Sunday, April 26, 2009


Love free food? Me too! It's no secret that getting healthy food at a low price can be difficult (in fact, I've blogged about it before). But this Monday (April 27th), you can stop by any KFC and pick up a FREE piece of their new grilled chicken! A breast piece clocks in at 180 calories and 4 grams of fat, and it packs a whopping 35 grams of protein. You can also do what I do, and double your offer by hitting the lobby, then the drive thru. Sometimes, if you are suuuuuper nice and polite, and the person at the window isn't in too terrible of a mood, you can even claim that you are picking up the free offer for your boss at work, who simply cannot make it out of the office today. Early reviews online claim that the Colonel has not quite perfected this recipe, and most people said it was dry, bland, and even rubbery (ew!). But at least you can check it out for yourself without parting with any cash.

Normally I would suggest a side item to pair with your free chunk of poultry, but until I see a vegetable offering at KFC not smothered in cheese or butter, I'm not sure what to recommend. Personally, I don't even know if I can partake in this offer, because I cannot stay away from the coleslaw OR the dreaded biscuit. KFC's website claims that they offer green salads, but I have never seen that option on my local menu board. My advice? Pick up the free chick and pair it with a fast food side salad or leafy greens from your local grocer. Or, scarf it up all on its own!

Is this post finally enough to get me a job offer from Hungry Girl? Enjoy your free food!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Hope Springs Eternal.

I don't know if showing up to Kate Hudson's birthday party sans your significant other qualifies as a breakup, but for the sake of having a good day during which I believe all things are possible, I'm choosing to believe this juicy nug of gossip.

If history has taught me anything, it's that a story on confirming that "things are fine" actually means that said couple is dunzo. In this case, it's Timber and Jessica Biel. And this blogger couldn't be happier.

Call me, Justin!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Dog Years.

I cannot believe how old my babies are today! Happy 5th (35th) birthday to Roach Dude and 4th (28th) birthday to Lilly!

They are both handling their midlife crises by having a small outburst of carpet destruction yesterday afternoon. I can't say I blame them. I myself am not ready for 28 this year, and I am sure that when I hit 3-5, I will most certainly want to destroy something. Plus, they have been so good for so long, I can overlook a minor misstep in behavior. Besides, I think it's time for new carpet, too.

Last night we celebrated with the pups by letting them enjoy my doggie bag of beef tips and egg noddles (yummmmm). Tonight they will get to open presents and eat lots of MilkBones.

Theses dogs are the loves of my life, and they improve my mood tenfold every single day. I can't believe how big they have gotten (in comparison to their baby pictures shown here!) and I hate every day that they get older -- but love every day I get to hang out with them.

Happy Birthday, kids!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Worst Day.

It is 79 degrees, every single one of them gorgeous. The sun is blazingly beautiful. A slight breeze ensures there is great little surf.

I am at work. Officially in the worst mood imagineable. In addition to being banished from enjoying the ideal spring day, I am acutely aware of the rumbling undercurrent that is characteristic of a soon-to-come domestic dispute. Per usual, I have no idea what it may be about.

I just ate a personal pan pizza and breadsticks, otherwise known as enough fat and calories to sustain a small family for three days. My hope for the big 20 pound weight loss number at tomorrow morning's weigh-in was obliterated in a single lunch hour. I only feel worse.

Despite my attempts to combat said mood with a dress, cowboy boots, and my favoritey fave accessory (stretchy belt), I still feel as though I will most likely commit homicide before end of day. Watch out, customer who returns $800 of ugly shit you bought online... you could be the victim of my next rage-aholic outburst.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Make it Work!

I think it was nearly 2 months ago when a customer in my store was shopping for an outfit to wear to the season finale of Project Runway Season 6 (at New York Fashion Week). I obviously helped her select something fabulous before pumping her for all deets on Runway (her brother was a camera guy or something). Since I had not been following the entire legal debacle that has kept this top 5 all-time favorite show off the air, I was thrilled to hear that the entire season had already been filmed. A quick trip to wiki tells me that this season will air this summer on Lifetime (not a minute too soon, TG!).

In the meantime, how am I to get my Tim Gunn fix? Lucky for me, this week is one of the greatest weeks of Biggest Loser -- MAKEOVER WEEK! Last season, Christian Siriano helped the new skinnies go from drab to fab. This time around, Tim Gunn is showing up! I love, love, love him and am so excited to see him on this week's Loser.

Writing this post reminds me of a question that crossed my mind a few weeks ago when the black team won a trip of 24 hour luxury. The contestants show up on campus with not much luggage, presumably only including various size tees in their team colors, Hanes hoodies, and Bondi Bands. When they win a trip home or a dinner away from campus, where do they procure the new clothes to fit their forever-changing body shapes? Is there a personal stylist for the show? Or do they work a quick Macy*s stop into the trip to the airport? I expect to see someone who lost 100 pounds on campus headed home in oversized sweatpants and a huge t-shirt. Who magically hooks them up with fitted button-downs and perfect makeup?

In other guest appearance news this week, Miley performs on Idol! Let's hope Billy Ray doesn't show up.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Easter Eater.

As much as I was looking forward to weighing less this morning, and subsequently publishing a New York Times Bestseller on the "All Easter Candy Diet", I am here to tell you that a week-long steady consumption of Whoppers Robin Eggs and Reese's Eggs will not help your extra pounds sitch. In addition to the innumerable sugar highs and subsequent crashes I experienced over the past week, I also managed to gain a pound and basically set myself back 14 days.

I thought I was doing right by avoiding the Cadbury bunny and all-sugar Peeps (both battles were exhausting strains on my willpower), but I couldn't resist the (free 2 pound bag, thanks Wendy) candy coated Whoppers or the occasional pb and chocolate delight. No more! I have had my Easter fill, and am declaring this sugar-laden holiday over.

Until next Monday's half-off Easter candy sales...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Knitting Knews.

My brother Michael sent me a link to a nationwide call for knitters this past week, and my interest was piqued. Although I had heard of CodePink, I wasn't really sure what they were about, other than being a group of women united against war. A quick trip to their website explained...

"CODEPINK emerged out of a desperate desire by a group of American women to stop the Bush administration from invading Iraq. The name CODEPINK plays on the Bush Administration's color-coded homeland security alerts — yellow, orange, red — that signal terrorist threats. While Bush's color-coded alerts are based on fear and are used to justify violence, the CODEPINK alert is a feisty call for women and men to "wage peace."
CODEPINK is a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, stop new wars, and redirect our resources into healthcare, education, green jobs and other life-affirming activities. CODEPINK rejects foreign policies based on domination and aggression, and instead calls for policies based on diplomacy, compassion and a commitment to international law. With an emphasis on joy and humor, CODEPINK women and men seek to activate, amplify and inspire a community of peacemakers through creative campaigns and a commitment to non-violence.
'We call on women around the world to rise up and oppose the war in Iraq. We call on mothers, grandmothers, sisters and daughters, on workers, students, teachers, healers, artists, writers, singers, poets, and every ordinary outraged woman willing to be outrageous for peace. Women have been the guardians of life-not because we are better or purer or more innately nurturing than men, but because the men have busied themselves making war. Because of our responsibility to the next generation, because of our own love for our families and communities and this country that we are a part of, we understand the love of a mother in Iraq for her children, and the driving desire of that child for life.'"

Although I try to keep my political activism to a minimum, I think CodePink is a great cause, and I support their message. Mostly, though, I just think that this project they are planning for Mother's Day is 100% awesome. A giant cozy on anything is the love, and this message is an important one to be heard on Mother's Day. I've been trying to figure out what to do with my fabulous pink Malabrigo, and this is the answer.

"Calling all CODEPINK knitters! We are creating a beautiful, quilted cozy to cover the fence in front of the White House to honor Mother's Day. The message will be “We will not raise our children to kill another mother’s child”-inspired by Julia Ward Howe’s Mother’s Day Proclamation. We’ll be piecing it together from individual squares knitted by YOU as part of the 24 hour Mother’s Day vigil for Women who live in War Zones. The best part is you don’t have to be an experienced knitter to help! This is perfect for knitters of all skill levels—and a great opportunity for those who want to learn! Celebrate the time honored tradition of the radical act of knitting."

Click here to learn more about CodePink's "Radical Act of Knitting in Honor of Mother's Day". Even if you are a super-beginner, you can be a part of this ground-breaking project.

On a personal level, my big accomplishment last week was mastering the picot hem. Although I cannot divulge photos of my super-secret project, I included this picture so you can see what I'm talking about. If you follow the link provided (Knit wiki, anyone? Who even knew this existed?) you will read about how involved this process really is. It takes two sets of circular needles, a lot of un-twisting, and a ridiculous amount of concentration. I am very proud of my first picot hem, and I am sure I will use the knowledge I gained on projects in the future. Meanwhile, I am knitting along furiously on my picot-edged masterpiece. I can't wait to get it off the needles and post pictures!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Weight Loss Secrets -- REVEALED!

Let me start this post by saying that I am by no means a licensed dietitian or nutritionist. I am not a trainer, a doctor, or a chef. My schooling has come primarily from my mom, who taught me the principles of weight loss and how they applied to my life. From there, it's been trial and error (and a lot of google).

I have struggled with weight for as long as I can remember. In my adult life, I have learned how to lose it, but it always creeps back. I have been dealing with the same 35 - 40 pounds for the past 5 years. I have tried a lot of "diets", but they never work for me. It's the nature of my personality to want what I'm not allowed to have, so restrictive eating plans will not take. For example, I hate olives. But if you tell me I can lose 10 pounds in one week, just by not eating olives, I will want them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I can't live without carbs, sugar, or diet soda. I am incapable of cutting anything out completely.

On my 4th birthday, with my brothers and my 2 true loves -- Care Bears and yellow cake with chocolate frosting.

Since January, I have re-embraced some standards of healthy living. Technically, I am not on a diet. I have, however, dropped 16 pounds, and I am halfway to my goal of 32. People are noticing and asking what I'm doing. They want to know what diet I'm on, what pills I am taking, how many carbs I'm eating, and how often I work out. People will tell you there is no one secret to weight loss. Technically, that's not true. It all boils down to one thing:

Burn more calories than you take in.

You can eat all carbs and lose weight. You can eat no fruits or vegetables and lose weight. you can be a vegetarian and GAIN weight (very easily, actually). Fad diets are just that -- FADS. They don't last, and neither will your weight loss. It all comes down to burning more calories than you consume.

Calorie counting can be a tricky business, so I use to keep me on track. I love fitday for a variety of reasons, but mostly because you can create a million custom foods and add them easily to your online food journal each day. It makes it very easy for me to know what I've eaten, and with my BlackBerry, I can access that information at any time to make smart decisions about what to eat. It also keeps me from eating a ton of junk, because sometimes I am so lazy I don't want to go to the trouble of entering nutrition information for a new custom food. Instead, I will choose a snack that I already have the info recorded for. It also has a tri-colored pie chart (I love a good graph) that breaks my daily intake into protein, carbs, and fat. Although I don't get too caught up in those numbers, as my weight goes down, I am paying more attention to having a good balance of those 3 key things (I shoot for 40% protein, 40% carbs - I looove carbs, and 20% fat). Fitday also allows you to enter your activities each day so you can know how many calories you have burned. It automatically customizes it to the most recent weight you have entered for yourself, so there's no math or question marks. I highly recommend using fitday or another calorie-tracking program (Emily loves Calorie King) to keep you on pace to your weight loss goals. If you're not tech-savvy, a good old fashioned notebook will work just as well.

A lot of people also ask me how many calories they should be eating to lose weight. One of the things I learned through a brief stint of Weight Watchers was that you should not lose more than 2 pounds per week. 3500 calories burned equals a pound of fat lost (conversely, if you consume 3500 calories, you will gain a pound). If you want to lose one pound per week, you will need to burn 500 more calories a day than what you take in (1000 calories if you are aiming for 2 pounds per week). Regardless of your current weight or activity level, you should never dip below 1200 calories per day. It sends your body into starvation mode and will ultimately have adverse effects on your weight loss.

There is a fabulously helpful calculator located here. I use it to determine my BMR, or how many calories my body burns just sustaining essential life functions (basically, if I was in bed all day and never moved). You can also select your exercise level and it will tell you your daily caloric goal for maintaining your weight, losing weight, or (my favorite) "Extreme Fat Loss". If you click on "7 Day Calorie Zig Zag", it will give you an idea of how to "cycle" your calories. This is a theory to which I subscribe wholeheartedly. Eating the same number of calories day after day can send your metabolism into a rut. By zig-zagging, or cycling, it keeps your metabolism up and your body burns fat more quickly. This basically means taking your weekly caloric needs and dividing them up into "high days" and "low days". This calculator will do it for you, and trust me, it works. I try to always make my highest day Friday or Saturday, because that's when I tend to eat a lot.

Determine your caloric needs and track what you eat. That's basically the key to it! There are also a few other tips I use that might be helpful:

  • Fiber is your friend. WW taught me the importance of fiber. It keeps you fuller longer and (ew warning) keeps you regular! The DRA is 25g of fiber a day, and something like 90% of Americans don't get enough. Personally, I start almost every morning with a 1/2 c. serving of Fiber One original cereal and 1/2 c. of 1% milk. 110 calories, 14g of fiber, delicious, filling, and you get some calcium! I also love Fiber One's bars (caramel is my favorite), and have discovered that Target's "Market Pantry" brand is exactly the same, at an affordable $1.75 a box (whenever you choose to buy "generic", make sure you check the nutrition facts against the brand name product. They should match up!) I am always on the lookout for high-fiber snacks!

  • Have a "Cheat Day". Or two. I have a cheat day almost every Monday (the morning that I weigh in). Don't go crazy and eat 23,456 calories just because it's your cheat day, but think of it more as a day to indulge in any cravings or temptations you have been feeling. Just like with a job, you need a day off to rest and relax your body into another week of weight loss. If you are able to plan your cheat day on a day where you exercise or have a lot of activity, that's an added bonus.

  • Weigh in weekly. You can't know where you're going without knowing where you've been. Choose a time to weigh in once a week and record your progress to your goal (either in your written or online food journal). Try your best to refrain from weighing yourself more than that one time per week -- a million different factors can make your weight fluctuate, and seeing a loss or gain mid-week may not be reflective of what's actually happening. It can subconciously trick you into eating more or less and messing up your entire week. Weigh once, and then stay off that scale (I put mine in the bathroom cabinet -- out of sight, out of mind!).

  • Bring your own snacks. Anyone who spends any time at all with me can tell you that I eat all day. It's called "grazing" (yes, like a cow). Having 5-6 "mini-meals" throughout the day keeps your metabolism up. I may have my bowl of F1 at 8:00, but by 10:30 or 11, I'm a little hungry. I usually grab a string cheese and a 90 cal pack of Special K crackers to hold me over until lunch (instead of giving into those yummy looking doughnuts Hungry is trying to tempt me with, shown here in a WW commercial). Listen to your body. Eating 150-300 calories when you're starting to feel slightly hungry is a lot better than downing a zillion calories when you think you're dying of starvation. Keep hunger at bay and you won't overeat. To accomplish this, have snacks handy! I live for the 100 cal pack, but I also package up 1 c. servings of cereal, bags of carrot sticks, sugar free Jello and Jello pudding, and microwave popcorn. I try to keep something sweet and something salty on hand at all times -- you never know when the craving will strike!

  • Knowledge is power. Learn as much as you can. There are a million books available with nutrition information for every food imaginable. I eat out allllll the time, so I rely heavily on Dotti's Weight Loss Zone's "Restaurants" Page for a lot of info. Fitday also helps with this. I am also blessed with a mother who seems to know fat and calories for everything, so a simple text message will let me know if I have enough calories left in my day to splurge on a 5 pc. chicken nugget. There's so much to learn about sauces, condiments, and beverages -- a lot of things people never think about. I am by no means an expert, but I am happy to answer any questions (my personal favorites are the, "Am I better off eating this, or that?")

  • Just say no! Realistically, it might not be in your lifestyle plan to cut out alcohol completely. As I said, I am NOT about deprivation. But cutting back on the alcs intake can help immensely. Not only is it a waste of empty calories, but it can v. quickly break down your defenses and lead to 2 am TBell binges. It can also put you out of commission the following day and leave you craving greasy, calorie laden foods. If you do go out, keep it moderate -- light beer (or MGD64) or rum and diet. If you know you have a special ocassion coming up (birthday, reunion, seriously fun party) try to eat light throughout the day (but make sure you eat ENOUGH to keep you from getting ill!). Remember, hydration is key to weight loss, and drinking makes you dehydrated, so amp up on the H2O intake on the days surrounding a drinking event.
  • Be a little active. I am lucky to have a job where I stay on my feet and moving the better part of 8 hours a day. A lot of times, it's enough to make me lack the energy to work out when I get home -- but at least I know I was moving all day. If you're stuck at a desk, find a reason to walk around, or spend your lunch hour walking. Any extra calorie burn equals extra snacks! Set realistic exercise goals for yourself and don't overdo it. It's better to do 30 minutes every day than 3 hours one day a week.

I could go on all day with the things I do to help me lose weight, but this (insanely long) post should answer the majority of the questions I have received. It's all about finding your perfect balance to be happy, healthy, and full of energy. Good luck!