Thursday, January 23, 2014

Flavorful Diet Recipes - Penzeys Sandwich Sprinkle for Breakfast

No longer will I eat cottage cheese and jello to lose weight! It has never worked before, and it will not work for me long term. One of my secret weapons for cooking food that tastes good is Penzeys Sandwich Sprinkle. It is a tasty mix of garlic, coarse salt, basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, and black pepper.

Love it on roasted vegetables, potatoes, sandwiches, and just about everything savory.

 My current favorite breakfast is a sandwich thin bun with 1 cooked egg, 1 slice of bacon torn in half, a piece of cheddar cheese and a generous shake or 2 of the Sandwich Sprinkle. While I'm cooking the egg, I put the bun in the microwave topped with the cheese and the cooked pieces of bacon. Takes about 20 second to melt the cheese and wake up the bacon. Then I plop the seasoned egg on top. The whole process take about 5 minutes. FYI it totals about 310 calories.

No, they don't pay me to say these things. I just love their spices in general. Their cinnamon is like sweet candy dust. MMMM. Maybe it's time for some oatmeal.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Why Don't We Want to See Lena Dunham Naked?

From The Week

"When watching Girls with a former boyfriend, he would roll his eyes when the nudity warning preceding the episode flashed across the scene. "Ugh, it's probably just Lena Dunham's butt," he said. I was annoyed by his callous and immature response, and that he didn't understand Dunham's purposeful use of her naked body. Sadly, he wasn't the only man who felt this way.
At a Girls panel at the Television Critics Association's winter conference, Tim Molloy at The Wrap asked Dunham why she appears nude so often, a fair question about her creative choices. But he did so in a fairly obnoxious way that revealed his own misunderstanding of the potential use for nudity on screen. He said to Dunham:

I don't get the purpose of all the nudity on the show. By you particularly. I feel like I'm walking into a trap where you say no one complains about the nudity on Game of Thrones, but I get why they're doing it. They're doing it to be salacious. To titillate people. And your character is often naked at random times for no reason.
Did Molloy not realize that his question would come off as him telling Dunham, "I am not sexually excited by the sight of your naked body, so why bother with it on TV?" Because that's how she, along with executive producers Judd Apatow and Jenni Konner, took it.

Dunham responded pretty curtly, suggesting she was insulted. "It's because it's a realistic expression of what it's like to be alive, I think, and I totally get it. If you are not into me, that's your problem."

So, one answer to Molloy's question about why Dunham is naked if not for the purpose of being sexually arousing is because the show is committed to a certain realism. And as Apatow later stated, "I have people naked when they're willing to do it." Not all the actresses on Girls are willing to be naked, but when they are, the show uses nudity to bring that extra touch of reality to their interactions.
But there is another layer to Dunahm's nudity. Some narrow-minded critics suggest that Dunham's body doesn't meet the conventional standards of hotness defined by the ladies of Game of Thrones, and as a result, she is the one who needs to justify why she appears naked.
But by appearing naked so frequently and so confidently — or better yet, nonchalantly — Dunham is making a huge statement to viewers who struggle with her nudity because they don't find it attractive. She isn't challenging them to change their notions of attractiveness, but as Tracie Egan Morrissey at Jezebel pointed out, she is challenging them to question the way they use attractiveness to view a woman's behavior and what she deserves in life.

Link to the rest at The Week

I find it disturbing how annoyed people are with Lena Dunham's nudity. The fact that she's okay with her body seems to be a sin in the eyes of many. They are unwilling to see her if she doesn't meet their standard of beauty. She is defying the natural order - put your clothes on because we don't want to see how comfortable you are in your own skin. If we don't think you're sexy, then there is no point to your nudity. Your body should only be seen if we approve of it because it is for us to decide if you are beautiful - not you.

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Campaign for Real Profile Pictures

Saw this article on mamapedia called I Hide When the Camera Comes Out. Ouch, did it strike a chord. So of course I'm guilty of this, and a lot of women I know are also. But we have good reason. The world has imprinted on us this dislike for our bodies, pressing it on us until we bear it like a fossil of all the women who came before us, women who were valued only if they were beautiful.

In fact, I would argue that it is socially unacceptable to be okay with having your picture taken if you are a woman. You are supposed to protest and hem and haw about how awful you look. It takes courage to just stand still and let someone snap the picture.

Like the author of the article, I have a mother who doesn't want her picture taken. And as she does, I grieve for the photographs of her that I lose because the world tells her to be ashamed of how she looks. I understand how she feels, and I do not blame her for it. I have felt the same way.

But beyond losing just pictures, I mourn because I don't want to just see images of my mother. I want to see her. Her warmth, her humor, her silly personality.  In many of her pictures, she simply looks blank or uncomfortable. She may have a forced smile at best. I long to see who she really is so that I can have it always.

So for myself, my children, and all the women who come after me, not only will I stop avoiding pictures, I will mug for the camera. I will laugh and scowl and wink, and I won't try to arrange my face into an expression that is least objectionable.

They will see me in sweats, with my hair askew, without makeup. I will not hide behind people or large objects. I will smile even if it makes my cheeks chubbier and my chin wobble. I will have an expression on my face! I will proudly take selfies. I will show myself. I don't want to just accept being photographed, I want to revel in it. The world should know my weirdness.

I don't expect it to be easy. I have a lifetime of inhibitions to overcome. But I'm kinda looking forward to breaking through the discomfort and seeing who I really am through the lens of a camera.

My son is graduating from high school this year, and I want to be in as many pictures as I can. Maybe I will photobomb the graduating class. I just want to be remembered for who I was instead of as another woman stunned into a painful expression by a camera.

P.S. I will also be changing my carefully selected, when-I-weighed-about 50-pounds-less profile picture into something that more reflects the real me. I also am starting The Campaign for Real Profile Pictures. If you are tired of avoiding the camera, I challenge you to put up a photo that reflects the real you. It doesn't have to be your best or your worst picture, it just has to be you on that day - peaceful, angry, smirking, sad, playful, hysterical, laughing - just make it one that you look at and recognize yourself.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Chocolate is Not My Enemy

As most of you know, the initial days of trying to eat better are hard. When you haven't been paying attention to nutrition for awhile, the first time you bump your head on the idea of eating more consciously, it's uncomfortable.

But going on the third day of the year, its getting easier more quickly than I thought it would. I'm rather pleasantly surprised. Losing weight is no longer a life or death struggle. The consequence are not dire if I eat something unhealthy. I have not failed in life. I have just had a piece of junk food. I don't know why this makes it easier to resist said junk food, but it does.

So my first dilemma in the new year was what to do all the Christmas candy I still have at work. The company I work for gifts every employee a stocking full of treats for the holiday, and I still had a drawer full of stuff. My first instinct was to throw everything away because I'm on a "diet" now.

But then I thought about it. Do I intend to give up chocolate for the rest of my life? Perish the thought! Can I eat just one mini candy bar a day and not binge? Yep. I can stop with one. Is it the healthiest option? No. But for me deprivation leads to an ugly chocolate ring around my mouth and a pile of empty wrappers.

So the candy is still in my drawer. And I'm okay with that. So far, I'm not constantly thinking about the chocolate and looking forward to the next piece. I actually forget that I have candy. I am not obsessed by it. It didn't used to be this way. Part of this shift is because I'm more relaxed than I have ever been about changing my eating. Food is not the most important part of my life, so I don't focus on it. And I want to work on keeping it that way.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

My Liquid Diet - The First Day

Welcome. For those of you who made your way here from my book, My Liquid Diet: How I Lost 58 lbs, My Eyebrows, and an Internal Organ, below is the original blog post I wrote about starting the diet.

I hope the book made you feel like you're not alone. If you want a diet buddy for the journey ahead, please stop back by, and we can offer each other encouragement as we try to eat healthier.

It's a new year, and I'm looking forward to getting healthier and happier.

I don't know how much I weigh, and I've decided finding out probably won't be helpful to my psyche. So my strategy right now is not to focus on a number on the scale. Too much of my life has been ruled by that number. I'll be able to tell if I lose weight, so why let the number bring me down?

January 6, 2010
Starting Weight: 244.5

So yesterday I had my doctor's appointment, picked up four honkin big canisters of protein powder, discovered my starting weight was 244.5, left wildly optimistic, and went to eat lunch at a restaurant with my mother. This won't be bad, I thought. I haven't really been hungry lately, so no sweat.  A divorce, a move into a new house, and an increased workload at my job have made me too fatigued to eat. That's why the diet sounded so good. No effort trying to find food that sounds tasty when it's been such an effort lately; I just have a shake and go on with my life.

And then there was today. I don't know how I'm going to do this. Like many a contestant on Survivor, I am gagging on this stuff. And it really isn't horrible. Really. Aside from a chalky taste to the vanilla powder, it's fairly benign flavor-wise. I, who mocked those delicate flowers on the reality show for puking, am being paid back in spades. Gagging galore for no good reason.

At least I am not crazy hungry, today at least. But so far the highlights have been the chicken bouillon I am allowed and the jello. I find myself asking, now was Weight Watchers all that difficult, you putz?

I also just totaled up all the liquid I am supposed to consume for the day. Egad. I have five protein drinks (8 oz of liquid each), and I am supposed to drink 8 cups of water plus 1 extra for every 25 pounds I am overweight. Ergo, at 100 pounds overweight, I must chug an extra four glasses. That's 17 cups of fluid everyday or I risk fun side-effects like headache, constipation, dizziness, fatigue and a quick trip to crazy town. Consult me in a few weeks for a map of every bathroom in the St. Louis region.

But the truth is, I could cheat on Weight Watchers. The guidelines here are clear. You don't eat. Anything. No extra spoonfuls. No quick bites. No chewy goodness.

Now the payoff is quick weight loss, of course. But here at the dawn of the diet, I see no results. I am like every impatient dieter who works hard (for all 12 hours I have been at it) and then runs to the scale to see if I've lost 10 pounds already. Of course, aint gonna happen unless The Biggest Loser kidnaps me.

The diet is a medically supervised program through Barnes Hospital in St. Louis called Medical. I can't find squat on people who've had experience with this diet, so I thought others who go on it might want to hear about mine. I probably won't publish this blog until the next school semester ends (I am a teacher and I don't really want my current set of students this knowledgeable about my life).

Anyhoo, let the whining begin.