Friday, December 28, 2007


I've been meaning to post for the longest time. Honest! Despite the ego-flattering requests from my friend Rashad (a talented aspiring writer), I have not been able to post because my laptop crashed and I can't access my blog at work. Now, I sit here overwhelmed with all of the stories that I want to include in this blog. So much has happened since the summer.

I've never been one to stand excuses. I try to make a practice to avoid them at all costs, because I hat to have my card pulled. The truth is that I could have posted because I have access to my cousin's laptop. Part of my reluctance has been my decrease in commitment to my weight loss. While i am happy to report that I am not 200 lbs., I have stopped exercising and eating right which means that I am back on the path to plumpness. Thankfully, I haven't gained the weight that I lost. But I have given up one some level. After spending my entire summer break going to the gym DAILY and working my but off. After counting calories meticulously and killing myself with cardio and strength training. I didn't lose a single pound. Well, maybe one, but I didn't lose weight as I thought I should. So here I am, at the end of a long and tumultuous year, ready to start again. However, I am not at a total loss, because even though I am starting again I don't feel as desperate and dejected as I did last time. This time I am not focused so much on losing weight as I am on just staying healthy. I just don't feel right not exercising. Don't get it twisted, a sister needs to lose another 25 pounds. I am ready to start again, and YES I will start in the most cliche way possible - on January 1st.

That being said, i am going to expand the horizons in this blog. Teaching is such a huge part of my life, as well as my dusty ass love life, so those topics will be included in this blog as well. Food may not be the only saucy thing you read in here (I hear the groans). I heard somewhere that being an optimist is a choice and it takes work. The last couple of days I spent some time feeling sorry for myself because of some relationship issues. I wondered why I can't find a "good man". I really feel like I am ready for love, and I want it something serious. I think the most frustrating thing is that I've been dating, but I keep getting the three-eyed fish, and other genetic rejects, while a majority of my close friends are enjoying flourishing romantic relationships. While I am truly happy for them, part of me is pretty envious, and I keep wondering when it's my turn.

SO I will close this blog out by not focusing on what I don't have, but listing the things for which I am grateful. Happy New Year!!

  1. The head of special ed came to me during my class and told me what a wonderful teacher I am (we share a wall and they can hear me teach)
  2. I am a pretty damn good teacher. I have grown so many ways in my craft this year, and i am excited to see what happens next!
  3. I have a job
  4. I love my job
  5. I own a home
  6. I bought a new car (and the one that I wanted too!)
  7. I haven't gained any weight
  8. I have great friends
  9. I have a wonderful and crazy family.
  10. I spent Christmas Eve sleeping on the pull out bed watching movies with my Mom and sister. That will be one of my most cherished memories.
  11. I lifted a friend's spirit today and that made me feel good.
  12. I *&#*^$*($^ the other day and it was GREAT!
  13. I have some really great coworkers
  14. I started wearing jewelry this year.
  15. I am one class away from being certified
  16. I received a Certificate of Excellence on my Praxis II Content Knowledge exam for scoring in the top 10% of all candidates over the past few years (in other words, I know my shit!)
  17. I discovered some really good music this year
  18. I am becoming more organized
  19. I have a wonderful little sister and we've grown closer this year.
  20. My mother got her hair done. Praise the Lord!!!!!!! You JUST DON'T KNOW.
  21. My mother bought me a key finder for Christmas
  22. I passed level 9-6 on Zuma (a game on my cell phone) - FINALLY!
  23. I love my Sansa Mp3 player and Rhapsody
  24. My hair is growing and it's healthy (I had a lot of dead ends due to dying my hair)
  25. I went to a big event solo - The Reggae Brewfest at the Baltimore Zoo

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Focusing on the Positive

I've been complaining a lot about not losing weight despite my renewed commitment to exercise. So, I thought I would focus on other accomplishments versus the numbers on the scale.

  1. I always wanted lean abs, a sculpted butt and arms. While I am not quite there yet, I am toned in places that I never focused on before such as my shoulders. They are coming along quite nicely and so are my legs

  2. I think I may be a runner now. I ran for about 40 minutes non stop the other night and actually enjoyed it. I varied the speeds and incline to challenge myself and I felt really good. When I got off the machine the front and back of my shirt were soaked and that felt great.

  3. I also ran outside the other day and enjoyed it despite the fact that it was incredibly hard. However, I saw the results of that accomplishment on the treadmill inwhich I was able to run at a much higher speed than usual and enjoyed it.

  4. My legs are looking fierce.

  5. My waist is significantly smaller and I see lines under the fat, lol.

  6. I did not cheat at all last week and therefore was able to thoroughly enjoy my cheat day. Usually I cheat all week and tried to have a cheat day but felt incredibly guilty about it.

  7. My nails and toes have stayed on point all summer.

  8. I am more confident in my clothes. I actually bought a pair of shorts, not capris, not bermudas, but shorts!

  9. I finally found a hair stylist who educated me about my hair. My hair has been looking great all week.

  10. I actually tired my dog out the other day running. This is a big accomplishment because that little heathen will walk for hours and hours and when we go home he is still bouncing off the walls. I took him running and after an hour of walking/running (which flew by amazingly fast) he pooped out and laid down under a tree and would not move. I had to carry him to the car, lol.

  11. Most importantly, I set this goal in January. Although I am not at my goal weight, it's been 8 months, and I am still sticking to my goals and I am so proud of myself.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Lazy Update

I believe that I have hit a plateau. I have not lost a single pound since April. For those of you that don't know, as of July 23, 2007 I have officially completed one month of committing to a workout program. I go to the gym M-F, sometimes Saturday if I miss a day during the week. I do cardio 4 times a week for at least 30 minutes. I strength train three times a week.

I must admit, I did not watch my diet at all the first two weeks. Week Three I started to restrict calories to 1500 a day, but I still cheated several times with alcohol and eating out. Last week I still set a goal of 1500 calories a day and did not cheat at all! This week I am focusing on 1200 calories a day because I need to lose this jiggle! So my hobby of happy hours has to be replaced with a healthier habit or two.

Unfortunately, it took me a month to realize that exercise is nothing without proper nutrition. I gained about 5 pounds since starting and it is safe to say it is muscle because I am starting to notice how toned my body is looking. This morning I saw that I lost 4 of those pounds that I've gained. I've had two people say that I've become obsessed with losing weight, and I may be because it does take up about 50% of my conversation. However, I am tired of being jiggly, I am tired of this 13 year battle with my weight, and I am completely determined to get down to my goal weight of 145 lbs.

Finally, I could not have completed this month without my workout partner Gladys. She is the best, she helps me stay committed, she compliments me, she pushes me, and she serves as a constant source of support and inspiration. Even though I have to drive 20 miles out of my way DAILY to meet her at a mid point, it is SOOOO worth it. I strongly urge anyone to buddy up, if you get a good partner the benefits are endless.

P.S. Ladies, if you want a real magazine that will help you focus on losing weigh, try Women's Health. I always thought Shape, Fitness, and Health were a little too prissy for me and not as serious as men's health magazine. This magazine has some really valuable articles. This month's magazines assesses shake and meal replacement bars and what to add to them to make a perfect meal replacement. It also has a really good recipe section with recipes under 500 calories. I refer to it at least once a week and will get a subscription soon.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Grecian Garlic Turkey Burgers

I got this idea from The Best Life Diet's Greek Turkey Burger recipe. I was hesitant to try it, but I went ahead and added in some extra ingredients for flavor. If you really want to impress people, or more importantly yourself, make your own Greek Seasoning Mix using fresh herbs (spearmint, parsley, oregano, along with onions and garlic)

Grecian Garlic Turkey Burgers with Yogurt Sauce in Whole Wheat Pita

· 1 package Ground Turkey
· Greek Seasoning Mix (McCormick makes this) – to taste
· Roasted Red Peppers - dice about three
· Fresh Ground Peppercorn – to taste
· Fresh Ground Garlic Sea Salt – to taste
· Chicken demi-glace – about 1 TB mixed 2 TB hot water to make a paste
· Balsamic Vinegar – about TB or to taste
· Breadcrumbs – to soak up the vinegar and demi-glace
· Garlic Paste – Trader Joe’s has a good one. About 2 TB – more to taste
· McCormick Grinders Garlic Sea Salt

Mix all of the ingredients. Form Patties. Coat in breadcrumbs. Spray pan – I use a non fat butter flavored spray. Cook!

Yogurt sauce: Mix nonfat yogurt, diced cucumbers, diced onion, salt, and pepper.

Toast pita and fill with sliced patty, yogurt sauce, and fat free feta. This turned our really well. It was flavorful and filling. It almost tasted like a gyro, I may even use ground lamb next time. This will definitely be put in my meal rotations.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

If you've ever said...

"I'm not a salad person," I say to you the same thing I say to my students who claim they don' t like books: "You just haven't met the right one."

Salads are BY FAR the best diet food and the opportunity for creativity is endless. Salads are no longer the boring iceberg combo with ranch. In the past couple of years salads have had a makeover--become trendy even. Now, instead of going to a restaurant to get a variety of lettuce and toppings, its all available in your local grocery store.

In my mind, the basics of salad building include GREEN, PROTEIN, CHEESE, and COLOR, and of course you need dressing. So here are a couple of suggestions for each category. The key is to buy high quality and FRESH ingredients that you intend to use within 2-3 days. I keep a lot of these ingredients on hand and just throw them together when I’m in a hurry.

Green: (<---Click for a guide and recipe suggestions) Lettuce is the basis. Your greens must be fresh and must compliment your accoutrements. Varieties include: romaine, mesclun, spinach, boston butter, cabbage, etc. Check out Epicurious' "Screening the Greens" for an illustrated guide.

Protein: salmon, chicken, nuts (almonds, sunflower seeds, cashews, honey glazed walnuts)

Cheese (use sparingly): fat-free feta, blue cheese, gorgonzola, goat, etc. If you really want to surprise yourself buy a gourmet cheese to add to your salad. Whole Foods has a fantastic cheese selection. Just go and tell the sales person your salad ingredients and even wine accompaniment and s/he will pair your food masterfully.

Color: dried fruit, fresh herbs, bell peppers (raw or roasted), carrots (shave to add texture), red onions, avocado, mandarin oranges, blueberries, peaches & apricots (they’re in season - go to the farmer’s market for a special treat), strawberries (also in season), the list goes on and on.

Dressings: My current favorites are Raspberry Vinaigrette and Honey Lime Chipotle. The latter I had at a restaurant and I am intent on recreating that sweet goodness.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

School's Out...

For the Summer!

Hence, a new entry appears. I have learned so very much in the past six months of teaching. I've tried to verbalize this experience to numerous people, but I always feel that I can't quite communicate all that I am experiencing. I want to include every detail so the person can understand, and I end up feeling like I'm prattling. This is particularly frustrating because I want to share this with my friends and family. I need to share this because it is such an important time in my life. I expressed this frustration to my mentor teacher whilst on the phone this morning: "Unless you are a teacher, you can not truly understand the internal effect of this craft" ("They don't really feel this sh*t son!").

The most important lesson that I've learned is that teaching is my gift and I feel complete when I fully express it. However, I am also excited to have a much deserved break from these heathen children ("Children of the Corn" is my pet name for my kids. They're too young to understand the reference. The review "frightfully entertaining" is a perfect description my first 1/2 year of teaching.)

I am refocusing on my diet. I have not gained any weight, but I haven't made progress in losing weight. I could lie and say I am at a plateau. I'll sacrifice pride for honesty and admit that I've had neither the time nor the commitment since April.

Living a healthy lifestyle is a part-time job. When I first began my commitment in January, I swear I put in at least 15 hours a week in to planning, exercising. cooking, and convincing myself not to have that second glass of wine. Once I began teaching / working full time, I could not commit as much time as I needed. If you're thinking those are excuses, I'll say they are damn good ones. Now that I have a couple of weeks off, I can refocus on shedding these last 20 lbs. The goals for this week are as follows:

Step 1 - Eat

Weight Watchers is back. I enrolled again for a refresher course on planning my meals and watching my portion sizes.

Step 2 - Exercise

Working out 3x a week

Step 3 - Document

Document everything: inches, pounds, food, workouts.

This is really the hard part. I am not a record keeper. To further elucidate my point I will make confession. I'm a hard worker, borderline workaholic, so I have always received stellar performance reviews on my jobs. Unfortunately, when it comes to turning in paperwork on time I ALWAYS receive a "needs improvement." I always resolve to work on it, but paperwork always seems to fall to the bottom of my to-do lists. Therefore, I realize that this goal is going to be a b*tch on wheels, but I need to be able to troubleshoot any errors and measure my success. It's too easy to forget that 10th chicken wing at happy hour.

I also want to really focus on strength training, and the only way you can do that effectively is to document your routines.

I'll hit you off with a recipe later on this week.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Salmon Patties with Balsamic Chili Glaze

1 medium sized dried Pasilla Chilli
2 TB Dark Brown Sugar
1 Shallot
1 TB Lemon Juice
Balsamic Vinegar (The quality will affect the taste. I use a BV that I purchased at Trader Joe’s)
Powdered Cloves

Soak chili in about 2 cups of boiling water for about 10 minutes. Remove skin, it’s okay if a little skin remains

Dice chili and shallot. Melt butter in pan. For flavor I spray fat free butter spray as well.

Sautee shallot and chili until a dark brown but not burned. Add a couple of dashes of sea salt and ground black pepper.

Add sugar and continue to sauté. Add crushed chipotle cube. Deglaze with balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. Start with ½ cup of the balsamic and add more to taste. Add a pinch or two of the cloves. Add grilled patties and make sure the patties are covered in the glaze.

This week I promised myself I would try to eat all of the food in my fridge before I went grocery shopping again in search of ingredients for my new experiment. I buy salmon patties from Trader Joe’s occasionally. Somehow, between the store and my trip home they lose their appeal. Today I went to my local wine / gourmet food store in search of a buttery chardonnay. My favorite chard so far is made by Toasted Head (produced the same company that makes R.H. Phillips). I love it because it is very buttery with a hint of sweetness. Supposedly, California chards are known for their buttery flavor.

“Toasting, or bousinage, is a traditional method coopers use to influence the impact of wood barrel aging on the quality of wine. Most wines fermented in oak barrels benefit from the firing of barrel staves to some degree. Toasted Head takes its name from the process of toasting the barrelheads in addition to the staves. This is what gives Toasted Head wines their unique vanilla and oak flavors.” – Vincor USA Website

So as I browsed the overpriced gourmet food selection, I came upon a Chipotle Balsamic Glaze. The price was $8 and since I am also trying to budget for a potential road trip later on this week, I did not purchase the glaze. I decided it couldn’t be too hard to recreate the sauce and I knew I had chilis from a enchilada kick I was on a couple of months ago, and I always have balsamic vinegar.

I went home and browsed a couple of glaze recipes on Epicurious and I felt confident that I could recreate this glaze at home. In my research I discovered that professional chefs use a demi-glace to create the complex sauces in their restaurants. The only way people have been able to get their hands on this “liquid gold” in the past is to either make it in their own or beg a chef for a cup or two. I considered making it at home, but the recipe is quite complicated (I would have to find veal fat and beef bones – No thank you!) However, there is a company that sells this product online, and I may look into purchasing that soon.

Back to the patties:

I overcooked the patties in my broiler but let me say it was OFF THE HOOK! I love how there was a hint of spicy with a tangy sweet. I ought to bottle this – I surprised myself. You can find the chili, cloves, and bouillon at a local bodega (Spanish Grocery Store). I ate the patty on a whole-wheat bun with dark leafy greens and a side salad with raspberry walnut vinaigrette, multi-grain croutons, dried raspberries, dried cranberries, and candied walnuts. I topped my meal off with a nice crisp and buttery 2004 Sonoma County Healdsburg Ranches Chardonnay produced by Belvedere Vineyards and Winery.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Synthetic Plugs?

As most of you know, I love wine. I've tried my best to explore different grapes throughout the years and learn about how to truly savor and experience wine. I love the complexity and mystery of wine. I love the ritual of tasting. I love how it makes me focus, and even meditate, on my senses. I love the sense of class and sensuality that it brings to any occasion (unless it is White Zinfandel - lol).

One of my goals has been to attend a formal wine tasting. I've been to several informal ones, but I want to become an armchair sommelier of sorts, and reading a book or articles is not enough. So, in the meantime, I am going to make my first (very amateur) attempt at writing about wine. Now keep in mind that I'm an artist, and I'm sensitive about my...just playing. Hopefully this will allow me to keep track of good finds, share them with friends, and expand my knowledge on this subject.

Woop Woop 2005 Shiraz (Australia) $12.99 - This wine was recommended to me when I went to Bin 604 and requested a "...fruity red that was not sweet". This week I made spaghetti with a fire roasted tomato sauce, fake chicken, broccoli, and garlic. I knew a wine that was not bitter or sweet, but fruity and intense, would bring out the flavors of this dish.

I was so excited to taste the wine that I did not smell it until after the first sip, and I could not detect a distinct aroma. Now mind you, I broke my last wine glass earlier this week (now I know why people have china cabinets), so I am not drinking this out of a proper glass, nor did I give the wine time to aerate.

This wine is very rich and smooth with an earthy taste. Usually when I can classify a red as "earthy" there is usually a bitter (tannin) taste associated with it. However, this wine manages to balance its earthiness with a fruity flavor. There is a subtle sweetness that comes out while tasting it and a pomegranate aftertaste. I'm wondering if this is typical of a Shiraz? That will be something to look into. According to Business Week, Australian Shiraz's are a great buy if you want quality at a moderate price. Judging by this wine alone, I'd have to agree! It is hard to find a red, within a reasonable price range, that doesn't taste like watered down bitter grapes.

One thing I want to do, is have a fruit tasting of fruits typically used to describe wines: black currants, blackberries, pomegranates, apricot, etc. I don't typically eat these types of fruits and maybe if I familiarize myself with their tastes it will help me identify the flavors in wine.

Another interesting note is that the wine does not have a cork. I've noticed that some makers are moving away from the cork claiming that screw caps, or in this case a synthetic plug (wait...that doesn't sound right), are more convenient, prevent cork rot, and still preserve the integrity of the wine. R.H. Phillips is a favorite maker of mine and they have an explanation on their site as to why they opted for a screwcap.

As you can see, I have now successfully avoided writing about my weight. I haven't made much progress, but I haven't gained anything. Right now, I am EXHAUSTED! So more on my journey later!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Measurement of Success

I’ve realized that I really need to start measuring myself. I haven’t made much progress on the scale, but I feel slimmer. I know I should have been measuring myself all along, but my measurements are way scarier to me than my weight, lol. Last week, according to the scale at work, I gained two pounds. That increase didn’t bother me because weigh-in day fell on the first day of my cycle. That only added fuel to my futile campaign to have this contest structured as men vs. women. Maybe next year?

For the last two weeks I’ve followed the Abs Diet because I no longer have the time to record everything I eat in WW Online. My friend Rashad told me I should trust myself and stop counting and just focus on eating right. I am going to have to do that at some point. I must say that I’ve been a little liberal with my food choices because I haven’t been counting. The best thing about WW is that you have to choose – you have a set amount of points and you really have to make choices about the best way to use them. I never would have had a slice of birthday cake and or a cupcake this week (we have a lot of March birthdays in our office) if I were still counting. I am still hovering around 172, which is irritating.

I am also struggling to fit exercise in during the week. I am proud of the fact that I fit in a lot on the weekends, but I need more cardio in my life. I can’t do it in the morning because I get up at 5 a.m. and nothing in this world will make me rise earlier than that dreadful time. Mondays I teach Night School and Wednesdays I conduct Leadership Workshops in the evening. Tuesday I am exhausted from Monday (a 16+ hour day from the time I awake to the time I get home) and that leaves Thursday and Friday. Maybe I should just make it a goal to fit in one session this week.

I don’t know I should wait another week for TAD (The Abs Diet) to kick in or try WW again this week and see if I lose any weight. This is frustrating!! I can fit all of my clothes and 10’s are loose in the waist (not the thighs—but I am used to that). My stomach is DEFINITELY smaller than it was in December. I went shopping for work clothes this weekend and I fit, and looked great in, all of the pieces that I selected and that was a great feeling.

Any suggestions? I need a plan. I don’t want to lose my momentum – this 40 pounds by my birthday (5/27) is NOT looking feasible.

Sidenote: Any workout music selections? My favorite for cardio this week is T.I.'s Down Low. I also made a musical discovery this week - Owasu and Hannibal. Check them out - I'm really feeling them.

Le Fox

Saturday, March 17, 2007

I'm still alive

I cheated like a MOFO this week. Fortunately, I haven't gained a pound. But, I haven't lost much either. I apologize for neglecting this blog but I am incredibly busy and simply do not have time to write like I want to. The source of my cheating is that I did not cook last weekend and that is my key to success. When I get home during the week I am exhausted and do not always make the best dinner decisions. I went out to eat a couple of times this week and as we all know there aren't too many healthy options in restaurants these days.

So today I cooked three meals that should take me through the next week and a half. I made the following:

Tofu and Broccoli with Red Curry Sauce and Coconut Jasmine Rice

Slow Cooked Tomato Soup with Sun Dried Tomatoes

Turkey Chili with Eggplant and Carrots

If you want any of the recipes-- Holla!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

I knew it was too good to be true...

On Tuesday I bought a package of Lays Light KC Masterpiece Potato Chips. I was excited because one serving = 75 calories / 1 point. That is way less than a serving of the baked variety. I detected no aftertaste, so I happily munched away that evening as I prepared a dish of Thai Curry with Tofu, Broccoli, and Red Peppers from my Cooking Light magazine. Boy were they tasty!!! What a find!!

Fast forward to Wednesday morning…

After visiting the bathroom three times in a 1 hour period, I decided to check out that bag of chips again. On the front it said “Made with Olestra”. Olestra? I thought…that...sounds...familiar. So I searched it on Wikipedia and found this:


I think I made a mistake :-(

Then I found this:


I lost 4 pounds that day.

Enough said…

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Raydiance and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Yesterday constituted my worst day at work so far. It started off well enough. Every Friday my coworkers bring in food for breakfast. I thought it was my week and brought in a Mexican Egg Bake that I threw together at the last minute the night before (recipe below). I also brought homemade guacamole and whole wheat cinnamon raisin english muffins.

Two other teachers thought it was their week and brought in food as well: doughnuts, bagels, french toast sticks, etc. I haven't been able to participate in the Friday breakfast for a while because the food they bring in is often very fattening, but since I brought in my own food I had a nice breakfast before school began. I did give in temptation and ate 1/2 of a glazed doughnut but I deserved a treat.

By the end of the day I was laying flowers at the alter of temptation and ate 2 glazed doughnuts and went drinking that evening. To my credit, I did make some positive decisions such as eating a turkey sandwich before I went to the bar. I drank diet coke and rum, and...well...that's about it folks. I'm not too upset about the doughnut situation. At first I was beating myself up for eating those doughnuts when I knew it was because I had a bad day. Now I am grateful that I was CONSCIOUS of why I ate the doughnuts. Before I realized I am an emotional eater, I would mindlessly turn to food and wonder why the dryer kept shrinking my pants and why every store decided to cut their size 12's smaller. When you are truly aware of your actions and their agent provocateurs, you have the power to change things.

That brings me to my Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. In a stroke of genius I decided to hand out gradesheets to my special education co-taught class. This is the class that has such superstars as the Peacock kid.

The period started off with a confrontation with a newcomer, a black girl who has the most disgusting attitude I've ever encountered. After trying to recover from that (and by recover I mean resist the urge to kick her in the forehead with a six inch stiletto), my stride was off kilter. When you teach you get into a stride, a momentum, and that is what helps you get through the day. That stride comes from excessive planning and being mentally, physically, and emotionally prepared to teach. Teaching is a job where you have to be "on" at all times. So one kid asks me for a gradesheet and I say "Oh yeah" and pass them out even though that wasn't in my plans. But I wasn't "on" anymore, the girl got under my skin. This move was a monstrous mistake. I realized this as a maelstrom of moronic cretin's moved my way. They had awakened, suddenly realizing that they were failing. Since I was the messenger, they decided that it was my fault. I explained to the class that I would not use any class time to discuss grades and if they were really concerned they could talk to be before or after school.

Yea, I really thought that announcement would work with these kids. Had I been "on" I could have appreciated the panic in their face and chuckled while I imagined their possible punishments. These are the same students that I constantly have to wake up, that come to class under the influence of God knows what, that constantly talk or refuse to do work. I've been warning all of them for weeks now that they were failing. They are not failing because they received bad grades, they have no grades because they haven't turned a single item in.

As they continued to try to suck me in to their confusion by yelling and throwing temper tantrums, I moved on to the next assignment and they went back to sleep. However, my co-teacher exacerbated the situation by questioning me about the grades for kids in front of kids. She also told me that since it is special ed if a lot of kids are failing we could get in trouble or even get fired. You can imagine what this did to my psyche for the rest of the day. I wanted to go into the bathroom and cry because I was SO ANGRY. But I couldn't do that, I had to teach. That's what I miss about office jobs - you can go somewhere to gather yourself and return to work. That's nearly impossible in my profession.

As I sped away from the school at 2:45 p.m. I decided that these kids either (a) are playing a game with me and hope their behavior will provoke me to change my mind or (b) honestly do not see the consequences of their actions (well, inaction would be more appropriate). It's probably both. Then I had a eureka moment. When it came to eating, I fell into the "b" category. I was not conscious of the fact that I have to work on maintaining my weight every day. I was not conscious of how I abused food, alcohol, and my body. I was not conscious of how I let myself go. I had the nerve to be surprised and angry when, last year, I discovered the night before an interview that I couldn't fit into my old business suit.

From that perspective, I am just like some of these kids, except I don't have anybody to attack or blame but myself. I am my own teacher. When I look at the scale I really don't believe I lost 12 pounds. Sometimes I fear that this is just a phase and I will put the weight back on in a couple of months or that I won't reach my goal. I imagine what people will think when I get fat again after I've talked all of this self help bullshit in my blog. However, I remind myself that I have the key now: I am conscious. Hopefully that will be enough to prevent a prolonged relapse that will result in my gaining back all of the weight and more. No--that will be enough. Maybe this day wasn't so bad after all :-)

Recipes I thew together this week:

Mexican Egg Bake:

12 eggs
1 cup Vanilla soy milk
1/2 bag Frozen Stoplight Peppers (Trader Joe's)
Dave's Chipotle Hot Sauce
Sea Salt & Black Pepper (Please invest in quality versions of these spices and thank me later)
2% Kraft Mexican Cheese Blend

To taste:

Dash of Cayenne Pepper
Garlic Paste (Trader Joe's)
Cilantro (Gourmet Garden)

You can add move vegetables or meat, don't have to use soy milk, and experiment with the seasonings. Bake at 350 degrees in a 12x12 dish (or something close) for about 20 - 30 minutes. Be sure to watch it because I overcooked it but it was still good. Oh and make sure you spray the dish with a nonstick spray. I use a fat free butter flavor spray. Needless to say I got rave reviews. Two people told me that my guacamole was the best they've had in a long time (One said: "...and that's a shame because I'm Mexican.").


The other night I craved Chinese food so I took some frozen broccoli and nuked it. Then I sauteed it in sesame oil, rice vinegar, some hoisin sauce, sesame seeds, soy sauce (Bragg's), hot chili sauce, and salt and pepper. Now that I think about it ginger would have been really tasty in that mix. I threw all of that together and ate it with some brown rice and it was tasty and filling.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Life happens...

I realize that I haven't written in a while. I am so very busy, and I love it this way. In typical Raydiance fashion I have three gigs, a main one and two PT jobs. I need the extra money because of this baby. I also just like to stay busy. Why not? I'm young and still have the energy.

Speaking of seems like so many of my peers are dealing with real life situations (Did you all hear Big Boi's voice as you read that?) I know that we are all "adults" but sometimes that reality escapes me. I guess the repercussions of our actions (or inaction), positive and negative, have become weighty in the face of the increasing amount and kind of responsibility that we acquire as we grow older. On one hand it is depressing, on the other it reinforces my decision to take my life, and all of its facets, more seriously than I have in the past. As I've said before, it started with my decision to become serious about losing weight but, the benefits of my newly discovere discipline have affected all areas of my life.

This week I gained a 1/2 lb. according to the scale at my job, 1 lb. according to my scale at home which I use to track my weight in this blog. I will attribute that to the fact that I have added strength training to my regime and NOT to the half a bag (medium size one) of pretzel slims that I killed last night. I love pretzels and I KNEW I should not have bought them, but all I can do is just do better next time.

This week I took a new exercise class called Kukuwa which is a cardio workout (designed by an African woman) that incorporates African and Latin dance and I LOVED IT. The creator has a contract with Bally's to preview the workout throughout the country and if the members like the class it will be added to the schedule. I had so much fun, I felt like I was in the club and I have not had that intense of a workout in a loooong time. Well, a couple of times this past Fall but we won't get into that ;-). If it comes to my gym there will be a $5 surcharge because it will be considered a premium class. I will willingly pay the fee; I will be supporting not only a Black owned business but a female owned business as well :-). If you are a Bally's member and she comes to your gym GO TO THAT CLASS-- I can not recommend it enough. My other health tip? Date a personal trainer - that's how I got the hook up on my gym membership. We broke up almost 2 years ago but it is the gift that keeps on giving. Now if I can only find a handsome man that works at Merritt...hmmm....

Friday, February 16, 2007

My Recent Inspiration...

In case you missed Oprah last week, she featured women who defy their age by living healthy lifestyles. The most surprising woman was Evonne from New York City. How old does she look to you? 40? 50? Well here is a hint. Her SON is 50 years old. This woman is 70 years old and it comes from taking care of herself from a young age. I also find it particularly amusing that she hasn't been married since she was 22 - maybe those studies about how marriage benefits a man's health and negatively affects a women's health are true (I'm being facetious). This beautiful woman attributes her looks to transcendental meditation, healthy eating, an active lifestyle, and moisturizer. You best BELIEVE i've been slathering moisturizer on my face day and night since that show.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Peacocks

from the X-Files is one of the comparisons I've heard when teachers have tried to describe this kid's family. I am not a fan but when it was explained to me by my Department Head that the Peacock's were a family that kept their paraplegic mother under the bed to bear their children, I got the picture. I was not surprised to find out that he lives with 12 siblings in a double wide and that all of them have a reputation that preceeds them. Not surprised. This kid's entire demeanor, countenance, and energy SCREAMS anger and hatred. Let's call him Ronny.

"What we're witnessing Scully, is undiluted animal behaviour. Mankind absent of it's own creation of civilization, technology and information. Regressed to an almost pre-historic state, obeying only the often savage laws of nature." Mulder (Quote from Peacock episode)

I had a rough day today. ROUGH. I want to take Ronny's home life into consideration when he curses me out. I really want to. But let's be real, I am human, and Ronny is a fkn racist cowardly terd who never comes to class and when he does he always gets kicked out because, as I tell my students, I am a teacher - not a babysitter, not a therapist, not a motherfkn saint (I'm sure to leave the curse words out). The entire school knows him. He has been deemed the worst child in the school. I have the opportunity to see him every day (We are on an A/B schedule which means most students I see every other day but I see my special ed kids every day.) I bet you're waiting for a Lean on Me / Dangerous Minds moment? Well it ain't coming!

So today Ronny answered a question posed by the special education teacher with whom I co-teach. Ronny felt the need to include a curse word in his answer and I proceeded to tell him that was inappropriate. I knew what was going to happen - he was going to curse again or do something incredibly stupid and I was going to kick him out. Our encounters so far have not phased me.

Do you know this kid had the nerve to tell me that he was not talking to me?! In MY class. So I told him if he didn't want to talk to me in MY class nor follow directions he could leave. As he left with a slew of curse words he proceeded to call me a "dumb ass". I can NOT explain how much control I had to summon not to take one of those 5 pound text books and pop him upside the head AND not let him or my kids know that he got under my skin (finally).

I guess this is when it gets hard.

Did I mention that he also felt the need to announce in class that the south will rise again?" I ignored that. I knew that was directed at me. It's sad because he was sitting next to his Black friend as he said that who had no clue about Ronny's reference.. In case you don't know the demographics, my school are about 97% Caucasian including the teachers. I knew he was trying to get under my skin so I ignored him. This kid can barely write his name much less know about the REAL history of po' White folks in the South. That didn't even anger me as much as him hurling that insult directly at me and my not being able to retaliate AND his KNOWING I can't do shit. I couldn't even say "Yo' Momma" - even if it might be true.

Luckily, school ended early and I was home by noon. Then something else bothered me that I care not to get into. I was in a rage by 3 p.m. It was simply one of those days. However, I didn't have the urge to eat, I DID in fact have an urge to have another glass of wine (had one when I went home), but I didn't want to eat. That was definitely a win because I know I am an emotional eater. I lost two pounds this week and no bastard a$$ fkr can take that away from me. As you can see there is still some residual anger, lol. To make things even better I decided to exercise so I put in 25 minutes on the treadmill. Afterwards I wen on WW to find some low point recipes and record my food intake for the day. I have to say I am pretty proud of myself.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Spice Up Your Life

Lately Lean Cuisine and Smart Ones frozen meals have been staples in my meal plan due to my extremely busy schedule. Healthy or "diet" foods often carry the reputation of being bland; and, if you are like me, you can not STAND tasteless food. I firnly believe that eating should be about sustenance, health, and taste.

One way I make sure I get my taste fix and stick to my weight loss plan is to arm myself with spices. Today at lunch my supervisor sat staring at his Lean Cuisine Lemongrass Chicken, which everyone agreed is one of the best of the variety. I suggested that he add some Thai Curry Paste to make it palatable. I thouht this would be a great tip to share with you. Here are my tips to spicing up your low-fat frozen meals (and other dishes as well):


Mexican (you aren't likely to find any other cuisine frozen meals) - My favorite is Desperate Dan's Chipotle Hot Sauce. I found it in a wine/gourmet food shot when I put it on a bland veggie pizza and WHOA! This sauce is all natural and made right her in Baltimore. It is simply THE best hot sauce I have ever tasted in life, but I don't recommend it to those who don't like spicy foods. Other options: cilantro, adobo seasonings.


Fresh herbs make everything taste better (I have a rosemary plant in my kitchen). However, many people shy away from fresh herbs because they can be expensive and have a short shelf life. Recently, I have fallen in LOVE with Gourmet Garden. These herbs in a tube can give you a fresher flavor than the dried variety and they have a long shelf life. For Italian dishes try rosemary which adds a deep mellow flavor to a meal. Basil and parsley add a kick and don't forget the Italian staple --oregano! I also like to add a splash of balsamic vinegar that adds a depth and sometimes "meaty" flavor. Experiment with the different flavors.

East Asian

Thai - Thai Curry Paste is available in Whole Foods and most grocery stores. This paste is very spicy and a little goes a long way. Fish Sauce and cilantro are great as well.

Indian - Buy some garam masala, a spice used in a lot of Indian cooking, and sprinkle a little on your meal.

Browse your local Asian market for goodies like sweet chilli sauce and different varieties of soy sauce.


Any meal can benefit from a little salt and pepper. Invest in some Kosher Sea Salt and fresh ground black pepper. You can buy some peppercorns (there are MANY different varieties, and invest in a grinder/spice mill. McCormick also has mini grinders available in the $3 - $4 range that have black peppercorns, peppercorn medleys, and combine peppercorns with other seasonings such as sea salt and garlic.

The point is to EXPERIMENT!

Sunday, February 4, 2007

For those of you that are wondering...

How I look with my new I be (I have the nerve to be an English Teacher, lol)!

Monday, January 29, 2007

I'm still on track!

I haven't written in a while. I've been busy, but don't worry I have been sticking to my diet like a champ! I only lost one pound this week, but I am not worried because I have been exercising a LOT this week and I know that I am building muscle (which weighs more than fat).

My goal this week was to work off my breakfast. Breakfast tends to be a slim fast shake and a piece of fruit. That is about 200 - 250 calories. If I can work off that amount each day I am well on my way to lose weight. Not only am I eliminating a meal, but I am revving up my metabolism.

At work they have The Biggest Loser Club starting on 2/1 and ending on 3/31. Everyone signs up by the 1st with a $10 registration fee, gets divided up into teams, and weighed weekly. If you gain weight you pay a penalty of $1 per pound. If you miss a weigh in you have to pay too. The team that loses the most weight divides the pot and the person who loses the most gets all of the penalty money. I am really excited to do this because there is NOTHING like competition to get me going. Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Top Five Kitchen Essentials for Losing Weight

Since I've started this journey I have been eating in a lot more. I used to dine out 1 - 3 times a week. However, I now try to stay away from outside meals because I can never be too sure what's in my food. When you cook your own meals you are more likely to eat healthier that if you had went out to eat or ordered in. Cooking at home puts you in control of the ingredients and portions sizes. Restaurants have many hidden fats and tend to give you double portions. My cousin lost 20 lbs. by not eating out and exercising more, he wasn't even concerned about calories. I've made a list of top kitchen essentials for making healthy, and quick, meals that will help you along your weight loss journey.

1. Kitchen Scale - Precision is key in making sure you keep your portion sizes in check. A good kitchen scale will help you stay on top of your calories (or points if you were on Weight Watchers). Can you "eye" one ounce of cheese or the recommended 3 - 4 ounces of meet? The difference between one and two ounces of cheese on WW is whopping 2 points. Just toss your questionable consumable on the scale and you will be able to determine the amount with ease. I currently use a spring scale, but I will be purchasing a digital scale soon.

2. Food Processor - A food processor makes the cooking processor much easier by chopping those healthy vegetables, fruits, and even meets in seconds as opposed to painstaking hours at the chopping board. Hopefully this convenience will inspire you to cook more frequently. The Asian Slaw I made yesterday? While the prep time was quoted as 15 minutes (2o in reality), I made it in about 7 minutes with the aid of my food processor.

3. Blender - Smoothies are key to a quick healthy meal that will keep your stomach satiated for hours. Smoothies are great because they cure that constant sweet tooth and they have unlimited combinations. A good blender will help you create smoothies better than Starbucks, Jamba Juice, or any other overpriced retailer.

4. Crock Pot / Slow Cooker - Yet another time saver must for your kitchen. Soups, especially broth based ones, are a wonderful addition to each meal and they take up room in your stomach. Like most people, I hate to be hungry, when starting a diet and limiting your portion sizes there will be an adjustment that will have your stomach growling. Sipping on soup will help you adjust more quickly in a tasty way. Like smoothies, soups are also limitless in their creative potential and very easy once you have the hang of it and keep the basics in your kitchen.

5. Fresh Herbs - This year I vow to start an herb garden in my kitchen because I am always buying fresh herbs for my dishes. In the meantime I frequent the grocery store in search of fresh basil, thyme, rosemary, cilantro, and parsley. Flavor is essential in cooking low fat meals AND enjoying them. While dried herbs are great, fresh herbs are one thing you can add to any meal to give it an amazing taste. I've thrown some basil leaves on every sandwich I've had this week and it made them so tasty adding a depth and complexity that can not be achieved any other way.

In honor of fresh herbs and a food processor, I will be making Angel Hair Pasta with Spinach Walnut Pesto this evening. For the pasta I will be using. The walnuts in the pesto provide a great source of protein and healthy fat. You may add meat to this meal but a vegetarian meal 1 - 2 a week is a good idea. It not only cuts calories from the meat but it also helps you focus on eating more vegetables.

4 ounces chopped walnuts
1 cup chicken stock or broth 10 ounces
(1/2 - 1 package) baby spinach, reserve a few leaves for garnish
2 cloves garlic
2/3 cup (a couple of handfuls) grated Parmigiano or Romano
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg or freshly grated
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Basil Leaves (I reccommend starting with a small handful and adding more to suit your personal taste)
Salt and pepper Edible flowers

Toast walnut pieces in a small pan or toaster oven until lightly browned. Remove from heat and cool. Place a large pot of water on to boil. Heat 1 cup chicken stock or broth to a boil and remove from heat. Using a food processor, working in batches, grind spinach and basil leaves with nuts, chicken stock, and garlic. Transfer ground spinach nut paste to a large bowl. Stir in the cheese, nutmeg, and olive oil, and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Coat hot, cooked tortellini with sauce, tossing in the bowl you prepared sauce in. Turn pasta out on to a serving platter and garnish with a few baby spinach leaves.


I got on the scale this morning and was very pleased, but I am not going to reveal the numbers until Monday. Yesterday was the greatest day EVER. Ever have one of those days where it's not particularly exciting but everything just runs smoothly? I'll start with a little background...

I went to church on Sunday, (I know some of you are like "Who in da HELL left the gate open!?" - 5 bucks goes to the 1st person that can identify that reference), and the sermon was about eating disorders. The pastor talked about bulimia, anorexia, and overeating and how we need to take control of our lives and health. It was very inspiring and I am glad I went. The pastor made a call to the alter for all of those struggling with food issues and it was AMAZING how many people went up there: big, small, overweight, underweight, just right, men, women, old, young. It really made me think about how food can be both a blessing and a curse. Addiction to food is a serious thing to overcome because it is all around you. I feel like I am constantly making decisions of what to eat in my head. Should I splurge now and pay later? Is this worth the points? Will I reach my target weight for this week? Food is no longer an unlimited resource. I have to budget for my future.

Back to my day...

When it was time to give offering I only had a dollar and some change in my purse, luckily the church took credit cards (imagine that?) and I gave a little extra even though I knew I had little to give. During the prayer the pastor asked that those that gave be blessed with unexpected financial gain in the form of a higher paying job, bonuses, tax return, unexpected checks, raises, etc. As he said this I wished that I could receive that blessing because my funds are running low as I wait to start at my new job.

Well yesterday I found out that one of my jobs owes me an extra $125.00 and while cleaning my car I found a check that I never cashed for $125.00. You can imagine how excited I was!! The whole morning I went through my mail, checked my credit report (for free - tip on how to do that at the end of this entry), and paid some bills. It was a productive morning. I decided to treat myself to a yoga class and it was great. I went in with some significant back pain and left at peace and pain free. Then I went to Home Depot to buy some much needed things for the house and some paint to finish the paint job on my room that I started about a year ago.

After teaching a successful workshop on creating a personal mission statement and goal setting I went to see Notes on a Scandal but I missed the show so I saw Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (highly recommended). Afterwards I came home and found a prime parking spot right in front of my house (nearly impossible after 8 p.m.) and relaxed with a glass of chardonnay while watching my favorite show Top Chef.

Why am I telling you about the mundane details of my day? Well, I'm really starting to feel the benefits of healthy eating and exercise. My energy levels are through the roof and I'm learning (again)to be by myself (one of my personal goals), and how to find entertainment that is NOT food oriented. I also feel really secure and confident because although I haven't reached my goal I feel a change in my mind and body and I know how fantastic I am going to look in a couple of months.

Tonight's Dinner: Creamy Chicken Spinach & Rice with

Asian Slaw with Turkey Salad (Serves 4 / Prep time 15 minutes)

3 Cups Shredded Carrot
3 Cups Napa Cabbage
2 cups julienned red bell pepper
1 cup thinly sliced scallions
14 ounces reduced-salt roasted turkey breast, julienned (or protein of your choice)
1/2 ripe avocado, diced
1/4 cup Asian Sesame Dressing
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

260 calories, 13 grams of fat (1.5 saturated), 18 grams carbs, 21 grams protein, 7 grams fiber, 154 mg calcium, 1 mg iron

Asian Sesame Dressing

2tb toasted sesame oil
2tb canola oil
2tb plus 2tsp rice vinegar
2tsp soy sauce
2tb minced fresh ginger
2tb chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

per tb: 64 cal, 7g fat

Combine and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Inside Out

Most of us would never consider having someone over when our house is a mess. We rush to clean it up, hide the flaws, and cover all signs of our laziness. Our house is a reflection of our lifestyle, personality, and habits. Some people take the time everyday to clean some part of their home everyday and these people's homes tend to look very clean on a consistent basis. Some people are in such a rush, our responsibilities tugging at us in many directions, that we tend to let the cleaning go to the weekend. Then the weekend comes and we try to accomplish all that we've let linger during the week. However, the need to relax and enjoy ourselves sometimes take over and cleaning is put off once again. Before we know it the piles of papers, useless trinkets, out of season clothing, dust, stains, and grime have built up to overwhelming levels. We resolve to do a "spring cleaning" or "winter cleaning" gutting the house in search of order. Unfortunately, most times the order is hurried and not accompanied with the important question of how we let things get so far and without any sort of thorough examination our old habits surface once again.

This weekend I was in a nesting mood and cleaned house. I've been cleaning a lot lately. Sunday alone I went grocery shopping, swept and mopped the floor, cooked two dishes, cleaned all of my dishes, organized my cupboards, cleaned the refrigerator, swept the common area, took Comfort for a long walk, cleared the trash and other items from my car, and put time into cleaning my room. I "earned my sleep" which is one of my friend's New Year's Resolutions. I strongly believe that all of this is a result of making the commitment to take control of my health. Of course being at your heaviest weight will shock most people into making a decision. However, I feel like I have finally found the key. See, I've always been able to lose weight. I have an ENDLESS amount of information on nutrition, exercise, weight lifting, etc. I know all of the underlying principles to a successful plan to lose weight. I've done it once or twice with and without diet pills. It was not until now that I realize that I have to do it EVERY DAY for the REST OF MY LIFE. Maintenance. Improvement.

I've applied it to my education, my finances, my career and now my health and home. You have to do it everyday. This weight was a shock and at the same time I saw it coming. I was satisfied with 155, then 165 wasn't all that bad, 170 was okay, 175 and I still looked good, skip 180 and go straight to 184 and now I am wondering what the hell happened.

I am starting to realize that when you bring order to one part of your life it spreads to others and it is a fantastic feeling. Another realization I've had is that life's troubles are no excuse to let everything slide. Order can be a source of security. I started gaining weight when my parent's were going through their ugly divorce and after every failed relationship. However, life will always have it's bout of troubles, the key is learning how to get through them with the least amount of damage as possible. If one area of my life is sliding that doesn't mean that it has to bring the rest down with it.

I was watching Oprah last night Bob Greene was her guest, he is the man that helped her lose weight and who has a new book out called The Best Life Diet. What is unique about this does is that he's partnered with several major corporations to help consumers identify proper foods with his symbol of approval. Although I still suggest people look at the nutrition facts and learn how to identify healthy foods themselves, I think this is really a great idea. But the new diet is not what fascinated me, for there will always be a new diet. I was inspired by what Oprah kept saying: If you are not living your best life right now then CHANGE IT. Simple as that. It's not just about the weight. It's about your feelings towards yourself. My body is an outward manifestation of how much I love myself, how much I put my health first, how I treat my "temple". I can lie all I want to and say I am never meant to be "skinny" or "I just like to eat" or "I hate diet and exercise" but the reality is that every pound of extra weight on my body is a lie I have told myself, a promise not kept. "Your subconscious feels the same way when you lie to it as people do when you lie to them. It feels betrayed, hurt, and stops trusting you," Oprah. It's time to do some house cleaning of another kind. By the end of this year I will be a better person. Why? Because...

I vow to start trusting myself again.

Tip of the Day - Bob Greene's Six Foods You Should Avoid (Try it for a month and see what happens)
  1. Soda
  2. Foods with Trans Fats
  3. Fried Foods
  4. High Fat Dairy Products
  5. White Bread
  6. Regular Pasta

Monday, January 15, 2007

1 Pound at a Time

I weighed in this morning and I was 183 - I have only lost one pound. That means that I am behind 3 pounds. I am far from discouraged because I've switched plans and just started exercising last week so I know next week I will see some progress. Weight Watchers is coming along fabulously.

Today I went shopping and bought some items to help me along the way such as South Beach Bars (they have high fiber which equals low points in WW), Slim Fast Optima Shake in Cappucino Royale, and Athenos Whole Wheat Pita Chips .

So Far Ive tried the bars and the shake. The bar is not that tasty, it does not beat a Luna or Zone Bar , but it is high in fiber and therefore filling. The Slim Fast Shake tastes great and it kept me full for about 3 hours (as opposed to the advertised 4). Slim Fast is trying to increase their game by increasing the fiber content and protein in their drinks while lowering the sugar. At 3 points a shake I can have a side salad or half a sandwich and have a filling meal. This week I am going to replace breakfast with the shake and see how it goes. I might add some protein powder or a banana to add to its thickness.

Tonight I cooked Creamy Rice & Chicken with spinach, basil, and tomatoes. In the picture I topped it with fresh diced tomatoes, but I had some roasted red peppers for a Roasted Eggplant Soup that I am making and I put it with the dish and it added the perfect amount of sweetness and depth it needed. I also suggest using fresh spinach if you have time, I used canned to make the process quicker.

As you can see from the recipe below I used fat free chicken broth, lowfat cream cheese, and brown rice. On WW I am only allowd 24 points a day. That translates into 3 main meals at about 5 - 7 points each and two snacks about 1 - 2 points each. This dish is only 6 points so its perfect. The eggplant soup is 2 points.

1 can Del Monte Spinach, No Salt Added
5 Basil leaves chopped
2 Boneless Skinless Chicken breast, diced
3 Small tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup Fat-free chicken broth
2 packs Success Instant Brown Rice
2 tb Ken's Steak House Lite Northern Italian Dressing with Basil & Romano
6 tb serving Lucerne Light Cream Cheese

Heat dressing in a large skillet on medium/high heat. Add chicken and cook for 3 minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil. Stir in rice, return to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium; simmer 5 minutes.Stir cream cheese into rice mixture and add spinach. Cover and cook for 1 minute until spinach is wilted. Remove for heat and let stand, mix in basil and tomatoes. Top with roasted red peppers (or parmesan, fresh diced tomatoes, whatever you choose!)

Interesting thing about the Slim-Fast website. If you go to the main page there is a woman on there with MY dress and MY haircut. I like how she integrated the red shoes and bangles.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Work Your Plan

In the last couple of days I've made some changes in my plan of attack. I can't do South Beach anymore. I was cheating every day, but I wasn't really "cheating". I didn't cheat nutritionally: I had pita chips, a peach smoothie, and some light vanilla soy milk, and 2 glasses of wine. However, that is cheating when you are on South Beach P1. Imagine the confusion!

At first I was beating myself up for not being able to stick with it for 2 weeks. But I need to stop being so hard on myself and focus on the bigger picture: leading a healthier lifestyle. So I decided to go back to Weight Watchers which I know works I just have to be diligent enough to record everything.

I am also going to incorporate some of the principles of The Ab Diet. Before you balk at the title let me assure you that this book is full of valuable information for losing weight the right way. It communicates universal weight loss / nutrition principles in a very accessible, convincing, even inspiring way. Some of the principles include:

1. Eating 6 meals a day to keep your metabolism going
2. High protein, low fat, low carb - emphasizing on nutritional foods such as oatmeal, nuts, spinach, low fat dairy
3. Strength training

Here is an interesting snippet about how certain habits can promote or deter obesity:

"Almost as important as what you eat is when you eat. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts analyzed the eating habits of 100 men and women and found connections between the way people eat and the risk of becoming overweight

  • Eating at least one midday snack (-39%)
  • Eating dinner as your biggest meal (+6%)
  • Waiting more than three hours after waking up to eat breakfast (+43%)
  • Eating more than a third of your meals in restaurants (+69%)
  • Going to bed hungry (3 or more hours after your last snack or meal (+101%)
  • Eating breakfast away from home (+137%)
  • Not eating breakfast (+450 %)"
I always knew eating breakfast was important but wow! Those on the journey with me take another look at your eating habits and see if you can make a small change this week and let me know how you feel!

You may also have noticed that I haven't weighed in yet...I decided to skip this week's weigh in because I was sick so look forwards to the new numbers on Monday.

This week I will leave you with some fabulous smoothie recipes:

Blueberry Vanilla: 1/2 c unsweetened frozen blue berries, 1/2 scoop vanilla soy protein powder, 1 cup light vanilla soy milk, dash of vanilla extract, packet of equal sweetener.

Carrot Mango: 1/2 cup all natural carrot juice (expensive but worth it), 1 cup frozen unsweetened mangoes, 1 cup vanilla soy milk

I found the Carrot Mango recipe in an issue of Natural Health Magazine. The recipe is supposed to give you energy in the morning and I can attest to that! I drank it for about 2 weeks straight and it was tasty, filling, and better than a red bull. The flavors of mango and carrot blend together perfectly. The soy milk can be substituted with any low fat milk of your choice and the key to any healthy smoothie is to use unsweetened fruit.

Monday, January 8, 2007


Okay I forgot how hard Phase I can be. I miss fruit and brown rice already. This morning I realized I had no eggs so I had a peach coconut (light coconut milk) protein shake which was a no no according to P1 but I wasn't about to go to the store or eat just turkey sausage. Breakfast is very limited on P1.

I cooked the Indian Chicken and Cauliflower and it came out.....okay. Not bad but not as fantastic as I imagined it to be. The chicken was tender, but I think I needed to season it more. I cooked it when I was starving so I didn't take care in it. The highlight is that each time I ate it (lunch and dinner) I was starving so it tasted extra good, lol.

Despite my diet failures in the past week I've still managed to not eat anything with high fructose corn syrup in it and I've avoided fried foods and those are wins. I have a dull headache today because I haven't had any carbs or sugar...this is probably because of the overload I had this weekend, but I can get through it.

Maybe I'm being paranoid but I keep expecting people to comment on how much weight I've gained. So I've been coming up with snarky remarks to fend them off:

1. *Pats the person on the belly* Thanks for your input, I see you've been inputting a lot lately.
2. I have, and I was just about to ask you which diet you're going to chose because I KNOW YOU want to lose some weight...*grabs love handles*

That's all I have for you... I need more. Notice my witty retorts include grabbing body parts...that's the key folks.

You may wonder why I only have responses for fellow fatties. I don't know about you, but it's always people that need to lose weight that make comments on the portliness of others. Now mind you the only people that ever comment on my weight, aside from Rashad's bastard friend, are family members. But you can never be TOO prepared...

Sunday, January 7, 2007


I thought I might get flack for the "all of my friends have gained weight" comment but WOW! The two that have not gained weight are Shamika and Carly. It's not magic folks, they both have maintained a consistent exercise regimen and neither one drinks heavily. Now get off my back!

A New Day

I'm not gonna lie. I am gonna be honest. I was really sick Friday and Saturday and I broke my diet. For the past two days I lived on pretzels, chicken noodle soup, ginger ale, and juice. I threw / shit about half of that out. This morning is my first day out of bed and I feel great. The key is not to be discouraged but to try again.

So I am starting again with a vengeance on Monday. Today I am making a recipe from South Beach called "Indian Chicken" which is basically an East Indian curry with chicken and cauliflower. Last week, in preparation for this diet, I bought two family size Butcher's Brand boneless skinless chicken breasts from Safeway. They are usually very expensive but if you ever find them on sale bulk up because they are the most tender chicken breasts I've ever tasted. Since I am cooking for one I immediately cleaned the breasts and put them in Ziploc bags so I wouldn't have to defrost all of the chicken for a small meal.

This morning I took out two defrosted breasts, punctured them several times with a fork and marinated them in about 1/2 cup of light coconut milk, 2 tbs of Neera's Curry Masala (from Whole Foods - highly recommended), and about 1 tb of dried ginger. Coconut milk and/or yogurt make chicken VERY TENDER. Tonight I will cook it with onions, garlic, fresh ginger, and cauliflower. I will be sure to let you know how it tastes.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Yesterday I Cheated

I had citrus ribs (tofu) and brown rice. I'm not supposed to have sugar, fruit, or any carbs until the end of next week. I'm assuming the fake ribs had sugar because they were oh sos sweet. However, after spending hours in the salon with nothing to eat I was FAMISHED when I left. I needed food asap so I went to a vegan restaurant called The Yabba Pot - since it is vegan and I had lots of side veggied I don't feel as bad.

For dinner my friend Carly came to visit me and we made an Italian Stir Fry - yes I made that up. We sauteed slices of boneless chicken breast, diced garlic, shallots, and sun dried tomatos. We added fresh rosemary and I made a roasted red pepper sauce and we topped it off with herbed goat cheese. On the side we had asparagus with salt, pepper, garlic, lemon, and olive oil. Sparkling white grape water (sugar and sodium free - it tastes just like grape soda!) accompanied our meal and we finished it with a Soypaccino with light vanilla soy milk, mocha java coffee, equal, vanilla extract and topped with cinnamon.

I still can't believe it was low fat / South Beach! Pics to come...

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Day 2

This is me in 2003 I believe after I lost all of the UK weight. I was about 155 here. New FAT pics coming soon!!
So I've just spent 20 minutes trying to convince another friend to join me. She agreed to keep a food journal and I think I was more successful in convincing her that I am crazy. Singing "The Biggest Loser" theme song may have put my campaign over the top.

I just feel like the difference this time is going to be a support system of like minds and accountability. I've never really went that route before and I strongly believe it will work. It's a well known fact that when you receive support for a life change you are more likely to be successful.

So things with the diet are going great....of course they are it is only Day 2.

Breakfast: Mushroom & Goat Cheese Omelette & 2 Turkey Sausages
Snack: Cheese Stick
Lunch: Balsamic Glazed Salmon with Caramelized Shallots & Broiled Asparagus
Snack: Cheese Stick & Nuts
Dinner: Balsamic Glazed Salmon with Caramelized Shallots & Broiled Asparagus

The Balsamic Salmon was a South Beach recipe and I was worried because I didn't want the glaze to be vinegary and when I looked up the recipe on and they all called for sugar or honey. Since I can't have sugar I took a chance and put equal in it and I must say it was not bad at all.

I was asked today if I was hungry at all and I said only when I waited too long to eat. I was actually quite full after all of my meals - I think the key here will be not to get bored.

Now I know I can't always eat lunch for dinner...hence my meal planning goal. I'm on the "new diet high" now and that's a good thing because I am really motivated. However, I'm scared for when this thing is gonna get hard.

I need to take a picture of myself this week that I can post on here.

Monday, January 1, 2007

What does "Never 200" mean?

It means that I can never, ever, ever, EVER, EVA, ever-ever-ever weigh 200 pounds. I just can't allow it to happen. In 2003 my breaking point was 172. When I saw that on the scale after my return from studying abroad in the UK I was mortified and it inspired me to lose 20 pounds. I was down to a size 8 and I looked pretty damn good. However, It is now 2007 and I weigh 184. So not only did I gain my 20 back but I also gained another 12 pounds. I've made plenty of excuses:

  1. My breasts probably weigh 15 pounds - no really, they do...
  2. This is relationship weight (but I've been out of one for 6 months)
  3. I've had a lot of stressful and life changing events over the past two years (well...that's life)
  4. I still look good (I do - but I can look better)
  5. I can fit most of my pants (But I have to pull them up to my breasts and I can't fit my favorite ones)
  6. I probably look 160
  7. Plus size isn't that bad, Lane Bryant has some cute clothes
  8. I'm tired of dieting
  9. Nobody notices (Nobody ever tells you until you lose it and everyone is like "Daaaaaaamn girl YOU LOST SOOOO MUCH WEIGHT, I ain't want to tell you but you were a porker before.")
  10. I'll lose it eventually (When?)
  11. I won't get past this weight (I said that at 155)

And they keep coming. So I am going to hold myself accountable and start a blog and share it with others. My current weight is 184 pounds. I would like to get down to 145 pounds, but to make it even lets say my goal weight is 144 lbs. which means that I need to lose a whopping 40 pounds.

I tried to get some of my friends on board but they seem reluctant. I would love to have some sort of competition or support between us, but this is my life and I can not wait. I don't think any of us really see ourselves and what we have become. All of my female friends have widened greatly over the past two years except for about two. I look at them and I am like "Wow..." Then I wonder how I look. I still think I look pretty damn good. But I want to look and feel great and it is really time to get off my ass and stop being lazy and making excuses. I don't want to look back at this weight fondly. I never ever want to see a 200 or more on the scale. I think my 5'5" frame will just cave in. If I lose an average of the recommended 2 lbs. a week it will take me 5 months to lose this weight. That means by the end of May I should be looking svelte and slim. So I will make the goal date my birthday, May 27, 1981.

I plan on using the South Beach Diet because I simply can not count calories and I like to eat. This diet also does not require exercise. I know exercise is important and it will be integrated into my plan, but I don't want to feel like I have to do it. So here's to the beginning of a long, hard ride.

Initial goals:

  1. Plan meals ahead
  2. Develop an arsenal of snacks - because I know when I get into starvation mode that is when I lose
  3. Find a support system
  4. Take more Yoga classes - 1x a week to start

Wish me luck!!