Annnnd she’s back!

I have to confess that last night after turning on Worst Cooks in America (freakin hilarious BTW – I mean, Eric Estrada cooking badly! And how does he still look 30? Major crush on him when I was, like, 7) I did a search online for “Rachael Ray weight gain” and when I read what’s out there about this poor celeb “gaining weight after impressive weight loss” I realized why I have been  SO hard on myself for so long and how most of us feel who are in the public eye.    It’s no secret that I’ve been struggling for a while. And I always tell the truth because my goal is to help others who go through the same pain that I’ve been through. I never profess to be perfect or to have conquered this weight/body/food thing. What I say is that I manage it every day. And boy oh boy am I trying to manage it now. (Lost my dad/fire/remodel/ STRESS!!!/no time to self-care)   But… when I read about Rachael Ray and “menopause” taking her down at 48 – holy cow I pretty much freaked out! (I’ll be 47 in October) And the worst was the part where they said, “she’s trying to stick to a strict diet”. UGH. People. Diets don’t work. And neither does judgement of each other or expecting all bodies to be skinny or the same.    We should all strive to be healthy and happy and kind to ourselves and others. THAT is the message we should be giving to our daughters.    I’m ashamed that I even searched Rachael Ray’s weight in the first place, but you know – it was an attempt to make myself feel better.    And it lead me to this post.    We are NOT defined by our weight. Or how we look. Or what shallow, unkind people think of us.    I will NOT be ashamed of my “before” or even more, of my “after” photo, or the fact that I shared my photos or my story. All of my photos and words are simply part of me and my story and have made me who I am today. (Okay – maybe it’s time to get rid of the hoaky “Learn My Secret” part which was a marketing ploy. No more marketing either. Just authentic me, by me.)   I am opening up my heart to all of you out there who need to hear that we ALL feel the same pain and some of us are brave enough to wear it in public. And it’s messy. But it’s real.    Love life....

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I got my mojo back!

And I’m happy to say it isn’t because I lost 5 pounds… or stopped eating sugar… or gave up carbs… or started some rigid exercise regimen.   What I did do, was: – focus on and appreciate all the GOOD I have in my life – try to take better care of myself by being mindful about what I eat and drink (only eat things that are “worthy”!) – went a little blonder 😉 – made “play dates” with a few close girlfriends whom I love and know love me unconditionally just because I am who I am—not because of how I look or what I weigh or how successful or popular I am – ran on the beach, ran to the park, just ran! (Because I can!) – focus on activities that bring me joy and make me feel STRONG (Hardcore Pilates!/ Santa Monica Stairs/ running with my daughter to the park)  – tried two new (HARD!!) exercise classes with friends (Nicole’s H.I.I.T Asana at Woodland Hills Athletic Club – WOW you’ve never known such inspiration—and PAIN and TORTURE! LOVE IT!!!)  – got some cool new jeans and workout gear because you know what, I deserve to look and feel good TODAY – spend quality time with my daughter and enjoy every precious moment because seven won’t last forever – had a date night with my lovely hubby  – And I BAKED! Because baking brings my heart joy and is my creative outlet. And giving people I care about something I baked is my way of showing love.   So find something that brings you joy and feeds your soul and do it!   I truly wish for you a wonderful, happy holiday season and hope you can find the love and happiness you need inside of yourself so that you can feel good about yourself exactly as you are TODAY!   Love,  ...

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I just had an epiphany

I know that my favorite thing to do is to watch TV whilst eating a huge bowl of something and drinking a huge glass (or two) of something. And I always knew that it was some kind of soothing thing. I mean I would literally prefer to come home and have alone-time with my popcorn than sleep over at my adorable boyfriend (now loving husband’s) house. (I know, kinda weird) But I finally broke that habit. Well now here I am, stuck in this emotional-eating phase again, and I find myself going back for the restaurant leftovers that I managed not to eat at dinner (noodles/pizza/fill-in-the-blank) at 11pm and craving carbs and a show in the middle of the afternoon. (Things I haven’t done in literally YEARS) And the stress and anxiety that I’ve been feeling has of course rubbed off on my 7-year-old daughter too. Yesterday when she weighed in at 80th percentile for weight (30th for height) and I quietly asked my pediatrician if I should be concerned, she said, “that’s the last thing you need to worry about right now.” She also said that my daughter’s constant humming and singing—which we thought was attention-seeking (and which adds to my anxiety)—was a “self-soothing” behavior. And then it hit me.   OMG!   My parents divorced when I was 5. That’s coincidentally when my love affair with food began. But I’m suddenly seeing myself as a young girl sitting all by myself on the couch and getting all my love and soothing from a bag or bowl of something and my favorite TV show. So it’s no wonder that when my life feels out of control, I seek that same old comfort that I was used to.   I’m also remembering our visit to the GI doctor when Aja was just a baby and wasn’t nursing well. The poor little thing had probably been starving for four months while I stubbornly insisted on nursing her, and then understandably she gorged on formula and we went from worrying that she was too skinny to worrying that she was too chubby. (You know I blame myself for all that and wonder if that’s where her love-affair with food started) But what stuck in my mind was when he said that if weight ever does become an issue there are things we can teach her like “not eating in front of the TV.” (Bingo)   Well, I guess I never really learned that lesson. So the best I can do for my daughter—and myself—is to limit TV-watching-and-eating and break the cycle of self-soothing old habits. Not easy but I’m going to try it....

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Guess where I went today?

I’ll give you a clue: It’s not Joey or PF Chang’s or Brent’s Deli or Rosti or any of the other 40 restaurants I’ve eaten at almost every day for the last 42 days since the fire.   I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and dragged my f-t ass—tail between my legs—to a Weight Watchers meeting. And you know what? It wasn’t SO bad. (Remember, it can always be worse!) I spent way too much of my life hiding and feeling ashamed and sad. And I’m not going to do that to myself again. Ever.   Ironically, this week I was approached by a company interested in casting me as one of the “real” people who have successfully lost weight on the Weight Watchers “Beyond the Scale” program. Problem is that I got to my goal weight a long time ago (well, problem for them, not problem for me!) and not on this specific program. (BTW – My WW goal weight is higher than my own personal goal weight anyway so that I don’t have to stress out if I gain a few pounds and worry about paying $15 because I’m 2 pounds over my goal weight! You have to check in once a month and be within 2 pounds of your goal weight to stay a free Lifetime member)   But anyway… as I was filling out the questionnaire and listing how Weight Watchers has completely changed my life and how I now don’t measure my self worth by my weight and I’m not so hard on myself, I thought, “uh oh, but isn’t that exactly what I’ve been doing to myself in these last few weeks since the fire?”   I have to say I felt like a bit of a fraud.   So here I am coming out to you all. And I am promising you and myself that I will set a good example by being extra kind to myself and not beating myself up for what has happened.   Let’s see: Eating out almost every day for 42 days vs eating out once a week zero walking vs walking the dog/running with kid from car to school 5 days a week (everything counts peeps!) no weekly training session (miss you Kellie Fit!) pilates 0 – 1 times a week (thank G-d for Hardcore Pilates!!) vs pilates 2 times a week   How could any “body” stay the same?   When you eat out every day (way more calories/sodium/fat) and you get out of your regular physical exercise routine, how could your body stay in the same place? And more importantly, I NEED the physical...

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I will forgive (not forget or regret)

I’m not gonna lie—2015 was hard for me. I lost my dad on October 1st and besides the obvious sadness, it brought up all kinds of emotions for me. Flying to South Africa three times in 13 months also put me out of whack: out of my routine; out of my exercise routine; out of my food routine.  I started to fall back to my old habits and have been self-medicating with food and wine. And it’s time to stop. I feel like I’ve been on a roller coaster since my book was released in January and then I was on CNN in February. I started questioning why I do what I do and just feeling completely burnt out. Somehow I lost my direction and stopped following my passion (hello—my blog is called Orna“Bakes”!) and got on the marketing/promotion/social media train. I hate social media. I think it brings out the worst in all of us. It’s all about instant gratification and comparison and looking to others for approval. Everything I’ve spent my life trying to get away from.  Why am I telling you all this? Because as always my goal is to be the best me that I can be and to help anyone along the way who is experiencing the same kind of pain.  I’m excited to bring in the new year  and get a fresh start. I will forgive myself for not living my best life and I will be compassionate, because when you go through a major life change or lose someone dear to you it’s bound to affect you profoundly. I won’t regret doing the book or the blog or anything else I’ve done, because it’s what got me to this point and we learn and grow with every experience.  What about you? Can you forgive yourself? Are you ready for a fresh start? I’m sending my warmest and most sincere wishes your way for a happy, healthy, kind, and compassionate new year. ...

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I couldn’t have shared my weight loss journey if…
May06

I couldn’t have shared my weight loss journey if…

OK, so I’m about to share some very personal things and I hope it isn’t too personal or makes anyone feel uncomfortable. You might have seen me on CNN or even read my book. But there’s something that I didn’t say in my book and I think it’s time to say it here. It’s true that I have completely changed my life and my relationship with food and that I am actually a different person now than the unconfident young girl that I used to be. But a lot of people don’t know just how hard it was for me to share my story with others. In fact, I hid it for years. I wouldn’t have dreamed of sharing my old photos with anyone, even my dear husband, Sam. But, what I didn’t say in my book (mostly because I didn’t want to get too personal and alienate anyone) was that the full story of me sharing my journey and weight loss wouldn’t have been possible without the unconditional love and support of Sam. It doesn’t mean that you can’t reach your goals without finding the love of your life. But it does mean that it’s imperative to have the help and support of someone who believes in you and can help you see yourself through loving eyes. If you did read my book you already know that growing up heavy was incredibly painful for me, and I started this life with low self esteem and deep sadness. When I met Sam, I had already lost most of the weight. But I was still fearful of food, and my head was still in a diet mentality. But in the eleven years that we have been together, he has enabled me to work out my food issues in the open, without any judgement. He has helped me to love my body. He was such a strength for me through years of struggling with infertility. He was also there through the pregnancy with my darling Aja. He still thinks I am beautiful if I gain a few pounds and he understands that sometimes I need alone time with a pizza! He encouraged me to shout my story from the rooftops, even though it might be difficult for some members of his family to really understand why I would do such a thing. I don’t think either of us ever realized how cathartic it would be, or how many people would be able to relate to my story and reach out to me. Whenever I wrote how amazing he has been, I was advised that people don’t want to hear about that. And...

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