting is a passion of mine and therefore I could do it for hours at a time without ever needing a ‘snack break;’ but if you’re not ‘artsy fartsy’ in general or would rather rip your hair out than look at a painting for more than 2 seconds, fear not, there are activities out there for you too!

I know many fellow weight loss champions who have found their own busy beaver tasks which assist them in not being struck by the boredom bites. For example, I know people who write, read, knit, journal, scrapbook, even people who play computer games to keep their bites of boredom at bay! If knitting or scrapbooking isn’t manly enough for you true studs out there, there are guys who garden or mow the lawn, who clean their tools, detail their cars, build woodwork of various kinds, and even play poker (please note guys: poker doesn’t count as a healthy alternative activity if you’re smoking cigars, eating pretzels sticks, and drinking beer at the same time). It’s not about what the task is, it’s simply about doing it!

Now I know that admitting to yourself that you eat out of boredom is a hard pill to swallow. And I’m fairly sure many of you will say ‘I don’t eat out of boredom!’ But like they always say, ‘admitting is the first step.’ There are many times that I am eating and I find myself thinking ‘where did that half bag of crackers go’ or even ‘I’m not hungry, why the hell am I eating this?’ When I’m bored, my natural instinct is to keep my hands busy by doing anything, and sadly shoveling food into my vacuum-like mouth has won more times than I would like to admit.

With this being said however, there are times that I literally say, ‘I’m cozy and cuddled up on the couch, this tastes good, I’m eating it anyways’ and that is OK... Maintenance is about balancing times like those with the times where you need to be your own police officer and internally yell ‘You there with the crumbs on your shirt! Put the crackers down, hands up, and back away slowly!’ Even if it is healthy food, it’s still calories you don’t need!

The nights that I paint, I am more relaxed, and eat far less than I would if I was doing no extra activity at all. I love my evenings where I watch the Real Housewives argue, watch my fiancé snore on the couch next to me, all while I just float into my artsy world of painting…. If you find the activity that you LOVE which also keeps your hands busy and mouth shut, you will have further weight loss success without even realizing it.

Infact, as I have written this post I have bulldozed through my 'normal' snack time without even thinking about it...and I'm not hungry one bit!

Below you will see some of my paintings that have helped me to keep the bulge at bay! What are the tasks or activities that you do to keep the bites of boredom away? Please share your thoughts on tasks, pictures of  activities, or just your ideas in general!

Until next time, keeping the bulge at bay!


'Broken Bessy'



Thursday, April 26, 2012

Fluffy Fears and Rusty Revelations...

Ignore the visual you all might be given in about two seconds….I was taking a shower the other day (I warned you...) and had a mini revelation -I am who I am. Sounds simple enough, doesn't it? But for anyone who has battled the bulge this is the most complicated, devilish statement that one attempts to absorb…EVER!

Allow me to explain further. I am who I am. Five little words that speak more volumes than the Library of Congress could even hold. We have strived to lose the weight, and are succeeding in maintaining that loss…but where do we draw the line? When is enough-enough? When is “only 5 lbs more” actually TOO much to lose? Where is the red light, the stop sign, the huge freaken brick wall that signifies the end of the weight loss road with a flashing orange sign saying ‘Maintenance This Way -->’?

As we all know, weight loss maintenance is 95% a mental game (maybe 94.6% but who needs exact stats anyways) and learning to cope with these issues is the main piece to the maintenance puzzle. However, beyond the games, it’s about accepting that enough is enough; I am who I am. I am healthy, and that is enough.

Yes, I am getting married in 141 days (but who’s counting) and I would like to be “5 lbs down” but, I am who I am. If I stay the weight I am right now forever, I will be happy. This weight is not a struggle, it’s not a fight, it is simply who I am. Maintaining weight is about being at a weight that is manageable. It’s about being at a place where you can balance a slice of cake with more veggies the next day. It’s about balancing your favorite physical activities one day with ‘vegging’ out on the couch another.

What maintaining weight is NOT about is counting every calorie going in your mouth and depriving yourself of the foods that you love. It’s NOT about crying because you can’t work out one day and consequently feel like you’re a healthy failure. And, it’s NOT about stepping on the scale every day to assess your weight loss successes and failures. We are healthy, we are who we are.

While taking that shower a few days ago (again, ignore the visual), I realized that if I can live life the way I do right now and can be the weight I am right now forever-I will be happy with that! As I washed my hair, I envisioned myself 20 years from now, the same size I am today-and I am more than happy with that. Yes, I waiver in this feeling and certainly fear that the fluff will come back; but a half-assed rusty revelation of future success and accepting myself just the way I am now is better than no revelation at all. I am who I am!

We are happy, we are healthy, and we all have flaws; but we are who we are-be happy, accepting, and content with just that! 

When was your ‘I am who I am’ revelation? Hopefully not everyone’s was in the shower like mine was-this isn't that kind of blog ;) haha

Until next time, keeping the bulge at bay!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Post Fluff-Flab...

There are many actions in life that have side effects which we have been warned like the plague about. Whether true or not, we have been told: don't swim until 30 minutes after eating to avoid a stomachache, don’t be naughty or Santa won’t bring you gifts, even, don’t drink too many margaritas or you’ll be praying to the porcelain gods rather than dancing the night away with your friends -not that I have experience with that one or anything…. ;)

Anyway, we either do or don’t do certain activities many times due to that activity’s side effects. With weight loss, people tend to believe that health, happiness, and strength are the only side effects to weight loss; but this is an epic LIE! Yes, these are fabulous side effects and are most certainly worth venturing down the journey of weight loss for, but there are also silent side effects to weight loss. These silent side effects come in the lovely form of loose skin (or just loose flub/fat remaining), stretch marks, and mental games that last forever! I have many times discussed the mental games that go along with weight issues, since frankly; they make up most of the problem that we find ourselves coping with. However, there are the physical reminders of loose skin/flub and residual stretch marks that stay with us forever as well…pleasant thought, no?

Now, I believe in 100% transparency in this blog! BUT, showing you my vaguely loose ‘flub’ and stretch marks from a stomach blown up with 110 more L-Bs then where I am today, is neither a sight I care to show, nor is it one you likely want to be blinded by haha. However, I’m one of the lucky ones. I lost my weight slowly, and consistently, so my body has adjusted quite well (...perfectly-hell no), but other people aren’t as lucky. Some suffer with drastic amounts of loose skin or parts of their body where the 'flub' just won't disappear.

With that being said, what inspired me to write about this topic was the picture below. I saw this picture a couple of weeks ago, and ever since then I have wanted to create this post. The picture below has been shared on Facebook by many women who have had children and are showing pride for their stretch marks from having been pregnant. It got me thinking about my own stretch marks—that don't exist from anything prideful like having a baby, but rather exist from the demise of being extraordinarily overweight…

I suppose if you look at the situation candidly, I earned my stripes too-with each pizza I consumed (yes, whole pizza-not just slices here people), each ice cream cone I licked, each hamburger I ate, and every mile I didn’t walk, every hike I didn’t take, and every river I didn’t kayak down. In reflecting on this, it can bring a thought of sadness that I allowed my body to get to that state. A state where my skin had to stretch beyond what it was humanly designed for just to be able to accommodate my extra weight.

I look at the above picture as a way for mothers to take ownership of the physical side effects that remain from a beautiful experience...

...and we weight loss conquerors should do the same!

As much as  I want tight arms, fit legs, and a stomach flat enough to bounce a quarter off of as if it were a soldier’s bunk, this may not realistically be in the cards for me (please excuse the toddler-like internal tantrum I’m having at this thought). Behind that loose skin and those tiger stripes used to be fat-and a lot of it. Today, I choose to take pride in my little bit of loose skin because that skin is no longer maxed out like a balloon about to burst from too much helium. Today, I choose to take pride in my tiger stripes! Though they’re certainly not pretty, they are battle wounds from a war that I have been winning for years now (can’t say I have won the war because the battle of the bulge never truly ends).

I am a Tiger (insert seductive, pouncing like-rawwwwwwr here) and though I am ultimately responsible for my stripes, I take ownership of them and am PROUD to take ownership of the healthy tigress I am today! I earned who I am today, and after all, you can't be a fierce tigress without stripes, right?!?

Love yourself, and surround yourself with people that love you exactly the way you are-tiger stripes and all!

What are other unknown side affects you have found to be difficult since losing weight? How do you choose to handle them?

Until next time, keeping the bulge at bay!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

‘If it Ain’t Broke…Fix it Anyways!'

As everyone knows, summer is right around the corner (unless you’re from New England where summer was a few weeks ago and now we’re thrown back into the thrusts of a cold spring). This is one of my favorite times of year when the trees begin to turn green again, when the flowers pop their little heads through the (currently dusty and dry) dirt, and when skinny people start to wear less clothing to make it that much more obvious that they are perfectly fit (I promise, I’m only mildly bitter...)

However this spring is going to be a different one for me. Just like mother natures recreates itself this time each year-I decided I am going to follow suit! I think throughout any process in life, especially the process of weight-loss and maintenance, we have to recreate ourselves occasionally to make sure we are the best we can be.

When we discover the foods that work at ‘keeping the bulge at bay’, many times we tend to stick to these foods and don’t seek out new alternatives… Maybe this is a hidden, and extremely late New Year’s Resolution, but I have to mix up my eating.

Recently I have done a mini evaluation of what I eat, and the results aren't good (sounds extremely scientific doesn't it?). Now don’t get me wrong, I eat a lot of vegetables, fruits, and try to always stay within my ‘points allowance’ each day-standard maintenance qualities per being an old Weight Watchers member that continues forging down the road of maintenance no longer going to WW meetings. However, in evaluating what I eat I realized that I eat wayyyy too many carbohydrates and wayyyy too little protein.

Part of maintenance is preserving and upholding the healthy body you have worked so hard for. The way I’ve been eating doesn’t exemplify this. For example, I would literally go days without having any protein at all (insert my box of whole wheat elbows lasting me for two and a half days’ worth of lunch and dinners [with cereal as my breakfast] while my hubby-to-be was away...I was literally living in carb paradise!)

Any way you look at it however, that is NOT HEALTHY! So in classic ‘Rachel’ fashion, I went 180* the opposite way and decided that I was going to do a low-carb, high-fat eating regimen called the ‘Wheat Belly.’ Now in an effort to be entirely transparent, I have never been a huge proponent of a low-carb diet. From a maintenance perspective-maintaining a lifestyle like that forever (which is the ultimate goal in maintenance) is nearly impossible (I digress, yes-some people are successful but I believe it's rare). Additionally, keeping with the total transparency thing here, I found ‘Wheat Belly’ because I have had some stomach issues that not one freaken doctor on this side of the Mississippi seem to be able to diagnose, even after quite the myriad of tests. Therefore, I decided I would cut out WHEAT all together hopefully resolving my stomach issues...Oh, did I forget to mention this all began just this past Monday evening!

Fast forward to today, where in the last three days I have been on, I think, roughly 3 different eating plans. On Tuesday, I went low-carb and high-fat everythinnnggg. Let’s just say my body couldn’t handle it-I felt like $#!T and ultimately ‘quit’ 23 hours into it and gorged on reduced fat crackers-an ugly site, likely comparable to a drug addict getting their much needed fix!

Wednesday is when the realization hit me like a ton of bricks (in the form of tiny pep talks from my fiancé and two of my best friends). They helped me remind myself that, “this is maintenance, moderation is key!” Moderation is key…if I had a nickel for every time I heard that I would have more money than those damn mega millions winners-but they're right! Not just hearing this concept but absorbing it is pertinent!

In an effort to find true moderation, I am going to drastically cut back on my wheat to see if it helps my stomach, but other than that I’m going to restructure my eating so that it is truly balanced.

For this reason, I have decided to rejoin Weight Watchers for two months (honestly, they’re running a deal right now that is pretty amazing and the couponer in me just can’t resist!) I want to learn their new plan. WW’s new plan takes into account: total carbs, total fat, fiber, and protein. The plan my current eating is structured around is only taking into account: calories, fat, and fiber. I believe that my body deserves, and needs, a more comprehensive and balanced diet.

In the weight loss world I consider myself an old dog, and this old dog is hell bent on learning some new tricks! My first meeting is tonight and I’m excited…I’m eager to learn as much as I can, hear other people’s stories, and just see what meetings and the plan are like now...years later. We all need a good swift kick in the butt every now and again, and tonight is going to be mine! Trust me, maintainers all know how to eat healthy, but a refresher course can never hurt...

I have long lived under the mantra of ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it;’ but just because it ‘ain’t broke’ doesn’t mean that if you don’t try to tune it up, it won’t run better!

Here is a challenge I pose for each of you: evaluate what you’re eating! Yes, you may be successfully maintaining or losing weight, but is it from a balanced, healthy, diet? This is the one time to be a bit critical on yourself! Envision a nutritionist evaluating what your normal day-to-day eating is like, what would they say? [Only envision a nice, caring, thin/healthy nutritionist though ;) ….I hate nutritionists that give their ‘healthy advice’ but are extremely overweight themselves-so frustrating!] What did you find, and what would you consider changing? What tips would you lend to others struggling to find balance and moderation?

Until next time...keeping the bulge at bay!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Prep-A-Plenty Potluck

Who doesn’t love a good ole potluck dinner? Well, I for one love them! My college friends and I try to have a potluck dinner at least once a month, and let me just say, they have made quite the upgrade from the college days of mismatched plates, no silverware, and practically using a tennis racket as a strainer (ok, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration but let me tell you-desperate times called for desperate measures).

My fiancé and I hosted the most current potluck last Saturday and the food was beyond delectable…salad with candied pecans, homemade tomato bisque, hotdog and bean casserole, tomato and mozzarella pasta  salad, tons of bread (three different loaves-a carbaholic's dream), veggies and dip, and lasagna cups-not to mention the Budweiser, Sam Adams, Guinness, and wine that was flowing like a river!

Knowing that the potluck was occurring that evening, I made sure to get a work out in during the day. Of course timing wise it occurred right when a few guys were arriving early to play cards… allow me to set the scene for you… envision me flat on my back in the living room, legs in a dreadful 90 degree angle with a stability ball in between going back and forth as fast as possible- all while three guys walk right in to begin playing setback with my fiancé …attractive thought right?...ooyvey!

My $9.99 version of P90X...I'm cheap, what can I say? (GREAT workouts though!)

Beyond working out, many of you have mentioned that if you don’t splurge once in a while, then it isn’t true maintenance and maintaining is going to be that much harder…and I absolutely agree! However, I have had a lot of ‘splurges’ lately (insert the three previous posts on coping with food coma from my sister’s wedding related festivities), therefore, this potluck was not the time to splurge. I will say however, I gave everything a try-and it was all devilishly good!

The key for me to eat healthy at what could be called a potluck ‘pound increaser,' is to ensure that there are things present that I can eat as much as I want of. To accomplish this feat I made sure there was a snack that I could munch on while preparing my main dish. This also is a little safety trick I have that keeps me from test-tasting everyone dishes before they hit the table (I mean, it’s someone’s job to make sure all the dishes are edible for human consumption, no?)

Here you can see the veggies and fat-free dip that I munched on while everyone was arriving (honestly, I started my veggie munch-o-mania long before people arrived but who needs to know that little detail...).

Now for my entrée, I found this recipe long ago and tried it for the first time at this gathering. Let me tell you, this recipe is going to be a staple in my weekly meals from now on-who doesn’t want lasagna that you can eat with your hands?!? And to make it even better,  I cut down the calories and fat even more than the recipe (fat free instead of reduced fat cheeses, extra lean ground turkey, and heart healthy low calorie pasta sauce).

Are you salivating yet?

I added a lot of veggies to the sauce to make it more ‘gusty’ and even that much more filling and healthy (two words that many dieters claim don’t coincide-FALSE!). This sauce, with all its gutsy splendor, is guaranteed to satisfy your stomach and your waist measurement!  (Add veggies to it that you like-the more you customize it to your taste, the more likely you are to stay on track.)

Two layers of  wontons, ricotta, sauce, and finally mozzarella cheese

I have learned recently that muffin and/or cupcake tins (I used cupcake tins) are really great ways to create innate PORTION CONTROL! You know exactly how much is in each cup (in my version of these lasagna cups there is about 120 calories per lasagna cup!!).

Final Product!!

They look good, taste good, and are good for you! -I know,  this sounds like an infomercial…and you, YES YOU-can make these amazing lasagna cups for a simple onetime payment of 9.95 ;)

Any who, after the potluck I took one to work with a side of yogurt to have as my lunch on Monday-it was fabulous and completely satisfying as a lunch too. However, my fiancé keeps referring to these as ‘amazing snacks’ (2 bites and one is gone)…trust me-he’s wrong (like all men are haha), but these are healthy enough that if you want more than one-you’re good to go…

Here is the link to the recipe I based my version off of: http://www.canyoustayfordinner.com/2010/11/04/petite-lasagnas/

Overall, just like in life, we must pick our battles. We all have battled our weight and are winning the war. However, there are daily battles we must choose to fight or to pass. Due to the mouth-watering indulgences I have allowed myself to have lately I decided the potluck was a time for me to fold the cards dealt to me rather then going all in. I filled my plate half with salad,  had very small portions of all the other delights that were present, and had two of my lasagna cups. Fill-up on what you know, and take small risks on what you are not sure about...this will undoubtedly lead to success.

Please share, what are some of your sure fire recipes that you lean on when you want to ‘be good’ at a meal or gathering? I have more recipes I will try to share with you all soon!

Until next time, keeping the bulge at bay…

Friday, March 30, 2012

Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall...Who’s the Fattest of Them All?!?

Why the Queen in ‘Snow White’ never asked this question instead, I may never know, but it is a sentiment that anyone struggling with their weight has coped with. The mirror can either be your best friend or your starkest enemy (personally, my mirror was my BFF last Thursday, and has been a bit of a b%@!h to me this week). Now I know that many of you who have never struggled with your weight do not understand this concept, but the mirror mine-as-well be as dreaded as the (dun, dun, dun) SCALE!

Allow me to explain…while maintaining or losing weight, one is very in tune with their body. Almost every time I step on the scale I know exactly what it is going to say. If I’m feeling and looking a bit heavier-the number is up, and when I’m thinking I’m the skinniest girl next to Barbie [excuse the obvious exaggeration ;) ] -the number tends to be lower. The knowledge of my body accompanied with my fair weathered friend, the mirror, seems to always dictate what I am going to see on the scale. When you think about it, it really isn’t rocket science after all…

However, there is a much more complicated mirror that exists out there-other people! No, I am not referring to what other people think about your weight loss. Rather, if you have lost a good amount of weight it is hard to place your body in relation to friends, family, or hell, even public in general! You tend to always think that you are one of the ‘bigger and fluffier’ people in the room, but in actuality, you probably aren't  anymore…

I find this ‘mirror’ of trying to figure out how big you are in comparison to others very difficult. Now, once again, those of you who have never had to lose weight probably are thinking-why does it matter what your body is like in comparison to others, you should love who you are and how far you’ve come? In actuality this ‘hippie’, ‘granola’, and ‘zen’ like sappiness is true, but if you had a point in your life where you were always conscious of being one of the biggest (if not the biggest) person in the room…then you would understand the need to try to figure out what size your body is in comparison to others now that your extra LBS have been served their eviction notice!

Trying to find where you belong is a form of self-assurance and is a way to seek a bit of inner affirmation that your hard work really is paying off! People who were once heavy always have a feeling that we could lose ‘a few more lbs,’ but in reality (reality in weight loss…never heard of it haha) that may not be the case. Why is it that most people who have always been a size 8 are more content and comfortable with being a size 8 than someone who has fought to be a size 8? Shouldn't I as a fairly newcomer to a size 8 be able to comfortably enjoy it as much as the person with size 8 seniority? Finding this comfort is much easier said than done…I am still trying to find comfort in my size 8 jeans...and my size 8 life.

We always want to be able to say, “I’m finally as skinny as [insert name of your skinny, beautiful, popular friend here] is…”, but somehow, we are never actually able to admit that we ARE as skinny as she is when we get there! I may borrow a pair of jeans from my friend and have them fit perfectly but I will still think she is skinnier than me. It is the dreaded mirror of weight loss that does this to me! I try to battle this by reflecting on my accomplishments often, staying on track (makes you feel better about your body) and trying to think about my new size rationally among my friends (rationality-another thing that doesn't exist in weight loss haha). Some days this works, and some days it doesn't, but overall the goal is to find genuine comfort in my new size and my new 'place' among my loved ones... 

It is very clear that the real mirror we fight is our heads… With this said however, I vow that one day I will concur both the mirror on the wall and the one in my head; either that, or I’ll break that god damned mirror and have 7 years of back luck…who wants that?

How do you all cope with finding your place within the ‘mirror’ of friends/family who have always been smaller than you, but are now around the same size?

Until next time, keeping the bulge at bay!

PS-Here is a website where you enter your height, weight, pant/shirt size, and body type to see other people who meet the same profile…it is a great tool to mentally place your body in relation to others! http://www.mybodygallery.com/photos-8959-body-shape.htm

Monday, March 26, 2012

Maintenance: The One Celebration That Doesn’t Include A Meal Selection…

Today is a classic day where I’m hopping back onto the ‘Healthy Wagon’ after enjoying the ‘fruits’ of my sister’s wedding (I swear, I did eat some fruit), while not regretting one crumb or calorie I happily consumed. However, enjoying a wedding to the fullest is an example of where the mental game that exists with maintenance will likely rears its ugly head (and, for me, its head is in the shape of a large platter of cheese, crackers, and any kind of hors d'oeuvre followed by a good ole helping of guilt!).

Maintenance has a tendency to be a bit of a roller coaster for many people. For example, I went from weighing the least I have ever weighed, 149.8 lbs, (and buying the smallest sized dress I’ve ever bought) to eating to my heart’s content in just one week! The highs and lows from this can be tough to deal with, however, the key to maintenance is to always get back on track, no matter what!

If this means that you have to freeze all the left overs that your generous family sends home with you so that you will only have them accessible for when guests come over-then do it! (Insert my stuffed freezer full of leftover pastries from what seemed like a bakery shop's full week worth of sales just for my sister’s post wedding brunch). 

My Sister's Post-Wedding Brunch: Pastry Heaven!...(now deep in my freezer)

Do what you need to do to get back on track-freeze the food, throw it out, have your loved ones hide it from you, or even give it to your skinniest friends so that they can ‘fluffen’ up a bit haha-you must do what is right for you in order to get yourself back on track.

Depriving yourself during moments like a wedding where it (hopefully-haha) only happens once in your loved one’s life isn’t true maintenance (and I was so happy to see that a few of you commented on previous posts with this sentiment as well!).

You can’t get mad at yourself for allowing yourself to enjoy these moments! Yes, it may be frustrating that food is the centerpiece to every celebration that practically exists-but don’t allow it to surround the biggest celebration of all-your weight loss! Take moments to remember how far you’ve come and that a few meals, or even few days of just enjoying life and the treats that come along with it, (like the three day affair I just had with pastries, cheese, and buffets) won’t cause you to gain the weight back...

Here are two pictures that I took to show myself how far I’ve come-these serve as a reminder that a few unhealthy, or even ‘normal’ meals, will not send me back to that-I'm a new person now, and that old 260 LB-er is gone forever! This is the one constant celebration that doesn't come with a meal selection or congratulatory dessert!

The dress shown was my prom dress from senior year in high school in 2005. It was a size 22…the dress I bought for my sister's rehearsal dinner is a size 6! 

(Note, this dress is actually a wedding dress-they didn't have any prom dresses in my size so I actually had to buy a wedding dress...you never forget unsettling moments like these...)

As long as you don’t allow your few days of indulgence to turn into a few weeks-you will continue to maintain. Celebrate the accomplishments you have had in your weight loss-celebrating these will help you get back on track and will remind you that you are far from the person you used to be!

During maintenance you have to loosen up a bit, and enjoy a freaken slice of cake once in a while! One slice of cake won’t make you fluffy again, however, the entire cake in a whole other story...

What do you do to remind yourselves of how far you have come, and that you are allowed to enjoy treats sometimes?

Until next time, keeping the bulge at bay...

Friday, March 16, 2012

Foodie Festivities & Pastry Parties…

As a person who has continuously struggled with their weight, I’ve always wondered, why do celebrations have to surround around food?!? Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m Italian! I’ve been born and bred to genuinely believe the more food put on your plate by your family members is a physical manifestation of the amount they love you-and let me tell you, they love me A LOT!

But have you ever asked yourself, why do celebrations have to surround themselves around something that some of us struggle with daily? Trust me, I love traditions and festivities just the way they are-because honestly, who wants to celebrate Christmas by running a marathon instead of eating a nice ham-kudos to those of you who do (and no-not the chocolate kind of Kudos)! However, these celebrations can mentally be a very difficult struggle for people who toil with their weight.

With this being said, it can be hard to make people understand that ‘just having one cupcake’ or ‘just trying a couple appetizers’ is not the same for us fluffy (my favorite word instead of fat) fighters as it is for you ‘normal’ folk. Needing to tap into your will power to avoid consuming copious amounts of these celebratory delights is an understatement-it can nearly be impossible...

For example, this past weekend was my sister’s bachelorette party. As one of her maid of honors, it was our job to set it up and arrange everything. She wanted to go to a dueling piano restaurant/bar and have everyone stay over close by. This sounds like a really fun time, however anyone who struggles with their weight sees and hears a different description of the night’s festivities; here is the description that I hear: “OH $#!T, ok, so this means-pizza, cupcakes, champagne, cookies, chips, candy, booze at the bar, AKA a diet disaster!"

Me, my sister Becky, and other Maid of Honor (also named) Rachel!

Armed and ready for battle, I brought a 100 Calorie Mini Muffin pack to try to avoid eating the cupcakes, not to mention everything else! Well guess what was the only thing left the next morning, my 100 Calories Mini Muffins...why I thought little coffee cake mini muffins would have an armor of steel, I may never know…

(Other) Rachel's Amazing Cupcakes!
Thank god, no pictures were taken of all the other food haha!

Celebrations of all sorts including holidays, birthdays, weddings, nights out, anniversaries, etc. all tend to surround around food which can be more frustrating than a skinny girl calling herself fat! There is no one magical solution for everyone that has to tackle the food frenzy at celebrations. However, I tend to feel that planning ahead and being conscious of your choices is the best preparation one can have. For example, yes I splurged and ate a good amount at my sister’s bachelorette, but I was good every other day that week and only drank water at the bar (I don’t drink alcohol anymore because I am a true foodie at heart and would rather chew my calories then drink them hehe). I also made sure there were healthy options for me to indulge on at the party as well…veggies with fat-free dip-when in doubt, dip away!

Now with her wedding a week from today, I am already mentally gearing up for the rehearsal dinner, day of festivities, AND, the morning after brunch. This all equals-food, food, and MORE FOOD! All I can expect from myself is to try my hardest to not over indulge,  while allowing myself to enjoy the true celebrations occurring: the marriage of my sister to her soon to be husband, and that the type of cake they chose I don’t like!

You see how I TRY to handle this...how do you all realistically tackle food centered celebrations?!? :)

Until next time, keeping the bulge at bay!