Love Trumps Hate

May 9, 2016

I recently mentioned in my video blog that I am my own worst hater.  For a long time, like so many of us, I would look in the mirror and only focus on the negative.  I hated the way my stomach looked after having two kids, my thighs were too doughy, my waist too wide, the complaints were endless.

Then something strange happened 2 months ago.  I looked in the mirror and started to like what I see.  My stomach seemed flatter, and my thighs has less cellulite, even my mid-section was slimmer.  I actually looked myself in the face and thought, I look pretty.

It was bizarre!

I figured, “Oh that was a fluke!” Blaming the “skinny mirror” or the fact that I was in a good mood that day.  It couldn’t possibly be that I was finally, after 34 years, coming to accept my body for what it is (and what it isn’t).

Next time I got dressed to go out, I went to the mirror and again it happened.  “I look good!”  “This outfit looks nice on me!’  Maybe it had to do with my recent closet edit where I purged all the items that don’t work for me and learned how to dress to accentuate the postitives of my body (instead of hiding the negatives).  I was happy when I looked in the mirror and that was something very new for me.

For so long, my health journey has been fueled by hating what I saw in the mirror.  Every lowest point of my life when the pain was great enough for me to say, “I’ve got to make a change” was built on the hate that I had for my body (myself) and never on love. In fact it was some really embarrassing photos of me back in 2008 on Superbowl Sunday that finally sent me to Weight Watchers.  I couldn’t stand the sight of myself and the worst part was that they were on Facebook for all the world to see! My motivation was always what disgusted me about my body and how I couldn’t stand to look at it anymore.

Once I realized that, I became very sad thinking I’ve misunderstood what this whole journey was about.  In 2013, I started learning about health and how to help others and the whole time I wasn’t loving myself, I was hating myself.  Fueling my workouts and my healthy cooking with hatred the entire time!  Thinking, “If I eat that donut I’m gonna look terrible in pictures on Facebook” instead of “Donuts are empty calories that I don’t need.” I’m ashamed to think I’ve been coaching others with this undercurrent of hate just beneath the surface.  I’m always telling my clients to “practice self-care” and “love yourself first”, but like, have I done that?

I’ll take the occasional afternoon off for a mani/pedi or to get a massage thinking I was “loving myself” and “practicing self care” but this is only the tip of the ice berg.  Truly loving yourself when you look in the mirror goes way beyond the superficial surface of hair and nail maintenance.  It’s actually liking what you see and not immediately following it up with the negatives.  I got a compliment just yesterday from my husband saying I looked good and I immediately said, “Thank you…but I wish my stomach looked flatter.”  It’s like, MARIE SHUT UP, just say THANK YOU and move on!

I’m sure the last two years of personal development (which includes dozens of Saturdays spent at training events, private coaching, and many podcasts on repeat) is what has allowed me to reach this new level of love for myself.  I’m really proud that I’ve at least gotten to this point, because it means there’s growth happening here.  Sustainable growth can only be found once you begin to love the new habit.  It’s like what people always say about the gym.  “You know once you start to love it is when you’ll actually make it a habit.”  That’s so true!

Anyone can hate themselves enough to lose a couple of pounds, but the real growth is when you start to love yourself enough to transform your life.

March 2015 (left), May 2016 (right) with love

 

 

Advertisements

About a month ago, I woke up and went to my networking group like I do every Thursday. But there was a weird feeling in the back of my throat, it was like a hunger pain and somehow strangely familiar.  I thought for a moment and then I realized, OH, this is heartburn. (Or at least my body’s version of heartburn).  I remembered this feeling from my 2 pregnancies when your stomach is so big and your whole body is outta whack.  But, I wasn’t pregnant and I didn’t know why it was happening.  For about a week I suffered with heartburn everyday.  I tried Tums, Prilosec, sleeping with my head elevated, coconut oil and apple cider vinegar.  Nothing helped, except eating more.  Grrreat.

I went to urgent care and they ruled out an Ulcer (thank the lord!) and send me to a specialist.  I went, he didn’t offer me any insights except, this is your life now – get used to it, and take Prilosec.  Then I thought, this can’t be my life.  I know there’s got to be another way to get better.  I’ve been studying these alternative methods for years since I did my health coach training in 2013.  I believe in the mind body connection.  There has to be an answer or another way, right?

The heartburn continued and none of the remedies were working.  Finally I called a naturopath that I knew of, deciding, maybe THIS would give me some insight.  $250 for a visit? FINE, whatever it takes!  Waiting a few days for my appointment to come, I did some deep feeling (not thinking, because I do that ALL the time) and some reflection with the help of my coach.  All my life, I have stuffed down my feelings of anger, resentment, loneliness and disappointment with food.  I didn’t always struggle with my weight, but as an adult I have.  I’ve had moments of brilliance (like losing 23lbs before my wedding) but I have never conquered this particular demon.  This time, I stuffed myself so much that I actually gave myself heartburn.

Since January, everything in life was going great (business making money, marriage strong as ever, and finances all in order).  I should have been happy and dancing around in the glow of all the abundance I’d just spent 2 years building up.  Instead, I was scared and what do I do when I’m scared?  I eat.  I was so afraid of all this goodwill and abundance, I literally made myself sick over it.  I was so uncomfortable being successful that I pulled away from it.  You guys, this is really sad.  Why would abundance and success be scary? Why would it be so uncomfortable that I would sabotage myself and MAKE myself uncomfortable again? Because it’s familiar.  It’s the struggle that I know.  I’ve always thought anything worth having had to be gotten through struggle.  Struggle to make money, struggle to save money, struggle to get promoted, struggle to communicate with others. Literally everything in my life was defined by the STRUGGLE that it took me to get there.  It defined ME. Then it hit me, in August, I did a personal development workshop where I created the possibility of “peace.”  What’s the opposite of struggle? PEACE.  I figured it out in AUGUST, but it wasn’t till now 6 months later that I realized why PEACE was my possibility.  It would remove the struggle from my life.  My life would be about peace, abundance, happiness and flow.  That sounds like a life I want to live.

And of course, my body would be healthy and fit, not weighed down by unnecessary armor.

The doctor and I met, and I had a release of emotions that I can’t even begin to describe.  She managed to ask all the questions that had been swirling around in my heart and I cried tears of joy, exhaustion, and relief for the first time in a while.  She recommended a very strict elimination diet for 14 days so I could determine what food sensitivities I might have.  I started that day.  No dairy, gluten, sugar, eggs, corn, soy, or peanuts.  It required some serious preparation, grocery shopping and cooking on my part.  I had to bring my own food a few places and tell people repeatedly, “I can’t eat that.”  But by day 3, I felt amazing.  I had a 7am meeting and then dinner plans that night and I managed to get through the day with steady energy.  I felt lighter (and was lighter because I released a few pounds) almost immediately.

I realized that day when I was goofing around with my kids on the couch playing tickle monster that I was unleashed!  I felt so free to be myself in a way that I hadn’t felt in years.  Of course, at home with my kids I can be myself, but I haven’t been because I was so preoccupied with my own drama.  I don’t know how eliminating all those foods elevated my emotional life, but it did.  Tonight is day 14 of this elimination diet and I told someone today about it (while eating my avocado toast on gluten free bread) that “I survived..well actually, I thrived.”  And I meant it, for the first time a while.

 

What I Gained When I Lost

February 21, 2016

IMG_0383

It’s now been a week since my “Closet Edit” with Brandi Johnson and I am really happy with the results. Check out all the bags of clothes I got out of my closet that was just clogging up space and not working for me!

This styling session was a goal of mine for a long time, and I promised myself when I got to a certain weight loss goal I would go for it! Losing weight for me isn’t just about releasing weight but also about what I’m gaining! I never would have had the confidence to invite someone into my closet before. I also wouldn’t have had any confidence in my appearance to put myself out there to learn more about myself. I’ve gained confidence, acceptance and love of my own body. That’s pretty life changing for me!

Brandi provided me with this wonderful summary of my style (which I had never really thought about before) and I have a new found confidence around clothes that I didn’t have before.

“Your best style is Naturally Classic. Natural is your primary style base. Close-fitting silhouettes in medium scale is what you’re after. Tops that skim your natural waist to define it but don’t cling; fitted, straight skirts and straight and slightly bootcut pants are what you’re after. The classic element comes into play more so in your styling. Clean lines will lend themselves to a more classic and polished feel, but take care to avoid anything stiff fabrics or anything that looks restrictive. For example, you can do a classically styled button down shirt, but the natural element demands that the shirt be in a lightweight fabric with some movement, rather than a stiff cotton poplin.
Also, take care to avoid anything “cutesy” or gamine in its styling. Stay with organic and natural style details. ”

Who doesn’t love being called Naturally Classic?? Thanks Brandi for pulling my natural beauty out of me!

On Tuesdays, I work at my father’s office.  It’s great for me because it gives me an opportunity to use my extensive Microsoft Excel and Powerpoint skills.  I also get to use the photocopier for free!

Lately, I’ve been cleansing on Tuesdays because I find doing the 2 day cleanse Monday/Tuesday is the most successful.  I’m less likely to have plans to eat out and it’s a great way to start the week, by cleansing my body and losing weight.

Last week, I was cleansing and not only were there authentic Italian cookies from a real-deal bakery in Brooklyn but then they decided to order pizza!  These two items are my ultimate weakness.  I adore cookies and I have a love affair with pizza.

rainbow cookies

Italian Rainbow Cookies

No less than 3 people asked me if I wanted pizza and I was so glad to say, “Nope I’m cleansing” and move on!  The pizza smelled delicious, and I even took a piece with me for my kids to share.  But I was cleansing and I was not going to mess that up during the last quarter of it.  No cookie or slice of pizza was going to be worth it.

If I hadn’t been cleansing, you know I would have struggled with the decision to have a cookie or slice. I would have started having a conversation with myself about whether or not I should cheat, or how bad would it be to eat that, or how badly I deserve a treat.  It’s exhausting having these conversations with myself.

This week, I was cleansing again and this time there was leftovers from a party in the fridge including, roast pork, rice, bbq chicken, fried fish and eggplant parmigiana.  Someone heated some up for lunch and the smell wafted over to my cubicle.  And then, the question, “Marie do you want some?”

“Nope! I’m cleansing!” and I got the hell outta there!

Offices are notorious for having temptations around whether it be coffee, sweets or catered food.  Free food is very alluring, especially when you’re bored doing data entry in Microsoft Excel.  So let’s do like Nancy Reagen said, “just say no” and then get the hell outta there!

All about non-scale victories! See my white jeans and why I wore them tonight!

Reflecting on the past year, as my one year anniversary comes up with my nutritional cleansing journey, I realized that a few sentences on Facebook couldn’t do it justice.  Last year at this time I was just beginning my career as a health coach as was struggling inside because I knew I should weigh less and be healthier.  The sad truth is that I was eating very well and working out three times a week (more than I ever had), but I couldn’t get the scale to move. I was having a crisis, because I felt like a fraud to my clients.  I also wanted to get in the best shape I could before embarking on baby number 2.

Back in 2011 when I was pregnant with my son Dylan I thought I was pretty healthy.  Before becoming pregnant I had gained back all 23lbs that I’d lost before my wedding mostly due to some emotional messiness going on in my life.  My crutch had always been food and when times got tough – I got eating.  Before my wedding I spent a solid year on Weight Watchers and lost 23lbs – about .5lbs per week.  After my wedding in July of 2009 I started this blog. Without the deadline of a wedding looming I found it hard to keep motivated and to stay the course.  The harsh truth is that it is much easier to lose weight than to maintain it.  Without the weekly rush of my weigh-in and subsequent loss (woohoo!) I was lost.

When I became pregnant, I was back up the 23lbs and there was no turning back.  I did the best I could at the time to have a healthy pregnancy with my limited knowledge.  I remember insane sugar cravings (mostly at night) up until my diagnosis of gestational diabetes just 2 months shy of my due date. The night before my test I was so stressed out about it and felt so hopeless that I ate a sleeve or Oreo cookies to calm my nerves.  I was definitely in the midst of a serious sugar addiction.  Being pregnant for the first time was scary, stressful and brought out a lot of my inner demons.  Would I be a good mother?  Would I know how to handle a difficult baby?  Would my child love me?  How will I handle the changes to my life? When there’s a lot of stuff going through your mind, many of us try to squash it in all the wrong ways – drugs, alcohol, food and sex.

I remember the day my doctor told me I had gestational diabetes that I just sat in an empty conference room at my office and cried.  I was devastated.  She told me that there are contributing factors that may have led to it (being overweight, diet) but that mostly it’s a body chemistry thing.  I wasn’t going to need insulin to manage my diabetes, just diet control. That was the sliver lining. I went to the hospital weekly for diabetes counseling and learned how to check my blood sugar 4x per day.  (I remember crying that day too, when I realized what that entailed). I kept a record of my blood sugar for the nurse and had excellent results with my diet control. I was so happy to not have to actually use insulin like a friend of mine did (who was not overweight at all) that it may have been the only saving grace that got me through it. They also checked the baby’s weight weekly to make sure I wasn’t having a giant baby.  My son ended up being born at 8lbs4oz – a completely acceptable weight.

But those last 2 months of pregnancy were rough on me.  I was so swollen I had to buy new shoes.  My wedding rings didn’t fit anymore.  My back ached.  Plus is was the dead heat of summer so that certainly didn’t help either.  I had to stop taking the subway to work because I couldn’t manage the stairs.  I ended up driving to work and paying $20 a day to park my car just so I could get there with ease.  Thankfully I had a wonderful physical therapist at the time who massaged me a few times a week and helped me with my swollen limbs.  But a day after a massage it always came back – it was never gone.

Marie, 2011 about 28 weeks pregnant

Marie, 2011 about 28 weeks pregnant

 

Once I gave birth (about a week early) the nurse in the hospital tested my sugar and it was normal.  No more diabetes.  But I’ve been haunted ever since.  I keep thinking, “you’re gonna get it again.”  It runs in my family (on both sides) and now that I’ve had it once, I’m at a higher risk for it unfortunately.

Last summer a friend and fellow health coach was starting a 30 day nutritional cleanse and posted about it on Facebook.  I was immediately on-board.  I convinced my husband to do it with me and I went for it.  We had recently gone on vacation and gained about 5lbs eating at the buffet table in Las Vegas, so we were both motivated to make a change.  I could certainly feel that I’d gained weight despite taking this pretty good picture while on that vacation.

Marie & Ran Attend a Wedding August 2013

Marie & Ran Attend a Wedding August 2013

 

A friend told me I was glowing in the picture – and I was!  My healthier diet and lifestyle was showing through, but the scale just wouldn’t budge.  No matter what I tried I could never lose more than 3lbs.  Thank heavens nutritional cleansing came into my life. After the first week, I was down about 7lbs.  I was losing a pound a day.  On Weight Watchers it took me a month to lose the first 5lbs.  I remember it distinctly because we went out for sushi to celebrate!  I was following the plan and the weight was just coming off.  It was like a miracle.  My sugar cravings were decreasing, my clothes were fitting so much better and people started to notice.  My husband was also losing and feeling good.  At the end of the 30 days, we both lost 15lbs.  We felt on top of the world going to my 10 year college reunion and then my brother’s wedding.  I was so much happier and confident in my own skin.  Plus, I no longer felt like a health coaching fraud.

Iphone Import Feb 2014 4 012

Marie Before & After Cleansing

Marie Before & After Cleansing

 

I still had some demons to deal with and I did rebound a little around Christmastime with holiday eating, but I had the tools to manage my weight.  When I became pregnant I was down a pants size.  I continued my super food nutrition during my pregnancy and continued to eat the way I knew I should.  I had cheat meals and I submitted to some pregnancy cravings but it was NOTHING like the last time.  Now at 28 weeks pregnant, my engagement ring still fits.  My shoes still fit.  People are telling me that my face hasn’t changed at all (yet).  I’m working out regularly.  Best of all, I passed my sugar test 2 weeks ago and have been cleared of any and all gestational diabetes!! When an email from my doctor came through with the subject line “good news” I breathed such a heavy sigh of relief that my son asked me “What happened Mommy?”

If only I could explain what happened and how much I had to change to get to this point. Having a healthier pregnancy this time around isn’t just about me and my health, it’s about my unborn baby having a healthier womb to reside in.  Maybe labor and delivery will go easier this time.  Maybe losing the baby weight will go faster and my milk production will be more plentiful.  Maybe things will just be easier this time around because I’m coming from a much happier and healthier place.

Marie, 28 Weeks Pregnant enjoying a shake

Marie, 28 Weeks Pregnant enjoying a shake

 

January Jumpstart!

December 26, 2013

Are you ready to drop a pants size in 30 days?  Are you ready to have tons of energy in 2014?  Do you want to detox from over-indulging in holiday treats?

Then you are ready for the January Jumpstart: 30 Day Cleanse & Reboot that I’m hosting with fellow health coach, Trina Kincey.

Contact now for your personal assessment and for more details by emailing janjumpstart@gmail.com We are offering a $100 discount for enrolling before January 1st, just mention code CHEESE13.

This cleanse is a proven program that thousands of people have used to drop significant weight in 30 days.  Last summer after a glutinous trip to Las Vegas I did this cleanse and lost 15lbs. See my before and afters.  I felt fantastic fitting into my old clothes and even had to go buy a smaller size of jeans! I’ve been keeping off the weight since and feel great!

What will you look like "after"?

What will you look like “after”?

January Jumpstart: 30 Day Cleanse & Reboot

Hosted by Marie Ingrisano Isner & Trina Kincey, Certified Health Coaches

Cleanse begins January 15th!

We will guide you through a 30 Day Nutritional Cleanse with 5 group coaching calls tailored for your success.

As part of the program you will receive Breakfast & Dinner, nutritional supplements, a daily anti-stress rejuvenating drink, and the tools to keep the weight off.

You’ll be invited to a members only Facebook group so you can connect with your health coaches and fellow cleansers to have the real-time support to stay motivated.

Five group coaching calls will teach you everything you need to know!  Listen in from the comfort of your home.

January 13 8:30pm – Introduction to Nutritional Cleansing: All your questions answered

January 20 8:30pm – Eating right for your body: Learning how to identify what foods work best for you

January 27 8:30pm – Healthy Cooking with Ease: Learn new meals and snacks to never get bored while on the plan

February 3 8:30pm – Incorporating exercise into your busy lifestyle

February 10 8:30pm – Developing Maintenance Programs: Keep the weight off or lose more if you desire

Space is limited so please contact us now to secure your spot.  $100 discount expires January 2nd!  Contact me at janjumpstart@gmail.com to enroll!

Follow Us on Facebook HERE.

A client of mine sent this over to me and it made me smile to read it.  Though it’s too long for my monthly newsletter, I wanted to print it in it’s entirety here.  Enjoy. -Marie

There once was a girl

with a curl right in the middle of her forehead. 

When she was good she was very, very good,

 but when she was bad she was awful.

This is a poem my mom would often recite to before bedtime when I was quite small.  I would laugh and laugh – because it was true.  She knew it and I knew it.  This poem was not only true when it came to my behavior as a child, but would later be true with healthy and healthy habits that would follow me throughout my life.

When I came to Marie several things were going on with me.

A)    I was engaged and getting married in a mere 3 months

B)    I was unemployed (I don’t do well idle)

C)     I was physically not were I needed to be (I couldn’t fit into my jeans from the previous year)

It was a trifecta.

I had never been to health coach before and was not sure what to expect.  I had no idea how amazing and how much it would change my life and my outlook.  Through Marie’s assessments and teachings, I was able to see that things weren’t as dire as I thought, the beauty of the 90/10 theory and easing my way into new habits was the way to success.

I have come along way, baby.  I now go to yoga 3 to 5 times a week.  I can now fit into my pants and feel so much better about myself.   My weight loss is slower this time around because I am doing it in a more healthy way. I have cooking schedule (I cook all day, once a week) and do my best to cut myself some slack.  After all, I am only human.

R.I., Brooklyn, NY 2013

One of the biggest motivators to lose weight is a wedding or a class reunion. It just so happened that I had both coming my way this past September. My brother was getting married and I had a 10 year college reunion. This coupled with some indulgence in Las Vegas back in August really got me motivated to get back on the weight loss train. I came back from Vegas and immediately got serious about watching and tracking my food. I detoxed, I cleansed, I ate a lot less. I didn’t have time for exercise, but I still managed to take off 10lbs. The first 3 were Las Vegas weight and the next 7 were pounds I really needed to lose. I’d been at a weight loss plateau for 17 months.

The good news was that I got to pull out some old clothes that haven’t fit since the pre-baby years. On my birthday I got to wear a dress that I bought on my honeymoon 4 years ago! That was quite a thrill. I really felt good, those 7 lbs were the difference between me being OK with my weight and being happy with it.

20131008-202355.jpg

Marie and her husband Ran at the wedding, Sept 2013

When the wedding came around, I was feeling good and was happy that my dress was even a little big.  I got many compliments from my family that I looked great!  It was a triumph over food!  I lost weight and felt great.  Good for me.

Then, I went to the reunion a week later.  Now the at the last reunion, I was also in the midst of losing weight in preparation for my wedding.  I wasn’t at the lowest weight I’d ever been, but I was also in weight loss mode, so I felt good.  From then till now I was probably only 7 or 8 lbs heavier.  Plus, I had a baby and aged 5 years, so I didn’t think it would be subject to condemnation by my friends.

The biggest change was not my weight, or the baby, but the new career.  Now, I have a business card that says I am a health coach.  Now, my weight is up for discussion.  Well, not to me, but to other people what I weigh is up for discussion because I call myself a “health coach”.  The majority of people I’d be chatting with at the reunion don’t know the intimate details of my life and my weight.  They’d just know that I was parading around as a health coach and was a certain weight and pants size.

I mentioned my new career to a former teacher, and his reaction was to look me up and down like a piece of meat.  What I saw in his eyes was, “YOU’RE a health coach?”  Disbelief that someone who looked like me could have credibility to help people lose weight?  It was like he looked through me.  He also confirmed one of my biggest fears.  “Who the hell am I to coach people on health?”

Good question.  But I didn’t have an answer.

The next day a friend/advisor also mentioned to me that I “need to lose 10 more pounds” for health reasons.  She said, “you look beautiful, but you need that weight off your feet.”  Ouch.  I thought I was really doing well and then this double whammy.

Marie and family at Muhlenberg College reunion 2013

Marie and family at Muhlenberg College reunion 2013

The truth was, that I WAS doing well, and I DID lose 10 lbs, and yes, I do need to lose another 10.  But man, I wasn’t expecting to here it from other people in such a blatant manner.  I remember thinking, “Well you don’t know where I started.”  This is also something I often think in yoga practice when a teacher I don’t know very well starts giving me a hard time on a pose.  They don’t know where I started, so they don’t know that what I’m doing might be the furthest I can go.  It’s not their fault, they just don’t know – but I do.

I also know that losing 10lbs was a big accomplishment for me after my 17 month plateau. Since then I’ve lost another 5, so I’m really gaining (lol) momentum here.  My weight, my cup size, and my pants size are really no one’s business but my own.  But maybe purposefully I have chosen a career where my health is front and center.  I am my own walking billboard.  No doubt, THIS will force me to stay the course and keep my health a priority in good times and in bad.

I actually think the answer to the fear based question, “Who the hell am I to coach people on health?” is simple.  I can do it, because I have been there and I have walked in those shoes.  I have struggled with my weight, I have tried many different types of diets.  I have worked with a health coach.  I have avoided myself in the mirror, I have felt dread when someone tags me in a picture on Facebook.  I have felt all of the emotions associated with my weight being up and down and somewhere in between.  Simply put, I have been there.

I am always reminding my clients that no one is perfect, not me, not them, not even Oprah (who has famously also battled with her weight).  We strive for 90% perfection, not 100%.  We allow ourselves 10% for fun.  Wine, chocolate, birthday cake, pasta, whatever that is for you.  Because not me (Marie the “health coach”) and not you are ever going to be perfect.  But, we are in this together.  We can support each other, we can share delicious recipes, we can encourage each other to fit in exercise, we can commiserate when things don’t go well. This is what the hell makes me a health coach, not my weight and not my pants size.

Having said that, I’d really like my pants size to be one size smaller.  So, hey, I’m working on it.

Let’s get started together to fill YOUR plate with something GREAT! Schedule a free initial consultation with me today!

Put this in the Pantry

August 27, 2013

I’ve recently rediscovered how wonderful an egg can be!  Eggs are a complete protein and are a very affordable source of protein.  Plus, chickens can lay eggs and still live long healthy lives.  We have chickens living in the Urban Meadow down the block from where I live.  The chickens are in a coop and are part of the garden’s landscape.  It makes us feel like we have a little piece of farm life right here in Brooklyn!

Dylan checking out the chickens in the Urban Meadow

Dylan checking out the chickens in the Urban Meadow

The chickens spend their days laying a few eggs, getting to see loads of happy families and children and enjoying a lovely life!  So, if animal cruelty is on your mind, you can eat eggs without worry.  Now, the caveat to that is, that it’s really best to aim for Organic eggs, because those chickens are raised humanely.  Organic eggs are the gold standard, but eggs labelled “cage-free” are second best.  Some brands are organic AND cage-free, but you need to read the packaging carefully. Eggs that aren’t organic or cage-free or usually factory farmed and kept in cages from birth to death.  Something to think about.

One dozen organic eggs is currently $4.39 on Fresh Direct.  That’s only 37 cents per egg!  I think almost all of us can afford that.  Find me a snack that’s cheaper and tastier – I dare you! Think about taking just 37 cents into the corner store or bodega.  What on earth would you get for 37 cents? 1 piece of gum?

The easiest and most fool-proof egg is the hard-boiled egg, and the reason I know this is because I formerly had AWFUL luck cooking eggs.  When I first started cooking, back in 2001 while living in London, I ruined an entire batch of eggs just trying to make some over-easy.  So I had to regroup and start from scratch.  Hard-boiling an egg only requires, water, eggs and a saucepan with a cover.  If you can boil water for pasta, you can make a hard-boiled egg.

Here’s my recipe for the easiest hard-boiled egg.

Eat these as a snack with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, or use a few and make an egg salad. Two hard boiled eggs also makes a great breakfast you can take on the go.  I usually make these on the weekend and peel them, so they are in the fridge are ready to eat all week long.

Now, some clients have asked me about eating the yolks.  My preference is to eat the entire egg with the yolk because that makes it a complete protein.  If you are trying to cut calories, you can eat only the egg white, but I hate to waste the yolk so I always eat it.  Of course, you should use your discretion.

If anyone has a great egg salad recipe, please send it along – always looking for new ways to make it!

 

 

 

Marie's New Office

Marie’s New Office

I never would have dreamed over 4 years ago when I started this blog that someday I would have such an exciting announcement to make.  But here it is – my first office in New York City for personalized health coaching.

Since January, I have been a student at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition – the world’s largest nutrition school.  I have been working towards my Health Coach certification and it’s been a trans-formative year.  I’ve learned over 100 dietary theories and how to successfully coach people to unlock their inner potential to achieve health and much more.

Health coaching was not something I was even aware of when I left my job in the corporate world last year.  I knew that I wanted to do something in a health related field, but I assumed that I would become a yoga teacher.  I was practicing yoga 3x a week and found it to be a good fit for me, because I’d spent so much time in corporate education.  I thought, “well, I’ll just go educate people about yoga instead of cosmetics.”  The one hurdle was that I really loved Bikram Yoga but the training to become a teacher is 9 weeks long and held in Los Angeles.  I had a 15 month baby at home and a husband, I couldn’t very well leave for LA for 2 months.  I started to look around for other types of yoga that I might enjoy so that I could potentially become certified in a different type of yoga, but nothing really spoke to me.  Just when I thought yoga teaching might work out for me a dear friend told me about a certification course she was taking.  She mentioned, off-hand, “Marie this might be a good idea for you.”  I said to her, “You’re nuts! Me? Telling people how to get healthy? No way.”  I just couldn’t see myself as a “health professional”.  I still saw myself as someone who was in the trenches fighting everyday to regain health.  I was looking for health professionals to help me, not the other way around.  But then she reminded me, “But what about your blog?”

cropped-bluecheese2.jpg

The picture that inspired a cheese-loving blog.

Oh yeah.  What about my blog?  My whole reason for starting the blog was to give other people a first hand account of what it’s like for a “real person” to lose weight.  I was so sick of the shows on TV like “Biggest Loser” that were only targeting the morbidly obese.  Where were all the women who had 30lbs to lose?  The average women?  The women who looked like me?

They weren’t on TV.  It was either super skinny actresses or people with hundreds of pounds to lose.  That’s why I started writing.  I got so many encouraging responses about the blog that I kept writing.  There were lean times when I had zero inspiration and there were times when blogging came very easy – just like weight loss.  I kept writing and hoping someone was out there listening feeling comforted knowing someone else (Me) was going through things with them.

The Family Plate Logo by Paul Ingrisano

When I decided to take a leap of faith and enroll in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I didn’t know what would come of it.  I figured, I’ll do the course and see if it works out.  In the meantime I was just going to learn as much as I could even if it would end up being for my own knowledge.

Just 2 months after starting The Family Plate, I am already working with 10 people on reclaiming their health!  Meeting these women and men (yep! one dude) has enriched my life immeasurably.  Hearing their stories and their struggles gives me a greater insight into not just my own life, but the world.  Guiding them to try new whole grains, vegetables and self-care activities is so rewarding for me.  Hearing them say, “Before I ate that extra serving, I thought ‘What would Marie Do?'” was unbelievable to me!  Here I am – ready to help! Ready to inspire you and hold you accountable.  Wow – what a year it has been!

Through another stroke of good luck and timing, I was given the opportunity to open an office as part of the Soho Professional Health Center in Soho, NYC.  I am writing this post to you from my new office with some “Stress Away” essential oil diffusing into the air.  It’s lovely.

The beauty of health coaching is that it can be done in person or by phone, so for those of you not able to make it to Soho – fear not!  I can still become your personal cheerleader and health coach.

While writing this blog entry, I was reminding of Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Barbara Walters from 2010.  This was her farewell tour as she was ending her show and starting OWN.  I won’t even attempt to paraphrase or explain it – but her words inspired me.  I didn’t know then how I was going to let God “use me up” but I think I do now.

If you are interested in having a conversation with me about health coaching and how it could change your life email me at marie@thefamilyplate.com.  Visit my website http://www.thefamilyplate.com for more information or stop by my Soho office!

We were lucky enough to go away this weekend to see some friends. The drive was going to take anywhere between 4-6 hours depending on traffic so we knew at some point we’d have to stop to attend to the baby and have something to eat.

On the way to our destination it’s a little bit easier because you can pack up food for the ride. We packed water in reusable bottles and sandwiches on flat bread.

I wanted vegetarian options so I put some hummus, fresh baby spinach, and sun dried tomatoes on a flat bread with a spray of extra Virgin olive oil and salt and pepper. It was creamy and tangy. So delicious and you don’t even miss the meat. You can beef (Hah) it up by adding a slice of cheese if you want.  Without the cheese, this would be a vegan sandwich.

20130721-214032.jpg

My sandwich du jour.

We did make a stop at a rest area for bathroom breaks but not for food! And that was a good thing because rest areas are very tricky to navigate if you’re hungry and cranky from being stuck in traffic.

On the way home, we weren’t able to pack up food so we only had water on hand. When we stopped at the rest area the choices were Starbucks, Nathan’s and Burger King. Yikes.

Usually the only vegetarian options are salads that are loaded with unhealthy toppings like cheese and creamy dressing.  Or you can have a serving of fries (not my recommendation) because those are vegetarian though not very healthy.  Fortunately for me, I don’t really like french fries.  Plus, every time I visit a fast food restaurant I am reminded of the dreaded pink slime. Though McDonald’s has stopped using pink slime as of 2012, I still can’t get the idea out of my head of “boneless lean beef trimmings” out of my head.  I am also reminded of my old Weight Watchers leader who told me that pink slime is treated with ammonia to kill E Coli bacteria.  Yuck-y.  I stopped eating beef at fast food restaurants then and there.  So I’m usually ordering up some kind of chicken sandwich if I’m eating there at all.  Until today.

20130721-214209.jpg

Burger King’s New Turkey Burger

Hey, look at this!  There’s a new turkey burger on the menu.  I asked the woman who took our order if she liked it and she told me she’s never tried it.  (Missed opportunity to give the employees a free taste to help them sell the new item, Burger King)  I decided to give it a whirl because it might be a good option for those who don’t want beef and want something a little healthier.  It turns out the turkey burger is coming in at 530 calories, which is not what I would consider a “healthy” option, but, it is less than the Whopper which is 670 calories.  I imagine if I’d thought to ask for the turkey burger without mayonnaise I could have saved about 150 calories.  Unfortunately, I forgot to ask, but that’s a trick I learned long ago in order to bring down the calories at a fast food restaurant.  My other tip is to skip the cheese on the sandwich.  The turkey burger is served without cheese as a standard, so if you did add cheese it would probably be much more equal to the Whopper in calories than anyone would think.

I guess in the end, I was probably about even on the calories but I enjoyed the turkey burger taste-wise and I was happy to not be eating beef.  I also had water with it (no soda or diet soda) and didn’t have french fries.  If we start looking at the calories for a “meal” with soda and fries we might all faint!

As a side note, I was pleased to see Burger King had some better choices for the traditional kids meal.  You get a choice of either fries or apple slices, and your choice of drink is expanded beyond soda to include juice or low fat chocolate milk.  Again, not the ideal lunch I want to be serving Dylan on a weekly basis, but for the case of the occasional road trip, it was good to know there were healthier options.

The main thing here is the we all have to stop being so hard on ourselves when we fall victim to the rest area food, or the mall food court, or the bible sized menu at Cheesecake Factory.  The world is engineered in such a way to make us eat this crap.  It’s not really our fault.  The best we can do (if you still plan to live in society and not move off to a farm in Wyoming) is to make the best choices possible.  That’s a good way to live life everyday too.  Just make the best choices you can and feel good about that.  For every vegetarian meal we eat and every organic bunch of bananas we buy we are making a difference with our dollars.  The big companies pay attention to every dollar we spend, so make the best choices you can with that dollar so they get our message loud and clear.  Your dollar is your vote.  So, choose wisely.

 

 

 

Yes, you read that right. I’m not fat, I’m pregnant. But, no, you’re not an asshole. Oh gosh, where do I even start? I know that it’s been far too long since this blog has seen any action and for that I sincerely apologize. As many of you know, I really only write when I have a well thought out message for a blog post. No one, including me, wants to read about every banal detail of my everyday life – so I try to skip that and just write about the really good details and things that I feel are worth sharing. I’m sad to admit, I haven’t had any well thought out messages for you in a REALLY long time.

This blog post has been brewing in my head for a while, but for some reason, it took a brand new iPad 2 to get me writing again. Friday night at midnight, Ran and I went to the Apple Store for the third time that day to see if the line had decreased enough for us to actually stomach it. By midnight, it had and so, in we went for some retail therapy of the Apple variety. I had been thinking about getting a iPad for a while, but was convinced that there was really no reason for it. I have an iPod, an iPhone, a desktop and work laptop. Plus, Ran has an iPad, iPhone, iPod and a macbook. Seriously, we should buy stock in Apple. So basically, there’s absolutely no need for ANOTHER iPad in the house. Except that my desktop is 4 years old and super slow. It’s not used for much except the occasional web surf and to update my iTunes. After some consideration and notification that my tax return this year would be VERY generous, I decided to get the iPad to use as a computer rather then getting a new computer. The desktop will still have a home on my desk – because I can’t bear to part with the only PC left in the house. Old habits die hard, I guess. (You’re welcome Bill Gates)

Happy to report, that I am writing this blog post with my iPad 2 (in it’s snazzy docking station with the wireless keyboard connected -Hell, I have to make this feel like a desk top experience and I can’t figure out how to type on the iPad without going crazy).

I’m also home alone tonight. Well not entirely alone. Ran is out for the night and I’m sitting here with our little dog Bamba. I can’t help but notice that as Bamba came into our lives this summer I stopped writing. We decided to get a dog pretty quickly. Ran was talking about it for years and I had been saying “Imagine?” every time he brought it up. (That was my *nice* way of saying “Not a chance in hell”). But as soon as we saw our friend Manuela’s puppy Lola, I started to think “Maybe I could be a dog owner.” Lola is a toy poodle and was just 8 weeks old. She was so tiny and the sweetest apricot color. She’s hypoallergenic and was just so darn cute! After a weekend spent on the Brooklyn shore talking non-stop about puppies, Ran and I were in touch with the dog-breeder who sold Manuela Lola asking about Lola’s sister, Zoe. I wasn’t truly convinced about getting a dog until I saw a picture of little Zoe. I remember seeing it on my computer screen at work and thinking, “She looks sad like me, I will give her a happy home.” From that moment, I knew “That was MY dog.” We picked her up about a week later and changed her name from Zoe to “Bamba”. The name “Bamba” may sound familiar as I’ve mentioned the snack “Bamba” in the blog before. Bamba is a snack from Israel that looks like a cheese doodle but is actually peanut butter flavored. When Bamba was a newborn puppy, she was kinda peanut butter colored and I just always liked the name Bamba for a dog. I also always liked dogs with food names: Waffle, Applejack, Muffin, and Oreo – for example. I have to admit, I selfishly thought getting a dog would be good for us as it would force us to walk it and get a little exercise. More on that epic fail later.

It’s St. Patty’s Day, a perfectly lovely Thursday night, and I’m home alone with the dog and a fridge full of food. Normally, this would be a torture test. But now that I’m pregnant (remember that from the first paragraph?) I can kinda eat more than I’m used to. In fact, I’m actually eating for 2 – really! So I can nearly eat “as much as I want.” Sounds pretty great right? Of course, being pregnant is a lot more complex than “eating like a Gavoon” (Italian slang world for slob). But being able to eat is one of the great things you can do when you can’t drink, skydive or have Diet Coke. And to make sure my baby is nourished, I’m eating! I’m not counting points and I’m not really beating myself up over my food choices. However, I am trying to eat “real food” and I’m staying away from fast foods at all costs. The one thing I can report, is that my baby craves chocolate EVERY DAY. I like chocolate every now and then, but I swear, now I want Oreos ALL the time. Oreos, Entenmann’s chocolate donuts, Cadbury Creme Eggs, Jell-O chocolate mousse, M&Ms. You name it, I’ve eaten it in the last 19 weeks.

Tomorrow marks the beginning of my 20th week of pregnancy and finally – I look like a pregnant woman. For the first 17 weeks or so, I just looked fat. Good ol’ chubby Marie. And I was eating like a Gavoon! Before everyone knew I was pregnant, they must have thought “Geez Marie is eating non-stop and really letting herself go!” Thinking that, was definitely not helping my self-esteem. I wanted to have a button on that said, “I’m not fat, I’m pregnant you asshole!” To let people know EXACTLY what was going on in my mind. Here’s the thing. I’ve been fat, I know what that feels like and I wasn’t exactly thrilled that people were thinking I was going back to that place. I can write page after page about how overweight/obese people are passed up for promotions at work, made fun of, and thought of as stupid and lazy all based on the amount of weight they carry. None of us want to admit that this is the state of things, but IT IS the state of things. And I have to admit the truth, I didn’t want to be included in that group.

Here’s the other nasty confession I have to make. This summer when I was “taking the summer off” I was actually “putting the pounds back on”. A summer of lazing by the beach and eating off the Ravioli fair truck at Seagate was making my bathing suits give me a wedgee. Around the beginning of October, Ran and I both were feeling disgusting realizing that our fall wardrobe was not fitting the same as last year. We took matters into our own hands and embarked on South Beach Diet phase 1 for 2 whole weeks. We ate crustless egg quiches and grilled chicken breasts. We nibbled on string cheese and baggies of pistachios. We had NO sweets, except for the occasional mound of ricotta cheese flavored with almond extract (Ran was not a big fan). We were even forced to go out to dinner a few times during those 2 weeks and we NEVER cheated. I have to say, we did really really great on this thing. I lost about 7 pounds and Ran 9. We really felt great. What do you think happened next?

Choose your own adventure – Affair with Cheese style. Marie and Ran went off the South Beach diet phase 1 and tried(!) to keep the pounds off. I was motivated, but Ran was pretty much over it. He was glad he lost the weight, but not really interested in continuing the journey. Pizza crept its way back into our life, so did Oreos and cheese on bread. I know (though I didn’t have the guts to weight myself) that the pounds were coming back. By the time I realized that, I also realized I was pregnant and any thoughts of dieting went out the window.

Luckily for us, our conception journey was very easy and happened about as quick as it can happen. Truly a blessing.

From the day I discovered I was expecting till about 5 weeks ago, I was a mess. I was morning sick all friggin day and my only refuge was when I was sleeping. Which, let me tell you, I wanted to do ALL the time. I was a zombie when I’d come home from work. In fact, I could barely get myself to work. It was a foggy 10 weeks or so. I was distracted, worried, excited, scared, tired, hungry, sick to my stomach and wondering if I could really handle this whole thing. Those were some intense emotions which would normally send me into a bit of an eating tail-spin (except for the nausea). Now that I’m out of the woods with all the morning sickness, I really have to watch what I’m eating. I need to truly be eating the way our bodies are meant to: Fruit and Vegetables with a bit of dairy/meat/carbs on the side. This is a hard thing to do. I’m Italian, we think a slice of pizza with mushrooms on top is a balanced meal. The challenge is on. I’m doing my best to snack on nuts, baby-bel cheese (for portion control), and fruit. I’ve been limiting my egg and cheese breakfast to 1x per week. I’m putting blueberries on my yogurt and granola in the morning. I’m trying, I swear.

I also haven’t asked or let the doctor tell me how much I’ve gained. I mean, is that the most important thing right now? I told the doctor, if there’s a problem – tell me. If there isn’t – don’t tell me. It’s not worth the headache. I need to be healthy now not counting every .2 on the scale. Keep your fingers crossed for me that this strategy doesn’t come back to bite me in the butt later on.

For now, I will focus on the journey of the next 20 weeks. In that short amount of time, we will finally get to meet our baby and I know she/he won’t think I’m fat. At least not for the first few years.

Because Dr Oz Says So

January 13, 2010

I’m not really sure what Dr. Oz’s credentials are or anything, but he’s a doctor so I decided to listen to him.  Dr. Oz was on the Joy Behar Show recently talking about, what else! – how to lose weight!  It’s January and all the commercials on TV are about dieting and losing weight and joining the gym.  Ugh, so repulsive.  Especially the nutri-sytem and Jenny Craig commercials with all that nasty prepared food! No thank you!  But Valerie Bertinelli does look good.

Anyway, Dr Oz said that before dinner you should eat a piece of toast with olive oil on it.  This way you’re not starving when dinner is served and you’ll actually end up eating less calories in the long run.  So, I decided to give it a shot.  Today makes 3 days in a row of my toast and EVOO and I have to say, I’m definitely eating less for dinner and feeling satisfied.  I’m having 2 slices of toasted Weight Watchers multi-grain bread (which you can buy at the grocery store) and 1 teaspoon of EVOO when I get home from work.  It’s great, because they I don’t feel like I have to start making dinner immediately because I’m not starving.  Tonight for dinner I had some pasta with ground beef and vegetables and a serving of a green bean casserole we made last night.  The total was 9 points and I am surprisingly satisfied.  I’m going to keep this up all week and see if it makes a difference at the scale on Monday.

My goal for the week is to journal everyday. “Only journal on the days of the week you want to lose weight.”  So true.

Second goal, save some of my weekly points allowance for the weekend instead of just giving up on the weekend.

Third, lose some friggin’ weight!

Wish me luck! 🙂

%d bloggers like this: