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.

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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!

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So, the best pizza in Brooklyn can be found at L&B Spumoni Gardens in Bensonhurst – if you ask me.  I was performing in a show with the Ryan Repertory Company all weekend and it’s conveniently located in the vicinity of L&B.  On Sunday, my family from Long Island made the trip out to Brooklyn for the show, but also for a slice of pizza.

The pizza is divine because it’s unique.  Instead of sauce and then cheese layered on top of the dough, its the opposite (!), cheese THEN sauce.  The dough is completely covered with cheese (a plus) rather than it just being a sprinkle of shredded mozzarella and then the sauce just sits a top- floating and waiting to be slurped up.  Thanks to my parents roots in Brooklyn, I’ve been eating this pizza all my life.   Its basically the reason I moved to Brooklyn.  I’ve also introduced these slices to countless “Non L&Bers” over the course of my life- my husband being one of them.  There’s just nothing better than being in the car, and getting a little hungry and him saying, “You up for some L&B?”

Aside from delish pizza, L& B Spumoni Gardens also has spumoni, a sandwich counter and a sit down restaurant that isn’t half bad either.  I tend to enjoy the “Chicken Marie” dish for obvious reasons and the antipasto.  The place is typically crowded and since it has picnic tables outside for the masses to enjoy their slices it’s a “must do” on the first few spring weekends.  This weekend was definitely a rebirth for L&B as it was finally nice enough to sit outside and enjoy a slice and spumoni.

Ok, so what’s my problem with my grandmother, right?  I mean, “Marie how could you have a post about your grandmother?  Are you that insensitive?”

The answers are “I have to write about this because it’s the key to so much overweighted-ness” and “Yes”.  Grandmother Nora doesn’t have a computer, and probably won’t see this blog – but I’ve got to call her out on principle and to give the rest of us a fighting chance against Food Pushers (who often come in the form of well-meaning grandmothers).

In order for you to fully understand the magnitude of Grandmother Nora’s presence – yes she wants to be called “Grandmother” not “Grandma” – I have to clue you in to a bit of her character.  Well, she IS a character.  Larger than life, always outspoken and the life of the party.  Last time we were together at L&B she was accosting Tony Disco while he was there giving autographs.  “Tony, TONY, do you know my son BOBBY?”  Good grief!  My dad, Bob(by), was mortified and yet totally into it at the same time.  I guess after 60+ years of her accosting celebrities in his presence, he gave in eventually and decided to go for the ride.  Grandmother is also known for her biting commentary.  Ran always tells a story that even after he and I were living together, Grandmother still called him my “friend” as in, “You know Marie, you’re FRIEND didn’t come say hi to me.”  The poor guy was scared of her!  But after that comment, he never neglected to say hi to Grandmother again.  Oh and of course I can’t forget the time Grandmother came to see me in a production of the Vagina Monologues at Muhlenberg College.  She happened to attend the one performance that had a talk back afterward.  Seated in the front row, she exclaimed, “You forgot the ‘Oh my god, OH MY GOD'” in reference to the monologue about different types of orgasms.  I exclaimed “Oh my god” as I sank into my chair with embarrassment.  But then it soon turned to pride that my grandmother was hip enough to come see Vag Mons and open enough to make declarations at the talk back.  Bottom line, she embarrasses you but makes you laugh and of course, she means well.

Alright, cut back to L&B, all of us are sitting around the table eating a slice.  “Did you have enough?”  “Save a slice for Linda!” “What about Bobby?  What’s he gonna eat?”

We had 2 pizzas and more food coming.  Nobody starved, I can assure you.  When the eggplant parmigiana hit the table, Grandmother started in with me, “Marie don’t you want some?”  “Aren’t you gonna have some eggplant?”  “Have this eggplant?”  I kept saying, NO THANKS.  But it fell on deaf ears.  Naturally, Grandmother started in with someone else then.  First my uncle, then my dad – she was relentless.  She kept exclaiming, “Well we can’t just LEAVE IT??!!!??”   Why not?  Why can’t we just leave that 200 calorie portion of eggplant on the dish?  Who will know/care/report us to the Italian police?  I finally answered her, “Grandmother, we CAN leave it.  No one is going to starve.”  It was like I speaking a foreign language.  Oh well.

…The eggplant sat..UNTIL…finally Bob picked it up, put it on his plate, and dove in.

I felt compelled to say something, and let’s face it, talking to pretty much anyone about the food their eating is like walking in a mine field.

“Dad, you don’t have to eat that if you don’t want to.”

He ate.

I don’t have a quippy response to that.  All I can say is, for some reason, when you’re told over and over again that it’s NOT okay to leave a little food on your plate – you start to believe it.  And then you will just eat it even if you are full.  It’s like its on the plate friggin staring at you saying, “Why not eat me?”  instead of “Why eat me?”

Not sure if this is a triumph over food?  Sounds more like the eggplant had a triumph over the Ingrisanos.  Actually, I will count it as a triumph, becuase at least I wasn’t the one eating that damn eggplant.  Though it looked so good.

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