Monday, June 28, 2010

ABC Family’s “Huge”

I just watched the first episode of “Huge” on ABC Family, against everything that I stand for (I abhor hour-long dramas, save for “Lost.”  My attention span is way too short to dedicate an hour at a time to a show to wait a week for the next part in the saga.).  As someone who’s been overweight her whole life and who has some deep-seated issues with how fat people are portrayed in society, I definitely was interested in how this show would play out.  (I really should’ve live-blogged this – I’m afraid I’m going to get some details wrong and leave out some good points!)

ABC Family's "Huge"

There are two main protagonists: Willamena (“Will”), a nonconformist who sells contraband food to her fellow campers and doesn’t seem to give a rat’s ass about losing weight, and Amber, a veteran serial dieter who’s blonde and pretty and visibly smaller and cuter than the rest of the campers.  The hot, fit assistant trainer fella takes a liking to Amber almost instantly.  That doesn’t happen in real life.

Will makes an interesting point up front, asking in a group therapy session why she should hate her body just because everyone else does and wants her to.  It makes me wonder if the kids who go to these camps are sent there against their will (as I assume Will was) or if they go on their own accord.  I never went to sleepaway fat kid camp, but I did participate in fat kid day camp at a nearby college for several years.  I definitely remember not liking it and never wanting to go, but I willingly played along while I was there.  However, I never (consciously) made the association that because I was sent there, people hated how I looked.  Looking back on it now, maybe that’s why I resented it and why it never “fixed” me?  I digress.

The other main character, Amber, gets under my skin – at least the purpose of her character does.  Early in the show, one of the campers says that as far as dating goes, they’ve all got a level playing field since all of the campers are overweight.  Amber looks nothing like the other characters, though.  She’s smaller, has bleached-blonde hair, and is unquestionably pretty.  There are some pretty homely-looking actors filling the other campers’ roles, I’m sorry to say.  The thing that irks me about this is, of course all the boys still go to the prettiest, thinnest, most typical illustration of beauty they can find.  Even though the playing field is “level,” it most certainly isn’t, at least not this early in the game – I am basing my rant on just one episode, after all.  The writers of the show might be attempting to say “hey, even fat girls can be pretty,” but to me it just looks like “the least fat girl still gets the attention.”

Another thing that struck me about the show is that one character got kicked out for purging, and the girls in her cabin were upset that the camp’s administration chose to show her the door instead of trying to help.  One girl made the point that the purpose of the camp was to lose weight and that bulimia was past the camp’s scope, but the girls seemed distraught that the powers-that-be just let the girl go when she clearly needed an intervention.  I hope that the show will continue to address more difficult issues like this.  I hate watching “The Biggest Loser” because it’s all about results, about how much the contestants can lose every week, and I think that approach can serve to the detriment of both the contestants and the viewers at home.  (Did y’all read about the former contestant who claims The Biggest Loser gave her an eating disorder?)

So the show has promise.  If they refrain from falling into stereotypes like “fat people are only motivated by food,” “they’re lazy,” and “fat girls CAN get boys…if they’re less fat and prettier than the other fat girls,” I’ll call it a victory.  Like Olivia said on Twitter, I’d like it more if larger, more normal-looking people were portrayed in regular TV shows.  Why do we have to wait around for a show about fat people to see a fat person (or not-skinny person) in a leading role?

I’m actively trying to lose weight for my health and happiness and am advocating healthiness over unhealthiness, just to be clear.  I’m not coming at this from a “fat acceptance” standpoint, nor am I saying we should marginalize fat people and shame them into losing weight by not portraying them in entertainment.  What I (think I) am saying is, I’d rather see a curvier person in a leading role, getting dates, being promoted at work, and being treated with respect than see yet another stick-figure main character with a fat friend for comic relief like we usually do. 

Did anyone else watch “Huge?”  Got anything to add or argue about how overweight people are often portrayed in TV and movies?

Wedding weekend in Clemson

I feel like such an old lady.  I spent the weekend in Clemson for my friends Richard and Lisa’s wedding, and I’m still recovering from too much beer and lack of sleep.  I can’t even imagine how I’d be feeling if I had flown there from a different time zone!  Yet another reason to keep getting healthier – so I can practice making healthier decisions but bounce back quicker on the occasions that I make some not-so-healthy ones.

On Friday night after a dinner of Mexican food, friends I grew up with, friends I went to college with, and a friend I made through blogging – Carla – all met up at TD’s in Clemson to watch the Clemson vs. University of South Carolina College World Series baseball game (Clemson and USC are bitter rivals, and sadly USC beat Clemson both Friday and Saturday). 

Y’all recognize this face, right?

Carla and Kat

They played “Thriller” at one point.  This was the only move we all knew.


Friends at TD's

Beer and conversation at TD's

The next day I awoke with a headache, vowing never to drink beer again (several hours later, I enjoyed my first – but only! – beer of the day at the reception; I’m not good at keeping promises to myself).  The dinky little coffee maker in my hotel room was broken, so I went to Panera looking for sustenance.  The Breakfast Power Sandwich was just what I needed.

Panera Breakfast Power Sandwich

Along with a triple-shot latte, a couple of liters of water, and a healthy dose of Gatorade, naturally.  The wedding was at 2pm and was so sweet; it was held in a cute little chapel in Clemson, and the ceremony was perfect! 

Richard and Lisa

After picking up a post-ceremony coffee, Lofton and I headed to the pre-reception cocktail hour about 15 minutes away where we had drinks, fruit, cheese, and crackers.

Cocktail hour

The reception was a lot of fun!  I didn’t take a picture of my dinner because it didn’t feel appropriate, but I took plenty of other photos…

Wedding cake

This cake had strawberries baked in and was seriously the best wedding cake I’ve ever had.

Richard and Kat

I didn’t manage to get the two of them together, but these will have to do!  They both looked fantastic – I’ve never seen Richard so happy in the 21 years that I’ve known him.

Lisa and Kat

I decided to skip the post-reception hotel party…I made the mistake of previewing pictures of myself during the reception, and I so didn’t look like how I imagined I did.  Also, I was feeling lonely in an “everyone here but me has someone” way and I didn’t want to bum people out any more than I probably already had.  No matter what I did, I just couldn’t shake the pity party feeling, and I hate that.  It’s pretty insane how miserable I can make myself, even during such a happy event! 

I had a nice night to myself involving an at-home facial, a couple of single-serving Ben & Jerry’s ice creams, and some Pepperidge Farm cookies (it is what it is, and even though if I had it to do over again, I would’ve just gotten one of those ice cream things, for some strange reason I don’t feel so bad about it).  I woke up Sunday feeling rested and ready to walk around Clemson for a few hours, but not before visiting my favorite coffee shop – Moe Joe.  I used to frequent this place a few times a week on my way to work during grad school, and I miss having a cozy little local coffee shop nearby.  I got an orange cranberry muffin – my fave from back in the day – and a sugar-free nonfat White Tiger latte, made with caramel and white chocolate syrups.

Orange cranberry muffin and White Tiger latte

After running around campus for the next 3 hours taking pictures…

 Death Valley


Clemson ring

Littlejohn Coliseum

…I hit the road and stopped outside of Greenville for lunch with Mark where I had my last unhealthy food of the weekend, a cheeseburger

I am definitely ready to get out of the “vacation food” mindset and get back on the healthy blogger bandwagon, because I feel gross and heavy and hated how I looked this weekend.  I definitely fell subject to the cyclical “I hate how I look, I hate my life, I’m going to drown my sorrows in calories” pitfalls, but I’m ready to pick myself up again and keep at it.  My dinner last night was the first step in getting back to normal:

simple food

Pork tenderloin, steamed asparagus, and some eggplant concoction Mom found in the latest Weight Watchers magazine.  Fresh and simple…awesome.

Do you tend to fall off the wagon during weekend vacations (even if you give yourself a pep-talk beforehand!), or are you one of those enviable strong-willed people who keeps it all in check?

Friday, June 25, 2010

To do list

  • Eat more things like this.  Whole, simple, un-messed with.
    salmon and veggies
  • Eat fewer things like this.  Sugary, carby, and addictive.
    key lime pie
  • Be more accountable.  Keep getting in the habit of using Sparkpeople.  Start writing more “this is what I ate” blog entries.  And no, you can’t omit the “slip-ups.”
  • Don’t get used to having this.  Special occasions do arise, but you need to do a better job of realizing that “worth the splurge” really means “worth the setback.”
  • Don’t be afraid of doing more of this.  Someone called you out on your worst fear – you have a history of being anti-social.  Don’t become a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Show people like this how much you love them. 
      Childhood friends
  • Don’t be afraid, period.  You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  In terms of exercise, friendship, dating, professional goals – no progress will ever get made unless you take some risks and get out of your comfort zone.

Today I’m headed to Clemson for the wedding of the man who’s attempting to lick my face up there.  I’m hoping to balance the fun of being with my friends and the strength to fight calorie-laden temptation.  It’s an event, not a no-holds-barred excuse to binge, and I’m going to constantly struggle to remind myself that. What’s on your to-do list lately?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Weight loss is like religion

I’ve often said that weight loss is like religion, but I didn’t think to write a post about it until recently.  I can’t be the first person to make that connection, but a few people I’ve said it to hadn’t considered that metaphor, so here it is.

When you align yourself to a certain religion or spirituality, you follow certain doctrines or moral codes in order to make a difference in the everyday lives of yourself and others, but also in order to ultimately end up favorably in the afterlife, yes?  When you’re actively trying to lose weight, you follow the same patterns – ascribing to guidelines to make yourself healthier day by day but also to end up at a goal weight.  In both religion and weight loss, you may put more importance on the day-to-day than you do on the ultimate goal or vice versa, but usually, both aspects are on your mind when you make daily decisions and try to figure out your place in the world (both from an existential standpoint and an eating/activity standpoint).

The downside to this parallel is that it’s a personal journey that many people happen to be taking at the same time.  Even though several people in a room might identify themselves as “religious,” their beliefs are unlikely to be the exact same, even if they’re of the same religion and denomination.  In the same vein, a group of people “trying to lose weight” will no doubt go about it in various ways. 

When you’re on a path as personal as religion or weight loss, it doesn’t help to have unsolicited dogma  and evangelism thrown in your face.  When someone gives you advice you don’t want to hear, often the only course of action is to tune them out (especially if you’re stubborn like me!).  On the flipside, if you feel you have the whole weight loss thing figured out, throwing out tips and advice without being asked for them can sometimes do more harm than good.

The best way to share your message with others, be it religious or health-centered, is to create dialogue.  Telling someone “you’re doing it wrong, here’s how you should be seeking salvation/dropping the pounds” will get everyone nowhere fast.  Just as religion is a touchy subject, so is everyone’s personal path to their ultimate health goal.  If you want to open the floor for discussion and advice-giving, find out what they know, why they’ve made their decisions, and what they value about those decisions.  Primal eating, intuitive eating, sugar-free diets, gluten-free diets, vegan and raw diets – these are several ways of eating and living that are hard to push on others unless they’re open to it (which, incidentally, leads to a post I’m working on next).

So ultimately, what’s my point?  That we should all be more sensitive to each person’s decisions and journeys to whatever their ultimate goals are.*  If someone is seeking advice, by all means, dole it out.  If they’re struggling with the current choices they’ve made or plan they’re following, ask them what’s bothering them and offer to help them sort it out.  If someone is going through a rough time, usually the least helpful thing to do is say, “well of course you’re having a hard time – you’re doing it wrong.”  Our personal views on religion and/or weight loss may not align with others’, but fussing at someone for carrying out their own beliefs will do neither of you any good.  Even if we’re making different choices, in the end, we’re all in this together.

*Of course, if you suspect a friend is engaging in disordered eating or abusing exercise, you may want to confront them about it.  However, even in this situation, creating a dialogue is probably the best way to go.  Coming down on someone, pointing fingers, taking accusatory tones – these are definitely not good ways to get your point across.  Change comes from within and can’t be pushed upon someone.

Do you agree with my weight loss/religion metaphor?  Have you found yourself in a situation where someone tried to push their weight loss or health beliefs on you?  Do you shy away from conversations about weight loss in real life because they’re too touchy and personal?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sweet tequila-laced victory

Today started out as a crappy day.  Well, it started yesterday afternoon when I was smacked in the face with lethargy.  One of those “if I don’t lie down and take a nap, I’m going to keel over and die right here” feelings.  Yeah, I’m being overly dramatic, but it sure felt like I was going to keel over.  A 3-4 hour nap in the evening will surely mess up your schedule, so I ended up going to bed for real at like 2 am, waking up at 10:30 still feeling like a zombie.  There’s a point to all this, I swear…I skipped breakfast for the promise of something awesome for lunch…

Zoe's Salad

Yep.  I went there.  Again.  However, I only ate about half…I quit when I was truly full instead of eating past that point and feeling miserable afterward!  Part of the reason I consciously quit early was that I had planned to try a frozen yogurt place, YogenFrüz, and wanted to save room.


Mom and I dug in before I had the presence of mind to document it…it was so good and refreshing!  You pick your base and mix a fruit into it, then you can get extra toppings on top (I think that’s how it works!)  I was overwhelmed my first time, so I got a recommended combo featured on a poster – piña colada.  My vanilla frozen yogurt was blended with pineapple and topped with (maybe a bit too much) coconut.  Mom was sassy and made her own creation – chocolate frozen yogurt mixed with cherries and topped with white chocolate curls.  I love how tart and light it was!

chocolate with cherry and white chocolate vanilla with pineapple and coconut

I saw the store front when I was driving around an outdoor mall area a couple of weeks ago and hoped it was one of those “pay by the ounce” yogurt places.  However, they’re more about freshness and simplicity at YogenFrüz, which I’m totally cool with.  When I looked them up, I was delighted to see they’re on Twitter and very active! (Their corporate account is @YogenFruz, fyi)  I tweeted with them a couple of times today about my visit…I just LOVE when companies use social media the right way!

What are your favorite social media-conscious companies?  Have you ever had a situation where a company’s social media presence truly helped you or inspired you to buy their product?

In other news, I set out to run around my neighborhood tonight (1 mile) just to see if I could, and I TOTALLY DID IT! I’ve run longer before, but it took me 14 minutes, and the longest I’ve run lately is about 11 minutes like 3 weeks ago…inside.  It’s a helluva lot harder to run in near-90° heat (it cooled down today because of the rain…it’s been in the triple digits lately!), and I could’ve kept going but wussed out.  I treated myself to a POM Wonderful-laced margarita afterward on the deck for accomplishing what I set out to do.  Ahhh, sweet tequila-laced victory


Friday, June 18, 2010

Ways to stop hating exercise

I initially wrote this post for a different blog and a different audience, but I don’t want to waste it, so I’m posting it here!

As someone who grew up pretty sedentary, I’ve definitely been able to say I hate exercise.   This little fact, while not entirely to blame, helped contribute to my tipping the scales at 270lbs two years ago.   Unless you’ve grown up as an active person, chances are good that you and exercise just don’t see eye to eye (yet).

We all know that exercise is important for weight loss and maintenance, cardiovascular health, cancer prevention, blah blah blah.  But it’s BOOOORRRRING.  And it’s HAAAAARRRRRD. Three of my strategies for overcoming the “exercise sucks” mentality are 1) sneaking in little bits during the day, 2) tricking yourself into having a good time, and 3) beating yourself over the head with mantras.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that adults aged 18-64 need at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate physical activity or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous physical activity (or some combination) every week, along with muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week in order to improve health and prevent disease (Source: CDC Adult Physical Activity Guidelines).  Nowhere does it say that you have to do all of that time at once. If exercise isn’t a habit, that 2.5 hours sounds pretty scary, but it’s just 30 minutes a day on 5 days - that’s nothin’!  Even if 30 minutes at a time sounds daunting, do 10 minutes, 3 times a day.  Hell, if you’re still a couch potato, do jumping jacks during commercial breaks – those 2-3 minutes will add up quickly!

If you still can’t get over the mental hump of “I have to exercise for how long?,” distract yourself. I’ve turned a corner in my hatred for exercise in the past year and I have two things to thank for it: the personal TV screens on the cardio equipment at the gym, and listening to podcasts while biking, running, and walking.  Here are some ways to distract yourself from exercise long enough that you might trick yourself into liking it:

  • The glorious TVs at the gym – especially if you can catch some mindless guilty pleasure, you’ll start looking forward to the gym.  I NEVER watch reality TV, yet I got hooked on “NYC Prep” in the fall because I watched reruns at the gym.  It made me want to stay on the machines for an hour to see what those rapscallions were up to.
  • Podcasts – be it educational or entertaining (or both!), these free nuggets of distraction come in all lengths and genres.  My favorites are Doug Benson’s Doug Loves Movies, Chris Hardwick’s The Nerdist, NPR’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me and This American Life, and our very own bloggers’ podcast from DietGirl and MizFit - Two Chicks and a Microphone.  Also, check out Rachel’s Gymnertainment!
  • I’ve recently discovered Genius mixes in iTunes (yeah, I’m late to the party).  This little gem will create playlists for you by lumping together genres of music from your own library.  I’m bad about over-using workout playlists and coming to hate them, so Genius helps overcome my stale go-to lineups.  It scoops up some forgotten favorites and those free downloads I always get but never listen to, keeping my playlists fresh and my workouts un-boring.
  • If you’d rather find motivation from within and not use technology as a crutch (hey, sounds healthier to me), try mixing up your routine.  If you’re married to the machines, try a DVD at home.  If you’re a solo walker, grab a friend or a dog and try a different route.  I always thought I hated working out with other people, but the first time I reconnected with a BFF from high school at the gym, we huffed and puffed our way through 30 minutes on the elliptical after declaring we’d “only go 15 minutes and see how we felt.”  The time flew by because we were focused on catching up instead of on running out the clock.
  • Speaking of running out the clock, this is the Kiss of Death for workout-haters.  DON’T stare at the clock. If you’re struggling to make your goal of 10, 20, 60 minutes, do anything you can to not look at the clock!  If you're on a machine, physically cover it up with a towel or magazine.  If you've got a watch or iPod, set an alarm instead of constantly checking the time.  If you can only focus on how far you have left to go, your mind will totally mess with you and psych you out of finishing.  Trust me, I know all too well.

When you can’t distract yourself from how much you hate exercise, sometimes you’ve just gotta suck it up and do it.  Before a workout when you’re trying to talk yourself out of it, think of how good you’ll feel afterward.  “You never regret a workout” is something I see people tweet a lot.  It’s true – there’s a natural high you get after a good sweat session, but if you loathe sweating, it can be hard to jump over that initial hurdle and make yourself move.  Keeping an inspirational vision board handy might be a good way to perk you up and make you move, too.  When in the throes of exercise, repeating a mantra to yourself can keep you from quitting.  “I am healthy, I am sexy, and I am strong” is a good one to keep your ass moving!

Are you a current or former exercise-hater?  How did you get (or are you getting) over your hatred?  What other tips have you picked up for making yourself want to move?  Got any good podcasts or mantras to share?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pick Yourself Up, Dust Yourself Off Winner

Really, anyone who participated is a winner (in a cheesy after school special sort of way), but I only have one book to share.  The awesome entrants were:

Ladies, thanks SO MUCH for entering the giveaway!  I was going to do the Random Number Generator, but not all of the comments were entries, so I did it the old-school way…

I wrote the entries on scraps of paper (there were only 6, after all)…

Giveaway entries

…stuck ‘em in a bowl…

Entries in bowl

…and let The Claw do the work…

 It's the claaaawwwww

And the winner is…

Carla is the winner!



Thanks again to Amanda, Lauren, and Carla for entering, and I hope everyone else has done something nice for themselves in the past couple of weeks, even if you haven’t blogged about it!  Keep picking yourselves up and dusting yourselves off!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Update of Awesomeness

Just a head’s up, y’all – I changed the prize for my Pick Yourself Up, Dust Yourself Off campaign/giveaway.  Is that cool with everyone?  Instead of a cheesy little motivational book, I give you:

The Book of Awesome, by Neil Pasricha

The Book of Awesome, by Neil Pasricha.  Go check out his blog, 1000 Awesome Things.  Chuckle, shed a tear, get nostalgic…I’ve totally done all three while reading his posts.  So do something nice for yourself this weekend and enter to win!

On the health front, I’ve fostered my emotional well-being by participating in trivia night this week with some buddies (and had a delicious flight of beers from The Flying Saucer – totally rad place!)

flight of beers

I had a setback with some peanut butter, but I defeated the beast by tossing it in the outside trash can, and I’ve been going back to the gym to do non-running cardio.  I’m not giving up on running, but I’m not pushing myself so hard that I feel like a failure after every “bad” run (like I was beginning to do).  I love the endurance that running has given me, though; even though I’m only able to run for maaaaaybe 15-20 minutes at a time, I can now go balls-to-the-wall on the elliptical for 30 minutes and the bike for another 30.  Now, to start fitting in strength training for these sad wimpy, flabby arms…

What are you guys up to this weekend?  Doing something nice for yourselves, I hope!!  I’d really like to go to a farmer’s market if I can find one around here!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

What makes this time different?

A few months ago, I was asked by a Twitter friend:

Question...why do you think you are serious about weight loss this time? Did you have an epiphany moment?

The question kind of caught me off-guard.  I’ve had TONS of epiphany moments, but each “wake up call” resulted in a short-lived, half-assed attempt OR a hugely successful “quick fix” that was even more quickly negated by me falling back into old habits.  I definitely hit rock bottom in graduate school, but it took moving home, being unemployed, and finding the blogging community that made me realize how much of a lifestyle being healthy really is.  You can’t just dabble in weight loss and improving your health; it has to be an entire life overhaul.  I’ve had plenty of time to think about this question since then, but in the moment, I quickly answered:

Answer: I'm tired of screwing around and feeling like crap. I want to get married and have kids someday and need to get it right NOW.

But that answer isn’t fair to myself, and it’s not the entire truth.  I’m too selfish to do it for my nonexistent husband and unborn kids (though it will be nice if I get to have those things one day).  I think that’s part of my answer, though – I’m selfish, and I totally deserve to be.  I’m tired of plenty of things (I started making a list of things, but it sounded tired and hackneyed), and here in my mid-20s, I’m on the cusp of life (speaking of sounding hackneyed…).

But in all seriousness, if I don’t do it now, when will I?  I already wasted several of my college and graduate school years being fat and depressed and anti-social, the same traits I exhibited in K-12 that break my heart to think about now.  I have relatively few responsibilities (i.e., I’m not chasing after kids or trying to maintain a happy marriage), and physically, I should be in the prime of my life.  I want to set a foundation now so I won’t have to make up for lost time later.

So coming up with reasons why I want to be strong, healthy, and of “normal” weight is relatively easy…reminding myself on a daily basis and keeping up the motivation is another thing entirely, one I’m still working on.  One thing I find frustrating and hard to deal with is my weight loss in the context of other people.

Now, other people shouldn’t matter, because it’s MY weight loss journey, MY body, MY health, MY business, yadda yadda.  Y’all know I care what other people think even though I shouldn’t.  Admit it, a lot of us do!  So when I bump into someone I knew in high school and I look the way I do now, I shouldn’t be putting words in their mouths like “oh, I wonder how long THIS effort will last.”  When I see family I haven’t in awhile, I shouldn’t be nervous beforehand that they’re thinking “which Katherine will show up to this gathering, I wonder?”  I know they’re probably happy for me that I’m getting in shape, and I should just leave it at that.  Even though I’ve got a defense speech playing in my head, I don’t need to fantasize justifying it out loud to them.

So what does make this time different? 

If I binge or eat something un-nutritious, I move on.  I might feel bad for a little while and I might whine here on the blog, but I don’t go on a binge-spree from one item to the next like I used to.  If I “plan” a binge cheat, I notice it’s much less than I used to (a chocolate bar instead of a baker’s dozen of chocolate chip cookies).  I’m exercising.  I’m doing it because I want to, I’m starting to like how it feels, I’m starting to feel stronger, and I do it more often.  I’m making healthier decisions.  I still splurge unecessarily sometimes, but for the most part, I think about nutrients where I used to merely think of calories.  I’m learning to listen to my body.  I’m not in the habit of writing every single thing down yet, but I’m better at taking notes and figuring out what makes me feel better or worse.  I’m not kidding myself into thinking that I’ll lose the weight and then I’ll be fine forever and ever, amen.  I’ll always struggle with my weight, and I’m coming to terms with that.  I’m not happy about it, but I’m glad I’m finally putting into practice what I’ve been learning but feeling guilty about not practicing all these years.

What makes this time different for you?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Picnic on the Dock

In another attempt to Pick Myself Up and Dust Myself Off, I put together a picnic on the dock yesterday for Mom and myself. 

On the menu, I had mini zucchini parmigiana (slice of zucchini + red pepper sauce (we didn’t have any tomato sauce) + parmesan cheese in a 400° oven for ~5 minutes then broiled for a minute or two)

Mini zucchini parmigiana

Mini zucchini parmigiana

Marinated veggie salad (zucchini, squash, cucumber, onion, beets, cabbage + vegetable oil, cider vinegar, Splenda, salt, pepper, and celery salt)

Marinated veggie salad

Buffalo chicken dip (chicken + sour cream + mayo + cheddar + hot sauce) with tortillas and celery

Buffalo chicken dip

Grape tomatoes stuffed with basil and mozzarella, marinated in EVOO, garlic, and balsamic vinegar (these were a pain in the ass labor of love)

Grape tomatoes with mozzarella and basil

Sprite Zero + POM Wonderful pomegranate juice

Pom and Sprite Zero

And Biltmore Estate Pinot Grigio

Biltmore Pinot Grigio

We ended up mixing the soda with the wine to make a spritzer!  We used our new little picnic set from World Market and handy dandy picnic blanket from Target (I got one for my cousin and Mom was jealous, so I had to go back and buy her one, too!).


I got buzzed and burned, and I finally jumped in the lake when the heat had gotten the best of me – it was a scorcher this weekend!

Did you do anything fun and outdoorsy this weekend?  What’s your favorite thing to bring on a picnic?  Do you go for simplicity and ease-of-serving, or do you prefer to spend some time on your contributions?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Pick Yourself Up, Dust Yourself Off: Massage

My first “entry” in the Pick Yourself Up, Dust Yourself Off campaign is a massage therapy session I had on Thursday night.  My cousin’s wife is a licensed massage therapist, and for a woman under 5 feet tall, her hands could (and probably have) make grown men cry.  In a good way, of course.

I tend to carry giant purses, and the bigger the purse, the more crap I seem to accumulate in it.  I’m like a mom who has everything at her fingertips.  Need nail clippers?  Got ‘em.  Hand sanitizer?  Right here.  Bag for dog waste?  Yep.  As a righty, I usually carry said giant bag on my right shoulder.  Well, I don’t do that anymore…my shoulder/neck area on my right side has been SO sore and tense for weeks, and between laying on a tennis ball with tears in my eyes and begging friends to dig their elbows into my back, I knew it was time to do something REAL to help it.

While my session was an hour long, she spent a lot of time on my upper back, and it HURT SO GOOD.  When I get massages, I try to employ my yoga breathing techniques to relax my muscles, and I think I was doing some full-on Lamaze breathing as she dug into my knotty shoulder.  I cussed a little bit as she “kicked my ass through my shoulder;” I think she squeezed some evil out of me.  I walked out feeling looser, greasy, and a little bit drunk.

Her room is so peaceful and has touches of tranquility in every little detail:



Lights, hot stone warmer


Corner of room

Lights in fireplace

I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture of her squishy soft table!  I was too excited to strip down and get all oiled up.  Wait, that doesn’t sound right…

If you’re in the Columbia area and are looking for a great LMT, I’ll give you her info…she’s FANTASTIC! 

So there’s the first nice thing I’ve done for myself in awhile.  What nice thing have you done for yourself lately?  Tell me here or enter it into the Pick Yourself Up, Dust Yourself Off giveaway!

Pick Yourself Up, Dust Yourself Off

So I hinted at the end of my last post that I’d be starting something new (and I’m a little later in announcing it than I’d hoped…oops!).  I’ve been depressed lately, and my blogging has suffered for it.  I’ve also noticed a lot of people in the blogosphere suffering from malaise for whatever reasons; I’ve heard mentions of “I don’t feel like I have anything worthwhile to say anymore” and “I’ve been contemplating just ending the blog.”  Now I don’t know if all this blah-ness among my blends (“blog” + “friends,” a term coined by Caitlin!) is coincidental or if it’s somehow spreading like a sad blue-colored virus among us all, but I’d like to see us squelch it before it consumes us all.

Sometimes when I get sad and depressed, I tend to retreat into myself, feel sorry for myself, attempt to find solace in food, avoid people I love, and engage in general anti-social, unhealthy things.  I don’t want to do that anymore!  I want to find something healthy to grab onto before I fall into the hole of despair. 

You always hear “have a list on hand of fun things you can do when you start feeling emotionally hungry,” but I’ve never been good at doing that.  Sure, I KNOW it’s a good strategy for dealing with the binge-filled blues, but there’s some disconnect between knowing and doing (yet another huge trend in my life!).

So blah blah blah, what’s my point?  I’m introducing…

Pick Yourself Up, Dust Yourself Off

The Pick Yourself Up, Dust Yourself Off campaign!

Here’s what I want y’all to do: over the next week or so, do something GOOD for yourself.  It doesn’t have to cost money.  It doesn’t have to be anything big.  It just has to be something that nurtures yourself and makes you feel whole and happy. Someone else can participate with you, but make sure you’re doing it for YOU.  You don’t have to currently be in a state of malaise to participate; I want to get in the habit of treating myself with respect no matter my current emotional state, and I want to see what nice things you do for yourselves, too!

When you do your awesome self-love thing, take some pictures, blog about it, and leave a comment here with a link to your post.  Feel free to use my cute little sunshiney badge in your post!  For another entry, toss out a tweet with this text (don’t forget to put YOUR URL in there, too!)

Have you Picked Yourself Up & Dusted Yourself Off?: @LowFatKat did, and I did, too! (INSERT YOUR URL HERE)

then come back and leave me another comment saying you Tweeted (if you don’t have a Twitter account, leave me a separate comment, just to give everyone an equal chance!).  Write as many Pick Yourself Up, Dust Yourself Off posts as you want!  For each post, you’ve got 2 entries.

You’ve got until 10pm (Eastern time) on Tuesday, June 15th to enter, and I’ll randomly pick a winner after that.  What’s the booty?

The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha

I’ve changed the prize!  I’ve wanted to get this book, The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha for awhile, so I’m getting one for myself and giving one away.  If you haven’t checked out the blog – 1000 Awesome Things – do it…it’s hilarious and heartwarming, and in a word: awesome.  I’m putting this giveaway together myself as a pick-me-up for all of us, so there isn’t any promotional swag involved, FYI.

Need some ideas to get the ball rolling?

  • Get a manicure, pedicure or facial, or do it yourself at home for some inexpensive pampering
  • Have a “self-date night;” make yourself a nice dinner, open a bottle of wine, and watch your favorite (or a new) movie; just make it special!
  • Exercise somewhere new; if you’re married to the treadmill, go walk or run on a newly-discovered trail
  • Put together a picnic and take it to a park, your backyard, or even your living room floor
  • Be creative: make some jewelry, paint, or create something else crafty.  Just set aside time to relax and do it for yourself.
  • Take a bubble bath with some scented candles and music nearby
  • Try on a bunch of evening gowns and take dressing room pictures just for the hell of it
  • Take a new class at your gym or try tackling a new machine you’ve never tried before
  • Spend quality time with a friend doing something epic or just hanging out
  • Read a new book or turn to an old favorite
  • Style your hair a different way than you usually do

I hope this gets us all thinking about ways we can make ourselves happy and gives us a bank of ideas to pull ourselves out of funks!

Happy picking and dusting!