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A Very Foodie McBody Christmas

I had a great Christmas. It was one of the nicest Christmases I can actually ever remember. Even though I was out shopping late Christmas Eve, something I swore I would not do, I was still in good spirits throughout.

Foodwise, I had a pretty decadent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I am certainly up a few pounds. But that’s really the end of it. (I am so relieved!) I don’t have any big plans for New Years’ Eve, and I don’t celebrate Boxing Day. I don’t even know what Boxing Day is. I guess I could look it up. Okay, so they say it’s a day of “cold buffet” (ie., leftovers?!) and parlour games.  That just seems… um, obvious?

On Christmas Eve, we went to our neighbors’ house for their traditional jumbo breaded fried shrimp and cookie and champagne fest. Ah, it was so good. I had two champagne cocktails, about 4-5 giant shrimp and about five cookies. Which I can tell you is a fraction of what I ate last year, and previous years. I enjoyed every bite of those things, and I felt full but not painful when I left.

Yesterday we had ham, turkey, some incredibly decadent scalloped potatoes, creamed spinach.  All of it (except the scalloped potatoes) we got from the Honeybaked Ham store. Now I know that HB ham is probably not the most nutritious thing on earth. I know it’s all injected with glucose and salt and chemicals and stuff. Do I care? Hmm. Last year and before, I’d say probably not. But for me, Christmas dinner has to be all about EASE. I can’t cope with shopping, cleaning, wrapping etc AND cooking some multi-day meal. Maybe if I lived near a bunch of relatives where everyone makes a dish. But it’s pretty much all on me so it has to be easy.

Our easy Christmas morning breakfast is traditionally those giant Pillsbury cinnamon rolls, yeah the Cinnabon kind. We wake up, make the giant rolls, then open presents. It’s that typical Christmas morning smell. It’s also.. yeah, easy. But I felt kinda sick after my roll yesterday and felt like, I wish I’d made a nice caramelized onion frittata or something else proteinish for breakfast. Again, no time. Next year I might consider tweaking this particular tradition. Or maybe not. Hey, it’s just ONE DAY. I don’t need to eat another Cinnabon for another year.

I got some fabulous presents this year. Some of the best ever. One was a BodyBugg, which I have been desiring ever since I started watching Biggest Loser. I am very excited about really knowing the calories I’m burning. I have not quite figured it all out yet. I was hoping to get it rolling this morning but I’m still having some technical difficulties. So I’m gonna have to wait until tech support is on hand, probably Monday.

I also received a panini press, which I have been wanting for eons. I am so excited about this. I love warm sandwiches. I love grilled cheese. The great thing about this is that it makes warm sandwiches without having butter all over the bread, which is a huge calorie saver. And I can also use the great thin low-point bread. So it’s all good! We had some leftover ham-and-cheese paninis just now and they were amazing. I’m excited that you can also grill meats (like chicken breasts!) and veggies (like eggplant!) on this machine. I am jazzed, baby.

Santa also brought our family an ice cream machine. I admit this is not exactly a WW endorsed product (HA) but I am feeling happy and confident. Just because we have an ice cream machine does not mean we are going to be eating ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But right now there is some homemade vanilla churning away and I am excited.

One of the gifts I gave myself yesterday is that I registered for the Kaiser Permanent Half Marathon in Golden Gate Park on February 7th. A friend of mine is having a Big Birthday that day and she asked for friends to join her in this event.  What a great way to celebrate, right? I am not at all sure my ankle will be able to put up with much running but I’ve decided to racewalk most of it and jog a little if I can.

Last night we watched Julie and Julia on DVD. I love that movie so much. A feature film about a blogger! A food blogger! That alone made me so happy. As did all the food. And best of all the beautiful relationships between the women and their supportive husbands. It made me laugh and cry.

So it was a great Christmas, one of the best ever. It’s the day after, and I am not awash in regret and self-loathing. I’m quite happy. And now I’m going to the gym!! Hope you all had a great holiday. oxoxo

Verklempt.

I got to my evening WW meeting tonight and was surprised to see my BOSS standing there! He had a present for me: THIS, poster sized, in a big frame. I was… overcome. Really.

(no, it’s not a REAL WW magazine cover, he did it in Photoshop! – what talent, right?) But truly I can’t even express what this means to me, on so many freaking levels. And if you don’t know the significance of this image, read this post.

This week I talked a few times about how on Facebook, there’s that “Year in Facebook” collage app, and it sort of summarizes your 2009 FB status updates. One of the very first updates I wrote in 2009 was: Need to lose weight for medical reasons. I’m scared. I need company. I remember what a frightened, sorry state I was in. But I put it out there. I started this blog. And, as they say, the rest is history.

Boy, see what happens when you put it out there? Did I ever get company. I’m truly overwhelmed with gratitude for this year.

Anyway, speaking of The Big Cheese, his blog post for this week is really funny and yet REAL and true, and what makes WW work at its essence. Having a good time. Planning. Making choices. Being intentional about all of it. And not feeling remorse for indulging, when that indulgence is intentional. He really, truly walks the walk as well as talks the talk. I printed out and read this post at several of my meetings this week and not only did members laugh, I think they really GOT IT.

Shining A Light into the Darkness

I got an email recently from one of my blog readers, who was responding to my jacket post. She said,

You (maybe because you are now thin?) are able to speak about things that I (and many) have also experienced, with such shame. It is so awful to be too big to fit into any jacket in the store and I’ve been there!  It’s always moving and fascinating to me that you can put this stuff out into the blogosphere, where I’ve just been mortified.

It really struck me, these words. And I thought, well maybe it is easier to write about these painful experiences because I’m not exactly in that place now (I wouldn’t exactly say “thin” but that’s another point). BUT I also think it is writing exactly about these things that has allowed them to change and heal. I really believe this.

For so long I felt such terrible shame and hatred (for myself) for being overweight, and out of shape, and for using food compulsively, and just ALL of it. I thought I was dealing with it: I went to numerous therapists, but that was very private. I went to a few “groups” and talked about it there, but that somehow didn’t do it either. I really felt resigned to having to live that way forever. It was very painful.

Finally when I decided that I NEEDED TO DO SOMETHING, I was casting about in the dark. I just knew I had to somehow throw myself out there, and be honest about it, or it was never going to change. I had to describe all the angst of it. I somehow knew that this was the only way out.

And it turned out to be true.

Sometimes I think about this blog and it makes me so emotional. I really believe it saved me (along with other things). This blog saved me. And so did the blogging community. And my friends. And my trainer. And eventually my family when I felt safe enough to share with them. And the Twitterers. (Tweeters) Y’all know who you are. But it was all about SHARING stuff that felt massively secretive before.

Now, I have another part of my life that could use a little light. Something that has plagued me as long or longer than the weight stuff: my unending clutter. I know somehow these things are related.

SO since it worked so well here, I’ve decided to start yet another blog to focus on THAT issue. And I am hoping that, like with this blog, I will find a community of both inspiring mentors and also struggling companions who are in the same boat as me. I have a RL (real life) friend who is helping me in a real, physical way. I am very very excited about this. I feel hopeful.  It’s another area that has brought me a lot of shame and upset and mortification. But I’m ready to shine the light.

And the Winners are…!

The day has finally arrived and I am announcing the winners to my Laptop Bag Giveaway Contest! This was a wonderful contest to read and I really enjoyed and appreciated everyone’s answers. These were the five that really shone for me. I chose five semi-finalists and then could really not pick ONE from there, so I went to the Random Thingy Chooser (yes, that is really the name of it!) Read down to the bottom to see whom it chose.

dscn2636-thumbBut the four semi-finalists will all receive a prize: this incredibly cool and perfect “Foodie” jewelry charm (can be either a charm or necklace) made by the artistic father of Mara, the blogger at I Made Dinner!!  (Mara is going to get her own Special Prize for helping out with this) Is that not PERFECT? (the crossed utensils over the laptop keyboard??)

So….. drum roll please!! Here are my five finalists.  You can see their complete posts here, but here are some excerpts.

  • Lavagal made me laugh out loud with her post.  Weight Watchers has taught me that journaling is the most honest you can be with yourself. As a result, I blog about my WW progress (lavagal.wordpress.com). For every day that I work out at 24Hour Fitness I tweet my calories, strides, miles, and minutes along with two photos: the first at the start of my workout, the second at the end…Believe me. I eat like a cow so I have to work like an ass, LOL! I love to cook and eat, but I also like to paddle out on my surfboard and wait my turn in the lineup. I’m 50. I still have plenty of waves to catch. Rather than look like a manatee in the lineup, I want to be the chick who’s still hip!
  • Bwjen is another bookworm and English teacher, and she created the inspiring TweetWalker Clubhouse for the benefit of walkers and runners. I have been using twitter and blogging to stay motivated and accountable. I tweet constantly with fellow walkers. I came up with the virtual walking club The TweetWalker ClubHouse where currently me and 15 other walkers blog about our walks. We are a source of inspiration, motivation, support and encouragement for each other. We have each set goals and are walking away our extra pounds.
  • JaimeH is also using blogging, twittering and online communities to help her with her diabetes. I found tudiabetes.com, twitter and started journaling once again. I’ve always known about diabetic communities online but not until I fully engaged in the DOC (diabetic online community) did I realize how much I really needed them. Through writing and connecting with these fabulous people I started to put myself back on my priority list. Out of the 12yrs with diabetes I always took it very seriously and kept my #’s pretty much where they should be…that year I stopped caring was the worst A1c I’ve ever had. These people I started communicating with made me feel like I was not alone in my battle. Not only diabetics but other people on twitter that are living a healthy lifestyle. Even through the internet you could feel their kindness and they are always there to cheer me on when I need it the most. Since then I have become an online admin for tudiabetes & the socal ambassador.
  • ShariMacD is a writer/editor who has found a more personal (and healthy) way to use writing. I’m an editor and writer, but I’ve resisted personal journal writing for years – thinking that it was a waste of writing time because I wasn’t producing something for public consumption. I recently started journaling as a way to help deal with some personal issues, and that has serendipitously coincided with my beginning a new phase of healthy eating/healthy living. Where I’d failed hundreds (thousands?) of times before at weight loss and healthy living attempts, this time around I’m finding it much easier to eat well and get my body moving. I believe this is because I’m journaling, which I’ve found to be a tremendously powerful form of self-care. By journaling, I’m allowing myself to feel what I feel, on the page. To process my life via words, instead of running from it by comforting myself with food. When I’m upset or stressed now, the first thing I think of is grabbing my journal, not grabbing a package of mini chocolate donuts.
  • knk had the most quoteable quote of all. blogging helps me get out what food helps me stuff in. emotions, thoughts, issues, concerns, dreams, fears. and the daily struggle to balance child, career, home, and me– that stuff only gets done by writing/blogging. otherwise, it sits, festers, infects me– takes over my subconscious until i’m doing things i don’t want to do. writing is a way to cleanse my soul, process my emotions, and find the energy to clear a path to a healthier happier life, even if its obscured. it bring me clarity and serves as a conscience. the words bear witness and keep me honest. they provide solace and comfort. writing allows me to listen without responding and gives me time and space to clear away the layers until i am sure of myself again and can face the challenges of weight loss, food demons, and personal growth.

So…. the moment is here! and the Random Thingy Chooser has chosen… JaimeH!

Congratulations, Jaime! You have won the laptop bag! Please email me your snail-mail address, and I will send it out this week! Keep doing that great work for diabetics everywhere. You have already helped me so much, so thank you!

Congratulations, Shari, knk, lavagal and bwjen! You have all won the foodie charms! Please send YOUR snail-mail addresses to Mara here, and she will send you your choice of either a necklace or cell-phone charm or zipper pull.

And thanks to Mara for sending out these prizes! Mara, I have something special for you, so please send ME your snail mail.

Thanks everyone who participated, I truly loved EVERY answer. I hope you will keep writing for health!! And guess what? I have another contest/giveaway in the works! Write about your favorite vegetable, and another fabulous prize might be yours!

Upcoming Blog Topics

Ooh, there is too much I want to blog about, a LOT on my mind lately, and not enough time. But I want to write about the following in the next few days:

  • people who have successfully lost weight/kept it off without counting calories or points
  • blaming one’s weight gain on others (entities, people, situations, etc)
  • my first run/walk around the local lake AND my first Couch-to-5k session (done!)
  • what people are talking about when they say “dealing with your issues” re food/emotions and why this year might be the first year in my life it might actually happen
  • this week’s episode of the Biggest Loser
  • changing up trainers/exercises/workouts

SO — that’s what’s been on my mind this week! I want to write about it all eventually. What would YOU vote for, for me to write about first?

Liveblogging The Biggest Loser

So I have no idea what to expect from TBL tonight. My daughter (who is 2 times zones ahead) texted me and said it was “crazy.” Crazy good, crazy bad, I don’t know. So here goes.

  • Helen recaps the decision to send Shanon home. She questions herself as a mother. I don’t. Mama, you did the right thing.
  • Music of doom. Pop challenge: black and blue shirts -the teams are going to reconfigure. I don’t understand Sione’s attachment to Bob. Ooh the winners get to choose trainers. WHO ON EARTH would choose to work with Bob? Psycho yoga man.
  • Challenge: up and down, 100x in the mud. They love mud wrestling! Kristin will win, ha. 🙂 Kristin FLOPS. I love her! I can tell you these up-down things are damn hard. I’ve done a version of this (sans mud) with my trainer, all the way down and then leaping up. It’s hard. Tara wins. She’s bawling in the mud. I’d be bawling too. Sometimes these exercises are really emotionally draining. I’ve burst into tears more than once after finishing a real killer.
  • I have to say I really don’t understand the concept of this team thing on this show.
  • Wow, NOBODY is getting what they want. Sione is such a sad little hangdog.
  • Sione, Jillian is going to push you a millionx more than Bob. You have no idea how much better this is going to be.
  • Mikey has a great attitude, and J is pushing him SO MUCH.
  • Wah wah wah wah.  All the guys are crying. Cue the violins!! Now the cheesy vocals. BAD.
  • Bob, be a man. Be a professional.
  • STOP WHINING PEOPLE! You know, I love my trainer. I adore my trainer. But he needed to take some time off and he handed me off to someone he trusted. (his own trainer) and guess what? Trainer #2 was freaking AWESOME. I learned new great things. It was tremendous.
  • They’re trying not to laugh their faces off at Jillian’s Ziploc product placement. Hah.
  • Bike challenge. I would SO FAIL at this!! It’s like “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” (about the dance marathons of olden days)
  • Favorite quotes so far: “My ass is on fire.” “Uh huh, it will go numb, don’t worry.” HA!
  • Cue the Gladiator music!
  • Wow. Mandi wants to throw in the towel!  BLACK TEAM, SAY NO!
  • Aw Sione is not a quitter. Blue team is bummmmmmmmed.
  • “the reason we are all here is that we always quit before, we didn’t finish what we started.” YEAH.
  • One minute left! This is very exciting. Ha, Helen’s still going even though they counted to zero.
  • GO BLACK TEAM. Yeahhhh…
  • I love how the two teams are hugging each other.
  • More tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!

My response overall: this was a good show. I got all choked up AGAIN when Sione talked about not quitting. I can remember my earliest days of quitting in the face of a physical challenge. I was on the high school track team. Originally I was supposed to be a sprinter, doing the 220m (1/4 mile) but like EVERYOne wanted to do the 220m so they switched me over to the 880. Which is just a brutal, horrible killer, of having to really pump out for two entire laps rather than.. half a lap.  So many times, during a meet I would end up dying somehow at around 1.5 laps; I’d twist my ankle, or get injured, or throw up or pass out or god knows what. But I was so terrified of losing that I just took myself out, over and over. That was a very bad precedent to set. However, I do not remember ANYbody being there or encouraging me to keep going, so I never did. It was very lonely. I didn’t last too long at track, maybe 2 years max.

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