Weekly Weigh In #…I forgot

Hello Bloggies! Happy Friday to you – It’s a super special Friday to me because I work one day next week and then I’m off to Chicago and Minnesota to visit family and see my cousin get married! Exciting! I’ve been lacking on the weekly weigh-in posts – sorry – but believe me, I have been checking in with the scale every Saturday.

Happily this week I’m down another .8 of a pound… making my grand total 5.8 pounds since starting the weight tracking on this blog.


I should probably be more angry that I haven’t lost more, but when I consider my hectic life the past few months, I’m grateful I’m DOWN and not up! 5.8 pounds is a nice chunk of chunky, and I can feel it in my jeans. To be completely honest too, the last time I tracked was… *hangs head in shame* weeks ago. So with all that said, continuing to lose is a small victory for me and I’ve accepted that this particular journey will be long, but that small tweaks ultimately lead to big change over time.

I’ll be challenged many, many times on my upcoming vacation – with Wisconsin’s deep fried cheese curds, Chicago’s Italian Beef, Deep Dish Pizza and wedding cake – but I know that a few slip-ups on a vacation hardly make a downward spiral, or even more important, I don’t need to LET it turn into a downward spiral.

Things will probably be quiet around here next week – I’ll try to check in at least once, but if I don’t, please know that I’m enjoying a few days off work and school and spending time with my awesome family. I hope you have a great week!

SlimCado – When “lite” just aint right

Matt and I live near a 99c Only Store, which is pretty much one of my favorite stores EVER, ‘cuz on a weekly basis we find things like organic spring mix vegetables (Reg price at least $3), full-sized bottles of Dial Soap (reg price at least $1.50), and random, awesome things like O.P.I. Nail Polish (Reg price: $9!) and decorative gourds (Priceless, in their lack of use). And if you couldn’t tell by the name, everything is ONLY 99c!

Last week, Matt brought home another interesting 99c store find: the SlimCado! Could it be? An avocado that’s 50% less fat and has 35% fewer calories? It is. The SlimCado has a much more smooth, shiny skin than the traditional California Haas, and it’s a lot bigger. Reminds me of a dinosaur egg. It came all the way from Florida!

SlimCado before I cut it open!

It looked the same as a regular avocado when I cut it open, though the texture was slightly less creamy and a little more watery.

My, what a big seed you have.

I used my handy avocado slicer to create nice, thin slices and popped one in my mouth. Verdict? Sadly, the SlimCado is like most “light” things… disappointing. It was bland, watery and like the depressed version of the pebbly Haas – there was no buttery aftertaste, no smooth, creamy tingles dancing on my taste buds.

Slim N' Sliced, but the taste was not so nice.

However, I’m no food-waster and I know people are starving in India, so I made do with what I had. I crushed one huge clove of garlic, added three drops of Tapatio, cracked some pepper and stirred in some Himalayan Pink Salt – and it made all the difference in the world. Bland SlimCado? You were just been reborn as slightly-less-awesome-than-usual guacamole.

"Hey, I never asked you - Do you like Guacamole?" 10 points if you get that movie reference!

All in all, I’d use the SlimCado for guacamole, but probably not for salads or garnish. It’s a little too ho-hum to stand on its own. Sure, regular avocados are fattening, but they’re loaded with Omega-5s and lovely antioxidants. Plus, it’s the type of fat that makes your hair shiny and your nails strong, so in my opinion, it’s worth porking out on the full-fat version… and avocados are so damn expensive it’s not like you’re going to be eating them daily anyways!

Have you ever tried the SlimCado? Would you? What other freakish vegetable or fruit mutations have you tasted?

PS: It’s Matt’s birthday today! Happy Birthday, husband… <3

PPS: Due to my crazy work/school/life schedule, I’m probably going to be blogging 2-3 times a week. So you don’t waste your time popping by on days when I’m away, please subscribe (you can find the link on the right hand side of the page) or check in on Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays. Those are the days I’ll try my berry best to post! Next week might be a little silent as I’ll be on VACATION!!! WOOHOO!

Taking a Stand

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Last week I did something I normally have trouble doing. I took a stand. I suffer from horrible, year-round allergies – so bad, that for a year I had to get four weekly shots. I now get shots about every three weeks and have been getting them for a total of 2.5 years. I am most allergic to Kentucky Blue Grass and Meadow Fescue, which are the most common grasses. I have a bi-annual check up with my allergist that I dread – not because he tells me I’ll still be getting stabbed with things that my make body wheeze and itch for another year, but because he ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS brings up my weight. Doesn’t matter that he brings up my weight. What matters is that he dwells on it.

Leo loves the grass... but if I did this I would break out in hives!

It’s a normal thing when you’re obese. Your health is in danger. It seems appropriate to mention it once or twice, but to bring it up and dwell on it? Not necessary. The last time I saw this particular doctor, he grilled me about my fitness routine and my eating plan. When I exclaimed that I was struggling with it he instructed me to “try harder”.  When I said I exercised at least three times a week, he said I needed to do it every day. He then went on to say that maybe after I lose the weight, my allergies will go away. The appointment, which was supposed to be about my allergies, turned into a critique of my lifestyle, and I left with a prescription for Flonase and a deflated self-esteem.

So how did I take a stand? I received an appointment card in the mail for this allergist, and I while I was getting this week’s shots, I asked for a new doctor. It felt good. The nurse asked why and I no problem saying that I felt like he was a bully about my weight. She remarked that he “meant well” and I said, “he may mean well but there’s a right way to bring it up.”

The new doctor might bring up my weight, but hopefully he’ll do it in a kind, “this is a reminder” type of way, and not as in “THE REASON YOUR SKIN ITCHES AND YOU HAVE HORRIBLE ALLERGIES IS BECAUSE YOU’RE FAT”. Because I’m sorry – I’m no MD, but fat does not equal allergies.

My penchant for popcorn isn’t the direct cause of grass-induced hives. If it was, I’d have quit that popcorn a long time ago – and kissed my fat, and my allergies, goodbye.

Don't worry - we didn't even make it through half of this bowl!

5 years and 20 pounds – What a difference it makes!

Young Lyssa and Older Lyssa

Hey everyone!  As most of you know, I’m a grad student, studying Mass Media Communication at Cal State Northridge. What is the study of mass communication, you ask? Mass Communication is the proper name for the field of study of Mass Media – any means of communication used to disseminate information en masse. I’m most interested in how people consume media – what it does to our brains, how it makes us feel, think, act, react, etc. You can blame studying mass media for my lack of blogging the next few months. 🙂

I’m halfway through my grad program and I finally took the time last week to get my new student ID. The picture on top was taken at the beginning of 2006, when I was about 20 pounds heavier than I am now. At that time in my life, I didn’t exercise, I ate a lot more crap, and I had no idea what the number on the scale was. I’ve always hated this picture because my face is super round, my hair looks like Amy Grant stuck her finger in a light socket, and I have a gummy, fake smile. It’s just a bad picture. The picture on the bottom was taken last week,  and when I compared the two – WOW, what a difference 5 years and 20 pounds makes!!!

The new picture shows me as a young woman – no longer just an undergrad student working 20 hours a week in bookkeeping, but now, it shows a wife, writer, online content manager and graduate student. It shows somebody who eats lots of fruit and vegetables, somebody who boxes for an hour on Saturday mornings, and somebody who now at least *tries* to avoid the siren song smell of popcorn at the movie theatre. My face looks more mature, and I look happier, leaner, more confident. (I’m also a lot more stressed out than I was in the first picture, but hey, I’m a lot busier now too! haha!)

This picture was exactly what I needed to see because I’ve recently been getting a little bit down about why I can’t seem to just commit and lose the weight. Even though the weight’s not coming off as fast as I’d like it to, I’m at a better place now than I was five years ago. Every little bit counts. Pictures like these are a reminder that all small efforts eventually lead to something bigger and more grand.

(PS: My weigh in Saturday showed a loss of 1.5 pounds – finally down after a few yo-yo weeks!)

Do you have any pictures that make you go ‘Wow, how the times have changed!”?


Supper Club 600: Italy

Heidi, a beauty in blue by her buffet

One of the great things about this blog is that it’s helped me make some new friends, like the lovely Heidi, from Finishing the Hat! Heidi has lost over 60 pounds and hosts dinner parties with her husband Tom called “Supper Club 600” – where every course totalled equals less than 600 calories! As a foodie and someone who loves to cook, I was very excited to be invited to Heidi’s last fete, Supper Club 600 -Italy!

A Fantastic Feast

Heidi served eight dishes, which is no small feat when you’re cooking for a crowd of over 15 people. Some of the delicious offerings for the evening included bruschetta caprese, spaghetti aglio olio and pollo marsala. As someone who happily tried every dish, I can see that Heidi has a real talent for cooking and I will gladly attend any upcoming supper clubs. Because I’d rather have you hear about the awesomeness of Supper Club 600 straight from the source, please read this interview with none other than the chef herself, Heidi!

1) How or why did you start the Supper Club?

When we started our weight loss journey, Tom and I were not sure how to translate our love for food into healthy daily habits.  As we worked with Richard Simmons’ meal plan (called the Food Mover) we started to observe portions closely, and focus on finding a balance between protein, carbohydrates, fats, veggies and fruit.  The more we put our love of food into building healthy meals, the more we realized that it would be possible to remain “foodies” while overcoming food addiction, because when we ate a good balance – and especially when we put care into the ingredients – we were never hungry the way we expected to be while losing weight.  Instead, we were satisfied, nourished, and fueled.Richard reviewed our food log each week, giving us support and feedback.  And each week, he’d make a point of teasing us about how much we are able to eat for the calories we were eating.  “Everyone should see Heidi and Tom’s food log. You guys eat better than ME,” he’d tell our class.  People would ask us frequently: “what is it that you’re eating!?”  So we decided to host a dinner party for some of our Slimmons friends, to show them some of the recipes we’d discovered (or tweaked, or created from scratch.)  It was a hit, and soon we found ourselves dreaming up themes for future dinners… and coming up with an official name: Supper Club 600.

Amazing Bruschetta

2) How do you think up the menu for your Supper Club 600?

It depends on the theme!  At first, we were just putting together menus, but now we’ve progressed to full themes.  Once we have a theme (say, BBQ, springtime, or Indian) we think about all the foods we’d enjoy within that particular cuisine or season.  What kind of meal would we plan if we were hosting a meal with unlimited calories?  Those dishes are our usual jumping-off point, and we use it as a challenge to build new kinds of healthy meals around favorite dishes.  Sometimes, as in the case of our Indian theme, we don’t know much about cooking the food and we have to do a lot of practice.  Sometimes it’s just a matter of coming up with unusual ingredients to swap into recipes to help reduce calories.  Once we have a couple of great recipes, we build in sides, desserts and beverages depending upon how many calories are left.  We haven’t topped 600 yet, and we don’t plan to!

Alyssa's Heaping but Healthy Plate at Supper Club 600

3) How do you calculate the nutritional information for the dishes?
Tom and I are both avid users of LiveStrong.com.  Their “My Daily Plate” function is very helpful in calculating the nutritionals.  We add a new recipe by ingredients, and it automatically calculates the information per serving.  (This is also helpful in determining what serving sizes fit into the meal.)

Spaghetti Squash, Carbonara Style!

4) What has been your favorite supper club “theme” thus far?
My favorite one was definitely B-Movie BBQ at the Drive-In.  I’m a movie buff (that’s putting it mildly) and it was great fun to put together the decorations and the movie snack bags.  Plus, the food was some of my favorite.  You can’t beat BBQ jackfruit for a dinner that tastes delicious and feels like the opposite of dieting.  (I am, in fact, not dieting per se, just eating healthfully and overcoming food addiction.) (See Heidi’s recipe and post about BBQ Jackfruit here!)

50 Calorie Tiramisu? Yes, Please!

5) Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to start their own supper club?
Yes!  DO IT!  It takes a lot of prep work, but what you invest in healthy cooking will pay off in spades.  By planning these every other month, it gives me an area to focus on, so that my list of healthy recipes grows, and I never get stuck in boredom.  (Boredom is one of the reasons I used to eat unhealthfully.) Think of a supper club you’d like to throw, and then practice with recipes and ideas.  Or take some inspiration from one of my themes!  Sharing food with friends and loved ones is so fun – and when it’s healthy food, it’s such a positive jumping-off point for discussion and understanding.  I highly recommend it!

Laura, Me, Alexa (The Curvy Nerd) and Heidi

Big Sexy

I heard of TLC’s new show “Big Sexy” via word of mouth before I actually saw it being promoted. A few of my friends asked me what I thought about it, and being a “big sexy” myself, I decided I had to check it out.

The show follows “Five Fabulous and Fierce Fashion Divas” living their lives in New York City. The episode I watched tonight was about a singles party. Here are my initial thoughts (I’ll be tuning in later tonight, too – but these are my thoughts after watching the show for the first time.)

  • These chicks ARE actually big. So often in mass media, representatives of “plus size” are barely topping a size 10 and look just like your average sister, mom, cousin or girlfriend. Plus-sized means PLUS SIZED, aka, having to buy clothes from the ‘fat lady’ department. I like that these girls have “plus sized street cred”, if that makes sense, and they’re not the usual skinny girls with cellulite moaning about their fat thighs. Kudos to TLC on casting accurate body types for a show that’s about, well, big bodies.

  • Some of the typical comments from the brilliant citizens of the internet about this show are that it’s “promoting and celebrating the lifestyle of the obese”. I’m obese – and do I celebrate my life? Hell yes, I celebrate my life – I celebrate every breath I breathe, every rose that blooms in my garden, every day that I wake up next to my sweet husband. Life is something to be celebrated. I’m not going to mourn because I have fifty pounds to lose. Like my figure, my life is FULL. There’s a difference between celebrating obesity and celebrating life. These girls are proud of who they are. They have work to do to be healthy, and they acknowledge it – but they’re confident, happy and successful at the same time. I know this goes against mass media’s typical representation of the fat kid, but it’s time to progress. Lots of fat people are miserable, but lots of fat people are happy, too. One size does not fit all. It’s 2011. Celebrating life is a sign of gratitude, wisdom and knowledge – not celebrating the fact that you binged on cupcakes and can’t button your jeans.

  • TV is still up to its usual tricks. In one scene, the girl aspiring to be a plus sized model is shown boxing at the gym, and then it cuts to her working out on the treadmill. The camera zoomed in at least three times on her ample bottom. I don’t know if TLC zoomed in on her ass to be like “Hey male viewers! Look at this booty!” or to be like “Hey viewers! Here’s a big fat ass! We’re going to zoom in on it to make you worry if your ass looks big!” Regardless of the intent, it felt gratuitous and degrading, no matter the size of the ass. Women fight a battle EVERY DAY to be seen as equals and don’t tell me it doesn’t happen, because I see it happen on a daily basis. Zooming in on asses, cleavage and tummy rolls only further perpetuates the idea that we are THINGS, things that are made to be owned, prodded and analyzed. Size 20 or Size 2 – We are people. Leave the ass shots to Jersey Shore.

  • While I admire the fact that there is a show purely for larger women, I sometimes wish TV could just integrate and that so called “Reality television” could actually be realistic. I don’t choose friends based on their weight, so it seems weird to me that shows are always “segmented” by body type or appearance (think Real World, Jersey Shore, The Hills, etc). Does TV need to be so US and THEM? America’s Next Top Model integrates plus sized models among the regular sized models, and I always thought that was a refreshing change. TLC’s “Big Bliss” is another example of plus-sized programming. It’s great to have diversity, but I hope for the future that media will not always be so categorized. The reality is that big fat people mingle with little skinny people in real life – so reality television should follow suit. If we’re representing the mass – make sure it looks mass.

What do you think about “Big Sexy”? Have you watched it? No matter your size, how does it or other shows like it make you feel? Chime in!