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comfort food

Cheese & Chocolate!

I was watching GMA yesterday and they referred to a study recently done about the addictive qualities of cheese. Well I feel like a study was not necessary. I know many people (myself included) who can tell you with out a doubt that they are addicted to cheese.

Now, like everything else if you are actively trying to loose weight full fat cheese needs to be eaten in moderation. But, cheese is one of those things I refuse to give up entirely (kinda like chocolate). I have had to give up quite a lot on a gluten free diet, so cheese and chocolate are staying.

I think you need to remember that dieting should not be about deprivation, but about moderation and healthy choices. You need to still enjoy food, just not eat it for comfort or distraction, but when your body is hungry. Eating mindlessly is a very easy trap to fall into. Before getting on the computer or watching the television it is probably a good idea to fix a healthy snack to keep nearby (this especially goes for computer time at work).

Finding other comfort, pleasure and distraction is key. I can’t tell you what will work for you. I can tell you what works for me: ANYTHING creative. I write, draw, paint, sing, act, and design… This refocuses me and brings me joy. Here is our mantel decorated and ready for Halloween.

2015-10-17 18.33.49

I like to visit with friends who understand that I like to make healthy choices and just talk, and share stories. Find what distracts you from stress and sadness – a walk outside, your pets, your children, solving problems or puzzles? It’s different for everyone.

I have a callback for that show tonight that I mentioned in my previous blog: Four Weddings and an Elvis at Rover Dramawerks in Plano, TX – and I am very excited. This in and of it self helps me stay on track. If I know I am going to perform, or even audition, I need to look my best that helps me stay motivated.

A bunch of friends went out to the 2105 Halloween Block Party on Cedar Springs. Now being gluten free I can’t drink beer and try hard not to drink too many of my calories. I now enjoy some hard cider, and can still have some party time with friends. We dressed as a bowling team (team name The Gutters and the Udders) and each couple had their own couple name. This was my mom’s idea and it was a huge hit as our photos appeared in Guide Live and on Flashy Foto’s Facebook page. Here we all are:

Halloween is hard on a diet, especially for a chocolate lover (and worse if you have kids). When purchasing candy for your trick-or-treaters try and buy stuff you are just not that crazy about. Kids will pretty much enjoy any candy you give them. You could also bag them individually if you have the time, which may avert you from breaking into the candy. Don’t deprive yourself entirely just don’t overdo it. One Resees Peanut Butter Cup will not destroy your life or pack on 5 pounds, but a whole bag of them might.

Let me know how your Halloween goes, and remember to HAVE FUN!


Before and After… with or without Boy George!

Normally this would probably be a combination of embarrassing and humiliating with a touch of pride and, wow – go me!  But, some of these have already been seen on national television this summer so much of my visceral reaction has been permanently eliminated. I’ll include that crazy life story here because it too has been part of the journey.

Like I mentioned in my previous post, DO take a before picture – total body.  I didn’t really let myself be photographed from head to toe when I was at my biggest.  So doing a true juxtaposition of before and after was a challenge.  I don’t really have a photo of myself at my largest, but these are pretty close.

Another motivator for me was taking photos of my scale when I stepped on it and saw progress.  I still have many of them – and used the first below 200 pound shot for the party invites.  I don’t have them all, but here are some that kept me going.  Each goal attained within the larger one made it easier to keep moving forward.

Believe me each and every time I watched Biggest Loser or Extreme Weight Loss Makeover after the weight loss I’d kick myself and say…that could’ve been me. It never dawned on me to try to get on one of those shows – though I watched them for inspiration.  So karma caught up with me this summer on our vacation. I was raised in New York and miss home each and every day.  So as often as I can go back I do. This trip was particularly special because we took our nephews who had never been to New York before, and have grown up in Wichita Falls, TX (population: 104,898) There were three must do’s on their list (BTW they are 14 and 9):

  • Eat a hot dog from a vendor cart
  • See the Statue of Liberty
  • Be on television on the TODAY show

Now none of these things for a native New Yorker are unattainable, however I simply had no interest whatsoever in waking up around 4 AM to be at Rockefeller Plaza before daybreak to ensure a spot at the front for the TODAY show.  I don’t even watch the TODAY show, LOL – I am a GMA girl.  But, being the good aunt that I am – I made sure to work our TODAY show appearance into the itinerary.

During vacation preparations it came to my attention that a surprise concert was being held one of our mornings in New York – at the TODAY show – by Boy George.  Well, this changed my entire outlook on our 4 AM wake up.  As a child of the 80’s (and a member of the GLBT community) I LOVE Boy George.  Now I was equally determined to get there on time to be front and center so that I could see my teenage idol.  I pre-registered with the TODAY show to get the “special passes” to be closer to the front, the boys colored their home made sign, we rose bright and early and arrived at the crack of dawn that morning.

We were ushered right into the front pit where the stage was and had a spot up against the railings where the boys could rest their poster.  I was an AMAZING aunt.  After a long time waiting for things to get started the warm up band came out and began playing some of Boy George’s oldest hits.  The whole audience was singing and my nephews were like: “Who’s Boy George?”

Various NBC employees and affiliates were working the crowds – asking them if they knew the lyrics, etc. (I know all of them!)  There were two particular individuals who approached us with an entirely different question.  They asked me if I had heard of their Thursday Ambush Makeovers.  Not being a TODAY show watcher (which I certainly did NOT mention), I had not.  I was quickly informed that Thursday’s in the summer they come out into the public and choose two women for a head-to-toe makeover, and would I be interested?  Well, hell yeah I was interested in having a makeover.  I had just lost all this weight and it was going to be my 5 minutes of fame.  They told me to wait a few minutes and they would come back to me to let me know if I had been chosen. Well about 5-7 minutes later I was being rushed back stage to be interviewed and then completely made over.  Here is the link to my makeover for those of you who have not seen it.



Needless to say it was an amazing experience.  Here is the reaction shot edited by friends:

Jans reaction

This was all well and good – and I was thrilled with the results, BUT… I never heard or saw Boy George (the one reason I actually woke up at 4 AM).  But guess who DID get to not only hear him, but meet him and get photos?  You got it, my family…none of whom are the big fan that I am.  So if you are out there anywhere @BoyGeorge – I cannot believe that I missed you.  Maybe I’ll have another opportunity before I die.

Let me tell you how hard it was being in New York around all my most favorite trigger foods and having to stay focused on the comfort and pleasure I was getting from being with my loved ones and in the city I love versus the comfort and pleasure of a real bagel.

In New York it is MUCH easier however to eat a gluten free diet, but I had to forgo the vendor hot dog in Central Park, the pretzel, real pizza… the list goes on.  I have learned to make the company and the environment my focus and not the food.  It is not an easy transformation – it takes time and will power, but it is achievable.  It is more easily achieved when you have the support and encouragement of those around you.  Make it a point to surround yourself with people who will lift you up and help you move forward, not those that bring you down and/or sabotage your efforts.

In my next post I will include my thought process when making choices off of menus.  Just remember do not let one bad day, or one bad choice define you or break your will.  No one is perfect… even those whose bodies look like they are.


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