Chew On This

I recently read that one in three tweens are on a diet. Sad, yes. Shocking, no. Fat obsessed girls grow up to be fat obsessed women. You know who loves that stat? The diet, fitness, fashion, food, and image industry, to name just a few. You know who doesn’t? The people who love us.

General Mills, under the guise of a new campaign to end “dietainment”, a term they coined meaning, unhealthy diet messages disguised as harmless entertainment, is the most recent company to cash in on this dilemma.

I love that they’re trying to raise awareness in their World Without Dieting campaign, but I hate that it’s tied to a product. I can just see these naive tweens lining up with their parents to buy Multi-Grain Cheerios, believing that the makers of this product care about their health. But how can they if they are also the makers of Betty Crocker cake mixes and frostings, Lucky Charms, DunkAroos, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Nesquick, Reese’s Puffs, and Fruit By The Foot – all deliciously sinful products I’ve face-planted in many a time during my binges. Think about it, one of their mascots is the iconic Pillsbury Doughboy – the poster [dough] child for all things squishy and pudgy – quite a contradiction to their World Without Dieting campaign – it’s like they manufacture the poison and the antidote.

I don’t claim to have the answers. I myself am on a quest to get into a society approved pant size, but I know cashing in on the solution to a problem you continue to perpetuate leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.

To view my Week 33 food journal, click here.





Much Obliged

When life is peachy, sticking to the diets on my 12 in 12 journey has been a piece of [fat-free] cake. If it’s not, I’m drawn to the fridge like Winnie-the-Pooh is to honey. This week, life was especially tough, and before I knew it, I was swan-diving head first into a reservoir of fat, salt, and sugar laden foods.

Nathan, my daughter’s common-law partner, got into a serious biking accident on Thursday, breaking his right shoulder, and left wrist. He’s scheduled for surgery on Tuesday and has been told he cannot use both his hands for the next two months.


That’s hard news for anyone to take, but Nathan makes his living as a barista at Starbucks, and as an illustrator (he’s the talented artist behind all the artwork on my blog, including the awesome banner!), so his hands are his money makers. The same day as Nathan’s accident, we got word that my cousin’s 30 year-old son died in his sleep – the cause is still unknown.

While I know binging won’t change anything, I found myself jonesing for an edible hit… chocolate, chips, cookies, heck I would have eaten mayonnaise straight out of the jar if I had any in the house! Food is my go-to drug – I don’t stop eating until whatever is eating me is buried under an avalanche of calories. I used to eat until the physical pain of a full stomach hurt more than the emotional pain I was feeling.

Since I don’t keep junk food in the house anymore, I made a pit stop at the grocery store after driving Chantal and Nathan home from Emerg. I grabbed a large bag of chips and nommed my way through half the bag before I came up for air. But something was different… they weren’t hitting the spot like they used to. I rolled up the bag, put it in the pantry, and went to bed. I tossed and turned for over an hour. I couldn’t stop thinking about Chantal and Nathan. I couldn’t stop thinking about my cousin living every parent’s worst nightmare. And I couldn’t stop thinking about those freaking chips in the pantry. I got out of bed and head to the kitchen. I got the chips and contemplated what it would really cost me if I ate them. After a few moment of playing the staring game with the bag, I dumped the chips in the trash and poured Comet over them just in case. Victory? Nope.

Then on Saturday, my mom and I went to visit the kids and dropped off a meal and a few groceries. Poor sweeties – Nathan, double-slinged was doped up on painkillers. Chantal, was running herself ragged, doing all the household chores and playing nursemaid. On my way home, I got that familiar urge. This time my drug of choice was a pint of Häagen-Dazs. I needed to shoot 20 CCs of the creamy, icy goodness into me STAT. Again, I got half way through, stopped, and eventually poured dishwashing liquid on the remainder.

I thought about my foiled binge attempts and wondered why I couldn’t ‘finish the job.’ Then I realized it was YOUR presence that helped me stop. If I succumbed to a full on binge, I would have to record it in my food journal, and therefore, I wouldn’t be honouring my commitment to the experiment, and to those of you following my blog. Victory? Nope… Awareness, and that’s just as good as a victory!

A few months ago, I heard Gretchen Rubin, author of Better Than Before, Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, speak at The Art of Leadership for Women event in Toronto. She talked about the tendencies that influence our habits and claimed we fall into one of the following categories:

  1. Upholders respond readily to outer and inner expectations
  2. Questioners question all expectations; they’ll meet an expectation if they think it makes sense
  3. Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike
  4. Obligers meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves

I am a textbook obliger – I keep my promises to other, but not always to myself, so thank you for obliging this obliger! You’ve made an honest woman of me – I’ve been tempted to go back to my cheatin’ ways, but being accountable to you has kept me on the straight and narrow. You’ve saved me from countless empty calories and hours of agonising self-flagellation.   My unhealthy habit has become my unhealthy coping mechanism, but the good news is there are strategies in place once you’re ready to deal with them.

For my Week 32 food journal, click here.

A Slice of PEI

I just came back from a glorious four-day, epic gastronomic adventure in Prince Edward Island (PEI… or PIE if you’re food dyslexic like me!). My daughter always wanted to visit this pastoral maritime province ever since she first read Anne of Green Gables as a child, so off we went to explore this jewel bathing in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

PEI is renowned for its seafood and potatoes, so made sure we indulged in the best of the best while there. When we weren’t savouring the culinary delights, we took in the province’s natural wonders and revelled in its cultural heritage.


I’d like to say I consistently stuck to The 8 Hour Diet while on vacation, but it was near impossible as the 73-year-old, Scottish gran who ran the B&B insisted on making us a “proper” breakfast every morning before we set out for a day of sightseeing. It was impossible to refuse her, but holy moly, the sweet woman only knew how to make one thing – CARBS! Toast, scones, muffins, oatcakes, and croissants. Thank goodness, we walked for hours every day to burn it off!


The B&B was a mere three blocks from Charlottetown’s main street and we were fortunate to enjoy the Canada Day celebrations in the very birthplace of Confederation!


I didn’t keep a food journal this week, but I did take a lot of photos of what we ate instead. I wasn’t disappointed in a single dish – everything was bursting with flavour, even the slimy oysters, which I had for the very first time ever!






The Fast and the Curious

Having gone on record for pulling “a skinny girl” and forgetting to eat an astounding two – count’em: unos, dos times in my adult life, I surprised myself when I decided to test a plan that requires me to deliberately forget about food 16 out of 24 hours in a day. The 8 Hour Diet by David Zinczenko and Peter Moore, claims that you will “watch the pounds disappear without watching what you eat!” by fasting during fat-burning periods.

This plan may make or break me, but my interest was piqued by the authors’ claims and research on the benefits of intermittent fasting. Apparently we have these ‘organelles’ within each of our cells called ‘mitochondria’ that control everything from cell regeneration to producing the body’s supply of ‘adenosine triphosphate’ (ATP), the chemical energy that is “the very stuff of life.” Arggg, science, the bane of my high school existence…. I didn’t understand it then, and I don’t understand it now, so I’ll have to take these brainiacs word for it. Let’s continue with the lesson Mare style….

It appears the mitochondria have a split personality – they generate energy (that’s good), they also generate waste called ‘free radicals’ (that’s bad). If the mitochondria doesn’t get some R&R from processing all the calories we shove into our bodies, all heck breaks loose and those darn radicals, free or not, run amuck and invade our system like cell eating zombies! The next thing you know our cells are compromised and as a result the aging process is accelerated, we gain weight, and we become susceptible to disease. Dun-Dun-Duuuuun!

The science behind the theory goes on for chapters, so I won’t bore you with it. In a nutshell, if we give the mitochondria time to recharge, we will reap many health benefits. This is where the fasting comes in. But how will a black belt food junkie like me stick to this extreme version of conscious uncoupling? I’ve achieved my portly state by unconscious coupling – mindless eating is my ‘thang’, and now I’m going to have to rigorously concentrate on not eating for 16 hours – that’s 57,600 Mississippis! There’s got to be a catch, for me to undertake 31 days of this insanity, right?

Oh, you know me soooooo well!

Sixteen may be the number of hours I must refrain from eating, but apparently, I can eat whatever I want during the eight chow down hours. They’re not suggesting I buy stocks in Frito Lay, but if I were to indulge in a treat, I won’t be penalized for it on the scale. They encourage eating two of their eight ‘powerfoods’ at each meal and snack, and as for exercise – get this – 8 MINUTES a day!

Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! SOLD to the ecstatic curvy lady jumping for joy, and not because she has to as part of a prescribed regimen! Woohoo!

The 8 minutes you spend doing light exercise – even just a brisk walk around the block – before your first meal accelerates that glycogen burn, and once those stores are depleted, you’ll turn into a fat-burning machine for the rest of the day.”– David Zinczenko and Peter Moore, The 8 Hour Diet

Other than the heady science, I really like how the book is written – these guys are funny and pumped – they’ve even got me psyched! Can I get a boo-ya?!

I’m not sure if this is a crazy scheme to sell books, but I’m willing to give it a go. The plan is simple – there’s no weighing and measuring, no combining, no omitting – all I need is a stopwatch and resolve, so fasten your seat belt ‘cause, momma’s gearing up for the fast lane! Zooooom!

Ferrari 2006
Revving up the Ferrari (UK, 2006)

I didn’t make the connection until now – the plan I chose for Month 8 is all about them crazy 8’s – that’s gotta be a good sign! To learn the do’s and don’ts of the plan, click here.

To find out how much I lost last month when I tested The Biggest Loser 30-Day Jump Start Plan, click here.