My Secret Arsenal

I’m building a secret arsenal.  I mean let’s face it; a person can only eat so many chicken breasts and cans of tuna before going crazy, right?  Although I really don’t like to cook and don’t experiment much in the kitchen I am learning to spread my flabby wings, experiment a little bit and build an arsenal of “acceptable” foods. 

I don’t think I’m a picky eater but I do like things to taste a certain way.  One thing that’s really surprised me is sausage.  MADE FROM VEGETABLES! 

I know what you’re thinking! 


Made from vegetables? 

You’ve got to be kidding!  

Thanks, but no thanks, right?

Usually I steer clear of that section of the grocery like the plague but after giving it a try I was pleasantly surprised to find out they weren’t bad.  In fact not only are they not bad, they are actually good!  They taste almost exactly like the “real” thing. 

For breakfast today I had an egg white omelet, a vegetable sausage patty and a couple of slices of canned peaches heated up.  I don’t know that I could have distinguished the difference in the vegetable patty and the “real” thing.  Really!  Trust me on this one.  It’s at least worth a try, right? 

I bet you could even fool your family into believing it was the real deal. (Just make sure you hide the packaging in the bottom of the trash can.)

For lunch I made tuna with low-fat mayo (Okay, I’m working towards the non-fat), Dijon mustard, celery, diced apple, red onion and a TINY BIT of dried cherries.  Better to leave the cherries off of course but I used a miniscule amount.  It was delicious.

Have you made the soup?  It’s good, filling and you can eat it anytime.  In fact before cooking a holiday meal for the family, before going out to dinner, before the holiday parties; anytime you think you might overeat…eat an apple and a bowl of the vegetable soup first.  It won’t be possible to do too much damage after that, you’ll just be too full!

In the next couple of days my writing might slow down a little bit due to the holidays but please use this time to go back and reread some of the posts and ESPECIALLY read the comments sections for the progress of some of our members and recipe ideas.  We really have a wonderful group of people here – smart, funny, honest and giving.  I’ve been fortunate to email with most of you at some point and I’m delighted to hear your stories – you all have so much to offer.  If you click on the calendar to the “right” and start on December 8th you will be able to read the blog from beginning to end.

I WILL BE POSTING – just maybe not as much!  So please remember to check in regularly. 

Also, people have requested a message board and a place for recipes.  I’m looking into both.  For now use the comment section. 

Oh and yesterday I had a butter accident.  Yep.  I was sitting there, minding my own business, cooking a chicken sausage link (Also VERY GOOD, give them a try too) and the darn sausage wouldn’t brown and next thing I knew there, in the pan, right before my eyes was…A TINY BIT OF BUTTER!  It just sort of flew in there before I could grab my PAM…Which leads me to this….

…It’s a holiday week.  It’s going to be tough out there.  There’s going to be butter and sugar flying around all over the place!  It’s going to be sneaking around every corner and calling your name in the night!

But, if you’re like me, I might usually have gained anywhere between 2 and 5 pounds this week.  I feel like if I can maintain or maybe even lose a pound, I’m doing pretty darn good and so are you.  Don’t beat yourself up. 

Yes, you may slip…we all do.  It happens.  (I laughed while reading the comments about Sasha’s (“1 tini nibble of cookie dough”)

I suggest having a plan.  Use a smaller plate.  Take smaller portions.  Don’t weigh yourself the day after – instead get back on the program, drink your water and tea, give it a couple of days THEN weigh yourself.  The important thing is DON’T GIVE UP.  It’s only “a day.”  There will be plenty of them.  Your eating program is not going to be perfect every day.  You can’t be perfect every day.  We just need to start being better most days.

The motto of the week:

Do the best with what you’ve got and when you can, do better.

Thank you all for being here.  This has been a wonderful experience and I’m looking forward to starting the New Year with all the new friends I’ve made here.


I’m “here”….

I know this week might be difficult for some of you.  Regardless of whether you’ve started the diet or not the week before a holiday can be stressful.  And Stress = Food.  Well, at least for me it does.  Actually just about anything “can” equal food now that I think about it.  Happy = Food.  Unhappy = Food.  Stress = Food.  Relaxed = Food.  (Okay, maybe different kinds of food – remind me later to tell you about my recent trip to West Virginia to see my birth father, step-mother, sister and nieces  for the first time in almost 20 years – which was wonderful, btw – and all the fried green tomatoes and fried okra I ate, OMG)

Anyway, I’m working on a couple of posts for this week.  I don’t know that I’ll post one every day but “I’m here” everyday.  I check in, I read, I write, I work.  Sometimes a post takes me a few days (Hard to believe I put that much time into a post isn’t it?) And, other people are “here.”  PLEASE read the comments. There is some great information in there. Debbie has shared her PLAN for holiday eating and please feel free to share yours too!  I read every comment and I hope you do too.

If you have a recipe please share it!   

And now, an admission.  Quiet please.  Shhhhhhh….ahem, okay, I USE SPLENDA.  I know, I know, I know…I know what the book says.  I get it but seriously if I don’t have something sweet there’s going to be big trouble in little China – or something like that!   Debbie is looking for a sugar free fruit yogurt (is that right, Debbie?) and hasn’t found one.   If you notice non-fat yogurt is much higher in sugar than “regular” yogurt!  Crazy, huh?

Here’s what I do; I slice strawberries and mix them with Greek Style non-fat yogurt and use Splenda.  Also, Splenda has a brown sugar version.  You can slice your apple, put it in the microwave with a little water for a couple of minutes until it’s softened (some people tell me they put a little diet soda in instead of water – I haven’t tried that yet) sprinkle with brown sugar Splenda and cinnamon.  It’s delicious!

I’m working on the possibility of expanding the software here to offer more options.  Someone suggested we post our heights, weights and desired weight in our comments.  There’s no way I can do that from here but I think it’s a great idea!  Feel free to do it!

I am on this journey with you.  Have I successful lost some weight?  Yes, I have.  Do I need to lose more?   Yes, I do.  Is it easy for me, NO IT ISN’T.  Every day is a new struggle.  It never comes easy – at least not yet. 

I woke up this morning dreaming of being with friends looking at vacation photos I was in and was so embarrassed at the way I looked.  I could see myself in actual outfits I owned and I looked so terrible I was mortified.  This leads me back to “THE PHOTOS”.  I really think this is a secret tool.  I think we forget what we look like.  Just like age…Sometimes I look at a photo and think “Wow, what a terrible photo, I look SO OLD.”  Until I see about 10 more photos from the same time and realize, oh, wait, that’s what I really look like!

If you’re new here please go back and read the past entries.  There aren’t that many (If you go to the calendar to the right and start at 12/08/10, that’s the first entry) and please don’t forget to subscribe.  If you’ve been around for a week or two make sure you’ve read the comments.  There’s good information there and please feel free to add your comments!


While I’m working on the next post I just wanted to make a couple of quick reminders.

  • Have you taken your photos yet?  Are you going to take your photos?  You are, right?  You better take those photos!  Don’t make me come over there. And there.  And there.  And over there!  Really, you’ll thank me for it later.  Also it really helps when you want to eat something if you look at those photos first and say out loud three times:  “A moment on my lips, a lifetime on my hips!” Actually I don’t know if that will help but it can’t hurt right?  And it sure makes you think about the REAL COST of that Twinkie.  For the show we had to take four photos – front, back, right side and left side view.  And remember, no one has to see the photos but you (well except in my case where I sent them to a NATIONAL TELECASTED TV SHOW – Holy Moly, what the heck was I thinking) If you’re very clever, unlike me, you can set the time up on your camera and you don’t even need a second person to take the photos.


  • To subscribe to the blog just fill in the EMAIL SUBSCRIPTION button on the right side of the page.  This way you’ll automatically be advised anytime I put a new post up.  I’m really trying to put up at least 5 new posts a week but we’ll see how well I do!  I’m trying but with the holidays it’s getting tight!


  • Have you taken your photos yet?  Just a little reminder.


  • Finally, if you like the blog and think it might be helpful please give people you know (and preferably ones you like) the address.  I would like to get enough readers at some point to be able to give some gifts away but I need to average about 500 hits a day first. (We’ve had up to 325 already!)


  • Also, have you started on your diet yet?  Are you waiting until the first of the year?  I’m working on some additional tools if you’re interested.  I noticed a couple of people have posted their stats in the comments area – GOOD FOR YOU!  You are all welcome to do that or if you prefer (let me know in the comments) you could send me your information and I could have some one put it together and post a pie chart.  For instance just generally telling us how many people here want to lose 10 pounds or 20 pounds or more.  I’m looking at some options that might do that for us in a “poll” form. 


  • Thanks for sticking with me while I set up house here.


That’s all for now.

You’ve Got To Have a Plan

I guess it’s time to start thinking about  getting through the holidays.

Look, I think it’s completely up to you to decide if you want to tell people you’re on a diet.  Only you know if you’ll be around the type of people who will support you or the type of people who, if you don’t sabotage yourself, will gladly do it for you!  And, don’t get me wrong. Some of the best saboteurs are the ones who love you the most! Yes, they will love the fat right past your lips and onto your hips.

The important thing for you to do, regardless of what your decisions are going to be, is to think about them in advance.  Have a plan.

Maybe your plan is not to lose weight but to maintain.  That’s okay.  Maintaining your current weight is an achievement when there’s dip and candy and pie seemingly falling from the sky.  Maybe you’re going on a cruise and your plan is to ONLY gain 5 pounds.  That’s okay too.

It’s important to have a plan.  You should have a plan.  YOU MUST HAVE A PLAN!

You may want to include things in your plan like trying to eat slowly.  See if you can be the last person to have food left of their plate – of the first serving of course!

You definitely shouldn’t allow yourself to get too hungry.  Take a bite of things or small portions so you’re not feeling deprived.  I know you’re worried that if you pass up that special dessert mom makes only once a year you’ll crave it and dream about it for the next 364 days so have some of it!  Maybe your plan can include having “three bites of everything!”  That’s okay too.

Remember, God willing, this will not be the last pumpkin pie you ever eat.  You don’t need to eat a huge piece.  If you MUST have some have a bite, cut a tiny sliver.  Don’t let other people serve you if you can help it. Do it yourself.  Don’t let them decide what a portion is.  YOU know what a portion is!  We all do.  We’re diet experts, right?

If the festivities are on your turf make sure your grocery list includes a vegetable tray and DUMP THE RANCH DRESSING.  Throw it away.  It’s poison. 

Eat celery and carrots, drink water and green tea all day long!  It will keep you full so even if you do slip there won’t be room for too much.

Up the exercise.  The day before, the day of and the day after.  Even an extra 10 minutes is something although you’d be my hero if you up it 30 minutes or more.

EAT APPLES.  Apples are great. They are good for you. They come in all different colors and flavors. You can have hard ones, soft ones, sweet ones, sour ones. (Unfortunately my favorite, “Pippin’s”, are almost impossible to find but I find the “Jazz” are pretty good). 

Apples are also filling.  If you’re in the 1st Cycle of the 17 Day Diet you shouldn’t eat apples all day long but right now if a couple of apples on a holiday keep you from eating an entire cheesecake then the trade-off is pretty good, right?

 If you eat an apple and drink a glass of water before a meal you will not be able to overeat.  I guarantee it!  It’s almost impossible.

 AND, my personal, number one, best tip for not gaining weight over the holidays!?!?!?


Honestly, I think elastic waists and stretch materials are extremely dangerous and very hazardous to your health and to your new lifestyle. Elastic waists should come with warning labels “DANGEROUS CURVES AHEAD!”

In fact, do yourself a favor and eliminate as many elastic waists from your wardrobe as as fast as you can.  No good can come from them.  Trust me on this one.  You’ll be better off wearing something that “reminds” you, even though uncomfortably, you’re full.  You’ve had enough.

Most importantly before you get into a situation where you might over eat, yep, that’s right, you got it, make a plan.  Think of it as a map you want to follow into this new territory.  Maybe your plan includes some extra calories. That’s okay.  If you’ve prepared for that you’re much less likely to get depressed and beat yourself up afterwards and much more likely to get right back on track.

We’ll talk more about this in the upcoming week.

Oh and if you haven’t already don’t forget to subscribe. I will be doing some giveaways soon and you don’t want to miss out!

To Weigh or Not to Weigh…That is the Question

The dreaded scale.

I don’t know about you but I’m a “scale-a-holic”.  I’m one of those people who get up every morning, takes everything off (including my hair clip cause Lord only knows how much that might weigh, right?!) runs to the bathroom and jumps on the scale!  I know there are different professional opinions on whether to weigh or not to weigh and if you weigh, when to weigh and how often to weigh but I know for ME I am a slave to the scale.  Hopping on the scale once a week is just not enough. 

I don’t know what it is but as much as I try to avoid it my feet are uncontrollably drawn to that scale every morning.

I will share with you that when I initially gained weight I did not have a scale.  Now, would that have been my magical weight maintaining secret?  I don’t know but what I do know is I did not get on a scale for a couple of years and in that couple of years I experienced the greatest weight gain of my life.

I was pretty curious about the scale controversies so I did a little research.  In 2005, University of Minnesota researchers reviewed combined studies that included over 3,000 people who either wanted to lose or maintain weight.  What they found was 40 percent were fairly religious about stepping onto the scale at least once a day.  20 percent held their weigh-ins weekly and the remaining 40 percent did a weight check infrequently or avoided the scale altogether. Over a two year period, the study reported that the obsessive weighers lost an average of 12 pounds (You’d think I’d be a twig by now) and the weekly scale watchers lost only six. And the avoiders? They gained four pounds on average! 

I think, at least for me, frequent weigh-ins can act as an “early warning system.”  The daily feedback from the scale helps me in setting goals and catching small weight fluctuations as “snowballs” before they become huge “avalanches.”  

I believe one reason the 17 Day Diet has worked so well for me is the first cycle allows for rapid weight loss and I can see that digital scale moving. Sure there are days when it goes up a few ounces or even the dreaded pound or two but I can always seem to rationalize that as salt, PMS, building muscle or the full moon.  (Sure, why not?)

I still have plateau’s here and there. (We’ll talk about plateau’s another time) In fact I just had (Am having?) one.  Let’s face it it’s a little unreasonable, okay, it’s VERY unreasonable, to expect the scale to drop every day.  In fact the bottom line is it’s unreasonable and impossible.  But, where does logic and reason come into weight loss?  I mean if that was the case I probably wouldn’t have gained the weight in the first place, right?  It’s not very reasonable to eat a ½ gallon of Pineapple-Coconut ice cream for dinner is it?  But I have!  Hey, don’t’ judge me, I had a sore throat! (We’ll talk about excuses another day)

Regardless of how “good” you are the number on the scale is going to fluctuate.  Although I weigh myself every day I can’t realistically expect the scale to go down every day – although believe me I really, really like it when it does!  The truth is for countless uncontrollable reasons your weight is likely to change on a daily basis (and not always in the direction you’re hoping for) and you just have to understand there are many factors contributing to the fluctuations. For whatever reason weight changes are not necessarily an indication of failing your weight loss goals.  If you are sticking to your food plan you know the fluctuations can be attributed to a variety of things and the scale will come back down.

If you are jumping on the scale multiple times a day, chances are you’re becoming a little obsessive and are on the road to an unhealthy scale relationship. (Be careful or you’re going to have to go to “scale therapy” and file for a legal separation). 

Seriously, if you find the scale going up a pound or two leads you to be discouraged or depresses you then you should not weigh yourself every day.  An unhealthy relationship with the scale can lead to eating disorders. 

Whatever your relationship is with the scale, like in all relationships, do your best to keep it a healthy one.

PLEASE remember to Subscribe!  I have some contests and giveaways coming up and I don’t want you to miss out!

“Does My Butt Look Big?”

Today’s post is a little off the specific subject of The 17 Day Diet but still addresses an issue I think we’ve all dealt with at one time or another.  It’s meant to be a humerous little respite from dieting and concerns one of the reasons why we diet.  Tomorrow we’ll return to our regularly scheduled program.  I also want to put up a poll on who is interested in maybe posting some of our “BEFORE” photos and how you’d prefer them posted.  We could post them from the neck down or the next down with our faces blacked out or the full monty if that’s your choice.  I’m hoping to post a poll in the next time or two I just havent’ had time to put it togher!

By the way I love the ladies (and a couple of guys) who are here! 

In the meantime if you have a question about the 17 Day Diet book please feel free to email me and I’ll do my best to answer it tomorrow or the following day.  I’m also working on a giveaway for later this week so stay tuned!

And now, back to “Does My Butt Look Big”

Does My Butt Look Big?

Every woman I know will try just about anything and everything to achieve the shrinkage – if not total elimination – of their butt. Herbal wraps, massage, steam baths, rubber suits, vibrating belts, butt lifts and liposuction are just some of the ways woman use to fight overeating, under-exercising, age and gravity.  Since only a few women in history have actually succeeded in totally making their rears disappear (Victoria Beckham, Kate Moss, and Calista Flockhart) the remaining female population has become obsessed by the width, breadth, and girth of their bottoms.  “Does My Butt Look Big Syndrome” is unique in that it will touch virtually every woman in the world at some point in her life.  Fat or thin, big boned or small, pear shaped or apple, “Does My Butt Look Big Syndrome” does not discriminate.  This is what makes it such an insidious and devastating disorder.

Victims of “Does My Butt Look Big Syndrome” are filled with insecurities.  Making things worse is a woman’s constant need do compare their butt to every other woman’s butt in the universe. As an example of this here is a transcript from a group-therapy session recorded at the Women’s Center for Holistic Buttock Acceptance in Berkeley, California.  These patients had been admitted to the center’s thirty day rehabilitation program, called “Loving your Buttocks.” 

Their names have been changed to protect their identities.

Betty:    “Uh, yeah.  My name is Betty and…Does my butt look big in this hospital gown?”

Therapist:   “Um, Betty, we’re not here to talk about our buttocks right now.  Just tell us a little bit about yourself.”

Betty:   “Well, I’m Betty, from Portland and I work as an office manager.  It’s a medical office with about twelve women, seven of who have bigger butts than me.  It used to be six, but Fran Marsinowski put on a lot of weight after she sprained her ankle and couldn’t get rid of her Ho Ho addiction ….

Therapist:   “Okay, moving on.  Next?”

Carol:   “Hi, I’m Carol, I’m from San Diego and I can really relate to Betty.  I feel so close to her right now…and….and…I just want to say… Doctor, whose butt is bigger – mine or Betty’s? “

Therapist:   “Now, Carol in order to heal you have to stop comparing your body with others.  You MUST “own” your buttocks Carol and let Betty own her “own” buttocks, too!  That’s the way to holistic buttock acceptance.”

Margo:  “Okay, well, I’m Margo.  And that was soooooo beautiful. (sigh) I’m from Kansas City, where there are lots of big butts.  It’s the barbecue.  But I know, deep in my heart, that the size of your butt doesn’t matter.  It’s what you do with it that counts….”

Therapist:  “Thank you Margo, we could all learn something from Margo and her buttocks.”

And gentlemen, if you’re reading, please note that there are distinct differences in the phrases, “Does my butt look big?” and “Does this make my butt look big.”  I advise you to practice the answers to these two questions so you can maintain a controlled and safe environment in your home.  The consequences of answering these questions incorrectly could lead to sensory overload of buttock related stimuli and it could even kill your desire to ever look at another butt again.

And ladies, one final warning.  Please beware of “Big Butt Transference.”  This is when the woman projects her anxieties about her butt to the mirror and will blame the reflection in the glass for distorting reality:  

“It’s not my butt, it’s a fat mirror!”  “Big Butt Transference” can be dangerous.   It will cause women to purchase expensive jeans with a false sense of security, only to find that their butts look bigger than ever when they get home from the store. This is why women should never shop for jeans, bathing suits or white pants alone.  If you do, you’re playing with fire. 

Big butt fire.

The Long Haul

I was a personal trainer in Malibu for 10 years and looked pretty darn good if I may say so myself. I worked out 2 hours a day 5 to 6 days a week.  I mean who wouldn’t look great, right?  The photo above was taken at my brothers wedding in Beverly Hills, July 1994.  Looking back I think I looked good.  No, in fact to be honest I think I looked GREAT.  But you know what?  At the time I didn’t appreciate it.  All I did then was worry about my weight.  All I do now is worry about my weight.  Today, right now I weigh 50 lbs more than in that photo. 

 I did pretty good with my weight until unfortunately a few years ago I was injured during an attempted robbery and suddenly had to stop working out.  I suffered several physical injuries and eventually became seriously depressed and pretty agoraphobic.  “Suddenly” (well, it seemed suddenly at the time) I gained 30 pounds.  Then another 10.  Then another.  And another.  Before I knew it my weight, which had been around 135 for 15 years, was 190 pounds.  Huh?  What?  Almost 200 lbs?  I didn’t even think it was possible but trust me, it was.  And is!

What’s weird is looking back I see that when I weighed 135 pounds I looked great but at the time I never thought I looked great!  I look back at photos and think WOW, Holy Moly GIRL, you looked terrific but at the time I was never satisfied.  I was never thin enough or toned enough.  I don’t know if it’s because I lived in Malibu where everybody looked great and I had people like Debra Winger, Pat Benatar and Cher in my exercise class or if it’s just a self esteem thing.

I think it’s because I tend to approach weight loss from a position of “pain.”  I constantly nag and berate myself and expect nothing less than perfection, no matter how much progress is made.  Armed with guilt, doubt and shame I’m always reminding myself of how much I need to lose instead of how much I’ve lost. It’s never about how well I did something it’s always about how I fell short.  Sound familiar?  To people used to beating themselves up, it may seem like a great way to get motivated but think about it;  if you attempted to motivated a child like this how well do you think the results would be?  How successful would they be?

So in addition to the 17 Day Diet I’m going to try to do it differently this time.  I’m going to try to approach my goals from a position of “possibilities” instead.  Are there regular rewards NOT INCLUDING FOOD you can use to pat yourself on the back?  Instead of focusing on what you didn’t do or are doing wrong, can you pay attention to what you did or are doing right?  While brutal honesty is sometimes good to get your butt moving we need sustained motivation, right? 

We need support for the long haul!

The difficulty for me is finding rewards that don’t involve food and in this economy aren’t costing an arm and a leg (Although wait just a minute, if it cost an arm and a leg wouldn’t that mean I’d actually weigh one arm and one leg less???….Oh, okay, never mind!)

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