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 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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Chopsticks and Change
Sep07

Chopsticks and Change

I had an epiphany on Erev Rosh Hashanah (the eve of the Jewish New Year), as I ate a bowl of vegetables at 11pm—something the old me would never have done! It’s interesting how religious holidays bring up such strong, varied emotions in us—some joyous and some painful. I learned from my wise, dear friend Judy—when I trekked around Los Angeles as her Weight Watchers receptionist and young leader in training—that while things change from holiday to holiday, the one thing that stays the same is the food. As people age and relationships change, our favorite childhood dishes bring familiar comfort of simpler times. That’s one of the reasons why traditional foods evoke such powerful emotional associations, and can trigger and spin us out of control. I, on the other hand, used to have extreme anxiety before the Jewish holidays, because the celebrations invariably meant breaking whatever diet I was on, and having to start all over again. After guiltily eating whatever I could legally ingest in public, I would secretly stuff myself as much as possible, swearing never to eat a grain of sugar or fat again after resuming my diet on Monday. This was followed by the usual onslaught of self-hatred and regret. Now that I know so much more about the negative effects of dieting and deprivation—and how willpower can only go so far—I’m not surprised that I gave in to the tempting treats surrounding me. Wednesday was a strange eating day With one batch of Apricot Squares in the freezer, I had  two more to bake. Norene Gilletz’s Cinnamon Nut Rogelach (divine!), and Brown Sugar Cookies—the ultimate chewy, sugar cookie with a rich, toffee flavor (recipe coming soon) My first time making both, so I had to QC them! (Quality Control) That was lunch. Two turkey meatballs at 4pm, so as not to arrive at dinner famished. Of course, when I’m in a brand new outfit and feel “all that,” no one takes notice, but when I’ve been baking (and sampling) bulkas, challah, and cookies, and haven’t worked out in 10 days, and find the darkest, stretchiest thing in my closet (booty camouflage), everyone says how great I look. Gotta love Spanx! I enjoyed a taste of each wonderful dish in the lavish spread at Uncle Norm and Auntie Carol’s house, resisting seconds of June’s Noodle Kugel! I did, of course, have to partake in above-mentioned cookies for dessert. (Definitely worthy!) Feeling slightly stuffed, the old me would’ve felt guilty and out of control, and would then have proceeded to eat whatever pastries and chocolate I could find at home. But after taking off my heels and putting my little...

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