Posted by Ran Isner

So, my first blog post after completing the “Light Yourself On Fire” challenge… I must say I was looking forward to writing this because it’s become part of my routine and I like the accountability aspect of it.

In the several days after completing the challenge I have experienced a lot of things. There was the exhilaration of completing it, then there was a little sadness that it ended, after that came the letdown and my mind saying “You deserve a break”(some indulgent eating involved) and then came the awareness to it and finally the acceptance.

I’m are that I’m not the only one that’s experienced these things after a monumental accomplishment and that is awesome because it reminds me I’m human. I realize that it takes me back to the same old programming in my brain and also, Rome wasn’t built in a day. What is important is the awareness I bring to it because when one recognizes it, it is much easier to address it once you embrace it.

Embracing the “bad” is crucial even though it’s not really bad, it’s proof that one is going in the right direction. If we don’t have these moments where we revert to our old patterns it means that we didn’t push forward too begin with. It’s the balance of breakdowns and breakthroughs that makes this journey worth while.

I am beginning to understand just how instrumental this give and take between the two is, as it lends itself to gaining perspective for the past and how one can change their mindset in the present moment and shift one’s consciousness towards the breakthrough they seek to have or receive unexpectedly. That awareness to this has helped shift my mindset to a more positive one that allows for growth instead of regression.

The mind body connection is a fascinating thing because of how prevalent it is in our lives. Our mind commands our body to do certain things because of how it perceives a given situation and it affects our wellbeing on a very basic level. Our bodies do not function the same when we feel stressed and anxious. We feel bogged down, exhausted and overall yucky. Luckily, our minds do not operate independently and we can determine what thoughts we have.

Even though I took my foot of the gas for a couple of days, I was able to redirect my thoughts and my mindset to where I am in action and feeling great about myself . My body is reacting accordingly. You see, the way I see it, our body wants to be the healthiest it can be and our mind has a different idea so it wants to control our body in the way it used to.

There is a new Sheriff in town, and it wants my body to feel amazing!

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Posted by Ran Isner


You know how they say that once you start working out consistently you start enjoying it and God forbid, even loving it? 

Well I’m at that point now.  I am really enjoying going to Jiu Jitsu and I am actually looking forward to going every week. I enjoy the exercise and the people there are extremely nice so it make is that much easier to go in there three times a week. There is also a strong sense of community that really vibes well with me.

What it also did is motivate me to exercise on my own. I find myself doing sit-ups, crunches and push ups on my living room floor on a yoga mat for crying out loud! 

This week I have also been a lot better with my food. I stayed pretty much on track and had the best deep cleanse I have ever had. When I looked at the scale today and saw that I hadn’t put all of the weight back, I was very happy and my body is showing some results as well( as you can see by the photos above).

Over the years I have tried different ways of exercise. I went to the gym, I tried running and personal training but I could never do it long enough where I enjoyed it and was willing to develop the habit. With what I am doing now I feel I am getting all of that.

This is one habit I am not willing to kick

Week 7 results:

Weight: 153.6( -3.8 since last week, -3.1 since start)

Cleanse days: 2

Workouts: 3( 2 Jiu Jitsu, kickboxing)

Book I am reading: The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks

What I would like to be acknowledged for this week:

Not overeating and exercising at home.

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.

 

One Fine Day

November 24, 2009

I haven’t had ONE GOOD DAY on Weight Watchers in weeks.  I’ve made some attempts at it.  Start off the day tracking on my eTools at work, then lunch happens and a little bit of disaster strikes.  The frigging catered lunch at work!  Argh!  Stupid wraps from Toasties that I can’t resist.  They aren’t even that good, but it’s something about the allure of free food.  My co-workers can practically smell the leftovers coming down the hall from the conference room.  The leftovers are deposited on the table in the center of our work area and people come crawling out of every cube.  It’s as if no one has ever seen a turkey/brie wrap before!  The sandwichs are no longer fresh, and as I said before, they weren’t even that good to begin with!  But people want them!

I can usually pass on the wraps without a problem.  It’s normally the cookie tray that I can’t walk past without grabbing one.  The cookies from Toasties are VERY good (perhaps to make up for the lousy wraps?) and have to be at least 3 points per cookie. Lately, I’ve had a lot of meetings and not been able to say no the crappy catered food.  No doubt that has unravelled many of my days.  Once I can’t track lunch, I just give up.  I eat whatever I want for dinner and then have dessert to top it off!  I keep saying, I’ll start fresh tomorrow, only to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.

Plus, I always remembered this guy at my old WW meetings from 2005 saying, “Dont eat the crap at work!” like it was yesterday! Why was I eating the crap at work?  Stupid, stupid, stupid!

I found myself feeling more and more out of control.  Eating copious amounts of Town House crackers for breakfast instead of making myself a bowl of cereal.  100 calorie packs up the wazoo!  Haven’t picked up a measuring spoon or used my WW food scale at all.  It was bad.  Oh and I didn’t even tell you about the noodles.  These stupid noodles were 10 for $10 at the Stop N Shop by my mother’s house and I’m ashamed to report that I’ve eaten them for dinner about 6 times in the past two weeks.  I didn’t even bother to figure out the points.  The flavor packets in the Shrimp version kinda grossed me out – but I still ate it.  Oh well.  I figured (for a moment) that it was an improvement on frozen Smart Ones, (um, no, Marie.).

When I’m not counting points, I feel so crazed.  Like I don’t know what to do, when to eat, I don’t know if I’m hungry or if I’m eating just to eat.  It’s very uncomfortable.  I feel so un-like myself.  It’s weird.  I have this crazy double life suddenly.  Half of me is relieved.  I’m eating what I want, I feel free!  The other half of me is so twisted, sad and wants to scream out for help.  This usually happens when I don’t go to WW meetings.  The meetings usually keep me on track or at least help me get back on the track.  I haven’t been to a meeting in like 3 weeks.  And, look, I’ve got all the excuses in the book, “I was sick”, “I’ve been rehearsing a play”, “Work has been crazy”, “My tux never came back from the cleaners!” (Blues Brothers, anyone? anyone?)  But, none of these excuses would be excuses if I didn’t let them be.  I’d say “screw it” and get my ass to a meeting NO MATTER WHAT.

So today, I set out to just have ONE FINE DAY.  Not a lifetime, not a month, not even a week.  Just one day.  If you can string together 3 good meals today, you can do it again tomorrow.  Take it one day at a time.  Today was the first day of the rest of my WW life.

The Marie/Julia Project

October 30, 2009

I saw Julie and Julia this summer and immediately went to my local book store to find Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  I also started this blog.  I couldn’t find a copy of Mastering after visiting 2 Barnes and Noble and the pretentious book store on Court Street.  Oh well.   Instead I read Julia’s book, My Life in France which I just finished while doing a production of Candide at the Heights Players.  The plot of Candide takes the audience thru Spain, Portugal, Germany, Bavaria and Surinam (among others in Europe) and I loved reading about the exotic locations Candide and Julia were in while I was backstage in a serving wench costume. 

I’ve been to Europe, but only 2 times, and the first was in September of 2001.  The world went from normal to completely changed forever while I was in Florence, Italy.  The second time was only for a day.  Ran and I spent the day in Prague last summer on our way to Israel.  I hate to report that we ate pizza.  So sad!  We did have beer though and that seemed to be a bit more authentic to the city.  So even with my limited time in Europe I could start to understand why Julia fell in love with France and the French way of cooking.  It’s so unbelievable to think of all the butter they used and all the cheese and all the heavy cream!  But it was a different world in the 1960’s when Mastering was first published.  There were no Wal-Marts in Europe so people still went to a butcher for meat, a fishmonger for fish, a cheese shop for cheese.  Now we live in the era of mega-marts.  Not just of the Wal variety, but also Stop N Shop, Wegman’s, and even my beloved Fairway! 

Where I live in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn we have 2 butchers, a cheese shop, a fishmonger, and many cafe’s where one can plug in a laptop, enjoy a coffee and write their blog.  Food is so trendy right now with many celebrity chefs on TV showing us how to do it under 30 minutes or semi-homemade.  Back when Julia was on TV there were no other cooking shows.  I recently caught her show on PBS last weekend and it was in black and white and shot in one go.  The whole 30 minute show was done in one long continuous shot.  She was so charismatic and had such personality that it made the show interesting even if visually it was a bit dull.  I watched Julia spit roast a chicken and concoct a boullabaise with fish that I had never even heard of!

Finally I got a copy of Mastering as a gift from Ran and started to read thru it.  Of course I looked for the obvious recipes like the Beouf Bourguignonne first.  But then I started reading from the very beginning and found out a couple of things I didn’t already know from my years of Food Network watching.  Like, you should dry off the meat before you cook it with paper towels so that it will brown better.

Then, I embarked on some recipes.  First, Oeufs en Cocotte which were deliciously decadent.  Eggs baked in a ramekin with dollops of whipping cream and butter.  I made them as a dinner entree along with some side dishes.  We enjoyed it despite the fact that it took me twice the cooking time to get it right.  My stove isn’t as strong maybe?  I even used less of the whipping cream than the recipe called for because I couldn’t fathom using the whole thing no matter what Julia says!  Then Aigo Bouido or Garlic Soup.  I had to try it becuase I love garlic and it seemed pretty easy.  Some of the recipes are way too advanced for me at this point and need loads of ingredients that I don’t have in my pantry.  Money and time are still considerations when cooking dinner. 

Sidenote: this was one of my Boeufs with Julie and Julia.  Julie Powell was living in a shitty walk up in Queens but could afford the ingredeints for Lobster Thermidor and Boeuf Bourguignonne twice! Unbelievable!

Garlic soup was tasty.  I made garlic bread to go with it and it was a nice accompaniment to dinner one night.  Didn’t reheat well the next day and I was bummed when it looked like salad dressing that had come apart into oil and water. 

We also tried Sauce Bechamel twice and added cheese to it to make a quick macaroni and cheese.  There are few things in life I love more than macaroni and cheese, especially one with Swiss, Cheddar, Parmigiano Orreggiano and Blue Cheese melted into it.

The untold story here is that I was enjoying a few weeks of not counting points on Weight Watchers.  I had fallen off the wagon and was so busy with Candide and working full time that I let WW be the thing that got left by the wayside.  I went back to my Monday meeting this week and was greeting by a 3lb gain.  Alright, it sucks.  I had my usual moment of “what the hell have I done?”  I beat myself up and I start to feel like the world is ending over 3lbs.  The moment passed and then I thought, “wow I really enjoyed cooking those meals and eating them with Ran.”  I was on a food staycation!  I didn’t go anywhere exotic, but I ate exotic foods and took a break from the WW life.  I’ve lived to tell the tale!  I’m not thrilled about the 3lbs, I would have much rather prayed really hard to the WW scale Gods and been even or only up a pound.  But then it wouldn’t really be a wake up call, would it? 

I’ll still make Julia’s recipes.  I will omit the extra fat where I can and probably no one will know the difference. Even Julia herself would say that French food had to be eaten in moderation.  She was concerned about her and her husbands weight and health too.  So for now, Bon Appetite! and I’ll let you know how I do next Monday on the dreaded scales!

Have you ever finished an entire container of Haagen Daaz?  Or potato chips?  Or cookies?  Or broccoli?  (ok, let’s face it, no one eats broccoli like that)

I have been victim to “container eating”.  Many times.  I’ve already regaled you with stories of me finishing entire sleeves of Oreos without even thinking.  I also used to eat Stella D’Oro cookies like that.  That damn Margherite Combination was always eaten in 1 or 2 sittings – no more.  I remember dipping the cookies into ice cold (whole!) milk as a child and swallowing the cookies practically whole.  I bought a package like 2 weeks ago at Fairway as a treat.  I calculated the points, and decided that 2 cookies for 3 points was acceptable and bought it.  It sat on the counter un-opened for a few days.  Then a friend came over and opened it and had one.  More time elapsed.  Then, finally, the craving I was waiting for reared its ugly head.  I said to my husband, “I know what I want, the Stella D’Oro cookies!  Bring me a glass of milk.”

I hunkered down on the couch for a satisfying stay with the cookies, milk and my memories of childhood.  I took a chocolate cookie first, dunked it into my vanilla flavored soy milk and then attempt to swallow it whole.  Hmm.  Something was missing.  It wasn’t that good.  It was kinda bland, lifeless.  I stopped.  I figured if the chocolate was tasteless, the vanilla was going to be worse!  I don’t need this.  If’ it’s not going to bring me back to the days of old, why bother?  I assumed the usage of vanilla soy milk is what ruined it, but who knows?

There’s a couple of things at play here:

1. Why is container eating so satisfying?

Container eating is satisfying because we like a sense of completion.  I can check that block of cheese off my list!  Also, we have no sense of knowing when to stop.  The lines of full/not full are so blurred at this point, the only way we know to stop is when the container (or plate) is empty.

2. Why am I seeking out food to bring me back to memories of my childhood?

I had an alright childhood, but nothing worth putting on the pounds for!  Something about the familiarity is seductive.  I’ve always eaten these cookies and they’ve always tasted the same.  What about…  “I can eat like a 12 year old and not gain weight” – we know it’s not true but we always want to try and prove it.  Childhood is comforting, its a time when life was simpler, you didn’t need to count points or worry about what size your pants were.  It was just easier!

3. What was my initial craving about that I desired an entire box of cookies?

Hmm, the hardest one to answer.  I think I was sad.  I was upset, I wanted to be comforted.  I wanted to feel special.  I wanted to indulge.   I was happy too, content.  All of the emotions can make you want to eat – happy, sad, bored…

The bottom line is – I didn’t really need a “treat” as I called the cookies in paragraph two of this entry.  When I worked at a cosmetics counter we used to say, “A free sample is not a reward for a purchase.”  Well, “An unhealthy snack isn’t a reward for making it through the day, it’s the opposite of a reward, whatever that is!

Ok, deep breath: today I’m going to eat to live, not live to eat.

AND, I’m gonna throw out those boring cookies…I swear.

Burgers with no buns.

August 4, 2009

So why in the HELL did I decide to join Weight Watchers on a Monday?  I’m an emotional cutter!  Having to go in every Monday and get weighed is so nerve wracking.  On Monday there’s no opportunity to correct what you did over the weekend.  Lots of people in WW meetings talk about drinking all their extra weekly points allowance (WPA) in alcohol on the weekend and then struggling to lose weight.  Now, I’m not much of a drinker for a couple of reasons:

1.  If I’m ingesting calories, I kinda want them in SOLID form.  I could have a glass of wine OR a slice of cheddar.  Get me a cracker!

2.  I don’t exactly have the best reputation for holding my liquor.  Three drinks and I’m a wreck, which isn’t really fun the next day (once you’re over 25).

3. I’ll admit, I don’t really like the taste of alcohol, so that makes it a whole lot easier to resist.

My extra WPA gets spent on eating out over the weekend with friends.  “Let’s get brunch!”  “Let’s meet up for dinner!”  I love meeting up with friends in a more intimate setting (like a restaurant as opposed to a club) and of course, I love to eat.  So going out to eat with a friend seems like a perfect outing for me.  The problem with this is that the socializing is set around food (instead of around you and your friend) and it’s hard to have will power when you’re friend is ordering a giant bowl of fettucine alfredo or a cheeseburger with fries. Suddenly your grilled chicken with a side of spinach seems downright BORING!  and you’re thinking, well, what would happen if I have fettucine alfredo?  I’ll still lose this week…right?  WRONG!

So the good news is, I was shockingly down at WW this week, a whole .2 of a pound.

A Poem, by Marie I.
Got weighed in and down point 2

Lil less skin and smile I do

Kinda small loss, not even half a pound

But I still celebrate because I'm less round

Leader asks me this week what u gonna do

To lose more weight and maybe lose

More ounces that will combine

To make huge loss and blow your mind?

I went out to eat last night with some friends at the famous L&B Spumoni Gardens.  I had a friggin slice of pizza as a chaser to rigatoni bolognese (read: bad idea).  L&B is famous for 3 things: square slices of pizza, rice ball parmigiana and spumoni.  I’m proud to say I had a sampling of all three last night. And, hell, I enjoyed it!  I even had a ton of rigatoni bolognese left over to have for dinner tonight.  My husband had plenty of his fettucine alfredo too, so he figured we’d just have that for dinner.  And in the last six months (while my weight loss has slowed) he probably would have been right.  But, not tonight, I gotta get on track.  So I defrosted some chop meat I had in the freezer and made spinach/feta burgers.  I haven’t been grocery shopping since before my wedding (tragic), but I was able to pull it together.  Beef chop meat, crumbled feta with Mediterranean herbs, grill seasoning, onions, garlic and spinach.  All rolled into a burger that I ate atop a bed of lettuce (no bun!!).  It was delish and my husband ate my leftover rigatoni and said it was just “okay.”  See, I didn’t miss out on anything.  There will be many more bowls of fresh pasta with my name on it.

So my answer to my WW leader today when she asked “whats the one thing you can do this week to lose weight?”

ME: Write down everything I eat (we call it journalling), get to the gym, and stop double fisting 100 calorie packs of Cheetos.

Oh, if only it were that easy!

Mozzerella or “Muhz-za-delle” as my Italian-American family says.  I had some “muhzzadelle” on top of leftover chicken parm that I found in my fridge for dinner tonight.  It’s ultimately, very tragic.  I come home from work crazed and desperate to have a piece of chocolate.  I dig around the kitchen, first, I find Bamba (a peanut butter snack from Israel that’s similar to a cheese puff only with PB flavor).  I plop in front of the couch, turn on the tv and start chowing down.  I don’t know how many I ate, maybe 20?  Quickly, I’m bored with Bamba and searching for  Easter chocolate in my fridge (yes, I said Easter!).  Yum, Perugina chocolate eggs!  I devour one without even thinking.  Now, I’m thirsty, but I’m too lazy to get up and get a glass of water.  A moment later I’m up off the couch (not lazy anymore) searching for cheese, any cheese, to complete my meal.

Sidenote:  When I have PMS I crave two things, chocolate and cheese.  That’s it.  That’s what I want.  In fact, if there was a way to mix the two, I would!  Is it possible to dip a chocolate covered pretzel in cheddar fondue?  Hmm.

So, I found some takeout containers in my fridge.  I’m assuming they were left by my in-laws who have been staying with us.  It looks like chicken parm.  Smells like chicken parm.  I hesitate for a moment…”This isn’t my leftovers, should I eat it?”  Before I can even answer my own question I’m putting a dish of stolen chicken parm in the microwave.  2:30 and counting.   I leave the kitchen to catch a glimpse of Real Time with Bill Maher…I go back,  1:58 left.  Geez.  I repeat this movement 2 more times until finally I give in and eject the chicken parm 16 seconds early.  “Whatever, it will be hot enough with only 2:14 of heating.”

Finally, my fork and knife slices into the enormous chicken cutlets and I marry the food to my tongue.  It’s pretty good!  Success.

I think about food alot.  I calculate the calories of what I eat ALOT.  I’m on Weight Watchers since February 2008.  I’ve lost 20lbs but now I’m terrified of going back to WW since I just spent a week (my honeymoon) eating my way through Aruba.

Why does the fear of having gained weight make me want to eat more?  Human nature?  It’s so cruel.

I think for today I’m going to give myself a pass because I DO have PMS.  And I’m going to WW on Monday to get weighed, no matter what.  I promise.

There IS another plate of chicken parm in the fridge, but I think I’ll leave it for now.

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